Feeding Accessories

Feeding Accessories
From breastfeeding to eating solids, babies are inherently messy eaters. To make your life easier for all the many stages of eating, here is a rundown of all the best feeding accessories to have on hand. 

Bottles 

You will want to register or purchase 6-10 bottles and nipples. You won’t know which is the best to use until your baby arrives and makes their preference known, but here are the top favorites:

Dr. Brown’s Bottles:

  • Dr. Brown’s is known for their patented venting system, designed to prevent air bubbles from being swallowed (similar to breastfeeding). This helps reduce burping, gas, spit-up and even colic. This vacuum-free effect also ensures all the essential nutrients in milk and formula are preserved. 
  • Don’t register for 4oz. bottles, just use 8oz. bottles and only fill it up with as little or as much as you need. 
  • Pro tip: pick a unique design/color so you can keep track of your bottles when visiting family/friends’ houses with other babies there.
  • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks”
  • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby ” (for glass bottles)

If your baby doesn’t take to Dr. Brown’s, the following options are also very popular:

MAM Bottles Gift Set

  • MAM bottles are also designed to help reduce burping, gas, spit-up and even colic.
  • These bottles are also self-sterilizing – simply remove the bottom of the bottle, fill with water, insert the nipple, reattach the bottom then heat in the microwave for three minutes. 

Comotomo 

  • The bottle tops feature a wide, rounded mound and naturally shaped nipple to help breastfed babies accept the bottle and avoid nipple confusion.
  • The soft, squishy silicone bottle has a skin-like feel for a soothing touch and better grip.
  • With just three bottle parts—the nipple, the ring and the bottle—the Comotomo is super-easy to wash, either by hand, in the dishwasher or via a sterilizer; plus, the wide neck means you can fit your hand (and sponge) inside without the need for a special bottle brush.
  • Two anti-colic vents are built into the nipple (read: no extra parts to assemble or clean!) to make sure baby doesn’t gulp down air, leading to less spit up, burping and gas.
  • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”

Nanobebe Breast Milk Baby Bottle 

  • Baby instinctively connects to the bottle’s familiar shape, while 2x faster warming satisfies baby’s immediate hunger needs. Our award-winning baby bottles for breastfed babies encourage a smooth transition from breast to bottle (and back).
  • A breastmilk storage bottle that cools 2xs faster to reduce bacterial growth. Even warming prevents hot spots & Quick warming allows to use safe temperatures.
  • The included breast pump adaptor means you can conveniently pump directly into your bottle, seal for perfect breast milk storage, warm, and feed all from one baby bottle. Easy to clean and assemble.
  • Slow flow 360 degree double vented system prevents colic and baby gas. Optimal for a breastfeeding newborn.
 

Bibs 

When it comes to bibs, the higher up on the neck the better. This helps to stop spit-up/drool sooner, which helps prevent rashes. You will want 4 to 8 cloth bibs, and only 2 to 4 of the silicon/wipe-off style bibs since they are easier to clean. 
 
Cloth Bibs

Bandana Bibs

Silicon Bibs 

Easy to clean, you can just wipe up – plus they catch food in the built-in bucket.

Wipe-off Bibs 
Wipe-Off Bibs offer full waterproof protection for your child’s clothes during mealtime. 

Burp Cloths

You will want 8 -12 burp cloths and that they are very absorbent. Unfortunately, the cuter ones typically are not as absorbent (lookin at you cuties aden + anais).

Nursing Pillow

 

My BrestFriend Nursing Pillow

  • This is the updated version of the Boppy – makes breastfeeding and bottle feeding easier and more comfortable thanks to it’s wrap around the waist design. 
  • Its wraparound design hugs your body, while the backrest helps prevent back and neck soreness.
*OR*

Boppy Nursing Pillow

  • The original and classic nursing pillow. 
  • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks”

Feeding Accessories

Haakaa (Generation 3) Silicone Breast Pump

  • Moms love to use the Haakaa not as an actual breast pump, but as a way to save milk when breastfeeding. 
  • While nursing on one side, moms attach the pump to the breast not being used to help save tons of milk that tends to leak out when not being nursed. 

BabyBrezza Formula Dispenser

  • “The Keurig of Baby Formula”
  • The Formula Pro measures and mixes water with powdered formula to the perfect temperature and consistency every time. 
  • Definitely more of a luxury item than a necessity. (But I personally *love* it!!)
  • Warning: Very important to keep parts clean and to clean often. 

