Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Newborn Essentials

I can't believe Kennedy is already over two months old! Even though we've been in quarantine for nearly her entire life, time is truly flying by.  I'm trying to soak up and remember every moment of my time at home with my precious girl.

Today I am excited to share my favorite products that we've been using since Kennedy was born!  I also want to tell you about a few products that I registered for that did not hit the mark and what I wish I had instead.  I hope this information helps expecting mamas who are working on their registries or new mamas who are looking for great baby products for their newborns.

When I was creating my registry, it was important to me to include practical and good quality items, especially ones that can be used for multiple purposes and last through Kennedy's toddler years.  This was top priority to me since Kennedy's nursery is so small and we do not have a playroom to store a bunch of baby stuff.  Below are all of the products we use and love for Kennedy thus far! 

I LOVE the nuna PIPA car seat.  I actually snagged mine during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last year, so if you're expecting later this year, I highly recommend keeping on eye on that sale in July.  Not only is this car seat made of aerospace-grade aluminum making it extremely safe for babies, it is super light {just under 6 lbs}, very easy to install, and simple to get in and out of the car.  You'll also want to ensure you have a carseat cover, as it's important to protect your baby's airspace, especially as a newborn.  This also prevents strangers from touching your baby {you'd be surprised at how many try!}

I also scored the nuna MIXX stroller during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.  To be honest, I had my eye on the Uppabbay Vista stroller {you can purchase an adapter to use it with the nuna PIPA car seat}, but when I saw the sale price of the nuna, I couldn't justify spending the extra on the Uppababy.  The nuna MIXX has been great - it's lightweight and super easy to open and collapse, and I love the grey tweed with leather accents that match the newborn carrier.

 With that being said, although the Uppababy Vista is more expensive, it has a few characteristics that are better than the nuna Mixx, in my opinion.  First, the Vista works for a growing family.  You can buy a second seat for the stroller to hold two babies and another attachment for a toddler to stand on the back called a ride-along board {that's three kids on one stroller!}.  Next, it comes with a bassinet which I wish I had for our early walks with Kennedy.  It's much easier to lay a newborn in a bassinet for walks than to strap them into their carseat.  Uppababy also makes a bassinet stand that you can use for your baby to sleep in.  This would be great for traveling with your baby or to even use if you decide to co-sleep with your newborn.  Lastly, the basket on the Uppababy is MUCH bigger to hold all the things that come with transporting a child around.

While we're on the topic of strollers, if you're a walker / jogger / runner and are looking for a jogging stroller, I absolutely LOVE my Bob Revolution Flex 3.0.  The large tires and suspension system provide an extremely smooth ride and I'm able to steer it with one hand while running.  There's also an adapter for the nuna PIPA car seat!

Kennedy's nursery is upstairs in our house, but during the day I spend the majority of my time in the living room downstairs.  So we decided to set up our pack-n-play in the living room for convenience.  It has a changing table, storage cubbies on the side for diapers and wipes, and a bassinet that Kennedy naps in.  We also use the bottom portion to store Kennedy's larger items that we frequently use like her play gym, lounger, etc.  While it's not the most attractive piece of furniture in our living room, it is so nice to have quick and easy access to all of Kennedy's essentials without having to go upstairs.  We also plan to use the pack-n-play any time we travel with Kennedy as it folds up into a small carrying case.

What I love most about this pail is that it does not require special and expensive diaper pail liners.  This one works with regular kitchen trash bags.  We actually have two - one upstairs in the nursery and one downstairs next to the pack n' play.

This bassinet was a lifesaver while co-sleeping and breastfeeding Kennedy.  The base is adjustable which allowed Kennedy to sleep right next to me, while still safely in her own separate sleep area, reducing the risks associated with bed-sharing.  The mesh sides allowed me to keep my eyes on Kennedy at all times and were good for breathability.  My favorite part about the design is that its side wall lowers and automatically returns, which allowed me to pick Kennedy up to soothe, change her diaper, or breastfeed without having to leave the bed.  This is especially important in those early days when you're still recovering from childbirth. 

