Baby Essentials | Birth to 5 Months

Every once in a while, I’ll be posting about things that aren’t even remotely related to letterpress or photography. This is one of those posts.

I’ll be the first to admit it, I knew nothing about babies until I had one of my own. I am the youngest of four, and we didn’t live near any other family, so I just really didn’t get much experience with babies! I think a great way to illustrate this is in a conversation I had right before my wedding with my then-pregnant sister-in-law. It went like this:

Me:  The wedding venue doesn’t have any items that you’ll need for the baby, so you’ll probably want to bring your own crib, and that tall chair thing that babies eat in.
Sister-in-law: You mean a high chair?
Me: Yes!  That’s what they’re called!
Sister-in-law: Well he’ll be 3 months old, so he won’t be eating solids, and won’t exactly have the head control for a high chair.
Me: Oh.

But, baptism by fire, right?  Jacob joined our little family almost 5 months ago, and in that time I like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two about baby-rearing, including some things that make it just a little bit easier. Links to the items are included with the product title. Some disclaimers: I’m writing this solely based on my experience, and am not doing so at the behest of any products or companies. Also, I am a letterpress printer, not a doctor.  These are just items that worked for us. Always check with your pediatrician if you have questions!

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Food, Etc.

  • I went through two stages of nursing pillows. When Jacob was a newborn up until about 2 months, the only pillow that worked for me was (wait for it) (1) My Brest Friend. It has a sturdy flat surface that made it difficult for his little body to slip in between the pillow and me. But once Jacob got a little bigger, the (2) Boppy became a better pillow for nursing, as well as for tummy time and helping him to sit up.
  • When I was pregnant, I did a lot of research on what was the best bottle for breastfed babies. I wanted to introduce a bottle somewhat early so that he wouldn’t reject it, but I wanted it to be as similar to breastfeeding as possible. Once Jacob arrived, I ended up purchasing a few that came recommended as best for breastfed babies and have found the (3) Comotomo bottles to be our favorites. These are more expensive than I’d like to admit, but I really feel they’ve been worth it.
  • This one is by no means a necessity, but I just love it. The (4) Boon Drying Rack has been a pretty adorable way to dry bottles, pacifiers and other baby items. And you can buy little twig and flower accessories. I mean, come on.
  • We have tons of bibs, but I always, always reach for the (5) Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bibs when we’re bottle feeding Jacob.  The design is perfect at catching milk and keeping the rest of him clean and dry.
  • We’re heading into TMI territory here…I’ve found (6) Fenugreek to be a lifesaver in terms of boosting milk supply. Added bonus, it makes you smell like maple syrup. There are worse things you could smell like, amirite?

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Movin’ and Shakin’

  • (1) Baby K’tan might not know it, but I think I’m their top salesperson on the east coast. I love this wrap for carrying Jacob around, it’s so easy to put on, and he loves being in it, it’s instantly calming to him. This was the only way I was able to get the dogs walked and dinner cooked during those first few weeks with a newborn. As Jacob has gotten bigger, he still fits in the K’tan in different wrap styles, but I’ve also started using the (2) Ergo, and have no complaints about that either. I chose the Ergo because I read that it was easier on the back than other carriers, and also didn’t place undue stress on the baby’s hips.
  • We did a lot of research before deciding on a carseat and stroller, and ultimately went with the (3) BOB Revolution Stroller and the (4) Britax B Safe Infant Carseat. The BOB is great for running offroading in places where you wouldn’t think to bring a stroller, however it became kind of cumbersome for errands and everyday use. One day as I lugged Jacob and his carseat into my mom’s group, I noticed that all of the moms had little frame-type stroller thingies for their infant carseat, so I scooped the (5) Safety 1st Clic It off of Amazon because it’s the only one I could find that worked with the B Safe. It’s been a great little stroller so far, very lightweight and awesome for errands, like a quick run into the grocery store. Quick tip about the BOB, you can find tons of them for sale on craigslist at a significantly reduced price.

