Our Favorite Baby Gear: Newborn Edition

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Posted on Sep 15, 2014 in Family

Our Favorite Newborn Baby Gear

baby clothes

Wading through the “must have” lists when making a baby registry is a pregnancy rite of passage. There are so many baby accoutrements that it can feel crazy overwhelming. And new parents will pretty much take any advice they can get on what is really a necessity and what can stay on the Babies R Us store shelves.

Now that I’m a seasoned parent (ha!), I thought I might share a few of the items that we have absolutely loved over the past three months. You really have no idea what you’re going to need/like/use until you’re in the thick of things, so this list actually includes lots of items that were never on our registry, and we purchased when we realized we had a need. My recommendation? Get Amazon Prime now and download the app to your phone—you’ll thank me later when you’re ordering something you didn’t know you desperately needed at 3am.

The crazy thing about babies is they’re all different (go figure), so what’s been a must for us might be something to skip for the next set of parents. But hopefully this list will still help!

Note: this post contains affiliate links—meaning I get a small kick-back from any purchases you make after clicking on my links at no additional cost to you. All of these items are things that we use and love every single day. Thanks for your support!

LifeFactory Bottles

LifeFactory Glass Bottles

Honestly, we ended up registering for these bottles mostly because the come in pretty colors! I’m so glad we picked these though because they are so solid and strong. I’ve dropped them multiple times on our hardwood floors without breaking. They also sell caps to make them into sippy cups and water bottles later. The one caveat is the nipples are way too fast of a flow for most breastfed babies, so we use Dr. Brown’s Preemie Nipples with our LifeFactory bottles and rings. Works perfectly!

My Brest Friend Pillow

My Brest Friend Pillow

I didn’t originally own one of these, but my Lactation Consultant taught me how to get positioned and comfortable using a MBF nursing pillow, and from that moment on, I was sold. It was the best $35 we’ve ever spent. I still use the pillow for many nursing sessions, but don’t rely on it anymore—I can nurse pretty much anywhere—but in those first few weeks, it was a life saver. I love it because if you position it right, you can do totally hands-free nursing with this pillow.

Me Carrier

Olives & Applesauce Carrier

We’re a babywearing family, and I’m a bit of a baby carrier collector. I have seven different carriers, and they all have their merits, but the O&A carrier is my absolute favorite! Not only is it adorable and comfortable, but it’s also the only one of my carriers that I can easily and discreetly nurse in. I’ve been told that as JuneBug gets older, nursing will become easier in some of my other carriers (like my ring sling), but for now, I love my O&A!

Boba 3G Carrier

Boba Carrier

This is Craig’s favorite carrier. It’s comfortable, and very easy to put on and take off. It so easy to use, that we often will transfer a sleeping baby from the car seat or my arms into the carrier without her noticing. Craig absolutely loves this carrier, but I have one major issue with it—it’s difficult for me to nurse in. It requires the adjustment of four different straps to get her into nursing position, and even then, it isn’t very comfortable. Obviously, this isn’t a problem for Daddy!

Munchkin Warm Glow Wipe Warmer

Munchkin Warm Glow Wipe Warmer

When I was putting together our registry, I thought people who bought wipe warmers were crazy. My girl didn’t need warm bum cleaners! And then she made her arrival, and we found out that cold wipes make for a seriously unhappy JuneBug. They would turn middle of the night diapers changes from a minor inconvenience to an all-out scream fest. The wipe warmer solved all of our diaper change issues. We love it! And I’ll never ever judge a wipe warming mother again.

Diapers

BumGenius Freetime Diapers

A lot of cloth diapering families have an extensive stash of various types of diapers, but we chanced it and bought 24 BumGenius Freetime all-in-one diapers while I was pregnant, and I’m so thankful they’ve worked out beautifully for us. I’ve heard horror stories about newborn poopsplosions, and we’ve never had an issue with that! We’ve had a few leaks if she sleeps in late and hasn’t had a diaper change all night, but other than that, we’ve never had any issues.

PlanetWise Hanging Wet Bag

PlanetWise Wet Bags

We skipped the diaper pail and instead just installed a hook onto the side of our changing table to hold a hanging wet bag, and it’s been working perfectly. We really like our PlanetWise wet bags! We have two of the hanging ones, one medium one for the diaper bag, and one small one to hold wipes in the diaper bag.

June Bug

Boppy Newborn Lounger

Baby Girl hates this thing now because it’s so reclined, and she’s a big girl who wants to sit up, but during the first two months or so, we used it constantly! It really was nice to have a soft, cozy, and safe place to put her that was easily portable. She loved lounging around on it outside on the front porch. My one issue with it: the fabric attracts pet fur like CRAZY. We tried to keep it clean, but eventually resigned that it was a losing battle.

The Pout Pout Fish

The Pout-Pout Fish

Best. Book. Ever. This book is just so darn fun. We love reading this one! Other books we love: Giraffes Can’t Dance, The Little Blue Truck, and The Pokey Little Puppy. Admittedly, Baby Girl is going through a “reading strike” right now (she cries when we read to her!), but hopefully that’ll end soon and we can get back to our favorites.

