Favorite Things for Little Ones (Birth to Six Months)

I know there are about a zillion of these top ten lists for baby online so why not make it a zillion and one.

#1 on my list: The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Seahorse. Since the day we brought Thomas home, this has been a part of his bedtime routine. And now, it’s part of his nap routine too. It plays classical music with ocean sounds for about five minutes, then fades out. You can adjust the volume or turn it off altogether. Thomas is normally asleep within one cycle (sometimes two) of the seahorse. And I’ll admit I’ve started dozing myself listening to it.

#2: Fisher Price Rock-N-Play Sleeper. Yes another item from Fisher Price. ๐Ÿ™‚ I loved this. Since our bed is way too small to co-sleep, this was a great option. We set it up right alongside the bed so I could reach Thomas easily. It’s also a great height for rocking while you’re in bed.ย  It folds up easily too and the padding washes easily. My small issue with it was the backing–it’s a little hard on baby’s head but I stuffed a sheet behind it and voila! Problem solved. Thomas has long since outgrown it (at about 3 months–he was a big baby) but it’s good for those first months and quite affordable too.

#3: The Bumbo chair. Love, love, LOVE this. My little guy loves to sit in it and as he still needs a bit of support, thisย  helps him do that and keeps him securely in place.ย  There are a variety of colors (we have the aqua one) and even a tray to attach to it (sold separately).

#4: Gerber First Essentials Bottles (both the 5 oz and 9 oz). These are probably the most inexpensive bottles on the market however, they are extremely well made. I’ve been formula feeding since the first week and these bottles have served us well, from the small 5 ounce ones to the 9 ounce ones we use now. You can buy different nipples for them as well (slow, medium and fast flow) which has been very handy since a few of them have been chewed up by the cats. They aren’t fancy (not nearly as complicated as Dr. Brown’s from what I’ve heard) and if your baby has reflux issues they may not be the best choice but they worked well for us. I love that I don’t have to spend $15 on 3 bottles. These are also sold separately at Wal-Mart for a little less than $2.

#5: Sassy Five Piece Rattle Set. These have been Tommy’s favorite toys since he was first able to reach and grab. The round rattle and the telephone one have been his first favorites. Recently, he’s taken a liking to the clown face/mirror rattle too. They rattles have great color contrast for baby’s eyes as well as different textures for their little hands.

#6: Fisher Price Precious Planet Whale Tub. Lightweight and versatile. It supposedly fits over a sink (haven’t tried) as well as in a bathtub. We’ve just always bathed Thomas in his room (we use a smaller tub to transfer the water over). There’s also a toy bar that can entertain the little one. There’s no hammock for newborns, but a little ledge and soft back on the whale to rest him on (while supporting him of course). Thomas is almost at the stage where the ledge can be removed and he can sit in the bigger tub part. I know most use the kitchen sink but this is a nice little thing to have if you don’t want to wash your little one in the same place your dishes are done.

#7:ย  Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.ย  This has been Tommy’s bedtime story since birth. I could gush about this book all day but you’ll have to read the reviews for yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

#8: Tiny Love 3-in-one Mobile.ย  If you want a mobile but don’t want to spend over $40 for one, this is it. It’s also unique in that it’s portable. You can clip it to baby’s stroller, attach to their pack-and-play or even hang from the car seat handle. This has made long trips a little more bearable for the little guy as he sits there and watches the little animals move above.ย  The animals’ bellies also have high contrast black and white patterns for developing eyes too. You can also turn the music off if you just want the animals to move instead. (Saves mom and dad’s sanity on those car trips).It may not be the highest quality materials but considering a mobile has a life span of 6-8 months,ย  I think it does its job.

#9: Moby wrap. I’ll admit, I didn’t use this as much as I could have. But I did use it quite extensively the first three months (until little guy’s weight became too much for my back to bear). I do like it but it can be a bit cumbersome, especially if you’re short–you have to make sure the remaining cloth ties high enough so you don’t trip! I think my husband had better luck with this than I did. However I do recommend it. It does have a bit of a learning curve but once you get it down, it’s pretty easy.

#10: Graco Pack ‘N Play. Of course no list can be complete without the pack n play. We’ve only used this a few times so far, but boy, it’s been amazing when we have. This is one of the simpler ones–we didn’t need a fancy one–and it’s done its job well. It folds up easy and sets up even easier. I’m sure I’ll use it even more once the little guy becomes more mobile, but this is highly recommended item for anyone who’s expecting.