The Owlet is a smart sock that you put on your baby's foot to monitor their heart rate, oxygen levels, and sleep.  The base station glows green as long as your baby's levels are in the normal parameters, but notifies you with lights and sound if heart rate or oxygen is outside of the normal zone.  The app allows you to check your baby's levels at any time, receive notifications, and track all sleep history.

Since Kennedy is sleeping in her nursery now, it gives me such peace of mind to wake up in the middle of the night and see that base station glowing green.  Thanks to the Owlet, I am able to worry less and get more sleep.

Infant Optics DXR-8 Baby Monitor
We chose the Infant Optics baby monitor instead of the fancy Wi-Fi based monitors solely because of the news articles about creeps hacking into Wi-Fi cameras.  Wi-Fi based monitors, like the Nanit or Owlet Cam , definitely have lots of appealing functionality, but this one does everything we need it to do without having to worry about peeping toms!  It has interchangeable lenses so you can customize your viewing angle and you can zoom, move the camera, and talk remotely through the monitor.  I also like that the monitor is its own device {versus an app on your phone} so that you don't have to worry about it killing your phone battery by constantly running an app in the background.

This is a nightlight and sound machine in one that allows you to customize light color, brightness, sound, and volume from your phone.  You can set favorite programs and schedule them to turn on or off at specific times that support your sleep schedule.  I turn on a warm, dim light for middle of the night feedings so that I don't over stimulate Kennedy or myself so that we can both go back to sleep easily. 

I am still exclusively breastfeeding and I obviously have no idea how much milk Kennedy is drinking during any given feeding.  With this smart changing pad & scale, I can weigh Kennedy before and after a feeding to get an idea of how many ounces she drinks.  For my own peace of mind, I also weigh her each day to confirm that she's gaining weight appropriately from being exclusively breastfed.  What I love most is that it comes with an awesome app to track feedings, diapers, and sleep - it is a lifesaver!

Skip Hop Baby Bathtub
I actually don't own this bathtub, but I wish I did.  I chose the Boon Soak 3-Stage Bathtub for my registry because it can be used for newborns through toddlers.  In addition, unlike many other baby baths, it holds water so that I can bathe Kennedy on the counter vs. inside our bathtub which saves my back and knees.  What I don't like about the Boon is that   it does not have good support for a newborn's head and neck.  This makes it difficult for me to bathe Kennedy by myself as I have to hold her head and neck up at all times {since she can't hold her head and neck up on her own yet}.

The Skip Hop Baby Bathtub has all of the same features that I like about the Boon, but it also has a sling for newborns that helps support the a newborn's head and neck without you having to constantly hold it up.

Boppy Newborn Lounger
This is one of my most-used newborn items.  You've probably noticed on my Instagram that Kennedy sits, naps, and/or does tummy time in this newborn lounger every single day.  It only costs $40, which is significantly cheaper than the $200 Dock-a-Tot that basically does the same thing...with one exception.  A baby is able roll or slide out of the newborn lounger if you take your eyes off of them {don't ask me how I know that :) }.  Where as with the Dock-a-Tot, the rounded sides prevent the baby from going anywhere.

This is another item from my registry that I use all the time.  I put Kennedy in her Baby Bjorn Bouncer when I need to shower, cook, work, etc. and she LOVES it.  Its lightweight design makes it easily portable around the house and it folds up flat for storing.  It has a three different reclining positions good for sitting up or napping.  The fabric seat is removable and machine washable, too!  One of the most appealing traits is that it holds babies up to 30 lbs or 2 years old.  I also clip on this toy bar that keeps Kennedy busy with her hands and feet in addition to the bouncing.  Bonus - the toy bar  can also be attached to your stroller, carseat, or other swings / bouncers!

