my top baby out of the ordinary "must-haves" and "don't-bothers"

yes, i know what you're thinking: why are all these posts about babies? and why does she think she can give us baby advice when she's only had one and he's still only 6 months old? ok well, for one, a huge portion of the content on my social media is about Casper, babies, sleeping, mommying, etc, because that's what my life is now! people blog and post about whatever they want. if they're into the gym, they post about that. if they're into veganism, or makeup, or marianas trench, they post about those things. i'm pretty into this human i am with (practically) 24/7 so imma post about it and you can unfollow if you don't care and i won't be offended. this just happens to be what is on my mind and heart right now. and as far as inexperience goes, i am totally with you! but i share things as they are fresh on my mind in hopes that they may be helpful to someone else. i don't claim to know very much at all, in fact having a baby makes me feel the opposite of that, but i can share with you what wisdom i've been graced with thus far while it's hot off the press.

our beautiful friends, matt and meaghan, are having their first baby this winter and, as she was building her registry, she asked me to share a few of my favourite must-haves. after i sent her the list, she said i should post it so that other expectant mom's may glean from it as well. (also a few things i wish i didn't waste my money on - you're welcome!) behold:

my top must-have's for the first 6 months

1. the D-link DCS-800L day & night baby monitor

got this idea from a friend of mine, super mom, kelley leil! super small and easy to use, this wall-mountable camera connects to an app on your phone so you can see your baby literally anywhere you go. other than the obvious benefits of being able to see and hear if your baby wakes up when you may be in the opposite end of the house, this means when you sleep-train your baby (if that's a thing you chose to do), you can literally watch your baby learn to self-soothe before your eyes and be amazed at how BRILLIANT your child is. and rather than burst into their room and wake them up in a panic-stricken moment when they've actually slept longer than 5 hours, you can quickly open your app when you want to check to see that they're still alive (i've, many a time, zoomed in on C's tummy to make sure it's going up and down). it's so handy. can come with you for overnighters. and for less than $100 you can't go wrong! can find at walmart or amazon.ca
ps. it came to my attention that some people may be worried about "creepers" who hack the camera and watch your baby and 1. why would someone want to watch your baby other than you? and 2. there are like a billion steps for getting it first synced with your phone so i truly don't think it would be possible for someone you don't know to hack into the camera. but i had to put the disclaimer for "con's" about this camera. 

2. conair sound therapy system 
don't waste your time and money with sissy sound machines that are so quiet. the point of a sound machine isn't to lull your baby to sleep (although it will probably help do that in the early newborn days - aka the "fourth trimester"). the point is that you can put your baby to bed and actually talk at a relatively normal decibel past 7pm without waking him up. can't tell you how many times we have dropped a pot doing dishes or the smoke alarm has gone off, and he doesn't even know because this thing is so loud. this machine has 10 sounds (and i'm pretty sure they threw the questionable ones such as "heart beat" in there just so they could say it has 10 sounds - i mean really how many sounds do you need?). we use the "running stream." it's nice and loud, and i think we've used it enough and for so long that now casper also associates it with sleep and bedtime which, once again, is awesome for sleep-training! (can you tell that we're sleep training right now? ha!) this literally plays all night and has become the soundtrack to our own dreams as casper's bedroom is right next to ours. can't complain - who doesn't want to sleep beside a running stream? you can pick this bad boy up at london drugs for a whopping $24.99. 

3. phil and ted's portable travel cot - "the only full size cot that's lighter than the baby!"
ok so let me preface this by strongly stating i have done extensive research on this. although most people boast that the bjorn travel crib is the best one out there, i'll give you some reasons right now why this one is way more worth your money. first, it's $100 cheaper. need i explain more. second, the newer design is way more sleek and much easier to use than the old phil and ted travel crib system - i've used both: once when i borrowed my friends, and after when we went and bought the new one. i can see how bjorn beat out p&t before but the newer one is super simple to install and pack up. thirdly, it's longer and narrower meaning, your kid won't grow out of it as fast. fourthy, you can carry it over your shoulder like a camping chair as opposed to in one hand like a briefcase. and lastly, and most importantly, if you ever plan on traveling by air with your child before the age of 3 or 4, you will want this travel crib as it fits as a carryon where as bjorn has to be checked as an additional piece of luggage -- there goes an extra $50 every time you fly return.
the benefit to the bjorn over the p&t is that it sets up way faster. but when i say "way" i mean you save approximately 4 minutes. i think you can handle it.
if you don't think that you need a travel crib, i'm just going to stop you right there and say that you're wrong. i didn't think we would need one either. when you're pregnant you're just trying to get through labor. and then as soon as they grow out of their bassinet you're like, how are we ever going to put him down for naps at friends houses, or stay the night at someone's house, or go camping? unless you literally never leave your house, you will need a travel crib and i would suggest staying away from traditional "pack and plays" unless you, again, like throwing your money away when you travel by air, or want to get a serious arm workout lugging around a 20lb massive child's bed everywhere you go. whatever you do, just get one really good travel crib. it's about as important as your stroller as they both benefit you by allowing you to be completely mobile with your baby. you won't regret it.

