Friday, August 16, 2013

Best Baby Products for First 4 Months (4/5 in first 4 months series)

As always, these blogs are just about me and my family and what worked for us. I'm not so naive as to believe that everything we do is right or if you do differently than us, it is wrong.  All families and children are different.  I do not judge you or anyone else negatively if and when you choose different routes with your children.

PRODUCT MUST-HAVES for FIRST 4 MONTHS:



I highly recommend (Or, as Frank believes - it should be required issue at the hospital and everyone that we bug enough to watch it is either pissed they didn't watch it before the baby was born or pissed their doctor didn't require them to see it in the waiting room during one of the check ups, it is THAT good): The Happiest Baby on the block dvd.  It sells on Amazon for $14  or I think netflix has it as well and instant download on Amazon.  Watch it and then buy:



1.) a bunch of swaddles. Amazon sells packs of three  or you can buy other brands or cutesy ones from etsy or any baby story.  We happened to like the above brand.

me with Hart at a few weeks, Hartly with Taye at few weeks
Hartly LOVED being swaddled.  He was swaddled much of his first three months and even into the fourth before he outgrew his need.  It would instantly calm him down.  The snugger, the better.  The swaddle was a lifesaver for us with Hart.

Tayo, from really the beginning, liked to be sprawled out.  He was not a curl-in-a-ball newborn baby.  He was not that into swaddles.  The first month or two they were helpful occasionally but after 2 months we didn't use them on him anymore because they just weren't a comfort to him the way the were to Hart.

2.) Bops, pacis, nuky... whatever you call a pacifier, buy them.  There are a million different brands.  Babies tend to like the ones they are first exposed to.  Hartly liked Philips Avent BPA Free Soothie Pacifier

Tayo liked Mam 


Buy a bunch.  Babies like to suck.  They need to suck.



Caveat:  I have no problem with kids who want/like/need pacifiers for years.  I would have been fine with both my boys having their bops until they were done with them... except at the point where the bop became more or a burden than a help... At four months with Hartly and at 5 months with Tayo we got rid of bops.  Hartly got a stuffy nose with his first tooth arriving at 4 months and after a night of him waking every 30 minutes because his bop had come out, we got rid of them all.  24 hours later and he didn't need it at all anymore to sleep.  At 5 months Tayo still has yet to have his first tooth pop but a few weeks ago Tayo started having fun pulling his bop out but would get very frustrated, very fast that he couldn't always find it's way back into his mouth or he would drop it in the process, which led to a long night of crying.  Next morning, bops all gone.  Again, it was a rough 24 hours but he now sleeps much better. Every child is different.***
*** Tayo was without his bop for almost two months and he was okay without it but... he's way more oral than Hartly ever was and we decided to bring it back for him.  Every child is an individual and Tayo just seems to need to suck more and that is fine by us as long as it is more helpful than a hinderance.  It has been a few weeks now and it really helps soothe him.  He can sleep, and often does, without it.  But sometimes he wants it and that is great too.  

3.) Download the "Sleep Machine Lite" app now.  The free version is all you need because it is the white noise that you will be using.  With Hartly we tried different apps, the radio and tv white noise and even sound machines.  Nothing worked its magic but the perfect frequency/pitch/whatever-it-is-about-it-it-works Sleep Machine White Noise.  It is a Godsend for both Hart and Taye.

Frank with Hartly - notice bop and static in corner
4.) Baby Wearing!!  Baby wearing is the BEST!  I highly recommend it.  At the beginning, little ones want to be (and if they can be, it is what is best for them) held all the time. Here is a well recognized expert discussing the whys - Dr. Sears
Beyond that, we just know it to be true from experience.  

With Hartly, we never used a stroller.  In fact, recently, when Hartly was about 2 3/4 years old, he saw a child in a stroller when we were out and asked me what it was! We wore him all the time.  Not only does it help with snuggles and heartbeats and bonding but it also helps to be able to go anywhere and do anything with a baby that is getting physical and emotional love at the same time.  This helps a lot when it comes to skipping naps or being off of schedule.  It also helped a lot with Hartly (and will with Tayo in future too) when it came to traveling.  They are used to falling asleep snuggled into you.  It is amazing.  I wore Hartly until about a month or two before Tayo was born.  And I only stopped then because he didn't ask for it or need it anymore.  I still would strap him in the piggy back position if we were traveling or if we had an extra long day.  With Hartly we had family friends who bought us an Ergo.  As I've mentioned, we love/loved it!  I highly recommend them...



great for traveling (in Spain)

sleep on the go (in Spain)

When little feet get tired but there is more to see (in Spain)
traveling in Puerto Rico 
when you are in Puerto Rico and want to go out late but don't have a babysitter

When you don't make it back to hotel for nap (in Spain) 















...That being said, one "problem" with the Ergo was that, unless you have an insert (and Ergo does sell them, but they are thick and terrible for Summer born babies), newborns do not fit in them (Frank put a toilet paper roll at the bottom to prop him up).  In addition, while there are many ways to wear a baby in them, there is no option for babywearing in front with baby facing out.  Tons of hours of babywearing is good for your little one sleeping on you... but there will come a time when you want to wear baby and they are wide awake and they want to look out at the world, but they will still be too young to be in the backpack position...

