Top Essentials For Baby’s First Year

Completing your baby’s registry can be one of the most exciting yet stressful things from your pregnancy to-do list. There’s SOOOOOO MUCHHHHH stuff to choose from, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

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When I was pregnant, I knew from the get go that I wanted to be a “practical mom” and keep baby gear to a minimum. Now that I’ve been a mom for almost a year, I would like to share  my top 5 essential items during baby’s first year.

Rock and Play Chair

If I were to choose one item, this would be it! Thea used this bouncy chair on daily basis until she was about three months old. This chair is very basic. It rocks and vibrates, that’s it. But, it is very light and easy to move around. Throughout the day, I was able to move her around the house allowing me to cook, workout, and take a shower without interrupting her naps. At nighttime, I would place the chair by my bed. We kept her sleeping in the chair because the incline helped with newborn reflux. Eventually, once I went back to work and we started bottle feeding, she would only take her bottle while sitting in the rock and play chair so this chair seriously became a life saver!!!

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Taking a selfie with daddy. Thea was 2 weeks old.

 

Nursing Camisole

I’ve been breastfeeding Thea for almost a year and I have wear these nursing camis  every.single.day. I will probably burn them by the time I’m done breastfeeding lol. They are very soft and comfortable. The V-neck design gives very easy access, making night time feeds a breeze.  They don’t provide a significant amount of support, but since I don’t have large breasts, I’ve been able to wear them comfortably with no bra.

Abiie Beyond Junior Y Chair & Silicone Pocket Bibs

We started introducing solids during the middle of our relocation from Florida to Boston. During that time I noticed the high chair we had at the time was not gonna work for me. It wasn’t easy to clean and Thea’s posture was not the best.

 

You can see how the food tray was higher than her elbows making it more difficult for her to reach for food. We had to put a pillow behind her to assist her reaching for food. So I knew this chair although “practical” in the sense of space saver, was not practical for the BLISS solid introduction method we were doing (more about that here).

After doing some research, I came across the Abiie Chair  and I’m soooo glad I did. It is a little pricey but it’s designed to grow with the baby so you will definitely get your money’s worth. As a matter of fact, while we were waiting for our furniture to arrive, I sat on this chair for several weeks.

The Y shape chair has several access points to truly clean up all food crumbs and messes after baby eats. The cushion is water resistant and dries up immediately after you wipe it down. I honestly spend less than 2 minutes cleaning up after Thea’s meals, and trust me, her meals can get pretty messy.

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Similarly, after trial and error, I started using this silicone feeding bib. What I like the most about this bis is its adjustable neckband. It stays on even  when my baby is super active. I can also wash it as many times as I need to without the neckband getting damage (as oppose to velcro ones that after 3 washes they don’t stick anymore). These bibs are truly water proof, so her clothes stay cleaner throughout; and as a bonus point, it is hilarious to see her hiding food and then eating it from the pocket.

Nail Trimmer

Another favorite of mine has been the battery operated nail trimmer. To be honest, when I first got this I thought it was one of those “fancy” items I probably didn’t really need. However, it has become a favorite and a scratched face preventer (I might have made up that word hahaha). The trimmer has 5 adjustable settings to choose from and an LED light. It is “whisper quiet” and very easy to use. Most of the time, I trim Thea’s nails while nursing her or once she’s fallen asleep.  This thing works like a charm!

Medela Pump In Style Advanced

Last but not least, it’s my Medela breast pump. We definitely had a “love-hate relationship.”  Any mom who has had to pump would totally understand.  It was supplied by my health insurance with zero cost!!! The Medela pump has worked great for me. I used it daily, several times a day for about 5 months and had no issues. Even though I hated pumping, it was because of this machine that I was able to provide breastmilk for my daughter while I was away working 12 hours shifts at the hospital. So thank you Medela breastpump for helping me reach my breastfeeding goals!

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FYI for all expecting mommies planning on breastfeeding, your health insurance plan (from USA) MUST cover the cost of a breast pump.

Let’s keep in mind that none of these items are truly essential. Yes, they make our lives easier, but having any or none of them wont make us better moms. At the end of the day, what our babies need is food and lots of love and cuddles.

PS/ Little Bonus

As I was thinking about this topic, I remember another life saver… Fels-Naptha laundry bar. If you have a baby/toddler, this bar soap is a must!!! I’ve been able to remove ALL blowout stains (trust me, my daughter had some serious blowouts, I was tempted to share some pictures but don’t want to gross you guys out hahaha), and breastmilk and food stains. I usually spot treat it, then throw it in the laundry machine, and let the soap does its magic. Use it and let me know what you think!

