As a soon to be mom or new mom, we are so overwhelmed by all the things we need to learn and the products we think we should have in order to best take care of our new little baby. Well, I was super nerdy about doing my research on everything I possibly could before Brady arrived. I had deep discussions with friends that are on their second child now, moms who cloth diaper, different schools of thought in child-rearing, what were the 5 best products they found most useful, as well as, what were the 5 items they didn’t use as much as they thought, etc… I’m so thankful for the community of moms that I can easily seek advice from.
Since I was so desperate to soak up all this info I thought it’d be helpful to share with other soon-to-be or new moms what I’ve found as the best products/routines that have worked for us in the first 6 months. Links/Details below.
1. Activity Mat (we use this several hours every single day)
2. My Brestfriend Nursing Pillow (So much more supportive than the boppy. I have two covers so I can replace one while other is being washed.)
3 & 9. baby k’tan Breeze, Ergo Baby, Moby wrap (these have been life savers) – baby k’tan is small, pre-fitted so there’s not a ton of fabric to mess with, it folds into a little bag, & is comfy. Ergo baby carrier is a little bigger and feels like a back pack on the front – but a little better on the back and less trouble getting baby in and out. Only negative for me is it doesn’t fold down real small (which isn’t a huge deal). Also good for dad. Moby – you can adjust to your liking, but not good for public b/c there’s so much material and I don’t like to drag it all over the ground when positioning baby in/out of it. Also only good for when baby is smaller. The heavier they are, the more difficult it is to support the baby/child. All these carries can be used in multiple positions across a range of ages for baby.
4. Swaddleme Wraps!! These were like magic and would “shut down” Brady and he’d fall asleep immediately and there was no fussing with a blanket to swaddle him and we knew he’s stay in it all night without coming unwrapped.
5. - Bouncy chair (great for play and naps).
6. - The Ultimate Crib Sheet (I put two of these in his crib so if he messes the top one, I can just take it off and there’s already a clean one under it. Easier to take on/off than changing a mattress cover and sheet each time.)
7. Puj Tub (takes up very little space and hangs on a hook.) Also great to travel with (in the car) if necessary.
8. Sleep sheep (wish it lasted more than 45 min of sound though) - We soon moved to an iPod speaker dock with a free “white noise/wind sound” app that plays all night long.
9. (see #3 above)
10. Aquaphor (best thing for diaper rash, excema, and your own chapped lips!)
11. Carters footed sleep & play outfits (SO much easier than multi-piece outfits when diaper changing!) They are well made and fit little guy so well and Carter’s clothes are sold at so many places and are always on sale.
12. - BOB jogging stroller (we spend several days at the lake on long walks/runs – great for afternoon nap time for baby. So smooth and easy to use.) Check Craig’s list – they’re always for sale on there.
13. Pacifier clip (removes a lot of frustration when baby drops pacifier several times over and over – or frantically searching for a pacifier.)
14. Burp cloths galore (Gerber) (who knew a baby could spit up so much?)
- Foam Ear plugs (great for when I want to sleep while someone else is watching baby).
- Nursing tops/bras/dresses/ PJs (Nordstrom will also convert regular bras into nursing bras with the clips for $10 / bra.)
- Books: On Becoming Baby Wise (helped guide me so much when putting baby on a more regulated schedule). Belly Laughs (just a good honest laugh from Jenny McCarthy on her experience). Shepherding a Child’s Heart (still reading with Brian) really great for Biblically shepherding and disciplining your child. Also good for an introspective look into your own heart.
What I wish I would have splurged on:
- Video baby monitor (I was so adamant about not needing this, but now it would save so many – albeit quick – trips to peek on him instead of just rolling over in bed to view the monitor in the middle of the night.)
Of course every baby and family is different. These are just the things that seemed to work best for us. Thankfully, we were prepared with most of these things before baby Brady arrived, and some of these things have been a saving grace. You just do what works in the moment, especially the first several weeks/months. I had no idea diaper changes would be such a crazy/challenging ordeal so, clothes that make that as easy as possible are great. Also, anything that helps him sleep well (the swaddleme wraps were ah-ma-zing!) Keep in mind that baby’s are constantly changing and once you think you’ve “got it” BAM – something in the routine changes – hah… (nearing month 7 I’m just now starting to remember this).
