The Lexi Awards! Best baby items {0-3 months}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, New Mom Experience, PRODUCTS

{I really meant to do this post a month or two ago, but the way life with a baby is, what we want isn’t always possible. However, better late than never. I will attempt to do the 3-9 months one on time by starting it early}

As a first time mom, I had NO idea what I was going to need, aside from the basics, and more importantly what Alexis was going to like. So I held off buying most things until Alexis was here. With our daughter having such a determined personality and having a strong opinion about things she did or did not like, I literally went through hundreds of products and items in search of something that would work for her.

I am glad I did, because when I found that perfect product, there was nothing else needed. It helped that I had the opportunity to review many items and figure out which ones work best for Lexi without having to spend a ton of money.

Well, now that we have figured it out, I present to you:

Some of the items are subjective things, like books or seating or things that didn’t work out for us, but others are truly the best I found on the market. I hope this list helps first time parents discover things they would have otherwise never known about. These are my (and my husband’s) opinions, not a review of any sort, and they have nothing to do with whether I originally got the item for a review, as a hand me down or bought it myself. This is all about what worked BEST for Alexis.

Please note: This is 0-3 Months only. Some things have changed after 3 months, others stayed as favorites.

Best developmental toy: Whimmer Ferguson Black and White Board & Mobile

I’ve been gushing over this board since day one. Alexis has always been a VERY visual child and she loved and still loves it. It’s a fairly large board with black and white pictures on it and a kid-safe but undistorted mirror on the back. The pictures on the board are really captivating to the little ones. Since she was 2 days old, she’s been staring at the little baby and the fish and the snowflake. Each time a new image would grab her attention and she’d spend minutes (which is hours in newborn terms) observing it. We placed the board onto the changing table and she would look at it EACH TIME. We would also move it into the crib during the day and take with us to the car and place it in front of her for the rides. We often talked about buying a second board so that we could have one at home and one in the car, but never got around to ordering it. Now that she’s a big girl (5 months), we flipped the board in the car to the mirror side and as long as she wasn’t tired, our short car sides are full of laughter (at herself) and quiet times (when she’s trying to figure out who’s that girl chewing on a teether). She is still very interested in the black and white pictures, but the mirror side is a novelty for her. I figure that we’ll keep flipping it back and forth, keeping it new and interesting.

The mobile has the same types of pictures, but unlike most other mobiles, those pictures face down, so the baby can look at them better. The images are interchangeable, so once you no longer need black and white, you can pop in other coloful or red and black pictures in there.

Best book: Cat in the hat

I have to admit I’m not a fan of all the traditional baby books like Good Night Moon, etc.  I like books like have a different type of rhyme like Dr Suess’ rhyme and Alexis seems to enjoy a long story flow rather than short baby books. We pulled out The cat in the Hat because it was one of the only books that seems to have fewer colors, and mostly red, black and white, which is good for little babies. And since it was the first book introduced to her, she is very attached to it and loves listening to the story over and over again.

Best cloth book: Circus Mcgurkus or Lamaze Peekaboo books

We love cloth books here! Partially because they are usually very interactive, partially because you can put them in your mouth. Alexis gets such a kick out of peekaboo type books like Peekaboo Forest or their new Peekaboo Doggy book. She actually laughed the first time I read it to her. Circus Mcgurcus is her favorite because it’s short and bright with a lot of sounds. Now that she is older she loves touching all the features and opening the flaps.

Best tummy time positioner: Infantino

While I did read that tummy time positioners aren’t that great because they “help” babies focus on the visual aspect of tummy time ( looking around and seeing more) rather than working on their skills, I find it cruel to just use tummy time as a “drill”. Tummy time in the first month has to also be a time for enjoyment, time for something new, a family activity. What’s wrong with helping babies enjoy a somewhat unpleasant acitivity done from birth? We used Infantino until she was able to pick herself up more comfortably. It’s basically a wedge that gets them up and looking around so they don’t hate tummy time so much. I think it even plays music, but we never used that feature. The mirror and the toys are nice too, but again Alexis was more interested in seeing what was beyond the toys. Alexis never had problems with tummy time, she was a trouper. I am not sure whether the positioner helped her enjoy it more from the beginning and that’s why it’s always been her favorite activity, or it’s just a coincidence but I really like this one a lot more than soft positioners like Boppy or others.

