Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sarah's Newborn to Toddler Survival Guide

Now that Braden is approaching 18 months old, I was thinking of all the helpful things that I have gotten either as gifts or bought myself, that helped me survive up until this point (for Braden)...and have made my life a lot easier as a first time mom. Remember when I did my pregnancy survival guide? Now looking back at it there's a TON more I could've added, but we go!

The Boppy Nursing Pillow
 I brought this to the hospital with me instead of using their flimsy nursing pillows that I know they have. It is firm, yet still comfy for baby, it never loses it's shape, I bought mine used and it washed well. They have tons of cute covers for sale there too or get them cheaper on Etsy. And, as your baby gets older, or if breastfeeding isn't working for you, they work great as little lounge "chairs" for babe and I always had mine out for Braden when he was learning to sit on his own and was still in the weeble wobble stage. I used mine breastfeeding for about 2 months I believe, then he was big enough/I was good enough to do it on my own.

A Sound/White Noise Machine
Newborn babies sleep through anything. Let's keep it this way! I know Braden can sleep without white noise, but it makes me feel better that he can't hear anything else, like me vacuuming or us watching a loud movie at night. We used one for him since day 1.

Receiving Blankets
...and lots of them.
I bought a ton of handmade ones, off of Etsy - of course! And I also got some as gifts. I never thought I'd need them all...but I did. Braden was quite a spitty baby so I used them as spit cloths too, just tossed it in the laundry and always had tons to spare. He never let me properly swaddle him, he liked to have his hands up at his face, but I did a "half swaddle" with these blankets until he was about 4 months old.

Burp Cloths
Speaking of spit. I loved them and I bought a ton off Etsy (I buy almost everything there) and for a spitty baby it was just essential. Instead of using your blankets all the time, I just used these burp cloths, you'll notice them in a lot of Braden's pics up to 6 months. They also work good for runny noses as he's gotten older.

Wipes Warmer
A lot of people would argue me on this one, and I got it as a gift from Laura...but Braden screamed like a seagull when we changed ever diaper until we started using warm wipes. The wipes do NOT cool off the second you take them out like people have reviewed, they worked wonderfully and are essential if you want to use cloth wipes like we do.

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles
Loved these bottles for Braden. He took them very well and could hold them very easily when he was old enough, will definitely buy more for #2!

Baby Einstein Play Mat
Play Time Fun!
We got this as a gift from G&G Schultz, started using it when he was 10 days old and he LOVED it. It played music for quite a long time and he loved looking at that little star. They have them at Costco off and on.
Jolly Jumper
Jolly Jumping
Not every child is a jolly jumper, but mine sure was! We started at 4 months and used it every day, usually more than once a day, until he was about 9 months old. Very entertaining, keeps them safe and out of the way for mom to do stuff.

PlayGro Twirly Whirly Car Seat Toy
This was a life-saver MANY it while we were shopping or in the car. Once he was old enough at about 3-4 months he could reach them and he loved playing with them on his car seat handle.

Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie was a life saver and she followed us everywhere we went until he was about 8 months old, then he ditched Sophie like dirty socks! We thank you for those wonderful months, Sophie! Best teething toy EVER!

Music Table
Such a Big Boy! 
Pick your brand, any brand...but it was a great source of entertainment for Braden and with most brands you can take the legs off the table so they can use it for tummy time or when they learn to sit.
Fisher Price Walker
I got this used so it was even cheaper, but this was an essential toy in our house for over 2 months! He learned to walk with this, it didn't hinder his learning and it saved a LOT of frustration and our back from hunching over to help a baby who desperately wanted to walk, walk!

Crane Cool Mist Humidifier
 It's adorable and we used it TONS when Braden has had his head colds...can't really do much else for the little ones when they're sick!

Baby Food Blender/Baby Making Stuff
I got the Kidco set for a baby gift from the girls I worked with and it was awesome. I made every single thing that Braden ever ate with the exception of a desperate need for pureed pears once at mom's (instant cure for his constipation). I have heard great things about the Baby Bullet from Joy too. I really liked Baby Cubes for storage as well.

Lovie/Taggie Blanket
 As we did Braden's sleep training the book suggested to get a "lovie" be it a small, breathable blanket or a stuffed animal of some sort. An online friend suggested getting a taggie blanket as her daughter started sleeping really well once she had hers. Well, Braden bonded with his little taggie that I bought (again) off Etsy and even used to fall asleep with it over his face!

Blankie & Soother
He started getting attached at about 7 months old and he can fall asleep without either, but no nap time or bed time is complete without his blankie & "soosa".
Sucky, Lazy Boy!

Britax Marathon Car Seat
 By the end of our 7 month stint of the bucket car seat, I was ready to throw it to the wolves. Braden was by no means a heavy/chunky baby but lugging him around in that thing got really old really fast. We love our Britax Marathon, we have one for each of our vehicles!

We bought this using our gift cards from Christmas and for Braden's birthday, it lives in the corner of our kitchen and probably will for many many years to come...Braden LOVES it and I can tell he feels like such a big boy sitting at his very own table!

Summer Infant Sure & Secure Wood Gate
 Love the look and it's tension mounted so no drilling into our walls. First thing you see when you walk into our house at the top of the stairs, we actually get lots of compliments on this gate!!

Vtech Baby's Learning Laptop
When Braden became technology obsessed, Mom got him this laptop for Christmas and he still loves it! I've gifted it and haven't heard a bad thing about it.

LeapFrog Fridge Farm
We actually recently just got our own on a 40% off sale at BRU, but Grandma & Papa have this at their house and it's a HUGE hit with Braden.
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe
 I can't even guess how many times I've posted about the Cozy Coupe, Braden's favorite toy - bar none!

Books, books, books!
 My child is a bookworm, there's books everywhere in our house and I love that he loves to read!

That's about all I can think of and my eyes are crossed from writing this during some down time during my night shift! You might want to check back, who knows...I may have had a "duh" moment and added something that was absolutely completely essential for us!


  1. This is GREAT! I'm going to look into that carseat...

    Also, I would love to make the switch to cloth wipes. Do you keep them in the solution in the warmer? I've heard warmers can increase mold/mildew. Have you had this issue?

  2. What a truly fantastic post! I'm going to tweet this!!!

  3. Jet's Journey - the Prince Lionheart wipes warmer we use has anti-microbial spongey things you put at the bottom of the warmer and change every 2 months, they also prevent the wipes from turning brown. There's a whole market for wipes cubes/solutions...but I just keep it simple and use a squirt of his baby bath wash.

    Melissa - thanks for the tweet!

  4. For Tristan I had the boppy pillow, tons of receiving blankets and burp cloths, the same exact play mat, pacifers (though he stopped using them at 9months- his choice), we also had to switch car seats before he turned 1 (he was 8 months), we had the laptop (til he got sick and had diarrhea all over it), and tons of books as well.

    Instead of the white noise machine we had a womb sounds bear that was placed near his crib. We had the drop-in nurser bottles (he had bad gas). I didn't get the baby food making kits but I did buy my first blender a month before we started solids :).


Thanks for taking the time to read this post and leave a comment! I reply to all my comments so come back and take a look or subscribe to responses!