My sweet friend, Christina, invited us over for a playdate with her 3 kiddos, who are just a hair over 2 years old. It’s been so fun watching her loin fruits grow over the past 2 years. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I shot their first birthday party! Christina and I used to work together at Switch before we each became mommies. She is a very talented graphic designer and now recently a photographer! She’s a constant encourager, motivator, and challenger creatively to me, as well as, a model of a good mom. She also made this beautiful print for Brady’s room (see below). Here are some fun photos I was able to snap between all the running around and kid-wrangling.
(This one is my favorite. O just picked up an empty milk jug and was “drinking from it” walking around the house. Already prepping for the “gallon challenge”.)
Brady, you turned 6 months old at the end of April 2013. I can’t believe it. It’s been half a year! Whaaaat? It seems like it’s gone by in a flash. You are so much fun these days. I really enjoy spending time with you all day, every day. What a blessing. Yes, it can be tiring (especially if we haven’t slept much the night before), but it’s a blessing to watch you grow and explore.
A few words that describe you the past month: noisy, wiggly, rolling, attention hungry, exploring. You are a rolling ninja baby! I can’t leave you alone for more than a minute without you ending up underneath furniture or half way across the room without a clue of how you managed to get there (& so quickly)! One of your favorite places is to roll underneath the coffee table in the living room. I call it your “fort”. You stick your hands and feet up against the underneath of it and kick and play. Sometimes if I leave the room for a brief moment (to wash a dish or something) I come back to find you rolling around with one of George’s disgusting slobbery stuffed animals and you are SO proud when I find you. And most of the time you’ve rolled in your own spit up and it’s there’s a chunk or two stuck to your forehead. I can’t help but laugh and run for the camera. At first I was nervous about you rolling around on the wood floors in our house, because you’d sacrifice your big heavy head first when you rolled over. Although, after a few big bonks you learned to gently roll over – it’s so cute how you’re cautious with your head. It’s amazing to see you learn and repeat!
Per the usual, some days are better than others. Doesn’t matter how much sleep you’ve gotten some days you just need a ton of attention and holding and walking around. Other days it’s as if you barely need any at all. You take an average of 3 naps per day. Usually you take a long morning and afternoon nap (1-2 hours each) and then another cat nap in the late evening. Mommy likes it when you take good naps during the day. It allows me to get a few quiet moments to myself, which I usually end up just doing chores or answering emails. I’ve been trying to use that time lately to get a good work out in (thanks Apple TV- I stream work out videos).
You started wearing 6 month sizes at 5 months old (mostly sleepers because pants were still a bit large). But now you’re totally in 6 month clothing, pants and all. You are starting to fill out a little more. Your legs are getting a tad bit chubbier, which is so cute, and you’re sportin a little double chin these days. Your feet don’t seem to be growing as quickly as the rest of your body, though. You wear shoes a lot and are still in size 1. They’re getting a little snug, but size 2 shoes are just laughable. The ankle width fits great, but the length is twice as big as it needs to be. Soon enough you’ll be in bigger shoes – can’t wait to use the cute ones you have! Ra Ra buys you lots of cute pairs.
You are so interested in your surroundings. You reach and grab at everything. You stick almost everything you can grab into your mouth to chew on – even people’s hands. You smack stuff with your hands (kind of like a cave man- haha) and you stomp your feet non-stop. Even in your crib… you’ll maneuver yourself sideways and prop your feet up on the side of the crib bars and kick and stomp your feet just to play and entertain yourself. Sometimes I’ll catch you looking at me from across the room and when you realize I see you, you immediately smile unsolicited. You’ll even follow it by a few foot stomps in excitement occasionally.
Nursing has been so much better lately. You only take max 15 minutes total to nurse (both sides). That’s a huge difference from 2 months ago when it was taking 30+ minutes and then followed by a supplement bottle of bm or formula. It’s so nice. *sigh* Although, sometimes you’ll stop in the middle to make a big declarative “statement” and then go back to nursing. It’s funny.
A week or two before you were 6 months, I started feeding you baby oatmeal cereal mixed with a little formula 2x a day. You sit strapped into your bumbo chair with the tray, and you anxiously await to be fed after I nurse you. You bang your hands on the tray like a cave man. The first several attempts were funny & frustrating. It required a mop and a shower. Although, you quickly caught on within about a week of eating from the spoon. Way to go, baby! I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy eating a lot!
