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It never fails. With each new baby comes a somewhat desperate quest for the perfect swaddle that will undoubtedly lead to a full night of sleep. I always start with my very favorite baby must-have, the beloved Aden and Anais swaddle blanket. It is perfect for a newborn and really all you need to successfully swaddle your sweet little bundle of joy.
I loathe the hospital swaddle blankets. They are rectangular in shape, which makes swaddling a baby a rather difficult task. A good swaddle starts with a square blanket, which is precisely why you need the soft, light weight, and beautiful swaddle blankets made by Aden and Anais. I have packed these blankets all five times I have checked in to the hospital to have a baby, and I rarely leave home without one.
But after a month or so, you may need to call in reinforcements. Your baby will grow stronger and will most likely wriggle their arms free from a swaddle blanket. With Baby Cora, I tried out the Love to Dream Swaddle UP and the Woombie, but what led to the longest stretches of sleep for her was the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle combined with a secondary Aden and Anais swaddle blanket.
So what exactly does that look like? First, I start with a basic Carters onesie, as I want to keep this layer light weight. After that, I velcro her into the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle. I love this particular swaddle because it is so easy to use! Now Cora did end up with a free arm a handful of times, so I decided to add an extra layer to ensure she couldn’t escape. A loose arm wouldn’t bother me if it didn’t wake her up.
Adding the secondary swaddle is my “secret swaddle sauce,” as it increased Cora’s night time sleep from 2.5 hours at a time to 5 hours at a time, and that’s a win in my book.
As you may know, I recently gave birth to my fifth baby. I consider myself a seasoned mom, and when it comes to baby gear, I’ve pretty much bought it all, sold it all, and bought it all over again. Side note, if there is even the slightest chance you may have a second, third, or fourth baby in the future… DON’T SELL YOUR SH*T.
You see I’ve made this mistake more than once, and I can assure you that (happy) accidents can happen, even multiple times, so do yourself a favor and hang on to every last piece of baby gear you own until the baby factory is closed FOR👏 GOOD👏.
I’ve had some time to reflect on what products really are worth buying (over and over again), and I am here to impart my baby crap wisdom to the world. And the truth is…. You really don’t need that much in the beginning. Diapers, wipes, obnoxiously big bows for your baby girl… These things are actually necessary. Wipe warmers, baby mittens, a grass countertop drying rack? Not so much.
So now that I am six weeks into life with my fifth infant, I feel as if I have figured it all out (ha, ha). So, without further ado, I present to you my top 5 baby must haves (in no particular order):
- Ergobaby Embrace Cozy Newborn Carrier– I have tried A LOT of carriers throughout the years (the original Ergo carrier, Baby Bjorn, K’tan, Lalabu), and I haven’t been a huge fan of any of them. Neither have my babies. The Ergobaby Embrace is a game changer for me. It is soft like a wrap, but super simple to put on like a traditional carrier. Cora doesn’t fuss when I put her in, and she usually goes right to sleep. As a matter of fact, she is sleeping in it as I type at this very moment. If you are a first time parent, you may not know that newborns don’t like to be put down. They want to be held all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the baby snuggles and when I had my first son Jack, I literally sat in a chair 24/7 rocking him, feeding him, and holding him while he slept. Now that I have FIVE kids (7, 6, 5, 2, and 6 weeks old), I don’t have that luxury anymore. And although I am remarkably good at doing things one-handed, it can be quite challenging at times. And bonus, carrying a baby in a carrier instead of putting them down to sleep can help prevent the dreaded flat head phenomenon. If you’re like me and slightly intimidated by baby-wearing, give this carrier a shot. You won’t be disappointed. I have pink (of course), but the carrier also comes in blue, gray, black, and cream.
2. Philips AVENT Ultra Air Pacifier– I was given this pacifier with baby number four by a kind mother who recognized a moment of desperation at a preschool event for my oldest son. The audience was supposed to be quiet throughout the gymnastics presentation I was attending, but my newborn baby didn’t get the memo. This fellow mom sprang into action, dashed to her car, and returned with a brand new pacifier that she had on hand for emergencies. #momgoals She said it was the only pacifier her son would take. My baby took it with ease, stopped screaming/disrupting the program, and I was sold. With over 1,200 five star Amazon ratings and 98% nipple acceptance, this pacifier is a winner. Shown in pink but also available in blue.
3. Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle– These bottles are fantastic for several reasons, but above all else I love how simple and straight forward they are. Bottle, nipple, nipple ring. That’s all. Plus they come in several sizes, colors, and a range of nipple flows, too. In my experience, these bottles are quite durable, as well. If you are exclusively bottle feeding, I recommend stocking up!
4. Baby Brezza Instant Warmer– Let me just start by saying that I used the Baby Brezza Formula Pro with several of my littles ones, and it was freaking amazing, BUT, there are a few downfalls to this otherwise genius product. First of all, it is expensive. Also, you have to clean it a lot. Ain’t nobody got time for that (at least not in this house). And most importantly for me, I never trusted that my baby was getting the correct amount of formula powder. Any time they were fussy, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were being over/under fed by the contraption. Fast forward a few kids and boom! I found this water warmer on Amazon and bought it immediately. It is my current favorite baby product. Instead of using a traditional bottle warmer, which takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r and often leaves you with formula that is way too hot for your screaming LO to drink, this product heats the water to your liking (room temp, body temp, warmer than body temp) and dispenses it on demand 24-7. It maintains the water temperature all day and night, and I am here for it! It is about $50, and if you are a formula feeding mama, it is worth every dang penny.
5. aden + anais Essentials Swaddle Blankets– These are a long time favorite of mine. I still own a couple from my first son, and every child after that, too. I always buy a new pack or two when I have a baby. They are so versatile and soft, and the patterns are beautiful. Bring them to the hospital. Pack them in your diaper bag. Throw them in the stroller. You cannot go wrong with aden + anais swaddle (all purpose really) blankets.
And that’s a wrap, folks. All of my favorite baby things that I will finally be able to discard of/sell when Cora is a toddler, because I can now say with 100% confidence that the baby factory is closed FOR👏 GOOD👏.
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Downloading these for our elves to deliver to the kids. They will be thrilled that they officially made the nice list. 😉 So cute!
Shop digital download here.