Baby STUFF….. It’s fun for a minute… until you realize just how much is out there and you have no idea how much of it really matters.
Wedding showers are fun, but baby showers are NECESSARY. The reality is, you can have a baby and not get any of the gear and you’ll survive (although driving places will be an issue without a carseat), but having certain gear will make life easier. Motherhood is amazing… But it is hard. Some days are harder than others. And having great tools to help those days is wonderful!
- Every baby is different. I have had two and there were things I thought were baby MUSTS with Dot that I barely touched with Jacob, and things I ended up using for Jake that never would have worked for Dot.
- Put everything on a registry. Even if you don’t think anyone will buy the expensive stuff, they might choose to go together on a gift, or you might get gift cards for these items. It will also help you keep track of what you want/have/need.
- Register on Amazon. A lot of people find it easiest to shop there, plus you can list about anything you want and be specific when you need to be with brands, etc.
- Use consignment sales. Worried you will b buying everything yourself? Believe me when I tell you there is SO much hardly used baby stuff out there that you can get at a fraction of the price you pay new. The actual sales usually take place in the fall and spring and I’ve loved them. In some areas you can search Facebook for “Kid swap” groups in addition to checking Craig’s List.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked hard to make this post not insanely long, so if I mention something and you have further questions about it, please leave a comment or shoot me an email [email@example.com].
- Jogger vs. Standard: Where we live [bumps, gravel, fields] a jogging stroller is required, but honestly, I like them best for pavement also. I don’t necessarily have a strong opinion on one brand since I wasn’t training/running with it.
- A carseat-stroller dual set is handy if jogging/off-roading isn’t a concern. We were blessed to be given a hand-me-down stroller that worked with our Chicco Keyfit carseat, and being able to seamlessly move a sleeping baby from the car to stroller? WINNING!
- Handle strollers in-store before choosing one if possible. It’s nice to actually push one and see how it feels and turns. You might find a big difference in some.
- Storage space: Underneath storage space is a definite nice to have. Also, having cupholders and cell phone space near the handle will be appreciated.
- Carrying a baby AND having both of your hands available? Yes, please! It’s handy both in and out of the house. I’ve used mine for everything from doing dishes to shopping. There is a wide price range on these, and I will tell you, a cheaper one might hold a baby, but it’s not going to feel as comfortable for you or baby.
- Things to pay attention to:
- Back/Hip support is KEY… A waist belt helps distribute the weight more evenly. You’ll really notice the difference the heavier they get.
- Ease of buckle: There may be times you are putting the baby in solo (or taking him out), so make sure it’s not too complex or the buttons aren’t too tricky.
- Adjustable straps: Being able to wear the carrier in different ways comes in handy. Not only will your baby grow and change, but you’ll be using it in different situations.
- I have a Beco, which is a top brand that I was fortunate enough to receive as a gift from a couple of friends. I carried both of my littles ones for nearly the entire first year. (Probably could have longer if they weren’t busy bodies that didn’t like being confined!) The support is great and I’ve worn them on my front and side. (I believe the newer version allows back carrying.) I throw it on in a matter of seconds. Ergo is a similar brand I’ve heard good things about.
- I didn’t use a wrap, but friends talk about the Tula Ring Sling or Moby Wrap. If you have interest in the wrap style I suggest looking at these brands.
- We also have a framed backpack carrier for when they get bigger. I love it for long walks or different chores where a front carrier would get in the way. I think the higher view is something they really like once they are older. (Dorothy still likes it at well over the age of 2.)
- The My Brest Friend pillow was CRUCIAL for me with Dorothy. I know it helped several other mom friends out also. While breastfeeding is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. I had a hard time with Dorothy and this made pillow made all the difference. There was a time when I honestly thought I’d never be able to feed without it.
- Jo talks about her favorite nursing cover in the vlog (4:47 in the video). My favorite is just like the one she mentions, except I got it online, called an Udder Cover. BONUS: You can almost always find coupon codes to get one of these free! Just use Dr. Google!
- Nursing pads and storage bags: You might have a heavy supply in the first six weeks. Go ahead and be ready with these things.
- Lanolin is great for nipple soreness. (Take care of yourself in addition to baby!!) I used this stuff like crazy on my first babe.
- Breast pumps are now covered by pretty much EVERY insurance plan. Make sure you take advantage. Ask your doctor’s office about it, as many have a great process for taking care of this for you. Even if you plan to stay home, get a pump. I had a SUPER heavy supply on #2 and had to pump after every feeding. I honestly do not know what I would have done if I could not have pumped! See what you provider covers and go from there. (But know there are double electric and cordless options out there.)
- Nursing bras: I used sports bras for around the house but trying to nurse in regular bra? Uh… No! Go up a size when you buy and, honestly you might wait to buy too many until after you’ve delivered because your size is kind of unpredictable.
- Cute burp cloths are typically that and only that: cute. I suggest cheap Gerber cloth diapers from Walmart or Target.
- Bibs were a saving grace with Jake because he spit up so much. I didn’t have to worry about a complete clothing change after a spit-up incident. (Not to mention it cut down on laundry – Ain’t nobody got time for dat!)