Mortimer the Moose

Mortimer the Moose

Baby Girl is just starting to get really interested in toys, and she started off showing her interest with this guy. She loves the fun patterns on the bottom of his feet. She also loves just staring at his face and feeling all the different textures with her fingers. (Edit to add: I JUST saw that Moritmer is on sale on Zulily today! His sister Muffin is also there.)

Boobease Nipple Balm

Boobease Nipple Balm

“They” say breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. But the truth is, it’s a learned skill (for both you and your baby), and it does hurt until you learn how to do it properly. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it and it won’t hurt anymore, but at the beginning? Yowzers. Buy two pots of this stuff. Put one next to your nursing station and one in your diaper bag. Slather it on after every feeding. It’s not sticky, it’s all natural, and it’s super healing and moisturizing.

Zebi Blanket

Zebi Organic Muslin Swaddle Blankets

We don’t swaddle, but we do use this blanket all the time! We have one muslin blanket by Zebi, and a whole pack of the Aden & Anais blankets that show up on every “must register for” list, and I have to say, we prefer the Zebi blankets. The Zebi blankets are more pricey, but they are also a ton softer and a lot bigger. I wish we had more than just one!

Bravado Nursing Bra

Bravado Seamless Nursing Bra

A good nursing bra is a must, and I’m so happy I went with these from Bravado. They are honestly more expensive than any bra I’ve ever owned before, but they are worth the cash. They are supportive, but have no underwire (vital for avoiding plugged milk ducts), and are nice and smooth and seamless, and the do a good job of flexing with an ever-changing cup-size. Highly recommended!

Brica Carseat Mirror

Brica Baby In-Sight Mirror

We originally didn’t have a mirror in the car, but the first time I tried riding in the front seat, I quickly realized we couldn’t see Baby Girl because she was rear-facing, and I kinda freaked out! We immediately ran out and bought this mirror, and attached it to the headrest. It’s nice because the mirror is fish-eye and large enough that you can see her whole body from both the driver’s and passenger’s seats. She also loves looking at her pretty little face in it!

Boon Lawn

Boon Lawn Bottle Drying Rack

I originally thought I’d just wash bottles in the dishwasher, but after our first bottle load, we realized there were tiny specs of food on the bottles—even though we didn’t wash any other dishes with them. And that was the end of that! We immediately ordered this bottle rack, plus the tree and flower accessories so we could hand-wash bottles, and it’s worked perfectly for us. And it’s adorable! I love adorable things.

OXO Tot Bottle Brush

OXO Tot Bottle Brush

I spent an embarrassing amount of time reading bottle brush reviews and asking for recommendations on social media. In the end I took a chance and ordered this one, and it works perfectly. It cleans well, without damaging our bottles or my pump parts, and I love that it has a nipple cleaner and a stand.

Seasoned parents: chime in in the comments with your must-have baby gear items! Help other parents-to-be create their registries.

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

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Posted on Sep 12, 2014 in Food

Dairy-Free & Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

For the past eight weeks, I haven’t been eating dairy because it looks like JuneBug has a dairy and soy protein sensitivity. At first, I was really bummed to cut out dairy (I mean, c’mon, CHEESE!), but it actually hasn’t been all that hard. Part of that, I’m sure, is because there is that whole motherhood gene that makes sacrifices for your kid not quite feel like sacrifices. But I also think a big part of is there are so many great non-dairy alternatives to traditional dairy foods. One of my favorite dairy alternatives has been coconut milk!

I love the coconut flavor, the richness, and how well it seems to work in most of the dairy roles. There is great coconut milk yogurt on the market. Coconut milk makes an awesome base for soups and smoothies. And it makes some of the easiest, creamiest, most delicious vegan ice cream on the planet.

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

If you’ve been afraid to make ice cream before, this recipe is a great place to start—it’s really pretty much impossible to mess up! The texture comes out perfect every time, which is always a struggle with homemade ice cream. I think the key is using my favorite ice cream making method—cornstarch. Many traditional homemade ice creams involve making a custard out of egg yolks, and often it results in an icy, hard ice cream. But the cornstarch method is quick, easy, and always gets you a super creamy and scoopable batch!

It probably goes without saying, but this vegan ice cream is very coconut-ty, so if coconut flavor isn’t your thing, you might want to skip past this one. But if you’re a coconut fan like I am, you’ll love this stuff! I think for my next batch, I might mix in some cocoa and sliced almonds to make a vegan Almond Joy ice cream. Uh, yum!

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

As JuneBug gets older, she’ll (hopefully!) grow out of her tummy issues, and I can eventually resume my regular consumption of all things dairy, but for now, I’m just fine pouring coconut milk on my cereal and eating this ice cream. Enjoy!

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Total Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

This dairy-free, vegan ice cream is rich, creamy, and 100% coconutty! It's also incredibly easy to make and almost impossible to mess up.

Ingredients

  • 1-15 ounce can lite coconut milk
  • 1-15 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Shake the two cans of coconut milk well, open and reserve 1/2 cup of the lite coconut milk in a small bowl. Pour the remaining lite coconut milk, the full-fat coconut milk, maple syrup and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and reserved coconut milk. Set aside.
  3. Bring the coconut milk to a low simmer—do not boil. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and heat until thick and bubbly—about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Transfer the ice cream base to a heat-proof container and refrigerate until cold—about four hours. Churn in the basin of an ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until solid, about an hour.
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