Favorite Things - Newborn

"...when the dog bites.  When the bee stings.  When I'm feeling sad.  I simply remember my FAVORITE THINGS and then I don't feel sooooooo bad."  Sorry...I'm a Julie Andrews fan and got caught up in the moment.

One of my favorite things is to talk to moms (or soon-to-be moms) about pregnancy, laboring for delivery and newborn care.  Its so much fun to hear about all the different ways other moms care for their babies.  I've learned several things over the last 15 years of being a parent and talking to others.  Now that I'm once again caring for a newborn, I thought it would be fun to share a few of these favorite baby items.

On The Night You Were Born
by Nancy Tillman

I cry every time I read this book.  It was a gift that I received recently for the birth of my fourth child and it immediately made it to the top of my 'Favorite Things' list.  I think it will forever be one of my top picks to give to other expecting moms.
This can be purchased through Amazon.com.

Me and little B, my 4th baby.
Moby Wrap
The use of slings for babywearing deserves its own individual post.  And you see...I'm kinda a sling junkie.  I own 5 different kinds.  They all have different qualities that make them useful in different situations and with different ages/stages of my child's growth.  Someday soon I'll put a review together with the pros and cons of each one.  For now, I'll highlight my FAVORITE, most COMFORTABLE and VERSATILE sling...the Moby Wrap.  It can be wrapped several different ways which allows you to use it from the newborn stage until your child is about 2 years old. 
Showing how you can cover a sleeping baby
to keep their head comfortable while you
bend over and move around.

If it were not for this wrap, I'd accomplish nothing in my home.  My Moby keeps my hands free so I can cook, clean and tend to errands and shopping-all while I multitask and bond with my baby.

Babies feel the most comfortable when they are close to their mommies.  A secure baby is a happy baby which equates to me getting more chores accomplished.  That's my thinking anyway.  And on a selfish note, they don't stay little long.  I am of the mindset that you should hold them as close as possible for as long as you can.  From my experience with my older children, they naturally start wanting their own independence as they get older.  Give them a few years and they no longer climb up in your lap or lay on your chest to sleep.  Then you look back and miss all those little moments that you had with them.  So you see...anything that helps me to keep my baby next to me is priceless.
I recommend purchasing from SproutingUp.com or CottongBabies.com  You can also occasionally find them used on Craigslist.com

Sock Ons
Recently I was given a baby gift that included a pair of Sock Ons.  These are one of the greatest inventions ever.  I use my Sock Ons daily and love how they keep those socks on active little feet. They come in a one size fits most style as well as individual sizes ranging from newborn to 6-12 months. And at only $5.99, you can afford to throw a pair of these in every congratulations greeting card that you mail out to the soon-to-be moms you know.
I recommend purchasing from CottonBabies.com

Cloth Diapers
I chat often with moms who are curious about the different types cloth diapers, my likes and dislikes for the different styles as well as how EASY it is to care for cloth diapers. I hope to put together a more detailed post in the future that will share some of this information.  For now, I'll just say that I didn't cloth diaper until I had my third child and it was one of the BEST decisions I made.  My diaper of preference is the One- Size Bum Genius Diaper.  Not only do I feel that they are the most comfortable option for my babies, they are super easy to care for and very economical when compared to the cost of disposable diapers.  (When I get done diapering my forth baby, I will have diapered two children for only $475.)
I recommend purchasing from SproutingUp.com or CottongBabies.com

Sound Sleep For Babies CD
This is my absolute must have for naps and night time.  We use it every night.  Sound Sleep for Babies has been given two awards for its use of relaxing instrumentals and vocals mixed with their advanced womb simulation.  If you use the link below, Amazon offers a short clip of the instrumentals and vocals for you to sample.  (The womb simulation starts shortly after the sample cuts off.)

This can be downloaded from Amazon for $6.99.  It can also be purchased on cd but I'm not sure what stores carry it.  

