Molly’s Favorite Things

2011 is already shaping up to be a pretty amazing year, and amidst this freezing cold winter, I have been getting so many wonderful phone calls from my girlfriends.  Eight (so far) of my girlfriends are pregnant and due this spring/summer!  YES!  Eight!  Eight more playmates for Jack!  All but one are first babies, but my best friend Andrea is on her third!

Since many of them are first time Moms-to-be, they have been asking what are some of my “can’t-live-without-this” baby gear is.  Not that I am an expert by any means, but they know I do my research down to the core before I buy something.  This does not usually just go with baby items, but dishwashers, home things, etc…  My trusty copy of Consumer Reports magazine and the book are my sidekicks as I waltz into a store and demand a deal.  (I have to admit, it really gets my adrenaline running.  Looking for a deal!)

Aside from my highs when negotiating, I do enjoy some shopping for whatever or whomever it may be for.  (Just ask my Visa.)

So ladies, here are my top 10 favorite “can’t-live-without” baby items: (in no particular order)

10. A baby jungle gym.  This was my saving grace when trying to make dinner or fold laundry.  Just enough activity and stimulation to get me a free 10-15 minutes (with supervision of course) to get my chores completed.  Plus, Jack loved the lights, sounds, dangling animals and the textures on the mat during tummy time.  (Great for developing gross motor skills!)  I also liked that it was portable and that it folded flat.

9. Sophie the Giraffe.  I hemmed and hawed over spending $22 for a piece of rubber shaped like a giraffe, and when we were visiting my sister in Brooklyn, we broke down and bought one at Giggle in SoHo.  Absolutely the best money that we have ever spent on a toy.  She stimulates all 5 senses and keeps a smile on Jack’s face even though he is currently cutting 2 molars.  (Ouch)  She goes everywhere with us and has absolutely been worth her weight in gold.  An absolute must have!

8. A Maclaren.  Hands down the best umbrella stroller out there!  We are both pretty average when it comes to height (I’m like 5’8 and the hubs is 5’11) and all of the cheap umbrellas didn’t even come close to where we would comfortably be able to touch the stroller handles.  (Think Hunchback of Notre Dame)  We broke down and bought a Maclaren Triumph and we absolutely LOVE it.  Easy fold, great for travel, long handles, storage, light weight, stylish and comfortable for Jack.  What more could you ask?  And yes, we also own a Bugaboo Cameleon, which is awesome for neighborhoods, but not for trunks and everyday errands in and out of a car.  We also have a Chicco, but we have only used it once and it has sat in our storage unit ever since.

7. Baby Kisses and Butt Paste.  Both are made with natural ingredients, and I have used them from the time that Jack was born.  The Baby Kisses are great for chapped lips, sensitive cheeks in the cold, pacifier rash around the mouth, and any chapping anywhere on the face.  It has been used for all of them and cured all within a day or so.  The Butt Paste is fabulous for diaper rashes and any redness in the diaper area.  All are cured also within 24 hours.  It is easy to wipe off, if need be, but it still does a great job.

6. A baby swing or bouncy chair.  To be honest, you can get away with one or the other, but we did end up getting both.  I wasn’t one of those Moms who relied on the baby swing too much.  We never even changed the batteries in it and the swing still works to this day.  However, it was fabulous for when I was making dinner on the stove or trying to clean up the house.  As Jack got older and after I went to work, the bouncy seat helped to keep Jack occupied when I was showering in the morning before work, or even as I was getting dressed and putting on my makeup.  Small enough to fit in the bathroom while I showered and easy enough to tote him around as needed.

5. Any of the Lamaze dangling toys.  These were fabulous to keep Jack occupied while sitting in traffic for an hour on the way to day care and to keep his attention when I needed a second to get meats from the butcher.  We still use them on his stroller to keep him occupied while shopping, etc…  Both have been worth their weight in gold.

4. A baby carrier.  I started off with the Baby Bjorn, and I wish I did more homework before registering for it.  I absolutely used it when Jack wasn’t 20+ pounds, but I do miss being able to strap him to me and do what I need to do.  When he was small, it was perfect during cold/flu season when I didn’t want anyone touching him because even though people touch your belly, they won’t touch your baby in a carrier.  Weird.  Anywho, I loved using it to vacuum, get the mail, at the grocery store, etc…  And to be honest, I really miss it.  I have been looking at the Ergo baby carrier, which I think is awesome, but the pricetag is a little steep right now until I get a job, or if they sell them for $50 on Gilt.

3. Several pacifiers.  I hesitated at first on using a bluffer, but once my lactation consultant, Boob Donna (true story) told me that nipple confusion is a crock and the important thing is to keep a wide-mouthed latch, I bought a few.  She explained that babies have a natural tendency to suck and that it is a soothing thing for them.  We used the Mam pacifiers and never had an issue with them.  Yes, Jack still uses his for naps and bed time, but that plug is going to be pulled in a few short weeks.

2. A JJ Cole carseat cover.  Whether it is spring, fall or the dead of winter, this was an awesome gift.  Getting a small 9 pound baby in a coat and in and out of bunting is nothing short of a royal pain in the arse.  We had the heavy one for when he was born and used an additional blanket if needed when it was really cold outside.  When the sun started to come out again, we slipped the lighter cover onto the carseat and another season of not having to put on a difficult coat was avoided.  Fold it back if you didn’t need it and cover them up when braving the cold.  Awesome invention!

1. Nipple cream and breast pads.  Because I was a first time Mom, I didn’t realize how quickly my nipples would begin hurting or how fast I would rip through a small box of breast pads.  Even if you don’t plan on nursing, you still leak and your nipples will still be sore from the rubbing of the breast pads.  I did breastfeed for 3 months, and I went through a large amount of breast pads.  My decision to use reusable breast pads instead of the reusable ones was strictly because I didn’t know that they had reusable ones until I was finished breast feeding.  Your choice, but get whatever floats your boat.

My last piece of advice is to take all of the free visits at home from lactation consultants, home nurses, etc…  Its always nice for reassurance and help if you have any major concerns.

Enjoy your pregnancies!  Those babies will be here in no time!!!  🙂

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