Helpful Tidbits, Products + Reviews

What’s in my diaper bag

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+ diaper bag: Ju-Ju Be B.F.F.

+ nursing cover: Covered Goods

I thought I’d do this fun little post really quick for any moms-to-be out there who are wondering what exactly they’ll actually need in their diaper bags (I used to way over-pack mine haha). Jameson is almost seven months now so I pack a little differently than I did when he was a newborn, but it should give you a pretty good idea about what some of the essentials are.

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+ front pouch aka the “Mommy Pouch” (pictured above): my wallet, some gum, dental floss (you never know), hand sanitizer, Chapstick & a lipstick or two, and a few Advil in a plastic baggie.

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+ mini zipper pouch: a pen, an extra binky (which Jameson really just uses as a teether now), sunglasses, and my cell phone if it’s not in my pocket.

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+ main pouch: a small red cosmetic bag which I use to hold diapers (usually 5-8 because I overprepare) and wipes so that I can easily find them, teethers in the plastic-covered picture display pockets for quick access, a burp cloth, an extra onesie and extra shorts/pants, sometimes a pair of pjs if we’ll be out for awhile, one of those packages of sample wipes just in case I run out of my usual ones, health-related essentials grouped in one of the inside pockets (spare thermometer, his special lotion for dry skin, a travel baby brush, and a nasal aspirator), a few non-teething toys that he likes, our spare baby monitors (not a real essential, but we spend the weekends hanging out with family so they’re useful to have on hand), my nursing cover which Jameson is eating in the picture above, and maybe a snack for me.

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+ insulated side pouches: his sippy cup on one side and either a snack for him (usually Puffs) or my water bottle on the other side.

++ the back of this diaper bag has a pouch that holds the memory foam changing pad it comes with, and I sometimes shove random stuff (junk) back there too.

And that’s everything for now! The nice thing about this diaper bag is that it really has a lot of space and plenty of inside pockets for organizational purposes. I’m excited to see how it grows with us and fits our needs in the future as Jameson gets older, and as we hopefully add more little ones to our family!

Did I miss any essentials? Let me know what you keep in your diaper bag! 🙂

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Helpful Tidbits, Products + Reviews

Baby Registry Basics

So you’re having a baby… Yay!!! Congratulations on bringing a brand new, adorable little squish into the world!

Deciding what to buy/register for when you’re pregnant with your first baby can be so overwhelming at the beginning. Recently a friend of mine (who’s pregnant with her first baby, hooray!) asked me if I could share with her a list of everything I think is a “baby essential” for new mamas. She’s putting together her registry and was looking for tips on where to get started. I sent her my list but I thought I’d share it here as well, just in case other mamas-to-be could benefit from it.

{By the way, I am by no means an expert…these were just things that I personally registered for and/or found super helpful these past four months with Jameson. I also have a shorter review of my top eight favorite baby products, which you can check out here.}

Okay strap in and let’s get started…

Stroller & Car Seat

I thought I’d start off with the big ones. You can buy these separately but we’ve found that the stroller + car seat combo option (aka a travel system) is super convenient and easy because you can literally unclick the car seat from its base in your car and click it right into the stroller (which is extra magical when Jameson falls asleep in the car and we don’t want to wake him up). We use the Britax B Agile (stroller) with the Britax B Safe (car seat) but there are lots of other great brands as well. Alternatively, you can actually buy a car seat alone and then buy a stroller frame that the car seat can click into, but that stroller frame can’t be used in the future without the infant car seat. So that’s why we chose the full travel system instead, and we’ve loved it from day one.

Baby Carrier

There are sooo many options and I drove myself crazy researching and trying to figure out the best ones. Ultimately I bought two different wraps (but I liked the Solly Baby the best out of the two…it can be used for an infant and an older baby) AND we also got a soft-structured carrier (the Ergobaby 360) for things like zoo trips and situations where I want to wear Jameson for longer periods of time. But if you prefer wraps to the structured carriers (or vice versa) you really don’t need both…that’s just what we did.

