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The most useful or useless baby products! 0-3 Months – Mombie Fitness

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July 21, 2008
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The most useful or useless baby products! 0-3 Months

If there is anything I’ve learnt in the past 4 and a half months is that no matter how many times people tell you .. you need X, your baby may hate X. Or how many people say, don’t waste your time on buying X, my son really got the use out of X. So here is what I consider my best, the worst, and the swing vote purchases for the first three months.

The Useful Products

Fisher Price swing

1)The Swing

—Yes it needs a pronoun—We were fortunate to have been given a Fisher Price Ocean Wonder’s swing on loan from a friend of mine. I swear it saved our sanity for these first three months. Especially if you are into the Happiest baby method’s you are going to want a swing to help sooth your baby. My baby was one of those who needed constant motion to keep him content, lord knows what I did while I was pregnant to make him that way–it certainly wasn’t aerobics! **Note, try to get one that plugs in or you’ll go through a HUGE amount of D batteries! Keep in mind, a swing will not calm a screaming baby, you must calm them down first before you place them in the swing. Always make sure you follow the guide lines for the swing including the weight restrictions, and if they start leaning forward trying to grab the toys they are too mature for the swing.

Sooth and Play Fisher Price2)Bouncy chair

—We have the Sooth N Play Fisher price one, and I have to say it was a love hate relationship. Some nights and days I was so happy I had this bouncy chair, and other’s my son did not care for it. But I found I got more use out of it then not so it is a favourite of mine. The vibration he could have done without I’m sure, and now that he’s 18 lbs it sinks so low to the ground I don’t dare put him in it.

Swaddle

3)Swaddle blanket

We  had a few store bought ones given to us, and a few made from my mother in law. I have to say that the ones my MIL (mother in law) made were the best ones for us. If you haven’t had a chance to see my blog on the Happiest baby on the block, you’ll see the swaddle and just how big it is. But to make your own you are going to need 42 square inches of fabric (stretchy thin cotton) and either surge the ends or put ribbing on them. Not only do you need the blanket but you need the small piece of fabric I use in my “real tech mom” swaddle. It saved my husband and I from jumping off a bridge with how little my “little man” slept!Happiest Baby

4)The Happiest Baby on the Block

There is a book, but unless you have the time to read it, the DVD does a fantastic job of outlining what to do, and the best thing is that when you are sleep deprived it shows you what to do. Please click here for an indepth review of this product. If you are considering purchasing this book before your baby makes it’s arrival, it is worth the read. It really goes indepth into the reasons behind the magic!

Sleep sheep

5)White noise maker

We used a product called a sleep sheep, but the happiest baby comes with a white noise cd—the cd was great because it’s more intense for those babies who need the sound of a hair dryer to fall asleep. The white noise helps them adjust to the silence that is now their world. While in the womb it is louder then a vacuum, so imagine being born into silence after 9 months of sound.. pretty scary and hard to adjust to! Now that my son is over 4 months he still likes the vacuum, but not to fall asleep.. now he’s just amazed by it!

6) Video MonitorVideo monitor

What can I say about these. I obsessed about which one to buy. I was considering the Angel care one, because I know I can be paranoid if I want to be. But after reading the reviews on the angel care (some mom’s say it drove them crazy because sometimes it goes off without need—baby is still breathing but has moved off the pad or you forget to turn it off and pick baby up) I think I would lose my mind. So instead I chose to spy on my baby LOL

I chose a video monitor because I can look at him without having to enter his room. We chose the summer version and while it’s $250 in Canada, I got it online from EBay for $104 plus $20 shipping.. great deal in my books. I just love looking at him when he sleeps, they all look like angels! The only thing is it only picks up baby pitches, so if I was in his room talking, my husband could not hear me on the monitor—blessing in disguise?—or awesome, I’ve yet to decide. I have also read how you can “tap”into these video feeds from outside the home (this is a con), but i’m not sure how that works. Either way I’m glad I have it and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Medela Pump 7) Medela pump

