Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby Supplies Review- updated



I'm so lucky that I have three sisters who had babies before me, so I could get all the scoop on the latest and greatest baby products. One of my good friends even posted her favorite baby products on her blog to help me out, and it was a huge help!! I'm sure that without their help, I would have bought way too much of the wrong stuff.

So even though I'm no expert, I thought I'd share my favorites, and some of my not-favorites!

My first piece of advice: Research before buying. Early on in my pregnancy I made a wish list on amazon of all the things I knew we would eventually need. I checked it often to see how prices fluctuated and I learned what a good deal was for each product. This alone literally saved me hundreds of dollars. Then when I happened to be at walmart, target, or babies-r-us, I'd compare prices. 90% of the time, amazon was the cheapest deal, especially if you're a student and can get free 2-day shipping with amazon prime. If you start looking early, then you usually get yourself a really good deal! I bought most of my stuff within the last month of the pregnancy.

Anyways, here we go!




First off,
Books:

(We didn't take a class at the hospital because there weren't any that fit into our schedule and I didn't want to fork out $70. In the end, I'm glad I didn't take a class. I felt like reading these books was just as helpful).
  • The Big Book of Birth. I liked this one, but it definitely is geared more toward a natural labor, which I was never interested in. It did give me a really good understanding of what would happen in labor though, so that was helpful. If you're wanting to go natural, this book is perfect for you. But otherwise, it wasn't my favorite.
  • The Birth Partner. It was really important to me that G know as much about labor as I did. I wanted him to know his stuff so that he could help me make decisions in the heat of labor, and if I wasn't in a position where I could make a decision, I needed him to be educated enough to make a wise call. We both read this book and we both learned tons about the labor process. We loved it. We skipped most of the sections of doula's though, since that didn't apply to us. I really think it helped him be a better birth partner too. He knew what to expect from me, how to be supportive, and even certain pressure points to help relieve pain. 
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block. This book was SO repetitive, I'm pretty sure it all could have been summed up in like 20 pages. It's good information though, so I'd recommend that everyone skim through it. We apply the "5 S's" on a daily basis and it really helps Rae.
  • Baby Wise. There's a lot of controversy around this book. My advice: read it and see if it works for you. I've found that the majority of the baby wise program is really natural to Raegan. It taught me how much and how often she should be eating, and how much and often she should be sleeping. It's basically been the basis for her entire schedule. At 8 weeks, she was sleeping from 8pm to 6am, with a dream-feed at 11pm that we'd wake her up for. It was really nice. But, it doesn't work for all babies, so just see if it works for you. I still always go with what I think is best for her, which means if she's acting hungry before she should be hungry, I always feed her. And if she's really tired, I'll let her sleep even though I might be paying for it later. But overall, it's really worked for us.
  • Easy Labor. Has anyone else noticed that it's really hard to find books for us mom's who want an epidural? I loved this book! I'd recommend it to anyone who plans on using medicine to relieve pain during labor! It taught me about all my options and the pro's and con's of each method. It gave me good questions to ask and totally preped me for what to expect. This was my favorite labor book!


Necessities:

Diapers:
I like Huggies. I tried out Pampers, and didn't hate them, but I found myself changing Rae way more often because the diaper filled up quicker. So even though Pampers are cheeper, they ended up costing more since the Huggies lasted longer.

  • Where to buy: The best deal I could find was through AmazonMom. I got a box of 234 Huggies for 35.99 which comes out to....wait for it....15 cents per diaper. Pretty good. It's free to sign up for AmazonMom, but to get the full discount you have to 'subscribe' to a monthly shipment of diapers. So, I subscribed, got my diapers, and then unsubscribed. I haven't been able to find size 2 on amazon for some reason though, and I heard that costco is the next best place to buy diapers, but they don't have sizes n or 1.
  • Update: Rae is now 11 months, and we use costco (kirkland) diapers exclusively. We switched over when she hit size 2 (side note: they do not carry newborn size), and have never gone back. Actually, once the huggies brand was way on sale so we tried them out again, and they were constantly leaking...and we are very quick to change her. Every 3 or so months, they have an instant rebate of 5 bucks off, so we stock up! We love them, and all of our friends love them. I do have one friend that has a baby boy and says they aren't as good for boys....but my sister has two boys who do great in them. 
Wipes:
I buy the Kirkland brand from Costco. It's a huge box...I haven't even gone through the whole thing yet and Rae is almost 3 months old. And that's saying something because pretty sure G used like 10 wipes per diaper change for the first few weeks. We got some Huggies wipes from one of my baby showers and I really don't like them. I found them to be a little bit dry and they didn't clean up as easily as the kirkland ones.
  • Where to buy: Costco, obviously. The box comes with 9 packages of 100 wipes each. Each case has it's own dispenser so I just keep a case by her changing table, one in the living room, and one in her diaper bag. The box is $15.99, on sale (which comes to 1.5 cents per wipe).

