Bought it, used it, loved it: Baby sleep edition is always trying to tell me what to buy.  They are bossy like that.

They tell me not only what I should buy, but what I should read, and then they try to shame me by suggesting that other customers (who are clearly cooler and hipper than me) have already bought the newest/coolest items.

Take for instance, when I was registering for baby gifts.


That is the least fun I've ever had.


How do I know if I want an Ergobaby, Wubbanub, Sophie or a Bumbo

I'm sorry, I apparently don't speak Baby.

When people would ask me what I wanted, I would tell them to buy me the thing they found most useful from when they had a kid.

Don't get me wrong, all gifts are amazing, I love gifts (who doesn't), but I didn't want people to waste their money buying me the latest and greatest baby crap gear, if it wasn't as great as it said it was. I wanted tried and true items.

I took to soliciting information from every mom I knew, so I could build a registry of products that actual mom's used and loved, rather than ones Amazon thinks that someone with my online shopping habits would like.

Now that I'm 5 months deep into this game called parenting, I feel that I am an expert on what works for me.

Yes, you heard that right, I'm an expert at knowing what I like- go figure.

So, if you are about to be a mom, or you know someone who is (or heck maybe you know a dad who actually cares about what is on the registry), hopefully this saves you from wasting time and money, wandering around Babies R Us trying to decide which car seat brand is the best or if you need a nipple shield or not (you don't, they will give them to you at the hospital for free).

Lets remember, these things are what I LOVE, not necessarily what everyone loves, or what will be perfect for you (you should let Amazon tell you what is perfect for you, they stalk you on the internet).  So, I may hate something that you love and love something you hate.  No biggie, this is America, we can agree to disagree.


Sleep has to be the biggest topic of all time. What puts them to sleep, wha keeps them asleep, how long they sleep, etc.  Inevitably you will spend your days and nights cataloging the amount of sleep your baby and yourself have gotten each day or in total for the week.  This is an exhausting game, stop now.

When we brought Hunter home, we put him in an Arms Reach Mini Co-sleeper that sits next to the bed.  I bought it on Craigslist for $60, but new they can be around $130.  This was a complete waste of money. Hunter did NOT like this one bit. A box on the floor with a blanket in it would have done the same thing.

He likes to sleep on an incline and be all cozy & snuggly.  The co-sleeper was like a flat expanse of nothing, and he hated it.  So, since he hated the co-sleeper we let him sleep in the bed with us, which he LOVED, but I didn't. I needed him to sleep as good as he did in our bed, but in a bed of his own.

Then, a friend of mine suggested we get a Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper and it has been fantastic.  Well, mostly fantastic. It pretty much got Hunter to sleep for 8-10 hours a night, which is worth a million dollars to a sleep deprived mom. The only downside was that it recently got recalled because of mold.  Don't worry, I bleached it and there is no mold anymore. He has slept in this since he was 6 weeks, and he was such a sound sleeper in this bad boy, that we moved him into his own room (in the sleeper) at 7 weeks.

I am going to be sad when Hunter outgrows this thing and has to sleep in his crib.  I have a feeling it's going to be a tough transition since this gently rocks the baby to sleep.

When he does get too big for the rocker, we bought a DaVinci Mini-crib for him and got it all assembled and ready before he was born... and he didn't even lay in this thing for the first 3 months of his life.  Now, he sometimes takes naps in it, but I realize that all that rushing to get it put together before the baby came was nonsense.  Oh, and we decided on the mini-crib for 3 reasons: 1. it's way cheaper than a big crib ($135) 2. it's nice and compact for our small bedrooms and 3. it converts to a toddler bed and then a twin bed, so he will be able to grow into it (whenever he actually starts using it).

