Listen up!

So this will be my final post relating to MommyCon….until we attend the next one. However, this is a special post. This post is the formal introduction to our Momstracted Podcast. That’s right! We are now official podcasters. Flick and I will be doing a weekly (unless something changes and we have to do bi-weekly) episode that is in conjunction with the blog. The blog with probably be more of a summary for the podcast. I’m really excited for the opportunity to be sharing my momstracted thoughts and moments with each and everyone of you. I’m even more excited to be able to be doing it via podcast. I hope you all listen to our first two episodes that can currently be found on iTunes here. Yes, we already have two episodes. Episode one is an intro to our Momstracted world. Episode two goes along with our blog post, Is This Real Life? – Adventures at MommyCon Chicago. Take a look at some of the great products and companies you will hear us talk about.

A few more things. We are a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. Anytime you have something you need to purchase from Amazon you can use our link, Momstracted Amazon, and we will get a small percentage of whatever you spend. You will not be charged anything extra and your Amazon page will not look any different. Copy this link and add it to your browser bookmarks for easy access. Every little bit helps us keep the blog and podcast up and running.

Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest episodes, giveaways, and to share your momstracted moments.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy listening to our new podcast.

~Momstracted Momma

Is This Real Life? – Adventures at MommyCon Chicago

We are still recovering from what was a long, but VERY exciting weekend at MommyCon Chicago! Flick, Baby Bell, and I attended the full-day convention on Saturday from 9:00am to 7:00pm.

After registering, we promptly went to get our give-away bags. Flick had to wait to get his because he was volunteering. I think a “give-away bag” is an understatement.  This thing was loaded! There was everything in there from baby wipes, to nursing pads, and even a baby shade cover. Not to mention everyone with general admission got a Kiinde Starter Kit. I chose the Foodii system and Flick got the Twist Starter Kit (breast milk storage system).

The day really got started with shopping in the exhibit hall. There were some familiar brands, and some I had never heard of before. There were so many wonderful vendors, but some of our favorites were Chompy Chic Chewelry, Innobaby, Nicki’s Diapers, Crane, Grovia, Babyganics, and our new friends at Miss Jamie’s Farm.

Besides fun places to shop, there were also some great exhibitors that gave helpful information. One of those being the child seat safety techs. We had several questions on whether it was time to transition Baby Bell from her infant carrier to a convertible seat.

There were so many options for carriers. We weren’t really in the market for a new carrier. I have a Tula and Flick has a Lillibaby. However, if we had been, there were quite a few resources we could have taken advantage of at the convention.

We got some helpful advice from past attendees to pack a lunch, as opposed to eating there because the food prices were high, and they didn’t have many healthy options. So we laid our blanket out in one of halls, along with many other families, and had a nice little picnic lunch. By this point, Baby Bell was way past nap time and getting very fussy. Flick had the Papa’s Perspective workshop to get to, so I decided to walk with Baby Bell to help her fall asleep. That is when I stumbled upon one of my favorite parts of the convention.

I mean, only a mom would think of a quiet room. It was exactly that. It was a separate room with dimmed lights where moms could go and nurse and get their little ones to sleep. It was perfect. Baby Bell fell fast asleep within 10-15 minutes of me bouncing and rocking her. Then she and I relaxed in a chair and she napped for about half an hour. A half an hour doesn’t seem like a long time, typically she naps for much longer, but it was a perfect way to re-energize her for our next workshop: Miss Jamie’s Farm kids music show.

If you haven’t heard of Miss Jamie’s Farm, you have to go to her website and check out her fun farm-themed children’s songs. We’ve been playing the CD and shaking our shaker egg ever since. Miss Jamie was kind enough to give us a CD to give away to one of our readers. Check out the Momstracted Facebook page for your chance to win this awesome CD for your little farmhand.

We had some extra time before our next workshop, so we ventured back into the exhibit hall and talked to some of the vendors we missed earlier in the day. We also took Baby Bell to create some hand and foot print art. We created a cute little whale from her hand print and a blue bird from her foot print.

Our next workshop was Potty Training with Potty Schmotty. She presents a very simple but effective way of potty training your child in 3 easy steps. To learn more about her process, check out her website.

We finished the day with none other than the The Baby Guy NYC, Jamie Grayson. Let me tell you, this guy knows his baby gear. And he is quite entertaining, to say the least.

After car seat safety, Jamie and the fabulous people from MommyCon gave away some AMAZING items. Everything from travel systems, to co-sleepers, to Tekhni woven wraps. Unfortunately, we didn’t come home with any of these gifts, but there is always next year!

So, that sums up our first ever MommyCon experience. We have some exiting news for all of you. We will be recording our debut Momstracted Podcast. Stay tuned for more of our MommyCon adventures when we roll out our podcast.

Until then, keep following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Oh, and don’t forget to check out Facebook for the Miss Jamie’s Farm CD giveaway!

