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Jess Writes Things

The Definitive Product Guide for a Newborn* Part Two

* If your name is Jessica Versaw and you gave birth to a baby named Adelaide on December 10th at 11:27pm.

Once more — this is just what’s been working for me. Every baby and mom are different, so your mileage may vary. You can catch part one here, which focuses a bit more on generic stuff, whereas this post focuses more on actual baby things. I spent SO much time on my registry, but even with all the research I’ve done, I’ve had some things I’ve replaced, some things I missed, and some things that I maybe didn’t need. If you by chance got me any of the things I’m reviewing not-so-positively, know I still 100% appreciate it, I just didn’t know what I needed at the time. This entry is going to be a beast, so here we go.


Baby Gear

Babymel George Diaper Bag — Thus far, I’m really digging this. Here’s what I wanted in a diaper bag:

  • Roomy, but not bulky

  • Neutral colors/not overly baby-specific

  • Room for laptops

  • Not gender-specific

  • Pockets/pouches to stay organized

This bag has really hit all that criteria, and I’ve been happy with it.

Fisher Price Rock-N-Play Sleeper — We’ve used this quite a bit for those times where we really need to set Ada down but she isn’t 100% on board. By and large, she’s pretty content. It includes a few different music options, but they don’t seem to make much of a difference compared to a really good staticy, rumbly white noise.

If I were to buy another rock-n-play, I’d see if I could find one that has the option to run on batteries for easier portability, and with a bluetooth connection so I can shut it off from my phone. As I type this, ours is rocking away, and Ada is sitting next to me. She’s being quiet and we’re in the middle of the 5 week leap, so I’m not moving.

Breeze Plus Playard — I’ve heard other pack and plays are a pain in the ass to set up, but this is the only one I’ve owned, and it seems easy enough. Testament to the Breeze name? I will say the changing pad sits too low to be comfortable, despite neither Ryan nor I being particularly tall. After a month of using this as our downstairs changing station, we set up a changing pad on a different table to save our backs. If I were to buy this again, I’d probably go for the cheaper Breeze Go option.

Wipe Warmer & Diaper Cream Spatula — Both of these fall under the “do I really need this?” territory, but I’ve been happy to have them both. The wipe warmer has a handy light, and the wipes seem a lot more comfortable. Considering we keep the diaper setup in our fairly chilly sunroom, this helps a lot. The diaper spatula I’ve taken a surprisingly large liking to. It makes putting cream on way more simple, and you get a nice, even application.

Britax Travel System — Admittedly, I largely went with this one because my mom could get a good deal at Babies-R-Us closing, but it was so early in my pregnancy I didn’t really want to research a ton, since I was still pretty nervous about miscarriage and I had seen enough good reviews online.

I’ve been pretty happy with this — the car seat is simple to get in and out, and the stroller collapses and opens easily. The stroller has handled well on the few weirdly warm January days I took it out for a spin. My only complaint is that I wish the bottom was a bit wider, as I hit it just regularly enough while walking to be slightly irritating. If I start running with Ada, I’ll get a bespoke jogging stroller that hopefully has more foot clearance, and I’ll make sure to test it out in person.

Baby Wearing — I got a Boppy Comfyfit Carrier, and I hated it. The Comfyfit isn’t adjustable, and hugs way too tightly around my shoulders for my liking. I feel claustrophobic and constrained while I’m wearing it, which kind of defeats the purpose of baby wearing.

Enter the Solly Baby wrap — gamechanger. It’s light, so you don’t feel like you’re cooking your baby while you wear it. And it’s adjustable, so it’s incredibly comfortable, I don’t feel constrained at all in it. Ryan has been using a Lillebaby and seems to like it just fine, but it was really bulky on my frame. I think that’ll come in handy until Ada hits the 25 lb weight limit for the Solly Baby, but until then, I’m all aboard the Solly train. We just got it this afternoon and she’s spent half the time since we got it in there. Once again… 5 week leap. She needs to be held all the time, and this makes it enjoyable rather than a hindrance to doing well… anything except holding a baby.

Snuggle Me Organic — I went back and forth on whether to get a baby dock. If we’re being honest, the cute constellation pattern is what swayed me. It’s been fine, but I don’t think I’m quite as enamored with it as others have been with the snuggle me/dock-a-tots. A friend is bringing over a Moses basket to let me borrow, and I may like it a bit more then — Felicity is allllll up in Ada’s grill when we use it, and we can’t really take advantage of the “use it anywhere” factor at the moment due to that. She does seem to like using it in her bassinet, but we’ve only done that when we’re really desperate, as it doesn’t follow safe sleep guidelines.

Nail… Sander? — You people with Clippers are in 2019, meanwhile I’m in 2049 with this nail file sander thing. I can get her nails so short (more important than you realize), and she has no problem with me trimming her nails while she eats. I don’t have clawed up boobs, she doesn’t have a clawed up face, we all win.

Items I’d suggest I don’t have much to say aboutFuzzy Car Seat Cover (important when they can’t wear jackets), Large waterproof changing pad (I wound up buying a second one for downstairs), Ubbi Diaper Pail (Looks good, the diapers don’t smell, and you can use regular trash bags. I’ve been considering getting a second one of these as well).