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Swing or Bouncer

Seriously, if you can get your great-aunt-whoever to buy you a really nice swing, it will not disappoint. If not, just go with the best you can afford. Total life saver for me when I needed to get dinner together or clean up or whatever and Jameson was too little to just leave somewhere and be entertained. We have the Fisher-Price My Little Snuggapuppy swing. Getting a bouncer is another (cheaper) option, but you probably don’t need both the swing and the bouncer, so go with whatever works best for you.

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Graco Pack ‘n Play with reversible napper and changer

{Find it here on Amazon} This bad boy is easily packed up and taken places so your baby always has a safe place to sleep and play. Plus it has a bassinet on top which flips to be a changing station, so you can set it up in your bedroom and let your little one sleep there at night if you want. Otherwise, you might want to buy a full bassinet to keep in your room during the first few months. If you go with the Pack ‘n Play, though, it’s all in one (the main reason we went that route). You’ll also want to register for a couple of the Pack ‘n Play mattress sheets (on Amazon here) and possibly a separate, more comfy mattress than the one it comes with (such as the Dream on Me), if you’re planning on using it long-term.

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Bath Time Supplies

  • Go with the cheap blue bathtub that everyone gets (Walmart has them here) with the infant sling in it for when your baby is super itty bitty. No need to get fancy in this area.

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  • We use plain old Johnson & Johnson products for shampoo, body wash, and lotion (you can register for the gift set if you prefer).
  • And make sure you throw some washcloths and hooded towels on the registry for your babe, too.

Sleepy Supplies

  • First off, you’ll definitely want to register for some swaddle blankets. You can get specific “swaddlers” that just velcro so you don’t have to worry about wrapping and folding and all that black magic, but Jameson never liked those. We ended up buying a bunch of the adin + anais muslin blankets instead (kind of pricey but if someone buys them for you…scoreee!). They’re super breathable and can be used for swaddling of course, but we use them for lots of other things too.

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  • Depending on your house size, you’re going to want to register for some baby monitors. If you’re in a small apartment you might not even need them, but if you’re in a larger home (or if you’re just a worrier like me) then you’ll need some good ones. We originally registered for audio-only monitors but as we’ve been transitioning Jameson to his crib at night, I personally felt like I needed more for my own peace of mind. So with our Christmas gift cards we ordered the Levana Stella video monitor and it’s been awesome. Either way, do a bit of research before you decide on a monitor so that you’re sure you found a quality one.
  • A sound machine is another item you might want on your registry, especially if you have loud neighbors, loud animals, loud spouses (ahem). There are plenty of cheap ones that will do the trick, or you can go all out and get a fancy shmancy one. We use the plain old HoMedics SoundSpa sound machine and keep it on the white noise setting. Or sometimes we just put a small fan in Jameson’s room, which works just as well for drowning out unwanted noises.Some sort of night light. Doesn’t have to be anything expensive (unless you want it to be), but I’d definitely recommend one for those late night feedings when you’re basically half asleep and bumping into everything.

Feeding Supplies

  • Bottles/slow-flow nipples if you’re planning on bottle-feeding or pumping (even if you’re not, you might want to grab a couple of bottles and nipples like the Philips Avent starter gift set, as well as some formula, just in case you get in a bind and breastfeeding isn’t an option at the moment for whatever reason).

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  • A hand pump and/or an electric pump for breastfeeding mamas (you can get a nice electric pump through your insurance under Obama Care). Also some sort of storage system for your pumped milk, if you want. {I can’t really speak too much on this area because I personally don’t pump or store breast milk.
  • Burp cloths. LOTS of burp cloths. (We use Gerber brand and they double as cloth diapers if you’re into that sort of thing). Some bibs might be good as well.