Night Gowns with SNAPS
Ok...so they don't turn my baby into a fashionista, but they are easy to slip on (over the head or from the feet up), super comfortable for my newborns and they make diaper changing easy.  Note...the snaps at the neckline are important.  The gowns that don't have snaps are more difficult to get on. I used these for both my baby boys (in boy colors of course) and my girls.  I wouldn't want to go through those constant newborn diaper changes without them.

Baby Legs
My next big tip for simplifying diaper changes, protecting the knees of your crawlers and easy potty training are Baby Legs.  You'll find a wide variety for boys and girls.  I also have several pair that I easily made myself.  The project only takes about 10 minutes a pair to create.  I'll try to post a tutorial later on how to DIY.
For purchasing, I recommend using  SproutingUp.com or CottongBabies.com

Sweet Cheeks
I can't tell you how much I love this product.  It is completely all natural and the only solution you'll need for a diaper rash.  My third baby's bottom was very sensitive and would turn bright red if she sat in a poopy diaper for as little as a few minutes.  When this happened, I could put a very light layer of the Sweet Cheeks on her little bum and by the next diaper change she would be clear.  Because of the properties of the ingredients and the little amount require, I didn't have to use any barriers between the salve and my cloth diapers.  I never had any issues with it.

Another thing I love about this product is that it is made by a stay-at-home mom.  I love supporting other mommies.  She designed Sweet Cheeks in such a way that it requires very little and last a very long time.  It is also VERY affordable.  Its only about $6 a container.  Depending on how long you use it, it should last you 6 months or longer.  Mine typically last me a year or longer.  (And I use it for other things like chapped lips and cheeks too.)
I recommend purchasing from SproutingUp.com

My Nursing Tank Top Design

This is my best kept secret.  My own Nursing Tank Top creation.

When wearing a v-neck style shirt,  pull it to the
left and you can nurse so discretely that everyone
will assume you are just snuggling your baby.

My tanks are long enough to keep my belly
covered when my shirt needs to be lifted to

When I had my third baby, both my boys were in their pre-teens.  We were going to school events, sports games, etc.  I knew I was going to need to be able to nurse at whatever public location we happened to be at.  Now...I realize that there is a new movement of women who are proud to show off their "milk machines" in public...but not me.  I'm much more private than that.  And the thought of being separated from my family while hiding out in a nasty germ infested bathroom to nurse was an absolute turn off .  To solve this problem I went on a nursing tank search only to be disappointed. All of the nursing tanks in the stores were un-usable for one of three reasons.  Either they were too short and showed off my left over 'baby roll-muffin top' when I pulled my top shirt up to nurse or when they unbuckled from the should strap and rolled down they left my whole upper chest exposed.  But the biggest 'deal breaker' about all the tanks were the built in shelf bras.  This type of bra doesn't provide the chest support needed for a nursing mom and if you double a regular bra with the built in one there is too much support making it very restricting.  My solution...figure out a way to make my own.  And I must say...the solution I created is a MUST HAVE for every nursing mommy.  I found tank tops that were plain, without a shelf bra and made with a cotton / polyester blend so my top shirt easily slid up and down over it.  I chose a tank style that was a little longer so I don't have to worry about my belly hanging out.  (See the picture on the top left.)   And even better, if you are wearing a v-neck you can nurse so discretely that everyone just assumes you are snuggling your baby.  If your interested in purchasing one, they are available in a multitude of different colors.  Use the comment section of this page or our facebook fan page to contact me.

Cloth/Washable Nursing Pads
These are SO much more comfortable than disposable nursing pads.  And in my humble opinions, they work better too.  There are many different materials that you can purchase your washable nursing pads in.  I recommend choosing a few different styles for your stash. Some of my favorites are made of wool.  Despite them being of wool they are not itchy or hot.  The wool has a natural anti-bacterial property and is very breathable.  Most women only need a total of 2 pair of pads when using the wool style.  I also have some identical to the ones in the picture.  They are a less expensive style but do need to be washed more often.  Not a big deal for me though...my family produces so much laundry that I'm doing it daily or I get behind.
I recommend purchasing from SproutingUp.com or CottongBabies.com

Weleda Baby Products
I like products that make me feel safe.  Weleda's ingredients do just that.  I not only use it on my babies and toddlers, I even use it on myself.

