My favorite (baby) things

J and I have gotten used to being surrounded by baby stuff. A burp cloth on the ottoman. A swing in the dining room. The sheer amount of material goods one can accrue upon having a child is truly staggering. But we use it all. I was shocked at how many clothes we received, for instance, and then we had the baby and I realized how capable she is on spitting up on three different outfits before even leaving the changing table. I do have a few favorites, all of which were gifts. A few things things so cool, useful and fun that I might want them even if I didn't have a baby. That would be weird though, I realize.

Our handmade pacifier clip, made of a string of brightly-colored wooden beads, is one of my absolute favorites, and the funny thing about that is that Nora doesn't really like her pacifier. Still, I clip one on to her carseat whenever we go out, just in case that will be the day she can't live without it. Of course, you could also use the clip for a toy you want to keep within baby's reach. Anyway, it's ended up sort of being a must-have for me, psychologically anyway, and on the few occasions when I couldn't find the clip I've freaked out a little. A lot. You can buy your own pacifier clip, made by Sugar Snap, here. Or, in Brooklyn either of the Corduroy Kid boutiques, which are located in Prospect Heights at 613 Vanderbilt Ave. between St. Marks and Bergen, and on 5th ave in Park slope, between President and Carroll.

Our Sleep Sheep. Honestly, I don't know if any of the noises - rain, the ocean, a heartbeat and whale songs - the Sleep Sheep plays help lull Nora off to sleep at night, but I do know that when we first brought Nora home, and didn't know what in the name of God we were doing, the Sleep Sheep was crucial in our nighttime routine. Swaddle the baby, turn the Sleep Sheep on (I like the rain sounds best), feed the baby, put the baby to sleep. As we've become more confident, the strict routine has devolved a little but I still put the Sleep Sheep on when I want Nora to know it's almost time for bed.

My Reese Li diaper bag. I mean, let's say you were to take a look in my purse right now. What would you find? Maybe, like, a granola bar, some lip gloss and about 3,000 Metro North ticket receipts? Probably. All jumbled together in the bottom, with a bunch of other things. So imagine what it's like when a person like me has to carry many necessities with them every time they leave the house, including diapers, wipes and an extra pair of baby socks, not to mention a wallet, keys and cell phone. It's a mess. But my Reese Li diaper bag - SO MANY POCKETS! Pockets for everything! When I look inside my diaper bag, which is ultra-cute by the way, and I see all those things, organized in their own individual pockets, yeah, I feel ready to take on the world. Because I've got all natural hand sanitizer. And I can tell you exactly where to find it.

My Hooter Hider, and, no, I'm not messing with you, it's called a Hooter Hider. My friend Emily, who had a baby several months before I did, had one of these and it sounded pretty great so I ordered one for myself. A Hooter Hider is a nursing cover - they come in all these great patterns and colors - that allows you to breastfeed your baby without anyone seeing what's going on. I'm all for women nursing in public, but since I'm not brave enough to just, you know, do it out in the open, the cover works perfectly for me. I even used it on the train into New York (don't pass out, Bobby), and I don't think anyone sitting nearby knew what I was up to. Ha! Feeding my baby with a fashionable nursing cover while enjoying "Us Weekly," that's what! I ordered my Hooter Hider online from Bebe au Lait.