Ava is one month old today! I wish I could say it's gone by quickly... but, it kind of seems like forever :-) We have a house full of baby stuff, most of which she doesn't fit into, use, or need (yet!). However, there are some items that have been instrumental slash required for survival this first month. Here are our month one must-haves: baby stuff (and mama stuff) we love!
1 :: Fisher Price "My Little Snugabunny" Bouncer
Ava spends at least a few hours in this bouncer each day. Thank you, Maggie, for lending it to us! We use it for naps and for getting Ava to sleep. It's also a good place to set her down quickly if you need to use the bathroom or grab something. The only thing we haaaate is that it doesn't bounce itself! A bouncer that doesn't bounce on it's own?! Is this some kind of joke?! One time I looked over while I was feeding Ava, and Brent was bouncing the bouncer with his foot out of habit. She wasn't even in there!!
2 :: Summer "Swaddle Me" Wrap
We are definitely pro-swaddle. Ava loooves her arms and legs. Which is great and cute most of the day EXCEPT when we want her to sleep. She absolutely can not sleep unless swaddled. She is a little wiggle worm, and she will flail and struggle and hit herself in the face until swaddled. I think the Miracle Blanket is awesome, but it's for an older / bigger child. The Swaddle Me is very small and snug for a newborn, and it's got foolproof Velcro closures - good for 3 am when I can barely tell you my own name, much less fasten a complicated swaddle.
3 :: Baby Connect App
There are tons of apps and gizmos out there for baby care, but I think this one is the best. You can track ANYTHING on here - feedings, naps, diapers, doctor visits, vaccinations, milestones, moods, activity time... the list goes on. We use it religiously to track feedings. At the beginning we also used it to track sleep and diapers. I also love tracking doctors visits because I can record questions for the doctor right in the app as I think of them! The best part is that the app can sync with other devices. So, anytime I enter a feeding, it shows up on Brent's phone too. I have never, ever, once remembered when I fed her last, so having the app tell me how long it's been is truly necessary. Best $4.99 you'll spend.
4 :: Moby Wrap
I love babywearing. We have a near 100% track record of putting Ava to sleep in baby carriers. She loves them. Plus, I can write emails, blog, do laundry, load the dishwasher, pick up the house, and even sit down and watch TV, all while "holding" her. Pretty awesome. It's also great for trips to the grocery store or Target when I don't want lug around the bulky car seat. Many people told me the Moby was too complicated and they didn't use it for that reason. I find it to be pretty easy. I watched a You Tube video and now I can put it on in under a minute. It's comfy, snug and secure, and kind of stylish. I put the Moby on myself at home before going out. When I arrive, I get Ava right out of the car seat and straight into the Moby - saves time, and I can sometimes do it without waking her up!
5 :: Happiest Baby on the Block DVD
I read the "Happiest Baby on the Block" book, and it was helpful. However, we borrowed the DVD from a friend so we could SEE the soothing strategies in action. We are now experts at the 5 Ss: Swaddling, Swinging, Side/Stomach, Shushing, and Sucking. We're not too proud to admit that we've watched the DVD multiple times, sometimes while she is screaming our our ear.
6 :: DVR
Let's just say I've watched (more than) my share of The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, House Hunters, Love It Or List It, 19 Kids and Counting, Top Chef, 24, Chopped, and Downton Abbey. Don't judge. Nursing takes up about 50% of my day, so I have to have some entertainment. Plus, let's be honest... sometimes The Bachelor is just what the doctor ordered.
7 :: Sleep Sheep
Each time we put Ava down to sleep, we turn on the sleep sheep to "ocean waves". I'm not sure who likes it more - her or us. The waves are SO relaxing. They truly help me sleep. Brent claims that after Ava doesn't need it anymore he's going to keep it for himself! If nothing else, I'm hoping that she starts to associate that sound with sleep to help her sleep longer and go to sleep more quickly.
8 :: "Well Versed" App
Yes, I sometimes turn to Downton Abbey on a bad day, but that's a temporary fix. To really make it through these months, I need the Lord. I have an even greater desire to memorize scripture and have the word of God overtake me and fill my mind. I found this awesome free app called "Well Versed". You can add any verse from the Bible (automatic... you don't have to type it), and it creates flashcards for you! It even has a "hint mode" to help you memorize. I can study the flashcards with one hand while feeding or rocking. It's awesome!
1:: Boppy Nursing Pillow
The Boppy is a must-have for a breastfeeding mom. I have this with me where ever I am in the house. It's perfect for propping up Ava while breastfeeding and holding her secure so my arms don't go numb. It's super versatile and can be used in a ton of breastfeeding positions. I love it!!! The cover is easy to take on and off and wash, too, which is great.
2 :: Car Seat Canopy
When I shopped at Motherhood Maternity while pregnant, I got a coupon for a free car seat canopy, so I went ahead and got one, not knowing just how indispensable it would be. This thing is GREAT for many reasons. First, we use it on all walks since it shields her from the chilly North Carolina temperatures. We've been able to walk in cold weather knowing she is toasty under there. Secondly, it's PERFECT for going out to restaurants, church, etc. It keeps her asleep and (added bonus) it makes it much less likely that strangers will try to touch her or ask to hold her! We use this daily.
3 :: Gerber Pre-fold Cloth Diapers
These are not glamorous, but they are so necessary. Right now if you look at our house, we have one on both couches, one on the glider, one on our bed, one on the kitchen counter, and one randomly on the floor. One of us is always yelling "Get me a diaper!" from across the house. We don't use them as diapers, mind you, but we use them as burp cloths and general "clean up whatever mess the baby makes" cloths. They get the job done and can be washed a million times. I'd recommend getting at least a dozen.
4 :: Girly Headbands
On a bad day, I'm not gonna lie that a cute headband on Ava's head lifts my spirits. I know she has barely any hair. I know her head is too small for most headbands. I know some people think they look ridiculous. I know they are totally frivolous. And I DON'T CARE! I love baby headbands and I'm not afraid to admit it. She already has at least 15. I'm in the process of making a DIY headband holder / organizer that I'll post when finished. I bought these headbands pictured from a "Very Jane" deal, and I love them!!
5 :: Coffee
6 :: Seven Baby Sling
As I already said, I love babywearing. The Seven Sling (also free when you buy something from Motherhood Maternity) is another great option that is quicker and more "casual" than the Moby. While the Moby is great for more serious trips out to the store, this sling is perfect for around the house. Both Brent and I use this one at least once a day (we have a black and white one that is sufficiently manly). She loves it, and even if she's crying when she goes in, after a few laps around the house, she's out. Then, I have at least an hour of hands free time while she naps on me. I love that we're bonding and close, but I can still do things!
7 :: Carter's Long Sleeve White Bodysuits
Brent calls these bodysiuts Ava's "uniform". Of course I had visions of dressing my baby to the nines each day in frilly, pink, ridiculously cute things. And never fear - that day will come... but it's not today. Here's the deal: when you never leave the house and don't see anyone all day, there is no need to dress up. Also, little girl spits up, drools, and poops on anything I put on her. These white onesies are cheap and come in big packs so we dirty one and just put another on. Plus, they have MITTENS which are key for Ava whose favorite activity is scratching up her face while flailing her arms. Plus, the white onesie is easily accessorized with pants, booties, hats, and, of course... headbands.
I hope this list helps anyone who is expecting a baby now or in the future. If you're already a mom, what did you use the first few months? What great products am I missing out on?