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The Five Most (and Least) Useful Baby Products

Feb08

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week by week pregnancyAmy,
Okay, so you’ve had some babies now, and presumably lots and lots of baby gear and accessories and time to try it all out. So for us pregnant folk who are getting ready to register, tell us: what were the MOST USEFUL things you’ve used that you couldn’t raise a baby without? Oh, and the most useLESS, while we’re at it.

Thanks, and no, I’m not usually this bossy, unless you’re my husband and I’m craving ice cream.
Meg

Whee, lists! Multiple lists, because I’m going to let you in on a little secret: ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT. I know! Shocking. When I had Noah, I was secretly a little baffled by people who swore Pampers were better than Huggies, or said they never used their swing. What were they TALKING about? How did Pampers not leak all over the place for them? And were they using the swing…wrong? Were they remembering to turn it on?

And then I had Ezra and oh! I get it. The babies. They like different things. They are different shapes (skinny Noah = Huggies, thunderthighs Ezra = Pampers). It’s like they are different people entirely! Or something.
So I’m going to offer you three humble lists: the five most useful things from each baby’s infancy (alas, there’s very little overlap), and the five LEAST useful things that haven’t worked for EITHER baby. Many of which were probably absolutely essential to someone else’s baby. So…yeah. This may be a very futile enterprise, but you asked, and I shall answer.

The Five Most Useful Baby Items Ever, Noah Edition

1) Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Cradle Swing. We were in a very small condo, so a small swing was essential. Noah adored everything about this swing: the lights, music, toys, etc. Ezra, of course, despises it.

2) Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium. Not so much for when they’re teeny tiny, but when Noah got a little older and consistently slept in his crib, this thing soothed him to sleep every night and bought us countless extra hours once he learned to turn it on himself. He used it for over two years and probably would still use it today if we hadn’t gotten sick of changing the batteries and taken it away, because we are Mean. I have high hopes that Ezra will like it too, but…sigh. I’m not counting on it.

3) Dr. Brown’s bottles. Stopped the spit-up and gas dead. Stopped the need for constantly interrupting the feeding for multiple burps. Still the only bottle we use, although Ezra will only take a bottle if I’m not around. Like, not in the house. At all. Ever.

4) Cloth diaper burp rags. Okay, technically these were essential for BOTH babies, but more so for Noah because of the aforementioned spit-up problem. (Ezra’s tummy is far less sensitive.) Don’t go fancy here: just buy some jumbo packs of cheap tri-fold diapers and keep them handy at all times.

5) Video Monitor. No, not essential by any means, but super cool. Noah slept in his crib from a very early age and a good baby video monitor (reviews in the link) was essential to my peace of mind. We stopped using it for awhile and then it got a second lease on life when we moved him to a toddler bed. The video monitor helped us keep his butt in bed without ever having to move off the downstairs couch. “NOAH. GET. BACK. IN. BED.”

The Five Most Useful Baby Items Ever, Ezra Edition

1) The Miracle Blanket. Not so much of a blanket but a swaddling straitjacket. If you’ve got a baby who has trouble settling down to sleep and startles awake easily, you will want at least two or three of these. (Bought for you by other people, of course, because they aren’t cheap.)

2) Slings and Carriers. Ezra will vaguely tolerate a bouncy seat, haaaates swings, protests when placed on a blanket or play mat, and basically has rejected every other baby containment device on the market (except for one, which I’ll mention in a bit). When he was brand new, I used a pouch-style sling for hours a day (and still do), and now that he’s a bit bigger we’re very much into our Ergo baby carrier, which I especially love because I can breastfeed completely hands-free, and it’s SUPER comfortable and easy on the back. (And Jason can wear it to, since he’s not super into my beautifully patterned fabric slings. Heh.)

3) Bumbo Seat. The only not-strapped-to-us place in the house he’ll tolerate. I think he likes being upright and in constant eye contact with us. Most nights, it’s the only way dinner gets onto the table and into my mouth.

4) Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover. Yeah, I know. Nursing in public is legal and everybody should get over themselves and stop flipping out over the sight of a baby sucking on a boob. I still am more comfortable when I can be discreet and covered. This cover lets you see the baby and get latched on and is very lightweight and roomy — some babies refuse to eat under covers, but luckily Ezra doesn’t seem to even notice it. And since he’s spent about 99% of his life so far attached to my boobs, this thing has gotten a LOT of use. (Update: Here are some more nursing covers to review and consider.)

