Top Top 10 Baby Accessories You Cannot Live Without

1. Sling or Baby Carrier. I used the New Native sling for the first six weeks postpartum. It works well, is easy to use and doesn’t need to be adjusted to fit. As Animal got older, I also used a Babyhawk Mei Tei carrier and a Baby Bjorn. I have heard some negative reports on the Baby Bjorn however, and that it does not align baby’s spine properly. Please do your research. I currently use a Maya Ring Sling, which I am now convinced just might be the perfect sling to last from Day 1 to toddlerhood. It looks a little strange, but it works GREAT! Another carrier I have heard raves about is the Ergo. Slings and carriers are expensive, so I highly recommend buying something used and cheap during pregnancy just to have something on hand when your baby is born. After baby arrives, call up your local La Leche League leader and ask her to get the members to bring their carriers to the next meeting. Attend and bring your baby to try out all of the different styles before you buy. And even then, buy used if you can. Don’t pay $100 for a Bjorn if you can find one for $40 on consignment.

2. The Happiest Baby on The Block DVD by Dr. Harvey Karp. I cannot stress this one enough. I have recommended this DVD to more new parents than I can count. B and I watched this DVD towards the tail end of my pregnancy and not only were we AMAZED by Dr. Karp’s ability to immediately calm a fussy baby, we were even MORE amazed to realize that we could also soothe a screaming infant using his techniques. There is also a Happiest Baby on the Block book, which is full of tons of additional advice, including the best burping technique ever. However, there is nothing quite like the DVD. You must see the technique is action to truly believe in it and to see exactly how it’s done. Which brings me to my next item.

3. A swaddling blanket. This needs to be pretty big. Something at least 42″x42″. I really like the “waffle” type material because it’s nice and stretchy, but we actually just bought flannel from the fabric store, serged the edges, and used it for blankets. You want to have at least 2 swaddling blankets, and you want them to be fairly lightweight.

4. A mechanical heartbeat. Now this is something that I’ve received criticism from by my fellow attachment parents. Theoretically, your own heartbeat should be enough to comfort your wee one. I totally agree. But in reality, every once in awhile you might want to take a shower, buy a few groceries, or even take a shit without having to hold and jostle and comfort a screaming newborn. (Oh and trust me, I’ve taken a shit while holding my infant. Not fun.) The mechanical heartbeat can be found in several products. My recommendation is The Slumber Bear. Again, buy used if you can. Take the little heartbeat sound device out and toss the bear. You can clip the heartbeat to the crib or the carseat. You can toss it in the diaper bag on your way to the store. This thing is a miracle. It instantly calms. The louder the volume, the better.

5. Lansinoh disposable breast pads. Now peeps, I’m not one for waste, and I try to do without disposable ANYTHING if at all possible. But in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be pouring forth milk from your bosoms like a goddamn waterfall. Cloth pads are great, but will do nothing for you when your normally B cup sized boobs are swollen to a double D and are hard as a rock. In the event of this type of engorgement and leakage, you need Lansinoh. And dare I say this? They can be found at (evil, evil, evil) Walmart. What makes them different, you ask? They have the super absorbent shit that is used in disposable diapers, which means that each of these puppies can hold about 2 pounds of milk. And no, I don’t necessarily condone the chemicals used in disposable diapers. But a few weeks of the stuff won’t kill you, and you’ll thank me when your shirt doesn’t smell like dried up sour milk all day long.

6. Swing and or vibrating bouncy seat. Here’s another area where I am totally going against the attachment parenting norm. Many AP parents go without “containers” (item used to place children and entertain them.) I am in awe of these parents, really. Container free parenting seems as if it would probably work best in a two parent household with only one child. However, often times real life is a sleep deprived mama with two older kids and a newborn who is trying to get dinner ready while her hubby fights traffic on his evening commute. This is where the swing and/or vibrating chair comes into play. Again again again, BUY USED. Look at reviews. Find something that has good reviews as far as battery power goes. Simple is key. Anything with too many bells and whistles will suck up battery power and you’ll be throwing money down the drain for D batteries. Learn from my mistakes. A vibrating bouncy seat does not need three different musical tunes, and the swing does NOT have a side-to-side swinging motion.