Bottle Warmer 

  • If you plan on feeding your baby formula at any point, I suggest getting a bottle warmer. 
  • Here’s why: not many people realize, but formula is good for up to 24 hours. (Read the box if you don’t believe me!) This means if you serve up an 8oz. bottle and your baby only drinks 6oz., you do not have to dump those 2oz.!
  • Simply put the bottle in the fridge and use it for the next feeding. All you have to do is add 6 ounces (or however much needed) on top of it and heat it up! Realizing I didn’t have to throw out all of those last few ounces was such a life saver because, let’s face it, – formula is expensive!! – so every drop counts!

Bottoms up to your (soon-to-be) very fat caterpillar! 🙂

Xx,

Mama ArdyParty

Sail Away… in Style

Sail Away… in Style

Ahoy! With summer in full swing, I can’t keep my mind off the beach.  There are so many amazing nautical options out there right now and they are making me want to party like a lob-star! Sail away with me on this die worthy tablescape decor journey.

Stock the Bar

Napkin Rings

Placemats and Chargers

Tabletop

Home Goods

Let the sea set you free!

Xx,

ArdyParty

Ready, Set… Let’s JET!

Ready, Set… Let’s JET!

Whether it be simply running an errand or traveling via airplane, being on-the-go with a baby is something you have to prepare for. Here’s a list of products I suggest registering for or purchasing so you will be ready and set to jet!

Daily On-The-Go Necessities

Portable Changing Pad

Make changing time easy on the go with the adorable Portable Changing Pad. These change pads feature padded, wipeable interior lining and include a convenient pocket for holding baby wipes, diapers and more.

Formula Container/Dispenser  

Bottle-feed on-the-go with a Formula Dispenser. They have tightly fitted compartments for storing your pre-measured formula and a handy spout that allows you to pour directly into a bottle without spilling. Also can hold snacks for the later years!

Pack ‘N Play

 

Pack ‘N Plays are a great replacement for a crib when traveling or to keep at your parents/in-laws, at work, etc. So ideally you want them to be super light, compact/easy to store and easy to assemble. 

Graco Pack ‘N Play:

  • The Graco Playard can be used for changing, resting, and playing. The changing station allows for quick diaper changes, and the portable infant seat makes it easy to take baby around the house. 
  • The seat also has built-in vibrations for use as a bouncer, or remove the seat and changing pad to reveal a full-size play space.
  • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks”

*OR*

BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light

*OR*

4Moms Breeze Plus Playard 

*OR*

Guava Family Lotus Playard 

  • It’s just 13 pounds and fits through doorways and into a backpack when folded, making transporting it anywhere (room to room, home to home, even country to country) a breeze.
  • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”

**Don’t forget that with whichever Pack ‘N Play you choose, to order extra sheets (2)!

SlumberPod **Must-Have**

  • Providing the ultimate privacy for your child is the SlumberPod Privacy Pod, an easy-to-set up canopy that creates a darkened space so your child can sleep peacefully.
  • Pod can be used with a standard playard, mini-crib, or select toddler cot.
  • NOTE: This has been such a game-changer when staying in a hotel room or a friend’s house and sharing a room with my son.

Portable Baby Monitor

Since this monitor is used purely for travel, it’s recommended that you find one that’s not expensive and lightweight / compact. 

Most importantly, it’s recommended that you stay away from monitors that rely on wi-fi connections. You may not always be able to guarantee the Internet connection at your destination is both fast and strong enough to keep your monitor connected. 

You could also have problems with the baby monitor app on your phone/ipad if you don’t have a good Internet connection. 

  • Baby Sense: Affordable, video monitor, doesn’t require WiFi
  • VTech: Affordable, audio monitor, doesn’t require WiFi
  • Nanit: If you registered or own the Nanit, it comes with a travel accessory. But it does require WiFi.

Portable Sound Machine

Calm and comfort your little one everywhere you go with a Portable Sound Machine. You can play white noise to help your precious baby fall gently to sleep by creating a consistent sound environment. You can also bring the machine with you on the go for portable naps by attaching it to the handle of your tot’s stroller or car seat.

