Our Favourite Baby Products

When it came time to pick out products I did a ton of research and felt so overwhelmed by the vast variety of options and opinions out there. As I have a handful of friends and family who are currently going through this struggle I hope my review of what has worked for us will help.

Travel:

UPPAbaby Vista Stroller: This was the item I did the most research on. I wanted to be absolutely sure that it was worth the money before investing in it so after doing a ton of research online we went to Snuggle Bugz and test drove a few different options before ultimately deciding on the Vista. Knowing we want to have more than one child it really makes the most sense to get a stroller that converts to hold another child. I love how quickly it converts to hold the bassinet or car seat, that it comes with the bassinet and regular seat, how easy it is to fold down and pops up for getting it in and out of the car, and how easy the set up was!

If we were just planning on having one, or having them far enough apart that Everleigh wouldn’t need a stroller we would have either bought the BabyZen Yoyo or UPPAbaby Minu since we do a fair amount of travel and those two are awesome compact options.

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UPPAbaby Mesa Car Seat: This was another item I did a ton of research on as it’s essential for the safety of your baby, especially nowadays when we have such go-go-go lives where babies are spending a lot more time in their car seats. So far we have loved this car seat. It’s REALLY easy to instal the base, which we do at least a couple times per week since we switch between vehicles pretty often. I also love that if Josh happens to forget to take the base out of his car before he leaves for work I can still use the seat without the base. My only minor complaint about this item is that it is a fairly heavy car seat (part of why it’s so highly rated for safety) and with Everleigh growing so quickly it’s getting tougher to carry her in it for any extended period of time.

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SKIP*HOP Style Driven Backseat Mirror: Since our vehicle is often packed tight with the stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and our two big dogs I don’t have room to sit in the back seat so I love having this mirror to be able to keep an eye on Everleigh. Often when she cries in the car its just because she has lost her WubbaNub Lamb (another item we can’t live without. If we lose this thing its going to be meltdown central until we get a new one) and needs a hand getting it back and having the mirror makes it so much easier for me to help her while Josh drives. It’s also nice to have the peace of mind that she’s not in any trouble back there. Any time I drive in a vehicle without the mirror I am kicking myself that I haven’t bought another one, and five more WubbaNubs, yet.

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Copper Pearl 5-in-1 Multi-Use Cover: So great for keeping the sun and wind from bothering her and I love it for nursing in public places (or around my dad/father-in-law haha). Plus they are just SO cute! I’m also obsessed with the Copper Pearl swaddle blankets, they’re incredibly soft & stretchy – perfect for getting babies swaddled tight.

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Sleep:

Sleep, oh sweet sweet sleep! Before getting into this section I wanted to mention something I wish someone had mentioned to me before I gave birth.

If you’re like me and need at least six hours of sleep to function properly, do some research on sleep training/schedules/routines before you give birth. I had NO clue what I was doing for the first few weeks and I was totally exhausted and stressed. Another mom recommended Sleep Sense to me and it changed everything! Since she’s so young we just started a bedtime routine and for the past six weeks we have all been sleeping so much better.

Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a number of Canadian sources, babies should sleep in their parents room – but not in their bed, so we decided to look for a bassinet option before we end up moving her to the crib in her nursery. After looking into a few options and various price points I felt like the Halo Bassinest was the best choice for us. While the SNOO seems awesome, it’s just way too expensive for us. I love that the Halo Bassinest swings around so I can easily pull her up close to the bed when I need to get her out to nurse her in the middle of the night, then move her back so I have some room to get out of bed or put a little distance between us when I want her to fall back to sleep on her own. Another feature I really like about the Bassinest is how the front folds down to make it easier to get her out, and the side pockets where I can keep wipes, diapers, and a burp cloth or other essentials.

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Ollie Swaddle: Everleigh is a little ninja who sneaks her arms out of all other swaddles! We initially bought the Halo Sleep Sacks to go with the Bassinest but she would always manage to get her arms out and would wake herself up all the time. A friend of mine gave us a second hand Ollie Swaddle and it’s amazing! She sleeps so much better in it and usually goes right back down after the night feed(s).

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Snuggle Me Organic Lounger: This is the most expensive pillow I have ever purchased and I have zero regrets. She has used it every day since she was born, aside from when I had to go back to the hospital (more on that in another post), and loves it! I debated between this and the Doc-a-tot but decided on this after reading a ton of great reviews. For the first month she would take her naps in this beside us on the couch as well as sleeping in it in the Bassinest at night, now we just use it at night and will use it to ease the transition into her crib. I love that I can pop her down in it for a few minutes while I get changed without having to worry about her rolling.