With Tayo, we solved these problems by purchasing a Beco Gemini (ie, WE LIKE IT BETTER!)  It has most of the awesomeness of the Ergo, but the added benefit of fits littlier ones and is made so that baby can face out while in front.  The only downside we have found so far is that the clips are a little bit more annoying (with Ergo the waist clip can be taken off with one hand, with the Beco you have to have 2 hands, one for pushing a button in and the other for squeezing it open simultaneously, so if you had a 3rd hand you could hold the baby... not ideal, but you manage) 


when your niece has recital during naptime

who wants a big stroller at the museum! Plus Tayo wants to see too!

My party guy!

Nothing feels better than your little one snuggled up to you
























Cooking dinner, finalizing a closing AND baby wearing!  That is one sexy Papi!

Buy one of these or any of the other awesome carriers out on the market.  People swear by the Sling  although, Frank and I could never quite figure ours out :/  Other people love, love, love the Moby Wrap. This was something we pondered for just a minute because it just seemed complicated and we are pretty lazy.  But try different ones out because everyone has their own preference. (Frank: Don't buy the baby bjorn that has no waist strap, it will KILL your back, we see people with that and we can feel the pain... no wonder they end up in the stroller.)

Even Hartly has a carrier like Papi
Baby Wearing! 



















Favorite products:

What we have loved with both boys:

Diapers:
We used and loved GDiapers  with Hartly exclusively for the first three months.  We loved them.  We were very happy with them. Then we discovered a wet diaper was waking him up so we did GDiapers during the day and Pampers 12 hour overnight for bedtime. (Awesome!)

In newborn GDiapers 

sporting turquoise Gs










With Tayo we have used GDiapers some but I find myself mainly using Honest Diapers . They are plant based, biodegradable, hypoallergenic and completely organic! They are a comparable price to other diapers and easier than cloth.  You can buy them in stores or online.  They have fun and unique patterns and great customer service. We still use Pampers for 12 hour nightime.
Hartly's & my favorite pattern - strawberries

Tayo practicing crawling in his tough guy skull pattern 

Hartly & Tayo in his honest ankor diapers


Diaper Bags:
For Frank, I got a Diaper Dude Bag.  He loves it.  It is the only one he has needed, wanted, or used with Hartly over the last three years and, now, with Tayo.


carrying his Diaper Dude bag AND his little dude
I have a ton of Diaper bags, most of which are just oversized purses I love.  My favorite is from Skip Hop because it doesn't look like a diaper bag and I use it even if I am not with my boys.


This is what mine looks like
Bottles:
We went through a lot of different bottles before finding the right one for us.  We used/use,with Hartly and now with Tayo, Playtext Ventaire bottles.  They seem to (and, like I said, we went through a lot of trial and error with Hartly and even tried a few new ones with Tayo but always come back to this one) cause the least amount of bubbles and gas.

After a feeding Tayo was playing with his bottle when he fell fast asleep 


Bathtime:
With both boys we don't usually give them baths, but we take baths with them. Hartly didn't have a solo bath until he was two years old. Tayo has had a few with just Hartly (which is quite cute).  


It's an awesome bonding time and, for both my boys, when sick, teething or fussy, a bath almost always does the trick.  We use California Baby products, specifically the unscented shampoo and body wash.  All of their stuff is organic, green, safe, and not tested on animals.  We love them!

Baby Monitor:

With Hartly we used: Summer Infant monitor . It was okay but it broke a few times and the temperature indicator was never right and stressed me out...

For Tayo we are using: Levana.  It is much better.

I HIGHLY recommend a baby monitor!! 

Carseat: We have a few carseats but none that I would recommend.  In fact, I am in the middle of doing some research myself for new carseats.  I am all about backward facing.  So much of the time, as parents, we are so excited by milestones. We wait anxiously until we can post about our baby giggling or rolling over or standing or crawling.  This is all very understandable.  Watching your child grow and change and develop is a total miracle.  But... there are a few milestones that I completely ignore. One is the milestone when one is allowed to change their child from rear-facing to front facing. I (believe) it is legal at age one.  Hartly is 3 years old and still backwards.  Do the research.  A child rear facing is WAY more protected in a collision than a forward facing one.  It always kinda boggles my mind when parents tell me that they turned their child around because their baby didn't like looking backward. Ummm, Hartly probably would have loved facing forward at one year but his safety far outweighs his preference in this instance. Like everything else, it is a personal choice.

The Foonf looks amazing to me and I am very much considering buying, at least one.


Some statistics that just confirm my confidence in keeping my boys backward longer

Playmat/Activity gym:

You won't start using this until baby is around 10 weeks or so but they are awesome!  There are a plethora of choices and price ranges.  I believe we have a Tiny Love Brand.  Hart used and loved it and now it is Tayo's favorite place (aside from in our arms) to be.  It seems silly but they are so fun and so good.  I recommend one with cross over top part and one with a mirror for baby to see himself (most come with but they are often small, babies love looking at themselves so we added one similar to this mirror - which is meant for car but would work on playmat too) .  
even Hartly likes to play with Tayo in it

Tayo loves this playmat!









Here are a few options:

Tiny Love: or this one Fisher Price or this one Baby Einstein: 

Jimmy Jumper/Baby Jumpers:

This is another one that the baby will be closer to 3 months before you are able to use it, but has been awesome for us for the "witching hour" (Time period, usually in evenings with babies a few weeks old until, for us because we have 12 hour sleepers which means sometimes they have to stay up a little later, around 8 months old, when baby is fussiest ) We have two (one for upstairs, and one for downstairs... they are that awesome).  Both were hand-me-downs from siblings.  I do not think the brand matters.  I found this one online at Walmart and it looks very similar to ours



my boys


There are soooo many amazing and fun and expensive and geewiz products out there.  The above are our top of the list!

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