Diaper changes are not for the faint of heart. My goodness, child. You cannot sit still during a diaper change. It usually takes two people to successfully accomplish a diaper change with you. Within seconds of putting you on the changing table you manage to flip over to your tummy with this look on your face like “Yup. Look at me!”. I’ve removed any objects on/near the table that you grab for, except for Sophie toy. I’ve tried buckling you into the changing mat and that doesn’t do anything since you’re able to flip over underneath it somehow. Ninja. I told you. So, I bribe you with toys and make stupid noises and probably look like I’m a clown trying to capture your attention so you’ll sit still. Most of the time you end up stomping your foot into the freshly opened poopy diaper – haha. I will say these past couple of days have been a tad better. I’m able to get your diaper on and a new one on before you manage to flip over.
Whenever I’m holding you while also holding my big Baylor water mug you like to aggressively reach for it. It took me by total surprise one day when your eyes got huge and then BAM! you grabbed the straw right out of my mouth and put it in yours and water spewed everywhere. It was so funny to see you do that. It really made me feel like your growing up to be able to do that.
This past month I’ve been bathing you in the Puj tub in my bathroom sink. It fits the tub better than the larger kitchen sink since you’ve grown. I’m sure that we’ll have to figure out a new location sans the tub soon once you’re able to sit up on your own (which we’re working on). You seem to enjoy baths a lot more lately. Not sure if it’s because you get to play with the shiny water spout that’s right at your level with water streaming out or if it’s because you’re just getting older? Either way, you smile and gurgle and “talk” to me during baths now while chewing on your toes the whole time. You used to not even make eye contact with me during baths – hah.
Since mastering the roll, you do this thing where you kind of swim in place on your tummy and you wiggle your arms and legs so hard like you want to crawl. Just not yet. Take your time, buddy. I haven’t even thought about what needs to be “baby proofed”. We’ve been working on sitting up by yourself, but I think we still have another couple weeks. Once you start crawling I’m probably just going to stick you a fence around you in order to contain you. Jk. You love to chew on your toes… even if you’re wearing footed pjs or shoes.
This past week you’ve started making a new sound where you make some bubbles and also a soft “Tssss” sound. Almost like you’re trying to say something but have a lisp. It’s adorable.
One thing that we’d LOVE for you to master is SLEEPING AT NIGHT. Please baby, that would be the best gift you can give me right now. You “sleep thru the night” about every 10 days for 1 night *sigh*, but if that’s all I get – I’ll take it. It’s just discouraging when others are all “Oh, little Timmy was sleeping thru the night by 6 months….” Well our little “Timmy” hasn’t really caught up yet. You must take after your dad – tossing and turning all night. You usually go to sleep very well after our night time routine of bath time, nursing, then bed. You sleep really hard for a couple hours and then are up again. I can’t seem to figure out why you’re awake so I just nurse you after you’ve gotten us up a couple time within an hour. On a good night, you’ll sleep for 4+ more hours before you’re up again. Then maybe another hour or two before it’s time to get up for the day. Here’s what an average night looks like in the Allen household:
8:15-8:45 pm – bath time and nursing Brady.
8:45 – 9 pm – Brady goes to bed (still a little awake, but immediately cuddles with the little snuggle blankie and takes his pacifier.)
10- 11 pm – bed time for the adults.
Between 1 am – 3 am- Brady’s up! Half way crying/making noises. We let you do this for a few minutes and then one of us goes in and gives you your pacifier. Sometimes you freak out and this doesn’t calm you down. Othertimes you go right back to sleep and then wake 30 minutes later doing same. We go back in – repeat. 30 minutes later your up… so I give in and just nurse you. So, essentially I’ve been awake for an 1+ hour at this point.
Between 5-6:30 am – Brady’s awake and usually a pacifier will put you back to sleep. Brian’s up getting ready for work. I put foam ear plugs in so I don’t hear Brian getting ready and move the baby monitor so it’s right next to my face.
Between 7-8 am – Brady’s awake. It’s the BEST when I go in to wake him at 8 and he’s already quietly playing in his crib. That’s a very nice start to the day for me. If he’s awake before this, sometimes I’ll put him in bed with me in hope s that he goes back to sleep, which is not usually the case- hah. We nurse around 8 or 8:30 and start our day….
So, on average, I get about 3 hour stretches of sleep. If I can get a 5 hour stretch of sleep I feel like super woman. This coming from a person who used to NEED 8 hours to function “normally”. If you want to include us in your prayers we’d greatly appreciate it. We like our sleep. Not just for the heck of it, but for our health and well being.
Brady’s 6 month check up:
Height: 27 inches (75%)
Weight: (barely) 16 lbs (25%)
Head circumference: 17.5″ (75%)