(manual and mini electric pump) I’m reviewing this one because this is the one I purchased. There are also establishments that rent hospital grade unit’s for around 60$ a month with a deposit and you have to spend 50$ to buy the attachments that you keep. Now because my baby takes a bottle—thank god, it has allowed me to go out with my hubby or friends without worrying that my baby won’t eat. BUT a recent incident has lead me to believe this pump sucks. First of all I was not paying attention one morning one hand pumping at 5 a.m. and it overflowed, since then the suction has been little to non existent, I found out they do not service their pumps, you need to buy a new one. Well after buying a mini electric pump and manual one (all in one-$164) i’m not willing to spend more money on a new one. So while I loved to freedom, id question buying one knowing that you can’t fix them with the company. BUT in terms of the effectiveness this pump is one of the best. I have heard great things about the swing pump should you want to spend the cash!** I’ve since fixed my pump thanks for Kelly’s suggestions (at bottom of this post)

Gerber 8) Gerber breastmilk storage bags

Again this only applies if you are breast feeding these bags are fantastic. They are thicker—if you are freezing your milk (these rock), you are less likely to have freezer burnt milk. Now I have heard great things about the medela milk storage bags but have not used them and cannot advocate towards them. These bags have a Ziploc seal, with a date spot to write on.

9) Lansinoh Nursing pads

—again only great if you are breastfeeding, but these things rock. LansinohThey are thin and absorbent. I wouldn’t recommend any other brands besides the medela ones. I had a hard time finding a lot of medela products so the Lansinoh ones worked well for me. They also aren’t crazy expensive–if you go to walmart. They have a powder in them that turns the milk into a gel, instead of soaking your boob it absorbs the moisture away from you boobs—which is great because the last thing you want to worry about is thrush, or leaking pads.

Oh and another really great product that I would have died without during the beginning of breastfeeding was my Lansinoh nipple cream. Your poor nipples have never felt pain like this, I can assure you. The cream saved my life and my sanity. It’s a bonus that you do not have to wash it off. Again Medela has nipple cream too that is of the same caliber!

formula storage

10) Formula storage containers

—I’m talking about the ones that divvy up the formula for each feeding in separate compartment. While I heard they are quite pricey, they are apparently worth it! Seriously ladies if you are formula feeding, these things are a must have for you on the go!

11) image The Exercise ball!

So for all of you mom’s who bought this birthing ball–how many of you actually used it all that much during your pregnancy or birth?  Well it came in handy after baby came home that’s for sure. If you baby likes to bounce but you’re too tired to bounce baby because let’s face it, we don’t all have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger! This thing allows you to bounce baby while sitting down. (Hold baby close to you, in cradle position or up against your shoulder and bounce away—Thanks Daniela forgot about this one.. how soon we forget)

Top money wasters

1)Most Toys

Generally they’re not interested in them, my son was more interested in me then the toys. Plus stuff that has too many bells and whistles is really too much stimulation for most babies. I’m sure they’ll come in handy for the upcoming stages!

lamaze toy

2) Play mat’s

Again my son was not interested in laying down, he constantly wanted to sit up. You just never know with your child as they are all individuals. Namely the 50$ Lamaze tummy toy (a purchase made by my husband), my son hates this thing… well more so doesn’t know what to do with it. See how impressed he is?

2)Baby Bath Tubs

tummy tub

The only bath tub that I’ve heard positive things about is this Tummy Tub. For us we had The Safety First bath tub that my son hated–it was not for lack of trying.. he just did not like bath time! I ended up transitioning him to our big tub as soon as possible. It took me at least a month to feel comfortable to bathe him in our big bath tub.  While I tried as much as I could to keep him comfortable he just hated the small tub. We maybe got a little bit of use out of it the first few weeks when we were scared to hold a slippery wet baby, but after that he just screamed when we put him in it. Note: when bathing your baby, make the water warm. The hospitals scare us into making the water luke warm–to cold. And by all means I’m not saying burn your baby, but making the water nice and warm (like you would enjoy) is probably your best bet!

