Thursday, May 22, 2014

Items that helped us survive the first year

This post has been a long time coming (don't ask how long it took me to finish this post).  I am constantly being asked about baby gear or things that we couldn't live without during the babies first year.  I know that I did my own research while I was pregnant and I often came up empty or things that were being recommended were from mom's with only one baby.  Now before you go crazy on me about the "only one baby" comment.. hear me out.  When you are buying two of almost everything- one of the goals is to keep things as inexpensive as possible.  Yes, you should always look for the best deals and not spend a lot.. blah blah blah... but I think when you don't have multiple babies, there are things that you can justify splurging on... because you only need one.  A nice car seat for $250- why not?? It's the safest.. blah blah blah... well.. when you all of a sudden have 2 babies.. that's $500!!  Yikes!  So, that's what I mean by "only one baby".  Trust me, all you mommies out there are tough cookies.

Anyways... Jon and I made up a list of things that we felt were lifesavers to get through this year.  Due to the lack of time I have to be able to concentrate on things like blog posts... none of this is organized haha... we just wrote things down as they came.. so I'm just typing it all out.  Sorry.... well, not sorry :)  oh- and also, there is probably more stuff we could've put down... maybe I'll have to do a "part two" at some point.  Also I need to note that I haven't been paid to talk about any of these products.  These are just my own personal opinions on things we bought ourselves.  If any one wants to send us items to review... we wouldn't complain! :)

-Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'N Play Sleeper

The babies slept in these for the first 3 months.  After the first 3 months they went to cribs, but we still used these all the time for a while- esp if we took them to Jon's parents house.  They would use them for naps.  Hands down- one of my favorite things we bought.  Actually, both of the ones we had were used and they were both pink.. sorry, Alton :)  These were fantastic because of all the reflux problems we had.  It helped made the babies more comfortable.  I also think it really helped Ashlyn before we found out she had an underdeveloped larynx.. but that's a whole other story.  Our bedroom is next to our living room, so the babies slept in the living room in these things.  There was maybe one or two nights that they slept in our room, but it was because the power went out during the winter time and our room is the warmest in the house.  These are super portable.  I would buy these again in heartbeat.  They were easy to clean and wash too.  

If look in the above pictures, the babies are snuggled in tight with this insert.  The babies were a little over 5lbs at birth and they kind've sunk into the rockers.  So, we put this insert in them to help them not sink and to help them feel more secure.  I honestly think it helped them sleep better!

-Plug in swing

I can't find the one we got.... but I think this is the pink version of it

Er.Me.Gersh. Alton needed to be put in a swing for a looong time when he needed help calming down.  I would often avoid our swing with batteries because I was worried about the life of the batteries.. seriously... that was the last thing I needed to worry about.  So, we invested in a plug in swing.. Again.. a used item that we got off of a craigslist type site on facebook that's just for our city.  We still use it for the music :)

I love normal cribs.. but having two in the same room is just a lot of furniture.  I love these cribs.  They were worth it.  There aren't very many bedding choices in the big box stores, but etsy has a ton.  I ended up sewing my own sheets out of broadcloth (and after 17months... they still are in great shape! I have the tutorial/pattern if anyone wants it).  I also made my own crib skirts too.  Babies are almost 17mo old and still have plenty of room to grow.   We used this mattress and it fits perfectly!  Also- they make mesh liners for mini cribs too.


These are lifesavers.  Enough said.


Don't waste your money on a baby video monitor.  Too expensive.  We got this one- it's a night vision camera.  We can connect to it only in our home through our network on our phones, tablets and computer.  It's nice to be able to see what's going on instead of risking waking them up over nothing!

-Bath slings

No need to spend a ton of money on a small tub for your kid!  These were amazing!  We first used them on the counter in our bathroom and then we moved them into the tub.  They fit in them for quite a while.  When they were able to sit up on their own/crawl we retired the slings.  They fold up too and are easy to store!  

-Boba carriers

I cannot say enough good things about this carrier!  It folds up into itself so it's excellent to travel with!  We recently flew out to see my family in NH and this was a need.  It can be used as a front or back carrier.  It fit Jon who is about 6'3" just as well as it fit me at 4'11".  The arm straps are adjustable so you can customize the fit.