I have the Mamaroo and the Graco Duet Oasis Swing.  While I think they're both great, I like the Mamaroo more for a couple of reasons.  Most importantly for me, it is smaller and takes up significantly less room than the Graco.  Most importantly for Kennedy, it has 5 swing motion options, 5 speeds, and it can be controlled from an app on your phone.  The Graco Duet Oasis is a more affordable option, but it is complicated to assemble and takes up a LOT of room.

Boppy Comfyfit Carrier
Kennedy LOVES being in this carrier - it always puts her right to sleep.  It's super easy to put on by myself, made of extremely soft / stretchy material, and folds up into a small bag small enough to throw in your diaper bag.

I have both a shoulder bag diaper bag and this backpack diaper bag, and the backpack is significantly easier and more comfortable to carry all your baby's things.  The Freshly Picked bags are super cute, have all the pockets to keep things organized {including insulated pockets for bottles}, and it comes with a changing pad.  

I also really love HAPP diaper bags - they make both a shoulder bag and backpack.

Fisher Price Kick n Play Piano Play Gym
My grandmother bought this play gym for Kennedy and it has turned out to be our most used toy.  I love that it is perfect for all levels of development and ways to play.  As your baby grows from lay and play to tummy time to sitting up at the piano, you can change up the music and learning, too! The piano has four musical settings that you can change based on your babe's age / development.  The songs range from teaching your child about animals to colors to numbers.  Kennedy loves kicking the piano and listening to the cute songs while laying on her back and looking at herself in that mirror during tummy time.  This play gym is great for newborns up to 3 years old, so I know Kennedy will enjoy her kick n play for years to come!

Nested Bean Zen One Swaddle
This swaddle was a lifesaver for us!  Not only am I the world's worst swaddler, but Kennedy hates being swaddled with her arms by her side.  The Nested Bean Zen One Swaddle is designed for all kinds of sleepers.  You have the option to swaddle your baby's arms down in the velcro inner band or you can leave their arms up in the sleeves or you can unzip the sleeves altogether and let their arms out completely.  The sleeves are made out of quick-drying mesh which is great for babies, like Kennedy, that like to self soothe by sucking on their hands. It also zips from both the top and the bottom which allows you to change diapers without completely unsaddling them {this is super convenient for middle of the night diaper changes}.  All of Nested Bean's swaddles are lightly weighted on the chest and sides which mimics a parents' soothing embrace to help babies fall and stay asleep.

Little Sleepies Zippies
Kennedy spends 99% of her time in sleepers, and I finally found the PERFECT one.  It's the only one that I found that meets every single important sleeper requirement. It is made of super soft bamboo / stretchy material {this is good for babies with sensitive skin and since the material is stretchy, it will fit them longer}; it has both top and bottom zippers {top zipper is easiest for dressing and bottom zipper is essential for diaper changes}; it has fold-over hand mits {to prevent newborns from scratching their face}; it has fold-over feet {this is a good quality if you're using the Owlet smart sock or for babies that are learning to walk}; and most importantly, they have matching jammies for mama ;)

Other sleepers that I love {but lack in at least one of the requirements above} are Magnetic Me Modal Sleepers {no foldover hand mits};  Kyte Baby Zippered Footies {no foldover hand mits}, & Burts Bees Sleep n Plays {only zip from the top}.

Baby Brezza Sterilizer & Dryer
I use this contraption to sterilize and dry bottles, pacifiers, and pump parts in a flash.

Baby Brezza Formula Dispenser
This handy machine automatically dispenses a warm bottle instantly.  This is AMAZING for newborns who are formula fed or supplemented with formula.  It saves so much time, which is crucial, when you have a hungry baby in your hands.

Other products that I use daily and love:

If you've made it this far, WOW.  I hope you found this information helpful and I'm happy to answer any questions about any of the products I mentioned!  All my experienced mamas out there - what were your go-to newborn products?? Tell me in the comments below!

As always, thank you so much for shopping through my links.  I truly appreciate your support to keep this little blog up and running!

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