1. SwaddleMe Organic Swaddles // 2. Moby Wrap // 3. Boppy Pillow // 4. TLCare Organic Nursing Pads // 5. Aden + Anais Cotton Swaddles // 6. Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Sleep Bra // 7. Gilligan & O'Malley Lace Nursing Bra // 8. Gilligan & O'Malley Wirefree Nursing Bra // 9. Belly Bandit Bamboo // 10. Shrinkx Hips // 11. Hulu Plus (on my iPad) // 12. Samsung EX2F // 13. Baby Connect
1. Jersey-knit swaddles // SwaddleMe Organic Swaddles: Caroline is using Jude's hand-me-downs, including these swaddles. I like these because they are thick t-shirt material (vs. fleece), so Caroline doesn't get too sweaty since we have her in a long-sleeved nightgown underneath. I'm impressed these have held up to near daily use through one child and made it to the next!
2. Fabric baby carrier // Moby Wrap: My Moby Wrap is my key to sanity. I've learned the hard way that most shopping carts cannot accommodate both my toddler and my baby (let alone the groceries, too!). When we're running errands, Caroline is in the wrap so that my hands are free to wrangle Jude, and when I just can't figure out why Caroline is crying, she goes into the Moby and instantly starts to doze. I don't want to say it's magic, but it's pretty much magic.
3. Nursing cushion // Boppy pillow: Again, I'm getting heavy use out of my Boppy as I breastfeed. I also like to prop Caroline up on the Boppy for tummy time. Before Jude was born I sewed a chevron cover for mine, and although chevron is done to death now, Pinterest affirms that people still really like it, so if you also want a chevron Boppy cover, you can get one here.
4. Washable (Reusable) bra inserts // TLCare Organic Nursing Pads: I highly recommend getting at least twelve pairs of these. I keep mine in my nightstand and an extra pair in my diaper bag. If I spring a leak, there's always a dry pair nearby. I simply toss the used ones in with our cloth diapers (which we wash daily) to keep the clean ones in steady supply.
5. Muslin blankets // Aden + Anais Cotton Swaddles: Truth be told, I attempted to make my own swaddle blankets when I spied some muslin at the fabric store. It was not at all the same. The Aden + Anais ones are the cream of the crop. They've stayed incredibly soft despite constant use and washing for 2+ years.
6. Nursing bras for sleep // Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Sleep Bra: Chris actually bought this bra for me! My chest is much bigger this time around so my nursing bras from last time didn't work. This meant I had to send Chris out to grab me some more. He came back with a couple of these, and they are as comfortable as they are cute. I loved them so much that I went back and got two more.
7. Pretty nursing bras // Gilligan & O'Malley Lace Nursing Bra: When I do get out and about, I do not wear my unlined, thin sleeping bras (um, hello, nipples!). While underwire isn't recommended for nursing mothers around the clock, sometimes the girls need a little oomph and you want to wear something pretty underneath.
8. No wire, t-shirt nursing bras // Gilligan & O'Malley Wirefree Nursing Bra: This bra is the happy medium between a sleeping bra and a lacy underwire. Smooth and seamless and lightly lined, these bras work perfectly under tees and tanks.
9. Abdomen binder // Belly Bandit Bamboo: I wore this starting the very next day after having Caroline. Something I never knew until I experienced it: the day after giving birth, your belly will feel like a deflated beach ball. The Belly Bandit helped things feel less loose and gave me the added benefit of supporting my back and causing me to have better posture as I established nursing.
10. Hip binder // Shrinkx Hips: Two weeks ago, I squeezed my booty into these jeans and I've pretty much worn them constantly since. I'd like to say it's thanks to Shrinkx Hips that I'm already back into (some of) my pre-pregnancy jeans, but I don't know if that's true. However, I will say that my pelvis hurt less when I wore the band.
11. iPad entertainment // Hulu Plus: For a significant portion of my day, I am tethered to the recliner or the bed nursing Caroline. We don't have cable or Netflix, so last month I decided to try Hulu Plus. Oh, man, I am loving it. There are a few ads (but I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't mind ads-- I get to learn about new products!), but I get to watch all my favorite shows (Parks and Rec, The Office, Once Upon a Time, The Mindy Project, America's Next Top Model, Parenthood) on my own schedule for about $8/ month. Plus I've been able to catch some new shows that I really like (Nashville, Emily Owens MD) as well as some old gems (Friday Night Lights and Felicity).
12. Point and shoot digitial camera with video functions // Samsung EX2F: Every parent needs a point and shoot camera. My Canon S90 died last June, and although I loved it, it wasn't under warranty anymore and wasn't a cheap or easy fix. I was looking at my Facebook account and my blog archives and I realized I take way fewer photos without a compact camera handy (my "main camera" is a two year old Canon T2i and sometimes it's just easier to grab the compact camera and go). Although I had earmarked some funds for these shoes, this morning I decided to get a new point and shoot camera, instead. I wrote down everything I wanted: a low light lens, 1080p full HD video, external mic input, and wi-fi capabilities. The Samsung EX2F was the clear winner. The main selling points were the f1.4. lens (which is what I use on my T2i to make the background blur in my photos) and the fact that I can upload photos straight to Facebook or my iPhone via wifi. I just ordered it today, but I imagine (and hope!) that I'll use it all the time.
13. Smart phone baby tracker // Baby Connect: I hated when our pediatrician would ask, "How many poop diapers does Jude have per day?" or "How often does Jude nurse?" I'd be sitting there saying "Uh?" a lot and then lobbing my best guesses. This time around I downloaded Baby Connect so I'm no longer stumped at the doctor's office. I'm pretty sure this will make me look like a contender for the Parent of the Year Award. Right?