1. Upholstered Rocker – The first few days home from the hospital with my son, this was the only piece of furniture in the house where I could easily and comfortably sit. It was a terrific spot to get the hang of nursing—relaxing for mom and soothing motion for baby. After we moved him out of our room and into the nursery, we used it to rock Hayden to sleep before naps, bedtime and those middle-of-the-night feedings. If you decide to buy a rocker/glider of any kind, be sure to test-drive it first. They can be costly, but in my humble opinion, worth every penny. We happened to luck into a great deal on Craigslist--$100 for like-new condition. It was meant to be!
2. Video Monitor – I can’t tell you how many times we were chided by this person or that person for wanting a video monitor. After all, back in the day they didn’t even have audio monitors, and we all survived…right? Well, it seemed like everywhere we turned, we were hearing horror stories about SIDS. You’re cautioned over and over that “back to sleep is best”. We were so paranoid about this for the first couple of months, that Hayden slept in the pack n’ play right beside the bed, with the video monitor zoomed in on him close enough that I could look over at the monitor in the middle of the night to make sure his chest was still rising and falling. Plus, even though he was within arms reach, we had the volume turned up as high as it would go. It sounds funny to us now, but at the time, as new parents, this one item gave us great peace of mind and as restful of a night’s sleep as one can have when you have to get up every few hours for a feeding. We still use it today for our son and have ordered a second for the new baby.
3. Aquarium Crib Soother – Hayden was not a good sleeper for most of his first year of life. Despite my best efforts, I could not put him down drowsy yet awake like the pediatrician and all of the books tell you to do. I could nurse or rock him to sleep no problem, but the second I tried to lay him down he would wake up and start crying. Naps were ridiculously hard. I would spend 1 to 2 hours on average for every nap getting him to fall and stay asleep, and then he might sleep for 30 minutes…1 hour if I was exceptionally lucky. This all became much easier thankfully once he was weaned. I was able to get him into a bedtime/naptime routine that included turning on his crib soother and letting him fall asleep to the music. Now, if he wakes up in the middle of the night (unless he’s not feeling well) he’ll just turn on the soother and fall back to sleep on his own. Also…in the morning, he likes to listen to the music and watch the fish swim for 15 – 20 minutes after waking up, giving mom and dad a little extra time to rest.
4. Bouncer – This little contraption is the only reason I was able to take a shower the first 3 or 4 months after Hayden was born. I could set it up on the floor in the bathroom, and if he didn’t fall asleep, the music and the toy bar would mesmerize him. Its portability was the best feature. Hayden still likes to play with the toy bar and the music to this day. He will even occasionally crawl in it and chill out for a while.
5. Portable Car DVD Player – Awesome invention! Before purchasing and installing the DVD player, a 4 hour car ride to my parents house was about 75% crying despite making multiple stops, taking his favorite toys, and having plenty of snacks. After installation it was smooth sailing, and he’s not even a kid that’s particularly interested in the TV. I would have bought it sooner had I but known.
I'd like to hear what your favorite baby gear purchases are. Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be reviewing our new monitor as soon as it arrives. If you would like a review of any of the specific brands for the items above, post a comment and I’ll make it so.
Have a great week!