Unsolicited Advice: Registry Favorites

We registered through Amazon because the products are cheaper and shipping tends to be free. We also registered at Target because most people go there at least once a month for normal items.

Tip: If you sign up to be an Amazon Mom, you will get Amazon Prime for FREE for a year! This means free 2 day shipping and returns and 20% diapers if you choose to subscribe. If you continue to buy baby supplies, they will extend the life of your Amazon Prime membership.

Books:

Some of my favorites include…

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – Down right the best book I’ve read and believe every nursing mother should own it.  Whoever wrote it was reading my mind. I’ve read most chapters more than two times.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – Happiest Baby on the Block – Would suggest watching the DVD instead of reading the book.

– Working without Weaning – I read this while nursing the second and third month of maternity leave.

– Sleep Books – I’ve read “No Cry Sleep Solution” but preferred “Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child” because it was comprehensive across multiple types of sleep training. Baby Wise is a popular sleep training method, but has been linked to dehydration. My midwife posted a blog worth reading when you’re considering which sleep book to choose.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child **Update @ 7 Months: We still love Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child! We ended up crying it out (yes, judge away) at 6 months and this helped us through. It ended up being a LOT easier than I ever anticipated and the book is still a great reference guide.

***Update @ 15 Months: We used Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child when trying to get Louis down to one nap. This book is the gift that keeps on giving!

Car Seat & Stroller

We were handed down a Preg-Perego car seat. We have three car seat bases – two for our cars and one for my parents.

With the car seat, we were given this stroller. We didn’t use a stroller much in the beginning because I used the baby carrier all the time.

After 15 months, we’re still using the same stroller and have not purchased another one. It is very easy to open/close and pretty much just lives in our car. I highly recommend buying a stroller that will last from the car seat attachment days until they grow out of needing one!

We finally bought a jogging stroller on Craigslist at about 18 months. I didn’t work out much while nursing since I had a hard time regulating my supply while sweating.

When you’re looking for car seats, first check consumer reports for safety. After that, go to the store and figure out which of those is the lightest. Ours is a bit too heavy for me once the baby is in it. I dread carrying the car seat around.

My dad bought the Maclaren for their trips to the zoo and really likes it.

Baby Carrier

We started with a Ring Sling which I really loved while he was little and will continue to use for a while. We also purchased an ErgoBaby but hasn’t really worked until he was 3 months (you can buy an infant insert but it got pretty bad reviews on Amazon). Personally, the Ergo is more comfortable but the Ring Sling is easier to get on when I’m alone. I’m glad I have both.

Ergobaby Organic Carrier CollectionSleep

We chose to use an Arm’s Reach Co-sleeer instead of a bassinet or pack ‘n play. I loved being able to just open my eyes and see what he was doing when he made noises.

We were hoping to have him in the cosleeper attached to our bed longer than 4 weeks, but he was so noisy that I had a hard time sleeping so we moved him into his own room. We then moved it to his caretaker’s house and he slept in it until he was one.

Arm's Reach Natural Original Co-SleeperSpeaking of a pack ‘n play, we had one handed down to us. As of 15 months, we have only used the pack ‘n play twice!

Crib

We were fortunate enough to find a Pottery Barn Kids floor model crib for 65% off. It wasn’t on clearance so we were able to buy the matching toddler converter.

We also bought the waterproof mattress & changing table topper ($100 off!) from Pottery Barn, too.

Would I buy a Pottery Barn crib again? No. Louis as scraped off the “wood” finish with his teeth. I’m not concerned by the look of the crib because we’re not going to resell it, but more bothered by what he is digesting. Would I buy a toddler converter again? No. We will move Louis straight to a twin and give his crib to little brother. Maybe he’ll use the converter.

Crib Sheets:

We have 3 crib sheets (two from Target, one from Dwell Studio) and change them about once a week. It takes a while to get a full load of baby towels, wash cloths and sheets so this is the perfect amount for us.

Here is a good article on budget friendly sheets.

Baby Bag

I bought my baby bag from Zulilly for $175 off the retail price. I LOVE it because it has all these little pockets on the side.