~Momstracted Momma

It’s Kind of a Big Deal…

So part of being momstracted is being completely invested in learning all I can about anything and everything “parenting.” It honestly never leaves my mind. So, one day I decided a good way for me to learn more was through parenting/mommy conventions and expos. There are a few in our area, but not a ton. I found Family Fest, but wanted more. That’s when I stumbled upon MommyCon in Chicago. I sent Flick a link to the page and mentioned that I would like to go. I was so excited when he said yes! Well, a few days went by and I mentioned to him that we needed to buy our tickets. Turns out, MommyCon is kind of a big deal and they were already sold out. Flick felt terrible and being the wonderful husband he is, went straight to social media to try for tickets. Let me just tell you, he didn’t rest until we both had full-day general admission tickets. He is even volunteering at the convention in order to get the second ticket. Now you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Me too! I’ve never been but I’m expecting big things at MommyCon Chicago. They have 8 different MommyCon conventions happening in different cities across the country.

From the MommyCon FAQ page:

“MommyCon is a boutique style natural parenting convention focused on bringing modern families together to discuss, learn and grow. A day at MommyCon features over a dozen speakers, workshops, shopping and more! The focus at MommyCon is education about parenting choices, and whether you choose to cloth diaper, babywear or breastfeed is up to you! We just like to provide you resources and information to make the best decisions for your family.”

What I’m excited about:

Shopping – They’ve announced over 35 exhibitors. I can’t wait to get in there and learn all about the latest gadgets, toys, and products.

Activities for the kids – It’s kid friendly. I am so excited for Baby Bell to participate in the activities they have planned for the little ones. How fun do these sound?!?!

-Baby Drive-Thru Art Studio
-Drop in Crafting: Sew Sew Sew your Boat
-Finger Painting
-Wise Disguise Mask & Prop Making

Speakers – The guest speaker list is pretty impressive. Here are just a few from that list that I’m especially looking forward to hearing from:

Jamie Grayson – Baby Gear Expert
Kim Rosas – Dirty Diaper Laundry
-Laura Brown – Ergobaby and Babywearing Educator

Workshops – We plan on attending:

-Cloth Diapering 101 presented by Cotton Babies
-Papa’s Perspective: Navigating the Crunchy Mother
-Miss Jamie’s Farm Music Show
-Becoming a Babywearing Educator presented by Ergobaby
-Car Seat Safety with The Baby Guy NYC

The SWAG BAG and Giveaways! – Who doesn’t love a goodie bag?!?! According to past attendees on the Facebook group page, they don’t skimp on the freebies.

Flick, Baby Bell, and I are super excited to see what the MommyCon hype is all about. We will find out this weekend! Can’t wait to share it with all of you when we get back. If you are too intrigued to wait, then check out the upcoming MommyCon events.

~Momstracted Momma

My HappyEnding!

So, I know I’ve mentioned that we cloth diaper (cd) and that we only cloth part-time. Here’s the thing. I have been so hesitant to take that plunge because I haven’t found a diaper that meets all of my requirements.

Here’s what I’ve been looking for:

Easy – I’m just going to admit that I’m not a pre-fold diaper kind of momma. It’s awesome and I love how inexpensive it can be but it’s not my forte. Besides ease of use, I’m looking for easy to clean.
Inexpensive – I know. I’m asking for a lot, easy and inexpensive. Let’s face it, you can already save a ton of money by using cloth in the first place but it’s a big upfront cost. It’s even more expensive when you want an “easy” diaper. We like AIO (all in one) and AI2 (all in two), but they are the more expensive type.
Good fit – Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing cuter than a fluffy butt baby, but I like a trim fitting diaper.

I knew what I was looking for in a diaper but didn’t know where to find it. I listened to podcasts (The Diaper Dirt, with Dana Ryan is my favorite), joined FB groups and even found some sites online that gave me a ton of information about the different types and how to use them.

From what I understand, there are about 7 different kinds of cd’s: flat and prefold, fitted, pocket, hybrid, AIO, and AI2. I won’t go into what the differences are in this post, but there are many resources to help determine what is best for you and your baby.

We started with pockets, but weren’t thrilled with the upkeep so we decided to try AIO’s, AI2’s and hybrids. We purchased several Grovia Hybrids and AI2’s. The hybrids were fine for daytime but didn’t fit snug enough for nighttime. I thought I had found the pot of gold with the AI2’s, but was totally wrong. The gussets began to get holes after several washes and the fabric was so rough. It didn’t seem like a very comfortable diaper. I also had a difficult time getting them clean. They held in odors (I could have been doing something wrong in my wash routine) and I was done battling them.

