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Like most homes with babies, ours has been completely overtaken with pointless baby paraphernalia. Some examples: bulb suction to clear baby’s nose. The only thing that accomplishes is poking your baby in the eye. Or baby powder. Do people really use that stuff anymore? And don’t get me started on tiny hiking boots for babies. WHY.
Many of these items were given to us by very well-meaning loved ones. Before we actually had babies, I had no idea that I absolutely didn’t need 14 different head bands for our daughter. (None of which she ever wore.) There are however, several items that we’ve acquired since having our first child that have made life easier, given us a slice of sanity, and have just made sense.
I want to share this list of my favorite unique, must-have baby products with you, because I didn’t know that most of these items even existed before we had babies. Keep this handy-dandy list for yourself, or refer to it when you want to bring an awesome gift to a baby shower! Trust me, those new parents will thank you. (I included links to the actual products our family has used to save you some time!)
1.) SLEEP SACKS.
There are four reasons I’m obsessed with sleep sacks. #1. Our kids never wanted to be swaddled. Of course you aren’t supposed to let your baby sleep under a blanket, so how do you keep them warm? Sleep sack. Problem solved. #2. I hate putting my children in fleece pajamas to sleep in. I think they are hot and sweaty and uncomfortable. Sleep sacks allow us to put our kids in cotton jammies under the fleece layer. #3. Our daughter moves around A LOT in her sleep. Even when she was big enough to sleep with a blanket in her bed I continued to put her in a sleep sack because it allowed her blanket to move with her and ultimately cut down on night-time waking. #4. They can’t climb out of their crib if they’re wearing a straight-jacket! Uhh, I mean, sleep sack!
2.) PORTABLE CAMPING HIGH CHAIR.
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We used this little gem CONSTANTLY when our first child was small, and now we’re using it with baby #2. It’s a canvas high chair that folds up small enough to keep in the trunk of your car. The tray (which is plastic coated and easy to clean) and chair are all one piece, and it’s incredibly sturdy. We tied a toy to the chair so that she could play and be entertained, and if she decided to toss the toy overboard it never hit the floor. We have taken it camping, on picnics, to family and friends houses, and every time we go to a restaurant. Unlike the wooden high chair you find in restaurants, this chair is soft, comfortable, and if it’s sticky, it’s because YOUR child made it sticky..
3.) THE NOSE-FRIDA.
It took me a little time to come around on this one, but I honestly don’t think we could live without now. Remember the bulb suction I mentioned earlier? Well, this is the way you ACTUALLY get all of that snot out of your kids nose. How does it work? Think: syphoning gas. Yes, you suck the snot out through a tube. It’s gross, but when your baby is congested and can’t sleep, you’ll do what it takes to get that gunk out of there. (And no, the snot does not end up in your mouth..)
This item may have saved my life. (Or at the very least, my semblance of sanity that I’ve been clinging to for the last 3 years.) The Rock n Play is a seat that keeps baby at an incline. Neither of our children were interested in sleeping on their backs as babies, which is not as uncommon as the internet might lead you to believe. I know very well that this item is not marketed specifically as a sleep device, hence the name ‘ROCK’ and ‘PLAY’. Our children have neither rocked nor played in it, but they sure have slept well in it! It took us from getting virtually no sleep to sometimes 4 or 5 hours at a time, and for that I am forever grateful.
5.) A SWING WITH A POWER CORD.
I am not ashamed to say that were are days I squeezed our 8 month old into a swing he barely fit into for nap time. Moms will tell you, especially those with a toddler and a baby, you do what you gotta do.. Our first baby swing was a hand-me-down, and we quickly recognized its incredible value. But it’s major flaw was the lack of a power cord, it ran off of battery power. An incredibly large, expensive, hard-to-find-a-replacement style battery. Spring for the nice swing that plugs in to the wall. I’ll pay more to know that a dead battery won’t interfere with precious nap time.
6.) A LEGIT WHITE-NOISE MACHINE.
For this one, I recommend going online. Please, please, please, do not buy a white noise machine marketed specifically for babies. They often run on batteries (which will die when you most need them), the sound quality is terrible, and many of them work on a timer that will definitely shut off right when your little one goes to sleep. (Noticing a theme here? Sleep is a serious priority in our household.) We recently bought a white noise machine called LectroFan, chosen based on some great reviews and it didn’t disappoint. It runs all night, there are lots of white noise and fan sounds to choose from, and it plugs into the wall. (Plus it’s small, so you can take it with you anywhere. Take that, squeaking floors and snoring husband!)
One of the many tools I’m thankful for as a nurse at work, temporal thermometers are the kind that simply scan across the forehead to give a temperature reading. They are accurate, quick, and infinitely easier than any other method, particularly for babies and small children. Effective, accurate versions of these thermometers are now available for home use. We got ours at Costco a couple of years ago for about $30 and it’s worth it’s weight in gold. You can even check your childs temp in their sleep. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is.
8.) A PIZZA CUTTER.
I bet you already have one, but you’re gonna need another. We have 2 and sometimes it’s not enough. Once your little one is eating solids, it is so awesome to be able to run a pizza cutter over their food a few times and create bite sized pieces in a fraction of the time as with regular utensils. When both of ours are in the dishwasher, I panic. It is just so. much. easier.
P.S. If you’re a busy mom with little ones, make sure to check out my recipe for quick, easy protein-packed toddler pancakes!
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