Welcome to Day 2 of A Week of Sundays!
The first year of a baby's life can be full of challenges. But life has taught me the harder the challenge, the better the reward. If the challenges of carrying, delivering and then nurturing a baby were only as difficult as our culture suggests, there would never be second or third babies... am I right?! Being a mom has made my life better than ever and I love, love my new role despite the struggles that come along with it. Obviously we didn't (and couldn't!) do this alone. We have a wonderful support system in our lives and a lot of people who really love Sunday that have helped us out tremendously this past year. And as cheesy as this sounds, I am also going to credit some awesome products for helping to take some of the hard work off our shoulders as well. So, this is a shout out of thanks to the genius men and women (but mostly moms!) who make time in their busy schedules to invent and sell such practical items!
Tommy and I came up with a pretty large list of our "must haves" for the first year of a baby's life. Since I know all babies are different, I decided to split the lists into practical/generic and personal/convenient. Every item that made the following list is something Tommy and I found helpful for us and not dependent on Sunday's opinion. Or in other words, I tried to keep this list as generic as possible so as to help as many other new moms as possible. Stay tuned tomorrow for some more personal choices of products that helped make life more convenient for our family and our way of living.
These are the things we will definitely be keeping around (or purchasing updated versions) for the next Cook babe:
Obviously a car seat is a newborn necessity. We loved our Chicco carseat for three big reasons:
1) The safety reviews were most excellent.
2) The big orange button near babies' feet that loosens the straps for easy removal. No fighting the seatbelt! No squeezing or tugging! We loved the convenience of being able to loosen and tighten the straps so easily. We'll never buy a car seat without this option!
3) It is both sturdy and light. I was surprised to handle other carseats of some of my friends babies and they really just felt like a cheaper plastic. I love how sturdy this brand of carseat is.
We opted out of a video monitor. The truth is, I really just didn't want to be obsessive about checking on Sunday. I knew the more I tried to know everything about every breath she took and every position she was in, the more I would stress myself out. I also believe in God's provision and that He would let me know if something needed my attention if my non-video monitor wasn't doing its job. I found a lot of peace in that.
We loved our Angel Care Monitor for the following reasons:
1) It would only come on on after being triggered by a sound. So as a brand new baby (at 2 weeks old Sunday moved into her own room), this was priceless. As an infant, Sunday made a lot of noises while she slept. The monitor would only come on after the first noise so if she wasn't really waking up (if it was just a fluke dream noise), I wouldn't hear anything. But if she was waking up and continued to make noises, I would hear her. This was such a huge relief that helped me sleep so much better at night, especially in the beginning!
2) It showed the temperature of her room. At first we thought this was a silly feature. However, as the seasons changed we became SO grateful for the thermometer. We have a space heater in her room and we could turn it on at her bedtime and by the time we were headed to bed we could adjust it as necessary based on the current temperature of her room.
3) It had the features and product quality of all the other monitors we researched. Nothing seemed to be missing from the list of obvious things we would want in a monitor (alarm if unplugged, temporary mute button, etc) and we don't have a single complaint about this monitor!
Sunday wore a white onesie almost daily! I'd put one on her as an undershirt to layer with other outfits, as light PJs or just as play clothes around the house. I really like them because they help us dress her comfortably in Virginia's fickle weather. These days we are layering long sleeved white onesies under summertime dresses that are too small. We just add a pair of jeans and she has a whole new outfit! The onesies help us get more wear out of her summer clothes during the winter and they also add a layer under PJs to help keep her cozy at night on cooler nights. They are super versatile and definitely gender neutral so we will be keeping them for the next baby as well! (We have long & short sleeves for each size up to 12 months.)
We loooove this high chair! I wanted it because I wanted a high chair that was easy to clean as well as aesthetically pleasing in my dining room. This high chair completely does its job and makes life easier on us all. There are no nooks and crannies to clean out and I have even put the entire seat in the shower to clean up big messes. I also LOVE that it is super light weight and we are constantly moving it around the house depending on where we are at the time. Probably not forming the best eating habits for Sunday (ideally I'd love to have her sit at the table for every single meal), but we're big on fitting Sunday into our lives and not changing everything we do to accomodate her. We give this high chair two thumbs up!
