Giftguide – things I can’t imagine my life without

Note not sponsored.

When I’ve been completing a layette I thought that literally everything is essential. Truth is – your baby will decide itself what will be useful and what not really.

I thought you might need a brief summary of a layette in practice, so I’ll go through some products that I can’t imagine going without right now.

Sleep:

1. Chicco cradle Next2Me dream – since it can be used as an attachment, I was always close to Emma during the night. It was just a matter of opening my eyes and I was able to see her face. Heard her breath, seen her sleeping. I was at peace. I was a bit worried about nighttime feeding, but Emm slept through the nights pretty much since her second month. Now she goes to sleep at 8pm and wakes up at 6am, eats and goes back to sleep. Sometimes she sleeps a bit less when her teeth go hard on her. In general, I can’t imagine Emma sleeping with us in our bed (that wouldn’t be safe in first place) or if she’d sleep in her own room. I think I would just stare at e-nanny display for half of the night to make sure everything’s alright.

2. And while we’re at it, second product would be a breath monitor. Emma was born a little early and I was paranoid about her breath. If the sounds she made were normal? When I didn’t hear hear breathe I touched her chest to check if everything is ok. At night I couldn’t calm myself because I felt I needed to be in constant “standby”, just in case. It all has ended after we got the monitor. I started to sleep through the nights and stopped worrying. If something would go wrong, the alarm would probably wake the whole street up.

3. DockATot pod – since I’ve layed Emma down in it for the first time it instantly became her favourite spot. She has had a few similar pods before, but it’s the only one she actually slept in. Other thing is its quality, which is way above others we tried. For now she still uses stage1 but soon we’re moving on to stage2, which is for 8 months+ babies.

4. Electronic nanny! It’s always useful, not matter if you have a small apartment or a big house. We didn’t really use it in first weeks, but now we do, everyday. If it wasn’t for nanny, I’d run around like crazy constantly checking on her. Not to mention when we move her to her own room, it makes it even more worth to have such gadget. It lets use not only see / hear the baby, but also see what’s the temperature where she is, play her a lullaby or even talk to her.

5. Whisbear – we tried out many carousels, lullabies, projectors and other gadgets, but nothing works as well as whisbear. And tales about driers or vacuums which should make the baby sleepy… well, they worked, but the other way around.

Fun & care

1. Skip-hop products – pretty much everything I’ve picked but we especially like the activity play mat – Emma loves it since the beginning. Oh, and a bathtub!

2. We’ve had a chance to test out a few cosmetics brands but our favourite is definitely the Alphanova ( from ekodrogeria.pl). My advice would generally be to use dermo-cosmetics and brands with dedicated lines of products for atopic skin. They are gentle, scentless, hypoallergenic. Emma’s skin is very smooth (that is, unless she didn’t just scratch herself, which she does a lot, little predator :) ), we’ve had no issues with heat- or other rash. Just to be clear, I’m talking about later months, skin changes are completely normal and rarely avoidable. They say that every contact with new allergen leaves a mark and baby needs time to adapt to life in new conditions and environment.

3. Washing powders / cleaning supplies – another important piece in my opinion. I’ve heard about many different reactions, we luckily didn’t have any issues. I have even heard that at my place everything is sterile. Well, I call that “taking care about basic hygiene / tidiness” using products that can actually be trusted. We use very delicate, scentless washing gel Friendly Organic ( from ekodrogeria.pl )  which makes clothes very soft, then we iron everything (It’s worth investing in good iron, it’s after we’ve bought a new one when we realised that ironing doesn’t have to take 3 hours :) ), we also have plenty dedicated cleaning supplies, for example spray for cleaning the toys, floor cleaner, spray for strollers / baby car seats and so on. Is it too much? Absolutely not, and worth every penny. And if someone can’t afford the high tier ones, it’s important not to use the cheapest supermarket products. We used it ONCE, Emma didn’t get a rash, but her skin got prone to irritation. We could see the difference. And I have no idea what’s the result of long-term use. Definitely wouldn’t recommend that!

4. Nosiboo – brilliant product which didn’t make me fight with Emma for 15 minutes by using regular nasal syringe. Cleaning the nose with Nosiboo takes seconds, it can be disassembled and cleaned (to some degree also by using sterilizer). Big save of time and nerves.

5. Comfortable changing table. You’ll change 10, 20, 30 diapers a day so you better have everything close at hand – diapers, cotton wools, creams, maybe new clothes if something goes wrong :P Remember you can’t lose the baby out of your sight on changing table for even a few seconds.

Food

1. I can’t imagine how I would do without Chicco sterilizer – it’s in use every single day, sterilizing a bunch of teething rings. I put everything in, press the button and I’m done. Think how our mums had to boil everything in regular pots.

2. Feeding pillow! When baby is little there’s not much problem with holding in properly with good support wherever it has to be supported. However now, when Emma is 8 months old, I can’t imagine how feeding would look like a dozen or so times a day without a comfortable pillow. If you’re considering buying one – in my opinion it’s an absolute must-have.

It’s also worth getting some kind of a safe spot(s) for the baby. Noone would be able to take care of it 24/7, 7/7. It just can’t be done. Sometimes you have to at least use the bathroom :) . As long as baby is just a few weeks old and can be put in cradle / basket or laid down on the play mat, we’re all dandy. But when it’s couple months old, it’s not safe anymore. I have bought a folding bed and put Emma in whenever I need to leave the room for a sec and can’t take her with me.

We also have a bouncer – it’s used mostly when I’m getting a shower (and she’s with me).

Another helpful item would be a dry pool (filled with balls), but we use that when we’re around doing stuff in kitchen or so. Rest is used only under my attentive eye ;)

Because it just takes a second, one little slip. Sad truth is that most dedly accidents happen at home – and I’m not talking about some pathologic homes where baby is left with itself alone. I’m talking abour regular homes like mine or yours. When mom turned her head to pick up the phone when dad got up to get a toy. You need to have your eyes in the back of your head and a bit of luck. Don’t leave your active, moving around baby on play mat unattended. Don’t put it on a couch if you can’t give it 100% of your attention. And so on…

Everything I’ve written down is seemingly obvious. In practice though, it’s a bit different. I have been looking at must-haves of other bloggers myself when I was pregnant. I’ve been reading about their day-to-day experiences. If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t know about DockATot or Nosiboo,  I probably wouldn’t consider whisbear as such a crucial thing, maybe I would have found alternatives. However I’m more than sure that I would have less time, less energy and less patience. If we can help our babies and ourselves, make our lives easier, then… why not?

Let me know you like this type of posts and if they are actually helpful. Maybe you’d like “What I wouldn’t buy” post at some point? :)

In next one, I’ll describe my adventure with baby clothes – what was useful, what I couldn’t live without, what’s practical and what can be called frills. I’ll add my opinion about baby wraps, diapers, etc.