Baby Monitor:
I'm pretty paranoid, so it was worth it for me to get a video monitor. I got the Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor....wow, think they gave it a long enough name? Anyways, it's great! My sister has had hers for almost 18 months now and it's still in great working condition! Don't buy this from anywhere except amazon! And watch it for a few weeks because the price fluctuates a lot. I saw it go from $180 to $220 and back to $180 in a matter of days. Luckily we got an amazon gift card as a baby gift so that helped us afford it. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to just check on her through the video instead of sneaking into her room to make sure she's okay. I can also look to see if she's just whining in her sleep and I can wait it out and let her fall back to sleep, or if she's really awake and I need to go get her. 
Some of my favorite features: 
  • Great battery life...lasts all day. 
  • I can adjust the camera angle and pan the room from the monitor (which means I don't have to go in the room and risk waking up baby).
  • Later on I'll be able to add another camera to the same monitor and watch/listen to both babies.
  • Crazy amazing night vision. I can see Rae perfectly even in a pitch black room.
  • Even when the video is off on the monitor, there's still the light spectrum that lights up according to the loudness of Rae's cries. 
  • There's a zoom feature.
  • You can also adjust the brightness of the video screen which is nice so I don't get blinded in the middle of the night.
One thing I don't like about it: If the battery dies, it doesn't beep to notify me. I'm worried that one of these day's it'll die and I won't know it and so I won't know that Rae is crying. But, that hasn't happened yet. Also, the battery won't last all day if you use the video feature too much. But I use it plenty and I haven't had a problem with it yet.

Swing:
My Little Snugabunny from Fischer Price. I'm telling you, this thing is worth it's weight in gold! Sometimes it's the only way I can get a shower in during the day. Rae loves it, and is fascinated by the rotating bird mobile and her reflection up above her. The cheapest ones are from amazon or walmart, but we had a gift card to Babies R Us and it was $80 more expensive there. Luckily! They price match!  So remember that if you have to buy anything else there. 
Features I love:
  • 6 different speeds of swinging.
  • 4 different sounds.
  • Bird mobile and mirror rotate which Rae loves.
  • It can be battery powered or plug into the wall. My sister has the My Little Lamb version which she loves, but it doesn't plug into the wall which was a big con for me. Luckly, the Snugabunny is plugs in and is cheaper, so it worked perfect for us! 
Things I don't love about it: It's got a pretty big base. It doesn't look like it takes up tons of space, but the base is surprisingly huge. Also, some of the reviews said that theirs began making a loud click with each swing. Mine doesn't do this, but just to be safe I bought the $20 extended warranty which also protects me from little things like ripped fabric or the motor going out. Update: Rae is now 11 months and no longer uses the swing, but it never started making any clicking noises and we packed it up tight, ready to use for baby numero dos....someday :)


Carseat:
We got the Chicco Keyfit. The chicco keyfit is the safest rated carseat, which is obviously what we wanted. But it's also one of the most expensive carseats. To me it was worth a few extra bucks, so we counted it as my birthday present. And here's how I saved a few bucks:
  • At most stores, they go for around $200. But I got mine brand new, from Amazon (not some random seller who I couldn't trust) for $130. So keep your eyes out for a good deal.
  • There's 2 versions of this carseat. There's the keyfit30, which is safe for a child up to 30 pounds. Or a keyfit22, which is safe for a child up to 22 pounds. We went with the keyfit22 because, 1) It's a lot cheaper. and, 2) I haven't met a kid who is still in their carrier car seat at 22lbs; usually by then they're in a front facing big-kid car seat. So I didn't see a need for that extra 8lb weight limit. 3) It weighs less, and I've got weak arms. 
  • Update: I wish we had forked out some extra mulah and gotten the keyfit 30. Rae's a chunker and I'm pretty sure she's already at 22 pounds. I don't want to put her forward facing quite yet (because of new safety recommendations), and the rear-facing upright carseats just take up so much room. After about 20 pounds we stopped carrying her around in the carseat anyways, and just left it installed in the car. But it's significantly smaller than an upright carseat, so I wish we could use it for a bit longer. 

