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8 Baby Items I Couldn’t Live Without

Yeah, I claim to be the simple mama. Non-materialistic and all that jazz.

Tell my mother-in-law that as she watches in awe as I trek out the door in the mornings with 5 bags, 2 children, a Moby wrap, stainless steel water bottles and 8 assorted cats and dogs.

The cats and dogs are an exaggeration, but the rest is pretty darn accurate. I’ve earned my nickname of “tank woman” from the husband, and Mommy muscles to boot.

sleeping baby

Although I’m very aware that there is a finite list of needs for a baby, like diapers (see below), wipes (homemade recipe coming in two weeks), some sort of clothing, and a car seat, I have a number of wonderful baby-care inventions around the house that just make life easier.

I thought I would have 15-20 items on my list here, but I had to stretch to get it to eight. The list focuses on the first six months, since that’s what I’m living right now, and I noticed a distinct pattern: most of the items are to help baby sleep better/longer and ensure a good nursing relationship/closeness to Mommy.

I’m guessing your average parents in 2011 would list things like exersaucers, bouncy seats, and pacifiers as “must-haves” for baby care – all things that allow parents to set their baby down and walk away. I’m not judging, just guessing.

Don’t get me wrong: I love our bouncy chair and will get plenty of use out of the exersaucer, but mostly just short times for quick kitchen prep or during a shower. I like to have my babies on a blanket playing if possible, and I’m learning that a few siblings are better entertainment than any lights, music and dancing fish.

Getting the Goodies

If you’re having a first baby, people will want to get you gifts. Tell them to skip the receiving blankets (which are so small they’re only good as burp cloths or handkerchiefs) and go together on one of these lovely items!

You might also consider signing up for Swagbucks, through which you can earn Amazon gift cards. I recommend including your referral link to Swagbucks when you send out that baby birth announcement via email to alllllll your family and friends!

Also, many items can be handmade if you have a halfway decent seamstress in your life. The Moby is a particularly easy pattern if you can find the right stretchy fabric. My mom made some ring slings and even a little one for Leah following Internet directions.

Without further dilly-dallying, here is my list of wonderful indulgences, the little things that fall squarely in the “want” category but are surely nice to have:

Katie’s Ultimate Favorite Baby Gadgets

A sling

babywearing on the beach

Did you know it’s International Babywearing Week? I didn’t until yesterday, but how perfect that I’ll be posting videos later this week of John and me enjoying a few kinds of baby carriers. UPDATE: Here are the How to Wear and Breastfeed in a Moby Wrap videos

Any kind of sling will help you keep your sanity, especially if you have a baby who loves to be held/carried (most do). You can get dinner made, shopping done, and calm your baby by “wearing” them in a sling often.

My first sling was a “ring sling” that tightens using a double ring system. I also have a pocket sling, which is a one-shoulder dealie like a ring sling but without the rings and am testing out an Ergo.

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This is Leah in her first month – a benefit of the ring sling is that you can slip it off with a sleeping baby so they’re all warm and cozy in their crib. I’m sure a baby is not supposed to sleep with the sling in the crib per governmental back-to-sleep policies, so please don’t tell the government on me. She turned out just fine.

Check out the site www.wearyourbaby.com for nifty ways to keep your baby close by using household items like sheets and sarongs. I vacuumed one day with Paul in a sarong when he was probably about a year old – what fun!

Why not a Baby Bjorn or similar?

My physical therapist friend explains that when babies are in a common carrier like Baby Bjorn that forces them to hang on their own pelvis, it’s an unnatural position and negatively affects their hip development. You need a carrier that allows the child to sit on their bottom, like a one-shoulder sling, Moby Wrap, Ergo, or Mei Tai.

Moby Wrap

For ages birth through 6 months, hands down my top essential item – used daily and amazing enough to be on the “needs” list instead of the “wants” – is a Moby Wrap. In fact, I somehow misplaced mine and scrambled around to get one, even before I bought diapers for the little one in utero! I had to be prepared…

The great thing about my “oops” is that my readers benefit: when I find my old Moby, I’ll be giving away this lovely one from Lullaby Organics in a giveaway!

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I love the Moby for this age because it’s two shouldered, which means you’re more balanced and not sore from holding baby’s weight on just one side or the other. It’s so secure for the little one – I never feel like baby will tip out or bump anything as I walk, work in the kitchen, or play outside with the big kids. Plus, I can nurse in it even while I walk pushing Leah in the stroller.

