Top Ten Newborn Essentials!

Things change so quickly with a little one it is just seems yesterday that I was desperately searching the internet for what I REALLY needed for a tiny human. I have written about what the toys we loved from 0-7 months, board books that are must haves, diaper bag essentials, but a few of my friends keep asking me what about the things you need when that first little one comes home… here are the my top 10 things for bringing home baby!

  1. A car seat and stroller: you gotta get that little one home and safe. For me I wanted a car seat that clipped into my stroller (hence why I put them in one category)… this was a must for me, I needed this sense of convenience when everything else is a bit crazy! I LOVED my car seat… the stroller itself… meh… the access to the basket is kinda brutal to access.
  2. Something for them to eat: A great tip I was given was to check out the big formula brand websites and they will often send you samples! This is great because if there is an allergy or if you eventually want to start supplementing. you can test them out! I was fortunate that nursing came relatively easy (for sure not the case for everyone) so something for H to eat wasn’t much of a challenge… however things as a nursing mom I can’t imagine not having breast pads and I lived in nursing tank tops! There is a lot of support for breastfeeding, but there is also a lot of pressure that can become rather intense. I have always believed, and more so even now, you can only do so much… as long as you are doing your very best to keep your baby healthy, safe and happy (forumal or breast milk) that’s all you can do!
  3. Somewhere for them to sleep: I know many people who have thrown up a pack and play in their room as a temporary bed for their tiny human, I would have gone this route most likely but I was lent a bassinet. Being that we live in a bungalow I was super excited to be lent a free-standing bassinet with wheels (It looks like this)! It was super convenient for us… unfortunately because out munchkin was rather large she didn’t stay in there that long (glad I borrowed it!). I know some people choose to co-sleep, so you might decide you don’t actually need anything, but it is important to have thought about logistics at the very least!
  4. Swaddle: You can buy special swaddle sacks or just use a blanket… we loved using a light muslin blanket from Aden + Anais (they have come in handy for more than just swaddling as well!). Anyone else thinking about that “How I Met Your Mother” episode where Marshall Swaddles Lilly… hehe
  5. Little hats/tiny clothing: You will want something for your munchkin to wear and depending on when your little one is born a hat can be very important. I have seen some articles about over heating baby… we had H super bundled and she seemed to love it… even in July.
  6. Soother? Maybe? I fought giving H a soother, but eventually caved. I was convinced that my child would NOT use a soother (why and how I came to this conclusion I can’t actually tell you!). I do know initially I really didn’t want to mess with her feeding but once that was well established I don’t know what my issue was! She had a high need to suck thing and would often suck my finger to calm herself to sleep (I think she was trying to tell me something!). Once we introduced a soother I was kicking myself as to why I fought it so bad! We are very limiting with it still… but it was the best thing ever! We used a Wubba Nub for the first few months  with it. It was great because you could sort of balance it on her and find it very easily. I do know that some babies just have no interest… so this might not be any help at all!
  7. Poop changing stuff: That would be what my husband said when I asked him what we used when H was really little… and it’s a fair point! Baby poop is so odd… the funniest thing is that I bet any parent, with an older child still in diapers, will tell you they miss those early poops… seriously as soon as you introduce real food… game changer… and not in a good way!
  8. Big exercise ball: This is one of those items that someone told me I needed to get and I was a bit confused about, but now it is the first thing I suggest to expectant moms! This ball saved my life I swear!!! When it is 5 in the morning and you barely know your own name, being able to sit on this ball while lightly bouncing a very grumpy baby achieved some magical results. Even at 9 months is H is really upset about something (darn teething!) a gentle bounce will usually calm her down when nothing else has worked!
  9. Noise machine: We found this really helped H sleep… but to my surprise it really helped me sleep! I had no idea how loud babies are… and when you are a new mom and they are right beside you… you hear EVERYTHING. Having a noise machine in our room with her was awesome!
  10. Support: Whether you find support through a partner, a family member, friends or even an online community… having support is so important to your mental and physical health… and as I often tell my husband after a bit of a shopping spree… happy momma = happy baby!

Vancouver: Part 2 Activities

As I talked about last week there were a few obstacles that made this trip a little bumpier than would have been ideal! Here are a few of the things that H and I managed to do, and things that I would suggest for anyone visiting Van with a little one. I personally believe that Vancouver is super kid friendly so if you are heading there with an older munchkin do a little research and you will be spoiled with options of things to do!