Anyway, I could go on and on about other things I love for the little guy but these are my top items. I’m sure once he gets closer to a year, the items will change (hence the title of birth to six months) but these are ones I’ll definitely use again with another little one in a few years.

Crying it Out

I know many parents are firmly against the “cry it out” method on the basis that it causes emotional scars and whatnot. Personally, I don’t agree with that logic (even though the famous Dr. Sears would disagree with me…but I disagree with a lot of his advice. Anyway…). My parents used this method on me and I have no emotional scars from it. In fact, I think I have a darn good relationship with them–maybe better than what most people my age have with their parents–so this emotional scarring logic makes no sense to me ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, moving on…

I think the method is something you have to approach carefully. It doesn’t work for every baby. Nor should you use this method one one who is younger than 4 months old. I think there’s also some misconceptions about it. Some think that you let your baby scream bloody murder until he stops. Actually, that’s not how it works at all. This article on BabyCenter really helps clarify some of the misconceptions. According to the Ferber method, you start gradually. You leave for three minutes the first time and then come back in and pat your baby’s back, telling him or her it’s OK. The time is gradually increased over days.

 

For us, we haven’t had to use this method at night. We’ve been blessed so far in that Thomas knows his bedtime routine (bath, bottle, book, bed) and generally puts himself to sleep within one cycle of the musical seahorse. There have been some nights where he’s fussed a bit going to sleep and I’ve done the method and he’s generally out within 15 to 20 minutes for the whole night.

However, I am trying this now with his naps. He is one tough cookie when it comes to getting him to take one; he fussses and squirms like none other when he gets sleepy. He also doesn’t sleep much longer than 30-40 minutes per nap. (I will take the short naps since he sleeps 11 hours every night). But four times a day, it’s a struggle. He used to sleep in his bouncer but he’s at an age now at almost 6 months to be sleeping in his crib. And the crying starts.

We started transitioning to the crib this weekend at my parents’ house because there was just too much activity to sleep in his bouncer in the living room. It’s been difficult. The first few times, no matter how much I tried holding, rocking, shushing, he squirmed and fought harder than ever. So the day after Thanksgiving I decided to just let him cry it out, since he was already doing that anyway. I patted his back, then disappeared for a few minutes while he fussed. So far, it seems this is what it takes to get him to finally fall asleep. He fusses and cries, squirms and turns over in his crib about a dozen times, and then finally zonks out.

Anyway, I’ve only been trying this a few days now, so it’s yet to be determined if this will ultimately work for us. I am certain that Thomas is just going to be one of those children that fights the nap with everything he has,ย  but if letting him fuss a bit to get him to sleep is what it takes, I’m all for it.

First Thanksgiving

We visited my parents (who live 3 hours away) and they’ve gotten to catch up with my little guy.

We’ve also found out how just how much my dad, a.k.a. “PapPaw” makes him laugh (apologies for the shaky camera; my sister was laughing while she took the video :P)

Anyway, here are some pictures from this weekend:

1st turkey leg! (And no he didn't really eat it)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year with your family and friends too! Now the countdown ’til Christmas….

Cold Weather Season is Here…

…because I just refuse to say the dreaded “w” word.

I should be used to it by now. I’ve lived my 27 years north of the Mason Dixon Line, specifically inย  Northeastern Ohio, where we were often the brunt of Lake Erie’s wrath. Now that I’ve moved a little further south, albeit in the same state, the snow isn’t quite as bad…

Only here, we get more ice storms than snow. And I think that’s infinitely worse.

Ah well. Guess I can’t escape it unless I move to Florida, land of the sun and old people ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, now that it’s here, I’m finding that I really should have bought Tommy a winter coat, like yesterday. But I’m picky–for awhile all I could find were those enormous bunting suits that I’m pretty sure would make Tommy look like a mini version of Ralphie’s little brother from the Christmas Story in his car seat. Actually, I don’t even think my kid would fit in his car seat with one of those monstrosities, so I decided I would wait until I could find an actual little coat for him and hope that he grew enough to fit into one (the mini-coats go as small as 12M from what I could find).

Thankfully I was blessed with a big boy, who, at 5 months, is on the verge of outgrowing his 9M clothes. I think now is the time to go and pick up a coat for him before it gets to be in the single digits.

Any particular brands out there that you would suggest?