I wear the Moby Wrap like clothing many days, sometimes from breakfast until dinner without taking it off my body. I’ll show you how it work later this week via video, and when I post the giveaway I’ll share a comprehensive comparison of the slings I’ve had experience with: pros and cons, best age and uses for each.

You can find the Moby Wrap at many small retailers, including Lullaby Organics and Mom4Life.

The Happiest Baby on the Block

imageMy husband and I watched the video with this title before we had our first child, and it seriously saved our sanity. The 5 tips for content/sleeping babies contained within are a revelation, like “The Baby Whisperer” for rookies. The strategies basically mimic the baby’s experience in the womb and help them to feel comfortable and secure, much like the Moby Wrap and babywearing does. It’s amazing.

You can either buy or borrow the book, which you get if you haven’t had the baby yet, or the DVD, which you get if baby is here and crying already!

The happy baby techniques explain why you need the next three items…

Swaddle Blankets

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Our little burrito, above, with big brother Paul. A swaddled baby is so much easier to hold onto!

My mom got us these Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets when Leah was born 3 1/2 years ago, and they are still in brand new condition. For the newborn phase, they’re important for swaddling but also make a very nice nursing cover-up or shade from the sun over the carseat carrier for when you’re out and about. They’re very lightweight so that you and baby don’t swelter while nursing even in the heat of summer.

I used them incessantly when Leah was a newborn and continued to use them as sheets even now that she’s a preschooler.

They’re made of muslin, which must help them survive constant washing without seeming worn, and they’re so soft and slightly stretchy. Swaddling a baby is no easy task, and trying to accomplish it with a blanket that’s any smaller than these (as most baby blankets are) is asking for failure.

The Aden + Anais brand are not only large enough to contain baby, but thin enough that you can secure your swaddle so little Houdini doesn’t bust free within 30 seconds. A good swaddle helps baby stay sleeping so you can have some moments with two hands and no baby worn on your front, good for cooking and holding older kids on your rarely-empty lap.

Sleep Sack Swaddle

paul holds john

Big brother Paul with new baby Jonathan, three years later…

Now with baby number three, we’ve discovered the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle, which is not as versatile as the blanket above but is an even easier and tighter swaddle. It has wings with Velcro that wrap around the baby (a friend recommends the Miracle Blanket for similar purposes).

Although my husband secretly hoped we could take even more than one home from the hospital, we ended up not using it as much as we thought. Here’s why, and it’s a dirty little secret most experienced parents have: we put our babies to sleep on their bellies. (Gasp!) It works to combat the startle reflex that wakes up back-sleeping infants, and because it was summer when John was tiny, it didn’t seem fair to wrap him in a blanket all the time.

However, for a new parent or anyone who is going to follow the “back to sleep” recommendations anyway, this item is a must.

Our secret to sleep with this guy is the tummy position and the next item on the list…

White noise CD

One of the pieces of the Happiest Baby on the Block philosophy is that infants are used to lots of noise in the womb, so they are calmed by white noise: vacuum cleaner, AM radio static, hair dryer, wind noise in a vehicle, exhaust fan over stove, a very loud shushing voice, etc. (We’ve used all of those in real life.)

All three of our babies have achieved better sleep in the first few months because we have a crazy CD with 45 minutes of hair dryer noise on it. We blast it, and they are calmed and less likely to wake once they’re sleeping in the crib. John will even settle himself to sleep when he’s slightly awake as long as the hair dryer CD is on, and it helps to drown out the sometimes loud and sudden (i.e. baby-waking) sibling noises in the house.

There’s no reason to make the house quiet to keep the baby sleeping, both because it’s better to train your kiddos to sleep with noises, and because the baby can’t hear anything through the hair dryer noise! This is the item we give people for baby showers if we can’t afford to give them a sling. Everyone thinks it’s crazy until they see how well it works.

I notice that you can get a sleep sack swaddle with a white noise CD for the same price as the sack alone at Amazon – a no brainer!)

Boppy or other nursing pillow

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Other than the Moby, this item gets the most use in our house these days. I’m constantly balancing baby John on it to nurse while I [fill in blank]: During dinner, while reading books to kids, while typing, watching TV, reading, snoozing on accident in the rocking chair…it always helps to have some support for the baby.