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Marpac Rohm Portable Sound Machine: For the first month Everleigh would nap during the day without any problem, the dogs would bark and we would make noise and she would be out cold. That ended a few weeks ago. For a while we were using white noise on Youtube on our phones or the iPad but it was such a pain to carry around and try to connect to Wifi everywhere. This portable little machine has been amazing so far, she’s currently out cold with it near her while there is music playing, the dish washer running and both our dogs are barking.

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Hatch Baby Rest: Another sound machine but this one is way more high tech. Right now we use it in her nursery mostly as a night light for those middle of the night changes, and to settle her down during her nighttime routine. When I started using it Josh asked if we could bring it into our room because its so peaceful! I love that I can control this with the app on my phone and can set different light and sound settings for nap time vs. nighttime sleep. I am really looking forward to using it more when she moves into her nursery full time.

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Bath:

Stokke Felxi Bath: Josh and I are both people who love a clean and orderly home so when we looked for baby products we always kept in mind how things would look and function in our home. I absolutely love that this bath folds up and tucks away into our bathroom cupboard, it’s easy to set up and use and the newborn insert makes it really convenient to use now and later.

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Munchkin White Hot Safety Bath Duck: This cheap and cheerful duck was a gift from our friends at Babyganics and I am so glad we have it. It’s easy to forget that babies only need lukewarm water; this little duck shows when the water is too hot for baby, plus it’s adorable.

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Babyganics Shampoo & Daily Moisturizer: Babyganics reached out when I was pregnant because they were about to launch their products in Canada. I did a bit of research on their products before accepting them (I always try to be very selective with anything I am gifted) and since the first package arrived (while I was in labour) we have been loving their products. Everleigh is obsessed with bath time and I love how gentle the products are on her skin, and mine. I use the Daily Moisturizer on my skin multiple times a day and used the shampoo yesterday after forgetting mine in our master bath and my hair feels great!

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Feeding:

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads: I’m going to get more into detail in a new mom essentials post but I will just say, save your clothes and buy yourself a box.

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Medela Calma Bottle: I am exclusively breast feeding Everleigh right now but it is so nice to be able to have Josh feed her on occasion. We tried four other bottles before finding this one. Every time anyone tried to feed her from another bottle she would take in too much milk, gag, spit up and cry. It wasn’t a good experience for any of us. The Medela Calma Bottle works so well because it’s the only bottle where they don’t get any milk unless they suck, just like when they’re nursing so she doesn’t get too much of a flow and gag on milk anymore.

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Hakka or Naturebond Silicone Pump: This was best $20 I’ve spent in a long time. I use it most days and can usually get another full feed collected from my let down. It’s also awesome for the times when she sleeps 5+ hours straight and I need a bit of relief. The advantage of this over a breast pump is that it won’t increase your supply like pumping after each feed will. It’s also really convenient to just suction it on and be able to walk around with it attached.

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Play:

BabyBjorn Balance Soft Bouncer: I decided to wait until Everleigh was a few weeks old to buy a baby bouncer or swing so we could take her to try them before making a purchase since I had heard so many stories of moms investing in a 4moms mamaRoo only to discover their baby hated it (we also know a bunch who swear by it). We spent close to two hours in Snuggle Bugz testing out different options before deciding on this one. It was one of the few she really liked and I was sold on the fact that it folds up in seconds for easy storage and transportation. We have taken it to a few family dinners and she happily sat in it for hours. A couple other things I like about this particular product is that it helps her develop her muscles and understanding of cause and effect as she needs to move to make it bounce (one of the only ones that does this) and it quickly converts into a chair which can be used up to age two. Lastly, a friend of mine has used hers for all three of her children and it’s still in great shape so I know it was a good investment.

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Tiny Love Sunny Stroll Arch: Another cheap and cheerful find. I love how easy it is to attach this to her BabyBjorn, UPPAbaby Bassinet or car seat and Everleigh is so entertained with all the different moving parts and sensory pieces.

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Skip Hop Unicorn Activity Gym: There are so many activity gym options out there and I think any option from Skip Hop would be good. I picked this one because it is easy to fold up and tuck away, easy to take apart, and easy to wash. Everleigh has a great time laying on it and hitting the rainbow rattle and ice cream that plays You are my sunshine ,she’s not so into the mirror yet but I know that’s coming any day now.

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Those are our favourites for now. If you have any questions or want a recommendation on other items please leave a comment or message me on Instagram

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Welcome Everleigh Alexander

She’s here! Well…she was here two months ago but new mom life can be rather hectic. After 41 weeks and five days Everleigh Grace Carolyn Alexander joined us at 1:14 am on Saturday, February 16th, 2019 weighing 7lbs 7oz and measuring in at 20.3 inches. We are SO thrilled to have our little girl here and have been soaking in every moment with her and adjusting to our new normal.

