Since the twins have arrived I have discovered a few essentials that I could not live without. Some geniuses somewhere cooked up these little wonders to make life so much easier for mamas. Disclaimer: I am not associated with any of these companies or distributors. I just love a smoking deal and I love a cool gadget. Prepare to have your mind blown.
1. BABY BREZZA PERFECT TEMP KETTLE (Get it at Babies R Us for $49.99).
This little unit holds water at the PERFECT temperature for preparing formula and keeps it there. Adding this perfectly warm water to pre-measured powder at 2 am is much quicker than trying to reheat a premade bottle from the fridge. We keep ours upstairs so we don’t have to traipse down to the kitchen in the middle of the night. I love this little beauty so much I kiss it when I go to sleep every night. I realize a good portion of the population has boobs to do this job for them (you lucky broads) but for the rest of us gals who have to rely on formula, this little beaut will be your new BFF.2. MOBY WRAP (Get it from Well.ca for $59.99 + free shipping)
Now I am not one of those overenthusiastic mamas who wear their kid around day and night for pure hellery (not that there is anything wrong with that). For me, babywearing is about last ditch effort/survival mode. Your kid is freaking out and nothing is working. You are trying to get groceries and have 2 babies, 2 carseats, a shopping cart, a preschooler. I’ve got to walk my oldest to the bus and I’m afraid the gravel road full of potholes and horse turds will cause Shaken Baby Syndrome if I take the stroller. Its the middle of the night and you need to blog. Baby starts bawling at supper time and you realize you haven’t eaten all day. You know, crucial emergency situations like that. I bust out the Moby and stuff one or two of my lil gremlins in there. BOOM – instantly easier. I prefer the Moby because its easy to adjust to any body size. I have a long back and a lot of the “pre-fab” carriers on the market don’t fit properly. The lower back support strap may be digging into crucial bloodflow to my kidneys for example. The Moby is not like that. Its soft and has a little stretch to it, and the way you wrap it supports your baby in a cozy hug while not making you wish you could amputate your back. It’s also pretty reasonable priced for a wrap as there are some out there in the $150+ range which I find a bit ridiculous. I want my kids to go to college someday, not stay home wrapped onto me at age 30 so I can’t justify shelling out that kind of dough for an item I will only use for a few months. Bear in mind that I have massive children (my “preemies” are now in the 89% for full term babies – ya, I’m not lugging 50 lb of kid around thanks all the same). If you have tiny tykes it may be worth it to spend a bit more on a wrap if you will get more wear out of it.
Moby Wraps doesn’t include info on wrapping twins in their instruction booklet but I am here to tell you it can be done! You can find lots of informative videos on youtube. This doesn’t work very well when they get larger but who would want to pack two super heavy kids by that point anyway? I walked the dog with two babies in the wrap. Make sure both little chins are up so the airways are open.
3. BOPPY PILLOW (Get it from Amazon.ca for $51.95)
These little jobbies are a lifesaver for new moms. They have a variety of uses, including wrapping around your waist to support baby while nursing and propping up babies that are too little to sit on their own. We used ours a lot in the first days home from the NICU with the twins because we could feed both babies a bottle at once and it kept them elevated so they wouldn’t aspirate and to reduce ear infection risk. These come up for sale all the time on kijiji and kids’ stuff for sale groups on facebook.
4. NEILMED NASAL ASPIRATOR and single use saline vials kit (Get it from drugstore.com for $9.99) I did pick mine up from Shoppers.
This little box is a miraculous discovery. Nasal aspirators are an absolute must for babies as they get super congested but can’t blow their lil snozz. This package comes with single use vials of saline solution to soften the boogers. I found the vials were pretty large for a baby, but definitely more hygenic than using the same bottle over and over for months on end. Plus you can easily pop one in the diaper bag for snot removal on the go. The aspirator is the best I have seen. It has a flexible, shaped tip that is see-through for ultimate snot sucking pleasure. It pops apart for easy cleaning. Love, love, love my snot sucker.
5. MOMMY HOOK (Get it from Babies R’ Us for $8.99)
This little hook is every mom’s secret weapon. It is much less expensive than getting an extra set of arms surgically attached. It clips onto your stroller and carries hefty bags of groceries, diaper bags, you name it. An unforeseen use I found is to use it as a “tow hook” for my Cars-obsessed preschooler. When we are in a parking lot I don’t have a spare hand to push the double stroller AND hang on to him. I simply tell him to hook onto his “tow hook” and he dutifully hangs on to it while we safely cross the parking lot. He thinks its a lot of fun and its saved me a lot of sanity (well, a small shred of the very small scab of sanity I had remaining). Well worth the price!