I prop the Boppy up on the arm of my armchair so I don’t have to lean over at all, saving my back from a lot of wrenching pain. Putting one’s feet up while nursing, by the way, is important to reduce lower back strain as well. You can use the sides of an infant carrier car seat as a footrest when you’re out and about.

The Boppy is also fun for propping baby up for playtime and even tummy time. This is Leah getting smiley with the camera:

smile 2

Nursing Cover

I thought this item was a dumb money-making scheme. I figured our muslin blankets were perfect nursing covers and something with a dual purpose that I already had. I didn’t think I’d use it much at all, but a friend offered to lend her nursing cover to me, so I borrowed it.

I’m certain that if you ask my father-in-law what his favorite baby gear item is, he’d choose the nursing cover. image

It goes around my neck and has a wire in it to make the top part stand away from my body so I can easily peek in and see the baby to help with latching on, and a busy baby can’t whip the cover-up blanket off, either. It makes dinnertime much more comfortable for all of us (but I don’t use it if people aren’t around since I’d rather see baby completely unhindered).

photo from Udder Covers

Hooter Hider nursing covers are also available from Mom 4 Life.

Why so Pricey?

I’m bummed that all the items on my list (with the exception of the CD and book) seem to be very expensive. I don’t like to spend a lot on my kids (or anything, for that matter), but some items have just been worth it. I probably spent one penny every time I wore my ring sling (I literally wore it out, shredded the thing) and would pay $200 for a Moby Wrap if I didn’t have one (they run $55-70 usually).

If you’re expecting, seriously, put the big items on your wish list. You can always find clothes for a few bucks at a garage sale, but you and your baby will appreciate a couple of these goodies even more than clothes.

For some smaller, not-so-essential but also fun baby goodies, check out this week’s massive giveaway ($240 value!).

What Diapers Does Baby Jonathan Wear?

Although I’m planning to start cloth diapering (for the first time!) when I have my own washing machine in my own house and I can put one foot in front of the other without wondering what I’m forgetting and feeling behind, for now, we’re using disposables.

My first two babies wore Pampers Swaddlers as newborns and Target brand after that. Now that my “green” consciousness has been raised, I’m seeking a slightly better option for this temporary time before cloth.

When I was making my first order on drugstore.com, I remember my finger hovering over the mouse, almost ready to bail on the decision since the diapers seemed so much more expensive than what I was used to.

imageNow that I learned some tricks over at Jungle Deals and Steals, I’m amazed that Seventh Generation Diapers really aren’t much more (maybe less) than the Target brand I used to buy, once I signed up for Amazon Mom and used the “subscribe and save” feature. (Plus they’re really free with Swagbucks, but why split hairs?) Since we’re only in size one for now, I chose “every 6 months” for ordering options and will cancel or change it to size two when I’m ready for my next order.

I’m even more impressed with how well they work. I figured they would be less effective than Pampers, but they seem to absorb as well and contain number twos excellently. In fact, a friend passed on a package of Kirkland brand size 1-2 diapers that her daughter grew out of, and I bet they have about a 50% failure rate on something leaking. They’re only sticking around as emergency backup in case we run out of 7th Gen before the shipment I ordered comes!

A daily phrase in our house this week as I tried to use up the Kirkland brand was, “Darn monkey diapers!” said every time someone got wet because John leaked. Crazy ineffective.

The “upgrade” from your standard diaper for Seventh Generation is that they’re processed without chlorine bleach, which saves baby’s bottom from exposure and, potentially more importantly, saves the environment from the pollution.

Some readers recommended other sustainable brands that might be even less expensive on Amazon, but after we had such success with 7th Gen I was afraid to break the system.

What are your favorite baby care items?

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Mom4Life and Amazon and will earn commission. I received the Moby from Lullaby Organics after I begged and offered to give it away to readers afterwards. I would have purchased one if I couldn’t strike that deal; it’s worth it! See my full disclosure statement here.

