A Few of My Favorite Things: A Contest

March 7, 2011

One of my favorite women in the world is on her way to being a mama — twice over, in fact — she’s carrying twins.  Ever the pragmatist, she sent out an e-mail seeking advice in navigating the world of prenatal shopping.  She wrote:

Dear Mommies I Know,

I would love to know what 5-10 items of clothing, furniture, accessories, toys, etc. you most valued during your baby’s first year of life. There is just so much crap out there, and I want to rifle through your brains to avoid getting the crap!

Now, that’s a demand for a blog contest if ever I’ve heard one!  Check out my top 5 list, and then submit your own in the comments. One lucky commenter will win $5 in Goose cash just for contributing, and the rest of you can remain satisfied that you’ve helped a soon-to-be mama avoid the pitfalls of capitalism.  Everybody wins.

Without further adieu, here are my favorite five:

1)  Cloth diapers.

The cloth diaper decision and discussion is an involved one.  We’ve devoted several blog posts to the subject, and there are entire websites out there as well.  I personally was a fan of the pocket diaper, like the red one pictured above — an adjustable outer shell used in conjunction with a removable inner pad.  For me, these seemed to provide the best leak protection. were manageable to launder, and looked super cute on my summer baby when worn with just a t-shirt and the occasional pair of leg warmers (see #5.)

2) The Moby Wrap

If the search for the perfect diaper doesn’t kill you, the search for the perfect baby carrier will.  The secret to both of these searches is trial and error — what works for your best friend may not work for you, and that’s okay.  I loved my Moby Wrap (actually, the Moby D) for the first 10 months of Corrina’s life. She tagged along to my third year of law school, which would have been much harder had I not been able to strap her to my body with this incredible piece of fabric.  (Also invaluable was an awesome team of classmate babysitters who came to my rescue all year.  Thanks, ladies!) 

3)  Robeez

There’s a reason these soft soled shoes are everywhere babies want to be — they’re perfect for a baby’s perfect little feet.  The elastic keeps the slipper secure without pinching while the leather keeps baby’s feet warm without overheating.  Plus, they come in an insane variety of adorable styles — Corrina came home from the hospital in a pair of pink ones with brown guitars, like the little rock star that she is.

4)  Swaddling

This is a word I’d never given a second thought until I was the parent of a newborn, and then all of a sudden it became absolutely essential.  The Happiest Baby On the Block was my go-to swaddling guide, and we could not have survived without Kiddpotamous swaddlers.  On more than one occasion, I found myself awake at 3 in the morning, giving Rina a bottle with one hand and ordering extra swaddlers from Amazon.com with the other.  That was before I was a Goose aficionado, of course.  Had I know then what I know now, I would have just gone to the Goose swaddler bin, where many of my fave brand of these magical tools currently reside.  Ahh, the naivete of first time mothers.

5)  Legwarmers

That’s right, baby legwarmers are a real thing, and they’re fantastic.  When I bought the first pair, I stashed them secretly in the diaper bag, ashamed to tell my husband that I’d bought our child such a frivolous, ridiculous accessory.  But then one day in late August, we found ourselves at an outdoor wedding with an ever-so-slight chill in the air.  I whipped out those bad boys, tossed them on my baby’s chubby legs, and voila!  Adorable AND practical.

I could probably go on and on, but I’m going to stop at my fave five and give you all a chance to weigh in.  Get listing!

-Meryl at the Goose


11 Responses to “A Few of My Favorite Things: A Contest”

  1. Kim Says:

    1. boobs, although it is not as easy as it looks, breast feeding is GREAT 2. friends and family, ask for help, they want to,let them! 3. A carrier you are comfortable using, mama goose can help! 4. A few good thermometers, ear & rectal are best, in a bag with the baby meds (fever reducers,pain killers) 5. A good stroller- I prefer jogging the big wheels are nice here 6. Diapers, I admit I was a disposable mom, so I honestly don’t know about cloth,but I have to say what is available now seems so much better than what cloth used to be, but whatever you choose, have enough for at least 7-10 changes daily! my friends gave a bunch of different sizes that got me through the first years it was nice to have larger sizes when needed 7. patience- you will wonder why it won’t stop crying, what to do to make it comfortable, am I a good mother? Yes you probably are, but a baby makes you question yourself, take a deep breath, walk away if you can, it will be ok just breathe! Don’t worry! Good luck!!