Bathing, Feeding and Cleaning

Travel Stroller

DOONA Car Seat / Stroller:

  • Since it transitions immediately into a stroller, there’s no need to carry a heavy car seat on your arm when walking through the airport.
  • Fits well in an airplane seat, and you don’t have to bring a stroller AND a car seat when traveling!
  • This would be in place of an “umbrella stroller” too.
  • Cons: $$$. Only lasts until your baby is 35 pounds or approx. when they turn one year.

Babyzen YoYo+

  • Once your baby outgrows the Doona (which will most likely be around 1 year), this stroller will be your new best friend when traveling.
  • Super lightweight! 
  • Has an easy, one-handed fold to fit in an airline’s overhead compartment. And its compact size means it’s airline-certified to bring on board a plane as carry-on. 
  • Cons: Can become an all in one travel system, but needs to use adapters for car seats.

Stroller Travel Bag (Example: UppaBaby travel bag & DOONA travel bag)

  • Helps keep your car seat/stroller clean and damage-free when traveling (i.e. rough handling at the airport). 
  • Plus the storage area for gate-checked items is very dusty. The last thing you want to do is put your baby in a filthy seat when you arrive at your destination. 
  • NOTE: I purchased a travel bag for my DOONA car seat/stroller, and I only ended up using it once. I typically travel with my son in his own seat on the plane and in the Doona, so I rarely needed to have it checked. If you are planning on having your baby in your lap, then you will probably want to have a travel bag.

Carrier

A carrier is really nice if you’re on a walk and want to run into a coffee shop or a boutique. It’s also nice for action-packed places like malls, airports, crowded restaurants, etc. where you will want your baby as close to you as possible. 

When it comes to carriers, stick to black/dark fabrics to help hide drool/spit-up stains. You will quickly notice how large and bulky a stroller becomes when entering a room. (Another plus for having the Doona.) 

ERGO Baby Carrier

  • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks”
  • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”

*OR*

Baby Bjorn Carrier

*OR*

More parent-favorites:

Bon Voyage!

Xx,

ArdyParty

Tablescape: Flamingo Fiesta

Tablescape: Flamingo Fiesta
For my girlfriend’s 31st birthday, I created a flamingo-themed party with a very girly and festive tablescape. And it turned out pretty flocking fabulous if I do say so myself! 

Shop the look here:

I always love to set up my table in a way that makes fla-mingling easy for my guests. You can purchase this exact tablecloth in aqua blue, or here are some similar options that I love:

 

The Details

Shop the tabletop:

 

The Bar

Shop the bar:

 

Want to party like a flock-star? More flamingo party supplies below! 

 

Mermaid kisses and flamingo wishes,

ArdyParty

Rub a Dub Dub

Rub a Dub Dub

Rubber ducky, you’re the one!

You make bath time so much fun!

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I remember being terrified to give my baby his first bath knowing how difficult a wet baby can be to hold onto… especially if they are a little wiggle monster like mine. But, bathtime ended up being one of my favorite activities. I’ve compiled a list of bathtime necessities to register for or purchase, along with a few options to choose from.

Sink Inserts

Many parents choose to bathe their baby in the sink (often with a sink insert) or use a baby bathtub until they’re ready for the “big-kid bath.”

Even though Chase was born at 9 pounds, I still thought he was so tiny and breakable, I felt most comfortable bathing him in the sink with an insert until he grew out of it (around 6 months). I used the Puj and LOVED it. It was great for a sink insert, but also super easy to travel with.

  • The Puj makes bath time super easy, its compact shape allows it to fit in a suitcase, making it perfect for traveling.
  • With no buttons or fasteners, the Puj can be simply set into the sink

*OR* 

    • Place it directly in your tub or sink, and the soft mesh backrest will gently cradle your little one while you wash and rinse.
    • Suitable for babies up to 6 months of age

 

Baby Tubs

I started to use a baby bathtub when he was fully capable of sitting up on his own. And when he outgrew the tub, I began bathing him in the actual bathtub (with a nonskid mat). Here are some of the most highly rated and long-time favorite tubs:

    • Perfect for your growing little one, from newborn, to infant, to toddler. Conveniently fits most sinks and comes with an easy drain plug and hook for drying items.
    • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks”

*OR*

    • Perfect for your growing little one, from newborn, to infant, to toddler.
    • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”

 

Other mom-favorites:

 

Anti-Slip Mats

When your baby is ready for the “Big Kid Bath,” it’s important to buy an anti-slip mat for the tub so your baby doesn’t slip as easily.

