2 months into this experiment called fatherhood and there are some “products” we have come to recognize as essential or “must-haves”. The reason for the list is because I’m mostly surprised by what ended up being important and what is simply baby crap.
So, in no particular order, here they are:
All of the hand-me-down chairs
We laughed at first at how many chairs we had accumulated in our guest bedroom. We have since come to recognize that arms get tired and you need a place in every room to set the baby down. As for our favorite chairs, the baby poop-a-san chair not only vibrates but seems to relieve gas as well. The big fisher price swign chair in the office keeps the baby super quiet. Not so favorite is the stupid graco back-and-forth swing chair that sits the baby too upright and results in an uncomfortable and unhappy infant.
Halo Sleep Sack (link)
Our baby slept 6 hours at a stretch by week #2 in this thing. We got this as a present from a good friend and we thank her for it. Here’s why we love this thing:
- We tried swaddling her with a blanket, but she is like a little houdini and kept breaking her hands free. Free hands are distractions that wake a baby up. The sleep sack has a velcro outer wrap that cinches baby nice and tight.
- Her legs can kick around. Swaddling the arms is one thing, but she hates having her legs bent up all the time. The sleep sack addresses that by leaving the legs unbound.
- Easy changing! This is a key feature for any nighttime outfit. The zipper is intelligently placed on the bottom of the sack. I can even change her up without removing the arm wrap if need be.
- Warm and cozy but not too warm. This thing seems to be the perfect warmth for our room at night, no blankets or extra clothes required.
Trixie Tracker Account (works with iPhone)
Seems a little geeky to be “essential”, but let me offer some logic to bring you over to the dark side.
- It’s mobile phone (aka iPhone) optimized and very streamlined. Turns out it is quicker to use Trixie Tracker than to keep a handwritten journal.
- Ever try to track the number of diapers in a day when you are just trying to figure out how to get in a square meal? It’s kind of embarrassing to go to the pediatrician with the answer of “more than 5 and less than 20” when they see output as an essential metric of well being. Trixie Tracker makes diaper tracking a cake walk.
- Steph swears by the nursing tracker. Rather than wearing (and forgetting about) a hair tie around her wrist to keep sides even, she uses Trixie Tracker to track times. One less thing to try to remember over and over.
- It’s helps communication between the two of us…..either one of us can switch-hit and can check when she’ll be hungry again, when she’s due for a nap, etc.
- It’s fun! Seriously…watching the sleep patterns and growth patterns emerge is fascinating.
We have the Baby Bjorn, but any carrier that gives you 2 hands free and is 99% guaranteed to put the baby to sleep within 10 minutes is essential. I find that I can chop vegetables, work in the shop and do laundry with the baby in the carrier. Oh, and we can go on walks outside as well!
Falling into the category of “No Duh” but we were surprised by the vast quantity required. Just about anything will do, but have dozens on hand.
Gowns with mittens (example)
We always thought “onesies” and bodysuits, but we only put those on when we go out of the house. It turns out that the elastic bottom gowns are perfect for every day all day wearing and make for easy changing. The mittens keep the baby from going Freddy Kruger on her own face.
Really good nail scissors
Forget the stupid baby nail clippers — they are just regular nail clippers with extra large grips and a cheap plastic magnifying glass. Silly devices are unwieldy and I wouldn’t even try to clip a sedated ferret’s claws with the things.
Go to the drugstore and get yourself a really nice pair of scissors (example to the right) and it will be worth every penny. We went for the tweezerman brand, since they have rounded tips (for safety) and are big enough for my meaty hands to manage.
Right now, we’re clipping the baby’s nails twice a week and just barely keeping up. Since our kids is seriously opposed to daytime naps, I have had to conduct said clipping sessions on a fully awake infant!