Here are the Weleda product that I keep on hand.
Because the products are more expensive (trust me...you get what you pay for when it comes to wanting natural ingredients) I use the Weleda baby bar soap-not the liquid.  I have a soap dish that hangs on the wall of my shower so water doesn't melt my soaps.  Using this and a lufa sponge makes this soap last a very long time.  I use the shampoo/body wash exclusively for my baby and toddlers hair.  I use the Candula oil for moisturing them after their bath when I'm at home.  (It tends to last longer than the lotion.)  I also keep the Candula lotion on hand for when we travel.  (I figure if it bursts open or spills it is less messy.)  I also have a tube of their diaper cream but never have the opportunity to use it because I prefer the Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ointment.  (See Sweet Cheeks product listed above.)
I recommend purchasing from SproutingUp.com

Co-Sleeping Crib Conversion
I am a crazy combination.  I am fond of having my own personal space in bed but at the same time I also adore co-sleeping. (Especially when nursing your babies.  It is soooo much easier and you get way more sleep vs having them in their own room.)   So how was I ever going to combine these traits into something useful?  I needed to create personal space, co-spleeping space and be safe doing it so I didn't roll over on my infant?

To help me accomplish this I began looking at Arm's Reach bassinets.   Although they are nice, they were a little out of my budget. As sad as I was to realized I wouldn't be able to acquire one of these special co-sleeping bassinets, I'm glad it worked out the way it did.  The need to find a solution pushed me to come up with my own option that turned out even better.

My solution? Well, when I purchased my crib, I searched for one on craig's list that had the vertically sliding front side.  I simply took off that side and placed furniture sliders under the crib's legs.  I was now able to push the whole crib up next to my bed.  It is WONDERFUL and so COMFORTING to have my babies next to me.  I am right by them if they spit up and need help, if they need to nurse in the middle of the night or if they simply need some soothing love pats to comfort them back to sleep.  And if the truth be told, I love the comfort just as much as they do.  I rub their little heads, stare in amazement at how peaceful and beautiful their little sleeping faces are and drift off to sleep myself.  Such amazing moments that bond me and my babies.  They know I'm always there and I enjoy soaking in every fleeting moment with them. 

(Update:  I found a site online showing how other mothers built their "side car" crib.  Although I used blankets around the mattress and kept my crib movable, so it could go from bed side at night to wall side during the day, you'll be able to see other demonstrations showing how they chose to set up their cribs and secure them to the bed. http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/turn-your-crib-into-cosleeper.html)

Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets
I think the idea of swaddling is essential for babies.  I recently was introduced to Aden+Anais swaddle blankets.  It was love at first site.  (I'm sure my sister got tired of me talking about how amazing these blankets were. I just couldn't stop...I was so excited.)  The size on these blankets are 47x47.  Perfect for swaddling babies where they won't unwrap.  And the material is perfect-created with muslin so they are breathable and keep babies from overheating.

I adore the Aden+Anais website.  Take some time to browse through and read all the wonderful information.  I also encourage you to listen to the short audio segments from Reagan's swaddle book.  I related so much to her mother's heart and her desire to help other mothers with nurturing their babies.  To listen to her recordings, click here.  (She also explains how she had all 4 of her babies sleeping 10 hours through the night by 12 weeks of age.)

The blankets are a little more expensive but in my opinion, SO worth it!  I don't splurge on very many things, but I did for these.  I purchased an organic swaddle blanket that is two layers of muslin as well as a Dream Blanket that is four layers and has more warmth.  I rarely use any other blanket besides these two. 

I recommend purchasing from Aden+Anais.com, Diapers.com or Cotton Babies.com

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