I’m linked into Things I Love Thursday at Diaper Diaries.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

55 thoughts on “8 Baby Items I Couldn’t Live Without”

  1. Kristina Ashley

    One of my must-haves is definitely Colic-calm. For those nights when my baby girl was arching her back and screaming – and clearly in pain because of tummy/digestion/gas issues – the colic calm was the only thing that would settle her tummy, and usually within minutes! It’s got all natural ingredients so it doesn’t upset baby’s natural balance of acid like gripe water and other baking-soda containing remedies. It is dark black stuff, so a must-have along with the colic calm is definitely Oxi-Clean! Clothes that have been stained by colic calm (or diaper blowouts for that matter!) just need to be tossed in the wash to soak for a few hours with a scoop of oxi clean, then add detergent and wash as normal and voila! Other cleaners like Shout don’t make a dent, but Oxi clean works everytime. : )

  2. I used only the Moby with my first daughter, and I am using the Ergo with baby number two. I love them both, Moby is obviously way more versatile as far as baby position but Ergo easier to clip on and go. Love love love them both!

  3. Just wanted to put a couple of offers out there. First I have a moby wrap that I used only a couple of times because I couldn’t get the hang of it. If anyone wants it I would be happy to send it to you for the price of postage. I would just be glad to have someone get some use out of it. Secondly, I have a set of about 32 chinese prefold cloth diapers and several white covers in the small size (7-12 lbs) for anyone who might want them. I’ve used them for both of my babies but I hate to see them end up in a land fill. They still look great and have tons of wear left in them. I would also send these to anyone who wants to try cloth for the price of shipping. You can contact me at follindown at gmail dot com.

    1. Folin,
      Awesome offer – let me know if you get zero takers, and I’ll mention this comment on Facebook or something. Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  4. You mentioned that most of your products have to do with getting baby to sleep faster and keeping them soundly sleeping. A few nurses got together after reading research that showed that infants who are exposed to a comforting scent cried about half the amount that the control group did. We created a baby blanket that is not only out of this world soft, but it has a specialized mesh compartment that mom can apply her scent to. This makes naptime, day care, church, etc. so much easier. Because you mentioned how pricey this can get, I also wanted to let you know that we have giveaways coming up throughout the next month. We’ll be at pregnantchicken.com beginning October 24 and at makobiscribe.com in November.

  5. Weird. I don’t use disposables often, but my 3rd baby is a few days older than yours, so I’ve still had at least a package each of the major brands, and I love the Costco diapers, while I don’t even want the Seventh Generation ones as a gift! Target’s are good–in fact, those or Earth’s Best are what I usually keep around, ’cause it seldom makes sense to have disposables in Costco quantity here.
    As to the expense of the items on your list–most of them drop dramatically in price if you have even beginning sewing skills & use them. A ring sling is a good example of this. If you can use a sewing machine AT ALL, you have what it takes to make a ring sling. I’ve pointed countless people to online sling-making directions. I get asked about my slings every time I’m out with the baby in one–times 3 babies. Diapers are a little more involved to make, but even fitted diapers or all-in-ones are still simple sewing, as well as being a great way to build skills. You need lots of them, so you get practice, and the dipes are going on the baby’s bottom to catch what comes out. Mistakes don’t matter really, as long as the diaper still serves its purpose.

    1. I use the Target brand diapers as our back-up, too. Although, I don’t even always keep them around. I usually even take cloth on vacations, but this past weekend we were with friends at a beach house with several other families we didn’t personally know (all friends of our friends), so I bought some Target diapers since I didn’t know how they would feel about poop in the shared washing machine. 🙂

      Not sure if anyone else has heard this, but a friend of mine from church uses Earth’s Best because her hubby won’t use cloth, and she said she read 7th Generation Diapers are actually dyed to look more natural? I haven’t researched it myself because we don’t use disposables hardly ever, but I thought it was interesting.

      I’ve tried just about everything but Earth’s Best. We thought disposables were causing my baby’s rash as a newborn, but it ended up being yeast!

      I can’t wait to see what Katie thinks of cloth!! I will tell her–there seems to be a “honeymoon” period. It seems when most people start cloth they absolutely love it. My hubby can attest I was ADDICTED! They are so much softer…not to mention cuter and eco-friendly! Almost a year later with two girls in cloth? It’s old hat. I use them, I wash them. I like them, but I don’t get excited every time it’s time to do diaper laundry. CRAZY as it seems, I used to be so excited to wash my diapers! I know–it’s insane! I guess that’s how happy I was to get my girls in cloth! haha!

