I'm going to get right down to the nitty-gritty real quick. Lee and I took Well Baby classes and Breastfeeding classes to prepare for the arrival of Baby Stauss. We learned Infant CPR and I read consumer reports to find out the safest and not-so-safe products to use. I watched Youtube reviews and read a lot of Mommy blogs. And books. I read many great and not-so-great books about bringing home baby, bathing baby, breastfeeding baby, napping baby…but I quickly learned that while all those tips are helpful...what worked for one baby, might not be the same for MY baby. The best advice I can give a new Mommy is that if something you’re doing isn’t working, move on and try anew. Don't beat yourself up when your perfect well thought out plan doesn't work out as you had hoped. Be flexible and embrace the crazy.
Babies require and acquire a ton of stuff! I spent a lot of time researching all that stuff during my pregnancy. Since I couldn't buy gender specific items yet, I focused on what we really needed. This obstacle actually ended up being really great because we were gifted every necessity we needed instead of a lot of miscelaneous gender specific items that people like to gift. I enjoyed reviewing Baby Must-Have Lists when I was pregnant before creating our gift registries so I thought it would be fun to start sharing my own lists of what has worked for us! I seperated 0-6 month items into 2 separate categories: Feeding and Essentials
I mentioned in Part 3 of Eleanor's Birth Story that I worked hard to nurse for 6 months and told you why we had to supplement with formula in the beginning so my feeding must-haves reflect both nursed and formula fed babies. I made Feeding its own category and it's my first list to share because it's a major chunck to any registry and the details are important in making your life easier when you're in survival mode in those first few months.
Bottles & Accessories: I really liked what I read about the bottles we selected. I debated a couple other options but ultimately picked Tommee Tippee bottles because I knew I would be nursing and liked that the bottle/nipple design mimicked a natural latch-on from bottle to breast. I also liked that this bottle had less parts and was easy to clean with THIS bottle brush. It’s not a necessity but we absolutely loved THIS bottle sterilizer. We only recently put it in storage! It simplified clean up and we always felt that Eleanor’s bottles were truly clean after each cycle. We would then put the bottles on THIS cute drying rack that we still use next to our sink for Eleanor's cups, lids, etc. We bought 2 sets of THESE 5oz bottles and 3 sets of THESE 9oz bottles. I registered for MEDIUM and FAST flow nipples too. They are great when you start to thicken the milk with rice cereal.
When it came time to introduce a sippy cup, I reached for THIS one in the store. The silicone nipple made a sippy cup easier to introduce to Eleanor and the handles made the cup easier to grip but are removable so that the cup can grow with baby. It helped that it was kinda cute too. I bought a couple in the chevron style pictured above but I think that particular design has since been discontinued. Similar, HERE. THESE spoons were an easy purchase to begin baby food. They’re inexpensive and a great size for tiny mouths. We consistently used THIS formula. The NICU started Ellie on another brand and then switched to Similac regular but she would projectile spit up after each feeding! When we switched to THIS one, her spitting up seemed to get better as long as we got a good burp out of her. We never switched because we were happy with her digestion after finally finding something that worked! A friend gave me THESE bibs and they quickly became our favorites. I had some cute ruffled ones monogrammed on Etsy but these are def my favorite. They are very soft, absorbent and the "dribble catcher" keeps milk from running down into your baby's neck roll creases! I even went out and bought a few more!
Nursing: I debated a couple of nursing pillow styles but went with the ole trusty BOPPY. It’s great when you need back support, baby support while nursing, tummy-time for baby and to prop baby up to feed herself when she’s ready! I think I got a lot more use out of the BOPPY than what I would have if I had selected another option. My aunt made me the cutest cover but there are a ton of options in stores or on Etsy. The one pictured above is the Boppy My Little Lamb Luxe Nursing Pillow but it seems to be discontinued. Similar, HERE. But, go find a cute cover on ETSY! Since Eleanor was given a pacifier in NICU, having a Nipple Shield (in the right size) was a magic tool for us. It was imperative that we used one for a successful feeding. I had the Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy but maybe used it 2 times for the heat. I preferred the Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads more for cooling and a washcloth soaked in hot water for warmth. When I needed help loosening a clogged or hardened milk duct, a hot rag seemed to do the trick just fine. Lansinoh Lanolin cream was great for chapped nipples or anytime Eleanor started to get a chapped chin from her cute baby drool bliss.
Pumping: Selecting a pump wasn’t a quick task because they aren’t the least expensive item on your list and aren’t refundable after they’re opened. It’s really important to know your pumping expectations before you select one. How often will you use it? Will you have access to electric outlets? How much time will you have to pump? I discussed options with friends that have nursed and leaned on their advice when I selected the Medela Pump In Style Advanced On-the-go Tote Set. It ended up being a great option for me. One of those friends gave me her car adapter since she was done with it so I could pump when traveling. I had to pump in my car during a tradeshow on a few occasions and after a funeral. It was horrible but I was thankful to have THIS simple car accessory to make pumping more convenient. I always had one of Medela's Hands-Free Bustiers in my bag too. I had 3 to rotate in the laundry and ended my pumping journey with 2 because the zipper broke on one. It was seriously the pits if I was ever out and about without one. I loved having free hands to type at work or mess with my phone while pumping. The Hands-Free Bustiers were one the silliest looking baby purchases but I was very glad I had listened to the advice of others on that one! I am not kidding you. Get one and thank me later. Even Kourtney Kardashian is a fan. She recently shared this image on Insta. This momma has no shame and I love her for it. You will not be seeing a pumping selfie of me. Sorry not sorry!
*The size of breast shields and nipple shields you select are very important to the your pumping/breastfeeding success and comfort. Smaller sizes can be harder to find in big box stores locally but your local medical supply store (usually near your hospital) should have an assortment of supplies. It's also nice to have extra shields so you don't feel rushed to wash them when you would rather spend your precious spare time sleeping. I was actually given extra membranes and valves at the hospital since they allowed me to use a hospital grade pump while Eleanor was in the NICU and they don't keep used parts. Their shields were too big but it was nice to be given extra tubes, etc. But...by the looks of our NICU bill, I'm sure we paid for them.
Milk Storage: We have 2 of THESE bins for breastmilk freezer storage and they seemed to do the job but I hated that bags would get stuck together when we only needed to get one bag out. They're great for storing oldest to most recently pumped and stacking is made easy to minimize storage space needs with a lid but I do think this option can be improved. Tearing a bag apart that's stuck together risks losing some of your liquid gold. And that tragic. For storage bags, Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags are soooo much better than Medela Pump and Save Bags for at least 2 important reasons. For one, measuring the ounces on the side is far more accurate! For 2, they never leaked on us since they have the double-click and secure seal feature. Those are very important reasons! A bonus reason is that I like that my Sharpie wrote better for labeling purposes and that you have room to write on a tab above the milk’s seal. However, I will say that I did like Medela Pump and Save Bags when I didn’t want to mess with cleaning a bottle after I pumped and intended on freezing my milk. I just didn't like using them to save the milk. I used THIS storage system for milk in the fridge that I didn’t want to freeze. It came with plenty of bottles that were compatible with my pump so setup was a breeze.
If you're still reading this long post then you must be doing the same research that I did. I hope you found this list helpful. I'm happy to answer questions if you have any. I'll be posting another list soon! xx