 

Towels & Washcloths

 

 

 

Bath Products 

If you have a night nurse, I’d email him/her to see what they recommend. If you aren’t using a night nurse, I’d go to BuyBuyBABY and smell test all of them to determine which scent is your favorite. The Weleda brand is what my night nurse requested and I love the smell!

  • Baby Lotion
    • I’d stick to whatever brand you purchase for shampoo/body wash 

 

Bath Accessories

The SKIP HOP Moby Whale collection is a parent-favorite and now comes in Gray as well as Blue. All of these accessories make bathtime easier and safer. 

  • Bath Kneeler
    • I registered for two kneelers so that my husband and I could both be comfortable while bathing our son. 

 

 

 

 

  • Bath Rinser
    • You can also just use a cup from your kitchen if you want to keep it simple!

 

 

  • Bath Spout Cover
    • Sprout covers come in handy once baby is taking baths in the actual bathtub. My son is constantly slipping when he plays with his toys, so this has saved him from hitting his head more times than I can count. (Also why an anti-slip mat is so clutch!)

 

 

 

 

 

You can also buy the whole bath set!

Add these items to your registry or your cart, and you and baby will be splishin’ and splashin’ in no time!

 

Xx,

Mama ArdyParty

Tablescape: Backyard BBQ

Tablescape: Backyard BBQ

It’s not summer unless you host or attend a BBQ or two. I originally created a design board for inspiration for the BBQ I hosted, and now you can see it in reality below. Whether you’re the grill master or simply enjoy chowing down on some hotdogs, you’ll want to have all these items on hand for your next BBQ!

The Setup

This outdoor furniture set is the perfect size, comfortable and looks really high quality. Also, for a couch, two chairs and a coffee table, it is very reasonably priced! I bought the white bench that is behind my table in a pretty gray color to match my previously owned table. But, it arrived in a charcoal black color instead. I am terrible at returning things, so I just decided to have it painted in white. 

Shop the Outdoor Furniture:

 

The Tablescape

Shop the serveware and similar items below to create a tablescape that’s east for your guests to serve themselves:

 

The Details

I looked so hard to find these adorable mini grill dip bowls or anything similar, but had no luck! I purchased them in the Under $5 aisle at Target, which I think is a highly underrated aisle. I have found so many cute things there!

These pink cocktail napkins were the perfect punch of color to the table. I also placed this baking blanket on top of a simple silver tray to make it more festive. This baking blanket also comes in blue

My mom gifted me this tablecloth at an antique store, but I wanted to share some similar options:

 

The Bar

I love that you can write on this beverage dispenser! I used an Expo White Board Marker and it worked perfectly.

Shop the Bar and similar items below:

 

The Cheese Board

Hosting a gathering outdoors can get quite toasty at times, especially in Texas. I always like to keep a few apps inside for those guests that need a break for some AC or even as a pitstop for guests on their way to the bathroom. I love the simplicity of this round wooden cheeseboard, but I also love that it’s a Lazy Susan! 

 

 

Relish today. Ketchup tomorrow!

Xx,

ArdyParty

 

Strollin’ With My Homies…

Strollin’ With My Homies…

One of the very first things I put on my Baby Registry was my stroller. When purchasing a stroller, you need to consider your environment (city or the burbs) and lifestyle.

For example, if you are an avid fitness fan and plan to go on jogs and tons of outside adventures with your baby on a regular basis, then an athletic/jogger stroller is probably the best fit for you. If you are someone that is planning on taking your baby on a ton of errands with you (grocery store, mall, dining out, etc.), and will take light strolls around your neighborhood, I would suggest the Doona or a smaller/lightweight umbrella stroller.

It is also important to take your living space into consideration. If your home has minimal storage, take a close look at how easily the stroller can be stored (i.e. a simple one-hand fold) and how compact it gets, as well as the weight (esp. if you live in a walk-up apartment.)

Lastly, look out for the stroller’s weight capacity and age limit. Some strollers can only hold babies up to 30 pounds, while others can accommodate up to 65.  Also, not all strollers are safe for newborns. You never want to put a newborn baby in a stroller without a deep reclining seat or bassinet, as they still need neck support. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until between 4 and 6 months to use the stroller.