5) Um. Cute socks. Yeah. I could honestly only think of four things that are absolutely essential to raising Ezra. He’s just not that into baby gear. He wants to be swaddled, held, and breastfed, and that’s about it. He’s latched onto a Winnie the Pooh teething blanket as a lovey (something Noah never had any use for), but other than that, he doesn’t require much STUFF. I really do love having lots and lots of cute socks and baby leg warmers though.

The Five Least Useful Baby Items Ever, At Least For Us

1) White Noise Machine. Used it for both babies, never noticed a dang difference in their sleep patterns with or without it.

2) Travel systems. Bleh. Big, bulky and unnecessary. Make your stroller purchase independently from the car seat issue: they’re only in those bucket seats for an average of six months, and you’ll be using the stroller for a good two or three years after that. We use a snap-n-go stroller frame (folds up SMALL. and LIGHT. which you NEED when you’re lugging the baby and the car seat and a huge diaper bag by yourself), and went with a Maclaren umbrella stroller for Noah (LOVE), and now use a Phil & Ted’s stroller with the doubles kit. The Phil & Ted’s is neither small nor light, but oh! It steers and maneuvers like a dream, which is totally essential when you’re dealing with a big double stroller.

3) Bottle warmers. Ours very even worked properly, and I remember staring at it as it took up counter space next to our a) stove and b) microwave (for WATER, by the way, not for mixed formula or breastmilk), and then having an Oh Duh epiphany before tossing it in the trash. (I never had a wipe warmer, but I hear they are similarly stupid.)

4) SwaddleMe blankets. Another swaddling option. Less expensive than the Miracle Blanket, with the added bonus of coming in more than one size. Problem: both babies were able to pull the velcro fasteners apart mere seconds after I finished wrapping them up. Darn it.

5) Special tummy time anything. Look, infants don’t really like tummy time, as a general rule. And there really isn’t anything that’s going to change that, at least early on when tummy time is the most important. They don’t CARE what you put them on and they don’t know how to manipulate toys or turn music on with their feet. Just stick them on a regular blanket and get your face down by their face and just try to keep them entertained for as long as possible that way.

Don’t forget to visit Amalah’s hilarious Pregnancy Weekly

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Here’s Amalah’s Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist which will also give you some additional ideas if you’re looking for a baby shower or new baby gift.

If you’re considering an online baby registry, we recommend Amazon’s Baby Registry, which offers free 90-day returns on baby store purchases. You can even add items from other websites onto to your baby registry.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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34 Responses to “The Five Most (and Least) Useful Baby Products”

  1. heels Feb 09 at 1:41 pm Reply Reply

    I could not have possibly gotten by without my sling, cloth diaper burp cloths, bouncy seat, and boppy (more for holding him easily while I sat and shoveled food into my mouth as quickly as possible when he would NOT let me put him down!!). The funny hats and cute socks were just a bonus.

  2. Becca Feb 09 at 1:59 pm Reply Reply

    Ditto on the Phil and Teds!
    I was a little scared of the price until I realized that I was either going to spend $400 on TWO strollers to cover both shopping,etc and neighborhood/trail outings (a regular stroller and a jogger) or I was going to spend $400 on ONE stroller that could do everything and not ever think “Dammit I have the wrong stroller in the trunk.” And you are right about the maneuvering. Is fantastic. Also, a friend with a side by side double likes my P&T because my kids can’t fight with eachother, which is a huge problem in the side by side, apparently.
    My $.02

  3. jenn Feb 09 at 2:02 pm Reply Reply

    OK, the cloth diapers are a MUST for burp rags.. my kids are now 7 and 10, and im 14 weeks pregnant, the first thing on my registry…cloth diapers! they didnt have the bumbo seat when I had my other kids, but my mil works with birth to 3 kids, that need extra help, and this is one of the things they recomend, and Ive seen it used, so now of course I want one LOL. swing, had one hate it, one loved it, but the bouncy seat, both my kids loved and so did I, cause I could take a shower without my kids crying! a good stroller is a must, and no travel system..just a good stroller with good wheels!