This brings me to my newest love in the cd world, Happy Endings Eco Diapers. I ran across this gem of a diaper while searching YouTube for cd reviews.  I watched a review of their Charcoal Bamboo AIO and AI2 diapers. As soon as the review was over, I went straight to their page to place an order. Here’s where the story gets even sweeter. Not only did they have adorable prints, but they don’t charge shipping and their products are affordable. I decided to place my order of one each charcoal bamboo AIO and AI2. Get this! I placed my order at 9:56 am on January 28th. My order was shipped by 2:31 pm that same day. Talk about customer service! Oh and I had fluff mail in my mailbox two days later. Now all of this was great but if the diapers weren’t what we expected, then it didn’t matter how fast we got them. After properly prepping them (washing ONCE in warm water with a cd safe detergent), we put them to the test. Our ultimate test was having Baby Bell sleep in them. This was the ultimate test because she is a heavy nighttime wetter. We were happy to report that neither of them leaked. Woo hoo! My next test was to see how well they fit under her clothes. I tried them both (without extra inserts) under regular pants and they fit fabulously. I found it, my Holy Grail of cloth diapers. After a few more wears and washes, Flick and I decided to order more. I came home one day, bagged up over half of my diapers and sold them to fund more Happy Endings Eco diapers. We bought eight more diapers and one pair of training pants. I just checked my shipping status and will be getting them in no time.

Thank you Happy Endings Eco Diapers for being the happy ending to my cloth diaper drama.  You may have helped turn this part-time cloth-diapering momma into a full-time cloth-diapering momma.

While I highly recommend these diapers, please keep in mind that not all babies are the same and certainly are not the same size. Do some research and try some different types before deciding what is best for you and your baby.

~Momstracted Momma

Snot, Snuggles, and Sleepless Nights

First of all I have to apologize for the missed post and all-together silence. I’ve been…what you would call…momstracted. Baby Bell has been sick and Flick and I have taken turns being home with her. It wasn’t anything serious, a viral thing, but boy has it taken a toll on the Momstracted household. I’m convinced there is this “lever” and whenever you brag about your kid not having the latest bug, it gets switched from healthy to sick. She went to the babysitter one day this week. We just feel blessed that our employers are so thoughtful and flexible with our schedules.

It all started with a cough. Isn’t that how they all start, a little cough? Then there was the sneeze and the runny nose, followed by the fever. We, once again, jumped the gun. It’s like the one thing we can’t get the hang of as new parents. Any time Baby Bell gets sick, we are so quick to go to the doctor. We were up with her for about 4 hours on Monday night. She was coughing hard and very uncomfortable. Flick took her to the doctor on Tuesday. Of course they told us, “it’s probably just a viral thing.” At this point, she wasn’t running a fever. Well, we should have waited to visit the doctor because she got much worse that night. It was probably the worst night of sleep since we brought her home from the hospital. She was truly inconsolable. Oh and she started running a fever.

Wednesday and Thursday were my days to stay home with her. I was armed with an arsenal of Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Vapor Rub, Delsym, Coconut Oil, Boogie Wipes, Boogie Mist, Nose Frida, and a humidifier. We gave her Benadryl at night with Delsym for the cough. The Delsym didn’t control her cough at all. She had a humidifier going in her room and Vicks on her chest and feet. I’ve heard putting Vicks on the bottom of their feet before socks can help with coughing. I couldn’t really tell a difference but maybe that was because I was so sleep deprived. We gave her Ibuprofen as a fever reducer and I patted her head with a cool washcloth. I felt so bad because her whole body was hot to the touch. She really liked it when I rubbed her head with the cool washcloth. I cannot speak highly enough of the Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist. Her nose was constantly running. I’m talking “snot faucet.” Using the Boogie Wipes instead of a dry tissue helped keep her nose from getting raw. This in turn made her less combative when I was repeatedly wiping her nose. Oh and the Boogie Mist kept her nose nice and moist during the night, helping her to breathe better. I didn’t include it on my Ten Products Post but the Nose Frida is AWESOME! Well, it’s awesome if you get excited about the amount of snot you get out of your child’s nose. It’s not as gross as it sounds. I was hesitant at first. You have to go here and check it out. We love our Nose Frida and I recommend it to anyone with a snotty nosed kid. So, I have started using Coconut oil on Baby Bell’s cheeks because they have been so chapped from the cold, windy winter. I also put some under her nose at bedtime while she was sick to help prevent the dry crusty boogies. It definitely seemed to help and it’s much better for her than Vaseline if she gets it in her mouth.

Okay so let me take this time to rant for a second. I HATE every one of the thermometers we have ever bought. I honestly cannot find one that I like. They either take too long, or give three completely different readings. When my kid is sick and is burning up with a fever, I want a fast and accurate result. We have tried at least six different brands and 3 different types. I’ve had the urge to throw each of them across the room and actually did a couple. So, if anyone out there has a recommendation of a good thermometer that doesn’t cost $50, PLEASE let me know. Okay, rant over.

