January 19, 2015

My List of Baby Must Haves

When you're pregnant everyone and their mother thinks they know what is best for you and what you NEED to have. Here's my list of what worked for us!

1. Boppy Pillows

Seriously these things were a lifesaver and we used them all day every day until just a few weeks ago now that the girls are more stable and can sit in their chairs. They made bottle feeding possible when alone and gave our tired arms a break during playtime. In the early days the girls would nap in them on the floor after a feeding with a blanket draped over it so they couldn't fall underneath the pillow. It kept them propped at the right angle to help with digestion and they slept so well. I also used them for tummy time as it takes the strain off their bellies and shoulders a bit and they last much longer!

2. Rock and Play Sleeper

Whether you use them for sleep or play all day and all night until the crib transition or just occasionally so you can get a break you are going to want a rock and play or two.  Simply put, they are so conducive to good sleep for both you and baby! It's like sleeping in a hug. The incline helps with reflux and the shape keeps baby so cozy, even the fussiest baby will sleep well when laying in one. You should do your research first - there are people cautioning against frequent and extended use, citing an increase in plagiocephaly and torticollis. There's also the argument that that "hug" like feeling also limits free movement which may hinder development. And then there's the dreaded transition from rock and play to the crib - just google it and discover the battle scars many mamas now hold thanks to this. Still, knowing all I do I am so very grateful that some brilliant mind invented these things for the hours of uninterrupted sleep it afforded us in those early days. Added bonus: they're pretty portable so we still take them everywhere for the girls to sleep in rather than lugging around our bulky twin pack and play.

3. {Twin} Nursing Pillow

For a singleton the boppy works just fine and I use that more often than not when I'm only nursing one but for twins I highly recommend a twin nursing pillow. I use the My Brest Friend which I scored at a second hand sale for $20. There is a definite learning curve in the beginning and it was always very stressful trying to get them both on while I was alone so I used the boppy more often than not but once we hit 3 months and were tandem nursing this pillow became my savior! I take it with me when I visit people and use it for nearly every feeding now. They keep each other entertained so they don't fall asleep on the boob and feedings are down to less than 20 min. I have not yet mastered moving sleeping twins from the pillow to the bed so we try to avoid that as much as possible but that picture was too cute to pass up!

4. Nose Frida 

Seriously, unless you plan on never leaving your house before the babies can blow their noses you have to drop the $15 and get one of these. It is truly a lifesaver when winter and stuffy noses hit. We were spending 15 minutes every morning and night using one of those bulb syringes and still barely making a dent in the amount of ick in their little noses. Yes, the idea of sucking snot out of your child's nose is a little gross but trust me when it's 3am and you're dying for sleep you will do just about whatever it takes. Plus you will not actually get any boogers in your mouth, I promise you. Even if you think you'll be fine with a bulb just buy it and try it. You will be converted. Then come back and thank me!

5. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins by Marc Weissbluth, MD

I am just now diligently using the strategies in this book but we are on day two and are already seeing the light. For the first time in almost a month the girls were only up twice last night and have slept for almost 45 minutes this morning after weeks of 6 20 minute naps a day. This is after we had 4 months of blissful scheduled sleep! They napped together and ate every 3 hours. At 7 weeks we got 7 hours straight and that went on until exactly 4 months adjusted when all of a sudden we were eating every 1.5 hours ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. I bought this book months ago and I'm so glad we did. One day of the techniques (that's another post entirely) and we're back on track. Buy it.

6. A Hands-Free Pumping System

Whether you're EPing or just pumping to build a stash and whether you have one baby or twinfants you NEED a hands-free system. Buy a sports bra and cut holes in it. Invest in one of those fancy hands-free bras. Or do what I did and get the Simplicity Hands-Free Necklace. Either way, you will want your hands as free as possible and it is worth every penny!

7. An Ipod or music player with playlists of white noise/womb sounds/rain sounds, lullabies, fun kids' music/nursery rhymes and  your favorite tunes

It took us a while at first to find a sound that helped the girls sleep. In the beginning lullabies were too stimulating but white noise didn't quite keep them asleep. Then we discovered the womb sounds and the difference was astounding. It helped put them asleep and keep them that way for nearly 2 hours every time. Eventually they grew out of it and we switched to white noise. Then that stopped working so now we use an instrumental lullaby playlist at night and fun lullabies during the day. During wake up times I put on either fun kids' songs or my favorites so I don't go crazy. Added bonus, they're getting exposed to tons of different types of music. We have a portable Ipod player that we take from room to room with us so we can sing along all day.

8. Wubbanubs 

If you want to your baby to have a pacifier then invest in a wubbanub now. They're adorable and functional and we aboslutely love them. The NICU gave our girls' pacifiers and they never really stopped taking them but it was SO frustrating as they would fall out and wake the girls up. Within a few weeks though they were able to grab the wubbanub's animal and put it back in their mouths on their own. They weight it down so it can't roll away and since buying them we have yet to lose a pacifier under the crib! Added bonus: once people learn who has which wubbanub they're more easily able to tell the babies apart!  Viv has her frog and Jules has her monkey!

9. Lots of Links 

I put these on my registry and received about 100 of these at my shower and was thrilled. CJ was confused. What the hell was I going to do with 100 links? The answer: everything! In the beginning I used them to string toys above the girls on their play mat or over their laps in the bouncy seats or rock and plays. Now, they suck and chew on them, grab them and pull on them, and I use them to attach their favorite toys to so they don't lose them while playing in high chairs, jumpers or on the floor. They are fantastic for working out the pincer grasp and are so versatile.

10. A Mirror

I have had one of those long floor mirrors laying horizontally in front of their play area since day one. It helps with tummy time by giving them something to look at and now that they're more aware they love making faces in it. Babies love to look at themselves and Viv will spend a good 15 minutes just exploring her own face on her belly. She has started rolling from back to belly just to be able to get a good look at herself. It's cheap (I got mine at Wal-Mart for $14) and enhances your play area without any real work!  No it's not really a must have but it was for us!

This is by no means a comprehensive, across the board list, just some of our favorite must haves. I can't think of much else but I'm sure other mamas have their favorites!

What were your must have items for your babies?


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