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Happy Holidays, Friends! I’ve been MIA for most of this year, I know—blame that on Baby Girl (being pregnant has made me super lazy). The Mr. and I are SO excited for her arrival!! I’m 33 weeks pregnant as of this weekend, and Baby is measuring in at 4.5 lbs and in the 46th percentile for weight. I feel like a veritable whale, but otherwise things are good!
I’ve been trying to take advantage of these precious last few weeks before D-Day (i.e. birth) to nest and make sure Baby has everything she needs. I’m glad to be having her before Christmas so I can use some of my gift-card money on baby things, and maybe even get some items on sale! In case you or a loved one is expecting or perhaps just had a baby, I thought I would share with you a few items I’ve snagged and a couple I still have my eye on.
BIG TICKET ITEMS
The Mr. and I decided on a mini-crib for baby girl to save on space. These are perfect for apartments or other small rooms and should work size-wise for baby until she is at least 18 months or possibly longer. I couldn’t justify the expense of the bassinet or co-sleeper I initially wanted when baby was only going to fit in it for a few months, and we didn’t have enough room in our bedroom for a full-blown crib (one of the many downsides of renting a one-bedroom apartment upon moving back to Phoenix!). So a mini-crib it is!
One thing to keep in mind is you will need to buy a better mattress for this mini-crib, since the “mattress” it comes with is really just a 1 inch thick peace of foam-like material covered in a waterproof material. Babies are not supposed to sleep on overly soft surfaces to reduce the risk of SIDS, but I felt like this foam thing was taking that a bit too far. Instead, we got her this 3″ mini-crib waterproof mattress that is still firm but a little more cushion for her noggin (FYI: a Pack N Play mattress doesn’t quite fit correctly, so this mattress is a better idea). These sheets fit the mattress perfectly, as do these waterproof mattress covers. I got several of each!
This is an item that is less of a necessity and more something for peace of mind. The idea is you clip it to baby’s diaper and it monitors her breathing movements while she sleeps! If it doesn’t detect movement for 15 seconds, it will vibrate in an attempt to wake baby, and if no movement is detected in another 5 seconds, an alarm will sound loudly. Check out the Amazon reviews—people swear by these! For a less-expensive option there is also the Snuza Go, the main difference being that the Snuza go does not include the vibrate feature and will only alarm. You can set the alarm to go off after 15, 18, or 20 seconds.
The Mr. and I haven’t decided which version we’ll go with yet. On the one hand, I want to be alerted ASAP (a pro in favor of the Snuza Go), but on the other hand, I’ve read that the alarm itself isn’t enough to startle baby into waking or moving, whereas the vibration feature often is. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a movement monitor, so if it falls off baby’s diaper you will get false alarms (I’m okay with this, as I can at least be sure it’s working), and if it is attached to baby while she’s in a moving swing or car seat, it will detect that the baby is moving and won’t sound an alarm unless that movement stops—not baby’s movement. If you’re looking for something a little more high tech and probably less prone to false alarms, you might be interested in the Owlet device, which monitor’s baby’s vital signs. The price tag for an Owlet runs a LOT more than the Snuza, so unfortunately it is probably out of our price range. These movement monitors are NEVER a substitute for safe-sleeping practices, so I’ll still be keeping a close eye on baby while she sleeps regardless of which option we decide on!
There are SO many baby carrier options out there, you will need to do some research and decide which one is going to be the best fit for you and baby. I decided on the Ergo since I have several friends with one who love it. Tula and LILLEbaby also make some top-notch baby carriers worth checking out! If you’re looking for a less expensive option for when baby is smaller, you might also consider a wrap, like the Moby or Boba wraps. These keep small babies snug up against you, but some find them to be a little daunting to put on. I found a ton of you-tube videos that explain how to wrap a baby in one of these guys, so I think I’m going to give a wrap a try while baby is too small for her carrier. I found this other brand of baby wrap, the CuddleBug, for just $30 on Amazon, so it’s a little more affordable than the Moby or Boba but apparently just as good!