After another sleepless night we called the doctor. Since she had the fever for a couple days, the doctor called in an antibiotic and cough syrup. Let me just take this time to say how much we love our pediatrician. She is amazing. The staff is amazing, they are always quick to return our calls, we’ve never had to reschedule and our doctor seems to genuinely care. A good Pediatrician is so important. Get recommendations and don’t settle for just anyone. Flick stayed home with her on Friday because she still had a bit of a fever and needed one more day of cuddles. I remember being sick as a kid and nothing made me feel better quite like cuddles. I think Baby Bell has discovered the same thing. Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream can fix anything.

So, she’s finally getting back to her happy, energetic self and mommy and daddy are finally getting some sleep. Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Bell – 1, Virus – 0

While my arsenal of medications and snot sucking gadgets seem like a perfect combination, I’m not a professional. You should always check with your pediatrician before giving your child any medication.

Until our next snot sucking adventure we’ll just keep cuddling and eating ice cream.

~Momstracted Momma

Breast Decision I Ever Made…

For something that seems so natural, breastfeeding sure can get controversial. There are extremists out there. I’m amazed by the people that take offense to women breastfeeding in public, yet I ponder the idea of a four year old still being breastfed. It’s a touchy subject and I for one am not going to say what is RIGHT or WRONG. I simply want share my experience and why I feel breastfeeding was best choice for us.

First, let’s go into all the well known reasons to breastfeed. These are some of the reasons that I was initially attracted to breastfeeding:

  • It has shown to prevent SIDS.
  • It helps to build the babies immune system.
  • It’s a great bonding experience.
  • It’s healthy, all natural, and you know what you are putting into your kid (because it’s coming out of you!!).

While I was pregnant I would imagine what it would be like to breastfeed my baby for the first time. I just knew it would be the most magical moment. The doctor would lay Baby Bell on my chest and she would root around until she got a perfect latch. I thought about us locking eyes and immediately having a bond. While this would have been awesome, it didn’t happen quite like that.  I was way more concerned about her being healthy. Baby Bell gave us a bit of a scare (I hope to share our birth story in a later post) and was a little too shook up to nurse right away. When she did nurse for the first time, it was great, but I didn’t feel that bond that I thought I would. It’s completely natural. I actually didn’t feel “the bond” moment until much later.

As I’m writing this I’m getting quite overwhelmed….I just realized how scary the idea of breastfeeding can be. There is so much to think about. Like, what if my milk doesn’t come in or what if the baby can’t get a good latch? Then you have to worry about your supply. Oh, and what if you plan on returning to work? That’s a blog post in itself. You have to think about nutrition for yourself, too. How do you know if the baby is getting enough to eat? I’m stressing myself out and I’ve already been through it. Okay, take a deep breath with me…. and slowly release… It’s all going to be okay.

Breastfeeding is an amazing thing. If your body allows you to do so then that’s awesome. If it doesn’t, there are so many options out there for you and your baby. I’m going to stop you. If you are currently breastfeeding and really struggling, I urge you to reach out to the La Leche League or a local breastfeeding support group. I also warn you against continuing to read this post. Baby Bell and I have had a very positive breastfeeding experience with little to no issues. This is common but I don’t want to discourage any mother that is having a particularly difficult time. Help is out there and there are so many resources for finding what is right for you and your baby.

I continue to thank God daily for the blessings he has given us with Baby Bell. Our breastfeeding success is one of those blessings.  Now, I’m not saying we didn’t have any issues. I just feel like the problems I had were nothing compared to what some women go through.

My supply was amazing. I had to wear breast pads in my second trimester because my breasts were already producing colostrum. I would leak through overnight breast pads during the day. Hyperlaction was both a blessing and a curse. Yes, I was happy to be producing plenty of milk for my baby but I was not allowing my body to regulate the milk production. At one point I was stuffing my bra with newborn diapers to soak up the leaking milk. I was overproducing because I would pump to reduce the flow so that Baby Bell wouldn’t drown in milk. I soon learned that my body was producing the amount of milk it thought I was using. I remember one time when I was trying to feed in a parking lot and I literally squirted milk on the windshield. That was a low point for me and I decided to listen to my body. It’s kind of an amazing thing if you think about it. Your body adapts and starts producing the amount of milk the baby eats. This was wonderful for when I had to go back to work and pump for the next day’s feedings.

Baby Bell didn’t have a great latch right away but it was a learning curve for both of us, and with some advising from the lactation consultant, we got on track. The lactation consultant at the hospital was concerned that her upper lip frenulum could cause latch complications. She recommended we talk to our pediatrician about having it clipped. After several successful feedings, talking to our pediatrician, who had no concern with her intake, we chose to not have it clipped. She has successfully been nursing for 17 months and I have no pain with her latch. I do know of other babies that have had their frenulum (lip or tongue) clipped and it was successful in fixing their latch/feeding issues.

