I got a great comment on my blog a few weeks back asking what some of my favorite tools were after having our third child. I thought this was a great question and I hope I can tackle it appropriately!
As a disclaimer, these are just my opinions. I am not getting paid from these, and I'm not saying these are the only way to go. I'm just saying, these things worked for us. And who knows if they would have worked for the second kid or the first kid. They just happened to work with our number three.
1) Any hands-free carrying device. I loved my Moby Wrap, but anything you are comfortable with work. The Baby K'Tan (I probably would have gotten this if I hadn't had the Moby already), the Ergo, Baby Bjorn, a sling... anything that lets you have free hands so you can move around easily and play with the big kids.
2) I loved the Nap Nanny which has been recalled, but the DayDreamer is similar and I have heard great reviews. This was great so that the baby could be put down and sit upright and watch in a sturdy recliner. I loved our bouncy seat with the other two, but this just seemed to be another option on where to lay baby. If you already have both, I say use them both!
3) Our third baby was our ONLY baby that liked the swing. But man, she LOVED it! If I had to do it all over again, I would get one of these smaller, travel size swings. Baby stuff just takes up SO much space, and having things a little smaller is better!
4) I can't say that I would actually spend this much money on something for my third kid (sorry Molly- nothing personal, it's just I know now how short of a time baby equipment is used, and if I don't have three more kids it's hard to justify the price!), but I LOVE this Baby Bjorn bouncy seat. A friend had one and Molly loved it. Plus, they look cool!
5) A great pump! If you breastfeed, you know that pumping is a huge pain. When you have one or two older kids running around, you know time is precious and you can't spend an hour pumping. So use your insurance (or the government's!) and get a good pump! It's way too easy to get one- no excuses! Our insurance covered ours 100% and we got a top of the line Hygea pump. I also HIGHLY recommend a hands-free pumping bra- something I had no idea existed until my third kid! Genius!
6) iPads! I kid, but only a little. Make sure you have some good attention-consuming devices (books, toys, ipads, dvds, etc). I don't care what you choose to use, but make sure you have some things that will keep attention longer than 10 minutes. When you have a long nursing session (or pumping session or feeding session), or it takes the baby longer than normal to fall asleep, it's nice to keep your bigs busy with something. One of the smartest things I did was stock up on dollar spot/dollar store items. I just got a bunch of junk, and if the kids seemed to be a little stir crazy while we had to stay home for the day because baby was fussy, or if they were antsy because baby needed to eat again, then I would just pull something out for them to play with. They were excited because it was NEW, and I didn't care what happened to it because it was cheap and I was exhausted! ha! This stage of keeping them busy won't last long, but for the first few months, it's nice to have something to help!
7) We got a more compact, cheaper bath seat this time around. We used the typical tub this first time, but it takes up a lot of space and is honestly just harder to use. This was easy and dries quickly. I've seen a lot of people use the sink things, and I've heard more complaints than not about them. Just a little sidenote.
8) Snap n Go stroller. I had the whole system with the first kid, by the third this was SO much easier to use!! Same concept, just lighter and easier. Highly recommend!
9) Speaking of strollers, if you have young ones, get a great double (I love the City Mini or the Double Bob- depending on what you are using them for). Make sure you get a great single umbrella stroller, too. I use mine ALL the time when it's just Molly and me. It's nice to have something so compact and light and easy to fold up with one hand!
10) New clothes. I have TONS of hand-me-downs from CK and cousins. I feel like we could outfit a baby army. But there is just something about a few new clothes for the new baby- they deserve it, too and it's worth it! It doesn't have to be expensive, but just a few little staples lets Number Three know you still care :)
11) Cute PJs for you. In the hospital and the days that follow, you probably won't get out of your pjs much, and definitely won't feel cute. Do yourself a favor ahead of time and buy a few sets of cute pjs. I suggest a tank and pants and a little jacket/sweater/cover to go over. Remember all those hormones you are flushing out!? Hot to cold to hot to cold. The struggle is real.
12) New bottles. I feel like the old ones are just gross. They have just sat there for years- go ahead and invest in some new ones.
13) Rock and Play! This thing was Molly's bed for the first several months! She napped and slept in here and I wish I would have had this with the first two kids!
And there are of course a few things I could have definitely lived without this time around.
Things I Could Live Without:
1) More burp cloths, blankets, bibs, socks, newborn hats, etc... UNLESS THEY ARE MONOGRAMMED. I have collected a TON of these things throughout the years with both the older kids. In fact, I have given so many away. BUT, I got each of these things with Molly's name or initials on them, and it was SO neat to have something so special just for her. I honestly didn't realize how much I needed a burp cloth until it came in with her name on it. Same goes for bibs, blankets, hats, etc.
2) Not so many newborn clothes. Infants are usually wrapped up in blankets and swaddled for most of the day. Plus, they poop and pee A LOT on their clothes. Get a few cute outfits, but save them for later months when you can really see them all day long.
3) I would probably totally chunk the snap outfits. I can't think of anything more infuriating than snapping one million buttons in the middle of the night! Seriously! Have you seen these?!?! GET THEM NOW AND BUY THEM AS GIFTS FOR EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Freaking genius!!!!!
4) Infant toys. Molly seriously used like three of them. If she wasn't being entertained by her older siblings, she was on the go. And once she started playing with toys, she'd much rather play with big sister's babies or big brother's dinosaurs.
5) Too many newborn pictures. I know it sounds funny, but I loved that our photographer this time took a couple key shots of baby and a few family shots. Now that we have three kids, we can't have 7 different newborn pictures of each kid blown up all over the house. Don't kill yourself trying to have an 8 hour photo shoot (you think I'm kidding but I know a lot of people who have had newborn shoots last that long). Oh, and print and frame them as soon as you can. It's nice to look up on my walls and in my frames and see all three kids- not just the older ones.
I'm out of steam for now and this is all I can think of. I feel like some things are just a no-brainer (a good video monitor, a great carseat- because I can assure you your third kid will spend a LOT of time in there!), but there are so many things I did differently this time around.
My biggest piece of advice is SIMPLIFY. Once you have more than one kid, life is so chaotic. Most of the time you are just on survival mode. Bringing too much into the picture just makes it harder on everyone. Stick with the basics and you will be just fine. I can't say enough how much easier it is to have three kids than one- and I'm not even kind of kidding. But that's another post for another day!
What are some of YOUR favorite non-first kid baby items that you bought? What are some of the things you could have definitely lived without?? Help me make a better list!