Types of Strollers

  • Full-size strollers: Also known as all-purpose strollers, these strollers combine a smooth ride with convenient features like a storage basket, seat recline and cup holders. All-purpose strollers tend to be on the bulkier side and take a bit of effort to fold down. Full-size strollers also offer travel systems, meaning they can attach to an infant car seat to easily transition from car to stroller.
  • Umbrella strollers: Umbrella strollers are lightweight, making them ideal for travel or quick errands around town. True to name, they can fold up like an umbrella, making them portable and compact. The downside…Umbrella strollers are usually not as sturdy as full-size strollers and also don’t have tons of storage space.
  • Jogging strollers: If you’d like the ability to run with baby, you’ll need a jogging stroller for its increased stability and shock absorption.

 

Let’s Get Rollin’!

    • Best “Luxury” Stroller
    • Good investment — Vista grows with your family; it’s able to carry 2-3 kids so you won’t need to buy a second stroller within the next few years. 
    • Also comes with a bassinet that attaches to the stroller (great for going on walks in the early months AND can be used as a bassinet for next to your bed using this stand)
    • Cons: $$$, takes up space/not easy to store

 

    • Best “Athletic” Stroller 
    • This stroller is for those who plan to go on frequent runs or outdoor adventures with baby
    • Cons: hard to store due to the big wheels 

 

    • Best “Overall” Stroller 
    • Most versatile due to the all-terrain wheels, a UV 50+ canopy, an adjustable handlebar and hand-operated brake.
    • It’s long-lasting as it holds kids up to 65 pounds! 
    • Cons: Although “Jogger” is in its name, it isn’t *as* good as the BOB for jogging. But, if you are only planning on jogging around your neighborhood, the all-terrain wheels make it great for tons of concrete usage. 

 

    • Best “Bang for your Buck” Stroller
    • The 3-wheel design helps with uneven sidewalks.
    • The seat reclines to a nearly flat position (crucial for naps!) and there’s a peek-a-boo window at the top of the canopy.
    • One-hand fold into a compact position for storage.
    • Cons: Comes with adapters to work with Britax and BOB car seats only. Also, no parent tray or cup holders. (You can buy an add on for this, though!)

 

    • Best “Travel” Stroller
    • Once your baby outgrows the Doona (which will most likely be around 1 year), this stroller will be your new best friend when traveling. 
    • Super lightweight! 
    • Has an easy, one-handed fold to fit in an airline’s overhead compartment. And its compact size means it’s airline-certified to bring on board a plane as carry-on. 
    • Cons: Can become an all in one travel system, but needs to use adapters for car seats.

The Holy Grail

I can NOT recommend the Doona enough!!! In one simple motion, the Doona goes from a car seat to a stroller in seconds. It is super compact, lightweight, FAA Aircraft Approved for travel, AND can be strapped into a car safely even without the car seat base (by strapping it in with a seatbelt). This means, if you are traveling or live in a city like New York or San Fran where you may be taking ubers / cabs frequently, you can safely jump into a car at the drop of a hat! (I’ve also taken the Doona on the subway, and it fit nicely on the subway bench, as shown below.) Although expensive, the Doona is worth every penny for its convenience.

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    • Since it transitions immediately into a stroller, there’s no need to carry a heavy car seat on your arm when running errands. 
    • Amazing for restaurants because it’s not as bulky; same height as typical tables, no need to flip over a highchair to place a car seat in to get it to table height.
    • Amazing for travel (fits well in an airplane seat, and you don’t have to bring a stroller AND a car seat when traveling!)
    • This would be in place of an “umbrella stroller” too.
    • Cons: $$$. Only lasts until your baby is 35 pounds or approx. when they turn one year.

    • If you have another caregiver in your household, I suggest ordering an extra car seat base – one for your car and one for theirs. 

 

Honorable Mentions

 

Best “Luxury” Stroller

Best “Athletic” Stroller

Best “Light Weight” Stroller

Best “Over-All” Stroller

Car Seats

When it comes to car seats, it’s best to stick to the same company as your stroller so it converts easily (something you don’t have to worry about with the DOONA). 

    • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks”

    • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”

 

**Don’t forget the extra base for whichever car seat you choose!

 

Shop the Post:

 

Xx,

Mama ArdyParty

 

 

 

Baby Registry 101

Baby Registry 101

When it came time to do my Baby Registry when I was pregnant with my son Chase, I felt paralyzed.  Everyone I spoke to gave me different advice.

Of course, every baby and parent is different, which leads to very different experiences. This makes taking any guidance super difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc.  I remember wondering, “where do I even begin?” and “where is the best place to register?” and “how many stores is too many to register for?

So, I decided to create a Baby Registry Guide as a way to keep myself organized with all of the products I had been researching and hearing about. In this post, I will share my thoughts on the best places to register and an outline of items I suggest registering. Hopefully this will help in alleviating some of the stress I remember feeling when it came to tackling a Baby Registry.

Best Places to Register

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I suggest registering at only two stores. One ‘mega’ store/website and one local store. You want at least one registry to be accessible to your friends and family that may not be able to attend the shower in person and can easily mail it to you directly.  For your main registry, I suggest a ‘mega’ store/website like BuyBuyBABY, Target, Walmart or Amazon. These ‘mega’ stores not only have everything, but sticking to one store for the majority of your purchases will make returns easier. For your second store, I suggest registering at a local store as an option for those friends and family able to attend your shower in-person. 

There are also Registry websites like BabyList.com or MyRegistry.com, which allow you to add items from *any* site, including Amazon, to your registry. My only hesitancy with these sites is that since they are newer and not yet a well-oiled machine like Amazon, so I know some people don’t find them user-friendly. 

[Note: If using BabyList.com or MyRegistry.com, you can create a “Private List” and compile all the items that you need, but don’t necessarily want to register for (i.e. nipple shields, bottle brushes, etc.)

If the item you are registering for is available at both the ‘mega’ store as well as your local store, I suggest registering for it at the local store — as people prefer to easily pick up items to bring to the shower. Also nice for those last-minute shoppers, like myself. 🙂

Registry *Must-Haves* Checklist

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Below is an outline of items you will need to register for. As part of my Mama ArdyParty series, I will do individual posts that go more in-depth on each category and provide options of items to choose from. You can use this list as a starting point to get acquainted with the necessities and as a general checklist.

Gear & Travel

  1. Stroller
  2. Car Seat
  3. Carrier (i.e. a strap on accessory to carry baby on your chest)
  4. Travel Accessories (portable changing pad, back seat car mirror, etc.)

Infant Activity Gear

  1. Infant Seating
  2. Pack ‘N Play
  3. Activity Gym
  4. Playmat

Feeding

  1. Highchair 
  2. Portable Highchair 
  3. Breast Pump
  4. Bottles
  5. Bibs
  6. Accessories (burp cloths, nursing pillow, bottle warmer, etc.)
  7. Pacifiers 
  8. Teethers

Bath Time

  1. Towels
  2. Washcloths
  3. Bath Products (shampoo/bodywash, lotion)
  4. Bath Tub
  5. Bath Accessories (toys, sprout cover, kneeling pads, etc.)

Health & Safety

  1. Cleaning Supplies (bottle drying rack)
  2. Humidifier
  3. Thermometer
  4. Safety Kits (plug covers, cabinet locks, first aid kit)
  5. Baby Monitor

Clothing

  1. Newborn Basics (short-sleeve onesies, long-sleeve onesies, footie PJs)
  2. Newborn Accessories (socks, no-scratch mittens, caps/hats)
  3. Swaddle Blanket
  4. Sleepsacks

Nursery

  1. Accessories (sound machine, mobile, baby hangers, etc.)
  2. Diapering (diaper pail, changing pad, wipe warmer)

Items You Need, But Don’t *Need* to Register For

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The following items are things you will need, but you don’t necessarily need to put them on your registry. Either because there are more important items you’d rather your friends purchase for you (i.e. stroller) or you will most likely receive as gifts regardless.  Some items I chose not to add to my registry because they were either super cheap (nipple brushes) or super expensive (crib), and I was more comfortable purchasing them on my own. 

Plenty of people do register for these items – so it’s completely up to your personal preference if you want to add them to your registry!