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  • Nursing pads for inside your bra (I personally prefer the washable kind because they’re softer and cheaper than constantly buying the disposable kind). Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding, having some nursing pads on hand is helpful at the beginning because you’ll most likely leak a little when your milk comes in.
  • Nipple cream or butter (I just used Lanolin by Lansinoh when I needed it at the beginning) but I’ve also heard good things about Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter.
  • A good nursing cover. Don’t skimp on this one! It’s so worth it if you’re breastfeeding. I started with the standard bib-type (aka the front-facing cape) but it felt so awkward and revealing to me so I searched for a more modest option. Ultimately I found Covered Goods and ordered the cover online almost immediately. It’s literally probably my favorite baby-related purchase, not only because it’s so modest and comfortable but also because it has so many other uses as well. Check them out for sure!

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  • A Boppy (or some other type of nursing pillow) is helpful when you’re learning how to breastfeed, and it’s good for tummy time for babes. You’ll also want to register for at least two nursing pillow covers just because…babies are messy.

Diapering Doo-Dads

  • You can register for diapers and wipes, but you’ll probably get those as gifts anyway.
  • A wipe warmer. Some people say to skip this one, but for Jameson it was a must. When he was a newborn he haaaateeedd getting his diaper changed and a wipe warmer seriously made such a difference for him.

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  • Some type of diaper rash cream (I highly recommend Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, partly because the name is hilarious but also because it’s just a really good product)
  • Possibly a diaper pail, although we just use a small trash can.
  • A good diaper bag. There are about 6 zillion options to overwhelm you, but whatever you decide…make sure it’s good quality. You’ll probably be using it for many years down the road (and possibly for multiple kids), so invest now. I went with a Ju Ju Be diaper bag (the Ju Ju Be B.F.F. model because it’s also a backpack) and I’ve loved it ever since. Cute, convenient, comfortable to carry, machine-washable, and versatile.

Nursery Essentials

{Just stick with the basics.}

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  • A mattress (you can go organic with this, or something like the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams mattress on Amazon)
  • A few waterproof mattress pads and a couple of extra sheets (for those lovely late-night leaking adventures)
  • A dresser (we have the Fisher-Price Lakeland Double Dresser that matches the crib)
  • A changing pad to go on top of the dresser if you want to skip the whole extra “changing table” piece of furniture like we did) and a few changing pad covers to go on it.
  • A glider for you (doesn’t have to be fancy, just something comfy you can rock/feed your bebe in when you get tired of bouncing them around). We just got one of the cheapest ones we could find on Amazon and it’s been perfectly fine.
  • A mobile like the ones from Buy Buy Baby can be great.

Playtime 

  • A play mat is a MUST (Jameson learned so much about using his hands from his mat and he has so much fun with it). Fisher-Price makes great ones, in a variety of price ranges.

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  • For older babies, Exersaucers are a blast (found here on Buy Buy Baby) and so are those bumper jumpers that you can attach to the door frame (found here on Buy Buy Baby).
  • You might also want to see if a Bumbo (on Amazon here) is something you want for when your baby is a little older. If so, I’d recommend getting the tray attachment for it so your baby can easily play with toys or have a snack or whatever else.

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  • Some sort of car seat toy (Amazon has a bunch of options here). This is especially useful when you have a baby like Jameson who strongly believes that the car seat is quite literally torture.
  • Maybe a couple of bath toys? You can delay this, though. Newborns just sort of lay there in the bath haha.
  • Any other toy that looks fun! Rattles, things with buttons and silly songs, some teethers. But really, you’re probably going to get a bunch of these whether you register for them or not.

Randoms

  • Pacifiers. You’ll probably want to register for a couple different brands to see which your babe prefers (if any). We used Soothies at first and now Nuk brand since Jameson was about one month old.

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  • Some sort of snot remover device (we use the NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator which looks like the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in your life but works SO AMAZINGLY WELL). You can also pick it up at Target or Walmart or wherever.
  • A mirror for the car so you can see your baby while you drive (like this one).
  • Receiving blankets are great to have on hand, for swaddling when the baby is little and for tummy time and things like that (those things get so much spit up on them all the time, you’ll probably want quite a few).
  • Maybe a couple of cute baby blankets, although you’ll most likely get those as gifts anyway.

