1. Sophie the Giraffe. She's a teether, she's a toy. She's hours of never-ending joy. I first saw/read about this teether on Dear Baby Blog and thought it was the cutest thing. Then I read endless wonderful reviews about it on Amazon and decided to give it a try. It's true...babies love Sophie.
2. Motherlove Nipple Cream. I call this a must-have because it saves me from unnecessary pain from the mean, mean pump every day. It's organic and natural so you don't have to wipe it off before nursing. The lactation consultant at the hospital told me about it and I think I paid about $15 for this tiny 2 ounce jar. Worth. EVERY. Penny. I've only used about 2/3 of it in nearly 6 months. I would have paid any price for relief around mid-March, 2010. Even if you aren't pumping, it is soothing during those nightmarish early nursing days. I like this stuff waaay better than the Lansinoh cream, which I found to be thick and sticky.
3. Kiddopotamus swaddlers (AKA baby straightjackets). We have swaddled Theo for nighttime sleep since he was a newborn. He has slept through the night a couple of times without it, but I'm not looking forward to giving them up completely. Without it, he flails his arms and wakes himself up. I think it must feel like a hug...or maybe it just feels like someone's sitting on top of him. He's currently sleeping with one arm out... we are trying to wean him from them so he can sleep on his belly if he chooses to, self-soothe, etc. (He started sleeping through the night between 8 and 10 weeks with these!) For our next wee one, we will be trying The Woombie to get away from all of the annoying velcro.
4. The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B, also known as "Lamby" at our house. And no, the "b" is not silent. This tricky little guy has a battery powered speaker and you can select 1 of 4 nature sounds. The sleep sheep comes in two sizes but I found the larger one to be too big. One negative about the small one - it doesn't have the mother's hearbeat noise like the large one. This thing is great for on-the-go sleeping. It provides white noise to help distract little ears from non-home sounding noises. It straps onto the carseat handle quite nicely too. I even used this sucker the other day for my nap to block the sound of the hubs doing his workout. It worked like a *dream* (snort, snort).
5. Cradle swing by Fisher Price. Oh, swing. I love you. I don't know what we would have done without this swing. Actually, we still use it quite a bit but I'm afraid Theo is quickly outgrowing it. He can sit in it and be quite content for a long time. He often takes naps in it during the day. Now he is big enough to play with the toys on the detachable tray so he can be entertained by it long enough for me to cook dinner or take a shower. It was my saving grace during maternity leave. In 12 weeks, he only cried through my shower 2 times. It swings side to side or backwards/forwards. Theo has no preference. Thank you Fisher Price. And Trisha, for giving me your swing.
6. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, MD. This DVD is awesome. The only complaint I had about it was that the hospital didn't pass it out between pushes when I was in labor. We didn't get this until Theo was probably 6 or 7 weeks old, but Dr. Karp teaches parents how to instantly soothe and calm their babies. It works. I don't know what else to say, but it works! You have to try it yourself to believe it. And thank goodness for the DVD format, because we sure didn't have time (in the midst of all the incessant crying) to read a book. (A book is available as well, but why bother?)
7. Precious Planet Mobile by Fisher Price. Because we are geniuses, we positioned our bed directly across the hall from Theo's. That means we can press the button on that nifty white and blue remote to restart this mobile without getting out of bed. The base projects an image and lights onto the dome, which Theo loves to watch (and will do so for up to 40 minutes some days). Other days, he will fall asleep watching the animals rotate. At night, we press the little red button on the bottom, which sounds like a heartbeat, for white noise. The mobile runs for 20 minutes then fades out gently. The yellow button is classical music and the green/blue button in the middle is nature sounds. Theo loves this Easter present from Grammy, but not as much as I do.
8. What is important about these jammies is not the adorable pattern (we don't even have these, I just found them online and thought they were cute)... it is the all-important zipper. Never again will I buy infant jammies that do not zip. Zipper jammies are soooo much more convenient than snap up ones. Especially when your breastfed newborn poops 6 times a night. On a side note, I do like how this specific pair is not footed. Theo is especially in love with his feet at the moment and I think he would appreciate that feature!
And that is all I can think of. For now....