  4. AJU5's Mom Feb 09 at 2:04 pm Reply Reply

    One advantage of the travel system is that it can work as a bassinet for a little one. But I totally agree they are huge and a pain. I just use it now for walks (my daughter loves the snack holder, etc. and I love the storage). I wish they made a stroller with many of the features of the big travel systems that folded up better and were a little lighter!

  5. jodifur Feb 09 at 2:05 pm Reply Reply

    I have to 2nd the ocean wonders crib aquarium. Michael would get up in the middle on the night and turn it on and go back to sleep. And he still sleep with a burp cloth. It’s his lovey. At almost 4.

  6. chiquita Feb 09 at 2:30 pm Reply Reply

    I second the Aquarium and the miracle blanket. Funny about the white noise machine. At 10.5 months, we got up the nerve to stop using ours this weekend, and our daughter slept straight through the night. (I think she has had it on every night since we brought her home from the hospital.) Go figure.

  7. Calee Feb 09 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    In defense of the wipes warmer:
    When my daughter was tiny (I’m talking 6 pounds) she HATED having her diaper changed. We got a wipes warmer and she was cool with it. The middle of the night changes turned from screamfests to a quiet annoyance before she’d eat and go to sleep. Come to think of it, I don’t want something wet and cold on my bum either.
    The wipes warmer is still sitting under her changing table and depending on the weather its either plugged in or not. It’s a nice looking way to store your wipes too.
    And swings– they can be totally overrated.

  8. Anonymous Feb 09 at 2:36 pm Reply Reply

    The one thing that I like the best is the SaraBear diaper caddy. We decided to forgo the changing table entirely since we didn’t have room for it and the caddy made it so easy to transport everything from room to room. We keep diapers, wipers, rash cream, thermometer, medicines, nose sucker thing, and anything else we use on a regular basis in it. Keeps me from losing everything.
    All babies are different and I found that the things that I thought were ESSENTIAL were the things my child hates the most.
    The swing, no effing way, he likes bouncing on the $10 exercise ball. Pacifiers, don’t even THINK about it lady, but I would love to suck on your finger. The snap and go stroller that faces backwards, you can kiss my squishy adorable ass I will not tolerate it, but the $20 umbrella stroller is the best mode of transport EVER. I have FOUR slings of various shapes and types that I thought were PERFECT and spent mucho denero on them. My little boy, of course, likes the FREE hand-me-down Baby Bjorn the best. And in regards to the bottles. The Dr. Browns $13.99 for 3, eh, they will do for him in a pinch, but the kid LOVES the Gerber 3 for $2.99 kind.
    Go damn figure.
    Basically, I have found that he likes the cheap or free stuff the best. Good for us I guess:) For the next one, at least we pretty much have the expensive and cheap version of everything.
    P.S. Our kid LOVES the adult white noise machine, won’t sleep without it. But heard the baby ones are complete crap.

  9. psumommy Feb 09 at 2:54 pm Reply Reply

    As with any list like this, of course, nearly everything is different for our kids. And each of our lists is different for each kid, too. :)
    The only thing I want to throw in there is the tummy time thing- my kids all HATED tummy time, too (so we never put them in it, and lo and behold- they can all hold their heads up! It’s amazing!) but (yeah, you knew that was coming) my mom got us this http://www.amazon.com/Lamaze-Spin-Explore-Garden-Gym/dp/B000I2MRHE for our newest edition and she LOVES IT. Especially when she hit 3 and a half months and figured out how to spin herself around.
    It also provides for much entertainment when my older gets get ahold of the spinny part of it, too. Note: it seems to hold up well under the weight of a 35lb 4 and a half year old. So far. And also apparently works well as a slingshot for vearious toys and balls when spun around REALLY fast. Just sayin’…

  10. Cara Feb 09 at 2:57 pm Reply Reply

    Payton loved his crib aquarium and his little sister has the rainforest version of the same thing. She’s not quite as jazzed about it as he was, but she likes it.
    Payton loved swings and bouncy seats and exersaucers and all that good stuff and Tori hated it all with a passion. It’s interesting though because I had pretty much the exact same breastfeeding situation that you’ve got where I didn’t have the supply with Payton so he was mostly bottle fed, but everything was peachy with Tori. I wonder if since Tori was exclusively breastfed that had anything to do with her always wanting to be held or in a sling? Hmmm…..