  2. Angelika Says:

    1) Cloth diaper, hands down. Compared to disposables I saved at least two thirds of the diapering costs. Also ditch the wipes and use wash cloths. Pocket diapers worked best for me, prefolds with snappy and a polyurethan cover are the cheapest option, until they fit the pocket diapers. The prefolds can substitute as inserts for the pocket diapers later on.
    2) My negative list: You can safely go without baby dresses, if you have girls, they just interfer with crawling; most baby toys are not worth purchasing up-front, babies love pots and pans and all sorts of ‘toys’ you have in your kittchen anyways plus people tend to give toys anyways. Ditch the baby swing, and exersaucer and co, babies tend to be much happier in a carrier on your body or doing tummy time on the floor.
    3) Ergo carrier. I don’t know if it works for twins, but it was a lifesaver for my two.
    4) A little hand cranked baby food mill. Saves you tons of money to make your own baby food, rather than buying prepared stuff. Plus, you know what is in there.
    5) Overalls. Nothing works as well for babies starting to get mobile. By the way, light colors are really unpractical.

  3. Sandra Sorensen Says:

    My number 1 & 2 were my pocket sling and my Ergo Carrier. Tried to love my Moby, but we just didn’t dance well together. I agree with Kim you have to find a carrier that works well for you and sometimes….well that is just trial and error so try to borrow and buy used 🙂 My number 3 would have to be my boppy! By the time our 5th came around we did not have room for a lot of baby crap and the boppy filled several voids that were left without the bouncy seat, swing, and yes even crib. For one the boppy is a great nursing aid, especially when your baby is tiny and doesn’t reach to your legs comfortably. When your baby is young you can lay them in the boppy to keep them slightly erect but not sitting (like in a bouncy seat) and as they get a tad bit bigger they can use a boppy as a support while they are sitting and when they fall over no smashed heads! My baby loved her boppy so much that she would curl up with it long after she needed it for sitting and the best part…it fit under the couch!

  4. Margie Says:

    1. a weightless diaper bag. The bag needs to be light because you’re going to load it up. I used a large Sportsac with outer zipper pockets. Not at all fashionable, totally utilitarian. It went everywhere with diaper and clothing amenities, snacks, etc.
    2. A cut out picture of a real baby from a Pampers box which I strung and hung over the headrest for baby to look at while in the backwards position. Some people put a mirror. I preferred just a cardboard cutout of a cute baby.
    3, A really good breast pump.
    4. Baby monitor.
    5. Soft blanket for the carseat and stroller.

  5. Courtney Says:

    1. Double breast pump- helped me go a year, even when I worked FT
    2. Ergo – best purchase ever, used until my daughter was 3.
    3. Jogging stroller- allowed me to workout and have quality time with my daughter.
    4. Temporal scan thermometer – you can repeatedly take temps even when sleeping at night. If the number read high I could then do a rectal if needed.
    5. Swing- happy, content baby!

  6. Andrea Says:

    I actually did a top 10 baby products we loved when my Daughter was 8 months old…
    In no particular order:
    JJCole Bundle Me for cold weather
    Infant bucket seat (vs. convertible seat)
    Soothie pacifiers
    Cloth diapers – fuzzibunz for us!
    Prefolds (yep, they got their own category since we use them for everything from juicy burps, puke, pee spills during potty training years, leaky boobs in the first few weeks, snot rags…everything!)
    Footed Sleepers – my kids lived in these practically the first few months, and my son even wore one to daycare his whole first winter (from 8-12 months). Just super easy! No socks to lose.
    Double Electric Breast Pump… mine gave me two full years of pumping (1 year with each kid)
    Find an amazing Lactation Consultant!
    My Breast Friend Pillow – much better than a boppy!
    Carter’s brand clothes – they just fit true to size, unlike so many store brands and even Old Navy fit small to size. We love Carters!
    Aquaphor for diaper rash – although just remember not to use with the cloth diapers!

