Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby gear I didn't know that I needed until I did

Emery boards- baby fingers are so little and their tiny fingernails are really thin. I was so nervous about using nail clippers in the beginning! I stuck with baby emery boards for the first few weeks until I was brave enough to use the nail clippers. I wish I had packed some in the hospital bag because Mr. O was born with long nails and he scratched that perfect little face before the end of his first day. I still keep an emery board in the diaper bag just in case I have to file down a nail that snuck past inspection.

Mirror for the car seat - I hated not being able to see the baby while I was driving and holding up a compact make-up mirror only worked if I was the passenger. I started out with the kind of mirror that attaches to the car but that wasn't too helpful when we were in someone else's car. I returned the fancy expensive one that I had and bought the kind that attaches to the bucket for $10 and it is by far the best baby gear purchase I have made so far! It allows me to see the baby while I'm driving and interact with him via our mirrors, it entertains him while he's stuck in the bucket at the grocery store and now that he's older he likes to play with the spinning balls and talk to the baby in the mirror. I can only imagine what people are saying about that strange lady making goofy faces and bug eyes in her rear view mirror!

Night light - Before baby I would sleep in total darkness and even had to turn my alarm clock away from me because the lighted numbers were too bright. Once baby arrived I just couldn't relax unless I could see him clear enough to tell if he was breathing. The first few weeks I slept with my bedroom light on but it was too bright so I stepped down to a 25 watt table lamp and now I'm surviving with a tiny plug-in night light.

Night light part 2 - Driving at night was rough for both of us. He doesn't like the dark and is very vocal about letting everyone in a 5 mile radius know and I don't like not being able to see him. I tried using one of those tap lights but the light was distracting to me and it wasn't too baby friendly. I ended up finding the perfect light for us - a TykeLight Jr. LED light. It's safe for Mr. O to handle because it doesn't get hot and he likes to stick the arms in his mouth (because everything goes in his mouth these days!) and it gives off enough of a glow that he's calmer about the dark and I can see what he's up to but it isn't so bright that I'm distracted while driving.

Keeping baby out of the sun while out for walks - We went to Florida to visit my sister and the Mouse and I was worried about keeping the baby out of sun while we were walking around the parks. I used a clip-on umbrella and strategically placed receiving blankets and it did the job but it required constant vigilance to make sure that the make-shift contraption was positioned just right as the sun's rays shifted through out the day. It was after I got home that I discovered the perfect sun shade with bonus bug protection. Uppa baby makes a pop up bubble screen that fits over most car seat buckets. That combined with the clip-on umbrella (hey! It has a sock monkey print how could I not keep using it?!) kept Mr. O shaded and bug bite free all summer. I also like that it's easy to fold flat and doesn't take up a lot of room when not in use.

Anyone else have a few favorite baby gear finds that they didn't know they would need and/or love?

Baby stuff I just had to have but didn't really need

Baby shoes:
Aren't those tiny little baby shoes the cutest things you've ever seen? How can you not buy them for your baby? Save your money! While I was pregnant I remember looking everywhere for just the right kind of fuzzy little booties that would keep my end of winter baby's tootsies warm. Well, he never wore them. He also never wore the dozen or so other too cute to pass up little shoes that found their way to my house. His feet were either covered up by his clothes or with socks. Once summer arrived his little toes were naked and available for quick nibbles and kisses. Shoes? Other than a photo op I never even considered putting them on him. Now that we're swing back to cooler weather and his feet are a little bigger I'm still sticking with socks. Ok, I did buy these too cute to pass up biker boots that I just had to have the other day to match his new fleece biker jacket. I need help!

Baby shorts:
I thought I would be dressing Mr. O in complete outfits everyday - even if we were staying home. Ummm, nope! Some days it was just too hot to wear anything more than a diaper and a onesie. I just packed away his summer stuff and I was a little sad to see just how many things he never wore.

Swaddling gear:
The Blanket seemed to be at the top of everyone's must have list for baby so of course I had to have them too. Those fancy swaddling contraptions with the velcro wings were all washed and ready to go before baby arrived and once he was here I used them exactly zero times. Mr. O was swaddled up nice and tight for the first few weeks and the receiving blankets we rescued from the hospital worked perfectly so I never busted out the Miracles. I wish I had waited to wash them so that I could have returned them.