Beside the place where he sleeps, the next most important thing is what he sleeps in.  Do yourself a favor and buy a handful of these sleep gowns (I like the Gap and Old Navy ones).  When the baby is up every 1-3 hours and needs a diaper change you are going to be thanking me for telling you about these gowns. You know what sucks at 3am?  Trying to snap and unsnap a pajama in the dark without cursing and subsequently making the baby cry.  You want a pull up/pull down gown with easy access to the diaper.

I also couldn't live without swaddle sacks. I liked the Halo and summer infant sacks.  They are the only way Hunter sleeps through the night, because without them, he would scratch his face all night long. Plus these little contraptions are basically idiot proof. 

Aden + Anais Swaddle blankets
On the other hand, swaddling blankets are like the Rubik's cube of baby crap.  You pretty much have to take a 4 hour class on how to wrap your baby in a blanket swaddle them perfectly.  Don't get me wrong, the Aden & Anais blankets are fantastic, but there is a learning curve. I actually used these blankets for everything beside swaddling.  They are my favorite go-to blanket for when I'm nursing- I just toss this over me & the babe and it's the perfect cover up.  They also work great as a sun cover in the stroller, a play mat when the floor is covered in pet hair not vacuumed, a diaper changing mat, a burp cloth... the list goes on and on.  They are a bit pricey, but I have 10 of them and use them all.

Once the babe is finally asleep in his room, I head to the basement to get some quality TV time with Chris and Ketch. Since the baby is 2 floors up, there is not a chance I will hear him cry, so the baby monitor is a must have.

Don't be a cheapskate, buy a video monitor; it will change your life, the 180 bones is well worth it. We like the Motorola one because it has a long range for our 3 floors and clear picture, but you could go fancier or less fancy depending on if you have a mansion or a rambler. From reading the reviews the real difference is in the range of the monitor.

If you are old school and remember the days of monitors that just transmitted noise, you are going to pee your pants when you see this video monitor. It tells you the temperature, it plays lullabies/white noise, it can see in the daytime and nighttime and even has a microphone so you can tell your baby (from the comfort of your couch) to go back to sleep- I've actually tried to "shhh" Hunter back to sleep through the microphone, too bad it wasn't a success, so mostly I use it to talk to Chris if he's changing a diaper or our very own intercom system.

Motorola Video monitor
When Hunter was really little we would be glued to this monitor like it was the season finale of Homeland.  We would joke that it was the "best thing on TV," as we could watch Hunter as he smiled in his sleep or wrinkled his nose.... oh the new baby mystique....that eventually wears off.  Now we look at the monitor only when we hear noise and we can see if he's just dreaming loudly or if his eyeballs are actually open (and then we rock paper scissors for who's turn it is to put him back to sleep).  This, my friends, is the key- you can SEE their eyeballs.  You don't just hear them, you see them.  In the old days, when you just heard them, you had to open their door to peek at them to see if they are awake, which inevitably would wake them up....thus you end up with an awake baby and you are mad at yourself and the monitor.  Gone are those days.  Now, we can see how awake he really is, if he's just dreaming, or if he's gotten his little hand out of the swaddle and is scratching the crap out of his head.
Cloud B Tranquil Turtle

Last but not least, you have to get a Tranquil Turtle.  It's a laser light show and soothing noise machine all in one.  It is fantastic for all ages; Hunter is mesmerized by it, so is our friend's one year old, and even my 21 year old sister fell asleep while watching it- apparently its universally appealing.  It shines blue moving waves onto the ceiling and Hunter watches it until his little eyes get too tired to stay open. We also have a Sleep sheep, which is a noise machine, but it got trumped by the turtle's lights and noise.

I should note that there are a ton of different light/noise things out there, there is a pillow pet version, and lots of different animals.  I think they are all pretty much created equal.

So there you have it.

It's just like Oprah's favorite things, except there is no one yelling and I'm not giving anything away. 

I'll be back soon with more baby gear we love during the waking hours. I'm sure you will be on the edge of your seat until then.

In case you were wondering, I wasn't paid or perked to write about the products above, they are actually items we use and love. 


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