Little Man is three weeks old today and we are just starting to get in the hang of it. I'd attach some pictures of him here, but my wife thinks it is a little weird to circulate pictures to strangers. If you are curious what he looks like imagine any baby you've seen (with a lot of hair) decked out head-to-toe in New England Patriots gear. Now that I've cleared out all the New Yorkers and Pittsburghers (Pittsburghians?), let's continue on.
With that full slate of 21 baby-raising days under my belt, I'm clearly expert enough to go through and declare some of the best products in the industry, right? Okay, don't answer that. Let's just go with the things that we've found helpful to us.
Baby Calming Products
- The Happiest Baby on the Block - This was recommended by our hospital and it is critical to calming Little Man. Much of the stuff is Baby 101 (soothing Shhh sounds, swaddling, rocking motion, pacifier), but the thing I missed was turning him on his side or on his stomach (while holding him in his swaddle). Also, unlike the baby classes we went to, being able to rewind and get the information again (with the baby) is very helpful. If you have Netflix, save some money and just rent it.
- Swaddles - Even with the blanket-folding technique outlined in the Happiest Baby on the Block video, my baby burrito-making skills are not up to par. These sacks make it easier... much easier to create a
baby straight-jacketcomforable womb-like environment for Little Man.
- Philips Soothie Pacifier - We have a Nuk pacifier that has an odd design. From the second Amazon review on this Soothie review, it seems like that Nuk is better for oral development, but Little Man won't use it. This product makes the same claims as helping with oral development and he loves it. Other than mom's built-in juice factory, this is the best thing I've found.
Baby Travel Products
- NFL New England Patriots Diaper Bag - Remember that Patriots thing that I said at the beginning? My wife doesn't share the same level of fanaticism that I do and quietly steers clear of most things with a Patriots logo... but not this bag. This bag is so well-designed functionally that she returned her high-end designer bag that she got as a luxury item for herself. And if the Patriots aren't your thing, I understand, chances are they make the same one with your favorite team's logo sewn in.
- Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller - We did a ton of research and it seemed to down to this stroller and the Bob Revolution. Over 80% of the people we see in Northern California seems to have one or the other. I was a Bob Revolution fan as it seemed bigger and sturdier, but my wife won me over with the lighter City Mini. The clincher was the one-hand pull fold. Once you use it, it's hard to go back.
- Babee Covee (6-in-1 Luxury Baby Blanket) - It's hard to make a case for a blanket with a slit in it to be worth $40, but here goes. It's super-soft... like the softest thing you ever felt kind of soft. I often buy my clothes on how soft they are rather than how they look, so this is very important to me. My wife loves it as a nursing cover and it is perfect as a stroller cover. When you have limited space in a diaper bag, it's convenient to have something like this that does that double duty and works as a general blanket.
The Other Stuff
- Graco Pack 'N Play with Newborn Napper Elite - This isn't the exact version of what we have, but it has all the features that have proved helpful for us. The newborn napper is a great place to put Little Man to sleep. The changing table on right in the picture is perfect when paired with the pockets on the right for supplies (diapers, powder, etc.).
- Snuggle Nest Surround - Dozens of people told us about dozens of products, but this is the one item that no one mentioned... and it's been one of the best. When we switched him to this from a Moses Basket raised off the ground, he slept a lot better. My wife could reach in and grab him to feed in the middle of the better. Lastly, since our living room is too small to fit the Pack 'N Play above, we had no easy place to put him while we watch television. This fits on the couch and gives him a good place to nap.
- Fuzzi Bunz Cloth Diapers - My wife wanted to try cloth diapers. Everything that we read said that they had major advantages: they are reusable (keeping costs low even with laundry factored in) and environmentally friendly (saves on trash). On the cost savings front, The Simple Dollar has A Real-World Analysis of Cloth Diapering, and it doesn't look to be a big cost savings, but his cost of diapers were also far more than ours. We spent about $250 on Fuzzi Bunz, which is a good deal cheaper than the $700 collection that he has.
I'd like to finish up with a couple more non-product tips that we've learned. They aren't remarkable and probably fit in the realm of common sense, but I'll mention them anyway. The best thing we've learned is to take shifts sleeping at night. I know it sounds pretty basic, but until recently Little Man wasn't taking a bottle meaning that my wife was required to get up every 2-3 hours for feeding. The other thing we've learned is that most everything at Babies 'R Us is available elsewhere... much, much cheaper. Target has most of the baby supplies (along with Amazon as mentioned above) and TJ Maxx and Marshalls have plenty of clothing options.
Got a newborn baby (or even older) product or tip to shape? Please leave it in the comments.
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