It happened! Charlie is 13 weeks old – we made it past the fourth trimester with two babies under two!
It goes without saying we used a lot more products than those listed below, but these are the “used every day without fail / made life significantly easier / my must-have” list of things, tips, and tricks that made those first 12 weeks a little bit easier. A couple items are repeats from Henry (sound machine, Lovevery playmat), but a lot are different! Different babies; different things work.
Overall I’d say I remember Henry being a bit easier; but there was also one of him and two of us. With two, you never get a break so who knows if it’s actually the baby or just life.
Charlie was definitely tougher in terms of naps. He wanted to be worn – not just held – but worn close to a warm body – and he prefers you be standing bouncing or rocking with a noise machine going. Hah I call him my high maintenance baby. And he’s very sensitive to sound and light and motion – so there were many days I was sitting alone in a dark room upstairs with him trying to get him to fall asleep and stay asleep. Or I get him asleep, sit down to give my feet a break, and he wakes right up because he knows I sat down. That being said – he’s been really good at night since around week 4 and for that alone I can’t complain. But naps have definitely been tricky. Henry would nap in his Mamroo, in his SnuggleMeOrganic pillow, in his bassinet, in your arms with the TV on… Charlie, not so much.
Here were the things that got us through the first 12 weeks of newborn life this time around.
I don’t know what we would do without this carrier. Funny because Henry was not a fan of being worn. Charlie – it’s all the boy wants and how he takes his best, longest naps. I wanted a really soft carrier for his tiny newborn body but was intimidated by the wraps.
This thing is so easy to put on and tighten once he’s in. We all wear it and have even had family members wear Charlie in it when they visit, giving us a little break. I have about 1054 more photos like the ones above… that is mainly where Charlie spent his first 12 weeks of life. Snuggling someone’s chest.
I just shared in stories – this thing is basically a gift from the gods for anyone going the formula route. And from what I heard from followers, for anyone with multiples! We use this with the Comotomo bottles. Our formula is Holle PRE and we used it with both boys.* If that wasn’t available we’d likely just stick with the Similac the boys both had at the hospital! With Henry we used this much more budget-friendly Dr. Brown’s mixing pitcher ($17). Also works great! We would make a pitcher in the morning to fill his bottles throughout the day.
*Charlie is now 13 weeks and we changed his bottle nipple to medium flow last week which has been better because he’s eating a lot more like he should, but he’s really spitting up a lot – like drenching a burp cloth after a burp – and cries from gas pain kind of a lot. We were going to try switching him to the HIPP hypoallergenic formula which is often compared to Holle but it’s lactose free. I really hope it helps and will share in a month or so.
We have one in Henry’s room and got another to use in our room to make it completely dark in the morning and for naps. Also use it when traveling!
Pacis are like swaddles… you don’t know which one your babe will like. Henry loved the green hospital pacis when he was a baby. Charlie loves the Bibs. The shape of the nipple and the outward shape of the plastic part lets him get a good suction and most importantly it stays in his mouth (most of the time).
Swaddle are a real b, let me tell you. Why? Because they’re expensive and there is no guarantee which one will be “the one” your nugget loves.
The first few weeks at home we used the hospital swaddles for both boys. They barely stretch and go on nice and tight so the boys can’t really get out of them. Once they outgrow them we switch… Henry loooved the Sleepea swaddle by Happiest Baby, but Charlie loooves the Ollie. That being said, the kid is a master at wriggling his arms out of everything so we learned and started using the double swaddle technique, using a muslin swaddle under the Ollie to keep his arms down. Read more about the double swaddle technique here.
We got a 4-pack of these for Henry, used them to death with him, and are now using them nightly with Charlie as the inside swaddle of the double swaddle mentioned above. They’re lightweight so he won’t overheat. They’re also amazing for summer babies like Henry. Also, like I said, we’ve used and washed them hundreds of times at this point and they’re still in perfect condition. Like new. Awesome investment.
