Monday, July 4, 2011

Baby Product Review

I have a lot of friends who are having babies. You know who you are ;-) So I thought I'd give a little product review of things we've been using the past six weeks for those who are interested. I emailed a list of ladies before I had Ava to get their "essentials" list and their advice was helpful in choosing what we would purchase and what we wouldn't. Maybe my review can help some you. 

Moby Wrap
I read rave review after rave review for this wrap. And I have to say it has major perks, but also some pretty significant drawbacks. It's very womb-like for the baby once she's in it. Ava has taken an hour and a half nap in the Moby while at church. When I wear her in the Moby at gatherings like church, she sleeps peacefully, I can stand and worship with everyone else while only having to look down and kiss her head to know she's okay, and people don't try and touch her because that would require getting in my personal space. And if you're a germaphobe like me, that's a major plus. 

The Moby is hard to wrap. It took me several times of watching the instructional video to be able to wrap it without guidance. Even though I've got the basic wrap down now, it's a hassle to do. I usually wrap it before we leave for an outing if I think I am going to use it. It's so long that wrapping it in a parking lot or store would mean letting the wrap touch the ground while wrapping- yuck. 

Another thing to think about it that is isn't exactly masculine looking. If you're only going to buy one carrier and you want one you and your husband can use this might not be it. Brian wouldn't want to wear this one because it does look a little weird on a man (there are pictures of a man wearing it on the instructional booklet) and because it would take too much time to learn to wrap. But that's just my opinion. I would be really interested to hear if the moby has worked well for other couple's to share. 

Ergo Baby Carrier
I had to buy an infant insert to go with the Ergo Baby. It's a little padded pouch that you put the baby inside to cushion their head. It was an extra 25.00 which I didn't mind since the carrier itself was a gift. If you want to use the Ergo with your newborn you'll need the insert. I could have used the Moby until she was old enough and then switched to the Ergo, but the Ergo is much faster to put on and Brian likes it too.

The infant carrier is padded which makes it hard to use in high temps. I've taken Ava hiking with it in the midday heat and I was worried the entire time that she was too hot. That doesn't make for a very fun outing. If we wear it at night when it's cooler, it works really well.  So it depends on how you plan to use it.

Overall, I love the Ergo but I think I would get more use out of the infant insert with a winter baby.

Bright Stars Comfort and Harmony Swing
This swing has lots of different speeds and plays music. It's also small and easily condenses to store in a closet or out of the way. Since we have a small space it's perfect for us. Ava isn't a huge fan of the swing yet but I'm glad we have it to keep trying with her and for future little Ramseys.

Infantino Play Gym
This play gym is super cute. I love the colors and the toy attachments. Just beware of washing all the toys. One makes made music until I washed it. See germaphobe reference above. This has been nice to lay Ava on for tummy time. She's not old enough to appreciate the toys on it yet, but I use it because it's easy to clean and more padded than a blanket. This particular play gym can be set up with one hand, which is handy when you have a baby in the other. I think any version of the play gym is probably great.

Large Flannel Receiving Blankets
Two of my friends made double-sided flannel receiving blankets for us. They have been great for swaddling. For the first month I used the very thin Aden + Anias swaddling blankets and Ava wriggled her way out of them every time. Then one night it was cold and Brian put her in one of the flannels and she didn't get even an arm out AND she slept longer. Two hours longer. On the nights that it's warm in the house, I open our windows to make it cool enough to still swaddle her in the flannel because everyone needs two extra hours of sleep. ;)

Aden and Anias Swaddle Blankets
These are just a thin brand of swaddle blankets you can get at Target. They are on the pricey side ($30 for a 4 pack) but the perfect price for a baby gift. Like I said above, they aren't the best to swaddle with IMO, but they are great for keeping sun off of your baby in the carrier on a hot day, covering the carrier in public for the baby to nap, and to cover yourself when nursing. Basically, they are incredibly versatile, great for summer, and I love them. If you know of any blankets like these that are cheaper, let me know!

MAM Pacifiers
I resisted the paci for Ava's first two weeks. My mother begged me to buy one. Then my friend from Tennessee, who I emailed every day for the first month of Ava's life for advice, decided I needed a mini paci intervention and called me and told me to "get that baby a paci." Her position was that babies will self soothe with their thumb or fingers if you don't give them a pacifier and when it's time to ween them off you can take a paci away but you can't cut off their digits. That got my attention. I started out with the hospital style pacifier but Ava wouldn't take it because even the newborn was too big her her. Then I got a MAM. They are the same shape on top and bottom for better orthodontics.

We have a Fisher Price vibrations bouncer. Ava hangs out in it while I cook and shower.  At her age it's the best way to keep her happy while she's awake and I'm trying to get things done. This is definitely a must-have for us.

Travel System
We got the chicco travel system. It was highly recommended to us by many friends. I like that it clips in and out of the car easily and I think it's a nice looking product. But it's heavy and it doesn't fit easily into shopping carts. I'm not sure if there are better travel systems out there, so I don't know if I'd prefer another one. Overall, I like this one but I don't love it.

These products have made our lives a little easier and we are blessed to have them. But I don't think any of them are essential to having a happy household with a newborn.

What's Really Important
The things I've found to be truly important have nothing to do with baby gear. It's important to sleep when they sleep. I think everyone I came in contact with those first few weeks told me that and I should have listened. Every one of my postpartum meltdowns was due to sleep deprivation.

It's important to connect with your spouse. Staying on the same page when your world has just been turned upside down by your newborn is tough. It's helped to have at least 20 minutes every evening when Brian I can connect.

It's important to stay close to Jesus. Those first few weeks I could barely brush my teeth much less have a "quiet time." Fortunately, I had gotten a short devotional book the week before Ava was born that I kept by my glider. At our first morning feeding I would read a page out loud to Ava. My smallest efforts to draw near to God were met by Him in big ways. I think I will always remember those early days with Ava being very, very weak and having God carry me in His arms like never before.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Happy 4th!