Stroller:
I was gifted the City Mini Baby Jogger. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It works well as a jogging stroller, but it's also small enough to push around the mall and maneuver around clothes stands. It's very light weight and fits great in my tiny trunk. It's got a quick-fold strap that lets me fold it up with just one hand, which is really handy when I've got my other hand full of a baby. I can maneuver it really well with just one hand, which is a necessity when trying to open doors and push a stroller through by myself. It's also really light. The only con I can think of is that the basket underneath the seat is pretty skimpy, but it hasn't been a problem for me yet. Surprisingly, this was a rare case where the product was more expensive on Amazon. We got ours from Babies-R-Us on a good sale. 

Changing Table:
With funds on the smaller side, I couldn't bring myself to buy Rae a full-on changing table. I wanted something that would add to a cute nursery, but would also be easy to move (since I know we won't be in provo forever), and that would we could use for a long time. I opted for the expedite shelving unit from Ikea. G attached these besta' legs to add a little height. It's perfect. It's also really convenient because, I don't know about you, but keeping all those tiny onesie's, sleepers, and pants folded and organized is impossible. So I just throw them all in these little white bins (also found at ikea). It's the perfect way to store all her clothes, socks, and hairbands/flowers, as well as stack books, and display cute toys and pictures. And I know that it'll continue to be useful as she grows up too, since it's not limited to just a changing table. 


Breast Pump:
I was able to get my hands on a Medela Pump, and let me tell you, it was heaven! I had the double, it was electric, and it had a freestyle option. Since I had supply issues, and made way to much at the beginning, it was the only way I could get some relief. Also, it was quick and efficient. It was never painful either. I've heard that most pumps only get about 50% of the milk in a sitting, but I'm confident that the Medila emptied me out...at least most of the way. Also, it's battery powered (with a charger), which was great for road trips. I could just pump in the car and bottle feed Rae, instead of stopping to feed her. It would have taken forever to get anywhere. There were a few times where I needed to test my supply, so instead of breastfeeding I would pump every 2-3 hours to see how much I was making. This was when I was so glad that I had a good, electric, double pump. Luckily I didn't have to buy it, but knowing what I know, I would have tried to scrounge up the money anywhere, because it was worth it. Update: After just a few months the suction was quickly decreasing. One quick call to Medela and they overnighted brand new products and it's working amazing again. I didn't have a receipt to prove that it was less than a year old (since it was a gift), but they trusted me without question. Huge perk! 

Other favorites:

The JJ Cole Diaper Caddy. I didn't want to have to go into Rae's room every time she needed a diaper change, so this was my perfect solution! We keep it in the living room where we spend most of our time and it's great! It even comes with a waterproof changing mat which has saved our couch and floor many-a-times. A lot of times we lay Rae on it when we let her chill on the couch for a little bit. That way if she spits up or drools or has a blow-out, our couch is protected. She a big fan of peeing as soon as we pull her dirty diaper away when we're changing her, so we can't risk not having a mat under her. It's been a major lifesaver! I got mine from Amazon, but a few weeks ago I saw some cuter and cheaper one's on sale on gilt

I wanted a wrap or sling to carry Rae around in when we were out and about. I heard good and bad things about the Moby wrap and other carriers like the Bjorn and Ergo. I heard that the Moby was difficult to get right, loosened after a few minutes of carrying baby, and took a long time to get on...but some people love it. I liked the Bjorn but word on the street was that it caused really bad back-pain fairly quickly. And with the Ergo, you can only carry baby on your back, and I liked the option of carrying Rae on my chest too. I couldn't decide which one to get, and they're all pretty pricy, so I didn't want to make the wrong decision. Somehow I stumbled upon the K'tan baby carrier. It's basically an already-done-for-you-Moby-wrap. I found mine for about $40. I've used it a couple times and so far I really like it. G thinks the wraps are a little more girly, so he still wants us to get a more heavy duty carrier, but we haven't decided between the Bjorn or Ergo. Update: The K'tan was awesome, and I am glad I bought it instead of a moby wrap. It does get a bit harder to use as they get older. I ended up using my sisters old bjorn....I love it! Really comfortable, Rae could sleep in it, my back never hurt, straps are easy to adjust between me and my hubby, and it's easy to put Rae in it when I'm by myself. 