 

And that’s it! Phew! You made it.

** Word to the wise…don’t bother registering for baby clothes unless there’s something specific you really really want. You’ll be up to your eyeballs in adorable baby clothes at your shower anyway. **

Another AWESOME resource I’d encourage you to check out is Lucie’s List. It’s what I used when I was researching baby products and putting together my registry. The sheer number of options for literally every baby product is like…insane. But Lucie’s List made it easy for me to compare the top brands and choose what I thought would be best for my baby and my family. Plus Meg (the main author) is hilarious and she has a great newsletter that gets sent directly to your email with tips and info depending on where you are in your pregnancy/mommyhood. I loved getting those newsletters every couple of weeks during my pregnancy, and even after the birth of my son.

I hope you found this giant registry overhaul helpful!!! Please comment with any other registry essentials you may have, or with any questions. Thanks for reading!

– Jess

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Products + Reviews

Favorite baby products!

We’re a few days into month number two of all things Jameson so I thought I’d share some of the baby-related products that I’ve been loving. These are things I’d totally buy again and again (I may have already bought doubles of some things, whoops) and have found super useful these past few weeks with my sweet boy.

#1. Ju Ju Be B.F.F. Diaper Bag (Style: The First Mate)

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This thing is seriously the bomb. Not only does it have almost a million roomy pockets (including a “mommy pocket” in the front, just for your personal items) – which is great for an organizational freak like myself – but it also has several options for how you can carry it around. I usually keep it as a backpack but there’s also a long strap you can attach to make it into a messenger bag (or to sling over the back of your stroller like I do). PLUS it’s machine-washable (I bet this will be extra useful down the road) and did I mention cuuuute??

#2. aden + anais Muslin Swaddles

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WE LOVE THESE! We use them all the time, for so many things…on the floor to protect Jameson from germs, to keep him cozy in his car seat, to swaddle him of course. My sister also uses them as nursing covers because of how breathable and soft they are. This is one of the items we went out and bought more of after Jameson was born (because, you know. Crap gets on them and sometimes it’s actual crap haha).

#3. Nesting Days baby wrap (aka the Papoose)

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I couldn’t say enough good things about this product. I knew I wanted to wear Jameson in a wrap-like carrier while he was small but I was totally turned off by all those complicated wraps that require a whole bunch of twisting and tying and knotting. I figured that if my baby was fussy and crying or totally melting down, I’d want to get him in the carrier as fast as humanly possible. That’s when I found Nesting Days. It’s basically a regular carrier that’s already wrapped the way it needs to be. All you do is step right in and pull it up. It’s made of super stretchy and supportive material so Jameson always feels really secure when he’s in it, and since it covers your whole upper body it’s perfect for skin-to-skin (which I love to do when we’re at home). I use this bad boy several hours a day to keep Jameson near me and keep myself hands-free while I’m cleaning up the house, making food, taking Charlie on walks, or just to help Jameson calm down. I swear this thing is magic…he’s instantly soothed the second he’s cozy inside. Love love love this wrap!

#4. NeilMed Naspira Nasal-Oral Aspirator

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This looks like it’s a joke but it’s not hahah. I was aaamaaazed at how much I loved this product, even though the concept is actually disgusting. I mean you’re literally sucking boogers out of your baby’s nose. Yuck. But it works like a charm! Jameson sometimes gets slightly congested (poor little dude) and the regular hand-pump turkey baster type of aspirator was not cutting it for us. We couldn’t get good suction from it and he would scream through the whole ordeal. But this aspirator is made of silicone so it’s really soft and gentle in his little nose and the suction you get from actually sucking with your mouth is wayyy better than what you get with the hand pump kind. Definitely happy we fought through our fear of this weird contraption because it’s helped Jameson so much.