      1. Jessica Moore

        I totally agree about the “honeymoon” Erin! I never thought of it that way. I still do love that my baby is in cloth, but after CDing the first two kids part time, and then enthusiastically 100% FT CDing this baby, it’s just routine now. But yes, even poopy laundry is actually *fun* for a few months 🙂

      2. Exactly. Although, even on the 3rd cloth diapered baby, I have to admit to a certain satisfaction when I behold my clothesline full of cute, mama-made dipes. However, I also have to get busy & get some made in the next size up, to replace the ones the bigger kids wore into rags!

    2. Heather, Cracks me up how different various babies are. Do you have girls? I hear diapers can be very different in performance based on gender. Feel free to leave a link or two to good sling making sites; I should have included some directions but forgot to bother my mom for the sites she used.

      Also, especially if you have any photos of your processes or finished product, it would be really fun to have a guest post on sewing-your-own baby stuff, either cloth diapers and/or slings. Would you be interested? It might not be until the new year, but I’d love to chat w/you about it! 🙂 Katie

      1. My eldest is a girl (4). My just turned 3 year-old, and our new baby are boys. My go-to sling site is http://www.thebabywearer.com. One of these days, I’ll make cards with the site on to give to people who ask me!
        I could certainly do such a blob post! I have a bunch of diapers cut out right now, to replace some that the older kids wore completely out. I’ll make sure to take pics as I sew them up. It’ll be a few weeks–badly as I need them done, there are other things I need done even worse…and the imminence of Halloween just stood up and said, “Make costumes, Mama!” One wants to be a witch–totally easy, won’t take as long as it would to go down the street to Target & buy one. One wants to be a “scary monster” a la Godzilla–harder, but I have a pattern that will work, and found really good fabric in the stash, so do-able.

        1. Heather – that would be awesome, and no hurry. Do you want to email me some ideas when you have the photos? Or should I mark something down to email you to remind in a month or two? Thanks!! 🙂 Katie

  6. My favorite item with Baby Girl #2 has been my Boba carrier! It’s similar to an Ergo, and it’s soooo easy to get on and off! I need something easy b/c I’m clumsy with wraps! I love it!

  7. Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

    I hate the ring sling — but love the moby wrap and the mei tie! We have TWO white noise machines — they are on all night! Nursing covers are awesome! Most of these things are quite expensive to buy but really easy and inexpensive to make yourself — or give the grandma-to-be something to sew for baby!

  8. Love these! All of them are invaluable. Another must-have for us is California Baby Calendula Cream. We smothered it on for everything: diaper rash, eczema, bug bites, scratches, you name it. It’s a miracle plant, calendula!

  9. We tried all the various diapers, cloth, g, 7th generation, Costco, target and found Nature Babycare and fell in love. They work, don’t leak and are the same price as Costco with amazon subscribe and save. We are using their pull ups now and they work great.

    1. Thank you Kimie! I’m sure that was the brand rec’d to me before, so maybe I’ll be brave enough to grab some for my next go ’round! 🙂 Katie

  10. I’m trying to find a moby wrap, I didn’t use one for my first baby, but now that #2 is coming (due today!) and I have a 2.5 year old I want one. I just don’t want black or brown like I have been able to find in the store. I’ve looked at the fabric stores for fabric to just make my own, but I can’t figure out what kind would work best for me. I’m still hopeful though that I’ll figure it out without too much hassle! Maybe craigslist!

    1. Check out Once Upon A Sling. I have gotten all of my babywearing gear from her and have had a great experience with all of it. She has some great Moby patterns!

    2. Amanda,
      I can’t remember all the colors, but i know it was hard to choose at http://lullabyorganicsshop.com/ where I got the brown patterned one. Good luck! 🙂 Katie

  11. My sons are now 7 and 8 and looking back my “must haves” were our Didymus sling (looking at your picture, I think that is similar to the moby wrap) – used from birth until age 3, the Baby Bjoern bouncy chair – birth to age 3, the Tripp Trapp high chairs (we have one for each child and both are still used today), Britax Marathon carseat – birth to age 6, and a firm cotton futon on the floor for me to sleep on with my babies until they slept through the night (#1: 4 months, #2: 11 weeks), and last but not least, a most supportive husband and parents that helped out full-time for the first 3 months after each birth.

