Hey guys! So, three kids and two years later- after many sleepless nights, blowing money on so called “must have” items and feeling grossly mislead and heartbroken, I’ve compiled my own list of things that have saved me in one way or another.
The things on this list can work for just about any age too- a few of them are age specific (see #9-a toddler bed converter,) but most of them have saved me and continue to do so, with all three of my daughters (2 years, 1 year, and 4 months.)
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Let’s get started!
#1: YI camera
This one right here can be multi-purposeful. Now, you might judge me a bit when I explain why we have this, but so be it. When we had to switch over to an in-home babysitter to watch the girls while C & I were at work, we were both a little uneasy. We can both lean towards being on the cautious side when it comes to our girls- and this idea of someone coming into our home and being solely responsible for the health and wellbeing of our daughters made us nervous. We wanted to get some sort of way to check in through the day- and we were able to find these. They were an absolute must for us to feel comfortable in the back to work transition, and we love them! They’re super affordable, and have pretty nice image quality. You can label each camera with the name of the room or area of the house they’re located in if you’d like, and you can even share the feed with family so they can check in as well! For those of you who think it’s weird- we hardly use them anymore. We have an amazing sitter and a ton of trust- but I even use these to check in no the kids after bedtime too. Some cons are that they have to be plugged in- so it’s not like they’re able to go anywhere, and the cords can be frustrating sometimes (granted, I’ve made no efforts to be more productive with the cord placement.)
#2: Kindle Fire (Tablet)
Okay- before you roll your eyes & assume I’m a mom that just hands her kids a tablet, I’m gonna stand on my soap box and announce:
This is not the place for mom shaming.
Secondly- I don’t, coincidentally. We use these tablets for long drives and trips out of town, or occasions like trips to the doctors office when I know we’ll be waiting for an excessive amount of time (our doctor’s office took away the play area for kids, so their only outlet while waiting is tearing up magazines- no bueno.)
We managed to catch these tablets while they were on sale for $30- and they’re awesome! We can download the girls’ favorite movies to them so that they can watch even while off of wifi, and it saves our sanity during our long trips (i.e.- when we drove to Corpus for the weekend. 5 hour drive? Piece of cake when I can play Trolls on repeat.) If you grab them and go some reason must charge them on the move, they can plug into a car USB charger!
Also- check out the cases we got for them, as well as the headrest holders!
#3: Bow Wheel
Okay, this one is mostly for the girl Momma’s out there- but anyone can wear a bow! This bow wheel is awesome- comes with one of every color and several shades, which makes matching up with inferential outfits a breeze! The set of 40 colors comes with one bow of each color, however, at only $8.99, even buying two sets to have double of each is a steal! I’m sure each momma has experienced the difficulty of matching a outfit, so this is great- even if you absolutely must match with a random color, they’ve got it!
#4: Baby Wrap
Okay- for you Momma’s who haven’t had a good baby wrap- you have no idea what you’re missing!!
With Monkey, I had a chest carrier with clips- and it wasn’t only uncomfortable for me, but also for her. The straps and clips would dig into her, and anytime I loosened them, I was nervous about how secure she was. BUT! I found this AMAZING baby wrap on Amazon for Bug- and I wore it almost every day. I will say- the first few times you wrap it, you’ll be a little confused. but after the first few days, I felt like a pro. Shortly after, I could probably wrap it in my sleep. Bug always slept so wonderfully in the wrap, and it was so easy to wear her that way and still have my hands free for the older girls and for whatever it was that I needed to do. 97% of the time, when we go out and about, having the ability to chase after and corral two toddlers is an absolute must, no ifs, ands or buts. So knowing Bug would stay safe, snuggly and close was a big comfort.
#5: Nursing & Car seat cover
This cover is a lifesaver for both nursing and for covering the infant car seats when moving around outside, shielding from the sun, or just keeping your baby from being exposed to whatever is outside (bugs, rain, etc.) It’s a great nursing cover that you can even wear around your neck between sessions, or put around the seat if you don’t feel like wearing it. Plus, it comes in some great colors, including a gender neutral grey with arrows that can work for little boys or girls.
#6: Boob-ease nipple cream
This was my F A V O R I T E nipple cream while nursing- I would keep some in the diaper bag, one beside my bed, and an extra one in our cabinet so I could have some anywhere I went! (Sort of like chapstick- one for your car, one for your purse, one in your beauty kit, etc.) It is so smooth and buttery, extremely hydrating, and organic conveniently enough! A little goes a long way, so one container is plenty for a long while. I had tried the other brands and suggestions- including the forever recommended Lanolin- and none were as hydrating and smooth as this one. If this was a “must-have for a diaper bag/first baby/whatever” list, I’d make this #1!
#7: As you grow: memory book
I LOVE this memory book! It’s great to get for yourself or give as a gift- and since it’s super gender neutral, it can be a great gift to give even before the gender reveval, or for those couples who wait until delivery to find out what they’re having.
#8: Jumbo Toy Hammock
Okay guys- confession time.
When I was growing up (and by that I mean like birth until I was 18 years old) I LOVED stuffed animals. And I still do, to be completely honest- I just don’t have as many places to store them. So as a result, I’ve started living vicariously through the girls- which has resulted in an ungodly amount of stuffed animals (aka stuffies.)
We have enough stuffies to fill several large laundry baskets- and the stuffies used to live everywhere. They had no guaranteed home- so they started taking over our home. There were piles of stuffies in our living room, strewn around our home; they would even somehow find their way into our bathrooms and under our bed.
I had had enough.
So, these toy hammocks were my saving grace. These gave them stuffies a designated home- and they fit so many! Don’t let the fact that we have three fool you- we just have an excessive amount of stuffed animals, some of which are jumbo sized. This is my must have, go to home for all our lil stuffed animal babies.
#9: Toddler Bed converter
So, rewind with me two years if you will: we buy a convertible crib because, hello, that’s the smart thing to do (right?)
Now, fast forward from there to about 6 months ago when we decided Monkey was ready for a toddler bed, and all of a sudden, our convertible crib is missing a piece. It doesn’t actually come with everything we need- of course, that would be too convenient. So, we start looking for converters- and I found this one. Great reviews, fair price, and super sturdy. She’s able to climb in around it on either side, and it helps keep her in bed even on the nights when she tosses and turns (she’s a super mobile sleeper.)
#10: VTech baby monitor
This baby monitor was a must once we moved her into her own room. It’s got great quality audio, and can be turned up or down with the volume. You can either plug it in, or use batteries and attach it to your belt, etc. for mobility while you take care of things around the house.