  1. Granville Island: Walking around with H in the stroller there are so many things to look at, smell, and taste! Granville Island is a classic destination for EVERYONE! The Kids market… the regular market… seriously awesome wandering potential!
  • Depending on where you are you can take a little water taxi to get to Granville Island or take it around the harbor!
  • The market has some fun little food places, but the real winner is “GoFish” it is a tiny little walk along the sea wall but well worth it for some awesome fish tacos! It is also a bit of a picnic dining area so kids can run free and have a generally great time!
  • If you are here in the summer… the water park is SWEEET… from what I remember 🙂
  1. Walk along “Spanish Banks”: There are SOOO many places to go for walks along the ocean. We decided to go for a little walk along Spanish Banks before dinner one night. The great thing about walking along the water is that it is so easy! I wore H in her carrier, but a stroller would have worked fine… as long as you don’t want to venture out onto the beach.
  • Another great area to walk is Coal Harbor, which includes great places to run about and picnic… also the BEST gelato can be found on the corner of Burrard St. and Cordova St. (Bella Gelateria)… seriously your welcome!
  1. Stanley Park: The options here are immense! If it had been nicer I would have loved to rent a bike with a baby seat and gone around the park! Even a stroller around/through the park was very much missed this trip!
  • When my brother was little a trip to Vancouver was never complete without a visit to the miniature train for a ride.
  • I have spotted a water play area in the past that looked fun for the summer!
  • There is also an aquarium!
  1. Lighthouse Park: Grandpa (my dad), H and myself managed to find a few minutes break in the rain to drive over to Lighthouse park and go for a mini hike. I remember visiting as a kid so it was fun to check it out again! Also it was fun seeing it from a different angle, as we checked it out across the water when we were walking along Spanish Banks. I would strongly suggest this or something similar for nature lovers and those that want to check out what the West coast rainforest is really like!

Another couple activities that I missed but I think are great with a baby or older kids would be:

I really didn’t take many photos… but here are three from our little adventure out to lighthouse park:

Baby Packing List: Vancouver

I have mentioned this before and I am sure I will mention it again and again but it never ceases to amaze me how much stuff one tiny human being can have! Packing for a short week in Vancouver I realized that I would have basically needed the same amount of stuff for a shorter or longer holiday! I think I actually had more stuff than Hawaii (Click here for that packing list).

Sleep:

  • Pack and play: my dad actually brought this as he drove and they have an extra one at their house!
  • Sleep sack
  • Noise machine: I am sure this is one of the only reasons she slept sometimes!
  • Elmo and Bunny
  • Goodnight Moon: because we read this every night before bed! (one of our must have board books)

Eating:

I knew I could get anything I wanted there (and I did), but I brought a couple things just so I didn’t have to go anywhere if I didn’t feel like it for the first day

  • food pouch (just from the grocery store)
  • baby cereal
  • spoon (I just find H prefers a plastic one)
  • sippy cup
  • food mesh thing: I put chopped up strawberries in it, sometimes frozen bits of fruit for teething. We have a couple different kind, but I seem to use this one the most!
  • Phil and Ted’s Lobster Chair: I borrowed this from a friend thinking… yah maybe I’ll use it… two days after getting home I have one of my own… it was awesome!

Entertainment:

  • her favorite toys including (but not limited to) her chewy banana, rattle ball, a wooden car, and a little piano things.

Other:

  • car seat
  • adorable outfits including her pjs, hat and little Adidas shoes
  • umbrella stroller (and rain cover)
  • carrier
  • baby toiletries
  • diaper bag
  • diapers/wipes: similar to the food I knew I could get things there but I just brought them as they don’t weight much and then I didn’t have to run out and get anything else

Things I brought that I really didn’t need to:

  • pea pod tent: I threw this in at the last minute just in case I needed to try eliminate light to help her sleep… If I didn’t have access to a play pen this could have been a good option
  • so many toys… Why I brought so many toys I don’t know… above are really the only things I should have brought with me!
  • Way to many Pj’s… seriously they can wear them two nights in a row, if there isn’t any compromised diapers!
  • An entire box of baby crackers… did I seriously think she would eat an entire box of these things? And then to bring them home I couldn’t empty the box or they would all break… silly me!

Vancouver: Part 1 Obstacles

This post will focus on some of the obstacles we had on this little trip… how we overcame them, or just gave into them. I really think what I experienced and learned can be applied to many different situations away and at home!

Let me start by saying that I love Vancouver! Not only is it a beautiful city, I also consider it another home. I have been very lucky growing up to have an uncle whose home my family would often completely take over. I have spent many Christmas’, Easters, summer holidays and basically any slightly plausible reason for visiting Vancouver there, so I know it fairly well (at least my little corner of it)! I decided to head to Vancouver on my own with little H, for a week, to visit my Uncle, brother and dad because I know the place so well and I have other plans for my husbands holidays!