6. JU JU BE DIAPER BAG (Get it from Enfant Style Babies for $194.99)
Ok, this is definitely more of a luxury item than a necessity but HOT DAMN, who wouldn’t want one? I am a little anal when it comes to organization and I love the bajillion little pouches, zippered areas, mesh pockets and insulated bottle pouches on these bags. They all come with light coloured lining so your diaper bag isn’t a bottomless black vortex. These bags are built to take a beating. Hands down toughest, most versatile and handy bag I’ve had in my 7 year career of spawning offspring. I bought the biggest ass one they have (marketed for over packers and moms of twins – guilty on both counts). You can fit a load into this bad boy. They come in a variety of styles and sizes for all tastes and budgets. I also own the tote bag which I used as a hospital bag during labour/delivery and also as a beach bag. I am now eyeing up the new hobo bag that is a purse/light day trip diaper bag. Mom’s should get excited about things once in a blue moon. If a snazzy diaper bag does it for you, hey, whatever floats your boat.
7. GRACO DUO 2-in-1 SWING AND BOUNCER (Get it from Babies R’ Us for $199)
You are probably going to want to marry me after I tell you about this next apparatus. The brainiacs at Graco have come up with a 2-in-1 dealio that is a swing AND a bouncer all in one. When the twins were born there were SIX of us living in a singlewide mobile home. That is insanity. Where were we going to stack all the mountains of baby crap that you have to buy for the little varmints? Never fear. This unit is a full swing with all the wishy-washy ocean noises/music. The seat also snaps off so you can use it as a bouncer separately. Lets say lil Junior falls asleep in the swing and you want to shower. Unsnap the bouncer and carry the sleeping angel into the bathroom so you can keep an eye on the lil gaffer while enjoying some well deserved personal hygeine. I love that I don’t have to find space for a bouncer AND a swing. Space saving, cost saving. The other bonus is that this unit runs on both batteries AND plugs into the wall so you have lots of versatility and aren’t constantly having to fork out $ for expensive batteries. As if that wasn’t enough awesomeness for one machine, the bouncer seat also has several vibrating modes. So when your kid is REALLY in a lather, pop em in the swing, crank that bad boy onto full blast AND turn on the vibration. Poor lil gaffer won’t know what hit him and will be passed out in no time flat. You are welcome. PS – I bought 2 of these lil jobbies off kijiji for $70 each so shop around, eh?
8. MEDELA BREAST PUMP (Get it at Babies R’ Us for $379.00)
If you have experienced the joys of childbirth already you are well aware of the wonderful surprise that is awaiting you when your milk comes in. I was apparently a Holstein cow in a past life, and no teeny tiny baby is going to be a match for those gazoongas. Every mama who is planning to lactate, even if she is going to be exclusively nursing, should have one of these on her Christmas list. There are times you will NEED one, and NOTHING…I repeat NOTHING will suffice like a good, kick ass industrial strength milking machine. Er, breast pump. Whatever the medical term is. These are lifesavers. They will come in handy to relieve engorgement (tread lightly here, we don’t want to encourage the girls to work overtime, we just want a bit of relief), pumping when baby is overnight at Gramma’s house (PRAISE THE LORD), pumping to stimulate better milk production if its slow coming in (such as the case when my twins were premature), stocking up for later (such as when you know weaning is imminent), working out clogged ducts to prevent mastitis…you get the picture. There is nothing on this earth worth more to a mama than having her boobs drained when she is engorged. Trust me on this. You will contemplate cutting them off. Do not even entertain the thought of those ridiculous handheld plastic manual things. They are a freaking joke. You need the big guns when it comes to your big guns. These are hellishly expensive but they are worth it. For one, they will pay for themselves when you don’t hack your boobs off 3 days post partum. Two, they will save your sanity (husbands are not very good at milking FYI). Three, every single mom needs one of these so they will hold their resale value. This is a good brand (same brand as used in hospitals). You won’t regret it. You may think “I don’t need that, I will save my money” and then at 3 am your poor sleep deprived hubby will be at the pharmacy trying to rent one. Do your boobs a favour and invest in their future happiness.
