Momma Diaries: Baby Must Haves – First Year

Eva has been 1 for almost two months!  I no longer have a baby.  Babygirl is now a toddler!  😦  Yes, I’m super sad that she’s growing up (so fast at that).  I miss her being so tiny and cuddly.  Her personality is definitely shining through.  She’s more chatty, imitating our movements, and repeating some words.  Don’t get me started how she’s all over the place and in everything.  But it’s so great to see her grow.

Anyhow, my plan for after Eva was born was to post our quarterly must haves, but I didn’t get a chance to.  So today I’m going to talk about our first year baby must haves (besides the basics unless they were insanely great), broken down by every 3 months.

Fisher Price Glider – We bought this for our niece when she was a baby 6 years ago.  She used it, our other niece sister used it, and our 2 other nephews who followed used it.  We’d put Eva in the glider, turn it on and it would glide her to sleep.  Sometimes, we wouldn’t turn on the rocking motion and she’d fall asleep here.  This is more of a motorized bassinet than a swing.  As she got bigger (after 4 months) we eventually moved her to the pack and play or couch to nap (with us on the couch next to her).  Even though we only used it for 4 months, we got a lot of use out of this because this was where she’d nap the first four months.

Swaddle Me Blankets – While we’d like to think we were pro swaddlers (I should say my husband more so than me), Eva would find a way to ninja herself out of it every other night.  When changing or feeding her in the middle of the night, we were sometimes too tired lazy to swaddle her back up.  The Swaddle Me blankets were the quick and easy solution to our very moveable baby.  We received Aden and Anais swaddle blankets as gifts and those are supposed to be awesome swaddle blankets, but we ended up using these as quick fixes.  The Aden and Anais blankets are now used for lightweight blankets, scarfs, etc.  They’re so versatile and cute!

Moby Wrap – This was so great when Eva was so tiny and I had to get stuff done around the house or just a quick walk down to the street to Starbucks.  Because she was nice and snug and tucked into my chest, she would fall asleep so quickly.  Love a cuddly baby.  As she got bigger and more squirmy we eventually graduated to the Ergo (5 to 6 months).

Halo Wearable Blankets – Towards the end of Eva’s third month, she had both hands out of the swaddle and was showing signs that she would be rolling over.  At this time we switched to wearable blankets, which she wore up until she was 8 months.  Then it just got too hot to continue using them.  Note:  Halo also has a wearable blanket swaddle, which my bosses raved about for their kids.  We didn’t purchase these because the SwaddleMe worked so well for us.

Wubbanub Pacifier – Eva loved this thing before she discovered her thumb and fuzzy blankets.  She would sometimes need her pacifier to go to sleep and then she found her thumb to soothe her to sleep.  She loved this because she was sucking on the pacifier plus she’d stroke the soft plus animal, which is her go to way to put herself to sleep.  Even until now, thumb in mouth and a soft fuzzy blanket or stuffed animal.  Think Linus on Snoopy.

Ergo – We didn’t start to use the Ergo until she was 5-6 months old.  This became easier to put her into as opposed to the Moby because it gave her enough room to move a bit.  She was so squirmy at this age, that she no longer wanted to stay close to my chest :-(.  The Ergo isn’t front facing but she had enough room to move.  We still use this now when we’re traveling or going to highly populated areas.  I sometimes put her on my back using this but she HATES it because she can’t see me.

Lovie Blankets – Eva is a huge fan of fuzzy blankets.  As soon as she would feel one, she’d hold it up against her face and start sucking her thumb and put herself to sleep.  We didn’t want a regular baby blanket with her in the crib because of SIDS, so I was delighted when my sister got her a lovie square blanket with a stuffed animal at the top for Christmas.  Little did I know, my girlfriend got one for her too.  She uses both:  one in the crib for nighttime and the other in her pack and play for naps.  She knows as soon as we give her one of these blankets its sleep time.

Graco Space Saver High Chair – When she wasn’t sitting up on her own yet, we were using something similar to a Bumbo (our’s is the Mama and Papa Baby Snug).  But as she started sitting up on her own and was starting to eat solid food, we decided we needed a high chair.  We have a small apartment so getting a big high chair to put at our dining table for four was not feasible.  We put this on top of one of our existing chairs and wala space saved.

Magic Bullet/Blender – Do yourself  a favor and don’t buy a Baby Bullet.  It’s a waste of money in my opinion.  It does the same thing a Magic Bullet, blender, or mini food processor would do.  I do caution you though that when blending food for babies, don’t use one that you used to grind nuts or spicy food or any allergic food.  You don’t want cross contamination.  If you do, clean it REALLY REALLY REALLY well and maybe hot water sanitation too.

Ice Cube trays with covers – Don’t buy the fancy baby food storage containers.  Do yourself and save money again and buy these ice cube trays with covers (even better if they have silicone buttoms to get the food out easily).  You can make a big batch of food, put it in these trays and pop them in the freezer.  As soon as they’re frozen, pop them into a  ziploc bag and repeat the process.  When Eva first started eating, I found that these were the perfect portion size for her.  Defrost two to three cubes for any meal and it would just the perfect amount of food for her.  It was a mini portion and food wouldn’t go to waste.