I really wanted a good glider or rocking chair, but all of the quality one's were out of our budget. The only brand that fit our price range was Stork Craft, but they had too many negative reviews for me to trust them. Then one day, Amazon was having a great deal on the Shermag Glider Rocker Combo. My criteria for a glider was: Good quality, comfy cushion, footstool-glider included, high reviews, and our budget was around $150. This glider is usually listed on Amazon for $250-300, but they were having a two-day sale where it was only $160, with free 2-day shipping and free returns if I didn't like it. We LOVE it! Having a glider has been really nice to breastfeed in and rock Rae to sleep in. I'm sure it'll also be a big part of our bed-time routine later on when we read books in it before going to sleep. 


Baby Soap: I LOVE California Baby. My sister gifted it to me, and I immediately fell in love. It lathers super easily, is tear free, all natural/organic, and smells amazing. Plus it's super soothing and leaves Rae's skin so soft and kissable. I also used it myself those first few weeks after labor and it was really nice. It's a little pricy, but it lasts forever. I like the Calming body wash/shampoo and I only use the lotion when Rae needs it on her legs and arms. 

Bottles:
Since breastfeeding hasn't gone exactly how I expected, we've had to turn to bottle feeding Rae a lot of the time. We use Similac Advance formula, which seems to sit well with Rae. And we use Dr. Brown bottles. I've heard from multiple people that these are the best bottles, and they seem to work for Rae, so we like them! (sn: even if you plan on fully breastfeeding, you'll probably still need a few bottles for those times when you pump. plus it was nice for g to feed rae once in a while.)

Binkies:
The only pacifier that Rae takes is the MAM brand. All the other kind seemed to choke her, or she couldn't get a good hold on it. We tried 4 or 5 different brands before finding this one. 

Burp Cloths: I'm pretty sure it's impossible to have too many burp cloths. Before I was pregnant, I got a pack of 4 and thought that that would be plenty. Just typing that out made me laugh. I keep one in almost every room of the house, and two in her diaper bag. I don't know what brand we use, but I'm pretty sure it's just the cheap one's that can also be used as cloth diapers.

Blankets: I wish I had waited to buy blankets until my baby shower because I got a lot there. But I'm pretty sure it's hard to have too many blankets, so it's okay. Our favorite blankets are the aden + anais and the swaddle designs brand. They're so soft, the perfect size, perfect for swaddling and such cute patterns. If we hadn't been gifted them, I don't know if we would have gotten them because they're kinda spendy. That being said, since we've had them, I've realized that they're totally worth it. We use those blankets more than any other kind. This is what I've learned about blankets in general:

  • It's good to have a variety of kinds. 
    • Fleece/plush are perfect for taking Rae out in the cold, or when we bundle her after a bath. But they won't hold a swaddle, so don't even try it.
    • The aden + anais  and swaddle design brand blankets are great for a swaddle, but since they're so soft they kinda stretch and she can usually get an arm out. We don't mind though because she's still wrapped enough to keep her asleep. We also like them because they're cozy but light, which was perfect for the hot summer temperatures.
    • When we want a good, tight, and secure swaddle we use just the cheap cotton blankets that have no stretch at all. We're starting to use those at night when she's got a long stretch of sleep. Having a few of these is totally a necessity. 



Well....that ended up being about 1 million times longer than expected. I know that all of this isn't necessity, and what worked for me might be different than what works for you. But I just thought I'd share what I've learned. Maybe it'll help someone.

xoxo.

Love,
K



1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for leading me here. This has helped a lot! I will probably be coming back to reread as I go haha. I just hope I can find some of these products in Australia. :)

    ReplyDelete

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