Baby Product Reviews

I know a lot of moms, moms-to-be, and future moms read my blog, so I thought I’d write a post on our favorite (and not-so-favorite) baby items. If you recall, when I first got pregnant I had absolutely no idea what to do with a child… even looking at those “suggested registry” lists made me break out in a cold sweat, because I didn’t even know what half of the things on the list WERE. So I researched every single thing we bought to death! And here’s the product of my experience so far.

STUFF I ABSOLUTELY CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT:

1. Boppy pillow. This has been absolutely critical to me every time I nurse. I have zero arm strength and no motivation to get any, so I NEED this to prop her up to my boob. It saves my back, too… and you spend a zillion hours a day nursing if you end up exclusively breastfeeding. You can also put the baby on it for playtime and tummy time. I used it to bottle feed in the beginning when I was pumping a lot, so formula feeders can get use out of it too.

2. Dr. Brown’s bottles. Everyone has a different opinion on bottles, but I love these. They have extra parts which are kind of a pain to clean, but it’s worth it for the reduction in gas and spit-up. I have a reflux baby. I would know.

3. Lansinoh double electric pump. Half the price of the Medela pumps, but I actually got better output with this pump than with my Medela hospital rental. Probably because I wasn’t howling in pain the entire time I was hooked up to the thing.

4. Boppy bouncy seat. Half the time I just use it when I need to put her down. Even more important, we’ve had the same batteries in it since she was born (and we turn it on many times a day) and they are still going strong! Plus, it has catchy music.

5. As far as diapers go, we liked Pampers for disposables. We are currently in the process of switching to cloth, and for those we use BumGenius organic one-size (with the snaps). I’ll be discussing my unlikely transformation into crunchy-hippie mama in a future post. Stay tuned.

6. Baby Bjorn or some other front carrier. 90% of the time I use this rather than a stroller. Also great for around the house when they are fussy in the evenings!

7. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium. We’ve attached this to her cradle and she cannot fall asleep without it. She will even put herself to sleep without crying while she stares at it… enough said, right?

8. AngelCare movement monitor. We received this as a gift, but even if we hadn’t, it would still absolutely have been worth the $100 or whatever it costs. We were so anxious about her breathing when we left the NICU that this literally saved our sanity. Even if your baby isn’t in the NICU, you will probably waste a lot of YOUR sleep time constantly checking on their breathing. This gives you the peace of mind that everything is okay… and if it isn’t, you’ll know about it right away. And we’ve never had a single false alarm (although it does go off if we lift her out of the cradle and forget to turn it off, so I feel confident it would go off if she stopped breathing).

9. Halo sleepsacks and Kiddopotamus SwaddleMes. Swaddling is key to sleeping long stretches… otherwise, baby whacks him/herself in the face and wakes up. Receiving blankets don’t work for very long– baby busts out of them pretty easily, and the SwaddleMes have velcro tabs to hold the swaddle tight all night long. The sleepsacks are key if you worry about the SIDS risk of having loose blankets in baby’s bed.

STUFF THAT’S GOOD TO HAVE, I GUESS:

1. Nursing glider. I rarely sit in it, but it’s a nice luxury. Sometimes it will calm her when I rock in it, but not always. If you have a recliner or rocking chair already, I’d say skip the expense.

2. Swing. It seems to me that everyone else’s baby loves to sleep in it, but Caroline will only sit in it for a couple minutes with a pouty look on her face before she starts screaming. Not all babies like them, so I’d recommend waiting until you actually have your baby and then go test one out at Babies R Us to see if you have a swing baby.

3. Snuggle Nest. Even if you don’t want to cosleep, chances are you will at one time or another in the beginning, just so you can get a little sleep! The snuggle nest lets the baby be close to you (some even have a little night light and an incline for reflux/congestion) but keeps him or her away from covers and pillows, which is much safer and gives you peace of mind. Not totally necessary, but nice to have. Also useful for transitioning to the crib from a bassinet or cradle (baby still feels secure in a smaller space within the bigger crib).