Bumkin Bibs – We used cloth bibs when Eva started eating solid foods, but everything kept staining.  My boss recommended the Tommee Tippee ones, but they were so stiff that Eva would get so mad when wearing them.  Eva’s nanny mentioned Bumkins and how they were also waterproof.  These are so much better.  Softer and just as easy to clean and spill proof.  No need to worry about staining them too!

Neat Solutions Table Toppers – AMAZING!  Saw this on itsjudylife’s vlog and immediately looked on amazon for these.  I’ve seen them at Target and Babies R Us as well, but not as affordable as on Amazon.  Since Eva loves feeding herself now, whenever we go out to eat I have these in her diaper bag.  I take a placemat and stick it onto the table.  She can then feed herself on a clean surface and any mess on the table is contained on her mat which can be easily disposed.  AWESOMEEEE!

Note:  I purchased a majority of these products on Amazon.  I found that shopping on Amazon had better price options (and still is) for purchasing baby products.  Plus having prime and two day free shipping is GREAT!  

Honorable mentions

Diaper bag:  Long Champ Shoulder Bag Medium – We have a diaper bag which we use when we’ll be out of the house for 4 hours or more.  But usually I throw all Eva’s stuff in my Long Champ in little travel bags along with my items (small cosmetic bag, wallet, keys, and phone) and we’re ready to go.  I don’t bring too much stuff with me if we’ll be out of the house for 2-3 hours.  A change of clothes (in chase she spits up), bib, burp cloth (to clean up messes), blanket, 2 diapers, diaper change mat, wipes, water cup and/or bottle, snack, and if I know we’re going to be out during meal time her food and a spoon.  Yes all that fits in this amazing bag!  Plus you can easily clean the inside or outside of it.

Bottles:  I’m not going to add bottles here because every baby prefers different bottles.  I don’t feel like there is a must have bottle.  You just have to test which one works best for your little one.  Eva liked the ventair and drop-in bottles over the Avent ones.  Avent seemed to give her more gas than the Playtex bottles.  I was told that Dr. Brown’s and Tommee Tippee eliminated gas.  BUT since we found something that worked for us, we stuck with it and didn’t try anything else.

Feeding:  We used the Gerber Graduate sippy cups for learning how to drink from a cup.  We used Gerber spoons, but prefered the Munchkin ones as they were easier for us to grasp when feeding her; however, I think the longer handles make it harder for her to feed herself.  We used Gerber Graduates bowls for her food.  All these feeding essentials were BPA free.  I wanted to buy items from Europe as they are more stringent on their tests of baby items, but frankly they were expensive and some didn’t get great reviews.

Transportation:  Graco Snug and Ride is what we use to transports the pricess around.  Along with a Baby Jogger City Mini with adapter.

Diaper Pail:  Diaper Dekor Plus.  While it was amazing when she was first born, we found that solids make everything smellier so it doesn’t matter what type of diaper pale you use.

Breastfeeding:  I’ve been using the Medela Pump in Style and have no complaints.  We stored all the milk in Lansinoh Breast Pads and Milk Storage, which are pretty durable.

So those are our must haves during Eva’s first year.  Comment below if you have any questions or want a further review about products I’ve mentioned.

Momma Diaries: This time a year ago…

I became a mother to a beautiful adorable baby girl.  I can’t believe she’s 1 today.  It really does feel like I had her yesterday.  From 6 pounds 8 ounces of pure baby bliss and joy to almost 20 pounds of walking and babbling energy.  I am still shocked that time has gone by so quickly this past year.  I still in shock that I’m a mom and have been for a year.  I’m still amazed and in complete awe of my daughter.  She’s just too freaking adorable (But I’m bias.  I am her mother).

I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but I didn’t think a love of a mother (or a father for that matter) would be this great.  My heart was already full with the love of my family and amazing husband, but it’s even fuller now.  Anytime I’m upset or sad or tired, I can look at her smile or hear her laugh and all those negative emotions go away.  She’s just everything to me; her and my husband.  I love my little family!

So much has changed in a year.  We can’t go to the movies spontaneously or go to dinner easily without thinking about the impact on Eva.  But I’m not complaining.  I love being home with her and the hubs.  This past year has been a year of self discovery and a learning experience.  I’ve learned so much from her about herself, about my husband, and about myself.

She’s definitely immersed in the stage of discovery at the moment.  And while, it can be frustrating sometimes because she’s the adventurous type (we’re talking climbing everything and anything, which my mom says is karma because I used to do that all the time as a child), I remind myself her curiosity is normal.  Her facial reactions to discovering something new is PRICELESS.  You remember how easy it is for you to put something together or understand how something works because it’s second nature.  But for a child, it’s like a complicated math puzzle that they just solved and their excitement is just amazing.  It’s so adorable.