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As I approached my third trimester I made the decision to leave work six weeks ahead of my due date. I had a months worth of vacation and overtime owed to me and I was becoming so uncomfortable with each passing day – not to mention the Braxton Hicks I had been experiencing for weeks. I was so sure that because of how I felt and because I had the extra time off to prepare that she would end up coming early. By week 37 I had the hospital bag packed, Hypnobirthing book read and re-read, house cleaned and organized, baby clothes washed, postpartum recovery kits prepped and meals and breast feeding friendly snacks in the freezer. Then we waited.

I had already had a couple instances of false labour that came very close to meeting the 4-1-1 rule (contractions every four minutes, lasting one minute, for one full hour). One night when coming home from my in-laws I couldn’t speak due to the pain, we were so sure it was the real thing but after 45 minutes it fizzled out and our excitement turned to disappointment once again. When I hit 38 weeks we had started to speak to our Midwives about natural labour induction options and began trying them, along with adding in more exercise and trying the Miles Circuit every few days. Early on in my pregnancy I found Hypnobirthing and was instantly intrigued, I did my research and decided that was what felt best to me so I was trying to avoid being medically induced. I had also done a fair amount of research on things to help shorten labour and was eating dates every day – this was my favourite recipe. I’m not sure if it helped or not but at least they’re delicious.

Once I hit 40 weeks we began to get a bit more anxious. The daily, well intentioned, messages and calls began to wear on us, along with the many rounds of false labour that kept us on a constant roller coaster ride of emotions. We decided to start trying more options to get her to come naturally. On my due date I went to my final prenatal yoga class where reflexology was recommended as another method to bring on (real) contractions naturally. Five days past my due date I decided to give it a try along with booking an acupuncture appointment at The WOMB. The reflexology got her moving like crazy and the first round of acupuncture left me feeling great, but still no baby.

At 41 weeks we met with our Midwives to discuss what our plan would be since I was going to hit 42 weeks over the weekend and they would make us wait until the next Monday if we didn’t book by the end of the week. We met on the Monday and decided to set an induction date for Friday, just in case she hadn’t arrived yet. I called up The WOMB and made another acupuncture appointment for Thursday, hoping that we would be able to get the process going without having to be medically induced. On Thursday, Valentines Day, we decided to go pick up some cupcakes from Kelly’s (my favourite place & the bake shoppe that did our gender reveal) before heading to one last acupuncture appointment – my last hope of a non medically induced birth.

Sitting in the waiting room of The WOMB, anxiously awaiting my appointment, I bumped into a mom friend from church who told me she had her water break minutes after having an acupuncture treatment with the Doctor I was about to see. Having tried everything to no avail, I had very little hope that it would work as well for me.

After my appointment we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner before going home. I walked in the door, dropped my bags and went to the washroom – as you do 100 times a day when you’re that pregnant – where I noticed a lot more water than usual left my body. Having had a false alarm of my water breaking about a week before, and the knowledge that only 10% of women have their water break before labour starts, I was a little sceptical. I put on a pad thinking that if it did happen to be my water breaking that would be enough. It was not. Minutes later there was a GUSH. Having completely soaked my pants I was feeling a lot more certain that this was the real deal. I phoned up the Midwife on call, put on some oh so glamorous Depends, and anxiously waited for the next step.

About an hour later the Midwife arrived, checked me, and told me she would see me in the morning for my induction. Not quite the Hollywood portrayal of rushing to the hospital I was hoping for. We were to be ready to go at 7:00 am but wait for the call since the hospital was jam packed with other babies arriving that day. That morning felt like the longest of my life. I had to take Gravol and Tylenol to get to sleep and only managed to stay asleep until around 4:00 am when the excitement and anxiety got the best of me.

We got a call from our Midwife just before 7:00 am letting us know the hospital wasn’t ready for us yet. We were to wait at home until 11:00 am when we would get an update on where to go. Just before 11:00 am we got the call that they were ready for us to come in. We went to the hospital, checked into the Maternal Child Unit around 11:30 am and got ready for the induction. The relief  and excitement of knowing we were finally going to meet her outweighed all of my fears.

Once I was all checked in and hooked up came more waiting – this time for the OB to be free to come and start the induction. Around 1:00 pm she came in, checked me and gave the okay for the Oxytocin to start. Throughout my pregnancy I knew that having a natural delivery, free from intervention, was my best case scenario, but there was always a chance that wasn’t going to work out and since it had been 22 hours since my water broke and nothing had progressed plan A was out the window.