  11. Joceline Feb 09 at 3:02 pm Reply Reply

    We love:
    -The Miracle Blanket!
    -The Ergo and the Moby Wrap
    -The Chicco Keyfit 30
    -Maclaren Volo (for an older baby). We sold our bigger stroller and this is now the only one we have. 9 pounds!
    -Bum Genius 3.0 one size pocket diapers
    -Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back diaper bag
    I COVET the Phil and Ted’s stroller, but alas, we live on the second floor of a building with no elevator, and there’s no way I’m lugging anything that heavy up the stairs (with two kids in it, no less). So for now, I carry the baby in the Moby or Ergo and the toddler rides in the Maclaren.
    I highly recommend registering for less than what you think you need and buying big items like a swing or exersaucer off of Craigslist if you realize you want/need one after the baby is born. I would have hated having huge items like that taking up a ton of space in my tiny condo if the baby hadn’t liked them.

  12. Melissa Feb 09 at 3:04 pm Reply Reply

    3rd or 4th the aquarium that TC used until he moved out of his crib. He also loved the Fisher Price Rainforest play mat. He enjoyed the colors during tummy time, enjoyed the lights when he could flip over, used it to help pull himself up when he started to stand/walk and even now at 21 months loves to turn it on himself and sit underneath, pretending he is somewhere. We’ve gotten more use out of that than any other toy/gadget anyone got us.

  13. Jen L. Feb 09 at 3:15 pm Reply Reply

    Cloth diapers are a gift from heaven. We couldn’t have made it without our Boppy pillow. I had a c-section, then managed to pull a muscle 5 days after my baby was born, so I couldn’t even hold him without being in horrible pain. With the Boppy, I could use the pillow as support to bear his weight while he nursed or cuddled. Honestly, though, I think my husband used it more than I did!
    I also loved my Bebe Au Lait “hooter hider.” (mostly because it’s called a hooter hider.)

  14. Jen Feb 09 at 3:48 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with a lot of what Amy and the other comments said already. But the main thing is to start with only a few items that are necessities and add from there, when you know what will actually be useful. Really, you need a place for baby to sleep (we used the Pack and Play bassinet), a few basic clothes to start with, diapers of some sort, burp cloths- but not more than one pack of cloth dipes for this since not all babies are spitters, a Miracle Blanket, a baby carrier that works for a newborn (sling, Mei tei or wrap carrier, or Ergo with insert)and a carseat. Put off buying a stroller as long as you can. I love our Mac Volo for an older baby or toddler, and we do have a snap and go for the infant carseat. But some babies (like my first) hate the carseat so there’s no point in a snap and go for a baby like that- we always took her out and I carried her in the sling most of the time.
    If I had to list one baby “gadget: as a must have, it would be the Miracle Blanket, hands down. Both my babies slept better and longer in it and it is totally worth the price. Most of the baby containers- swings, bouncers, etc. are better to get from Craigslist since they are pricey and you never know what will work.

  15. Maggie Feb 09 at 5:02 pm Reply Reply

    See and the SwaddleMe worked GREAT for us…we used it far past the normal timeframe. It was awesome. But ONLY the fleece one. That cotton version was AWFUL and wouldn’t contain a stuffed animal.
    As for the wipes warmer, I love ours…not so much for the wipes being warm, but it’s got a light, which ends up pointing not in my face but at the behind I am trying to diaper. And it’s a glowy light, as opposed to an “oh gah, I am blind” light which was hella useful for middle of the night wakings and changings. And we still use it 18 months later, when getting Jackson settled for bed and having to get him in PJs, etc.

  16. lauralaylin Feb 09 at 5:41 pm Reply Reply

    Must disagree with the noise maker. I lived in a 2 family house, and it was all that saved me from my evil upstairs neighbors. DS would sleep with it on but those neighbors were too noisy for him without it. We also used a fan for extra noise, and I’ve used it myself many times.