3)Travel system (car seat and stroller)

Peg Perego This was one of my favourite buys at first, however once my son decided he needed to see what was going on around him, he was NOT content to sit in the car seat at all.  He was great in it while he was still small he didn’t do much but sleep (0-2 months). But now he won’t even go in the stroller/car seat combo, and can’t stand the car seat. I certainly don’t regret buying a good brand (Peg Perego) I’m waiting to see what happens when he actually can sit up in the stroller. For now we’re using a baby carrier that he likes much more, although he hated that for the first 3 months as well, hence his nick name: Mr. Fussypants.

4)New born sizes of clothesIt's a boy!

Bottom line: they grow out of them so quickly, I think we used them to bring him home and for the first few days, but mostly you alternate a few outfits at first, because you’re so darn tired, you can’t possibly find what you want when you want it and then bother to co-ordinate it or put it away (after it’s been washed). Simplify those first few weeks!

5)Baby Towels

Sure they’re cute, but really… just use bigger ones, most of the baby towels are of poor quality and fell apart in the wash.

6)Crib BeddingCrib bedding

It’s for show (as I was told not to put anything but baby and a crib sheet in bed), and most places want at least $150 + for a set, which is ridiculous when you think that you can’t actually use more then the sheet for the first year or so.

7) Bottle warmer

Bottle warmer Again a purchase made by my husband. We found it burnt the milk more often then heated it properly. He was just rewarming breastmilk so maybe that was the problem but in my opinion, warm tap water works better. Save your $40.

8)Bravado nursing bra

Ok, so I know these are supposed to be the cream of the crop for nursing bra’s and maybe the one my sister lent me was not one that was meant for me, but it was not a cheap one ($75.00) and let me tell you, I’ve never hung so low in my life.Bravado While it had no underwire (which is not recommended when your milk is coming in–because it increases the risk of plugged ducts) I desperately needed something more supportive. They do have other bra’s on their website, but I just was not willing to spend that kind of cash hoping it would work out.

Mentionable’s:

The following can be construed either way (positive or negative). But the following are some that I find are either a  yay or a nay purchase.

1)Change table

stork craft I won’t bother to tell you the horror story I had with the storkcraft brand of change table I purchased at walmart over a month and a half before my due date. BUT I love my change table. It allows me to change him and store stuff all at the same time. It’s wide enough and long enough that I don’t have to worry about him hitting his legs on the sides—Tip: purchase a thick change pad from toys R Us or babies R us, instead of the cheap thing that comes with it.

But some of the change tables out there are not wide enough. Make sure it is as wide as it possibly can be so your baby does not bonk it’s legs and arms on sharp edges. Also depending on how many levels your house has, it may not be practical for you to run upstairs every time to change a diaper. Practicality is key!

2)Bibs and Facecloth’s

Bib I had milk flying every which way, my poor son tried to keep up but there is only so much one little boy can take. These things saved us countless times, and I think from 0-2 months the facecloth’s did the trick, but after that when the drool came in, the bibs—you can never have enough, saved my poor son being totally drenched. When my son starts solids, I’ll probably curse certain bibs, but for now they all do the same job, I do like the thicker material ones.

But some women have expressed that these things just added to their laundry list, I think they’re a good addition but it depends on your needs, keep in mind formula stains, breastmilk does not!

3)Baby clothes

baby clothes Depending on your family and friends situation, don’t buy too much clothing. What drove me nuts the first month was the button up sleepers. I hated those things, with how often you change diapers at 1,2, and 3 a.m. they drove me nuts. Try to buy ones zippers if you can find them. You will receive a lot of clothes from people that you’ll struggle to get use out of. Tip: if buying for a new mom, keep in mind the season and age of child you buy for. While it may be summer now, winter is fast approaching and baby will be months bigger then he/she is now. Buy according to season/size.

4)Bumbo

Bumbo So while it is neat and so cool to see them sit up so early, we didn’t get much use out of it for the amount it costs. Thank goodness it was a gift. I mean by the time I realized I could put him in it, maybe 2 months, he wouldn’t tolerate it for long and then i’d have to take him out right away. I did get some cute pictures out of it, but now he get’s stuck in it and freaks out because it doesn’t move. I think it’s a neat novelty for an in between stage.