Obstacle 1: Illness

Unfortunately just as we were set to leave for our little visit all of H’s baby friends started getting sick… so I knew it was coming… it was only a matter of time! Sure enough as soon as we got to Van the coughing, sneezing and runny nose hit. This was H’s first time getting sick… so as you can imagine I was a bit worried! Fortunately I had my baby toiletry kit with me… I knew I would one day be glad I had the Nose Freda with me! That and the saline solution were very helpful in providing H a little bit of relief! If I were to be in an unfamiliar place I might want to very quickly have a look at where the nearest children’s hospital (or regular one) is… just for peace of mind (really it take 2 seconds with google!). She was never hospital sick… but the cold just had me wondering what I would have done had it been more serious. Her being sick also reminded me that she is kinda the boss… what I mean is that you need to manage expectations of what you are actually going to be able to accomplish with a baby (never mind a sick baby). Perhaps you will be able to do everything, but sometimes you wont do much… I think it’s important to be prepared for both outcomes!

Obstacle 2: Weather

Again… love Vancouver… but it can have some chilly weather! Coming from sun, and boarder line summer temperatures, to damp, wet and cold I was slightly under prepared. Adding to this a sick little girl, I had to adjust my expectations of what I could actually do! Hindsight I would have also packed a bit more of a variety of clothing… and maybe an extra blanket… but we made due! (packing list coming next week!)

Obstacle 3: Open concept

We stayed with my uncle, with the option to stay with my brother (a block away). They both live in the greatest (in my opinion) area of Vancouver… steps away from Granville Island! Staying with one of them was just a given… unfortunately I had somehow blocked from my mind the fact that they both live in the MOST open concept home on earth… seriously what’s wrong with a wall or two? My dad actually brought a tent in case we decided we were in a truly desperate situation and needed to set this up in the living room… not even kidding. Fortunately we didn’t get to that point. H ended up sleeping in a laundry room with a tarp covering the large skylight… it gave the room a lovely blue vibe!

Obstacle 4: People who don’t have babies

“So, wait, you can’t just leave the baby to go and have a coffee?!” direct quote from one of the family members I was visiting (I don’t want to name, names). Visiting and particularly staying with people who don’t have babies can be wonderful, but it also reminded me that they might not understand exactly what they are getting themselves into. My uncle and brother really were trying their very best, but you could tell they were also rather unsure as to what to actually do with little H… I was the same before her! I found it really important to be very clear about what was fine and what would just not work. A perfect example was my brother wanting me to come over for a late dinner… I can do that BUT our dad would have to stay with H. Even staying with someone who has their own baby can be challenging because, as I see time and time again with H’s little baby friends, each child has their own thing going on!

Despite these obstacles I still had a great visit and managed to actually do some things that I have never done before! Next week long with my packing list I will have part 2 which will be the activities I managed to do and some that I wish I had…  till then!

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Playing queen with a giant chess set in my Uncles apartment!
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Managed to go for a mini hike in Lighthouse Park!

Yoga With A Baby

I should probably start by saying that I am by no means some great yogi! This post is for the regular folks out there that enjoy some yoga, but cannot … no matter how many times they go… remember what the heck any of the poses are called, with the exception of downward dog and child’s pose!

 

I would say the absolute best time to go to yoga with a baby is when you are pregnant! I looooooved prenatal yoga! Even if you have never done yoga before I would still recommend giving it a go! I know it can be intimidating but I’m telling you, with the right instructor, it can be absolutely awesome! It was great for making new friends and before class we would always have a little check in … a great time to get some commiseration and ask any questions that weren’t really Dr. related… like “where around town to get tall pregnancy pants” or “anyone else slept like 2 hours last night?” It was also so relaxing and nice to just take some time for myself. I cannot recommend giving it a go enough!!

What you need for prenatal yoga:

  • stretchy clothing (it doesn’t have to be anything special, but once I got my pregnant yoga pants it was hard to wear anything else!)
  • water bottle
  • yoga mat (if you don’t have one or forget it most studios will have one you can at least borrow!)

 

Once I had H I needed time some time to heal up… unplanned C-sections with some complications (another story, for another time)… but once I was feeling more myself I started doing mom and baby yoga (I want to say when H was almost 3 months). I did this at a different studio because some of my mom friends were already going there… and it was great! I do think that the instructor can make a big difference, but in all my friends and my own experiences, the people that are teaching prenatal and mom + baby yoga are usually wonderful humans to begin with! It is important to have a teacher that understands what you body has been through, and can guide you through appropriate moves. I really loved that this studio was so warm… It wasn’t hot yoga or anything, but I must admit that I did nearly fall asleep a few times at the end of class. Most of the mom + baby classes I have seen have said in some way or another no crawlers… which makes sense if you want to get any yoga done! That being said, depending on your experience with the instructor, other moms, and if you are really loving it, there are ways that it can also work with a little mover! I really appreciated that we were all moms, so if you need to feed your baby… no problem! Baby crying… mine too! Arrive super late… hey you made it! It was a very supportive environment that reminded me I am not alone!