Nursery Items:

  • Crib
  • Changing Table
  • Diaper Bag
  • Glider
  • Book Shelf

Cleaning / Meds:

Nursing:

  • Nipple Cream
  • Nursing Bras (Ollie Gray or Simple Wishes)
  • Nursing Pads
  • Nipple Shields (these helped me SO much when first trying to breastfeed – but you can also ask a nurse to provide you one at the hospital)
  • Bottle Sterilizer Bags (some bottle sets come with these included)
  • Milk Storage Bags (some bottle sets come with these included)
  • Bottle Nipples (level 2 and level 3) **Must-Have**
  • Purified Water (Recommended to use filtered/purified water when making formula bottles up to at least 6 months of age. Also important to put water in first, then add formula. Putting formula powder in the bottle first won’t mix as well and can give baby colic. )

Diapering:

  • Diaper Rash Creams (Aquaphor, Cortizone10, Triple Paste, Desitin, Butt Paste)
  • Baby Wipes 
  • Pampers Swaddles (Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks of 2018”)
    • Note: Don’t purchase too many diapers in the NB size because babies grow fast and the hospital will give you plenty to take home. Also, if your baby weighs 8 pounds or more at birth, they might already be ready for Size 1. 
  • Playtex Diaper Genie – liners and carbon fillers

Gifts People Love to Give

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Below are items that even if you register for it – your friends/family will likely go off registry. Everything on this list I probably received 4 or more as gifts after Chase was born. So I did not register for any of these, but all are must-haves!

Items You *Won’t* Actually Need

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As mentioned, every baby and parent is different and that leads to very different experiences. This makes taking advice difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc. These are just some takeaways I felt I heard consistently among friends… but, again, completely up to you!

  • 4 oz bottles
    • Don’t register for 4oz. bottles!! Just use 8oz. bottles and only fill it up with as little or as much as you need. 
  • Swaddle blankets 
    • No need to register for any of the original swaddle blankets. These were made before wearable ones like the HALO were invented. No need to make your life more difficult by trying to learn how to swaddle your baby with a loose blanket when there’s an invention for that. 
    • Swaddle blankets are also more dangerous because it’s possible for a baby to wiggle out of it.  
    • I suggest not registering for any, and I bet you will still receive a ton as a gift. And although you won’t use any for actual swaddling, they do serve as wonderful stroller blankets and car seat covers.
  • Bottle Sterilizer Machine
    • Most recommend hand-washing bottles/parts and leaving them in a bowl of warm water overnight and then air-drying them using the dryer racks. I did a lot of research on bottle sterilizer machines and couldn’t find one brand that was reliable.
    • Reviews mentioned that they can’t wash that many bottles at a time, aren’t compatible with the bottle brands you may end up using, or they break after a few months of use.
    • Also, a lot of bottle sets come with sterilizer bags as another alternative to an expensive sterilizer machine. 
  • Baby Food Processor / Maker
  • Thermometer – Owlet Smart Sock:
    • Tracks your sleeping baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels; silently monitors your baby and alerts parents if something is wrong. 
    • Although highly rated online, I’ve heard the sock falls off frequently from the baby wiggling and you get an alert that your baby has stopped breathing (!!) when it actually hasn’t! So it seems way more stressful than helpful. 
    • Winner of Baby Center’s “Best Mom Picks
    • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”
  • Ubbi Diaper Pail 
    • A very popular brand – you will see it at every baby store and on a ton of people’s registries. I heard it works great at first, but then it doesn’t contain the smell very well after a few months. But I’ve also had friends that haven’t had an issue… 
    • I personally don’t like that you have to use your hand to open it. A hands-free diaper pail comes in handy …A LOT. 
    • Winner of The Bump’s “Best of Baby”
  • Motorola Baby Monitor:
    • Very commonly used, but I don’t think the image on the monitor is that great… and I’ve heard it breaks. My friends that have it suggest buying two for when it inevitably does break… not a great start!
  • HALO Bassinet or the SNOO 
      • Everyone I know that has a HALO/SNOO doesn’t end up using it for much longer than a few months.
      • Both are SUPER expensive $$$ and most moms decide to use a Pack ‘N Play or a cheaper bassinet since it isn’t used for long.  
  • Fisher Price Rock N Play: 
    • I inherited mine from my sister and some babies LOVE this. Mine doesn’t. Regardless — it has been recalled !!!
    • A new study has shown that babies that are 3 months or older can suffocate in the Rock N Play. This is because they are able to roll over.
    • If you receive one as a gift, just make sure not to use it once the baby is older than 3 months.