  12. Great list! A friend of mine makes some beautiful customized nursing covers. Here is the link to her shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/firstgleam

  13. Jessica Moore

    Almost every single one of your “must haves” are on my list too. And yes, I agree with others, you’ll love cloth diapering.

    Ok, so I just have to ask, Have you ever tried a woven wrap? The support difference in a stretchy and a woven is just amazing. You should definitely give it a try.
    Yes, they are more expensive than a stretchy, but I (and all my babywearing friends) buy them on thebabywearer.com For Sale Or Trade forum for about half the new price.

    Oh and yes… of course my babies sleep on their tummies! 🙂 Or however they fall off the breast, sometimes!

  14. LOVE my Moby wrap!

    And the Arm’s Reach co-sleeper was such a lifesaver for us, with a nursing infant and our smallish bed, everyone slept better. It was so much easier for this tired mama to just reach over and pick up the hungry baby and then return her to the co-sleeper when she was full. Also nice for reaching in and comforting the little one without getting either of us out of bed. We did need the leg extenders. We have the mini co-sleeper and it is the perfect size for our small bedroom, by the time she was pulling up and standing in it, she was mostly sleeping through the night and ready for her own room anyway. Can’t wait to start out this way with baby number two.

    I am interested in getting the book and white noise cd!

  15. Definitely the wrap! I had a ring sling, and it hurt my back because the weight was only on one side. We used cloth diapers (under the nile), but used disposables for going out. We used natural choice until they were discontinued. Then we had the opposite experience as you, we used 7th Gen, but had so many leaks/poopy blowouts we needed a better alternative…that’s when we found Kirkland and haven’t looked back! The wrap is number one for us, number two would be boppy, three would be ironing board cover clips: stick one in your diaper bag, purse, kitchen drawer, add a napkin and you have an instant bib. Great for eating out/on the go.

  16. Here’s the link: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2011/lousylabels/ The part on Seventh Generation is near the end.

  17. I saw this documentary of chemicals in beauty products, etc. They revealed that Seventh Generation actually DYED their diapers that brownish colour…to make it look like it was unbleached I expect. How sad is that? 🙁

    1. Sonia,
      Ok, shucks. That is pretty dumb. Now I’m convinced to try Nature Baby Care next, unless I’m ready for the cd scene by then! Thanks for sharing the link! 🙂 Katie

      1. We CD but daycare doesn’t allow cloth diapers (yet) so we use Nature baby care. We have had a few poo explosions but I don’t think any diaper would have contained them (except of course the cloth diapers!).

    2. If anyone else is watching, the 7th Gen part is at 16 minutes. Also see here: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2011/lousylabels/responses.html#seventhgeneration
      Katie

  18. Excellent choices! 🙂 And while a few are expensive, they are a worthwhile investment (especially if you’re planning on having more children). I’m expecting #4, and most of the things you mention have lasted through all of our children; all I’ll need to do is pull them out of the closet.

    I might have to try the white noise CD. Do they wake up after the 45 min is over? We’ve always used fans as white noise for our boys, and have gone through several in the last 5 years. I hate continuing to buy plastic junk fans that I know are going to break beyond repair after a few years.

  19. “Yes!” times 8. (And a YES! specifically to the Moby wrap. Love it!)

    I would have to add one other favorite to the list–have you come across the BabyBabyBabyOhBaby infant massage DVD yet? It gave me the best bonding time with my preemie daughter.

    And when you’re ready to take the plunge into cloth diapers, I have to recommend Happy Baby Company (www.happybabycompany.com)–they turned me into a convert believer and taught me everything I’ve ever needed to know about cloth diapering!

  20. I loved all of those or very similar items! Except for white noise–my son has never had a problem sleeping through incidental sounds, and as an infant he actually seemed to need them as reassurance that he hadn’t been left alone.

    Something else we used constantly during infancy were flannel handkerchiefs for wiping up drool, spit-up, nose, excess milk, etc. These flannel wipes come in adorable prints or pastel solids, are just the right size to fold in fourths and put into your pocket, and have hems that hold up very well–ours have been in constant use for almost 7 years.

  21. While you are waiting to use cloth, you can checck out G Diapers. I used them with my son and loved them. They are biodegradable in about 6 months. They are all cotton, no plastic material at all. They are really absorbant, I thought more so than the Pampers! Thanks for sharing your list!