Baby Tech

I already mentioned the Owlet Smart Sock in my previous post, but it probably comes as no surprise that we have OPINIONS on baby tech, so here are a few more items.

Arlo Baby Monitor — Ryan researched monitors for ages, and this is what we landed on — I’ve yet to decide if the bunny is cute or creepy. We also have the Arlo cameras for our home security, and it’s nice to have all our cameras in one place.

We haven’t used this much as a baby monitor since Ada is still sleeping in our room, but thus far I’m pretty satisfied with it. It measures the temperature, humidity, and air quality, includes a fully customizable light (you can adjust color and brightness), and white noise. The noises that come with it annoy me, because they loop poorly and after only 8 seconds. However, you do have the option of “recording your own voice,” and I’ve used that to transfer some of the Happiest Baby on the Block white noise tracks to the monitor. That said, the process was a huge pain in the ass. Arlo is made by Netgear, and a lot of the interface screams “hardware company that needs more help creating usable software.”

The Wonder Weeks App — Almost any parent will suggest this. Know when your baby is going to have a developmental leap, and what it means. I’m in the middle of the five week leap right now — knowing what’s going on has been really helpful for fostering a sense of empathy when Ada just wants to be held, or is suddenly screaming for no reason. Knowing it was coming also has helped a lot — I think I would have been concerned something was wrong if I didn’t have this app.

BabySparks App — The activities are high quality, and they do a great job of explaining how they contribute to your baby’s development. This has been great for those “I want to interact with you, but I have no idea what you would find interesting” moments.

I don’t think they’re doing much active development on this app, so good luck if you run into a problem (it took us forever to figure out that you just needed to sign on with the same email and password on multiple devices, and I’ve never seen so little support documentation for anything, ever). I tried out Kinedu, and while the app looked a lot nicer, the content was blah.

Feeding

Nursing Pillow — I have both a My Brest Friend and a Boppy. They each have their pros and cons, but I think I slightly prefer the Boppy. The My Brest Friend is really comfortable while you’re using it, and is great for the early days of nursing where it feels like you’re walking on a tightrope juggling chainsaws and if someone coughs the baby will unlatch. However, since the back support doesn’t really flex much or detach, it takes some effort to get everything in position, and it’s nearly impossible to do so one-handed while holding a screaming newborn.

While it’s a bit less comfortable to use, the Boppy is a lot easier to get in position, and also doubles as a little lounger than comes in handy when you want to keep your baby upright after feeding so your house doesn’t turn into a scene from the spitup exorcist. I also like that it’s a bit easier to mold it into different positions — while it’s nearly impossible to use the My Brest Friend while simultaneously feeding and pumping, I can do so with the Boppy pretty easily. That said, I didn’t have the Boppy in the delicate early days, and it’s a lot easier to get her into position and latch now, so I can’t speak to how it does with the tightrope and chainsaws.

Kiinde Twist System — I love this thing. You can pump directly into the bags, which makes pumping + feeding way easier. If I exclusively pump, I get like, 1/4 of the milk from both boobs that I do if I feed from one side and pump from the other. Not having a bulky bottle to deal with while I’m juggling a pump and the baby is, well, the tits.

Once you’re ready to use a bag of milk, you can snap it directly into the bottle — no transferring milk back and forth. The bags are more bulky than other storage bags, but it’s worth it to not have to deal with pump bottles + bags + bottle bottles. She also seems significantly less gassy when she eats from the Kiinde bottles compared to the other ones we’ve tried. You can get a free starter pack to try the system out, as well.

Burp Cloths — The cotton muslin ones have been my favorite, by far. We also have the gerber cloth diapers, since we’re definitely more about quantity than quality with burp rags. Both because you need them stationed basically everywhere, and because the dog keeps stealing them. But if I choose which one I grab, I go for these muslin ones every time. I’ve also tried the Copper Pearl style burp rags, but the spit up tends to pool on the surface vs. actually be absorbed. Then the baby just wriggles in it. It’s a mess for everyone.

Bits & Bobs

Bibs Pacifiers — I love these. They’re much better looking than most pacifiers, and are still small and light enough that Ada can keep them in her mouth (unlike the Philips Soothies). The Mam newborn pacifiers have also worked well — the dog likes to steal pacifiers, so we’re all about quantity over here.

Lovevery Play Gym — This is a bit of a hot ticket item at the moment, it seems like everyone I know who has had a baby recently has one. But it’s incredibly well-designed, and doesn’t look ridiculous. One of my big thoughts upon having a baby is that the longer I could avoid my house becoming a shrine to primary colors and plastic, the happier I’d be. I’m also a sucker for any toys that can be tied directly to cognitive development.

Promptly Child History Journal — I had a tough time finding a baby book I was happy with. I wanted simple design, and I wasn’t too interested in a ton of slots for photos — I know the chance of me printing out photos is pretty low. I love how writing-focused this book is, I’ve had no problem making sure I get it filled out for each milestone thus far. I also like that it leaves plenty of open room for random thoughts, feelings, and anecdotes.

Jessica Versaw