It was hard at times for me to regulate my supply because of pumping during the week and then nursing (not pumping at all) on the weekends.  I did get a clogged duct a few times but it never lasted more than a few hours. I was quick to apply a warm compress and massage the duct until I was able to nurse. Nursing always seemed to help clear the clogged duct. Thankfully I never experienced thrush or mastitis.

If you still are on the fence about breastfeeding, let me give you another reason to go all in…WEIGHT LOSS. Breastfeeding is an amazing weight-loss plan, well it was for me anyway. Not only did I get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I lost an additional 10 lbs.  Now I’m not a nutrition expert but I am conscious of what I eat and how much I eat of it. I also get regular exercise.  So when I say breastfeeding is a weight-loss plan, please don’t take me too literally. It is a great metabolism booster and that will aid in weight-loss. So start boobin’ your way to a healthier you.  Can you tell I like breastfeeding puns?

I am currently still nursing Baby Bell once a day. We are working on weaning her completely by 2 years. My original goal was to nurse until she was one but later decided it was important that we were both ready to be done, not just one of us. In all actuality, neither of us was ready to be done at one year. Now I am ready and I think she is getting close. She only nurses before bedtime for about 10 minutes. It’s more of a comfort thing for her now that she is completely on solids and drinking whole milk.

Breastfeeding my first child has been the most amazing experience. I truly believe it has attributed to her being so healthy. Its sooooo convenient, less expensive, and all around makes you feel like a Superwoman. The woman’s body really can do remarkable things if given the chance.  I hope if you were still weary about breastfeeding that my experience will encourage you to give it a try. I’m not an expert so do your research and find a professional if you have questions.

Breastfeeding doesn’t require a start-up fee and nobody is making you sign a contract. Put those breasts to work the way nature intended. Who knows, it may be the “breast decision you ever make.”

~Momstracted Momma

Mischief Managed

This weekend I found myself in a situation that I’ve been in more than I’d like to admit. We were spending some time at home and my rambunctious toddler was “exploring.” She was literally into anything and everything she could get her hands on. When this happens, I usually try to find something to occupy. I assume she is bored and just trying to find something to play with.

Here’s my situation. She’s running around like a mad woman, pulling things out of drawers. And I’m on my iPad frantically looking at Pinterest ideas of how to entertain a one-year-old. Poor timing, I know. This usually ends in a time-out for Baby Bell and me feeling defeated. I never have the supplies or ingredients needed to create a fun and entertaining activity. The other problem is that she wants to taste everything. YES, I have that typical “put everything in my mouth” kid. UGH!!! This is so frustrating. I honestly can’t trust her with anything.

Well, this time was a little different because I had Flick with me to help distract her while I searched Pinterest. It was like a dark thunder cloud opened up and the angels began to sing. I found it: the perfect non-toxic, edible, play dough. Not to mention, it’s good for your skin.

Baby Bell and I sat in the floor and mixed together the ingredients as Flick handed them to us. She had a blast mixing everything together. After we had it all mixed, we proceeded to play. The three of us played with the dough for at least half an hour, using cookie cutters, plastic cutlery, and straws.

We used a long, shallow plastic storage tub to control the mess. If you don’t have one of these, you need to get one. They are great for sensory play. We use it all the time.

I found the recipe on a blog post by Learn, Play, Imagine which listed a variety of different sensory dough recipes. It was originally posted on a blog called No Twiddle Twaddle.

Besides water, beans, and dough, what are your favorite sensory activities? We’d love to hear ideas of how you entertain your little one.

~Momstracted Momma

What’s App-enin?!?

How would we make it as a new mom without our iPhones? I mean, how did our mothers raise us without technology? I’m only kidding, of course. While they aren’t necessary there are some pretty handy apps out there that make motherhood a little less stressful.

Pregnancy & Baby | What to Expect by Everyday Health, Inc.

This app was my first ever “baby related” app. It’s great! Flick even download to his phone.

It has a Due Date calculator to help determine your due date based on last menstrual period and/or date of conception.

There is also a feature that tells you the babies development week-by-week. Every week before bed Flick and I would read about the latest developments of our Baby Bell. It was fun to experience this together. It even gives little illustrations as to what the baby should look like.

One of my favorite features is the Updates on your changing body. It truly was a “What to Expect” feature. It helped to calm my nerves and reassure me that what I was experiencing was normal or common.

We took pictures with an actual camera but there is a feature to snap belly pictures and create a slideshow.

Other fun features are the Due-Date Calculator, Message Board, and Day-By-Day tips.

Baby Tracker from by Everyday Health, Inc.

When you go to your babie’s first check up and prepare for an overload of questions. How many wet diapers? How many poopie diapers? What does the poo look like? How often is baby eating? How much is baby eating? How long is baby sleeping?