This is a pretty popular choice for a must-have product. I set our Pack n Play up in the living room when Sunday was an infant and she would lay in it and play daily until she started sitting up. Once she was sitting up and able to communicate to the dogs effectively (to leave her alone!), I'd let her sit on the living room floor and play there instead. Then the pack n play turned into a guest bed for little babies that come to visit us. It also goes with us every time we travel. We love it and definitely think of it as a first year necessity.
We had no idea what to expect with a new baby and while we had heard a lot about baby swings, I really didn't want to spend the money on one and then never use it. But I picked this one up at a yard sale and I am SO GLAD I did! Sunday slept the best when she was in it as a newborn and it saved my sanity during those first few weeks of being a new mom. There are a lot of great swings out there but we loved this one for the following reasons:
1) It rotates so it can swing side to side or front to back. Some babies prefer one or the other, not both, so it's nice to have the option.
2) It is low to the ground. If Sunday accidentally happened to roll out of the swing, she wouldn't fall far. I know this is kind of ridiculous, but I really had peace about laying her in it as a baby even after she learned how to roll over. I knew she wouldn't get hurt and that was a great piece of mind for me.
3) It's big! She can still fit in it now at a year old! I don't let her use it, but she does fit. I can appreciate that the swing will outlast the baby.
4) We never once had to change the batteries and we used it constantly for just about the first three months.
5) It is easy to wash. The cover slips right off, I toss it in the wash and it slips right back on when it's all clean!
7. Amazon Mom Subscribe & Save - Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes
I can't decide if I love the Amazon Mom Subscribe & Save option or if I love the wipes more. We get a regular shipment of the Seventh Generation Wipes and I love that they come in travel-size bags. I just grab one and toss it in the diaper bag as needed. This has been one of the most convenient products we use (and receive) and I will definitely continue receiving the shipments until I have no more kids left in diapers!
We also receive an additional Amazon Mom Subscribe & Save shipment of Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes. They come in much larger bags so we use them to refill the wipe bin in Sunday's room and save the Seventh Generation wipes for on-the-go.
Sunday never did take a bottle. I was desperate to get her to drink out of something other than me, so I went through a lot of bottles and a lot of sippy cups. We ended up settling on Playtex cups because their lids are interchangeable between all of their cups. We have lids with straws, Step 1 sippy cup lids, and toddler sippy cup lids. We use them all and Sunday enjoys them all - finally. I love that they don't leak and they are all interchangeable. I highly recommend buying only Playtex cups for the versatility and high quality they offer. (Also, it's awesome that she can drink out of a straw at restaurants now!)
This product is in all of Sunday's bath time pictures on Instagram and every time I post a picture someone asks me about this bath seat! We love it specifically because it is not secured by suction cups, but instead its "arm" locks to the side of the tub. So there is no flipping of the seat! The day we got this (I found it at a local consignment shop) Sunday played in the bath tub for almost an hour! We love, love this product. It's hard to find as now almost all the bath seats for sale have suction cups, but there are a few still out there on ebay and in consignment shops.
It took me a long time to realize I should probably buy one of these to help Sunday get through the learning-to-fall-asleep-on-your-own phase. Finally one day I brought one home from a consignment shop and Sunday fell asleep for her nap without tears (or nursing!) for the first time ever. It changed our world! We will definitely have one for the next baby and will start using it much earlier in his or her life than we did for Sunday.
So those were the most practical products we used this past year. Tomorrow I am going to share some of the other products we splurged on and in retrospect are grateful for doing so. Some of them really did depend on Sunday's opinion but that doesn't mean your babe won't love them too!
Don't forget about the Goose Beary Shop Giveaway going on this week! Hop over to check out the goods and submit your entry to win a cutie dolly!
Week of Sundays: Day 1 | Goose Beary Shop Giveaway! A Week of Sundays: Day 3 | Our Must Have Products for Baby’s First Year, pt. 2 A Week of Sundays: Day 4 | Things My Daughter Has Taught Me A Week of Sundays: Day 5 | A year in pictures A Week of Sundays: Day 6 | Things about Sunday Quinn I am thankful for A Week of Sundays: Day 7 | Sunday’s Birthday Party