4. love to dream - swaddle up 
shoutout to casper for his modelling!
someone told me when i was pregnant that i absolutely must get one of these and i was like, hmmm, k bye felicia. i think it's because i thought it was gimmicky but guys. this swaddle is awesome! i've noticed that swaddling does tend to be a really personal thing. some moms swear by it and some moms say their baby hates it. this, i find you could do if either. casper did like to be swaddled, and tended to sleep better that way, but, like most babies, no matter how tight i made it, he always broke out of it and it made me nervous how it always ended up around his neck every morning! also once i tried this, i realized it has the benefits of swaddling (baby isn't stimulating their nervous system with reflexive physical movements, or waking themselves up by swatting themselves in the face) without the downside (baby can't self-soothe). this offered a happy medium where he could bring his fist to his mouth and not feel totally constrained, but wasn't constantly jerking around waking himself up. best of all, it always stayed on him. it was used as our "transition" into sleeping without a swaddle and really saved our butts. i remember the first time i put it on him, he was crying and almost instantly settled. these things are only $30 at west coast kids on main street. do yerself a favour and just get one and try it on for size.

5. weleda - calendula nappy change cream (aka bum cream) 
i've heard of some pretty badass (heh) butt rashes out there on babies and it's such a sin! honestly it's something that can be so easily avoided and a really high quality cream can provide so much relief to your little one. just spend the extra $8 or whatever it is and get this one. it is so sensitive on your babies skin and literally any time there was a bit of redness on casper, this would clear it up in one day after only a few diaper changes and applications later. it was such a life-saver! i actually like this product so much i'm looking into their line for adults as well (not for butt cream but for their facial skin care stuff. har, har. glad i clarified that one).

so that concludes my top major
recommendations. it goes without saying it's good to have a really great electric breast pump and hand pump but i wouldn't go spend $400 on a breast pump unless you have to (also i would recommend waiting and making sure that breastfeeding works out - it would be a shame to buy one only to end up formula feeding anyways! breast pumps are not usually refundable for obvious reasons). the best thing to do is borrow from one of your friends who won't need it for about a year and then buy the accessories in a kit on amazon. that's what i did. and you should get a hand pump as well for any time you don't have the convenience of plugging in a back-pack sized device.
also ask me if you would like a PDF of a good sleep training program. it's been handed down to me and it is probably the most clear and concise and arguably the most effective sleep training program for babies (especially once they're 4 months and up!)

my "wouldn't bother with these things" list is small but worth mentioning:

1. these soothers. 
cute, nice idea, but ew - they taste weird and they squeak (yes i've tried them)! and casper, along with his two friends west, and georgia, both hated these soothers. a soother that i've heard lots of people having luck with is the one piece nuk. but you might have to test run a few before you find the one your baby likes. let me know if you have had luck with these and i'll remove this product bash, but i think most babies like the texture of traditional soothers better. 

2. these things you put in car seats (or any kind of fluffy insert/sleep suit/onesie for the carseat). 
we had one of these and when the nurse was inspecting our carseat before we left the hospital with C, she told us that any type of padding between the baby and the carseat/harness can be fatally dangerous unless it is fully attached to the carseat itself (as in, stitched into the fabric). she said if you need to support a tiny newborn's head in the carseat, it is much safer to roll up two receiving blankets and place them on either side (not above or behind) their head. don't shoot the messenger! just saying what she told us and i subsequently have read multiple times on the articles that mom's always are posting to Facebook about carseat safety. i just wouldn't take my risks with something like that, y'know?! 

3. baby shoes. for the first little while.
i know how tempting it is. they're sooooo tiny and cute tiny versions of normally big things are the most tempting. however, it is simply not worth it. there are a few types of baby shoes out there on the market which are totally worth the investment (think minimoc-esque shoes that have the elastic band). if you're going to outfit your babies feet in something other than socks, it needs to be something that can go on easily, but also won't come off. so do some research! don't just buy size 3-month ugg boot knock-off's at TJ Maxx because they're cute. they won't be cute when you take 10 minutes to put each one on and they they get kicked off within 40 seconds.