Now answer all of those questions on 4 hours of sleep or less. We have a lot to remember as parents. And it’s all vital information for the well being of our child. However, it’s really easy for all of those poops, feeding, and sleeps to run together. One day can seem like one week.

This app helps keep all of that important info in one place and it’s easy to use.

It tracks sleeping, feeding, diapers, and vaccinations.

MommyMeds – Pregnancy Safety Guide by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Ten Products We Never Thought We’d Need:

When you find out you’re expecting you go through stages of emotion. One thought that can send a pregnant woman into a whirlwind of emotion is the BABY REGISTRY. The thought of getting so many cute clothes, fuzzy toys, and fun gadgets and gizmos is very exciting. When you look at the books, the magazines, and the Pinterest posts, reality sets in and you have your first real “pregnant lady meltdown.” How in the world will you ever get all of the stuff you need to care for this tiny, helpless human being? And God help us all if you forget to put something on the registry. Oh, the REGISTRY. Now that’s meltdown #2 waiting to happen. The sales associate follows you around the store asking you what bottles you are going to use, if you will be breast-feeding, if your car has a car seat harness, and a million other questions that have nothing to do with cute clothes, fuzzy toys, and fun gadgets and gizmos. The truth is, you might not get everything you need right away, but it’s okay. What you don’t get from showers and generous friends and family, you’ll get later on down the road. Save your receipts, to everything, and buy what you need as you need it.

There were several things we bought after the fact. Several things we had no idea we would need. Some of the things we had never even heard of. The truth is, even if we had heard of it, I’m not sure we would have purchased it right away anyway. You’ll hear everyone say it and you’ll get tired of hearing everyone say it, “ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT.” It’s so true though. We might have had to make late night runs to the baby store or plan a shopping trip while on vacation but Baby Bell is happy and healthy.

Now back to the fun stuff. Like I said, there were things we never thought we would need. My husband, Flick, will tell you I love listening to podcasts, reading mom blogs, and following mom groups on social media. He will also tell you that is where I learn the best ways to empty the bank account. It’s true; I’m a sucker for “new” baby products. However, Flick is pretty good at making me justify the purchase before spending the money.

I compiled a list of 10 different products that we never thought we’d need but later learned they made life a lot easier. I won’t go into great detail as some of these will be posts all of their own later down the line. Certain items, like baby carriers, required a lot of research to determine what was best for us. These are only recommendations. I am not a certified baby product expert in any way. Please do some research of your own before making the purchase.

Baby Carrier

Our favorite: Tula

We actually registered for a baby carrier and got one as a gift at our shower. However, we hadn’t done any research. We basically registered for the most popular brand and the middle-grade priced carrier. I later learned there are different types of carriers and many different brands.  This is a topic I’ve done a lot of research on and will discuss in more detail in a later post but for now this is why we love our Tula baby carrier:

-It’s comfortable for Baby Bell. She loves being worn (carrying your baby in a carrier is referred to as babywearing) in the Tula. She’s even been known to fall asleep in it.

-It’s quick and convenient for grocery shopping, walking around at fairs and festivals, etc.

-It’s so much better for my back than some other types and brands of carriers.

-I’ve learned a lot about parenthood in these very quick 16 months. One being, I’m not a fashionista. Let’s face it, I’m lucky to get out of the house in jeans and a t-shirt with my ponytail straight. With that being said, I like to look nice and I like nice things. I would consider Tula to be the fashionista of babycarriers. The prints are amazing. They are rather pricey but you can find great second hand carriers on social media babywearing groups. That’s what we did!


Breast Shells/Milk Collectors

Our favorite: Avent Breast Shells

Let’s face it. Breastfeeding is a task within itself. If you are lucky enough to be able to breastfeed, you’ll learn that EVERY…DROP…COUNTS. I was extremely blessed with more milk than I knew what to do with. That was both a blessing and a curse. I will say that these weren’t helpful when I was engorged and my milk production was at an all-time high, but when I was more regulated and feeding/pumping on a schedule they were great! It was wonderful when I ran across the Avent breast shells and here’s why I love them:

-They are reusable (which means they are a one-time cost). Just wash/sanitize with the baby bottles and pump parts when you are done.

-It fits right into your bra and catches all of the dripping milk from your non-feeding/non-pumping side. That’s a whole ounce that doesn’t soak into your bra and through your shirt. That’s a whole ounce you get to pour into the bottle for baby’s next feeding.

-Don’t hate me for saying this but I never really experienced the sore nipples from breast feeding. I can’t really speak to the benefits of the product in that nature. I can see how they would prevent any rubbing and help keep lanolin from being rubbed off and promote healing.


Swaddle/Sleep Sack

Our favorite(s): Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle, Just Born Wear-a-Blanket, and Halo Early Walker Sleep Sack

Most of you have probably heard of these and will purchase one. You might even be given one in the hospital when you have the baby. I was not. I was, however, lucky enough to be given one by a dear friend from when she had her first baby. There is a funny and memorable story behind why we love it so much.