This lives on our kitchen island and in the family room and is so great for docking Charlie when I’m trying to cook or tend to Henry or anything else. Henry also plays in it and bounces – it’s good for kids up to three years old! Gotta love that Swedish engineering. We also just added the toy bar to it.
We also use the Bloom Coco Bouncer that we got with Henry – but we keep that one upstairs in his room and use it mainly for bathtime or if I’m getting right. The vibrate feature keeps Charlie calm.
I weighed in on these two in my insta stories… they’re both great. I prefer how the Bloom looks a lot more, and I love the vibrate feature; but I prefer how Babybjorn folds flat very easily and more so – the harness makes it very easy to get the baby in and out. If I had to get one, I’d say Babybjorn.
We use it at night in the nurseries, we use it in our car, we use it at grandparents’ homes. We use this thing everywhere, and we have for both boys. Love the volume adjustment, the different sound options, and its small portability. Make sure you use a decibel app though to make sure your sound machines aren’t on too high and causing damage to your and your little one’s hearing.
9. Baby Shusher
Lordy was this a savior. As I’ve said, Charlie needed a lot of rocking and shh-ing his first 6 weeks out of the womb. Hell, he still does at times. And this thing helps us stretch his sleep at night. Whenever I hear him rustling, I turn this on and he magically goes back to sleep. He’s now done 8-11 hour increments this past week!
I posted on instagram that I recorded myself shh-ing since my throat was getting so dry from the constant shh-ing, and a ton of you recommended this. It’s not super cheap ($35) considering what it is – but I figured if he hated it we could return it. But he LOVES it. Helps him fall asleep and calm him. We also use this in the car to get him to fall asleep. Comes with us everywhere. Only downside is it has 15 and 30 minute settings then shuts off. I wish it had a “stay on all night long” option.
10. The oven vent fan
This is no joke. We’ve clocked a lot of hours in front of this thing the first 6 weeks, and we still rely on it if Charlie gets overtired hysterical. He’s 13 weeks tomorrow and even yesterday when he was so so upset at my mom’s house for no apparent reason (well, we think gas), I put on her oven fan and it calmed him almost instantly.
These are lovely and practical! Win win. We line his changing pad and bassinet with them; but also use them when we have to change him on our bed or the floor. They are machine washable, fold flat for your diaper bag. Overall – great product.
12. Wipes warmer
Cannot recommend this enough for fall and winter babies. Wipes get so cold for their tiny tushes – this offers a lot of comfort especially in the cold nights and early mornings when the house is colder.
This is what Charlie slept in at night the first 7 weeks and it now lives at my mom’s house if he needs to nap there. I explain more about his night sleeping in the Snoo section below!
14. Lovevery Playmat
Had this with Henry; still use it daily with Charlie. Huge fan of the brand and everything they make! We push the Babybjorn bouncer up to it so he can grab and play with the dangling toys – plus that’s a great trick for after meals so they’re not laying flat after eating.
15. Snoo bassinet
Oh the Snoo. Arguably the most debated baby product on the market – largely due to the $1300 price tag (granted it’s frequently on sale for almost half off). And the fact that some parents consider it a godsend.
Listen, this thing 100% IS a godsend. If it works for your baby. Problem is there is no way to know unless you try using it. It absolutely calms many babies and gets them sleeping through the night. We obviously didn’t want to shell out $1200, so we went with the rental option where you pay a bit over $100 month to month. I figured if it worked like magic, it’d be worth it! And if it wasn’t, we would’ve stopped using a bassinet at 4 months anyway so it was a much smaller price to pay. With two little ones, I was willing to gamble to see if it worked.
Unfortunately, we fell into the group of folks whose newborns just don’t like it – much like some babies who reject pacifiers and bottles. That was Charlie the first 7 weeks. He did not like this thing despite technically loving all the things it offers – white noise, vibrating, motion, rocking… so he technically should have loved it. But he slept most soundly at night in his Moses basket the first 7-8 weeks. Then a few weeks ago we started putting him in the Snoo again for naps… I was determined to get this thing working so we wouldn’t have to sit next to the Moses basket and rock him to sleep every night for the next month or two. And somewhere along the way… he did start liking it!