Side note: funny story. I went out on a “Mommy’s Day Out” when my first born was a newbie. I took along my sleek boob pump in its nifty backpack. We went along with a super sweet new-to-Canada mama. English was her second language. When we arrived at our destination I cheerfully told the ladies to go on ahead. I had to pump in the car, then I would catch up. This poor new-to-Canada mama thought pump was the same thing as poop. She was horrified I was having a quick poop in the car before continuing on with our day. Bahahaha! Every time I think about breast pumps I think about pooping in a car. But I digress.
Side note #2: another funny story. When I first purchased my breast pump 7 years ago I didn’t heed the advice and plan ahead. I was in a throbbing snivelling pile of tears and phoned my Dad (Mr. Oilfield Professional) to please, please, for the dear love of God and all things holy, stop at the store and get a pump. Well turns out my Dad was having some kind of important lunch meeting with an oilfield vac specialist. Bless my dear old Dad, he took that vac specialist to the Babies R’ Us store with him and they shopped for a boob pump together for me. See, I have all kinds of awesome anecdotes about boob pumps!
9. SEVEN SLINGS (Get it from Seven Slings FOR FREE! Just pay shipping! Saaaaweeeeeeet!)
This isn’t the best baby carrying device on the market…but it is FREE. I also love that it is very light weight and folds up tiny so you can jam it in your diaper bag or pocket. Moby Wraps, for example, are a ton of fabric and really take up space when you are on the go. I have a freebie Seven Sling with me everywhere I go in case of emergency. They have been free (regular $48) for quite a while, but the coupon codes are constantly evolving. Just google “Seven slings promo codes” and you should get a current one come up. They are pretty decent for the price (har har), have a bit of stretch to them and come in lots of fun prints. Definitely not a hardcore babywearers apparatus but do in a pinch when you have a total meltdown or are trying to feed two babies at once in the mall.
10. BABY TRENDS SNAP AND GO STROLLER (Get it at Babies R’ Us for $99)
I will admit that the first time I saw these strollers I thought “What a rip! Talk about lame!” It looks like a lot of cheese to drop on a frame with wheels. The reality is, folks, you need this. Bad. This stroller will accommodate pretty much any model of infant carseat on the market. Just snap the kidlet out of the base in the mama van and snap them into the stroller frame. Away ya go. I cannot emphasize how much you will need simplicity like this in some facet of your life. You do not want to wake the beast to transfer them from carseat to stroller. You do not want a giant monstrosity that weighs 67 lb that you need a degree in engineering to operate. Keep it simple (sweetie). This is a beaut. I rue the day when my kids outgrow this unit 😦 sniff sniff. As an aside, I paid $50 for my double one so check for a gently used one. People don’t use them for long as most kidlets outgrow their infant seats in a flash.
Baby Trends also sells the ingenious SIT AND STAND stroller ($199) for families with a baby and an older tyke. The front will accomodate an infant carseat and later an older baby while the back has a little step and bench seat for an active toddler. We used one of these strollers when our Bigs were younger. We took it to Disneyland and it was perfect. Our oldest was able to ride to our destinations then hop off and run around like a mad fool. Gives them a little more freedom than a traditional double stroller (note: you can seatbelt the little wildy on if need be).
Please note: after reading this list and thinking “Holy hot shit, how does this woman afford all this frou-frou crap? Is she rich?” I assure you that no, I am not rich. I am a savvy shopper. It is a full contact sport I tells ya! I do a lot of my shopping online (mostly because I shop in the dead of night and also because I live in the boonies. And really, who would take 4 kids out in public?) When I find an item that I am interested in (and have checked reviews) I start searching for a gently used one locally through kijiji or kids’ items for sale facebook groups. Lots of stuff is at least 1/2 price and hardly worn at all (danged kids grow up too fast). I also do a lot of shopping on ebay, watch for promo codes, and keep an eye on super duper flash sale sites like www.babyheist.com and www.babysteals.com. You can get some really great discounts (even 60% off) on items that are brand name and very popular. Anything that you can’t find good deals on put on your baby registry mwahahahaha!!! Happy shopping!
I hope this boring product review was of some help to mamas. If you are not a mama and found this mind numbingly boring…better luck next time Jack.