Best changing pad: Naturepedic

Changing pad and mattress being organic has always been a priority for us, because of the amount of time babies spend on them. We bought a Naturepedic mattress for the crib, but Alexis hasn’t been sleeping there, so I can’t say much about it, except that it gives me the peace of mind that she isn’t bombarded by carcinogenic fire retardants when she does lie there (I really want to do a separate post about BFR) . But the changing pad has been used A LOT. Somehow I thought we’d have a little changing station downstairs and also change her in her nursery. Well, reality kicked in and the most comfortable place to change her is on the changing table in our bedroom. So I moved the Naturepedic changing pad there and I like knowing that the polyeurathane foam (what standard changing pads are made of) and fireretardants that the foam is usually sprayed with aren’t being inhaled by Alexis 6-10 times a day. We also have a cheap $25 organic changing pad but the quality just can’t be compared. I know the Naturepedic pad will last us until Alexis is no longer diapered.

Best blanket: Shi Shu

Both my husband and I can’t stop singing praises to this blanket. It’s a name heard a lot in our household (“Get me Shi Shu, please! Did you wash Shi Shu? Can you grab Shi Shu?”) We had a lavender Shi Shu before Alexis was born but didn’t really go crazy over it until our girl arrived. There’s something about Shi Shu that is missing in other blankets. It’s thick but breathable, it’s heavy but not too much, it’s pretty, it’s well made, it’s large, it’s warm but not hot and it’s so soft. After the initial Shi Shu we bought 2 more in pink and oatmeal on a MYHABIT sale for $26 and I sent one to my sister who’s expecting in a package labeled “Baby must haves”. It’s a perfect blanket to take to the pedi with you to cover your baby while she’s naked, to cover her while she’s sleeping, to keep on her while in an air conditioned car, to prop on her side during naps and a million other uses.

Best body wash: Lavanila The Healthy Baby Wash

Again, if you’re a long time reader, you know all about Lavanila, since I’ve written about it. But I am still very impressed with the company and their products. Since I discovered them through a PR agency I work with, I have been a die hard fan. I’ve used nothing but Lavanila wash for bathing Alexis and the one time I ran out of it before I was able to order more, we had to use a different body wash (won’t point fingers). Well, a tiny bit of soap diluted with water got into Alexis eyes and our poor baby was shaking and crying so hard! We had never had to deal with being afraid to get soap or water in her eyes until now and neither did she. After that episode, my husband sternly told me to get my butt over to my computer and order as many Lavanila Washes as I can so that we’d never run out. Besides, being a truly “no tears” wash, it smells heavenly, foams perfectly and cleans so well without irritating. Oh and of course, unlike most conventional brands it has ONLY the healthy ingredients and nothing questionable.

Best carrier: Nordic

I’ve tried 3 hard carriers, a sling and two wraps and while I love most of them for different reasons, if I had to name one carrier I keep going back to, it’s Nordic by Lille Baby. I love its structure and its feel, it had an infant head support that wasn’t a down comforter (like in Ergo) and my favorite feature is the configuration that allows your to carry your baby with legs out as an infant (facing in), not in a frog leg position like other carrier. Lexi hated the frog leg position in everything but the Boba carrier, but her favorite is definitely legs out, facing in, and then later legs out, facing out. Nordic makes facing out safe(-r) than, let’s say, Baby Bjorn, because the seat is still pretty wide and she gets to maintain that hips spread position that is  so important for proper hip development.

Best organic clothing brand: Finn&Emma

I’ve written about Finn&Emma before and out of many many organic brands that I love, I have to say that their styles and quality appeal to me the most. Because they are pretty expensive and rarely go on sale, once Alexis is older and doesn’t grow out of her clothes so fast, I’d like to buy a few more Finn&Emma clothes.

Best organic non-muslin swaddle: ModSwad


This has been our savior. You can read a full review here, but ModSwad swaddles are one of the pieces in the puzzle that I’ve been putting together since Lexi was born, the puzzle named:”SLEEP“. Her naps became so much better after I bought my first Modswad. She slepts for 2 hours, the first time in her life. I won’t go on. If you’re interested, read the details here.

Best muslin swaddle: Bambino Land organic

The only muslin swaddle Alexis wouldn’t break out of. It’s a bit less stretchy than A&A swaddles, which allows for a tighter fit when swaddling. I also love their Hawaiian designs.

