Friday, June 26, 2009

Things Mama's Gotta Have

There's a post up on Down Syndrome New Mama: 10 Things Mama's Gotta Have for a new baby with Down syndrome (and a request for other bloggers to make their own lists). So, here are links to items--yeah, I know it's more than ten :)--we found invaluable in Bridget's first year:

Items to save mom and dad's sanity:

- When Bridget was a new baby, the Zaky was a great item to have. I used it to position her in her carseat, to position her for sleeping, or to place under her head while I changed her diaper (she had reflux when she was tiny, and this made it so she was not lying flat). While it is a functional item for parents, the Zaky provides a sense of comfort for babies. It is weighted, washable and soft. Ask for two of these for baby gifts, or splurge and get two for yourself. It's worth it. You won't believe all the ways you'll be able to use it.

- The Fisher Price Baby Papasan Chair is comfy and soft for baby. It also has music and soothing vibrations, which Bridget loved. When she was really little, I moved this thing all over the house with me (with a Zaky tucked in on either side), and she napped happily in it with her head nicely elevated. This comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

- We had two travel-size pack-n-plays with removable bassinets for Bridget (one on the first floor and one upstairs). Lightweight and small in size (and 1/2 the price of the full-size model), these were the bomb for us! You can find space for this pack-n-play almost anywhere, and it fits through doorways and is ultra-easy to move around the house, or to pack for travel. Plus, it's dang cute. Also comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
- Once Bridget started to become interested in scooting and crawling, the superyard, which we called "The Ranch"--a set of interlocking safety gate pieces--was an essential item. We even took The Ranch on vacation (the gates fold flat). There are extension pieces you can purchase to make the superyard larger, and the shape can be modified to make a rectangle, square or hexagon/octagon (depending on the number of pieces).

Items to soothe and comfort baby:

- Music (this one by Norah Jones, this one by Chloe Agnew, or this one by Lorie Line) that is soft and pretty for bathtime and bedtime.

- A portable CD/MP3 player is a must-have item. Bridget loved (and still loves) music of all kinds.- Who wants flaky, itchy skin? No one! The best stuff for baby's skin (though not the least expensive): Arbonne baby wash, oil and lotion. This is the most mild, sweetest smelling baby wash out there. (The baby wash is also great as a face wash for adults or teens with sensitive skin, and makes the best soak for a pedicure. Another bonus: it does wonders for eczema.) I used the oil (light and absorbs easily) for infant massage with Bridget. She had the best skin of any of our kids as babies...and I think these products are the reason. p.s. I do not sell Arbonne products in case anyone is wondering :). You can find a rep on the website, though. You can also sign up as a consultant, pay a $35 once-a-year charge and get a nice discount (I think it is 30% off) whenever you order (without actually selling the products). A good way to go if you are planning on using these exclusively for baby's first year.
Other Baby Care Items:

For Oral Care & desensitization:

- Nuk brush (use alone, or roll in things like applesauce, yogurt, Nutrigrain bars)

- Finger brush for teeth and gums
- A good humidifier is essential. We ran one each night when Bridget slept. We also used Simply Saline on a daily basis. Her nasal passages were so tiny that she always seemed (and sounded) stuffy. These two things worked like a miracle for us.

Feeding essentials:

- A small food processor is great, but the Munchkin Food Grinder (inexpensive and entirely portable) is also awesome for making healthy, safe food for baby to eat.

- The best spoons for feeding Bridget were maroon spoons.

-We placed a free-standing, acrylic therapy mirror (portable and lightweight--like this one, or this one) on Bridget's high chair tray while she ate. (Actually, these mirrors went everywhere we went with Bridget. She loved--and still loves--to look at her own reflection.) The mirrors provide entertainment and are perfect for oral-motor skill development (including speech and learning to eat).


Books--educational books (especially by DK Publishing and Roger Priddy)--and toys for baby:

- I Can, Can You? (The cutest little book. All of the children in it have Down syndrome.)

- That's Not My... Touch & Feel series (We have That's Not My Fairy, That's Not my Kitten and That's Not My Mermaid)

- All of the DK Peekaboo! books (Bathtime Peekaboo! and Bedtime Peekaboo!are also favorites),
- Books by Proger Priddy

- Sassy developmental toys
- Fisher Price crawl-along drum (encourages worked for Bridget...she loved trying to catch this toy as it rolled--and banging on it while it was in the open position).

- Books for Mom & Dad:Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents' GuideEarly Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and ProfessionalsGross Motor Skills in Children with Down Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals


  1. What a great list. I wish I had known about the Zaky when my daughter was born and stuck in the hospital.

  2. Super list! Ruby loved her Papasan chair.I was thinking of getting that safety gate you mentioned.It's good to know it worked for you.
    We love Norah Jones :)

  3. Oh and thanks for mentioning the Arbonne products.A friend of mine sells that and I was wondering if the baby products would be any good for Ruby.Ruby has such dry feet.

  4. Great list! We love the "That's Not My... books too. And yes, a good cool mist humidifier is a must as well as saline solution. How can I link your post to mine?

  5. Thanks Lisa! I actually don't know how to create a link below the comment section. Instead, I updated the post and added your post as an additional resource and linked to your post that way.