  7. Amy Says:

    I have to agree with Meryl on a few of these! In no particular order:
    1. The Moby wrap! This was our most comfortable and convenient carrier. I have to admit that I might try an Ergo or something similar for our next child, but it will be tough to compete with the versatility of the Moby!
    2. Leather-bottomed shoes, like Robeez (our favorite pair right now is made by Goody). They were somewhat frivolous in the beginning, but as soon as our daughter started standing and walking, these were the BEST. Even now that family members have bought our 15 month old some very cute “big girl” shoes, we use the leather-bottom shoes the most. They stay on the best and are the most comfortable! I’ve indulged by buying several gently-used pairs at the Goose because they are a must have!
    3. My Medela breast pump! Could not have done without this and gone back to work. I had the Pump-in-style shoulder bag version, and while it was pricey, it was completely worth it (and I’m sure WAY cheaper that buying formula!). Also essential, Medela milk storage bags (we had enough frozen that we took a week-long vacation without baby!), bottles (the Medela bottles and caps held up the best, but we also used the super-cheap glass and plastic basic Gerber and Evenflo bottles), and milk storage tote with ice pack (comes with the pump).
    4. The Arms Reach Cosleeper. Our daughter slept in this (in our room, but not attached to our bed) for the first 4 weeks, and we moved it into the living room during the day. This was by far my favorite deal from Mama Goose, too! Like-new, $60! We used it as a travel crib for awhile after that. Very convenient and cozy. Once she seemed big enough to climb out, we switched to a Graco pack ‘n play for our travel crib (I don’t love it, but it works). I’ve lent out tons of our baby stuff, but the cosleeper is sticking around for the next one!
    5. A good food processor. We had a regular food processor, a blender, and a Magic Bullet (sad, but true… it was a gift!), and the Magic Bullet was actually was the easiest for making baby food. I would make a week’s worth of baby food in 10 minutes. So glad we didn’t have to pay for jarred food (but we did occasionally, just for fun).

    Honorable mentions: The Bumbo seat (used only for a few months, but it’s the one other thing I haven’t lent out. Perfect for starting solid foods when they’re too small for the high chair) Oxyclean laundry spray (I hate to sound like a commercial, but this is the one product that removed spit up, poop, food, EVERYTHING from baby clothes, furniture, carpeting, etc. A must-have!), and a wet bag for dirty cloth diapers (and for diapers, we LOVE BumGenius pocket diapers! Disposables are still handy at night).

    Possibly more useful- things that we could’ve done without: the swing (she could have cared less), the bouncy chair, several slings (SO uncomfortable after 10 pounds!), bottle warmer (we donated it – too easy to just stick the bottle in warm water!), the baby bath tub (useful for about 2 months, but next time we’ll just use the sink!). We had a Graco stroller/carseat combo, and for the maaaaybe 10 times we used it total in 1 year, it was somewhat useful, but we could probably have gone without it completely. I would not pay full price for one. Next time we’ll use carriers and a lightweight folding stroller instead (though this would probably be impossible with twins!).

  8. Mary C Says:

    1. Swaddling blankets – Babies love to be swaddled. Plus the blankets come in handy for keeping them warm, wiping up spills, and as a nursing cover. I like the thick stretchy cotton kind, like t-shirt fabric (Carters, Gymboree). My 4-year-old daughter still has one of her first swaddling blankets as her “blankie.”

    2. Baby Bjorn – Both our babies were constantly in the sling their first 9 months. Partly because we were traveling a lot, but mostly because they loved being in it! If I could do it over, I’d have loved to try an Ergo sling. They look very comfy for mom/dad and baby, and they fit until they’re toddlers (Even though they’re walking, mine still want “uppies” every chance they can get!)

    3. Stroller – I recommend the Snap n’ Go for when they’re infants, and then getting a Maclaren (or some other deluxe umbrella style stroller) for when they’re 6 months and up. It’s the most cost-effective based on the baby’s changing needs. They’re always either in a sling or the carseat carrier the first 6 months, and I knew I wouldn’t want the big tank-like stroller that usually comes in the “travel systems” so the Snap n’ Go is a good (and cheaper) compromise. After 6 months (when you’re more aware of yours and your baby’s needs) you can select a more “long term” stroller, like a Maclaren or a jogging stroller or whatever else strikes your fancy.

    4. Car seat. The infant car seat/carrier style is really quite convenient when they’re brand-new. You can transport them easily while they’re safely asleep in the seat, and they can double as a safe place to put the baby down when you’re not holding them. We had the Graco brand carseat, but they’re all quite similar. Once mine outgrew the carrier (around 9 months) we got a “convertible car seat” which would last until they’re ready for a booster seat.