Best diaper cream: Lavanila

The absolute best!!!! It took me 4 different diaper creams to find the perfect one. I needed one that had zinc oxide, so that healing could occur, but without all the nasties like mineral oil or parabens. This was it! A little goes a long way, it’s not expensive and cleared up Lexi’s diaper rash in a day or two. Read more here

Best organic toys: Apple Park

Again, like with everything, I bought or received several different organic and non-organic but PVC/Pthalates/BPA/plastic-free toys to see what we/she  liked. We have Haba toys which are great for a slightly older baby, Miyim toys that I attach to the gym and stroller, but our absolute winners are Apple park toys. I’m in love with the critter collection and totally getting the picnic pal blanket edit: got a picnic pal blanket and then another and another. The best toys for little ones, that for sure. I’ll be writing more about toys that we’ve been going through.

Best teether: Lifefactory

I cannot TELL YOU how awesome this thing is. This was the first teether she was able to hold on her own and she’s still in love with it. Everyone who followed my advice and bought it loves it just as much. It’s a simple silicone ring that is very easy to grasp with two hands (especially for young babies) and shove into their mouths. It’s perfectly soft and chewy with great surface for itching gums.  You don’t have to do the guesswork and/or research to find out if it has any bpa, pvc and other nasties. We lost our original pink one and I didn’t hesitate to order two more. Recently (during her 0-3m period) we had to drive 54 minutes out of town and I was dreading it, considering how she gets so bored and tired in the car. The teether and the mirror are what saved my butt. She spent the whole time obsessively chewing on her ring and watching herself in the mirror. Almost every other teether we’ve tried quickly falls down and needs to be placed back into her mouth, but this one just stays in and is easy for her to pick up and chew on it even if she does drop it.

Best seating: Kicking Coaster

We went through 4 or 5 baby seats and bouncers until we tried the Kicking Coaster. You can read the review in detail here, but here’s what made this seat work for us: SOMETHING TO KICK :) haha. Babies love to kick and Lexi would get really bored in most seats. Here she has leg support, she can kick and hear music while she does it, the seat slides back and forth so it makes it even more fun for her and the biggest thing is it’s STURDY. I cannot see how it’s possible for a baby to tip this thing over, which is somewhat a concern in other bouncy seats. And as she grows, it grows with her, since you can adjust the length of it. It doesn’t have toys hanging over, which is my only complaint, but it’s easy enough to fix with a toy arch, like this one from Tiny Love. Now that Lexi is 5 months, its the only seat she’ll sit in and let me cook for a few minutes, because she has too much fun gliding herself back and forth while kicking the pad.

Best bottle warmer: Kiinde

See full review here. I don’t use bottles anymore. I sort of gave up on the whole prospect of leaving her with someone and a bottle, but for the short period that we did use frozen breastmilk and in case I change my mind or if I were still pumping and feeding her from a bottle, this is BY FAR the best bottle warmer to have. When I was pregnant, I searched high and low for the perfect bottle warmer that wouldn’t lose nutrients and antibodies in the heating process and will not break milk proteins down, as well as create hot spots and other issues most bottle warmers have. This is IT!

Best rocker: Mutsy Babysitter

This rocker was our savior for quite a few months while Alexis had an issue with reflux. Basically, the babysitter is just a frame that the Mutsy stroller’s seat pops into. The frame rocks ( as in goes back and forth, but also rocks, as in “rules, is awesome, dope, etc”), so I’d spend hours sitting on my chair working on my computer while Alexis is all nice and snug in the babysitter, with my foot constantly rocking it. It doesn’t have a “stop” like the RNP, so if your baby needs more than a light rock, the babysitter will deliver. What also helped is that the seat has multiple recline positions, so depending on how she was feeling that day with reflux, I’d either keep it somewhat upright or recline it a bit.

Best sunblock: Lavanila

I took my time researching sunblock and while I haven’t tried other safe alternatives, I did compare Lavanila sunblock to most grocery store baby brands and there’s no comparison. I don’t think people should knowgly be using most of the traditional brands of sunblock on their babies, they are FULL of chemicals. We used Lavanila sunblock just a few days ago for the boat trip and it went on smoothly and easily and protected Lexi as much as her UPF50+ swimsuit did

Best swing: Fisher Price Snugabunny

While struggling with reflux and Alexis waking up every 10 minutes because of it, we were grasping at straws for things that would make her sleep longer. At one point we ordered 3 swings from Amazon just to see if either one of them would work. We already had the Fisher Price Papasan swing that was a hand-me-down, and it wasn’t doing anything for her. I had read good things about the SnugaBunny and decided to try it out. She did take to it much more than the Papasan. The seat seemed more cosy and she did spend a month or so ocassionally sleeping in it for naps. Eventually, though, the sleeping stopped, but we still use it on the rare day that she just won’t go to sleep to calm her down and get her prepped for bed.