After 7 months, I’ve found that just a large bag works perfectly fine for diaper bag. I was given a rather deep bag with pockets on the outside that works better than our baby bag. I suggest testing whatever bag you get on the handle of your stroller OR while you have your baby carrier on. If it fits, then that’s the one!

Since we use cloth wipes at home, I bought Seventh Generation Wipes in bulk (cheaper!) and use them while we’re out. They have no alcohol, synthetic cleaners, dyes or fragrances.

Traditional Swaddles:

When he was tiny, I really liked Summer Infant SwaddleMe both in the knit and fleece. We were handed down the small and when he grew out of it, we bought the large.

SwaddleMe-Micro-Fleece-(Green)

Our favorite is probably the Miracle Blanket. At first I was intimidated by it (when you’re not sleeping swaddles can seem very complicated). Now it wraps the tightest.

Miracle Blanket

We have a Halo Sleepsack Swaddle but it was not our ‘go to’ swaddle. I think the previous two are easier to use, but it definitely gets the job done.

Noise Machine:

We have the ever popular Sleep Sheep and have used it pretty often, but find buying a ‘white noise song’ (hairdryer, vacuum) from itunes for .99 works just as well (and it’s a lifesaver in the car). We think that the sleep sheep was waking Louis up because it stays on for about 30 mins and turns off. It’s not something we would buy again but some babies need that white noise and we’ll try it with baby #2.

At 15 months, he loves to play with the sheep! We just don’t use the noise part. Funny enough, at 2 years old Louis still plays with the sleep sheep (he thinks the rain sound is clapping).

Sleep SheepBlankets, Towels & Washcloths

If I was to register all over again, I wouldn’t have added these on my list because people LOVE to give you these items.

I really like our Bumkins organic towels and washcloths because they are so thick. Carters makes some nice thick towels too.

You need at least one set of the cheap, thin baby wash cloths. That is the only way to get into those tiny ears.

Itzbeen Baby Care Timer

The first few weeks are a haze. This little timer helps you remember when your baby ate last, was changed, etc. I also needed it so I could remember to take my Advil before the pain started back up. We don’t use it as much anymore and have moved on to a more complicated system called Baby Connect but I wouldn’t recommend that  until you’re looking for patterns, want to know how much he sleeps, etc.

Itzbeen Baby Care TimerMonitor

We chose Philips AVENT Basic Baby Monitor because it had the highest ratings on consumer reports for battery life. I have to admit, the battery life isn’t amazing, so I can’t imagine what the others are like. Otherwise, we are happy with our choice and have no complaints.

After using a couple different monitors, I realized that I really like the Avent Monitor we have. We don’t have any feedback and it has one of those little sensitivity monitors so you can actually see if he’s making noise. If I was to buy this product again, I would make sure I would have two handsets, not just one.

Philips AVENT Basic Baby Monitor I see why people have a video monitor now that Louis is rolling. When he starts fussing, typically he’ll fall back asleep…but not if he has flipped over. It would be nice to know if I should go upstairs or not, but at the end of the day it would be more about convenience than anything. If my living space was 2 floors away from the baby, I would buy one in a heartbeat!

Baby Bath

We were handed down the traditional plastic baby bath and frankly, I hate it. I’ve heard this tub is great and have seen it on Gilt (or Zulily?) for 50% off.

Here is a blog post about the PUJ Tub.

Puj TubA very inexpensive way to give baths.

Chairs & Swings

We were handed down the following items:

  • Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing – Ours was 6 years old but they still sell almost the exact same item today. This swing is wildly popular, but Louis didn’t love it (he would last 10 mins in it). I think because he really liked to focus on items and the swing didn’t let him. I would suggest registering for it or if you have to buy it yourself, look for second hand just in case your baby doesn’t like the swing.
  • Graco Silhouette Baby Swing – We gave the Papasan swing back to its rightful owners after we discovered Louis didn’t like it, but had a backup that we planned to give to my parents. They didn’t need it, so we tried this swing again at 3 months. He likes it a bit more now that he’s older. I think he likes this one better because he can sit up.
  • Fisher-Price Papasan Seat – Having some sort of seat is a must have item. PJ would (and still does) bring Louis into the kitchen while he cooks. If you have a huge child, like myself, you’ll be disappointed to figure out that this particular seat will last 2 months.
  • Fisher-Price Calming Vibrations Bouncer – Louis LOVES this chair. He kicks the areas where his feet go and it lights up the toys above his head. Once he grew out of the papasan seat, we move to this one. My parents (who watch Louis) have the Fisher-Price Infant-To-Toddler Rocker and my dad doesn’t like it that much.