If you’re not convinced baby-wearing is for you, check out these resources from Babywearing International. Not all babies like to be worn, so it may not be for everyone. Still, I’m excited to see how she likes it!
SMALLER GIFT IDEAS – UNDER $30
Okay, so I’m not sure what the deal about Sophie is, but apparently babies really dig her. She’s a soft squeaky teether made from natural rubber and has been around since 1961. Babies love to chew on her, she’s easy for little hands to squeak, and her long neck and legs are easy for little fingers to grasp. She’s the “trendy” baby toy to have, apparently, and since I don’t see myself being a real trendy mom generally I figured I’d splurge on this toy. I got it on sale using a gift card at Babies R Us, but you can also get it for a good price on Amazon! She is kind of expensive for a teether, but people swear by her magical baby-soothing properties, so she makes an excellent gift for the mom who may be hesitant to buy it herself. As with any toy, baby should be watched closely when she’s playing with Sophie.
The recovering germophobe in me was SO excited to get this at my baby shower! Shopping carts are notoriously dirty (in large part to the children who are put in them!), so this is a great way to keep baby away from that gunk. Plus, it’s cute too :)
I went back and forth on weather I even needed an activity gym—surely I could keep my baby entertained just as well, right? I eventually decided it was a worthwhile buy. Baby can use it for tummy time and it can entertain her even when she is too small to really “play” with toys. We got this activity gym as a gift from my cousin, who said her babies liked it better than the Infantino brand gym she had at home, possibly because they could reach the toys better. It’s a little smaller than your regular square-shaped gym mat, but on Amazon it’s also about half the price! From what I read online, it sounded like by the time baby could roll over and start to move around a bit more, they lost interest in the activity gym, so I figured she probably didn’t need the extra mat space, and spending less is always a plus!
Another item I wasn’t sure about was a bouncer. I had already inherited a pretty sweet swing from my aunt that had a removable seat, so I could place baby anywhere in the house. Did I really need the bouncer? Moms in my mom groups, as well as my aunt and cousin, said yes. It’s nice to have an easy place to put baby down anywhere, and it travels to Grandma’s house a little better than the swing bottom. We settled on this bouncer because—like the activity gym—it was super affordable! I got it as a gift from my cousin, set it up in just a couple minutes, and I think baby is going to love it!
I have been using this stuff twice a day religiously since day one of being pregnant! I love it! It’s not meant to be a stretch mark cream really, but I haven’t gotten hardly any stretch marks on my belly where I had been rubbing it in daily compared to other parts of me (like my poor love handles) that didn’t fare quite as well in the stretch mark department. Still, it feels good, the scent is pretty neutral, it feels more moisturizing than the more expensive stretch mark cream I purchased, and it was way cheaper. I’ll be using this stuff well after baby is born—I love it that much! And let’s face it, my love handles need it.
9) HALO SLEEPSACK (with or without Swaddle)
Another baby bedtime must—a wearable blanket! I wish these came in an adult size because they look so comfy! They come in newborn, small, medium and large, are supposed to be easy to put on baby, and reduce the risk of SIDS caused by bedding in the crib. The SleepSack’s with the swaddle portion can be used to swaddle baby arms in or arms out. I figured these were going to be invaluable for our winter baby and received several as gifts.
Last, but certainly not least, the Boppy Nursing Pillow. This is supposed to be great for making breastfeeding comfortable, but can also be used for tummy time and propping baby up when she’s learning how to sit. You can get several different really cute pillow covers for these too!
I hope you enjoyed this post! What was your new baby must-have item?
P.S. DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated to write this post nor did I receive free products for the purposes of review–I simply liked these items! Rest assured, I only endorse products and brands I use, trust, and would recommend to a friend. This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small commission on products purchased through these links at no extra cost to you. Please see my FAQs and disclosure policy for more information. Thank you for your support! :)