5)Cribs

Crib My son slept in his crib as soon as I got the crib mattress (a week after he was born), but some parents have the best intentions of crib sleeping only to have their babes in bed with them. I think it’s personal preference, but I’ve had people tell me it’s a waste of money, their child never slept in their crib… well mine does and I’m so happy about that!

6)Co-Sleeper

Close and secure baby sleeper If you plan to have your baby in bed with you, you can buy something called a Co-Sleeper. While the concept is neat, it depends on how big your bed is. If you have anything smaller then a King Size bed, it may take up quite a bit of room on your bed. Not only that, but if your baby is born long and/or large, your babe may grow out of it before you get much use out of it.

The Bottom Line

All the usefulness of these products will depend on your baby. Some of the top ones that worked for us may not work for your baby. Keep in mind that at each stage of the game, the product’s usefulness changes, and what you love one month, you may hate another. Try to get a number of things second hand. All of these items can be quite pricey, so if you know friends who’ve had children see if you can borrow some of these items to test them out. And believe it or not, the good, the bad and the mentionable can be interchangeable, depending on who you talk to.

If you are in doubt, I found that the reviews on Toys R Us’s website to be quite useful.

Happy Shopping! Oh and if you are looking to gift some of these items to your expectant friends, please, please, please include a gift receipt!

  1. Reply

    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.

  2. Reply

    So useful tips for all parents. Love reading every post! Thanks so much!

    • LB
    • February 3, 2012
    Reply

    I just had to laugh. You have a picture of my favorite bra! Only I paid like $20 for it. It was on sale and I wish I had bought more. But, yes, different things work for differen tpeople!

    • Jen
    • February 3, 2011
    Reply

    Great list and reviews!! The formula dispensers have really come down in price $3 at walmart, they also come in handy for cereal whn you arent at home or snacks, like cheerios etc

    • jelliB
    • January 4, 2011
    Reply

    Great list! I’m a soon to be new mom, so these lists are helpful!
    The only thing I would comment on is the last item: Co-sleeper.

    My SIL bought one for when she travelled alone with her son so she didn’t need to bring a play pen or something else for him to sleep in. But, she ended up finding it most useful even just to be able to set him down to sleep anywhere and not worry! If she was visiting people she could set him to sleep on the floor or in the middle of a bed in a nearby room and not have to worry about setting up monitors or anything.

  3. Reply

    Awesome Post. I’ve thought about posting something similiar to this on my website, but one thing I bought that I ended up tossing was a Diaper Genie. I hated that thing! So loud, still smelled. Yuck!

  4. Reply

    Where’s the Peepee-Teepee? Talk about useless…

    • MomOfThree
    • July 26, 2008
    Reply

    This list has a few I disagree with, but I have the actually comment on the travel system. I can not live with out my travel system. I have three kids, ages 10, 6, and 8 months. Between softball practice, chaperoning field trips, walking for ice cream, picking up the older kids from school… etc, etc. I’m wearing my travel system out!

    When I only had one kid and loads of spare time, I didn’t need a travel system. But for a mom who has three kids going 1800 different directions, I can’t live with out it.

    PS: I can’t stand the thought of the tummy tub. How are you supposed to wash the baby’s bottom? In my infant tub it’s one quick swoop to lean her over my forearm and wipe her bottom clean and set her back into the tub to splash. (A standard bathroom tub would be fabulous too, but ours is out of commission and you just don’t shower an infant in a stand-up shower stall… )

  5. Reply

    What is your email address? I have a product I’d like for you to review?

    • Erin
    • July 25, 2008
    Reply

    Oh yes the ball, that’s a big one!

