Baby’s 1st Year Survival Guide

I think every mom tries to be perfect for their first child. You want to buy all the best products, give them only the best food, read all the reviews & books your little heart can stand. That’s pretty normal. I guess most people grow out of that by the toddler years? Or maybe until their next baby comes along. Having twins made me go through this stage at warp speed. Before they were born I literally read every book and article about taking care of a baby you can imagine. I also read millions of reviews about baby products, toys, gadgets, gear, food, EVERYTHING! My brain quite possibly exploded which could be why I went into labor at 31 weeks…but I digress. I have tried to compile here some of the things I learned & the things I really did love and need. Maybe my next post will be all those things I purchased that were a waste.

Diapers
-While I was pregnant we stocked up on Pampers Swaddlers for the twins like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously we had so many diapers we didn’t have to buy any for months! I have nothing bad to say about Swaddlers, we loved them, but they’re super expensive. So I decided to try Luvs one day. -Insert “Ahh Ha” moment here- So glad I made this decision! We love Luvs! They actually work a lot better for us than the Swaddlers did, both babies started staying completely dry all night and the best part, they’re half the price!

Formula
-We all know breastmilk is best for your baby, but if you can’t breastfeed or simply don’t want to, let’s talk formula. The twins came home from the NICU on breastmilk and Enfacare which is a high calorie preemie formula. Since they were on Enfacare already, when we switched to only formula at 6 months I decided on Enfamil. We had great success with it, but its super expensive to buy for twins. One day I was at Sams Club and noticed their brand Members Mark formula looked just like the Enfamil cans. I did some reading and guess what, it’s exactly the same. So then we switched to Sams Club formula also with great success. Then at 10 months the twins started going to daycare. The daycare said they would provide Walmarts brand Parent’s Choice formula. I once again did some reading and guess what, it’s the same as Enfamil & Sam’s Club! Sams Club formula is actually the cheapest option, but since our Sam’s Club is about 45 minutes away and a Walmart is 10 minutes away, we use both interchangeably with no issues!

Solid Food
-I honestly had no idea how I wanted to feed the twins when they started eating solids at 6 months. I really wanted to do baby led weaning so that’s what I went with. Up to about 10 months they at super healthy! I cooked them salmon, chicken breast, fresh veggies, all kinds of good stuff. Then at almost a year we bought a new house, tried to move and remodel at the same time, the twins went to daycare, Andrew and I both started working more, and we totally went into survival mode. They started eating literally everything we ate. If I made frozen toaster waffles for breakfast, they ate it too. Biscuits from a can? Yep. Ravioli? Sure! Guess what? They’re both totally health and seriously the BEST eaters! They will eat everything happily!

Breast Pump
-I exclusively pumped breastmilk for the twins for the first 6 months of their life. They spent a month in the NICU so that’s how I ended up going that route. A good breast pump is a necessity! Even if you don’t pump and choose to nurse, you’re probably still going to want to pump some. I have a Medela Pump In Style Advance. This thing was a little work horse! I actually preferred it over the hospital grade pumps we could use in the NICU. Most insurance companies will provide a breast pump for free to pregnant women so be sure to check into that! I think next time I will try the Spectra S1. I’m in an exclusively pumping moms support group on Facebook (shout out to those ladies because they’re awesome and I learned sooo much from them!) and a lot of them have Spectra pumps and they are highly recommended!

Boppy Pillow
-This is actually a baby item that I wasn’t going to purchase at first. I wasn’t going to be nursing since I pumped and bottle fed so I didn’t really see the necessity in them. I was so wrong. Very last minute I bought us 2 boppy pillows and I’m glad I did! They were such a lifesaver during the newborn stage! The twins were so small (They came home at only 4lbs) so they didn’t really fit in their swings or bouncy seats for a while. I had literally nowhere to set them down at except the boppy and they loved them. The incline of being propped in the boppy kept them from spitting up a lot and they were cozy little pillows for them so rest on. I would also put them both in them next to each other and feed them at the same time. Theres so many ways you can use a boppy!

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Rock N Play
-This was another one of those things that I decided beforehand we didn’t need. After about a month of zero sleep with a baby that projectile vomited every 5 minutes, I asked to borrow the rock n play that my mother in law had at her house leftover from one of her other grandchildren. I’m SO glad I finally broke down and did that! Rhett immediately started sleeping at night and stopped puking all night long! We had tried everything else, including elevating his crib mattress. Nothing helped except the rock n play!

