One thing you learn diving head-first into baby stuff is that there are SO MANY OPTIONS FOR EVERYTHING. Which ones work? Which ones don’t? I wanted to go in and list off things we have found to be awesome at keeping our boy happy and healthy (and adorable).
Let’s go head to toe here.
Elliott hates hats, so I really can’t fully recommend any due to experience, BUT I love what The Blueberry Hill has to offer! Plus their customer service is wonderful.
Pacifiers and teethers: We have tried so many, and I really didn’t think it would be such a hassle. Winners for us have been Tikiri’s teething rattles, which are made of natural rubber. The rattle is a soft sound and not super crazy/loud, which keeps everyone else sane. The only pacifiers he enjoys are Ryan and Rose‘s stage 1 (NOT stage 2 or else you’re in for a fit) and Itzy Ritzy‘s pacis. Apparently Target also now sells both of these, so if we are every in desperate need, we just need to find Target. Loulou Lollipop also has super cute teethers that can double as toys.
Bibs! Specifically bandana bibs! This dude drools like no tomorrow. While some people want waterproof bibs, we are the opposite over here – we want super absorbent ones! We have found just that with both Porter Lee‘s and Copper Pearl. I love supporting small businesses though, and Porter Lee’s also offers basically everything under the sun that could be unpaper/reusable products, such as unpaper towels, facial rounds, cloth wipes, etc. AND typical baby products like crib sheets, blankets, and teethers. I have seriously loved everything I’ve ordered from them.
One hack I found with Copper Pearl is using Lulu and Bee to get single bibs and basically making my own combo rather than having to purchase a set.
Clothes are up next, and I can’t recommend Kate Quinn enough. They always have good sales, and the quality is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend getting the bamboo clothing for the softness though! Going along with that, I also enjoy pairing H&M’s pants to things, and have found they tend to run on the longer side. Having a tall baby means trying to find pants that are long enough without having to size up since it wouldn’t fit his waist then.
Shoes! I have seriously fallen in love with Piper Finn. They are adorable, well-made, and again, they are adorable. ADORABLE. We also love using Hudson’s baby booties for when we are in a hurry or if it’s cold out. They are so easy to put on, super soft, and they don’t fall off, which is something we’ve had issues with for other shoe options we’ve tried.
Now for my favorite: blankets! Elliott has a deep appreciation for soft and fuzzy blankets (like me!), but also for a heavier blanket to feel more secure with. Milk Snob has been our go-to for this since they are made of a heavier t-shirt material, BUT the fabric also is fairly breathable, so he doesn’t get too hot with it. We have gotten so many compliments on these blankets for being cute, but also how they kind of act like a weighted blanket for babies. This is why we have like 7 of them… Lol. But I also recently discovered Copper Pearl’s quilts, and those have sold me as well! The material is very similar to Milk Snob’s with it being breathable fabric to prevent overheating, BUT it is heavier and feels like really great quality as well. If Elliott is freaking out over something because he’s exhausted and is fighting sleep like no other, we whip this sucker out, fold it in half, and allow him to rest on our chest with a paci and this blanket. That’s all he needs to fall fast asleep on those tough nights where he doesn’t want to miss anything. But, again, #shopsmall, and our favorite light-weight blankets are from Willow Magnolia Co. Her muslin cloth blankets are adorable, and the patterns change frequently for what’s currently in. They are all classic designs, photograph well, and the fact you get to choose the fringe is the best. When we need a light little blanket to take out of the house, these are our go-tos! She has loveys, throws, swaddles, and mini blankets for children too! Use code Elliott10 for 10% off your purchase.
Continuing on, we have all the tech stuff. I can’t recommend Neebo or Owlet enough honestly. Right now we are using Neebo, and love it because it can be used all day long (and for several days at that) on one charge, and it stays connected to your phone, so you can literally go wherever as long as bluetooth stays on. It has alerted us a couple of times when Elliott’s heart rate slowed down or his oxygen level dropped, and I’m so thankful for that. You can also invite others to have the app and be able to use it when around the child. Example – when my mom has Elliott and I’m home or at a wedding, I can easily open the app and check his stats. That gives me such peace of mind! And because it stays on Elliott, Molly can’t keep stealing it and eating it like she did with FIVE OWLET MONITORS. That was the biggest reason for our switch. Each replacement monitor is $150, so multiple that by 4 PLUS the cost of the initial purchase, and $$$$$$$…. But the Owlet also has really great qualities that I do miss. The biggest thing they have that I found really helpful is the Awake/Asleep tracker. I loved being able to wake up in the morning and see exactly how many times Elliott woke up, how long he stayed awake, and exactly how long he slept. It also kept that data while Neebo only keeps the last 24 hours. But it was easy to put on, it stayed in place, and when it notified, IT NOTIFIED. Like… You would not miss an alert.
