Over the last 8 months we have used a variety of baby products, some have been life changing, while others we absolutely could have done without. Below are my favorites and obviously I am no expert, but maybe some of this can help in your decision making (to splurge or not to splurge) when the time comes.
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1. Run (don't walk) and get yourself a Fisher Price Cradle n Swing, My Little Lamb - it will be the BEST thing you can do for your newborn (and yourself) right out of the gate (we borrowed one from LT). We used this item multiple times a day (for hours on end) for the first 4-5 months of HML's life. If we were stuck on a desert island and could only bring one item with us, this would be it hand down!
2. Before moving HML into her own room/crib, she slept next to our bed (for about 4 months) in an Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper Bassinet (we borrowed this from another friend). We immediately appreciated the nice small size (not too small-just right) which easily fit into our bedroom without it feeling like was taking up the whole room (a huge plus for apartment living). It's extremely sturdy and provided her in a safe and cozy environment (we did not attached it to our bed, just pushed it up against the side). This set up made breastfeeding SO easy (I did it in my sleep practically) which helped with my breastfeeding every 2 hour fog (those first 8 weeks really do feel like one long day). Another fab feature was that offered portability (it's on wheels, so we moved it into other rooms easily) and could travel with it. Overall, I loved the fact that HML was close at hand, yet safely sleeping in her own space. Disclaimer: Assembly/disassemble was hard for us.
3. From day one HML loved being bathed and I partly attribute this to the Puj Tub. Made from a soft foam that folds and conforms to almost any sink (we used ours in the kitchen) the tub cradles and protects the baby during bath time. Clean up is the best part, it easily unfolds and we hung ours to dry in the shower on a little hook. Two extra clean and extremely compact thumbs up!
4. I love bags (who doesn't) so doing this type of research was really fun when browsing diaper bag options. I ended up with the Skip Hop Duo Double Deluxe Diaper Bag and after having used it daily for the past eight months, I could not be happier. First of all, it looks brain new - which is AMAZING - considering it's been dragged (literally) everywhere. It's size has been the biggest lifesaver (it's huge) and with 16 pockets, everything has it's own spot (including personal stuff for me - so no purse needed). I also love that it can be carried by the tote straps or messenger strap (which works well for KL since he is so tall), can easily attach to the stroller, and that it comes with the diaper changing pad. It's rare that I can say this, but this bag functions perfectly and I wouldn't change a thing!
5. For breastfeeding mothers who also need to express, The First Years Spinning Drying Rack is a great solution. It's space saving yet it easily holds 8-12 bottles while also providing extra space for breast pump parts, sippy cups, feeding bowls etc.
6. I am still breastfeeding (working mom style) and the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote has work wonders for me, and was absolutely worth the price (it's not cheap). It is reliable, compact, quick, and helped keep my milk supply up once I went back to work. The tote fits everything you need (pump, pump parts, bottles/storage bags, ice pack/case, plug, and rechargeable battery) so keep that in mind when considering which pump works best for you (there's a lot to schlep).
7. HML didn't warm up to the ERGObaby SPORT Carrier immediately (I introduced it late, so we had to work our way into it) but thankfully now she LOVES it, and so do I. It's extremely comfortable and puts most of the baby's weight on your hips, making it easier to wear for long periods of time. It also has very nice padded shoulder straps and offers superb support for the baby, which makes skipping (something that gives HML endless amounts of giggles and pleasure) easy on both of us. Disclaimer: It does take some practice to become good at getting your baby into and out of it, so be patient.
8. The Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper and Evenflo SmartSteps Jump and Go, ABC123 both provide about 15-20 minutes of independent play for HML (which is like a little gift from god). These both pick up where the lamb swing left off and allow me to shower, wash dishes, or take care of other work related stuff.
We of course have lots of other favorites; books, blankets, games, and toys but these feel more particular to individual babies so I have intentionally left them off. What are your favorites? And what do we need for these upcoming months?