#5. Prince Lionheart Premium Wipes Warmer

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Jameson is really okay with cold wipes now so this warmer is really more of a luxury at this point, but at the beginning it was a total game changer. Homeboy HATED getting his diaper changed and as soon as a cold wipe hit his bum he would lose his mind every time. We started using the wipe warmer and boom! No more issues. It was really a huge help to us too because as new parents, I can tell you that we freak out any time he cries and frantically try to fix the problem (which isn’t easy when you’re also trying to change a tiny diaper on a wiggling, screaming baby. Ahhh stress!).

#5. Covered Goods Nursing Cover

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Holy. Moly. I am absolutely IN LOVE with this product. I actually only got it in the mail last week but I’m already singing its praises (that’s just how awesome it is). First of all, anything that has so many uses immediately has my love. You can use it as a regular nursing cover, as a car seat cover, as a shopping cart cover, as a scarf, as a blanket, etc. etc. So amazing! But I really bought it primarily to use as a nursing cover. Since I got it I’ve used it every time we’ve gone out and Jameson has needed to eat. It covers everything, which was hugely important to me. I was using the standard bib-type of nursing cover (you know, the one that looks like a backwards cape) but it only covers the front so it was hard for me to position correctly to cover what I needed. And God forbid if Jameson decided to kick or move around under there…that thing would go flying up. Plus if I was wearing a shirt that wasn’t really nursing-friendly and I had to lift it up, my entire back would be exposed (um, yeah. no thank you.). Covered Goods completely takes care of all these problems with its 360 degree coverage. My old nursing cover was also kind of a thick, heavy material so my poor boy was getting so sweaty during mealtime (and he’s already pretty prone to sweating). With the Covered Goods cover, though, he hardly ever sweats at all. It’s super lightweight and airy and the material is nice and stretchy so I can still peek down at him or help him out if he unlatches himself. Seriously, this thing is awesome. I will recommend the bajeezus out of it to any nursing mom who will listen to me.

#6. Little Animal Lover Memory Book (by Lucy Darling)

My sister actually bought this baby book for me and Jameson before he was born and I’ve LOVED keeping up with it since then. I really like how it has all the standard baby book pages (a place for the hospital bracelet, the foot/hand prints, birth announcement, etc.) in addition to pages that cover life before your baby was born (places for ultrasound pictures, a picture of your belly, a letter to baby while you were still pregnant, and little bits of info like who you told first about the pregnancy). It’s laid out super simply by month and then by year (up to five years) and has places for you to put pictures of all the important “firsts” (first bath, first big trip, first time walking, all the first holidays, etc.). SO easy and SO cute!

#7. Snugapuppy Cradle ‘n Swing (Fisher-Price)

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This has seriously been a lifesaver around here. Most of the time I just love holding Jameson or laying on the floor with him during tummy time or carrying him around in the Papoose. But sometimes, crap needs to get done and I can’t be toting around my squirmy little baby. That’s when the swing takes over. Jameson loves being in his swing and it almost always has a soothing effect on him. He’ll just hang out in there (and sometimes nap) while I run around cleaning or getting myself ready or making food. Praise the Lord! It swings in two different directions (forwards/backwards and side to side), plays two sets of music (one for day and one for night…Alex and I have all the songs in each set memorized by now), has a spinny mobile thing on the top, and it has the option of plugging into the wall instead of using batteries. So if you find a good spot for it, you can just leave it plugged in and not have to worry about changing the batteries all the time. Yessssss! Plus, it’s so cozy and soft. I want one for myself.

#8. Britax B-Agile 35 Travel System

Last but certainly not least…the stroller/car seat combo that we’ve been using. I had this beaut picked out since I was like two months pregnant. I immediately loved how sturdy and safe both the car seat and the stroller are and how great all the reviews are. Once the base is installed in your car, you literally just snap the car seat into place whenever you’re going somewhere and snap it right out whenever you’re ready. Then it connects with the stroller too! So simple. Plus, the stroller has three wheels instead of four so it’s easier to maneuver and it folds down in one (YES, ONE!) motion. Love love love this product.

And that’s it for now! My top baby products for our little guy (and let’s be honest, for myself too). I hope this helps someone! As always, thanks for reading. 🙂

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