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  • Jacob LOVES to kick his legs. He treats it like it’s his job, he gets this determined look on his face and he just kicks and kicks and kicks. This (1) activity mat has been an amazing locale for his kicking adventures, and there are all kinds of things to keep him entertained while he’s hard at work.
  • Another thing Jacob loves for a good 10 minutes at a time? Chilling out in his (2) bumbo seat, which helps him sit up before he’s able to do so on his own.
  • Jacob’s grandma gave us the (3) Fisher Price Rainforest Soother for his crib, and he adores it. It’s a great way to keep him entertained, and buy me a good 15 minutes.
  • At 4.5 months, Jacob is only just starting to get old enough to enjoy his (4) Exersaucer, but it’s pretty amazing to watch his awareness grow with every day. He loves feeling his feet touch the ground, and all of the music and lights on this bad boy.
  • The (5) Exersaucer Kangaroo Door Jumper is hilarious, not to mention that Jacob loves it. He loves practicing walking and bouncing in that thing, but my favorite part is the kangaroo tail popping out of the back when he turns around. Surprisingly, it’s really easy to move from doorway to doorway.

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Clothes and Blankets

  • Ever since I’ve known him, my husband has been on an eternal quest to find the softest blankets, towels, clothes, and materials in existence. Of course he projected his obsession onto Jacob once we had a child, and so I found myself searching to find the softest onesies in the world. We tried out a lot of different brands, my favorite ones are the solid color creepers by (1) Rabbit Skins. I don’t know that these are the softest onesies that ever existed, but they’re pretty soft, and I love all of the colors.
  • I can’t get enough of the (2) American Apparel Infant Rib Hats. Jacob has a few, and they are so stinkin’ adorable. He has a pretty giant head, and yet they’ve managed to fit him from birth until 5 months, and I think they’ll continue to fit for some time. Love them.
  • (3) Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets are some of the most versatile baby items we own. I’ve used them as a swaddle, nursing cover, floor blanket, stroller blanket, burp cloth, stroller cover, and the list goes on.
  • Before we were discharged from the hospital, the nurse told me that we could not cut (only file) Jacob’s nails until he was three months old. Impatient me tried filing his nails once or twice and decided it was a lost cause. That’s when (4) GuavaMitts came in super handy. They look like adorable little baby oven mitts, but Jacob was unable to get them off, meaning that he couldn’t scratch himself, and that’s good enough for me!

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Stop the Tears!

  • I was blessed with a really happy baby. He really is an awesome little guy. But in the beginning, when we didn’t really know him, and he didn’t really know us, we ran into a few issues. Issues meaning he was crying, and we didn’t know what to do. As time went on, we started figuring each other out, and have found these things to be super helpful.
  • I never loved the idea of a pacifier for my children, until I had a child. A lactation consultant and the hospital advised that I get one that doesn’t look too crazy, so we went with (1) Philips Avent Soothies. Jacob loves them, and an added bonus is that he looks like a sucker fish when he’s got one.
  • Newborn’s tummies are really small, and really new. It takes a while for their digestive system to work well, and so for the first month or two, they suffer from gas pains and stomachs upset a lot. This is when Jason and I turned to (2) Gripe Water and Mylicon Gas Drops (at our pediatrician’s recommendation). Lifesavers.
  • Lastly, do yourself a solid and download a white noise app (3) on your iphone. It stops the tears every time. (Also addressed in the sweet dreams category).