I found taking this time with H to do something for myself, so early on, was really important! I had to somewhat drag myself out of the house to get there, but once I was there I would always think, “This is just what I needed!” Whether it is yoga, a hike or maybe eating that large cupcake it is so important to take care of ourselves!

What you need to mom + baby yoga:

  • Diaper bag (eventually I added some toys, but H loved looking around at the other babies the best!)
  • Blanket to put your little one on
  • Stretchy clothing (I wore the same prenatal yoga pants)
  • Water bottle
  • Yoga mat

If you are in Calgary I did my prenatal yoga at The Yoga Studio (Cannot recommend it enough!) and I just happened to do my mom + baby yoga at The Bodhi Tree (another wonderful experience!). Both places offer prenatal and mom + baby yoga and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either!

Baby Gifts NOT To Buy

This post was suggested by a good friend who received some odd gifts… I thought it was a very good idea!! For H my wonderful sister-in-law threw a co-ed shower. Based on the invitations (bellow) you can see it was a bit of a diaper party, but people brought us some wonderful gifts as well! We have awesome friends and I must admit I didn’t get anything unwanted but I have heard enough stories… so here are some tips of what NOT to gift new parents or parents to be!

  • Newborn clothing… or 3 month clothing for that matter! H was in newborn clothing for about a day… chances are everyone else will be bringing these outfits anyway and if not… it is actually nice to be able to pick out cute outfits for your own kiddo!
  • Toddler clothing… I know I just said don’t get tiny clothing, but super large clothing can be just as inconvenient… lovely thought… but with the amount of stuff the new parents will already have to store, a cute shirt (that, to be honest, might be out of style by the time the kiddo can wear it) might not be the greatest gift.
  • Blankets … yes the little one will need blankets, but unless you have some sentimental purpose (I received some beautiful handmade ones… I love) I would think twice about this gift… there are only so many blankets a person can actually use!
  • Diaper bag… unless you actually know the person really well. A Diaper Bag depends so greatly on this persons style and needs. I actual received this as a gift, BUT I picked it out with this friend!
  • Nursery décor… similar to a diaper bag it really depends on the families style and need… confession… again I actually received this as a gift BUT again I was consulted first, so it was awesome!
  • Gifts after they are actually useful… many people have showers after the baby is born, if this is the case it is important to consider what the new family already has and still needs!
  • Gifts without a gift receipt… now obviously there are exceptions to this, handmade gifts being the most obvious. You never know if the new parents are going to receive a couple of the same thing or maybe they already have purchased that item themselves (it’s kinda like wedding gifts)!

Did you receive something odd as a baby gift? I did get a knitted German lederhosen from my mother-in-law… but it turned out to be my husbands originally and it is hilarious (bring on Octoberfest!)!!

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Care Bear on a diaper motorcycle… amazing!
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Amazing from every angle!
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No shower is complete without a melon baby!
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Our shower invitation (From Minted)

Baby Toiletries: For Travel!

I hesitated to call this a baby first aid kit… but in many ways it is that as well. Along with all the stuff (toys, food, bed, carriers, clothing, etc.) here are the things that I bring with me for trips. Many of these items were actually gifted to me in a beautiful basket and I have to say it was one of the best gifts I received! So practical, and things, as I new mom, I didn’t have much of a clue about!

  • Baby Tylenol – as H is on and off teething this is nice to have around just in case!
  • Baby Benadryl – I recently decided to add this to my kit when one of our baby friends had an allergic reaction to a new food! It is perhaps a more paranoid item, but I just feel better knowing I have it in my back pocket if I need it (full discloser I haven’t actually used this)
  • Baby Thermometer
  • Baby nail clippers and nail files – I still struggle with clipping H’s nails so the file is my usual go to for her razor claws!!
  • Saline solution… great stuff for a little stuffed up nose!
  • Little travel baby shampoo/wash – obviously only necessary if you plan on being gone long enough for a bath, but it’s so little I just keep in in the bag!
  • Weleda moisturizer – H gets a thorough rub down every night to keep her dry skin under control! It has made all the difference.
  • Weleda Diaper rash cream
  • Little pack of Qtips
  • Baby D drops – particularly being Canadian H gets her daily vitamin D!
  • Nose snot sucker (there are different verions of this… click here for the one I have) This is another item that I haven’t actually used… but if I was going on a longer trip why not just throw it in?

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