As the Oxytocin drip started we walked laps around our block of the unit. Josh and I tried to make a game of it by doing figure eights, then circles, and back to figure eights to keep ourselves entertained while we waited for the contractions to start – when you’re induced they start with a dose of 2ml (or mg, I’m not sure) and go up by two every half hour until you’re in active labour. Around 4:00 pm the contractions really started and I was in the zone, going through my calm breathing and listening to my carefully curated delivery playlist. Around 5:00 pm the dose was getting a bit too high and my contractions started coming on top of each other so our Midwife decided to take the dose back down. So many people talk about how contractions feel like menstrual cramps x100 and I would agree that they are more intense than cramps but honestly they weren’t that bad at this point. I would definitely recommend working on calm breathing and relaxation techniques during your pregnancy because they got me through this part of labour with ease.

At 6:00 pm our Midwife decided to check me since I had been in active labour for a couple hours. She checked and I was 4cm dilated. I had been 2cm dilated for the past three weeks so I was disappointed that I had made such little progress so far. After she checked me I told Josh he should go get some dinner because we would probably be in for the long haul and I didn’t want him to miss the opportunity to eat. Minutes after he left I started to feel really nauseous and ended up throwing up so hard I threw my shoulder out. That ended my cool, calm and collected labour.

I tried for the next hour to get back into the zone with my calm breathing, trying different positions, and listening to my playlist but I was totally thrown off. I had been so sure going into my delivery that I was going to be able to get through it without any pain medication – I kept telling myself that I was the kid who broke her collar bone clean through and no one believed me, and I had appendicitis sitting on top of an ovarian cyst and I got through the 36 hours it took for the hospital to address that very painful issue (again I was so calm that no one believed me) so I would be able to get through delivery, it was pain with purpose after all.

The mind game that went on for the next half hour was such a struggle. If I had known what would come next I probably would have just pushed through it but I just kept thinking that since I was progressing so slowly I was probably going to be in labour for another 12+ hours so I decided to try the gas to take the edge off. The gas did very little, aside from make me feel loopy, so at 7:30 pm I decided to get an epidural – figuring I would be able to get a little rest and end up delivering sometime around 6:00 am the next day. At 8:00 pm the anesthesiologist came in and put in the epidural, the relief I felt was amazing.

Once the pain subsided I laid back and tried to get some rest but the excitement took over and within a few minutes I could feel the contractions again, except this time I just felt the pressure. By 9:00 pm I kept telling our Midwife that I felt really heavy, I could still feel every contraction but the pressure and weight I felt was so much more significant. When I mentioned this she started to get everything ready for delivery and said she would check me again at 10:00 pm. At this point I was feeling great and getting more and more excited with each contraction – we were going to meet our little lady so soon!

At 10:00 pm our Midwife checked me and I was fully dilated! I couldn’t believe that I had made such progress in just four hours after such slow progression earlier in the day. We did a few practise pushes between 10:00 – 11:00 pm while we waited for the other Midwives to finish up with another delivery – like I said earlier, it was a VERY busy day for deliveries. Once the other two Midwives arrived it was time to meet our little lady!

Earlier on in the day our Midwife asked Josh if he wanted to assist with the delivery to which he said no. I had told him before that I wanted him to stay up by my head and just help keep me calm so he wasn’t planning on doing anything else. I am SO thankful that didn’t end up happening because he was so amazing during delivery; I swear he grew a couple extra arms because he was holding my leg, getting me cold compresses, checking on her progression, and bringing me drinks and freezies while I pushed.

When I started pushing I was laying on my back and was having trouble figuring out how to push properly. Nothing really felt right to me until I ended up laying on my right side. Pushing was the one of the weirdest yet most instinctual things I have ever done. When I was studying my Hypnobirthing book I kept reading about breathing my baby out; I was totally under the impression that I was just going to calmly breath her out of my body. This was not the case. Pushing took everything I had, to the point that I broke so many blood vessels in my face that I looked like I was covered in freckles. The hardest part of pushing was between each contraction when I would try to relax my body would have so much trouble coming back down from the intensity of it all that I would start shaking uncontrollably.

Throughout pushing the Midwives kept telling me I was getting so close, but between contractions she would start to slip back. After a couple hours I felt like I had made minuscule progress and was getting worried that I wasn’t going to be able to push her out any time soon so I just kept pushing harder and harder each contraction. I have to credit weight lifting with getting me through it because I kept thinking back to when I thought I couldn’t lift any more weight yet was able to push myself just that little bit further. The Midwives said again how close I was so I pushed with everything I had and seconds later Everleigh was on my stomach! I, in shock, exclaimed “Woah, it’s a baby” and started laughing. I was under the impression that it was going to take a few more pushes to get past her shoulders and couldn’t believe how quickly she came out with that last push.

Josh cut the cord and they laid her on my chest. It was the most amazing feeling to finally be able to hold her and see her face – it’s a moment I will never forget.