  17. Beth Feb 09 at 5:47 pm Reply Reply

    As per your prediction, I must say that the SwaddleMe blanket is a must for my little(big) boy. He started off way too big for almost every receiving blanket we had and since no one bought the $40 miracle blanket off our registry, we used this one and it’s like a charm. Also, I happen to have a sound-soother noise device already and Bruno seems to calm when we use it. I can’t quite stand the white noise but the steam engine is a noise we can both live/sleep with. In addition to calming him, it helps the hubby and I move about the room after putting him down without him waking. Drowns out the little noises and what not. Just food for thought :)

  18. wallydraigle Feb 09 at 6:24 pm Reply Reply

    Only one kid here. We’d all have been dead by my hand without the white noise machine. It’s some cheapo Homedics thing. I’m sure the next kid will need absolute dead silence to sleep.
    The other two things I can’t imagine living without are the Hotslings sling and the My Brest Friend nursing pillow. I started out with just the Bjorn. I like it, but it’s such a pain to wrestle with unless I’m going for a long walk or a shopping trip. I just pop the baby in the sling, and it’s so easy. I also started out with a Boppy and spent a month and a half cursing at it before I broke down and went on a hunt for a good nursing pillow. Most of the problem was that my child was enormous from the start and sank way down into the Boppy before she had the head control to stay latched on. It also pushed away from my body too far, as did regular pillows. I heard great things about the My Brest Friend and found it on super discount online. Overnight I went from hating breastfeeding to loving it. My husband sometimes finds me in the middle of the night petting my new pillow and whispering sweet nothings to it.

  19. Melissa Feb 09 at 7:13 pm Reply Reply

    Can I suggest a must-have for the mom-to-be? If she’s planning to breastfeed, get Lily Padz (why the ‘z’ what is wrong with an ‘s’?)
    I had MASSIVE oversupply and used regular nursing pads most of the time. You know, the cloth ones or even the disposable ones.
    But! I like to swim. And cloth nursing pads+water=hot mess. Also, I wanted to get out and not look/feel so frumpy/wrinkled.
    The Lily Padz worked wonders. Easy to use, easy to clean, held the milk tsunami at bay.

  20. Lark Feb 09 at 8:12 pm Reply Reply

    I thought this article was a little off…. I couldn’t live without the sleep sounds, swaddlemes(the first 2months), my travel system, and bottle warmer…all essential items in my opinion.

  21. amanda Feb 09 at 9:00 pm Reply Reply

    I third the opionion that the bebe au lait=teh awesome. Got mine a couple weeks ago and i LOVE it. I fed baby during church the other day. I hadn’t felt comfortable whipping the boob out during Mass until I had that cover thing. Makes life grand.

  22. bessa Feb 10 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    Miracle Blanket = Miracle!! The SwaddleMe was a joke. The only other one I think works is a Snug & Tug – once they grow into it (about a month?). I buy Miracle Blankets for all my friends – seriously – I order 5-10 at a time.
    I also think its worth it to buy a cool mist humidifier if you’re having a fall/winter baby. I really believe they help keep colds at bay as soon as your little one shows any sniffles or stuffiness.
    We have an inexpensive/small over-the-door jumper we liked once our kids reached 4 months. We put them in it while we get ready in the mornings.
    This is a good list. My least-used item? A bottle sterilizer. I put our stuff in the dishwasher.

  23. Erin Feb 10 at 5:54 pm Reply Reply

    I hear you on the two boys, two different lists thing. Our second son loves the Baby Einstein crib music player thing and my first son didn’t acknowledge it.
    For an older baby the exersaucer is awesome, but just get a used one. The older versions don’t have built in toys and instead have a big empty tray so you can change up the toys.
    We couldn’t live without our pack n’ play (playpen) since we travel quite a bit and it is the perfect bed away from home. It will be moved to the babysitter’s house when I am finished my mat leave for naps.
    Lastly, a thought about tummy time. It has always worked best naked in our house. Boys especially just love naked tummy time ;)

