Congrats to my cousin and his wife who just told me they are expecting.  I am so excited for them and can’t wait to be a long distance “Auntie”.  My cousin’s wife asked me for a list of my must have baby items, and here it is: My Top 10 Can’t Live Without Baby Items

A Breastfeeding Resource, an Itzbeen Timer, a Moby Wrap, a cosleeper, the BOB running stroller,the Space Saver High Chair, swaddles, a fire-retardant-free mattress, a food steamer and a hand blender! Read more to see pictures of these items and links on where to buy.

#1 – A Breastfeeding Resource. Have it set up in advance of baby’s arrival, whether that is just a breastfeeding book like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or having a lactation consultant on call, or looking at Kellymom or Breastfeeding.com before the arrival, make sure you have someone to lean on.

#2 – an Itzbeen timer. This thing is awesome.  You can keep track of diapers, feedings, sleep, wakes and medication all with a few clicks of a button.  Mine was clipped to my nursing bra strap the first month of our son’s life.  Now I don’t recommend at all that you use this to keep you from doing things with your baby, like not feeding them until they have waited 3 hrs, or waking them from a nap, but its good to just monitor and have an idea of what your baby is trying to settle on for a pattern.  It may even help you see the 90 minute sleep cycles emerging.  Its very helpful for clueless new dads or even clueless family that wants to oogle over baby way past nap time.

#3 – a Moby wrap. Or some sort of soft baby wrap carrier.  I loved my Moby and the little guy lived in his for the first few months of life, and it was a staple well past a year old.  I’ve moved onto an Ergo carrier now, but have very fond memories of nursing him down for the evening in his moby, keeping him close, safe and secure while shopping, giving him a place of respite when family get togethers got out of hand.  It was a complete lifesaver for keeping up with housework too, what a better way than to do laundry and vacuuming together!  Babywearing is so important to infant wellbeing, and every new mom should have some sort of carrier. If you don’t like this type, check out the babywearer for more types of carriers.

#4 – a SAFE way to cosleep. Contrary to what you hear in the media, cosleeping can be safer for infants than crib sleeping and is more in line with the biological needs of the baby.  Cosleeping should be an educated  choice, not done purely out of exhaustion, as this can be dangerous.  If you are going to cosleep, learn to do it safely.  For us, this started with a small cosleeper on the mattress like this one, but you could use a moses basket just the same. Then we moved to using the Pack N Play right next to our bed for a while.  When he was big and sturdy enough, we went to cosleeping all three of us in bed with just a bed rail on my side for “just in case”, even though we’ve never needed it.

#5 – a running stroller. Even if you aren’t a runner, these turn-on-a-dime beauties are worth the few extra $$ for smooth riding no matter where you go.  We chose to go with the BOB 12in AWD model.  .  Its lightweight, very easy to fold, and folds pretty flat for storage.  The back can be adjusted to lie almost flat, in case your toddler falls asleep while out and you want a good, no neck bending nap.  We added the optional carseat bar that works with Chicco, Graco and Peg Perego carseats.  My only complaint is that there is never a straight up seating position, there is always the slightest recline.

#6 – The Fisher Price Space Saver Highchair. This may be one of my favorite items and many of my girlfriends have caught onto it too.  Its a highchair that you strap to a seat, and can be easily moved around your house or thrown in the car for a trip.  We started off with ours on our coffee table when starting solids, then to the lower counter in the kitchen, then to the dining room chair.  It has never been an eyesore or too bulky to be in the way.  It reclines, the padding can be removed to be washed, and the removable back turns it into an older toddler booster seat.  What I love most is that it puts the baby at your level, no reaching up to feed them.

#7 – SWADDLES! You need to have some swaddles to survive the first few months of new baby dom.  To soothe your baby and make them feel like they are still in the womb, using the 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block, the #1 S is SWADDLE. I loved the Kiddopotamus Swaddles, especially the organic ones.  I suggest having 1-3 premie sized ones for the first few weeks home when the small size is still too big, then 4 smalls and 4 larges to get you through the first 6-9 months.

#8 – a safe mattress. There is a lot of research out there regarding SIDS rates increasing when fire retardants were added to baby mattresses.  Chemicals and metals like boron, arsenic and antimony can actually inhibit proper nutrient absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, in addition to putting strain on the developing respiratory system.  To be safe, I didn’t want fire retardants in my child’s mattress or their PJs.  We bought the Naturpedic Organic Crib Mattress and I have slept soundly knowing our little guy didn’t have that added danger in his room.

#9 – a food steamer. If you do a little poking around, you will find that jarred baby food is very high in sugar, can contain preservatives, and is cooked at such high a temperature that most of the nutrients are killed.  Feeding your child real food is the best start you can give them.  Most moms, especially working ones, find the thought of making baby food very daunting.  If you do baby led weaning, it is very easy.  If you want to steam and puree the food, it is easier than you think.  With a programmable steamer like this Oster one I bought, you can put the food in and let it cook, without standing over a pot.

#10 – a hand blender. If you are going to make your own baby food, make it easy on yourself and get a hand blender rather than a food mill.  Its quicker and much easier to clean.  I loved this Cuisinart Stick Blender, it can chop in seconds and puree in a minute.  I like the attachments that come with it as well, so steam your food with the Oster, then throw the steamed, say spinach and broccoli in the chopper attachment and voila, pureed greens for baby!

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