our must have products for the first 6 months

Like most soon-to-be parents, we registered for a bunch of stuff we thought we'd need but we really had no idea. We tried not to register for too much... I loathe clutter (though I regularly lose the battle against it) and we try not to live with more than we need (again, try being the operative word there.) At the recommendation of pretty much everyone we know, we bought Baby Bargains and used it as our registry bible. And, for the most part, it steered us right. There were a few things we were certain we wouldn't need (like a Snap 'n Go) that we ended up begrudgingly running out to Babies R Us for, but for the most part we did pretty well.

So without further adieu, here are the Top 10 things that got us through the first 6 months (in no particular order)...

1. The My Little Lamb Infant Seat by Fisher Price - I kid you not, this bouncer saved our lives. Well, at least our sanity. And Emma's. From day 1, the child would not sleep laying flat. She only slept in our arms at first, and when lamenting our new reality to my BFF she was like "try the bouncer!" Bingo. Emma slept through the night at 2 weeks old, and slept exclusively in that bouncer until she was 5 months old. We tried so many times to switch her to the co-sleeper or crib, and she always had terrible sleeps. We actually ended up getting 2 additional bouncer type things for other rooms: this one, which was good for naps but she didn't like it overnight, and the Mamaroo, which was a dud for sleeping but okay for just hanging out. My mom had this one for when we stayed with her and Emma loved it as much as her My Little Lamb seat. I highly recommend either one.

2. A stability ball - Babies who are delivered naturally tend to be very alert when they first come out, and Emma was no exception. It wasn't long before she got fussy and in between moments of thinking "holy crap, what have we gotten ourselves into," we discovered that Emma loooooves to be bounced. Up and down, the deeper the bounce the better. To this day, bouncing and shooshing are the only things that consistently soothe her (aside from nursing, of course.) Jared and I took turns bouncing her, day and night... it was exhausting. I don't remember who told us to try the stability ball, but whoever you are - thank you. It wasn't necessarily any easier on our bodies, but it worked different muscles, and extended our stamina during hour long marathons of trying to soothe Emma back to sleep. We still have one in her nursery, and use it nightly to gently bounce her right before putting her down.

My abs totally look like this when I'm bouncing Emma. (Ha!)

3. The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B - Emma loooves her Sleep Sheep. This is a pretty common registry item, and we've been super happy with it. We throw on the ocean waves and Emma is lulled into dreamland. Well, not exactly, but it does seem to help.

4. The Nose Frida - Ahh, the infamous Nose Frida. Yes, in theory it's gross, but we've been using it for months and I assure you that no snot has ever entered my mouth. And most importantly, IT WORKS. We tried multiple sizes of bulb aspirators and they were all useless. But the Frida gets the job done every time. Emma hates it, but it's by far the quickest, safest, and most effective way to clear her nose. It's the grossest thing I've ever loved, and I don't think we'd be able to get through her daycare years without it.

5. Haba and Lamaze toys- Haba toys are pretty popular in Portland since they're eco-friendly, and Emma loves them. They have them at her daycare, she has them at home... it's amazing to watch her fine motor skills develop as she manipulates them. She also loves the Lamaze toys for discovery, and they've been great for teething, too.

6. Pampers Sensitive Wipes - I'm pretty sure we've tried every brand of wipes out there in the past 6 months, and these are our favorites if for no other reason than that the dispenser actually works. We get one at a time and the next one comes up after. I can't tell you how lovely it is to find wipes that actually come out the way they're supposed to. Huggies Natural, Target, Seventh Generation, Whole Foods 365... ya'll have some work to do. I don't want 3 wipes at a time, and I don't want the next wipe to fall down into the abyss each time I pull a new one out. We can put a man on the moon, I'm sure someone other than Pampers can figure this out. But until then, Pampers wipes it is.

7. A lovey - At about 4 months old, Emma started really loving fabric. She loved to touch it, chew on it, and (most especially) smoosh it in her face. She's really taken to her lovey (thanks, Lindsey) and even sleeps with it now. Hers is satin on one side, minky on the other, just like this one...

8. A nursing cover - My nursing cover has gotten quite a workout over the past 6 months. I knew I'd use it for going out, but it's also been super helpful when we've had family and friends in town so I didn't have to go up to our bedroom every time Emma needed to eat. It also works great as a sun shield over her car seat when we're out and about.

9. Baby Trend Snap 'n Go Stroller - This is a reluctant addition to this list. I desperately wanted to avoid getting more than one stroller. We already had the BOB Revolution, and love it. It handles great, and we have the adapter so we're able to pop the car seat on and use it for walks around the neighborhood. But we had to go to New York last September and the BOB is many things, but super portable ain't one of them. So we picked up the Snap 'n Go and it was a lifesaver. It's perfect for getting through airport security, quick runs to the store, and it fits so nicely in the car. In theory, it's great, but the quality has been disappointing. And it handles terribly! That being said, I do feel like it was a must-have purchase for us.

10. A great pediatrician - This isn't a product but it's absolutely gotten us through the first 6 months. We LOVE our pediatrician. She's so supportive and always makes us feel like we're doing a great job (even though we're totally clueless.) We feel so fortunate to have found her!