-If doing formula (esp for multiples) Dr. Brown pitchers

Just imagine- 6-8 feedings per kid every day... yep.  That was A.LOT. of formula.  So we would make it the night before and we kept the pitcher in the fridge and we would pour it out as needed.  Oh... I should add, we had two pitchers lol... so.much.formula.... lol.  I don't even want to know how much we spent on formula.. anyways, get the pitcher.  It'll keep you sane :)

-Rent your pump from the hospital!  More powerful!  Don't spend a ton of money on a pump- it's not worth it.  I rented mine for 4 months.  

-Fisher price rocking chair  AKA: the buzz chair :)

This thing was awesome.  It was a lifesaver.  Not only was it entertaining for the babies... it also helped them poop when they were constipated.  No really.  When one of them was having troubles, we put them in the rocker, turned on the vibration and within 15 mins... they pooped... when they hadn't pooped in a while.. and you could tell they were having problems.  We only bought one of these and it was just fine only having one.  Alton spent the most time in the chair lol.... 

-Sign up for Amazon mom.  It's free for 3 months and then it'll turn into amazon prime.  It's so worth it.  I didn't leave the house for the first few months... diapers and wipes were reasonably priced and if you do the subscribe and save- you save even more.  Delivered in 2 days- free shipping.  Worth it.

-Swaddler blankets (aden and anais)- these are still favorites.  We received these as a gift and I am so thankful because I wasn't going to splurge on them- however, looking back knowing what I know now- I would buy them myself in a heartbeat and splurge.  Ashlyn is always carrying them around the house.  She calls them her "bahtee"  aka: blanket... don't ask me how those two words are supposed to sound the same :)


-Sleep sacks.  Invest in these.  Once the kids didn't want to be swaddled any more, they still needed to stay warm and this was a sure way to know they'd stay warm in bed.  The blanket wouldn't fall off.  They can stand up in them, but walking is a different story.  I think these have helped prevented any crib escapes.  Win.

-Baby Einstein- My kids love this.  Baby motzart.  Who knows why.  There was a time where they would only drink their bottles if this was on.  We had a lot of feeding problems.  I now only put this on when I'm desperate.  Like if I'm cooking dinner and I need the kids to be entertained.  I think it's only 3-4x a week that they watch this now.  So, not a big deal.


Christina Hines said...

Loved your list! It was very interesting and informative. I've only ever had one at a time, but we're also minimalists and we now have two. We're also very cheap people! When it's comes to the crazy baby industry that is telling everyone out there that you need every little thing brand new... it's crazy! We were so poor when we first had Asher that we pretty much borrowed everything for him. There's obviously some things you just HAVE to splurge on new (like a car seat). But most things are just as good used and you can save a TON of money! We borrowed a Moses basket from a friend and he slept in that for the first 4-5 months until he couldn't fit and we could afford a crib. Borrow and buy used! I LOVE the Aiden & Anais swaddle blankets as well, but found mine for about $4 ea at a gently used store and they were nearly new! I love scores like that. I also advise all moms to BORROW or any large investment items (besides those must-haves like a crib, pack-n-play, or car seat) before you buy just to make sure you really love that item...particularly a swing since not all babies like the swing. About every add on Craigslist is like mine, "Brand new swing... used a couple of times... son/daughter hated the swing!" LOL. My sister-in-law let me borrow her Ergo carrier for a little while and I learned that I only used in sparingly and could live without it! For the most part we live in a day where we are graced with some awesome baby products that our parents never even imagined! But at the same time our babies have done great without as well :) Great list though!

Crystal said...

Christina- I totally agree with everything that you said! I guess I didn't spend any time really talking about how we got most of our stuff used or for free. Heck, I got 2 brand new pack n plays from the trash! Don't worry... I scrubbed those suckers down and let them sit in the hot sun for a day or two just to be safe lol. But they really were new! Then- I think about all the stuff my parents didn't have to raise me and my siblings and we turned out just fine :) So, yes- borrow, get used, barter, trade- whatever- do what you have to do to keep it inexpensive. Heck! Alton slept in a pink rocker bed for like 6 months! It really doesn't matter and the babies don't care and they don't know any better anyways :)