7. A porta crib or “pack and play”. The best things about the newest portable cribs is that they are convertible. I bought a used portacrib by Graco at a garage sale for $15. It doubled as a bassinet and a changing table. Animal napped exclusively in the portacrib until he was at least 6 months old. It was small enough to fit easily in our bedroom, and easy to fold up and tote to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and taken on as baggage when we flew to Montana.

8. Nighgowns, or as B calls them–“Sweet Pea gowns”. Now I know the fuzzy footie pajamas are oh-so-darling and hard to resist, and you may be a little hesistant about putting a baby boy in a nightgown. But the gowns have been used for centuries for a very good reason. First of all, a newborn baby is used to drawing in their legs all snuggly warm and close to their body. They’re not used to having their legs and feet covered with strange and constricting material. Secondly, changing a diaper at 3AM becomes insanely easy in a gown. All of those crotch snaps are quite daunting when you’re so sleep deprived you can hardly see straight.

9. A Snoogle Original body pillow. Not only is this on my list of necessary pregnancy items, it also continues on the postpartum list and beyond. The Snoogle can be found here. The Boppy and the Brest Friend Nursing Pillow are great, but nothing compares to the Snoogle. You can actually wrap this thing around your waist to bring your baby to a comfortable level while he’s nursing AND you can wrap the “tail” behind your back for support. It can also be used to nurse your baby lying down. We also used the Snoogle to keep Animal contained on a bed so that he wouldn’t roll off while napping, and used it to wrap around him while he was learning to sit unassisted. Totally worth the $50.

10. Cloth diapers. I’m not just talking about for poops. Prefolds will become your best friend for spitups and mishaps of all kinds. They are super absorbent and will make burping a breeze. Don’t assume you can substitue with just any old rag. Cloth diapers are the way to go, hands down.

4 Responses to “Top Top 10 Baby Accessories You Cannot Live Without”

  1. 1 thordora January 9, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    OH! The bouncy chairs! My saviour! LOVED those.

    The sling I mention to everyone, but I find a lot of people don’t have the patience to figure it out. Sucks really. Mine are too big for them now, at least for the one I have.

    The lanolin is a must for cracked nipples. Helped me latch Ros before I gave up. 🙂

    if you have a hospital birth, you can usually steal a few of the HUGE blankets from them for swaddling. Most of the ones we bought SUCKED.

  2. 2 Estella January 9, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    I considered putting lanolin on my list. However, my nipples got SO bad that I couldn’t even apply the lanolin. It’s really thick. You can roll it between your fingers for a while to heat it up and soften it, but I still could not apply it to my cracked open, bloody nips without screaming hysterically. In the end, breastmilk and air drying worked wonders. Oh yeah. And a correct latch. LOL.

  3. 3 Magdalena January 11, 2007 at 2:11 am

    You know it’s funny, when I see lists like these I am always amazed at what different parents find necessary- my list would be totally different. I couldn’t live without my Hotsling, Gerber breastfeeding gel discs- you have no idea how these things saved my bloody nipples, Hyland’s teething tablets, sleepsacks(we had him in the winter),fenugreek,, nursing tank-tops- I lived in them, the Boppy, and the snap and go carseat/stroller system, I had a Graco one that made my life SO MUCH easier than the first time around, you just open that sucker up and pop on the carseat, no lugging that clunky infant carrier all over, and lastly but not least, they have these really thin, stiff crib pads that they sell at Carter’s that are really absorbent, you can cut them up to roll up and put in your diaper bag, or you can keep them the size they are and use them as changing pads for the really scary poops, they are wonderful. Oh, and a great messenger bag with lots of pockets.

  4. 4 mrshavisham January 11, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Mmmm Hyland’s teething tablets and KellyMom. Good ones! I also FINALLY got one of those traveling systems this time around and DANG it’s another world out there going from carseat to stroller in a snap! The only thing I hate about it now is not being able to sell the infant carseat while I’m still using the stroller. Definitely more selling power as a set.

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