Ella and I both want to review the top 10 products that helped us through our babies' first years. If you have just started reading FinchFound then you may not know that I live on a sailboat, and as such, space is at a priority. As a new mom, and a liveaboard boat dweller, I value items that:
- are dual purpose
- serve a specific function (that I can't solve by hacking it with something else)
- are small or can be easily stored
A bonus of having two people write this blog is that when Ella posts her picks, you'll get two different perspectives on what you may need to get through your baby's first year of life. You can read Ella's picks here.
So what got us through the first year successfully? Read on to find out!
Top Pick #1 - The ERGObaby Carrier & The Moby Wrap
Okay, okay, I know that is TWO items for the number one slot, but what I am really saying is that babywearing is what got me through year one, and these two products helped me do that. We used the Moby Wrap until she was almost 4 months old and then switched to our Ergo. I also use my Red Charlotte Sucking Pads on the Ergo. If you haven't read my post on why I love babywearing, check it out here.
Top Pick #2 - Aden & Anais Swaddle Blanket
We quickly learned that Cora loved to be swaddled. We received a pack of the Aden & Anais swaddle wraps as a pre-baby gift and by day 7 of her life we went out to Target and picked up a second pack. They are truly indispensable. And we used them (and still use them) for much more than swaddling. Also useful for: regular blanket, nursing cover, sun cover while babywearing, sun cover in stroller, changing pad, propping up baby in baby swing, room partition on the boat, and (in the future) making forts! These puppies don't come cheap, so you could do what my friend Kristin (also a boat mama) did, and make your own.
Top Pick #3 - Medela Pump 'N Style Breast Pump
I cannot sing the praises of this breast pump enough. We first bought a Medela Harmony, but we switched when we realized how long it took me to pump one breast at a time manually. Every friend I know that has it, loves it. It is expensive. It is worth it.
Top Pick #4 - Boon Grass Drying Rack
There is nothing better (and cuter) than storing all your bottle bits n' bobs on the Boon Grass Drying Rack. I reviewed it on my liveaboard blog last year too. Now that she is done with bottles, we use it to store her clean sippy cups. I'm already scheming for what I can use it for on the boat when has graduated to regular cups. Only thing I would do differently next time? Get their new Boon Lawn Drying rack, which is just a bit bigger.
Top Pick #5 - Phil & Ted's Me Too Folding High Chair
If you browse through this list you won't see a pack n' play, a crib, a changing table, or a high-chair. There is no room on a 36' boat for any of those. We did, however, need someway to conveniently feed Cora. This is a little home video of the first time we brushed Cora's teeth and it shows how handy the Phil & Ted's chair is on the boat. It screws onto the salon table, and we are good to go!
Top Pick #6 - Fisher Price Seahorse
Please believe me when I say that this little toy easily made the top 10 for me. I can't tell you how may times just pressing it's little glowing belly would (and still does) put Cora back to sleep. This little guy is part of our nightly bedtime routine. We call it her 'friend' and she looks for it whenever we ask where her friend is. She wakes up every morning playing with it and sings and coos little secrets to it. It is worth every set of batteries we've had to use in it. I only wish it came with a remote so we didn't have to get out of bed to re-start it after five minutes!
Top Pick #7 - JJ Cole Diaper Caddy
While we don't have a diaper changing table or station, we do have to change diapers. This caddy is so easy to move around the boat. I give it 5 stars for functionality. We store diapers, wipes, diaper ointment and her comb and brush in it. I am not crazy about the diaper changing pad it came with. After she peed on it several times, moisture seeped in between the plastic top and fabric bottom through the sewed holes. We threw it out and use a diaper changing pad from Target.
Top Pick #8 - Jogging Stroller
I didn't really need a stroller until:
1) I stopped breastfeeding - (it hurt to bounce them around while I breastfed)
2) Cora weighed over 18lbs - (and walks in the Ergo over an hour started to hurt my back)
3) I wanted to start training for a 10k - (and for that, my friends, you are going to need a jogging/running stroller)
So I didn't get a stroller until about 7 months postpartum. Get one that works for you. A jogging stroller worked for me because I use an Ergo for most things. I just needed it to work out when Cora was with me (and for very long walks on foot.) Found this on Craigslist and it has rocked!
Top Pick #9 - Some Gorgeous Baby Blankets
Cora was gifted with a handmade quilt by her Aunt Sariah, and a gorgeous handmade blanket by my friend Maria. Oddly enough, they both look great together, and they match the bedding I made for her bunk. I love how the universe works. These blankets have served me very well. Need some inspiration for blankets for your own baby? Check out this post, and all the other options on Etsy.com!
Top Pick #10 - A Camera, you really want a camera
Thank goodness for digital cameras. You can take as many pictures of your wee one as you would like AND bonus? Most new digital cameras also come with a video recorder (the clip above of her getting her teeth brushed was shot from my camera.) As a mommy blogger, having a good camera has been essential!
Sophie the Giraffe - Yes, it is a $20 giraffe. I promise you get your money's worth though! Cora STILL is infatuated with it. She happily plays with Sophie in her stroller, her car seat, and at home. She has gnawed all over her during teething and chats and talks with her now. Pro-tip: write your baby's initials on one of her hooves in Sharpie. There are so many Sophies out there that you want to make sure you go home with the right one after a playgroup!
Waterproof changing pad - We received a gift of a simple, waterproof changing pad from a friend after Cora's birth (thank you Sandee!) I love that I have something I can take with me and whip out anywhere to change her diaper. I never worry about her peeing and it soaking through on a friend's floor, couch, etc. The pad I've linked her is made by another boat-dwelling mama. She makes excellent nursing pads and diaper covers too!
Books - Honestly, books should be in the top 10, but there are just too many to pick from. Books are part of a kid's life. I just figured that went without saying! I <3 books! You can read all of FinchFound's children's book recommendations at the link I provided.
I hope you enjoyed the list. What did you find essential for your baby's first year?