There are many more things than I have listed here that have also helped us survive, but I thought I would narrow it down to the most helpful items. Some of these things I discovered on my own. Some were recommended from other moms; some gifted. All are wonderful. Enjoy!
Toys: Momentary Bliss
1. Soothe & Glow Seahorse - This was a gift that Olivia has had since birth and soothes her right to sleep. It's portable and it glows for light utility and babies are drawn to light. It has multiple songs which I have memorized in order. It's hard to believe she used to be nearly the same size as this little thinkg and I would support her back with it during her naps.Washable!
2. Sassy O Links - Also a gift that keeps on giving. These go everywhere. The stroller, the activity jumper, the changing table, the car. EVERYWHERE. She loves grabbing them, biting them, shaking them, throwing them and they link togethe to connect to anything. Buy multiples!
3. Baby Einstein Lights and Melodies Discovery Center - Another gift! I was skeptical about this one, b/c I thought it would be the same as her Boppy play gym, but this thing is ANOTHER LEVEL. An experienced mom, gave me this and told me that this would give me a solid 20 minutes maybe more. She is a genius and I silently thank her every time I use it. It also grows with baby--love that!
4. Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper - This was Olivia's gift from Santa. Thanks Santa. We decided on this jumper over others, because it folds and can be put away--although we have never put this puppy away and never will. We love music, so Olivia has learned to dance in this jumper when we dance in front of her or clap. It's so cute.
5. Cloud B Sleep Sheep Sound Machine - I use this interchangeably with the seahorse and prefer the on-the-go version over the big one for its versatility. It has a 20 min or 45 min timer settting. Volume control is great. Washable! It velcros to the bed and gets packed on all overnight trips. I like the ocean sound the best. Charm City Daddy likes the whale sounds best. Olivia likes them all!
* Honorable Mention: Little Lamb Swing - only an honorable mention because I wanted to only choose 5 items, but this one is easily my favorite item, particularly in the early days for all of the sleeping newborns do. Now the toy attachments and mobile are great distractions for momentary bliss.
Feeding: When Hunger Strikes
1. Baby Bjorn Bibs - Gift. When Olivia started solids, this is the only bib that makes sense to use otherwise you'd be piling up laundry with crusty cloth bibs. Who wants that? The "bucket" on the bottom is handy. This contours on her comfortably and wipes clean. Love that!
2. Prince Lionheart Bebe Pod Plus (Orange) - Gift. While this resides in the kitchen now, it started off in our bedroom b/c that little "Price Is Right Wheel" that snaps into the tray is a wonderful, wonderful thing. The toy occupies baby while you prepare food (hers or your own). The placemats make for easy clean up, and the little nob make the pod a versatile seat for anywhere in the house. Did I mention how wonderful the wheel is? Absolutely wonderful. Only setback, Olivia's fat legs may not fit under the tray for much longer.
3. Similac Ready-To-Feed 2 Ounce Bottles - Lifesavers! Church. Restaurants. Mall. Car. You name it. Nipple ready and perfectly proportioned in 2oz increments, so I can just open them in rapid succession until the hunger is satified without wasting any! Yay! Don't leave home without them.
4. Avent Trainer Handles - You can buy these separately or you can just pull them off of Avent Magic Sippy Cup like I did and put them on your Avent bottle. Either way, you will be one step closer to giving yourself and your baby independence in holding her own bottle. Freedom is around the corner.
5. Boon Squirt Baby Food Dispensing Spoon - Great for at-home OR on-the-go. To me, it doesn't make sense to put baby food that's already in portable plastic containers in this spoon, so I prefer to use it for cereals and oatmeal. I mix them right inside the orange handle and serve without messing up other dishes/utensils. It works beautifully with one hand
leaving the other one free to text message, feed yourself, or place squarely on your hip for sass and has a cap for portability or saving food for later.
Go Gear: Go Baby Go
1. Joovy Kooper Umbrella Stroller - Yes, that's right. I am recommending this stroller over my other one. OMG! It's portable, lightweight, easy to use/fold, stylish, enormous canopy, lots of storage. The manufacturer says don't use it until your baby is 6 months, but I reclined it all the way back and inserted a #5 and Olivia was perfectly safe at 2 months old on the streets of New Orleans.
2. JJ Cole Bundle Me/ Bundle Me Lite - I recommend and own both of these mini sleeping bags. One is like a fleece lined windbreaker (Lite) the other is like faux shearling coat. I've used them on strollers and the infant car seat. It's tough enough getting your babe buckled up without bulky coats and this solves that by providing warmth/protection over the baby. Many use blankets that fall and get nasty. Make the investment in this folks. You can also pull it over the baby completely too--a lovely little cocoon wherever you go.
3. Baby Bjorn Carrier - Pregnant couples (mostly dudes) stop and ask us if we like this thing all the time. They are most concerned with whether it is comfortable for men's broad shoulders. It is. It is very easy to use. We have two. I think that says it all.
4. SafeFit Baby In Sight Mega Mirror - Recommended by a fellow mommy. You may wonder how does seeing your baby help if you are driving anyway? Get it, and you'll understand. It allows you to quickly see what the problem is so you can FIX it: lost pacifier, sun in eyes, toy out of reach, tired, hungry (rooting). Yeah, just get it and thank me (and the mommy who told me about it) later.
5. (not pictured) Kiddopotamus Snuzzler - I've used this a lot more than I thought I would, particularly when traveling and the car service shows up with a toddler car seat for your 2 month-old. It pretty much stays in the Joovy stroller.
* Honorable Mention: Baby Bjon Carrier Cover - If you own the Bjorn Carrier and live in a cold climate, owning this is not an option; it is a necessity. It fits snuggly and fastens on so it ain't going nowhere. We use it shopping, and even used it today at Nationals Park for fan day.
Well that's it! Still with me? A review of cloth diapers is also coming soon. Lots to talk about there, so come on back.
*I was not compensated or gifted any items to review for this post.