Highchairs

Wow, who knew how difficult this one would be for us. When I opened the highchair box after Louis turned 6 month, I realized the one we purchased had a very girly fabric and I would prefer something more gender neutral.

We went to BBB and tested out all the options and realized the Graco Contempo Highchair was the best. It didn’t feel cheap, it folded flat, had wheels, the tray is very easy to get off/on and the seat was padded. And, it’s not crazy expensive!

Contempo™ HighchairAn unanticipated product we never knew we needed is the travel booster seat. We use it ALL the time! It stays in our car and we use it if we’re eating out or at a friend’s house. Also, we’ve used it plenty of times when friends come over to our house with their baby.

Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat

Clothes

I haven’t had to buy many clothes thanks to hand me downs, but have found a few favorite discount sites that I have bought from…

Baby Gap – NEVER buy full price! If you have one in the mall, they have a great clearance section. Sometimes they will do a 50% off all sale items and you’ll be able to get full outfits for around $10.

Old Navy – I have come back around and started liking Old Navy again. Their onsies are some of my favorite and I really like their thermals because it’s easy to over their little (or big in my case) head.

Zulily – Even though they love to feature girls clothes 99% of the time, I’ve purchased some great boys clothes that aren’t cheesy (why are boys clothes so cheesy?!).

Gilt – While this site can be rather expensive, I’ve found a couple things that I MUST have.

Toys

Play Gym I have admit, they look pretty terrible, but baby boy LOVES his play gym. We have the one where he can kick the keys with his feet and he gets down on it. No matter what you buy, I suggest that it has a mirror. Babies just LOVE to look at their selves!

Fisher-Price Discover 'n Grow Kick and Play Piano Gym

Manhattan Toy – We have the mobile, car seat wallpaper, rattle and soft tiles we use for tummy time. He literally cannot keep his eyes off these images.

Manhattan Toy

Sophie – He loves Sophie so much that we have one in the diaper bag, our house and my parent’s house.

Rhino Toys Oball – Easy to grip for those tiny baby hands.

Bumbo – get it from Craigslist for $15! If you have a big baby, they won’t last it very long.

Jumperoo – Louis is crazy about this toy. It takes up a lot of space, but he goes NUTS jumping for long periods of time.

Jumperoo

**Breastfeeding Must Haves

Nipple Cream

There was one point where if this was the only product I owned, I would have been happy. I suggest a tube for upstairs and downstairs. You’re going to need it! Since you’ll only need it for 2-3 weeks, Dr. Oz suggests using Lanolin as Chap Stick because it doesn’t slow the regrowth of skin cells like typical lip gloss.

Gel Pads

Just make sure you have 2-3 sets on hand. Trust me. J

Nursing Bra & Breast Pads

Get used to wearing these every day for as long as you nurse (or at least to sleep). I have 3 nursing bras that are triangle tops that just slide over (Motherhood Maternity Brand) and 4 nursing tanks (although 2 are too small).

It’s also easiest to nurse around the house in v-neck tops. American Apparel has a nice deep V that I like (previously owned) and Gap Body has deep v-necks with buttons on the front (and often discounted).

Pump

My midwife told me that the Hygeia breastpump is the only one on the market that allows you to use it through multiple children. All other pumps will degrade after what I would assume is a year of use. I personally have the Medela Pump in Style and will be doing research before child #2 to figure out if I need to buy a new one (and will because pumping is hard enough, I want to make sure mine is up to standards).

During a recent conference, I bonded with other pumping moms and they exposed me to a couple different pumps. One friend had a Medela Free Style, which I was really jealous of because I feel like I’m attached to my pump. Another friend is nursing until her child naturally weans herself and bought a hospital grade pump from ebay.

After working for a month or two, I realized I needed a hand pump as well. What do you do if you’re out at dinner for a couple hours? Bring your entire pump and plug in in the restroom? No, use your hand pump just to take off the pressure and do a proper pump when you get home. I’ve also used it on a 4 hour plane ride…and many, many other odd places.