Best non-jogging stroller: Mutsy 4Rider

I spent days researching strollers when I was pregnant. Honestly, I was completely lost. I looked at US, as well as European, manufacturers (btw, did you know that the british term for a stroller is a “pushchair“. Sounds so funny and so cool. “Let’s go for a walk in a pushchair!” *said with a british accent), read about features, looked at prices and in the end just couldn’t decide anything. Stroller shopping just sucks. And it sucks even more for a first time mom because you literally have no clue what you’ll need. Now that I have Alexis who is also very opinionated about things she likes and doesn’t, I have a better handle on what’s really necessary in a stroller. As a general all-in-one stroller, Mutsy 4 Rider is the best, hands down. The seat is adjustable to any recline, it becomes rear facing in 30 seconds, it has a bassinet that you can attach to it. Plus a million other features I’ll be showing yo,u guys, in a video in the coming months. It is basically THE only stroller one needs. Ever. The only trade-off  is it’s heavy and isn’t compact.

Best bath: Cleanwater Tub

This is one of our most favorite items of all time. It’s an awesome tub that cycles water through constantly and keeps the baby from sitting in dirty bath water. You don’t need to rinse the baby off, you don’t need to worry about the temperature since there’s a built in electronic temperature gauge. Some people might say it’s not necessary, but from the day we started using it, both my husband and I always comment on how pleasant our experience with bathing is BECAUSE of the cleanwater tub is. We usually end Lexi’s bath with a mutual “oh, what would we do without our Cleanwater tub!” Silly, but we do enjoy it a lot.

Best swimsuits: Lourdes

I CANNOT, for the life of me, find these swimsuits ANYWHERE. I bought two on Zulily and by the time they arrived they were already too small even though I got a 6m and a 9m size. They are my absolute favorite but I cannot find Lourdes Mini anywhere. Zulily needs to run another sale.

Best wrap: K’tan

As much as I love Moby for its stretchiness and the big size and versatility, most of the time when I am doing things around the house, I just simply DO NOT have time to mess with the wraping. I just grab K’tan, which is a “wrapped” version of Moby and put it on. Much easier. It has its pluses and minuses, just like Moby, and you can read all about the wrap in a review in a few weeks, but when it comes to throwing something on very quickly, I always go to K’tan.

Best baby body lotion: Lavanila

Lavanila just rocks. It smells amazing, the lotion is light and spreads well, it’s completely non-toxic and safe. There’s just not much more to it. It’s the best 100% healthy  baby care brand.

Best clothing item: Estella NYC bamboo romper

If you’re concerned about chemicals in conventional clothing, I’d read up on bamboo and how it’s manufactured before you use it, but if organic clothing isn’t your cup of tea, then this romper will be THE SOFTEST COMFIEST piece of baby goodness you can put on your child. I used to LOVE hugging and carrying Alexis when she had the romper on. You know how squishy and soft and fun naked babies are? Well, the fabric of the romper enhances it. And if it feels that good to me, I can’t imagine how comfortable Alexis must be.

Biggest losers:

Again, these are somewhat subjective opinions. Some things just didn’t work for her, others are less subjective and have to do with safety and chemicals. So I’d suggest to not completely discount some of these items solely because Alexis didn’t like them. Basically, use your discretion and common sense, as always.

Fisher Price Rock’N’Play

I have to be the only person on the planet who resisted buying the rock’n’play for their baby. There were talks of plagiocephaly, I am not crazy about Fisher Price as a brand (nothing in particular, just too big of a company, which is never good, since they tend to cut corners). After struggling with Lexi, who wouldn’t sleep for longer than 30 minutes during the day and had a bit of reflux, I gave in and ordered one. My first disappointment was IT REEKED of chemicals. I mean, out of ALL the products that I’ve bought, received & tried out, I didn’t have a single piece smell like this. And that was the item that my baby was supposed to sleep in? After washing it repeatedly, we layered it with a blanket and gave it about 2 weeks to see if it works. Well, it didn’t. The incline was too much, so as soon as we lowered Alexis down, the change in the incline woke her up completely. When she was sleeping deeply enough that we were able to put her in it without waking her up, she slept the same 30 minutes as anywhere else and no amount of rocking would keep her asleep. And it didn’t help her reflux. I found that our Mutsy Babysitter did a better job rocking her back to sleep. Now I know, RNP worked for many babies, but Alexis was definitely not one of them.

Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper

That was a huge disappointment. I was so excited to have this “perfect” sleeping arrangement before my baby arrived. We wouldn’t bed share, we’d co-sleep. It’s safe and she’s right there. Well, what I didn’t count on was Alexis being very picky about what she liked and didn’t and she wanted ONLY the best, which was sleeping RIGHT NEXT to mama. Co-sleeping went out the window, and luckily, we  transitioned to bedsharing which is what worked ( and still works) fabulously. But that’s not the co-sleeper’s fault, right? Right!
I was planning on using it once Alexis was a bit older and doesn’t have the reflux ( which was made better when she slept with me, because my presence would put her back to sleep when her reflux would wake her up). That was until I read about the well-known study that was done on frequently used baby products to see what kind of harmful chemicals ( BFRs, lead, etc) were in/on them. Well, our wonderful Arm’s Reach was COVERED with fire retardants.  I understand the HYPOTHETICAL need to protect baby’s beds from fire, BUT it has to be done SAFELY. The risk of a bedroom/nursery fire in a non-smoking family is far lower than the risk of cancer, hormone and thyroid disorders and even SIDS from Bromine-covered baby products that our little ones sleep on, chew and breathe.

Because I put all my hopes into a co-sleeper, I completely neglected other sleeping arrangements, like a rocking moses basket or a bassinet, which is something i’ll try next time since it’s small and gives babies sense of security.

Bumbo

Alexis loved to sit up supported since she was able to hold her head relatively well, so I was very excited about getting her a bumbo chair. She really kind of hated it. The look on her face was like “Why did you put me in this thing- I want to move!”. I think she might have felt less mobile in it than she did when we sat her up in our lap. I don’t know, but the bumbo seat got packed away within a week

Portable changing mat

I thought it was a good idea to have a changing mat downstairs, so that we could change her without going all the way up, but it was one of those ideas that seems good before you try them. We both felt that we wanted  everything conveniently located  in one place and when we were out, we’d always use my diaper bag, or Andrew’s Diaper Dude bag. So we never ended up using this cute travel changing mat, which is a shame.

Momma Awards

Best Nursing Bras: Bella Materna

I received a Bella Materna bra to try out back when I was pregnant. Since then I’ve bought Motherhood Maternity Nursing bra and Lamaze Nursing bra, and Bella Materna is still my favorite. First of all, the quality surpasses anything else. This bra will last you forever. Secondly, it looks so much classier and sexier and more luxurious than other bras. It doesn’t bend or gets ruined in the wash ( I know, I am really bad –  I don’t hand wash my bras and I tumble dry them).

Best Sleeping Bras (for breastfeeding): Lamaze

This was my favorite sleeping bra since the beginning of pregnancy and I truly haven’t found anything better since. I use it 24/7: to wear at home, to go for walks, to sleep in and even sometimes to go places in. It’s incredibly easy to breastfeed in. Just pull it aside and voila. It’s VERY comfortable, cotton, easy to wash and  looks decent for home wear. I probably have about 10-15 of these at this point and change them out frequently.

Best Nursing clothes: Boob Design

See hereherehere and here. Utter LOVE. No further comment.

Best down-there lotion: Zeta West

I wrote about it in the postpartum post, but this is a GREAT lotion for recovery. It has tea tree oil so it’s antibacterial and antifungal and helps you heal much faster while providing relief.

Best Diaper bag: Diaper Dude

The best diaper bag is the one your husband carries. To both our surprise, out of 2 diaper bags that I have and 1 diaper messenger that Andrew has, we have mostly used his diaper bag. We bought a Diaper Dude for him thinking that MAYBE he’ll use it when he goes places with Alexis. What we didn’t anticipate is that whenever we go places together ( which is most of the time), I end up carrying Lexi and he carries the diaper bag. Well, my husband has always HATED holding my purses for me ( it’s his thing), so having his own manly looking messenger bag has been great!

 

In about a month i should post a 3-6 months Issue of Lexi Awards and there have been so many cool new things I’ve discovered!

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