Alright everybody, this is going to be a long post!
One of my oldest friends, Bailey is a student/nanny in Atlanta. Last summer when my both of my sisters-in-law were expecting, I asked Bailey to come up with a list of her favorite products. At the time I thought, if I ever have a blog, this would be a great post.
So here we are.
And now, here's Bailey and her Must Haves for Babies!
Babies are so much fun and cute and expensive and you can NEVER get enough, right?
Well, if your name is Bailey, or possibly “The Baby Whisperer” (as I’ve recently been named by one of my regular baby mama’s--can I say that?--), it’s so exciting, to me, a girl with no children, of course, to go to Babies “R” Us or buybuyBaby and just look... for HOURS!
Ok so maybe we’re not all on the same page anymore, and maybe I have a problem, but it could be worse, couldn’t it?
The trouble is that there are so many products and options for everything and it adds up fast. Half of the trouble is deciding which color you’re gonna get and figuring out if it’s really necessary. Though I started babysitting when I was 8 (no BS), I’ve learned so much in the past 4 years after working full-time as a nanny for several families in Atlanta, the last of which included premature twins that I met at 10 days old in the NICU. (Now I believe in love at first sight.) It was in that experience that I learned that buying for babies wasn’t ALL about being cute anymore (of course, I wouldn’t DARE risk the opposite), but it became more about necessity. Since one infant with siblings was so easy for me, I didn’t think two screamers would be much different. What I didn’t take into consideration was the time that it would take to do everything that needed to be done at the same exact time but also remembering who it was that I just changed and fed. So after experimenting with it all for 16 years, here’s my list of MUST-HAVES. Whether I was having 1 child or 6, this is what I’d REFUSE to go without!
Some avoid Dr. Brown’s because it has (only 2) more pieces than a regular bottle does, but it is more than worth it. I’ve made the switch with several families after the baby was spitting up nonstop, had a lot of gas pains, or had colic, and Dr. Brown’s improved the issues greatly, if not eliminating them. Throw all of the pieces in a dishwasher basket and they’ll be fine. When you’re unloading the dishwasher, pour them out onto a dishtowel and they’ll dry in no time.
One of my FAVORITE things! (If I was Oprah, I’d give one to everybody!) It mixes the formula under the water so you’re not pumping air into it like you do when you shake a bottle up. Also, it’s really fast and extremely easy. The twins’ big sister often mixed for me while I lined up 10 bottles. It’s not too big either; it’ll fit on the top rack of your dishwasher.
This amazing little thing will become your brain. It has timers to let you know last time you changed the baby, fed him/her/them, how long they’ve been asleep, and one for whatever you want, like how long they’ve been on tummy-time. It also is a clock, has a bright nightlight, is backlit, and reminds you which side Mom nursed on last. If that’s not enough, it will lock so that button-happy Big Sister can’t reset all the timers. And on the rare occasion that Daddy takes over, he’ll know how long ITZBEEN--just make sure you show him how to unlock it and pray he performs at least ONE diaper change! When you’re sleep deprived, you won’t remember what happened, so you’ll be thankful you have this.
These stretchable bands come in 8 colors and include your baby’s name, which means fewer lost bottles and sippys at church or at friends’ houses. They fit most bottles (definitely Dr. Brown’s), as well as sippy cups and snack containers, so they’ll last for years. They’re very snug, they prevent slipping, and they’re microwave and dishwasher safe, which means you don’t have to take them off the bottles after each feeding. They are also very useful for siblings and multiples with different diets and helping other family members know who is whose. The twins each had a color. One had blue labels, pacifiers, and a blue timer, and the other had all green.
Strollers are tricky and pricey! The Snap-N-Go by BabyTrend turns your baby’s car seat into a stroller. You lift the baby carrier out of your car, and it locks right onto this stroller frame. The best part is that it very lightweight and folds up so compact (the double Snap-N-Go does, too!). They have two cup holders for your
liquor drink or bottle of choice and
a compartment with a lid (iPhone size, keys, and pacifier capacity.) There’s also a roomy basket underneath. The problem I have with that
stroller that matches your precious little Graco baby carrier is that it is
BULKY, expensive, and really not that cute. This is only useful as long as your
baby is in the carrier but is easily sold or given away as these are compatible
with most major brands. Save your money for a jogging stroller. You can buy a
nice umbrella stroller that will provide more room and storage for your child
when they can sit up and it’ll save more room in the
back of your vehicle. The Snap-N-Go is also great for grandparents or other
family members to have, if they keep the baby regularly.
Let’s keep it simple. The machine needs white noise and an on/off switch. My go-to is the Marpac SleepMate. It’s about the size of a bowl. And don’t worry: no one will see it. There are hundreds of soothing noise machines that have all sorts of features, lights, magic tricks, and various types of racket. Let’s be honest: your child doesn’t give a hoot about listening to the birds chirping, a summer rain, or a calming brook. There are also some that have timers! Haha! I dare you to set the timer to end in the middle of the night. That’s useless. Whenever I hear someone say their child wakes up multiple times a night, first I ask if the child is sleeping in their bed; more often than not they say yes (BAD PARENTS!). If they say no, I ask if the baby is sleeping with noise. Just do it.
This is a waterproof mattress pad by Summer Infant that lies over the fitted crib sheet and has 10 elastic straps that snap around the slats on the crib. It prevents you from having to wash the bedding all the time. There will be lots of spit up and snot and drool and leaking diapers so save yourself! Unless you’re 5’11” like me, it hurts to lean down and pull that mattress up just to change the sheet. If you’re using bumpers, which you shouldn’t do, this pad will go on without having to remove them. Buy two.
The SleepSack by Halo is a sleeveless wearable blanket. It zips closed and keeps your baby warm all night. This eliminates the fear of blankets covering their face and prevents them from getting cold in the middle of the night. This also means you won’t be out hunting footed pj’s when it gets cold. They come in all sorts of colors, patterns, and sizes. You’ll find that you keep sizing up when they grow out of it each year. They make a footed one for standers and walkers, which is necessary when Baby starts pulling up. They also make a SleepSack Swaddle that I highly recommend. It prevents little ones from startling themselves, and they’ll sleep longer. Those new babies liked to be squished. It’s true! :)
A few more of my top faves - these are a just a tad less mandatory!
Bumbo Floor Seat - Babies love to be able to see what’s going on. This is perfect for those who can’t quite sit up yet. This little seat helps to hold them up.
Ju-Ju-Be diaper bags - They are very well thought-through bags. They are durable and washable, have crumb drains and insulated bottle pockets, can connect to your stroller, have memory foam in the straps, and have the right combination of pockets. So many choices in styles and colors.
Dreft Stain Remover spray - It works like a dream. I will probably have carpal tunnel, not from texting or harping to you about white noise, but because I’ve squeezed millions of Dreft bottles.
Blooming Bath Baby Bath - This is a big change from the plastic tubs that fit over your sink. This is a cushy, stylish bath that is more comfortable for your baby, and it dries quickly.
Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo - I’ve also made the switch from Johnson’s to Aveeno many, many times. I think Aveeno is a calming alternative to all of the irritants babies face with such sensitive skin; it won’t dry them out, and it’s great for soothing eczema. Oooo, and it smells so sweet!
Bailey's Rule of Thumb:
When in doubt, monogram it! This is the South, y'all.
We monogram everything! Anyone can find a cute bathing suit, but not everyone will have their baby in a monogrammed one. It's much more useful, beautiful, and meaningful with initials. Monogram that baby!
I'm gonna come out with a line of monogrammed baby wipes in my next life.