STUFF YOU SHOULD SKIP UNLESS YOU LIKE WASTING MONEY:

1. Huggies diapers: blowout central. (Although I have heard this depends on the baby.) Unless you have stock in stain remover, in which case hey, go for it.

2. Dreft laundry detergent. You don’t need it, and the fragrance ingredients can actually irritate some babies’ skin. Just use a “free and clear” detergent– Caroline has super sensitive skin, and this has worked fine for us so far.

3. Travel system. ALERT! DO NOT get this. I ignored lots of advice and got one because I didn’t want to buy the Snap ‘n Go frame for the carseat and then have to buy another stroller later on… but they are HEAVY and awful and I just don’t use mine because it’s too much of a struggle. Get the infant carseat, Snap ‘n Go, and later on get a lightweight stroller like a Maclaren.

So, there you go! I hope it’s somewhat helpful to someone out there. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, I will try to remember to answer them!

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  1. by Bobbi Janay

    On May 12, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    It is funny how each baby is different,our swing has been our life saver. We actually have three one fold up travel swing, a graco pooh bear swing that was a gift and the fisher price rain forest cradle swing. I can’t count the number of hours Ian has slept in his swing. Also I can’t live with out my travel system.

  2. by Ginger

    On May 12, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    I came across your blog on the bump site and I wanted to say hi! I got pregnant in my third year of medical school so I can really relate to your story. I am really glad everything worked out for you guys, your daughter is beautiful! My son is now almost 10 months old and we are getting ready to move from Texas to West Hartford for my residency. How do you like CT? Just wanted to let you know that being a student and having a baby is totally doable. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. by Merks

    On May 13, 2009 at 6:30 am

    I completely agree about the travel system. 100% agree. Getthe snap n go stroller, especially if you travel a lot of run a lot of errands.

  4. by Kristen

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:32 am

    I agree with you about the boppy. I still use it as a little support if I need to zip out of the room while she’s sitting up and playing.We use the Tushees diapers and they rock!

  5. by Julia

    On May 13, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Ginger– you must be coming to my school! It’s not bad here in CT (I grew up here so I might be biased)… a little boring, but pretty, and close enough to NYC and Boston to go on the weekends. Congrats on finishing med school with a baby! I am worried about going back and handling everything, but I’m sure it will all work out.

  6. by edmo

    On May 13, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I couldn’t have survived without the Ocean Wonders Aquarium! You should try the Miracle Blanket. Even my husband figured that thing out and could keep Boston swaddled.

  7. by kelsey c.

    On May 14, 2009 at 12:39 am

    totally agree about the Huggies. they are the WORST! we are a Pampers family :)

  8. by <3 Loo Hoo <3

    On May 14, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    DD was my second child, but I had a 7 year gap inbetween so I had NO IDEA what to get. DH and I walked into BRU and walked right out…lol I wish I would have had a list like this to go off of. I ended up spending countless hours reading reviews on everything. I totally agree on pampers, boppy, swaddle me, Dr. Browns, and the BJORN. DD being a preemie and me being a germ freak I also love my microwave sanitzer.DD loved her swing when she was a newborn. It was the only way she would let us put her down.

  9. by Lauren

    On May 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    I’m glad to see these for when we have kids.I started following your blog from The Nest, so that’s how I “know” you.I left you something on my blog – http://www.throneofthornes.blogspot.com

  10. by PhinneyGirl

    On May 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips! I was wondering about the breathing monitor and now I think we’ll definitely be getting one. I was also on the fence about getting a travel system or just a snap and go stroller frame for the carseat, I think I’ll skip the travel system.

  11. by A

    On May 15, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    This is a great list! I totally felt the same way about trying to figure out all the stuff I needed. I am glad to see you have the AngelCare! I love it. But I do have to admit I also love my travel system, and I use it a lot. As for other things, I love my receiving blankets. They are so useful for swaddling (when they’re really small), cuddling with them on the couch, burping, making a “baby space” on the floor, tucking them into the carseat, bringing to baby yoga, etc.