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Bath Time

  • The (1) Puj Tub worked great for bathing Jacob for the first 3 months or so when our (2) Whale Tub was a bit too big (note, as he’s gotten older, the whale tub is perfect!)  It fits right in the sink, and I love that it folds flat when not in use, barely taking up any space at all.
  • (3) Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns is a Godsend. Jacob started getting cradle cap around week 2 or so, so I tried a few different things including olive oil, Vaseline (as suggested by my pediatrician), lotions, and other shampoos.  This was the only thing that worked.  I still use it on him with every single bath, and we haven’t seen any cradle cap since!
  • The (4) Bean B Clean Brush was another cradle cap reliever!  We still use it for everyday brushing.
  • The hospital used  (5) Johnson’s Head to Toe baby wash, and we’ve been using it ever since.
  • I love animal hooded baby towels as much as the next girl, but I’ve found the (6) SnuggleDry towel to be my favorite for drying off Jacob right after a bath.  It has a neck strap so you wear it like an apron while bathing your little one, then when it’s time to dry off, the towel is right there so you can scoop your baby right out of the tub. It’s a bit pricey, but considering how often we use it, I’ve felt like it was well worth it.

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Sweet Dreams

  • We’ve all read The Happiest Baby on the Block, right? If not, here’s the deal.  The author, Harvey Karp, says that the “5 S’s” are the secret to getting a baby to sleep. Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Shush, Swing, Suck. All of these have helped us with Jacob, although I think his favorite S is Shush. He could be screaming bloody murder, but the second I turn on my white noise app on my phone, he immediately stops. It’s unreal. I highly recommend downloading one of the many white noise apps that are out there. (After a while you get tired of making the shushing sound yourself!)
  • The (1) Fisher Price SnugaPuppy Swing has been one of our favorite shower gifts. I didn’t even register for this one, but my mom must have known better! I’m learning that just about everything you use to entertain your child requires batteries, and a screwdriver to put those batteries in. This is one of the few items that plugs into the wall, and for that I am grateful. Not to mention that it’s great at lulling my non-napping baby to sleep. Similar to the swing is the (2) SnugaPuppy bouncer, I also highly recommend this item.
  • The (3) Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine has become a fixture in our bedtime routine with Jacob. Actually it started out in our bedroom while Jacob slept in the bassinet, and stayed there after we moved him into the nursery. It was actually kind of hard for me to let go, it kept lulling me to sleep for a few weeks before I decided that I should probably move it into the baby’s room.
  • I did a lot of research before buying a baby monitor.  After all of that research I came to the conclusion that there are way too many options out there…and that a lot of them seem great!  We’ve been really happy with ours by (4) Motorola.
  • I can’t decide if I love or hate the (5) Halo SleepSack Swaddle. I love it because it was amazing at getting Jacob to sleep for 4 months. I hate it because now that Jacob is rolling over, we’re no longer supposed to use a swaddle and I’m left wishing we could go back to using the sleepsack.

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Gross Stuff

  • Ok, here we go. Let’s talk (1) NoseFrida. My husband gives me so much crap about this, and look, I get it, it seems really gross. But those bulb nose syringes just don’t cut it, so I’ve been using the NoseFrida anytime Jacob gets a stuffy nose. You’re probably disgusted right now, so I just gotta say it: there’s a filter! Nothing gets into your mouth, I swear!
  • We have two types of diaper pails, and my favorite is the (2) Ubbi. At first glance, it seems really pricey for a poop receptacle, and it is. But I believe that in the long run, it saves you a lot of money. Other diaper pails require special bags that become pretty costly as you got through them, what I love about the Ubbi is that you can use any old trash bag.
  • (3) Triple Paste is the best diaper cream I’ve found.
  • We have two bulldogs, we’re no strangers to poop bags and bagging poop. I’ve been keeping a roll in my diaper bag so that I can bag up any diapers that I have to change on the go. Let’s face it, friends will stop inviting me over if I leave stinky diapers in their trash cans!  I’ve found (4) these to be a great deal.
  • I went through one diaper bag before I found my current one. I’m notorious for needing giant purses, so a diaper bag was no exception. I’m loving the Chelsea Downtown Chic Satchel by Skip Hop. It has plenty of pockets to keep Jacob’s items organized, and a few pockets for my items. I love that it looks at least a little bit like a purse with all of the functionality of a diaper bag.

What are your favorite baby items? I’d love to hear what other moms love!