    5. Robeez. I loved these little leather slippers. I second the previous poster who said these shoes keep baby’s feet cozy and don’t slip off. They’re really great for when baby’s starting to move around.

    6. Lasinoh breast pads. They were the most comfortable out of all the brands of disposable pads that I tried.

    7. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Worked the best out of all the diaper creams we tried.

    8. Fleece footie pajamas with zippers. Soft, cozy, and easiest to slip on and off for diaper changes.

    9. Nursing pillow (Boppy)

    10. Books/Websites:
    – Happiest Baby on the Block (was esp. helpful for my DH to feel prepared for how to soothe a newborn).
    – Baby Bargains (good for answering all your questions about what you “really” need for the first 2 years).
    – The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby and Child Care for the Modern Parent
    – BabyCenter.com
    – Babble.com

  9. Amy Says:

    I second Andrea’s post! The J.J. Cole Bundle Me was THE BEST when our daughter was little. Can’t believe I left that out. Everyone with a winter baby needs one (and we got ours at the Goose!). Cloth prefold diapers were also essential, with many different uses. Footed sleepers are great, especially Carter’s fleece ones!
    Also, we had a Boppy pillow, and it was useful, but not as much as I had expected.

  10. Mackenzie Says:

    These are the top baby gear items we couldn’t live without during the first few months (and still use most of them now with a 1 year old and 2.75 yr. old).
    1. A great carrier…I loved the K’Tan when my son was under 6 months (can be used with twins too!) and use the Ergo now almost everyday!
    2. A nursing pillow…the Bobby pillow saved my back and still gets used around here even though neither kid is nursing anymore!
    3. Great swaddling blankets (The ones at the hospital are the best!)
    4. Britax carseat…durable, comfortable and safe. Our kids love their carseats and they’ve held up really well so we’ve been able to use them with more than 1 baby. Well worth the cost!
    5. Collapsible canvas bins…great for keeping baby gear organized such as baby clothes, diaper changing stuff, burp clothes, and now we use them for books and toys too! Great to travel with also!
    6. Invest in a few great baby clothing items rather than tons of cheap ones…a pair of Robeez, Baby Legs baby leggings, and Carter’s pjs, outfit sets and onesies are the items we wear over and over and over again.
    7. Parents DVD from Target called Mom and Baby Fitness with Jillian Moriarty (or find a local mom and baby yoga/pilates class)…excellent way to get back into shape, make time for mommy while still spending time with babies.
    8. A great all-terrain stroller…we love our Baby Jogger that was compatible with our infant carseat, great for long walks at the park and even has a jumpseat for an older baby so we can carry both kids in it. Find a stroller that will grow with your family!
    9. Bathsling…this was my husband’s favorite baby gear item since bathtime is his time!
    10. A white noise maker…we use the music maker/white noise maker that came with our Graco Pack-n-Play.
    Good luck!

  11. Alyssa Says:

    Here’s our must-have list:

    1. Cloth Diapers. We love Mother Ease (which you can find at the Goose). I liked having a cotton diaper with a separate cover and they truly fit from birth – potty training.

    2. Cotton breast pads. Also from Mother Ease, these get washed, are always soft and are still used every day (my youngest is 6 months old).

    3. A comfortable carrier. We loved our Moby for the first few months and then the Ergo for the next couple of years. They are both super comfortable and would be worth it at twice the price – we use our carrier for a good portion of every day.

    4. A simple food mill. If you eat healthy foods and know the rules, then there’s no need to buy jarred baby food.

    5. Good car seats. Obviously, safety is a priority, but ease of use is also so important. We like the Britax seats because their rated well and all of the buckles and buttons work well (this is huge when you consider how often they are used). They cost more, but again, we’re talking every day for years.

    6. Easy-to-use thermometer. When your baby is sick you don’t want to have to put them through the old fashioned rectal thermometers. They take forever to give an accurate read and require an already-uncomfortable baby to lay still. We like our ear model, but hear that the forehead swipe ones are even better.

    I also agree with others above who say that less is more. I love having Mama Goose around because it allows you to start out with just the essentials. As your baby grows you can peruse the shelves for different gear and gadgets that might suit you and your baby and pick them up as needed. The low cost makes it easy to test things out without much of a gamble.

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