I really can’t believe 6 months have gone by since our little moonshine was born. It seems like just yesterday when I was counting the days until she would be three months old. I had read that at three months old, things start to get “better”. I’m going to be really honest here and say that the first three months were pretty dang hard. It was all about survival–keeping Ramona alive and also remaining functional. I was running on 3-4 hours of sleep a night. 5 hours was a luxury. I was barely squeezing time in for a shower and our little baby girl would never sleep! To this day, Ramona doesn’t like to take naps. We’ve worked through some kinks but even today, she was up at 5:30am and I just got her down for a nap 4 hours later. These is little to no time for ourselves as new parents–a worthy sacrifice however for having a sweet little baby in your life. Today I don’t count down the days until she’s older. I love her age. I suddenly want things to slow down. I’m not eager for crawling or walking or even talking right now. I’m really enjoying every second with our little bean. 6 months rocks!
I’ve got two friends who are expecting babies at the end of this month. I remember feeling “in the dark” about what I needed or didn’t need before Ramona came. I dreadfully went into Babies R Us and was nauseated by the thousands of pacifier options and the 14 different baby monitors. Not to mention the florescent lights and the smell of mass manufactured polyester is also nauseating when you’re pregnant! So the other day, I thought I’d make a list of the things that have been essential in our day to day life with Ramona. Of course every baby has her own preference. God knows Ramona did. I tried out 4 different wraps before finally surrendering to the Baby Bjorn. I’ve learned to listen to her and roll with it. But for us, these 10 items below have been life savers. They are not in order of “importance” but rather stages. I hope this helps you have a shorter shopping trip to Babies R Us, or better yet–do some online shopping and put your feet up!
Vibrating Baby Bouncer by Fisher Price
Holy cow, from week 2 we were putting Ramona in this thing. She’d sleep in it, we’d sometimes feed her in it, and she could be by our side no matter what were were doing. Ramona spent tons of time in the kitchen with us and had lots of cooking lessons. She also came outside for happy hour by our fountain and even learned how to garden out front. It wasn’t until she was about 2 months old that she started to love the toy attachment, but that was also a life saver. At 2 months, she was endlessly entertained by the little cartoon bugs that she could swat at like a cat. Today, Ramona is holding her own bottle but needs to be at an incline to do so. She no longer likes to chill in the vibrating chair, but she does love to feed herself, so she’ll kick back in the bouncer for a quick snack while I get some work done.
Once Ramona started to be able to sit up with support, she was over the bouncer and on to the Bumbo. Same idea though–we can take her anywhere, put her in her Bumbo seat and get things done. We’ll surround her with toys and she’ll sit in that thing for hours, if need be. Ramona doesn’t love to be held. She already likes to do things on her own and participate in the things we are enjoying, but in her own space. Again–many a happy hour or cleaning session is had while she babbles and plays blissfully in her Bumbo seat.
The Baby Bjorn is maybe the best thing that has come into my life besides Ramona since motherhood. I resisted buying it at first. I had heard that they can be bad for babies hips. But again, my little bean isn’t into cuddling and wants to be facing out and looking at the world around her rather than cuddle and be shielded by her mama. So the inward facing Ergo and Moby wraps were out. I was sad at first–I really wanted a cuddly, breastfed, Moby Wrap worn baby but alas, Ramona has her preferences and her prefernce regarding a baby carrier was the Baby Bjorn. Now I LOVE THIS THING! I can do anything with her in it. Even if she is screaming mad and way past a nap (which happens often), I can pop her in the Bjorn and she is content. I went shopping yesterday for shoes for 2 hours and she didn’t complain once. She loves going to the grocery store with me, and loves to water the flowers. We also have a morning ritual of walking down to the coffee shop and then on to the park. Did I mention she’s not a fan of strollers? Ha! I’m banking on this Baby Bjorn for her first plane ride in October. I’m pretty sure that as long as I’m allowed to walk up and down the aisle with Ramona in the Baby Bjorn, I won’t have one of “those babies”.