Woof… That’s A LOT of stuff!

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I know all of this may still seem very overwhelming and like a staggering amount of stuff. I’m no expert on parenting or babies, but I personally felt that by having the items on this list, I felt more prepared and less scared of what was to come with a newborn. I also made sure not to open everything I received at my baby shower in case I got duplicates or the items didn’t come in handy so I could return them. The majority of registry items are returnable for almost a year if you don’t need them… and if not, there’s always the option of regifting. 😉

Stay tuned for more!

Xx,

Mama ArdyParty

Introducing…Mama ArdyParty!

Introducing…Mama ArdyParty!

Life is one big party, am I right?! While hosting parties and dreaming up party tablescapes are a huge passion of mine, the biggest party I’m attending right now is motherhood. My son, Chase, is one and a half years old and I am having so much fun being his Mama!

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But, when I was pregnant, I was terrified of what was to come. Even though I have three older sisters who have made me an Aunt 8 times over, and tons of friends with kids, I still didn’t feel prepared. And when it came time to do my Baby Registry, I felt more lost than ever.  Everyone I spoke to gave me different advice…

Of course every baby and parent is different, which leads to very different experiences. This makes taking any guidance super difficult because there’s a ton of conflicting opinions on gadgets / brands / products / etc.  I became extremely overwhelmed, which  led me to create a Baby Registry Guide. This guide originally started as a way to keep myself organized and calm, but eventually became a resource I shared with friends and family in my hopes of removing some of the stress I remember feeling.

The items I included in my Baby Registry Guide are what *I believe* are the most standard baby necessities, what I’ve found (and continue to find) useful in my own experience, as well as the advice I felt I heard consistently among friends & family who’ve had babies.

Long story short, I’m excited to start a new series on ArdyParty called “Mama ArdyParty.” I will be sharing my Baby Registry Guide in increments and other fun baby-related stuff on ArdyParty.com and the newly created Mama ArdyParty instagram account. Not to mention inspiration for parties like baby showers and kid’s birthdays. 🙂

For those of you who have absolutely zero interest in anything to do with babies, please don’t run for the hills! I promise to continue to post about ALL things party decor as it is, and always will be, one of my biggest passions. I hope you are as excited as I am to continue on this journey with me!

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Also, I’d like to state for the record, I am in NO WAY an expert on parenting or babies. I have simply found a love for researching products and sharing my experiences with others. But, at the end of the day, it’s completely up to you what you choose to register for or purchase. It feels like every day there are new products being made, so I know I have missed a bunch of stuff. And when *not if* that’s the case, I’d absolutely LOVE for you to share your feedback and cool new finds with me!

Thank you for partying through life with me!

Xx,

(Mama) ArdyParty

 

Backyard BBQ

Backyard BBQ

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! Later this week, I am planning on hosting a small backyard BBQ as a send-off for my besties that are moving to a new city. Although I can’t throw them a big bash in the current climate, I know they will still feel all the love with only a few close friends (social distancing) in my backyard.

When hosting outside, I like to avoid using glassware by using a mix of melamine plasticware and paper products. Practically everything included in this post is outdoor-safe! How cute are those lime napkins to place on my Margarita bar?!

MELAMINE, ALL MINE!

I am obsessed with the set of 4 beautiful blue melamine dipping bowls, perfect for condiments like ketchup and mustard, or for extra salt for your guest’s margaritas. Since we are keeping the party short and sweet, I am not planning on serving a lot of food, so the green chip and dip bowl (with the adorable bluebird perching on the rim) is the perfect statement piece for a backyard party. I’ve included some of my favorite outdoor serveware below!

 

ICE ICE BABY

When hosting a party, *especially when outside in hot temps* it is imperative to have lots of ice on hand. That’s why I love this outdoor riviera bar cart… it has two ice buckets included! And the bottom shelf is perfect for storing extra glasses. In addition to the bar cart, I will have a few party tubs out filled with different drink options on ice to keep them cool. But, the AERIN ginger jar champagne bucket is ideal for ice being used solely for making cocktails. (The ice tongs are key here versus everyone using their hands!) I’ve included some of my favorite ice buckets below.

Can’t wait to share with you the finished look from my backyard BBQ. Cheers to grillin’ and chillin’!

Xx,

ArdyParty