Her personality is definitely shining through, despite having 4 teeth coming in at one time (yes, the week leading up to her birthday.  only two of which have broken through.  agh.  my poor girl).  She’s social, smiley, and happy.  She loves waving to strangers and having them smile at her.  She’s LOVES the attention (sounds like a true first born.  I should know, I am one.  Ha.).  She can have a temper like her mom though (yikes), but I’m trying to be better and lead by example, so she doesn’t pick up my bad habits.  She doesn’t seem to have separation anxiety yet (knock on wood).  As long as we say, it’s okay, she’ll go with whomever.  She’s just so happy!  It’s so great!

I’m really at a lost for words.  Shocker right?  I want to say so much more about this past year and this amazing love I have for her and our family.  I just can’t express how amazing she is and how I want nothing but the best for her.  I want to better our lives for her.  We aren’t struggling and we don’t live in excess.  I’m not saying I want to spoil but I want to enrich her life.  More so in meaningful experiences, whether it be family time or travel or random family outings or sitting with her to read a book or unplugging, etc.  I want to find that work-life balance to be able to give her the time she needs from me.  And I’ve done a decent job thus far I think, but there’s definitely room for improvement.  She and my husband are my motivation.  They are my everything.

So…

To my sweetest and adorable baby girl Eva,

Playing with her birthday presents: her own little chair and Minnie doll

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!  You have been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and your dad.  You will never know how much you have filled our hearts with so much love and joy.  We want nothing but the best for you plus more.  Can’t wait to see you grow more.
 
Love, 
Mommy

Momma Diaries – Sleep Training

Sleep Train.  A ticket to a better night sleep.”  Okay, so that’s a jingle (fast forward to the 26 seconds), but it’s so TRUE.  Since we’ve been back from the holidays, we started sleep training with Eva.

Let me start off saying that we were SO lucky with Eva when she was younger.  At two months old, when most babies weren’t sleeping through the night, she was, for 10-12 hours.  She’d also put herself to sleep; whether it be naptime or at bedtime.  She had a sleep schedule but it was pretty relaxed.  We’d start getting her ready for bed anywhere from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.  But after she turned 4 months old, she started to push her bedtime back and then started waking up in the middle of the night to eat, which could attribute to her short naps (but that’s another sleep issue to tackle.  we’re working on it next!).  Around this time both sets of the grandparents came into town and we didn’t enforce her bedtime routine.  When they left, we never went back to her normal bedtime routine, which is our (the hubs and mine) own fault.  I was burnt out around 9:30 – 10:00 trying to put her to bed as she would no longer fall asleep on her own.  I wanted to get stuff done around the house and spend time with the hubs, but was so tired to do anything come 10:00pm.  Then she got sick over Thanksgiving and we let her sleep in bed with us for a couple of days, but she went back into her crib thereafter.  Shortly after, I went on my work trip and we let her co-sleep with the hubs while I was away.  When I returned, we continued to let her sleep in the bed with us and continued to do so while on vacation.

my babygirl napping

Now, we’re back home and have started a new bedtime routine.  Along with this bedtime routine is now letting her cry it out (CIO) and allow her to put herself to sleep.  It does breaks my heart to hear her cries and I do worry about the negative psychological effects that some research pose (although other research does pose the benefits of the crying out out method), but I do feel this is best for her and us as a family unit.  It’s been about two weeks since we’ve started this new routine.  Some nights are better than other.  The most she cried was the first night.  Since then she’ll go anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes of crying (depending on how tired she is. Usually when she EXHAUSTED and doesn’t nap well during the day, is when she’ll cry for a longer period of time.  It rarely gets to 10 minutes.  Let me knock on wood now because I may jinx myself.) before she finally stops and sleeps.  I’m hoping she’ll love her routine (our doctor said it takes 2-4 weeks for any routine to really sink in) and start sleeping in her crib without crying when we put her down.  So we have a little longer to go.  We’re seeing gradual results.  She’s started to put herself to sleep when napping now too.  Of course, there is crying and whining involved, but regardless progress.  If things don’t continue to progress, perhaps we’ll start from scratch and try the gradual approach, such as the Sleep Lady Shuffle.  Maybe we should have tried this method first but we felt like there was a strong possibility where we’d give into picking her up, which defeated the whole purpose of sleep training in the first place.

Perhaps its part selfish for wanting a little me and/or QT with the hubs.  But it’s mainly for her own benefit.  She NEEDS a good night’s rest and needs to learn how to sleep on her own.  After reading part of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child,” I’ve come to realize just how important sleep is for her and for us.  Keeping her in the pack-n-play (which is in our living room) or our arms until we go to bed isn’t an option because she’s at that curious stage where she wants to play and discover new things especially if mommy and daddy are awake.  Of course, there are exceptions such as traveling and sickness.  But hopefully as long as we have her routine down, she can quickly bounce back after these situations.  Wishful thinking.

Have you tried the gradual approach or the crying it out/Ferber method?

Mommy bloggers Jo and Kaitlin’s mom discuss their experiences when having their children cry it out and share theliterature that got them through it.  Great reads if you want to try it out.