Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

Tools of the Trade

on April 16, 2012

I was recently introduced to the Marpac Sound Conditioner Sound Screen SleepMate Electro-Mechanical White Noise Machine by an old high school friend (Hi Amy!) as a way to soothe the baby and cover up “outside noise.”


I didn’t even know such a thing existed.  I was familiar with creating white noise and using the vacuum/washing machine/etc to recreate womb sounds, however, this thing was news to me.  I’ve also tried apps on my phone that do roughly the same thing, but I usually need my phone or am hoarding battery so have pretty much discontinued use of the app.

This got me thinking about what items we use on a daily basis that are essential and what we have and/or received that isn’t as important when caring for an infant.  I’m happy to review anything in more detail if you ask for it, but I’ll just start with an overview.

  • Boppy: This is a breastfeeding pillow in case you haven’t seen one.  It’s basically a big, fluffy U-shaped pillow that goes around the mother’s mid-section for the baby to lie on during breastfeeding. We like this pillow now that JJ’s bigger, but we used to like the My Brest Friend below as it’s firmer and was better at keeping JJ from rolling.

  • My Brest Friend: Good pillow, but the back portion started to hurt Claire’s back over time.

  • Lots of towels/burp cloths etc: self explanatory
  • Swaddle blankets: the birthing classes and nurses promoted skipping these and simply using blankes to swaddle.  However, as he’s gotten bigger and stronger, the velcro has has been essential as it keeps JJ bundled snuggly. FYI, if you don’t swaddle (wrap) babies, they will typically awaken themselves at night with swaying arms and random movements.

  • Whale tub: this is the tub we wash JJ in every other day. On other days, we wipe him down with a towel. It’s great, but it seems like he’ll be growing out of it soon.

  • Diaper bagWe started with a basic carter’s bag, but soon found it to be too small.  We upgraded to the Kate spade bag below that is much roomer and has all of the pockets and compartments we needed. Plan on space for diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, changing pad, lip balm, sunscreen, sunglasses, outfit changes, towels, an plastic bags. I really like the 2 outside pockets where we put our diapers and wipes for easy access without going in to the bag.

  • Stroller hooks: These are some of the coolest things that I didin’t think we needed.  They are great for holding other bags and attaching stuff to the stroller.  There’s a lot of versions of this, but we have something like this. I think I may be investing in some stronger ones though. These are good for the price!
  • Wipes warmer (Winter): Another frivolous item I originally thought.  As I’ve said before, these are so important during a diaper change in the middle of a Winter night.  A cold wipe on a sleeping baby ensures you’ll be up for awhile.
  • Baby Timer: I know a lot of people use their phones, but we have enjoyed having dedicated timers for each action. You can anticipate diaper changes, nap times, etc based on theses times.
  • Moses basket: Some people use bassinets.  We opted for a Moses basket on our nightstand next to our bed. These are surprisingly expensive for what they are.  They are simply a basket with some cheapy pad and a thin cover.
  • Carriers by Boba/Moby Wrap/Baby Bjorn/Infantino: I think my favorite is the Boba. It provides decent support for the paren and is very flexible for the baby allowing a bit of movement. The Bjorn hurts Claire’s back and is pretty stiff for the baby and is also pretty pricey.  The Infantino is a knock off of a Bjorn type carrier at about a third of the price.  I’d say it accomplishes about the same thing for a lot less money.  Lastly, the Moby Wrap is very comfortable and is a great way to wrap a child.  However, I forget how to wrap the baby when I don’t use it often. It’s basically one long sheet (like a table runner) that has no straps, harnesses, clips or anything. From a time perspective, I’d probably pass on the Wrap although I think it may be the closest to the baby feeling like it’s being held/swaddled.
  • Stroller: We have a couple of strollers, but our main one is the Graco Deluxe stylus. We bought it as a traveling system that included the car seat, stroller, and base. The link is to one that’s close, but not quite the same.  In reviewing the different options, we liked the options and functionality of the Graco.  As one of the biggest baby products manufacturers, there are a ton of options and accessories that work within their systems. They’re safe and readily available.  There are some strollers that look like spaceships now, but unfortunately, they’re usually quite heavy and require adaptors and extra junk to fit with the universal Graco sizing.
We also bought a universal stroller frame that is easier to travel with as it’s lighter weight.  We love it!
  • Lansinoh Nursing pads: so you don’t leak when you’re breastfeeding. Don’t mess with the cheaper brands.  Lansinoh!
Ok, I think that about covers our necessities.  In the next post, I’ll review some optional items and some unnecessary ones.  Did I miss anything?

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