  22. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Huggies Pure&Natural ones are pretty good too. I have used them briefly with a couple of my babies (our washing machine broke when Jacob was 3 weeks old…) and they didn’t leak for me at all. Daniel’s the only one who hasn’t been in disposables really at all, he’s probably had a couple dozen ever — and he HATES them. He is 2 and will tell me “No paper diaper. Cloth!” and take them off.

    I NEVER use my Boppy. I thought it was must-have, but I’m on the short side and it’s not comfortable for me. I can easily lay the baby on my lap and nurse. Oh, and I do also have large breasts…so those things change the dynamics a little for me. If you are taller, or smaller-chested, you might enjoy having one.

    LOVE the Moby. I had one (that I made) when Daniel was a baby and that was how I got stuff done, especially on the go. He’d always sleep in it. At 6 months I started using the Mei Tai and wore him in that until around a year, when he became convinced he was a big kid and did not want to be worn anymore. I made a second Moby in anticipation of Jacob’s birth, because I wanted one for the car and one for the house. There was nothing more annoying than having to go fetch it…or forgetting it! when I needed it. Daddies can wear them, too! My husband swore he would never wear a baby, but a few weeks ago he took all three kids on a walk, so he put Jacob in the Moby and the big kids in a wagon.

    My boys slept on their tummies so they didn’t need (or want) to be swaddled. My daughter was swaddled until around 5 months, when she learned how to get out — of the velcro ones.

    NOTHING made Daniel sleep better when he was little and yes, we tried white noise (and co-sleeping, and everything in the book you mention and then some. I even tried Valerian when he hit a year and was still waking 10x a night…). Jacob sleeps through anything though. Earlier he napped in the pack-n-play while the bigger kids raced by, shrieking.

    You reminded me I HAVE to find my play mat. My daughter LOVED that thing. I would even bring it in the kitchen and put another soft blanket under it. My first son hated it and would only lay on it for a minute before freaking out — but he hated to be put down ever. Jacob seems to enjoy being “down” if he is close to the action, so I think he’d love it. Gotta find it….

    By the way, this post is the second time I’ve seen/heard the phrase “dilly dallying” in the last few days…LOL!

    1. Kate,
      Was Daniel’s sleeping issue caused by food sensitivities though?

      You’re right, the Boppy is not as comfortable in a normal chair, but the way I prop it on a rocking chair and go hands free…I just love it. 😉 Katie

  23. Love my cloth diapers. Am happy to answer questions as well if you are curious.

    Loved my baby k’tan. I found it easier to use than the moby.

    Also my nursing tanks were essential, and my pump (I work full time). Definitely pricey but essential for working moms!

  24. Susan Alexander

    I’m a fan of the Mei Tais instead of the slings/Moby. I just find them easier. This time around I’m going to try out a Connecta, which is basically a Mei Tai with buckles.

    As for the swaddles – I used to make my own until I discovered the woombie. OMG, that this is AWESOME. You should really get one to try out. I like how easy on/off they are for diaper changes (vs unswaddling and re-swaddling), how much freedom of movement they give baby while still stifling the startle reflex…

    I found the Boppy didn’t lift baby high enough to be useful for me, but quickly adjusted to holding baby all the time. I usually sit in funky positions and use my legs or an armrest to prop my arm a bit. I do love the Boppy for those early sitters – something cushioned for them to fall back into!

    As for white noise, we all love our Orbusforme white noise machines. We all use the rain setting. I have 3 – one for hubby and I, and one for each of the girls. When baby moves to his own room, my girls will room together so he can inherit one of theirs.

    I never had any use for any kind of nursing cover. I found using my shirt properly covers everything and is much more discreet.

    Other things I find really indispensable – Bravado Seamless Silk Nursing Bras. I love them so much! I am still wearing mine even though I’m not nursing because they are so much more comfortable while pregnant.

    Cheap cloth diapers as burp cloths – love those things!

    Arm’s Reach Cosleeper – I love that thing! With an extension kit, I can get it up to the level of our very tall bed. It attaches with clips to be very secure against the mattress. I love the super soft sheets with velcro backing to hold them securely in place and the handy pockets for the things I need in the night (diapers, wipes, a headlamp, and a few “lap pads” as changing pads).

