Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Old Mom's Guide to New Baby Gear

When I first became a parent, we were in another century, actually another millennium. My son listened to cassettes in the car on a Fisher Price tape player! One of my first thoughts upon finding out I was pregnant in my 40’s, rather than my 20’s, after a few choice words of surprise, was that the baby gear must be a lot cooler now. 
It sure is!

To me, the most obvious change is that the fabrics and patterns for nurseries are more sophisticated than ever before and mirror the family’s personal clothing and decorating tastes. Nurseries now fit in seamlessly with the rest of the house and are more cool than cutesy. Think less Noah's Ark and more mid-century modern.

But what about the gear?

As Baby Andrew closes in on the one year mark, here are my top 5 favorites for the infant stage:

1. Boppy Lounger: We had Boppy nursing pillows back in the day, which we eventually rejected in favor of My Brest Friend for excellent breastfeeding support. This lounger, made by Boppy, serves a completely different purpose. It provides a soft place to place the baby during the day, and its silky soft cotton and supportive padding make a great little cocoon. It's also a great place to bottle feed if baby gets too squirmy in your arms.

2. Kinsa Thermometer: If you think your baby is feverish, it probably means you are already worried and stressed, so you need a thermometer that works! This one connects to your cell phone and provides a quick, accurate reading. It can be used under the arm, in the mouth, or rectally. My favorite part is that the app saves temperature readings and other symptoms on your phone, and it can be used to store data for the whole family. And as someone who once broke an old-fashioned glass thermometer in my baby’s room and had to safely dispose of the MERCURY, I’m glad to have technology on my side this time. Forehead thermometers like this one also look super easy.

3. Infant Swaddles: Can you say Night and Day? Tim and I used to argue about the best way to swaddle our babies using receiving blankets. No matter how hard we tried, a little arm or foot would come poking out and we'd have to start all over. What a difference it makes to have an easy to use swaddle with the strongest velcro in the world on it!  Mom and Dad can wrassle an infant into this thing in just a few seconds, and it stays tight all night. Labor and Delivery Nurses have special swaddling ninja skills, but SwaddleMe is for the rest of us.

4. Rock and Play: Total game changer! Before, we had wicker bassinets pulled up next to our beds. Nothing wakes a baby faster than his kicking the walls of a flimsy bassinet. A Rock in Play cradles infants in a comfortable inclined position, and the height is ideal to keep next to the bed so mom and dad can tend to the baby in the night. We had one upstairs and one downstairs. Another bonus is that it is lightweight and folds easily for travel. Due to concerns that the Rock and Play can cause babies to develop flat heads, I recommend putting a headrest in yours, such as this one from Boppy. Our baby learned to love sleep much faster than his older brother and sister did, and I credit the Rock and Play for this. We transitioned him out of his at six months, and I was sad to see it go.

5. Dohm Sound Machine:  This sound machine was a big improvement over the sound of a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner of the days of yore for trying to lull a baby to sleep. Savvy blog readers pointed me in its direction, and now I can't sleep without it! Another option is using a free white noise app on your iPhone.

I wouldn't say parenting a baby in my forties is easier than in my twenties, but some key products have helped. I could go on with my list, but these are my top 5 must-haves! Hoda Kotb, if you are reading this, I have some great hand me downs you can have for lovely Haley Joy!

Moms and Grandmas, what would you add to this list?

(affiliate links included for your convenience)


Jenny Hart Boren said...

Everyone has an old clock radio (except Konmari devotees)--plug it in, tune it to static, and adjust to white-noise volume. Boom. Everything old is new again. And every nursery needs a clock, anyway! said...

I don't know why I'm so fascinated by all this new gear. The chances of my becoming a grandparent are pretty slim. But seeing the new baby strollers that transform into carseats and cradles is so exciting. I love to see baby toys, remembering all the busy-boxes and precursors to computers that I bought for my own kids long ago.
Some things, like the good old Zweiback teething biscuits are gone. But it's so neat to see the swaddling wraps and new baby clothes. Thanks for sharing your baby gear experience.

Anonymous said...

The changes in technology in just a few short years are amazing! I question the thermometer. Way too much information in my opinion. Adds to the stress rather than relieving it. I am a mom of 8, my oldest is 21, my youngest is 6 and I have not owned even one thermometer since my first was born.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all you listed. We do use the ear thermometer and it's quick and easy. I'm the new Grand mom and it's truly amazing how much cool stuff is available. One thing that my daughter invested in that I think was a waste (grandma here:) is the MamaRoo swing! She got a good deal on it, but it was rarely used. Just took up space. It sits in storage,now. Just my experience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna, I'm 21 weeks pregnant and working on my registry so this is perfect timing :) I was thinking of buying a rock n play but have two questions. I have heard various things about overnight sleep in the rock n play and SIDS - was your pediatrician okay with it? I don't have a pediatrician yet to ask? And second, can you fly with a rock n play or is it way too big for that? Thank you so much!

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

My pediatrician didn't have any issues w/ the Rock and Play. I actually think pediatricians like it b/c it's so easy to keep tabs on your baby right next to your bed. I did get a boppy cushion for his head to prevent flat head, which is an issue for some Rock and Play users. Since Andrew was swaddled, and the Rock and Play cradled him, he was not able to roll over on his face. He stayed immobile all night, if that makes sense. Definitely talk to you pediatrician, though, just to make sure!

Linda C said...

Love the WUBBANUB pacifiers!

Linda C said...

Love the WUBBANUB pacifiers!