To begin you need to know that I will be talking about three different products here. While they all serve the same purpose, they are different. The first is the HALO SleepSack Swaddle (we used this particular style until she was able to roll over and move about more).

-Baby Bell spent several days in the hospital being held while tightly swaddled in her Aiden and Anais swaddling blankets we brought with us. Our first night home, I unswaddled her blanket and laid her down safely on her back in the Pack n’ Play beside our bed. She slept for a bit and then began screaming. I picked her up and she was fine. We soon learned she wanted to be swaddled but we didn’t feel safe with her sleeping swaddled in the blanket. I remembered that we had the sleep sack swaddle our friend gave us. Once Flick, in his slumberless state of exhaustion, finally found it, she was immediately quiet. This would soon become our most prized possession, besides our new precious baby girl, of course.

-As I stated before they come in different brands. We particularly like the Halo brand because they come in a variety of different fabrics for the changing seasons.

-It allows for arms in or out swaddling.

The next is the regular sleep sack. While we do have several brands (Aiden and Anais, Halo, Summer Infant, etc.) of the regular sleep sack our favorite is Just Born Wear-a-Blanket that we found at Babies R’ Us. I’m not sure they carry this particular style anymore but you can find it on Amazon. She wore this until she was too long for it and started crawling around in her crib.  And this is why we like it:

-We ran across it by mistake….okay maybe not a mistake. It was on sale. But when we bought it we didn’t realize it had the interior swaddle straps. Instead of the Velcro wrap being around the outside it was on the inside and wasn’t as bulky as the previous I discussed. It was just enough to make her feel “hugged”. Many sleep sacks won’t have the “swaddle band.” This was a gem.

-It has the breathable mesh vents to help keep baby cool.

Lastly is the HALO SleepSack Early Walker. We got this as she started crawling and moving around. She is now 16 months and still wears this every night and even at nap time on occasion. We had to buy this online because we couldn’t find it in the stores. We love it because:

-It’s lightweight and has the open feet so that she can move around freely but is still warm without having blankets in her crib.


White Noise Machine/Soundtrack

Our favorite: 120 Nature Sounds

We live in a small apartment so we didn’t want to buy anything that would unnecessarily take up space. Baby stuff takes up enough space as it is. So, instead of buying a sound machine we bought the 120 Nature Sounds album to put on our digital devices. This is why we love it:

-With a normal sound machine you have about 6 or so sounds to choose from to calm the baby. With this album we had 120 to choose from. The Wild Loon Call is Flick’s favorite. 🙂 Baby Bell particularly likes track number 59, Powerful Waterfall.

-You can download it to all of your devices. That means you can take it on vacation with you, you will have it when she is screaming in the grocery store, or even in line at the bank.

-It can be placed on repeat for continuous play. No sneaking in the room to turn it back on in the middle of the night. We all know what a risk that is.


Saline Nasal Spray

Our favorite: Boogie Wipes Saline Nasal Spray

It’s gonna happen. Your baby will get a nasty cold eventually. If it’s not bad enough that your perfect little angel is sick, you can’t give them any medicine to make them better. The best thing you can do is keep their nose clear and moisturized. We tried the saline nasal drops…that was a bust. By the time we got her pinned down to drop it in, we had more drop on us and in her face than up her nose. This is why we love the Boogie Wipes Saline Nasal Spray:

-It’s in a can with a misting nozzle. That means no drops; just a quick spritz and you’re good to go.

-It smells yummy. The cap is scented. It’s a great tool for getting the little one to let you put it up to their nose.


Diaper Balm

Our favorite: Grovia Magic Stick

-Babies butts will get red and sometimes they will get a rash. It happens. What you do to prevent and treat it is important. There are so many products out there for diaper rash but have you seen the list of ingredients? I’m typically not an ingredient checker but when it comes to my Baby Bell, I try to be more aware of what is going in and on her body. I also don’t have a choice because she is super sensitive and has allergies to a lot of stuff. This is why we love Grovia’s Magic Stick:

In my intro I mentioned that we cloth diaper. We only cloth part-time. I’m still trying to figure out what works best for us and Baby Bell. However, you can’t use just any old diaper rash cream on a cloth diaper. The Magic Stick is cloth diaper safe.

-It’s all natural.

-It’s great for sensitive skin.

-It works on other rashes too, not just butt rashes.

-It helps prevent rashes not just treat them.

-One stick lasts forever.

-Best part of all….it’s not messy.


Travel Booster Seat

Our favorite: Summer Infant Travel Booster Seat

Have you ever gone into a restaurant and had the waitress bring you a high-chair that is sticky and covered in cheese from the last kid? Yeah, it happens all the time and it’s disgusting. Sure, they make those fancy highchair covers but what about when the safety belt is broken? A fancy highchair cover won’t fix that situation. Or how about when the highchair is shorter than the table and your baby smacks their face on the edge? Baby Bell got one too many busted lips for me to deal with that happening. That’s why we decided to get a travel booster seat and here is why we love the one we got:

-It’s easy to clean plastic.

