Friday, August 8, 2014

Baby must-haves that won't break the bank (6 under $10.50)

So, baby stuff.

Now that I've got almost a month (as of tomorrow...oh my god) of baby-having under my belt, I'm a total expert on all things baby.  Insert a sage nod here.  ...  Okay, maybe not.  But there have been a handful of things that, were someone to ask me, I would suggest to have on hand for the first weeks.  Nobody's actually asked me, but what else is a blog for, but for writing about the things nobody's asked about?  Some items are just self-care/self-preservation-related, while others are more directly for baby, but both are important for survival/sanity.  I've tried to keep the majority of the list in the $10 range -- there are a few exceptions, but no boutique bouncers here.

None of these products are sponsored items, I did not receive any of them for free, and I'm not being compensated by their makers for their inclusion in this list.  I am utilizing Amazon affiliate links for some items.

So, here we go.

+  Podcasts!  When I'm pumping or nursing I'm often listening to The Longest Shortest Time, a blessedly non-judgey podcast that is "a 3:00am bedside companion for new parents" recommended by my library colleague Nathan.  The episode that has most impressed me so far was one in which the host Hillary Frank interviewed THE Ina May Gaskin to tell her how let down she felt by the legend's natural birth literature.  Gaskin was so receptive in the interview, as well as kind and thoughtful with her responses, and Frank was equally kind and frank with her critiques.  It was everything an interview should be when it's something emotional and hard for the participants, and as I've listened to other episodes I've been repeatedly impressed with the level of reporting and the variety of stories.  Episodes are also the perfect length for a nursing/pumping session.  I highly, highly recommend adding it to your library.  Best of all, it's free!

+  Sprout Baby app for the iPhone/iPad.  Sprout lets me track sleep, feeding, diaper changes and consistencies, pumping, height/weight gains, doctor appointments and questions to ask the pediatrician, medications and immunizations.  I can set alarms (for feeding), and (my favorite) it will format certain data into charts and graphs.  If there's one thing I'm a sucker for, it's the graphic representation of data.  Sprout Baby's design is easy on the eyes and the app overall is user-friendly.  I also like that I can add "missed" items later so I'm not tied to my screen lest I miss tracking something when it happens.  Free trial available/$4.99 after that

+  Burt's Bee's pink grapefruit facial cleansing towelettes.  These are light and fast to grab for a quick tide-over until a full cleansing routine can be undergone if I'm short on me-time.  They smell bright and freshly cheerful without being cloying which is good early in the morning (or late at night, depending) when I might be feeling less than cheerful.  $5.39

+  Summer Infant Swaddleme velcro wrap (organic dots model featured in Instagram above).  At first, Freddie haaaaaated being swaddled.  "Happiest baby on the block my butt" was my initial review of swaddling.  But suddenly, after an episode of someone sad-sniffling in the rocking chair at 1:30AM (hello -- that's a motherhood rite of passage right?) I decided to try the swaddle method again.  Magically it worked, and she's happily settled down with the swaddle since, knockonwood.  Because she's small, swaddling with other blanket-type wraps has been harder since it ends up being too bulky -- the velcro on these ones helps keep things compact and contained.  You can get these in sets, but I recommend buying a singleton and if at first you don't succeed, try try again (and if it really doesn't work out, you're only out one instead of a set).  These range in price -- try this bumblebee print one for $7.99

+  Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Tea & EMAB Bottom Spray.  They're worth it if you need them (consult your doctor regarding herbal supplements/milkmaid tea and your supply, as I am not a medical professional).  Some medicinal teas can taste absolutely terrible, but this blessedly isn't one of those.  As for the Bottom Spray, I highly recommend ordering it online so you can avoid the oh-so-fun experience of checking out at the cool-person hippie store with something called, well, BOTTOM SPRAY.  Learn from me, possibly-pregnant padawans: get that stuff delivered to your door.  $10-range for both

+  Wee Gallery art cards.  I love a good mobile and by the time Freddie was imminent there were a LOT of cute colorful mobiles on my to-buy list...but ultimately I put them on the back burner in favor of more close-up black-and-white images, since those are most stimulating to babies (and having her in the cosleeper = no place for a permanent mobile anyway).  What better way to spend a day than cooing "Look at the ring-tailed leeeemuuuur!"  $12.95

+  Nursing scarf from Oliver & Lucy Designs.  I haven't been too fond of the nursing cover styles out there, so when I found these infinity nursing scarves, I was sold.  They look more regular-clothing-like than a lot of nursing covers because, well, they are exactly that: regular clothing...with a twist of being big enough to nurse with.  I haven't used it a bunch yet, but I've been glad to have it the times I've gone out.  $35

+  Bamboobies.  I know the name is a bit silly, but look past that and get them anyway!  I've had some epic cluster-feeding going on, so woohoo softness -- and they seem to get softer with each wash.  The cream is nice, too -- it's safe for ingestion & non-greasy.  The unusual heart shapes of the pads also contour better than round pads for me.  I got the Breastfeeding Bundle (6 regular pads + 6 overnight pads + cream) for $44.99 

+  Kindle Touch.  I know I said no boutique bouncers and such but hear me out on this one pricier item.  There are a few reasons this device has been wonderful (more so than my pre-baby days with it).  First, it's hard to read a regular spined book with only one hand while nursing or pumping.  With the Kindle I can set it on my lap and tap the pages with ease.  Secondly, my vision has gotten worse, and being able to change the font size is great, and reading on an E Ink display with a matte screen instead of a glossy screen is also way easier on my eyes (for this reason avoid the pricier Kindle has a glossy tablet screen).  Finally, having instant access to titles through my library's OverDrive system is great (OverDrive is essentially a free version of Oyster/Kindle Unlimited -- see if your library offers this service...they probably do!)  I wish I had a Paperwhite since it includes a built-in light, but I bought my Kindle prior to that model (which shows that at least they have a good shelf life).  A new Paperwhite is $119, but used and refurbished Kindles run in the $45-$80 range, from what I've gathered in my searches.

This post took me a laughably long time to compose.  Yay little spurts of sleepy-times!


  1. Nursing scarves - genius. I want them just for ME.

    1. I anticipate it being perfect for fall.

  2. Yes, to the Kindle. Just so much easier to read in the middle of the night with a baby in tow. (And we all know that not having to cut back on your reading is an important priority).

    1. Sooooooo much easier. Though I've not read as much as I'd hoped to, at least I'm getting a little in!

  3. Okay I got as far as your link to The Longest Shortest Time and I've been listening to it ever since, with intermittent tears laced in. It's TAL for parents!!!

    1. I've definitely teared up during several episodes already. So good!

    2. Oh god, I'm fucked. Listening when I get home and silently sobbing into my pillow.