Pump Accessories

Your pump will likely come with four 5oz bottles and 2 valves. Here are the items I need to make pumping easier:

–       At least 4-6 extra bottles & 2 extra valves of whatever brand your pump is

–       Extra bottles to pump in so you’re not washing 24/7

–       Hands free Breastpump Bra so you can multitask at work

–       A place for your wet bottles

–       Cleaning your bottles

–        If you’re a traveling mom, you’ll pull your pump parts out in lots of gross places (aka, airport bathrooms). I bought a small, planet wise wet bag to store my flanges instead of putting them directly in my pump bag.

Milk Holders

If you’re an over producer AND have a small freezer/fridge, you need a way to better store your milk. Trust me, I’ve tried to avoid products like this, but they are a life saver. Try to see if you have someone who will let you borrow!

The First Years Breastflow Milk Storage Organizer – If you have 100+ oz of frozen milk in your freezer, this helps stack them properly. I went months without one and am SO THANKFUL a friend let me borrow hers.

Mother’s Milkmate Breast Milk Storage Rack – I’ve never actually seen this product until today, but if I wasn’t 5 months away from not bfing any longer, I would buy this. My husband yells at me to freeze the milk because it starts to take over the fridge if there are too many bottles. Yes, we will have 10+ bottles of milk sometimes.

If you are an over producer, please consider donating your milk to a local milk bank or a swap program. Two local sites in Indy are Eats On Feets or Human Milk 4 Human Babies. Since I travel, I’ve used a lot of my frozen milk, but I’m thrilled to say I’m making my first donation at 7 months!

Bottles

One of the main mistakes I made when registering is putting a couple different bottles on my list without consideration of what is best for breastfeeding. We now have a nice set of bottles that may never be used because the flow is too fast or the nipple isn’t right.

If you are going to put some on your list I would suggest Tommee Tippee or Dr. Brown. If you’re breastfeeding, you want the flow of your bottle nipple to be very slow or nonexistent. You can test your nipples by filling them with water and turning them upside down. This way your baby will continue to work for the milk like he or she does at the breast.

**Update: My Tommee Tippee nipples have started to flow faster than the baby likes. We’re not sure if it’s from washing, boiling or something like that. We’ve started trying the nipples that came with the Medela pump.

Nursing Cover

If I was to do it all over again, I would NOT register for a hooter hider and instead register for the Aden and Anais swaddles (well, I did but nobody got them for me so I bought them myself). These are super light and swaddle nicely since they are so big. I used them early on as covers when I was nursing, will probably again but realized they are LARGER than my hooter hider and have more purposes:

http://www.adenandanais.com/learn/howtoswaddle.aspx (go to the part where it says “how to use as a multi-use blanket”).

We don’t use them as much as we did the first month but mainly because he needs to be Velcroed in a regular swaddle, but will probably break them out in the summer again.

Fun Links:

Nursing Mom Wear

Mama Natural Registry List (found this when my babe was 4 months old and use almost everything she suggested)

Another Useful Registry List

Yet ANOTHER List

Newborn List & List for babies 2-3 Months

I think this list is funny because it’s all the items Louis hates (except that blanket – those are our favorite). This is one of the reasons people try everything! Babies are very particular.

The best list ever of what to register for from real moms

Another list broken down by time frames

My cloth diaper review

Maternity Wear:

  • Blazers/jackets/cardigans – non maternity items
  • Jeans – Old Navy & Gap Maternity (I had to buy new jeans every couple months)
  • Tshirts & knit tops – Old Navy (believe it or not, their stuff is pretty good)
  • Tanks – Target (Liz Lang or whatever) & old navy. In fact, I still wear all my maternity tanks to this day (have one on now).
  • Splurge (really good quality items) – Isabella Oliver (some of the only tops that took me from 20 to 40 weeks) & Nordstrom (dresses for weddings and onsites)
  • Destination Maternity – but very few items, that place is too expensive for the quality
  • I also did a little shopping in Chicago. And I had a fair amount of hand me downs.

I spent a little too much money on maternity clothes mainly because dressing well made me feel good. I struggled with being pregnant and it’s the little things that help (me anyway).

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