- Pacifiers are so cheap, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few brands (MAM, Nuk, Soothie) ready, so, if needed, you’ll have options. Most babies are particular, but Jacob and Dorothy like the Soothie. Dot did not take one easily, but I worked at it and I won her over with it in the end.
- I rarely used it since I was at home, but a bottle warmer can be handy if you know you’ll be pumping and others will be feeding the baby as well. It takes the pressure off having to worry about how warm to get the milk.
- My favorite is the Bum Genius pocket style. You can double-stuff pockets or choose the insert. As for BG itself, they rarely leaked, even overnight, and more importantly to me, they did not soak through. A lot of the cute ones did not have a good water resistant shell and the diaper itself got wet fairly quickly. They are costly up front, but sometimes you can get brand new ones sold at ‘seconds’ cost because of small flaws that do not affect the functionality.
- Daipers have both button and velcro latches. While velcro is faster in the moment, the buttons last longer. Velcro wears out and then your latch isn’t as solid and you have daipers falling off–eek! You can obviously replace velcro, BUT… when do you plan to find time for THAT?
- Excess inserts for pocket styles is good, so you can layer if you want. I have microfiber ones that absorb quickly, but I also have hemp and bamboo inserts. These do not absorb as quickly, but they hold A LOT. I layered a hemp one under a microfiber one at night.
- Prefold diapers should not scare you just because the prefolds/AIO seem so easy in comparison. I used a lot of prefolds with Dot, partially because they were cheaper to stock up on in the beginning. Unless you have an extra squirmy baby who hates diaper changes (Jacob is this way!), the prefolds become very easy. (And they double great as burp cloths.) And in case the PINS freak you out, don’t worry! They’ve created this handy-dandy thing called a Snappi to use instead.
- I did not have the option to use a washing service because of where I live, but adding a month’s worth to your registry is a great idea. My mom was kind enough to be my “diaper fairy”. It was one less thing on my plate in those early weeks. Long term, though, it’s not hard to figure out a process that works for you for cleaning, because the services don’t come cheap.
- I love my wipe warmer even though some people will say it’s worthless. I use super cheap, thin baby wash clothes in it and not wipes. I not only used it through cloth diapering, but I still use it with potty training AND it can be really handy for quick access to a rag for wiping hands and faces. Wouldn’t you rather have a warm rag down there than a cold one??
- I don’t have one, but I won’t say I wouldn’t love a diaper sprayer! We actually meant to get one and it just never happened. Bottom line: this makes clean up SO much easier. Something else you can try are biodegradable diaper liners. These can be flushed and also make clean up easier.
- Other things you’ll want to acquire: a diaper pail and a wet bag to line it. I’ve never used a diaper genie and a regular bucket/trash can with a lid has worked fine for me. (I used a bucket with water for the poopy diapers.) A travel wet bag is nice too.
More things I LOVE
- I have to mention that I wrote my list and Jo made her video independently of each other… But we both included these two items: Fisher Price Cradle & Swing (11:02) and the Fisher Price Newborn Rock ’n Play sleeper (12:11). Jump over to the vlog for more detail on each, but I used the heck out of these. They were well used in my house.
- We got a backpack diaper bag and I STILL love it. (And not just because the Hubs carries it and never complains.)
- Someone got us a digital themometer and it is SO nice to know the baby’s temperature with one click and not having to hold something in their mouth or—heaven forbid—up their behind is GREAT.
- Safety nail clippers with a light are the only thing I use for trimming. Clipping baby nails is scary! And nipping them and seeing blood is awful–TRUST ME!
- BIG muslin blankets are awesome because they swaddle well and sometimes swaddling is the key to a sound asleep baby! Aiden and Anais is a popular brand. (I’ve recently heard of an Ollie for swaddling too, but have no experience with it.)
- Just a tip: If you plan to make your baby food… Don’t be suckered into thinking you need a special blender or appliance to do it. If you want something nice, just get a Nutribullet that you can use for you own purposes as well!
Want info on things not listed here? Check the Vlog. Jo talks about:
Parent’s Choice Baby Wipes (1:12)
Pampers Swaddlers Diapers (2:35)
Target Up & Up Baby Detergent (3:15)
Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat (4:42) *I also have and love this seat; An extra base is handy!
Honeywell Fan (6:13)
Baby Mat (6:53)
Bumbo Seat (7:25)
Lamaze/Crinkle Baby Toys (7:42)
Zip Onesies (8:18)
Summer Infant Video Monitor (8:52)
Pack & Play (9:43)
Baby Einstein Activity Jumper (10:23)
Comfort & Harmony Bouncer (12:56)
Fisher Price High Chair (14:20)
Also – Shout out to my sister-in-law Michelle for sending me some of her must-have items to include! She joined Jo and I in our “first baby” experience, so it was hard to not get some input from her as well! A piece of her advice? “Take stuff from your hospital room and consider them gifts. The bulb/snot sucker from the hospital is the BEST one you can get… Take two of these. They also make great bath toys for toddlers!”