The Car Seat Rant

Dear Car Seat,

While you have been great at keeping my baby safe in the car, I hate carrying your bulky self in and out of restaurants and stores.ย  And not all restaurants make it easy to find a place to put you. You give me an unnecessary headache.

I cannot WAIT until Thomas is able to sit in a shopping cart without your massive plastic self balancing on the seat, blocking my vision and making me hit the corners of aisles…the time will come when you will be relegated to the car where you belong.

It wouldn’t be so bad if, you know, you didn’t add another 10 pounds on top of my chunky five-month-old’s 20. My skinny twig arms were not built for this.

Your time is coming to an end, my dear, dear car seat.ย  See this?

He’s getting stronger by the day.

The day Thomas can sit up on his own, you will never see the fluorescent lights of another restaurant or store again.

And that will be one of the happiest days of my life.

Sincerely,

One Tired and Sore Mama

A Weekend of Firsts

Quite a busy weekend here and many firsts for Thomas.

He went to his first wedding this weekend. As always, I expected the worst–it was supposed to start right around his naptime so I expected Grumpy Baby Extraordinaire. I was quite surprised when he behaved himself very well. He was his normal squiggle worm self but other than that, he did great!

Of course, by the time the reception rolled around, he got a little more grumpy. But Grandpa came to the rescue and he fell asleep in his arms. (I still cannot get him to do that for me!). I did, however, make the mistake of waking him up about an hour and aย  half later, since it was approaching his bedtime and I didn’t want him waking up at 4:30 in the morning for the day. By then it was time to leave, so he calmed the moment we put him in the car.

The wedding wasn’t his only “first” this weekend. On Sunday, my husband got bitten by the Christmas bug and wanted to put the tree up. So, he got to watch us do that.

And it would happen that while I was busy taking a picture of the tree to send to my sister, Tommy decided to roll over from his belly to his back for the first time. And I missed it. ๐Ÿ˜› I turned around and poof! There he was on his back. I did get to see him do that a few times today though ๐Ÿ™‚

One more first…he found a new syllable. “Da.” He started going “Dadadadada” while we were putting up the tree (that thing must be magic or something :P) and both DH and I turned and started laughing. Of course, hubby is excited to hear that from him even though Tommy doesn’t quite know what it means yet.

So quite an eventful weekend here. I have a feeling many more of those are in store soon ๐Ÿ™‚

The Catnapper Baby

I love my son to pieces. He’s five months old and has slept through the night since he was about a month.

Little Guy fast asleep at night (2 months old)

Sure, there’s been the occasional night where he gets up before the butt crack of dawn…by hours…but for the most part, he sleeps a good 10-11 hours.

Too good to be true, right? Mostly. ๐Ÿ˜› You see, my little guy will NEVER nap for more than 40 minutes at a time during the day. OK, never’s a bit harsh–but I can probably count on one hand the amount of times he’s slept more than an hour since he started sleeping through the night.

It goes like this: he wakes up between 6 and 7 AM, eats and then falls asleep again about an hour and a half later. Of course that nap is only ever 30 minutes and then he’s up and playful for about 2 hours before getting really cranky and falling back asleep again. He takes about 5 of these 30 minute catnaps a day until his bedtime at 8.

I know many babies are like this. But I can’t help but feel just the slightest bit of jealousy towards the moms whose babies take longer naps. I’d be able to get so much more done during the day! As it stands, I can do chores in increments. And forget taking a nap myself–I try but the moment I start dozing, he’s up and ready to play.

Me? Nap? Ha, that's for babies!

Anyway…I keep hoping that maybe once Little Guy starts crawling and moving around more that his naps will get longer.

I guess time will tell.

Into the World of Mommy Bloggers

After five months of motherhood, I finally decided it was time to make another blog.

Another blog you ask? Well, my other blog is devoted to my journey through writing. (and yes, I’m lazy enough to take the same title and change it only slightly to apply it to this one. Never been good at titles). I’ve been attempting to write a book for …*counts fingers* four or five years now. I’ve been rather flaky with that–kept switching ideas, then got writers’ block umpteen times, then I got pregnant…

I think I have finally come to a balance where I can write, blog and still maintain my sanity as a sleep deprived new mom. So this blog was born so I could gush and rant about all the joys and challenges of motherhood while keeping my writing journey separate. I figured most of my writer friends would grow tired of constant mommy posts ๐Ÿ™‚