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My 9 Favorite, Irreplaceable Baby Items

16 Jan

I know a bunch of new and/or expectant moms out there, and just like I was when I was pregnant, they’re all trying to sort through the barrage of baby products.  If you’ve ever walked into a Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, or even Target’s baby section, you know how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the variety and amount of baby products that are available.  50 different kinds of pacifiers, 45 high chairs, 22 exersaucers…. not to mention swings, bouncy chairs, rattles, bottles, formula, and various other items.  It’s all a bit overwhelming.  So in the interest of helping sort through a bit of that confusion, here are my 9 favorite, irreplaceable, necessary baby items:

1. A Swing/Bouncy Chair.  You can get two separate things if you want.  But I discovered and registered for a swing that has a chair that comes off and is a bouncy seat.  All one product, every possible combination you could want.  Joel’s aunt, Beth, got this for Clara, and she absolutely LOVES it!  She spends some time in it just about every single day.  And she spent the first 6-8 weeks sleeping in that bouncy seat in her crib.  She hated laying flat, and it was the only way she’d sleep.  Lifesaver.

2. Swaddle Wraps.  I don’t know about you, but I think nurses have a special talent for swaddling babies with a plain blanket.  Joel and I just could NOT figure it out.  But these things are magic.  They kept Clara from waking herself up with her startle reflex and actually got her to sleeping through the night.  Amazingness.

Too bad that she’s even figured out how to get out of these.  I gave up on them this week.  But they were great for the first 15 weeks!

3. Sleeping Gowns.  When you have to change about 8 diapers in the middle of the night, these things are great.  No snaps to mess with.  No trying to get a wiggly baby’s feet back in the legs of the pajamas.  In the dark.  Just pull up the bottom, change the diaper, and pull it back down.  So easy.  These are especially great for the first 2 months or so… or until the baby sleeps through the night.  Then it’s not such a big deal anymore.

4. Pacifiers.  The green, round ones they give you at the hospital are so ugly, and Clara didn’t like them very much.  I just opted for the normal kind.  She likes them much better, and they fit on one of those pacifier tethers too.  Which brings me to…

5. Pacifier clip.  I can’t find a link to the ones that we have, but they’re basically a ribbon with velcro on one end and a clip on the other.  Clip it to the baby and it won’t fall on the ground every time, and you don’t have to carry 50 of them around with you.

6. A Sling.  There are tons and tons of these on the market.  This, I think, is one of the most confusing things to try and purchase.  If you go with a fixed size one, make sure you measure correctly.  If you’re wanting a wrap-style sling, you can make one. Get about 5 yards of fabric (some sort of jersey knit) from the fabric store.  Cut it in half lengthwise, and then look up the wrapping instructions on the Moby website.  That’s it.  I don’t know much about the carrier-style ones (e.g. baby bjorn, etc), but they seem like they’d be good, too.

Another option is a ring-style sling.  I made one of these with the help of my friend Melissa.  All you need is some fabric – 2.5 yards will be more than enough- and 2 metal rings.  If you want to do this, let me know.  I can help.  So easy.

Whichever style you choose, you’ll be glad to have one when you need to do things around the house and your baby wants to be constantly held.  You might use it all the time, or only once in a while, but you’ll be thankful for it when you use it, no matter how often.

7. Travel wipes case.  You can get one in the travel products section at Target.  Just a small plastic case with a few wipes that you can refill.  It fits nicely in the diaper bag and travels well.  And no noisy plastic wipes refill jostling around in your purse or diaper bag…

8. Diaper bag.  I’m working on a review of mine.  So many options.  So many price points.  I wanted a single bag for everything – all my stuff, and all the requisite baby stuff.  So it took me a while.  But I finally settled on the Babymel Amanda.  I got one of their discontinued prints and it was on major sale, so I didn’t spend near what it’s listed for now, but I really do like the bag.  More on that soon.

9. And most importantly – HELP.  You NEED help the first week especially.  Maybe more.  Even if you don’t think you will want it, when the times comes, you probably will.  If you don’t have family that can come, find a friend.  Just ask for help.  Everyone will want to help, but people will also want to give you your space.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

So, there you have it.  The 9 things I found most helpful and useful through our first few months with Clara.  Thoughts?  Questions?

Freezer Paper Stencils

22 Nov

Before Clara was born and I had extra time to do crafty-type things, I was working on a project.  You might have seen it mentioned here.  I promised a tutorial, so I’m delivering on that…. finally.

This is a really easy, really fun project.  It’s great if you’re having a baby, or if you know someone who is, these make really great gifts!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Blank onesies (or t-shirts or whatever fabric you want to put your design on)
  • Any image you like (I got mine from google images and inspiration from blogs I follow)
  • Freezer Paper (I found it at Harris Teeter, after searching several other stores)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Exacto knife or scissors (depending on how complicated your design is)
  • Iron
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Foil

So, I used white onesies, but you could use any color you like.  I’ve seen some cool bright colored ones at the Targets, or you could use t-shirts for older kiddos or adults.  Custom t-shirts for all!

What to do:

  1. Print out your image in black and white.

  2. Cut off a piece of freezer paper that’s big enough to cover your image, and have some leftover on the sides.
  3. Place freezer paper over the image (important: SHINY SIDE DOWN) and trace the design onto freezer paper.
  4. Use your exacto knife to cut out the image you’ve traced.
  5. Place the negative image (one on the left) onto the onesie in the location you desire.
  6. Iron it onto the onesie.  Use medium to high temperature.  If you have pieces that are independent from the main piece (like the center of the O lin LOVE), iron on the biggest piece/frame first, then fit in the others as you go.  Just double check that everything is stuck and the edges are well adhered before you are done with the iron.
  7. Take it back to your painting area, and use a paint brush, foam brush, or whatever kind of brush you like best, to apply the fabric paint of your choice. (I have heard that there is an additive you can put in regular paint to make it work like fabric paint as well – don’t know what it’s called, or what it really does, but if you have a stash of acrylic paint already, you might want to check it out.)
  8. Once your paint has dried, peel off the freezer paper.
  9. Give it 24 hours, then heat set the paint.  To do this, put an ironing cloth (or a pillow case or any spare fabric you have) over the painted area and iron it.  There are probably specific directions for this on the fabric paint bottle.

Here’s a picture of the finished product:

Then you’re done!  Have fun!

Diaper Bag

4 Sep

Even though I’m sure that this decision matters much more to me than to you, I thought there might be a couple of you interested in the diaper bag decision.

I went with #1 – the white and grey and red hobo bag looking one.  I ordered it yesterday, and it should get here around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  Overall, I just liked the look of it better.  Also, it does clip to the stroller like the other two, I just didn’t have a photo to show that.  I didn’t like the size of option #2 (the grey one) – way too big – and option #3 seemed like it might be too small to hold my wallet and organizer along with the baby stuff.

So.  There you have it.  I’ll let you know what I think when it comes. Thanks for all the input.  Seriously. 🙂

I’m looking for…

14 Aug

a great diaper bag. I want something that is big enough for me to put all the necessary baby items in, as well as my personal items so I can use it as a purse and not have to carry 2 bags around. Preferably something that does not look like a diaper bag… Any suggestions?