  24. EdenSky Feb 10 at 9:42 pm Reply Reply

    Well, if we are all adding our 2 cents here…
    I also have 2 completely opposite babies. The only thing they agreed upon was their overwhelming hatred for infant carseats. A rolling frame thing would have been out of the question for us since both girls spent every second of thier time in an infant car seat screaming bloody murder. What? Some kids fall asleep in those things? No way! We went with a borrowed bassinet type carriage for infancy and a joovy caboose tandem ride on thing for once they were bigger.
    I also reject the Bumbo. Those things cost over 50$ and are useable for about 5 minutes between the time their backs and necks are strong enough to be proped up and the time they can sit up on their own.
    Neither of my kids liked being swaddled, because they’re weird, so I can’t comment on miracle blankets.
    The ocean wonders crib aquarium was a gift from above for my first baby, but the second wasn’t interested.
    I second the love for the bumGenius cloth diapers. If you would never have considered trying cloth diapers, try these. Adorable, easy, save thousands of $$, better for baby’s health, convenient, save the earth, what’s not to love?
    Angel Care monitor. The peace of mind you get from knowing alarms will sound if your baby stops breathing lets you get some sleep yourself.
    So basically, no one can tell you what the best baby items are. Shop second hand and borrow things from friends before you buy to see what works for you and your baby.

  25. Diaper Cake Becca Feb 11 at 11:37 am Reply Reply

    For both my girls….the essentials were:
    Cloth diapers for burping.
    Swing AND Bouncy seat (different rooms of the house, space issues…they both liked both).
    Lullabye CDs for dancing (i danced my girls to bed everynight…and now they are 4 and 3 and there is still music and singing and dancing before bed)
    Snugli for getting things done like grocery shopping.
    Playtex Ventaire kept my kids happy (less gas). One was formula fed…one was breastfed.
    ___________
    Our NOT SO MUCH list:
    Diaper Genie: Flower scented liners make for flower scented poop (which is still a poop smell). Yucky.
    Boppy: Never could get comfortable with this. Gave ours away and just got a big old body pillow, instead. MUCH more comfortable for feeding.
    Infant Massage Kit: I loved the idea of the close time between baby and me….but could never get into this. We switched to dancing and have been kicking our heels up ever since!

  26. Tina Feb 11 at 1:25 pm Reply Reply

    I also really like the Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe fleece blankets, but I did not like the cotton version that I tried. The fleece blankets have a huge swath of material that you can affix the velcro tabs to so that you can get it nice and tight. I just ordered 3 more fleece blankets in size large for my 3 month old and I really LOVE them. They might be worth a try before paying a lot of money for a Miracle Blanket (which I have not tried but I am pretty sure I would love them, too).

  27. Isabel Feb 12 at 6:25 pm Reply Reply

    Crap…I haven’t heard of some of these things. I guess the baby world has changed since I was pregnant last time.
    Must look into this Miracle Blanket thingy.
    (I know everyone hates the travel systems, but we used ours so much with our first kid. Mostly because we lived in a very urban area at that time where we rarely used our car. Our Chicco stroller was our main mode of transportation and it worked like a charm! Things will be different with the baby in my belly!)

  28. Anonforthis Feb 12 at 9:01 pm Reply Reply

    Are you sure it is a phase? My 3 year old son thinks the sun rises and sets on his father. If he had his way I’d simply stay home and cook while he and dad went off and had adventures together. It breaks my heart (I feel like the hippo in “But not the Hippopotamus” but worse). There are other examples but all variations on the theme of dad=hooray and mom=oh, it is you.
    He came to us at 13 months and had a preference for me for a while (not as long as this though!).
    Sigh.

  29. Mike Gatten Feb 16 at 3:22 pm Reply Reply

    Hi! I’m Mike Gatten, inventor of Miracle Blanket, and your blog was just brought to my attention. I noticed your mention of the Miracle Blanket and I wanted to say a HUGE thank you! As a matter of fact, we can’t thank you and others enough for helping us spread the word. We really want to help other parents avoid the all-too-common problem of sleep deprivation with a newborn, but we have found that getting the word out is incredibly difficult. People just don’t believe us when we tell them it might be “this easy.” The fact is, advertising doesn’t work for a product like ours, so we rely solely on word-of-mouth from parents and professionals who have been so great as to give us a try and then tell everyone about their experience.
    To show my personal gratitude I want to thank you with a free Miracle Blanket! If you don’t need it for yourself you might give it as a gift or maybe a giveaway on your blog.
    Please call {redacted} she will send you a free Miracle Blanket of your choice – really! {redacted}
    And again, thank you so very much!
    Mike

  30. Morgan Mar 05 at 9:37 pm Reply Reply

    I totally agree about skipping the stroller combos- just buy them seperately and save money. Or, better yet- buy your carseat new and buy your stroller at a garage sale and you’ll really save some dough!