Bouncy Seats
-We have 2 Fisher Price My Little Snuggapuppy bouncy seats. Once the twins were big enough for them we literally used them every single day! The twins loved being bounced in them! It was one of the few things that would instantly calm them down. They also made another really easy way for me to put them side by side and feed them at the same time. The incline is really great for reflux.

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Owlet Monitor
-I’m throwing this in the middle, but PAY ATTENTION! This is hands down my most important absolute must have item on this list! Without a doubt! I ordered these for the twins when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. They had just come out of the beta testing phase and weren’t even in mass production yet. They were so not ready that I had to wait until I was 33 weeks pregnant before they even came in. So worth the wait. These are a little on the pricey side. I’m not sure what they are now, but we paid $250 a piece for them. I think they even offer a multiples discount now though. They are worth every penny! The Owlet is a little sock your baby wears on his foot. This little sock has a sensor in it that works just like a pulse ox monitor at a hospital. It sends your baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation to the base station. The base station will alert you if either one of these gets out of range. If you have wifi you can see you baby’s vitals in real time on your smart phone app, but you do not need wifi for the Owlet to work. The base station will always alert you even without wifi. I recommend these to every single pregnant woman I know because they are that important! We have had 1 red alert with Lorelei when she was about 3 months old and I have never got out of bed and ran to their room faster in my life. The peace of mind these little socks bring Andrew and I just knowing that they’re monitoring our little angels is absolutely priceless!

Mamaroo
-We originally got 2 Graco swings for the twins, but quickly learned that they did not like them. They wouldn’t sit in them for more than a minute without fussing or crying. A few months later we were so incredibly fortunate that Andrew’s aunt gifted us 2 Mamaroo’s! You read that right, she got us 2!! Thanks Aunt Margaret! My only complaint with the mamaroo is that I wish I had registered for them from the beginning! I didn’t register for them while I was pregnant because they were expensive and I didn’t think they were really that much different than a regular swing. Ha! The Mamaroo is amazing! It’s totally different than a regular swing and the twins love them! Lorelei still naps in her Mamaroo every day!

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Sit Me Up Floor Seat
-The Fisher Price Sit Me Up Floor Seat is amazing. Around 3 months the twins really wanted to see what all was going on in their world. They wanted to look around, but with two of them I just could not hold them all the time. This is where the sit me up comes in handy. It has a really high back support so your baby has a little help holding his head up and they can comfortably sit up and watch everything. It also has little toy hooks on the top. We lovingly call this the “shit me up” though because the twins always pooped as soon as they got comfortably in it. Good news is if you have a blow out in it, the cover comes off easily and can go right into the washing machine!

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Straw Sippy Cups
-At 6 months we started introducing the twins to solid foods and sippy cups. We tried so many sippy cups. They knew exactly what to do with the cups. They would hold them perfectly and put the spout straight to their mouth, but they just could not figure out that you had to tilt your head back and lean the cup up to get any liquid out. We got some Munchkin straw cups and we never looked back! They immediately drank from the straw cups with no problems! Around 9 months they even started weaning from their bottles and only wanted their formula in their sippy cups. The Munchkin straw cups have little caps that fold over the straw for travel and they straws are no spill! Trust me, these get thrown all over our kitchen and they don’t spill!

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Burp Cloths & Bibs
-You can never have too many burp cloths or bibs! It does not matter what they look like! They will get stained and dirty so who cares if you have a girl and they’re blue! The Gerber prefold cloth diapers make awesome burp cloths!

Baby Jail
-When the twins were big enough to sit up unassisted I got the Summer Infant play yard for our living room. Just one is small so I opened it up and used it as a big gate to block off half of our living room for them, but I have seen people who bought multiple ones and connected them to make a giant baby jail pen. Baby jail is essential when they get mobile! It keeps them contained and safe!

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I’m sure I forgot some important things, but my mom brain is fried for the night! If there’s something you couldn’t live without, leave it in the comments!

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Sep 06, 2016 @ 21:15:25

    Kayla, y’all so welcome for the mamaroos. We had one with Cody and honestly, I do not how anyone survives without them. The closest thing to a mother’s arms. We love Lorelei and Rhett so much!!

    Reply

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