-It folds up for easy travel and storage.

-There is a tray that can be used or you can fold that down and just use it as a booster. The tray is nice when sitting in some booths. Often times the bench of the booth sits too far away from the table and can’t be scooted. That’s when we just put the tray up and she has her own little table.

-The adjustable straps fit almost any chair or it can be used in a booth.


Baby Food Dispensing Spoon:

Our favorite: Boon, Squirt Baby Food Dispensing Spoon

So I’ve read too many horror stories about people finding mold in their kids “pouched” food and drinks. If I can’t see through the container I’m not buying it. I also made all of Baby Bell’s baby food purees. It was super easy, much cheaper and a whole lot healthier than buying it out of the jar. I’m not discrediting anyone that does buy jar or pouched food. We just decided to go a different route. Either way, homemade or store bought, we need convenience when it comes to feeding the babies. We also need less stuff in our diaper bags. This is why we love the baby food dispensing spoon:

-It’s easy to use and clean. Just fill the spoon with any (almost any, some things get stuck in the dispensing hole and we had to use a toothpick to dislodge them) puree, snap on the cap and throw it in the bag. I typically would pack a container of the food and would fill it when we got to our destination but if it’s a quick trip, you can skip this step.

-It cuts down on dishes.

-It’s less messy.

-No bowl for the baby to grab and dump on the floor.


Something that Smells like Mommy:

Our favorite: Get One, Give One Blanket

-Going back to work after maternity leave was the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It was especially hard because Baby Bell wouldn’t drink out of a bottle. She wanted the milk from mommy. We did have some issues with the flow of the bottle we were using but even after we found one she liked, she would still only drink from it with me holding her. I did some research and found that scent plays a big role in feeding time. Our church gave Baby Bell this little security blanket, a Get One, Give One blanket, when we had her dedicated. I slept with that thing every night for a few weeks and then we would put it across Flick’s chest when he would feed her. After a while, he was able to feed her the whole bottle without feeling defeated. I was still super emotional about going back to work, but at least I didn’t have to worry about her starving while I was away from her. Here are a few more reasons why we love the Get One, Give One blanket:

-Every time you purchase a blanket for yourself or as a gift, another blanket just like yours is made and sent to Kenya, Africa for a child in need.

-They are made with several different types of fabric and have high contrasting colors. This is perfect for sensory development.

-They are small enough (only about 11″x15″) for the baby to grasp and carry around as they get older.

-It helps to support a wonderful organization.


Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

Our favorite: Momma Goose Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

No, it’s not a necklace for the baby to chew on. It’s something they wear. And I had never heard of it before Baby Bell started teething. Paranoid as I am, I looked into the best options for soothing her sore gums. I read that Orajel is actually bad for them because it can cause rare diseases and is also a potential choking hazard. Yes, I know. My parents used it on me as a kid and I am fine but if there was a safer alternative out there, I wanted to find it. Why not, right? So, I heard about the teething tablets and we started giving those to her. Wouldn’t you know as soon as we did this there was a news report about how they were causing seizures in some kids. Well, I went to my most trusted resource…other moms…specifically on social media. I got lots of good non-medicinal recommendations but the one that I got more than any was the Baltic Amber Teething Necklace…..huh?

It’s a necklace made of Baltic Amber (fossil resin) beads. It is said that the amber releases minuscule amounts of healing oils from the amber when in contact with the warmth of the baby’s skin which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. These oils have anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties that ease the symptoms of teething. Yep, sounds like a load of bull doo-doo to me. But you know what? It’s natural and drug free and I was willing to try anything to keep from dosing her with Tylenol. There are two different kinds, raw and polished. We got polished. I’m not sure if there is a big difference. Supposedly there are different levels of succinct acid (the pain relieving component). After buying the necklace we didn’t give her anymore Tylenol. Actually, I didn’t even realize she was teething when the rest of her teeth came in. It could have been coincidence but I’m okay with that. Here is why we like the Baltic Amber Teething Necklace:

-It has a safety clasp to keep them from strangling themselves. We only allowed her to wear it when she was being supervised and not while sleeping.

-The beads are small enough to not be a choking hazard.

-They come in various lengths. You want to get one that is just short enough that they can’t chew on it.

-They are all natural.


There you have it. Our ten products we never thought we would need. They aren’t necessities but boy did they make life a whole lot easier. As always, I am not an expert on any of these items. Actually, I’m not really an expert of anything. Do your research and ask questions…that’s how you learn.

Thanks for reading and I would love any feedback you have for me. I just ask that you keep it positive.


~Momstracted Momma