Well, kind of.
He does not like when it starts increasing. The Snoo’s settings do not calm him at all. It actually makes him more upset when the settings increase. Yes, we know there are caps on the motion and sound, and we have them set so they don’t go above level 2. But he doesn’t like level 2. Once he’s awake and crying, he’s awake and crying. He’s either peed through his diaper and is all wet poor dude, or is super hungry and this thing is not putting him back to sleep. But we do keep it on the initial base setting of motion and sound when we put him down at night – and he seems to like it. He falls asleep “on his own” with it. And kid has been doing basically 10-13 hour nights w/ 1-2 middle of the night feeding the last month. And he’s been getting much better at naps the past three weeks!
Just FYI since I’m sure you’re curious about his nighttime schedule… as of 8/9 weeks, he’s usually asleep between 6-7pm. Ideally he wakes for a feeding between 1-3am. That was his “long stretch.” Then he goes another 3-4 hours, waking up to eat between 4-6am.* So if he makes it to 2-3am, and goes to 5-6am, he technically did 12 hours w/ one feed. But if he’s up at 1am and up again at 4am, I consider that 2 nighttime feedings. We largely follow the Taking Cara Babies newborn sleep course guidelines. No light, TV, phone screens, anything for those nighttime feedings. Keep stimulation to a minimum. (We technically have a nightlight in our bathroom that is on and gives us enough dim light in the room to see what we’re doing.)
The 1-3am feeding usually goes like this: We pick him up, change him, often have to change his clothes since he’s likely peed through his diaper, feed him, burp him, reswaddle (we do the double swaddle), feed the last small amount of the bottle so it doesn’t require another burp, and put him down, and he puts himself back to sleep.
We (Dan, nanny, myself) are all starting to practice putting him down with the Snoo off so he’s not totally dependent on it. And we plan to start testing the Magic Merlin sleepsuit in his crib in the next week to see if he likes it. Henry loved it and we used it for three weeks to help him transition to the crib before transitioning to a sleep sack.
So that is that! Hope this helps.
*The last week (Charlie being 12 weeks old), he’s pretty much dropped to one middle of the night feed usually around 4am. So his long stretch is 6-7pm until 4am, then back to sleep until 6-7am. He starts rustling around 12-1am, but we use the Shh-er to get him staying asleep. He really only wakes if he’s peed through his diaper.
16. Gas Drops by LittleRemedies (not shown above)
Thank you, Ally Pagar Wolf, for telling me about this! We used Gripe Water with Henry and it was hit or miss as to whether it helped. But this is actual medication – Simethicone – same stuff they gave me in the hospital after delivery to deal w/ post-surgical gas pains. And it works. Charlie has been very irritable at times and it was almost always caused by gas (unless it was the overtired thing which is his other pain point). This stuff works in minutes if not seconds, and he’s back to smiling or eating. We frequently give him some before bed and it helps him sleep comfortably throughout the night and not wake up crying due to a burp that’s crept up and needs help getting out.
I am a big fan of gowns for newborn life (they make changes very easy) and we loved the cozy Aden and Anais gowns for night time – but the Mori pajamas are hands down the winners and what Charlie mostly lives in. Truly. As long as we have a clean set, this is what he is wearing, day or night. I had bought a set of four zip-up sleepers during one of their sales and these are his favorite and ours. They’re extra roomy making them easy to get on and off and the material is so soft, he loves it. Some brands have tighter arms and legs and it’s really tough to get his arms through. Not these. They are not cheap but again, the price per wear makes them worth it to us since again – he LIVES in them.
I cannot recommend these enough for your registry or to give someone as an extra special gift. Again, I know the price is high. And I have small-average size babies and they run big FYI. Definitely ran big on Henry; they’re a bit more true to size for Charlie.
You can see the full list of my updated baby registry here (this post includes the changes I would have made if I could do it all over again).
And you can see Charlie’s nursery tour here! He’s not sleeping in it yet – but we’ll start transitioning him to his crib this month!