Warning: this post probably won't be remotely interesting if you don't have kids yet (and maybe not even if you DO have kids, haha). This is just how bored and cooped up I am at the moment. I need to get out. I know this about myself.
So babies come with a lot of stuff. In cleaning up the house today, I noticed that Topher, small as he is, has taken over. There are mountains of baby clothes, brightly colored toys in every room, and so many baby-oriented gadgets that I wonder how the pioneers ever survived with just a cradle and a blanket. So I'm making a list of our baby must-haves:
1) Angelcare monitor. This one is #1 because it's awesome. It's a monitor that goes under Topher's mattress and has 2 hand units that we keep in our bedroom and in the kitchen. Not only is it a regular sound monitor, but it detects movement as well. It's so sensitive that it knows when he's breathing. And if it ever goes 15 seconds without detecting any movement whatsoever, it'll give a warning beep. Another 5 seconds of no movement and it will sound an alarm. It has gone off a few times, but it has always been because he has scooted himself off the sensor pad. And with battery backup in case of power failure, it has really given us enough peace-of-mind to sleep well at night without going in and checking to see that he's breathing every few minutes. We love it. I vote it the best baby invention ever.
2) Diaper Champ. There's a variety of diaper-disposing cans out there, but I love this one because you can load it with regular trash bags instead of having to buy expensive refills. It's kind of fun, too. You just throw the diaper in the top, flip the handle, and it disappears. Very handy, keeps the changing station clean and fresh.
3) Baby Trend car seat/stroller combo. I spent months choosing this set. Literally, months. I read reviews, compared models, tested them out in stores...I was so serious about getting it right. At first I thought I would need a couple strollers in order to get everything I wanted. It seemed like I would need a travel system (which is a car seat and stroller that snap together so you don't have to take the baby out of the seat if he's sleeping), and a separate jogging stroller for helping me get back in shape. Anyway, after much research, I finally found a jogging stroller that was ALSO a travel system. And best of all, it has a front wheel that swivels (for maneuvering through stores and malls) and locks (for jogging without having the stroller change direction every time it hits a rock or crack in the road.) People at my work were highly annoyed by my constant research on the stroller, but I'm so happy I took the time to get the right one. And it gets a lot of compliments!
4) Rainforest mobile. Even though we just got this at Christmas, I don't know how we lived without it. Topher has "happy time" every morning where he'll just gaggle and coo and kick his legs at the mobile while it plays music and jungle sounds. It's how I get my shower in, or house cleaning, or laundry, whatever else done that needs to be done. He'll stay entertained for a good 20 minutes or so before his squeals start sounding a little more like cries and he'll need to be picked up again. And the best part is that every single day he acts so surprised, like he's never seen it before. It's adorable, and anything that makes my baby smile like that is well worth it.
5) Changing pad covers. I gave birth to a little pee monster, and he loves to pee on us. When we first brought him home, he would try to get us at every single changing. So instead of having a big mess to clean up, we'd just whisk away the old waterproof pad and throw on a new one. Luckily, he's learning to control himself a little better, and we hardly ever have to change it anymore. But for a while there, those pads were lifesavers.
6) Well-stocked diaper bag. This one probably goes without saying, but it's peace-of-mind on the road and I LOVE being prepared. Our bag always has the following: 2 changes of clothes, several diapers and wipes, pacifier, a few toys, extra formula, diaper rash cream, nail clippers, nail file, ear thermometer, nose bulb sucker, bottle of water (for mixing formula powder into when we're in the car or in a store), and a bottle.
7) Pacifier. Mam Pacifier to be exact. The hospital sent us home with 3 different kinds and Topher didn't like any of them except for the Mam. He's actually not dependent on it at all and will usually spit it out before he goes to sleep or as soon as he's happy enough without it, but it's nice to have when he's just a little fussy and needs some soothing.
8) Bottle and Formula. Breastfeeding turned out to be more difficult than I imagined (and yes, I took a breastfeeding class before the birth, met with lactation consultants in the hospital, met with a specialized lactation consultant later on, and saw my personal doctor, but we just couldn't make it work and after 8 weeks we started weaning Topher.) Anyway, this is probably my most favorite invention because it turned our baby experience from one of frustration and pain into one that felt do-able. Topher had gained one pound in the course of a month on breastfeeding alone. Then, once we started formula, he gained over 2.5 lbs in exactly 2 weeks! It was like his body was desperate for the added calories and he was saying, "Look mom, this is how much I've been wanting to grow and I just couldn't." Honestly, our entire family has been MUCH happier since switching. And I was incredibly stubborn about it. I know all the benefits of breast milk and I was dead set on sticking with it. But when you start crying every time your baby needs to eat, and when you have plugged ducts every other day that make wearing a shirt hurt (let alone letting a hungry child go to town) you know something has got to change. And he did have breast milk for a solid 8 weeks, so hopefully he got the antibodies he needed to start off with a healthy immunity. And hey, I did my best.
9) Microwave sterilizer. Look on the instructions for any product that touches a baby's mouth and it will say to boil it first to make sure it's clean. Well call me lazy, but I'm not one to drag out the big pot and boil bottles and pacifiers. Plus it discolors a lot of items. So my mom got me this microwave sterilizer and all you do is throw the stuff in, add a little water to the bottom, and stick it in the microwave for 5 minutes. Voila, sterilization by steam. I love it. I use it on his pacifiers whenever we've dropped them on the floor somewhere germy. I know you can't keep germs away from your baby forever, nor should you try, but I'd rather know that he's not sucking on something that fell on the Target parking lot.
So there we go...all the things that are helping to make our baby-rearing a little more convenient and enjoyable. Does anyone have a #10 they would add to the list?