  31. Kelly Jan 21 at 4:08 pm Reply Reply

    Eagerly awaiting my first baby, I am trying to sort through the whole “useful vs useless” task of preparing for my little one! Now, I live overseas and will be travelling back to the US for my baby shower with friends and family. Living in Norway, everything is 3-4x as expensive as the States. Thus, I have to be very careful about what I buy in Norway (limited budget) and what I register for in the US because I am only allowed 2 bags of luggage back to Norway. The one item that seems to consistently be on everyone’s “useful” list was the Miracle Blanket. I had never heard of this, and I have been a nanny for years and I am a preschool teacher. So after reading the blog, I immediately went to my target registry and added it. I also deleted many items I thought I “needed”. Thank you so much for all your input and information, it certainly has been extremely helpful! Thanks again, from a first time Mom!

  32. Kris Mar 08 at 11:25 pm Reply Reply

    Son one never had a swing, bouncy chair, fancy toys, swaddling blankets or a stroller.
    Son two wouldn’t sleep unless he was in his swing and we unfortunately were cheap and used the hand crank one which would wake him everytime we had to recrank. I took it to bowling with me so he was happy and I could do something normal.We also used the backpack non stop walking through Europe while we were stationed there. The pack and go went everywhere with us – son two would sleep while son one played football or baseball in that thing. Then cloth diapers as burp cloths were an absolute necessity. My cousin’s daughter is due in 5 weeks. I bought her a miracle blanket. Sleep is a parent’s best friend. Good luck all!

  33. brenna Aug 24 at 2:07 pm Reply Reply

    this is so weird that I’ve had almost the exact opposite experience with several Items. I LOVED my travel system, especially for air travel from Alaska to the lower 48 because u could gate check the stroller and put the car seat base underneath while strolling around with carseat clicked in thru the airport. and my daughter still uses the stroller and she’s 3 and still has room to grow. I wonder which brand you had. mine was graco and it’s my first suggestion to new moms. also I loved the swaddle me blankets with my daughter – never had a problem with them. and my daughter LOVED tummy time. she was always on her tummy and loved the little tummy time toys. maybe it’s just the difference between boys and girls? if I were to make a list of my five most useful for my little one they’d be 1. my travel system with reliable carseat (graco, of course.) 2. diaper bag with cross body strap. 3. ergo carrier- amazing on your back unlike snugli and some of the other ones. 4. our baby swing! the rainforest one from fisher price. and 5. fisher price glowing sea horse.

  34. John Jun 09 at 12:04 pm Reply Reply

    Wow, odd list compared to what I find essential.  Glad these things worked for you, but some that you found bad are good for me.

    Must haves
    1) Bottle Warmer – Epic.  I refuse to microwave a bottle.  Using warm water in a glass/bowl takes at least 10 minutes.  Our Dr Browns warmer takes 3 minutes for cold milk to heat up to warm.  That’s huge when my little girl is hungry.  It needs to be used with good bottles.  No crappy playtex bottles.  Medela or Dr Browns only.  I got a cheap power inverter for the car too so we can take it on long trips.

    2) Wipe warmer.  Not essential, but really helps warm those cold wipes.  She would scream when we used a cold wipe early on.  It’s more tolerable now for her (cold ones).

    3) Some type of sway swing.  Rockers are OK, but our little girl loves to sway side-to-side as opposed to back and forth.  I recommend the FP snuggabunny or similar.  A lot of people say the motor will die, but it has a 1-year warranty in  which they replace it for free.

    4) Cloth diaper burp rags.  Work wonderfully.

    5) Book bag style diaper bag.  SO much easier to carry…

    Waste of Time
    1) Any diaper without a “I’m wet” indicator strip.  Simple technology, not sure why every diaper doesn’t have this.

    2) Bouncers that sit baby up to high/not adjustable.  I love the convenience of a bouncer and I use ours regularly, but it just sits up too high for younger babies.  I am sure it will be better when she gets a little bigger.  If you can find one that lays down more, go for it.  My little one likes to slide down in ours.

    3) Mittens (for sleeping)  Seriously, use a pair of their cute socks.  They are much more secure.  The mittens fall off easy.

    4) Windows screens for a car.  These are junk.  You are better off going to Lowes and getting window tint and putting a couple layers on your window.  Works much better.

    5) Can’t think of a #5.

    Hope his helps some people.

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