  25. These posts about babies are so timely and perfect for me as I will be having my first in 3 and a half weeks. Thank you so much. I feel like I am getting prepared.

    I already have a moby wrap, but I will need to practice some more with it. It makes me a bit nervous that I will do it wrong, and we will also have a preemie, but I am sure I will get the hang of it. I will also being using cloth diapers but we have disposable as well to start out.

  26. Do you know what kind of material the moby wrap is made of? I want to make my own to use with my 4th, and have never owned or really seen/felt one before, so I don’t have any idea what kind of fabric it is. Thanks!

    1. Jill,
      It’s 100% cotton, but it’s a really stretchy fabric, like a T-shirt a little bit. The stretch is totally key to success – you might want to get your hands on one or find someone who can explain the knit even better than me so you get the right fabric. You’ll love it, and they are totally easy to make. Make sure you put a seam or tag to mark the center. 🙂 Katie

  27. I love all those too! I actually blogged about my favorite (all natural) baby items too ~ here… http://bit.ly/qMz8fs

  28. Great post! I’m very excited to see your babywearing video later in the week. I used a ring sling with my first, and have a Sleepy Wrap (similar to Moby) for my 1 week old and want to see how you nurse with it.

  29. An amazing resource for learning more about babywearing is www.thebabywearer.com There are articles about the differences between different kinds of carriers, how to use them, where to buy or how to make your own, as well as an active forum.

  30. #1, I’m shocked you don’t use cloth diapers yet. Not a bad shocked, but you’d love them! Once we switched to cloth I was amazed and have not 1 single regret. If you have any questions, PLEASE feel free to email me because I’ve tried them all.

    #2 your list is wonderful

    #3 I was introduced to Happiest Baby on the Block before my 3rd child, and since then have wondered how we managed with the 1st 2! The man’s a genius.

    #4 Just a reminder to ask away any cloth diaper questions. I know you’re not in your own place yet, and I get that. When we visit my parents I pack along the disposables.

  31. Just a reminder that when swaddling your babies please don’t swaddle the legs too tight as that can contribute to hip dysplasia.

  32. Ha! I like to consider myself a low-baby-gear mother too, but I’m a total sucker for all thing baby wearing. I’d say I’ve gotten the most mileage out of my ring slings even though there are more comfortable options. Ring sling are just so versatile.

  33. Jennifer via Facebook

    I think many of these items are on my must have list, too. I love my Maya Wrap ring sling. I have an Ergo for when they’re older. The Boppy is indisposable, too. We cloth diaper, but I do keep a small pkg of 7th Generation for plane rides and other situations where we are out all day (such as at a fair or at the beach). They do work well, but hands down, I prefer our cloth!!

  34. Five of your eight items were (and still are!) lifesavers for us. I have a different wrap, but it served the same purpose as your Moby. I prefer a mei tei to a ring sling, but, again, that is just personal preference! My LO started sleeping through the night at 2 mo. without any white noise etc. We live in a TINY apartment, so I suppose our day-to-day noise was white noise enough for him. Swaddling definitely helped, although I never could figure out those swaddle blankets with the velcro. One thing I would add, if I were making a list, is a moses basket. That is what our LO slept in until he started rolling over (just two weeks ago). It was wonderful for nighttime nursing and perfect for our little apartment. It was super easy for me to pass on the “traditional” baby equipment (swings, exersaucers, jumperoos etc.) because we simply don’t have space for those! My mom still thinks I am crazy, but I have survived these first five months without any of those items.

  35. My bobby, especially for those first 12 weeks or so, was an absolute lifesaver. I don’t know how I could have done it without it!!

  36. I second all of these things. Seriously. Well…except for the sling. Never tried it. Though I might with the next one. My 11mo is a bit big at 25lb. I tell as many people as I possibly can about the book and swaddling and white noise. Anything else is nice but very temporary. Such as an itzbeen baby timer. Surprisingly helpful, actually, especially when I was trying to figure out what was going on with my 2nd’s tummy troubles and realized I wasn’t feeding her long enough and also too often. Whoops.

    Anywho.

    I’m sure you already have your CD supply all stocked up, but if not, I love Green Mountain Diapers and Charlie’s Soap to clean. Was gifted a set for the 2nd and love them. Plus they are mucho informative on their website.

    And Amazon Mom is my FAVORITE. Heart heart heart.

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