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Traveling with Infants

Whether it is for pleasure or for business, the thought of traveling with babies tends to give people high blood pressure. When my baby girl was four months old we experienced our first flight with her. Needless to say, I was a little  lot anxious. Would she cry the entire time? am I going to be able to change her diaper? feed her? is she gonna get sick? I had a million questions. So I obviously did a little research and prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best!

We flew about 12 times in less than 3 months.  I’ll explain… we used to live in Gainesville, (go Gators!) a small town in Florida, that only had a regional airport, so we had to take connecting flights anywhere we were going. We flew to Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Boston. As you can imagine, I’ve learned a lot from all those trips and I want to share with all those mamas -and also dadas- my best tips for drag traveling with infants.

Time, time, time!!!

Give yourself plenty, PLENTY, of extra time, specially if it’s your first time flying with baby. You will be experiencing, just as your baby, lots of firsts and as you might have already noticed, everything that you do with a baby takes at least twice as long. In our very first flight, we kind of ignored that and we missed our plane for about 10 mins. Thankfully, since we were in Gainesville, it wasn’t a big deal. We were able to get in the next flight, which was leaving within the next  hour.

Stroller and Carseat

Baby’s stroller and carseat travel for free and don’t count as carry on! You can check them both at the gate. The stroller must weight 20 lbs or less and be collapsible, otherwise, it needs to be checked at the counter. If you travel a lot, you might consider buying a carseat travel bag to help protect and keep the carseat cleaned , otherwise, a big trash bag will do just fine! By the way, kudos to Delta Airlines, they bag your carseat for free!

Early Morning Flights

My baby tends to be happier and calmer in the mornings, so we always try to book our flights as early as possible. We usually fly out before 7:30 am. Meaning, we arrive to the airport around 4:30 am. Baby is usually sleeping at this time, allowing us to check-in and go through security while she sleeps. Speaking of sleep, I dress her on sleepers, preferably the ones with reverse zippers. It keeps her comfy and I can easily change her diaper.

This picture was taken around 5 am, we are all so happy.  I guess we are a “morning” family! This was our relocation flight, Miami to Boston.

Wear Your Baby

I found wearing my baby very convenient during the first part of the airport adventure. It gives me peace of mind because she’s on me while I’m still  able to use my hands to hold documents, bags, etc. Babies also need to go through TSA and they cannot do so while being on a stroller. So it is just easier to have her already on me. By the way, in case you were wondering, the metal detectors at the airports do not use X rays, instead, they use electromagnetic waves to produce the images.

About take off and landing

I read in several places that having baby nurse or suck at a pacifier during take off/landing prevents their ears from popping. In our first flight since babygirl was younger, four months old, and all she cared about was nursing, I was able to time feeding sessions perfectly with take off/landing. However, as she grew older, she was not always interested on nursing on my timing. So if she was happy playing and people watching, I did not force her to breastfeed. To this day, she has always done just fine!

This picture was from our very first flight. We flew from Gainesville to Atlanta to Boston.  Babygirl  was 4 months old.

Changing diapers

If you are anything like me, the thought of changing my baby on a airplane bathroom freaks me out -.- I always change her diaper within 30 minutes of boarding and then pray she doesn’t have an accident during the flight hahaha Our longest flight has been a little over 3 hours so I’ve been able to manage without changing her in the plane. But when that time comes, there are changing tables in those small airplane bathrooms -.-

To pay or not to pay for an extra seat?

Babies age 2 and under do not required a seat. However, parents always have the option to pay for a seat and baby could travel in the carseat. I have never paid for this, however, in one of my flights, I was offered a seat for my daughter for free. The flight was about 3 hours and 30 mins long and she used the carseat for no longer than one hour. During the time she was in her seat, I was definitely able to rest and stretch; but in my opinion, she did not use it long enough to make worth spending all that $$$$. There are many factors you need to keep in mind when making this decision though: age and activity level of baby, length of flight, and whether there would be more laps to carry that baby around hahaha.

Priority perk!

One perk of traveling with kids is that you are allowed to board priority. By doing so, I get plenty of time to settle in our seats and  wipe down the area baby will be touching. I find travel size disinfecting wipes super convenient.

During check in, don’t be afraid to ask if it is possible to keep the seat next to you opened. You will be surprised, attendants are usually very nice to moms, specially when moms are traveling by themselves.

Last Points

Some airports have playgrounds, including shoe-free area for infants and toddlers. They are definitely worth checking!

Bring a blanket you can put on the airport floor to allow your baby to play on the floor and stretch.

This one is brought to you by my hubby… he suggests on walking around with baby so  fellow passengers start sympathizing prior to boarding. This would hopefully make things easier in the event baby gets cranky during the flight.

Lastly, remember is all about your attitude. Stay positive and relax.

Bon Voyage!