We loved having the Halo Bassinest as well, and it was so useful right after having my c-section since I was basically cut in half. Instead of trying to get out of bed every time he cried, I could easily just pull on the side to bring it directly to me since it swivels and rotates. I also heard excellent things from other EDS mothers who struggled with slipping joints thanks to the release of relaxin during pregnancy.
One thing I didn’t really open up too much about was this struggle. It started pretty early on for me since I already had loose joints, and the pain was truly unbearable at many times. It got to the point where I was having to hire help for simple sessions because I never knew if my hips would suddenly give out or instantly almost become stunned due to joints just not working how they should. I even had my knees going sideways just from pushing a shopping cart towards the end because they were just that loose – which most women DO need relaxin to help open their pelvis up, but not someone who already has their whole body loose. Everyone kept recommending belly bands, but they did absolutely nothing for me. I needed something to literally hold my joints in place, and that’s where finding an excellent PT came in handy. She helped me find products that would strap on and stay put, and thanks to that and the techniques she taught me, I was able to do every wedding I was hired for up to the point Elliott was born. The biggest help AFTER that was using spanx that weren’t too tight. I needed something to hold everything in place like a gentle hug – because when you lose 15 pounds in a matter of an hour, your body is like, “Hold up…” Your skin is loose from having grown, and just having that sag can be painful immediately after giving birth, especially with a c-section. Having the Spanx allowed me to be able to move and bend in ways I couldn’t if I wasn’t wearing them, and also helped keep alllllll the pads and ice packs in place for postpartum care.
I did also want to briefly touch on diapers. I thought it really didn’t matter if you just change the diaper when you are supposed to, but LOL. We can all laugh at that silliness together. We quickly learned that’s not the case, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Elliott pees like crazy. We call him the pee machine because of it. Pampers were good, but not great. We found Huggies to work better, so we got on a Huggies kick. Then I scored some super cheap Honest Company diapers from someone, and holy cow – MAJOR difference in absorbency there. The price-point got me, though. I could not justify spending half a dollar every diaper change. I still can’t. Finding half-opened diapers on marketplace was the best since they all typically got sold much cheaper. Last month I then decided to try Hello Bello despite seeing mixed reviews, but they had cute Christmas prints, and I figured trying a small pack wouldn’t hurt anything. I feel like these are a happy medium between Huggies and Honest diapers. They are soft, absorb well, aren’t super expensive, and the prints on these are adorable. My favorite is the gaseous states design 😉 From that, let me also state how we have handled blowouts and avoiding them: when you begin to notice that there is leakage of any output (for lack of better terms), size up. I usually wait until 3-4 pee leaks or close calls on the backend just to be sure it’s time, but we haven’t been wrong yet, and I’m sure we have avoided so many mishaps by using this idea. HOWEVER – if you do size up and notice leaking coming from by the legs, size back down because that means the diaper is too big.
For those in Charlotte, I also highly recommend Dayna Slomba as a lactation consultant at Nursing Mother’s Place, Elizabeth Whitley (in DC) with Bellies to Babies for all the info, doula, and photography needs, and New Beginnings in Gastonia for ultrasounds.
Lastly, strollers. I laughed at how many options of strollers there were, because how different could they really be? Um. Very. We were gifted an amazing stroller/carseat combo, BUT with both Chad and me being tall, we kept having issues of it not being high enough for us to comfortably use. And, again, having EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) with the relaxin hormone going nuts inside, this meant my shoulders were slipping out of place every time I used it. It took me 4.5 months to finally give in, but I wish I had done it sooner. I found the City Select stroller by Baby Jogger, and this thing is so smooth! It also easily transitions from sidewalk to carpet to outdoors, etc., AND the handle adjusts to be taller AND you can add an extra seat to turn it into a double stroller, which is absolutely everything since we do plan to continue expanding our family over the next few years!
So, there you have it – all the things we feel are awesome and useful for the first 6 months! I hope this is helpful for those out there trying to find and sort through all the things. You got this!