My good friend Regina got us this little blankie and I had no idea why it was so small at the time! It didn’t seem very functional as a blanket. Ha–just goes to show that I knew nothing going in to parenthood. The size is exactly why this blankie is perfect for Ramona. She can pick it up easily without getting tangled and frustrated. Ramona won’t take a pacifier, so her blankie acts as just that. She sucks on it and rubs it against her face when she needs to be soothed. It goes everywhere with us and is essential for naps or bedtime. The best part about this little blankie is that it has about 5 different textural fabrics on it. Ramona loves to touch and examine different textiles–and this blankie has it all. Unfortunately I have never been able to find another one like this one. Some have the satin and the bumpy soft circles, but not the other fabrics. I’m sure it would be fun and easy to make if you’re into sewing. I, on the other hand will be on the prowl for another one that I can buy, in case something happens to this one.
Pack n’ Play Cradle
My Dad made me a cradle before I was born that I and all my siblings slept in. It’s beautiful and I imagined that Ramona would sleep in it as well. But of course Ramona wouldn’t have it. She would get out of her swaddles and flail her arms about, knocking them on the side of the cradle, which just made her mad. I co-slept with her in the bed for a long time, but knew I couldn’t do this forever, so we tried this Pack n’ Play Cradle. For the first week she had it, she slept 8 hours through the night! Then she got used to it and started waking up again–but only every 4 hours. I don’t know what we are going to do when she outgrows this thing. Now that she’s rolling and sitting, the crib is a nightmare because she moves around too much to sleep. The pack n play keeps her tight and snug and we can put it in a room with a window unit air-conditioner. Oh, and it folds up and travels well. It’s da bomb.
Sophie the Giraffe
Did you know that Sophie is from Paris? But that’s only the reason I bought her. The reason I keep her is because she is the perfect first toy for a baby. First a hand toy, she’s easy to grip and suck–there is a nice long narrow neck to grab, and Sophie has lots of nipple-like shapes on her little giraffe body that are great for sucking. Now, Sophie has become a teether. Ramona smiles and kicks excitedly when I hand Sophie to her, then chews away while Sophie makes squeeking noises that will only drive you crazy for awhile. We love Sophie the Giraffe.
Orbit Baby Foot Muff
I’m not sure why they call this a foot muff. It’s basically a sleeping bag for babies that fits perfectly into a carseat, making a cold car ride or stroll around the block so much more comfortable. Ramona was born on January 25th and it was a COLD month to be taking a newborn out on walks. But this warm sack made my life so easy. I never had to bundle Ramona up in heavy clothes, I’d just throw her in the Foot Muff, zip it up and know that she would be snuggly warm. It has buttons so you can button it up to the eyes, or fold it down around the chest. I really like the Orbit brand. I don’t even have an Orbit stroller, but I loved the make of it. Unfortunately it is expensive but the inner material is a soft organic cotton rather than fleece (which makes Ramona sweat like a little piglet) like so many of the other “bundle-me”s out there. It’s also flame retardant. The bottom of the sack lets out for bigger babies and toddlers, so I’m hoping I can get at least another year out of this! I feel really good about this purchase–it was one of my “splurges” but has been worth every penny.
When Ramona was about 2 weeks old she started noticing the world around her and I knew I needed a mobile. I hadn’t bought one before, as I generally find them tacky. But I found this one at Tallulah Jones and bought it. It’s actually quite simple and sweet and was the most fascinating thing in the world to Ramona for about 2 months. I could plop her in her crib and take a shower knowing that I’d have 10 or 15 minutes. She outgrew this pretty fast, but the little wooden parts come off and act as rattles. They each have a different sound and look and Ramona loves them to this day. When we put music on, she reaches for these and shakes them like maracas.
Ahhhh the classic, Goodnight Moon. It is the only book that will hold Ramona’s attention at her young age, and she loves it. She loves the colors and the way the words almost rhyme. I’ve read it to her three times in a row sometimes just because she seems to want more! It’s a nighttime ritual and sometimes an afternoon toy.
Munchkin fresh food feeder/teether
My sister in law turned me onto this one afternoon when I had forgotten a bottle and Ramona was starving, poor girl. She pulled this little gadget out of her drawer and threw some watermelon in it. It didn’t make up for the bottle, but bought us some time for Jesse to run to the store to buy a bottle and formula. The fresh food eater is basically a net with a handle on it. You put the food into it, babies grab it, suck on it, puree the food, and most importantly don’t choke. It’s brilliant actually. Our favorite thing to put in it is frozen bananas. It’s a nice long distraction, a great teether, and a wonderful way to introduce a myriad of solid foods into your babies diet. Plus they are cheap and easy to carry around.