My Top 10 All Time Favorite Baby Products

 Who says  Butt Paste  is only for butts?

Who says Butt Paste is only for butts?

After two children, I feel like i have enough data to be qualified to select the top ten products that helped make early life with the babies a little bit easier.  It's also just so overwhelming when you are stocking up for the incoming bundle of joy - there is so much to buy!  Everyone is different and has different needs so I tried to color my list with why I liked it or what made it work for us.   I've also included Amazon affiliate links for each - this is not only for you to easily purchase, but it also helps me fund the Nanny Share Connect service (I spend a fair amount on ads so you all can find the site!).  So, without further ado...

  1. The Baby Bjorn - We liked this so much we bought a backup since the babies sometimes spit up on it. The freedom to walk around the house and have access to using both your arms is priceless. My little ones would pass out in it really quickly and when they were front facing (around the 6 month mark) they loved wandering around the house, store, park, wherever riding in it. It was also awesome for taking short walks when I had to take the dog out or just wanted to get out of the house for a bit. I also traveled alone with the baby a few times and it was so helpful to be able to carry my bags (again, access to both arms) while having the baby attached to me as tried to get off and on planes, use the restroom (yes I peed with baby attached to me), buy a water… . If you are thinking about buying this, just do it! It’s a little pricey - put it on your registry or look online or at local kid resale shops for used ones - they definitely hold up so a used one should work just great.

  2. Medela Breast Pump - if you're a nursing mom who is going back to work, wants to take a break from the late night feedings, or needs to increase milk production, or all of the above, this thing is great. It comes packaged up in a handy backpack or tote that is easy to carry and has storage for the milk bottles and accessories. It also comes with an ice pack and zipper bag to store the milk and keep it cold if you don't have access to a fridge right away. The bottles come in different sizes and have different slow to fast flow nipples. There are also BPA free freezer storage bags that were fairly easy to use. Breast feeding was really important to me and this little thing allowed me to go back to work pretty quickly after each of my children were born and allow me to breastfeed them well into their first year. I didn't buy a breast pumping bra, I just cut holes into an old bra to hold the breast shields into place. Every $ counts, right?

  3. Linen Swaddle Wraps - These things got softer with each wash and were the perfect size to wrap up my littles ones for nap or bedtime. Once you get the technique down, swaddling is easy and I truly believe it helped them sleep in those early months. These also work great as a light blanket for car rides or if you want to throw it over the stroller for cover. They come in beautiful prints and both my kids ended up making them their "lovies" aka the blanket they cannot do without.

  4. Bob Jogging Stroller - There are lots of strollers on the market but this one kept catching my eye while I was researching. I'll list out the pros below. After our second child, we bought the double stroller version used from someone in the neighborhood, good for all the same reasons.

    • Nice smooth ride

    • Designed for running, definitely helped get me back in shape

    • Easily foldable

    • Easily converted to Graco infant carrier with this

    • Nice sized under seat pouch

    • Water bottle holder within child's seat

  5. Turtle Star Night Light - this is so simple but I love it. It projects beautiful stars on the ceiling and walls, batteries seem to last a long time, and it's great night light. Every kid needs cute little night lights. Turns out my kids need more than one... We also just got these cute Cat Night Lights this past Christmas- this one is also super simple but darn cute. If you don't like the idea of battery powered lights, the cat is can be charged via USB. It does only last for a night or two if you leave it on all night but it also charges really fast. We've been out of power and plugged it in right before bedtime and in about 10 minutes, it's charged enough to last until they fall asleep.

  6. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother - I thought this was discontinued but lo and behold, it is currently available on Amazon. We got this one for our first child and she still requires it at bedtime (she’s 6). We also got one for our son and you can hear them both hitting the play button in the middle of the night, not fully awake of course up but cognizant enough to touch the right button to play the soothing songs / ocean sounds again. The music and sound of the waves eventually started soothing even me! Batteries last for quite awhile (we got rechargeables of course) and it can attach to the crib which is really convenient.

  7. Cute Storage Bins - I blinked and we had more stuffed animals and toys than I knew what to do with. I love the big round one for stuffed animals and the square box one for toys. I also donate toys pretty often to keep the clutter down. Now that the kids are older, it's a good lesson to have them choose what toys they give away.

  8. Baby Bouncer - Our little one would bounce and play with the attached toys / distractions for at least 30 minutes and sometimes even a full hour! I could cook, clean, etc and know she was safe and mildly entertained. Watching those little chubby legs push to jump was also super cute. Put on some dance music, get cleaning, cooking, or whatever you need to get done!