  6. Reply

    erin, you forgot to mention the exercise ball!
    we couldn’t have survived without the exercise ball, it was and still is the only thing that will put our fussy little monkey to sleep…

    • Kelly
    • July 21, 2008
    Reply

    Great post Erin! I agree with most of your useful products. A few comments:

    1. We couldn’t live without our swing either, it’s still the only way we can get him to nap most of the time. We have the same one, and we still only use it fully reclined with the side-to-side, since he only uses it for napping. But if I was recommending a swing for someone else, you MUST spring for the rainforest version – you can probably get it used for the same price as this one new. It’s almost the same but it PLUGS IN. If dollarama didn’t sell D batteries we’d be broke!

    7. Medela SWING, SWING, SWING, SWING, SWING! I LOVE my pump! My favorite thing is that it runs on batteries and is so little, so it’s so easy for me to take it wherever I feel like sitting at that time. And I can hook my nursing bra up over it so it will just sit there and I can walk around and do things while I pump (it even has a little waist clip to hook to your pants, or a strap to go around your neck). Mine has overflowed before too and the suction is still OK. But, I did have a nervous break down one morning when I had no suction – turn out if the little white membrane isn’t sitting on the yellow valvy thing really flush, you get no suction. We examined it and realized the yellow thing had a little bump in the plastic – my husband played with pushing it down with a knife or something and got my suction back! (He’s bringing suction back, yeah! You other husbands don’t know how to act, yeah!) lol. Anyway, that might be the issue with yours – try putting it on with no bottle screwed in and playing around with pushing on the membrane and yellow thing to see if it helps.

    8. Also LOVE the Medela bags – not the twist tie ones, the ziploc ones with the strap to hook to the pump. I often pump right into them, it’s great.

    A couple of comments about the money wasters too:

    2. Want a tummy tub soooo bad, but I think it’s a little late now (he’s 3 months, 17 lbs, 26 inches). Hope to buy one for my next one though.

    6. We don’t use bumper bads or anything yet either, although I’ve heard people say you might want to use them later if you have a big mover who bangs against the sides and gets their limbs stuck. But Zellers, Wal-Mart, etc. sells the sets for a lot cheaper – like $80 or so – so if you’re not worried about a super pretty set, just wait and get a set there later if you need one. Or, buy one used or borrow one – they’re often still in great condition! (We got given a set by friends that we’ve put away in case we want to use them later).

    7. My sister has a bottle warmer that she used for formula and loves it. I think it was the same one in the picture actually. Maybe it just doesn’t work as well for breast milk? You could probably experiment with using less water to see if it helps. My husband just often gives him the bottle still fairly cool though, and he doesn’t seem to mind.

    8. I REALLY like my Bravado nursing bras. I’m fairly large chested, and always had to use underwire before to have enough support. Luckily I lived in Southern Ontario until 2 months before my due date, so I was able to find a store that sold them to go try one on. I tried on the one that’s supposed to be for large chested women – the super duper one or whatever it’s called – and it sucked major ass (can I say ass on your blog? lol). Like you said, I’ve never hung so low. I was not feeling optimistic, but tried on another kind – the newest ones, I think they’re called the seamless ones or something like that – and they’re really good! They’re not the MOST supportive bras I’ve ever had (no good for jogging, for example) – but they’re OK, and they’re 100 times better than any other nursing bras I’ve tried on at Wal-Mart, Zellers, etc. So if you can find a store near you to sell them, go try that one on and see what you think. They’re around $45 I think, which isn’t much more than I usually pay (being large chested, I always had to shop from the back well at La Senza lol – could never get the cheapy sale bras).

    And re: mentionables

    2. Bibs: We use a lot of bibs too. I don’t find it adds to laundry that much, I do a lot of laundry for him anyway, so they just get thrown in with everything else. There’s a store near me that sells these really need bibs with a thick roll at the neck that I think would be great to soak up all the milk he drips when it’s coming out too fast or he’s being lazy. But I don’t think there’d be enough time between feedings for it to dry, and it’s too expensive (14.99) to get multiple ones, so I haven’t tried it.

    Wow, that’s almost as long as your post, hey? lol
    Oh well, hopefully my comments are useful to someone. I should probably just start my own blog, but I’m too lazy haha. Much easier to just leave long comments on yours!

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