  9. Butt Paste - Yup, butt paste. Dr. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, in fact. This stuff was fast and effective when my kids had a rash. Just keep it out of the reach of your little one... Our son managed to climb up on the baby changing table, find the butt paste, open it, and rub it all over his arms and legs. He was a white, pasty mess but very pleased with himself.

  10. Babyganics Wipes - we went through a few different brands but this is the one I eventually stuck with. We still use these for face, hands, and yes, butts. Subscribe to save 5% and recurring deliveries on Amazon so you don’t even have to think baby wipes anymore.

Nanny Shares from a Nanny's Perspective

Our first guest post comes from Kelsey Granger, a nanny who not only loves her job, but loves nanny shares!   

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     During the summer of 2016 I moved to Seattle on a whim and shortly after started my life there as a nanny. I had no idea what a nanny share was when I began my first job.  I was totally content watching only 14-month old Sully each day - I’d discovered a renewed love for play-doh and legos! After a couple months Sully's mom presented me with an idea - the opportunity to care for a 6-month old baby girl for a few hours each day along with Sully.  Given my love for infants, I jumped at the chance. (The two moms had met at a work conference and just so happened to live within 1.5 miles of each other.) And so began my first nanny share!

     There are many benefits that come from sharing a nanny but perhaps the greatest one was the opportunity for little Anya and Sully to interact each day. Anya idolized Sully—they laughed together, cried together, played together and Sully even held Anya’s hand as she took her first steps. Seeing the two interact was truly special! I loved that the nanny share allowed Sully and Anya to learn and practice skills, like sharing, communication, and playing nicely with others that they may not have been as likely to practice otherwise.

      One of the first challenges when deciding to nanny share is usually figuring out whether just one family or both families will host the kids. In my situation, Sully was the primary kid I cared for so Anya’s parents would bring her over to Sully’s house for about 5 hours out of the 8 that I was there with Sully.  With the families living so close to each other this worked out very well! Anya came over each day with a tote filled with food, formula, diapers, wipes, and extra clothes. Sully (usually) loved sharing his toys with her, one less thing for mom to pack!

      Another challenge is the initial adjustment period while figuring out naps, feedings, and trying to coordinate the potential different (and ever changing!) schedules of the kids. I found there to be a lot of trial and error before deciding on a schedule that worked best for the children in my nanny shares. At first I tried doing opposite nap/feeding schedules with Sully and Anya but the one that was awake was usually a little loud and would end up waking the other. I then put them on the same schedule and this worked out much better. Feedings involved a little compromise as I had to prepare food for Sully but also spoon feed Anya.  However, once I got a routine down everything ran smoothly.

 One of my favorite things to do as a nanny is take the children out for walks. I enjoy getting some exercise in and the kids that are old enough to walk love running around the park and playing on the slides and swings. With multiple kids, a double stroller is ideal but that might not be an option if neither nanny share family has one. What worked well for me was using a body carrier like a Baby Bjorn for one child while the other rode in the stroller. When the kids outgrew the carriers, I just shortened the walks and they switched off between walking (or me holding them) and riding in the stroller.

After nannying for Sully for about 10 months, his family ended up moving away. I began working full-time caring for Anya and at the same time began searching online for another family for a potential nanny share. I didn’t have much success looking online. Ideally you’d like the two families to live close by but with sites like it’s not easy to tell where exactly a family is located. Luckily Anya’s mom was able to find a second nanny share through their PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) Group. They lived close by so I walked with Anya over to their house once a week and watched both kids for the day.

My third nanny share came about when Anya’s mom met some neighbors with 16 month old twin girls. The twins’ mom would bring the girls over for a few hours in the middle of the day and the three little ones had a wonderful time playing together. The twins had recently started talking and it was the sweetest thing when they both immediately learned our names and started yelling “Kiki” and “Anya” in excitement each day on their way over to Anya’s house.

Another benefit with nanny shares that ended up helping me tremendously is the increase in pay. Living in Seattle on my own and trying to support my life there along with my other fixed monthly expenses was not easy. With two families contributing to my salary, I was able to make a few extra dollars per hour while the families ended up paying less - a win-win for all!

My three nanny sharing gigs were completely different in terms of logistics but all were such amazing experiences for both the kids and myself. The financial benefits were a lifesaver and it was truly special being able to witness the relationships formed between the little ones. I plan to continue being a nanny to multiple kids and I’m excited to spread the word about it!

- Kelsey Granger