It seems that everyone is having a baby everywhere I turn! I’m buying a baby gift on a regular basis!!
When a couple finds out that they are expecting a baby for the first they are typically a little fearful and then ecstatic. Once all the excitement settles down you have to start avoiding everyone’s obnoxious, but well meaning advice and baby name suggestions. After that you are faced with registering for a baby shower and/or buying all things necessary for the little person who is going to come and take over your life. Researching all things baby can be soooo overwhelming! I am the research queen of the universe! When I was pregnant with my son I Googled the hell out of everything, read product reviews and consumer reports, went to stores to touch everything, and then made a decision. Needless to say this took me forever and a day…
If you are already a mother and a friend or family member respects your opinion they will ask for your advice from time to time when they are expecting a baby of their own. There isn’t anything quite as reliable as a mother who has already been there, done that!
Honestly, though, you never really know what you need and what is great, good, or bad until you have the baby and are using the products everyday. I over registered, registered for things I NEVER used, and got too little or none of things I actually needed. Once you get that scan gun in your hand its all, “OMG, that’s so cute!”, “OMG, I definitely need this”…STOP!!! You don’t need it and it might be cute, but it’s more than likely unnecessary!! Now three years into parenthood I am here to give you the list of Must-Have Items that have aided me in my journey:
-Stroller: I do a lot of walking and am a very petite woman and so is my mother who is my son’s caretaker during the day. I needed something sturdy, relatively easy to close, not too heavy, and of course reputably safe. This is one of the most important purchases you will make and it isn’t something you should skimp on. SPEND THE MONEY!! I swear by, live by, and worship Baby Jogger!! They are a little on the pricey side and as it goes with any luxury brand every single piece is sold separate. This brand is reliable, sturdy, has an amazing canopy that almost completely covers the baby (which is awesome in the summer!), and the biggest selling points are the large baskets and the one hand fold. The City Mini GT and City Versa have a 50 lb weigh capacity meaning you will not have to buy more than one stroller EVER!! (There was a recent recall on the City Versa, but for a small hiccup that has since been corrected and was on a very small batch of distributed strollers). You can buy the infant car seat adapter so you can fit any brand car seat on the stroller to use until the baby is six months old. Now you can avoid buying the “Snap and Go”! This creates such a great level of convenience when taking baby in and out of the car without having to disturb them. Also, if you have twins or children close in age the City Select is a God send and I believe in it so much that I have purchased the multiple children versions for two of my closest family friends, who now swear by them. Trust me they are worth the money!! Prices go from $300-$500, plus all the separate pieces. Graco Travel Systems may look and sound convenient, but they are bulky and heavy, and annoying, and take up your entire trunk if it even fits (which it didn’t in my small trunk).
-Car Seat: This is also an incredibly important purchase and definitely something you should look into reviews and consumer reports for. Luckily Graco has amazing safety rating and a great selection. Here is once place where you don’t have to spend a million dollars to have quality for your child! You can of course go with Britax or Peg Perego (and their hefty price tags), but luckily in this regard you can go with the good old trusty Graco!! When it comes to convertible car seats and booster seats Graco has a great selection and so does Safety First! My son has one of each booster seat and they have never let me down. Only downside to Safety First is that the straps twist once in a while, but that’s a nuance.
-Baby & Kids Travel Friends Pillow: It is one the most highly rated Auto accessories that One Step Ahead offers and sooooo many parents swear by it! It is available in three sizes; 0-12 months, 1-4 yrs, and 4-8 yrs. It offers great support and avoids the head bobbing in the car seat that a lot of parent have to worry about. A must, must have at $14.95.
-Diapers: I love myself Pampers! They are soft, absorbent, and never irritated my sons (who has excema) skin like Huggies did. These were the only diapers I ever used after having tried many other brands. When you have a baby with fragile skin you need to be careful about what you use! Huggies is my least favorite next to Luvs, as it has these tight bands around the thighs that squeezed my very fat baby’s legs and they are also very rough and made him itchy and irritable. I do know quite a few moms who swear by the BJ’s Wholesale Club brand diapers. I have heard really good things about them, so they are definitely worth a shot!! Plus they come at a great price as well!!
-Wipes: Again, my son has excema so I need to check and read all the ingredients of things that I put on him. In the hospital they do not use baby wipes and most pediatricians ask you to avoid them as much as possible since they do tend to dry out and irritate the skin (most contain alcohol). For the first three months I never used a single wipe on my son. I carried around the ever reliable and fantastic Choose-Your-Size Viva paper towel in a ziploc bag along with a little squirt bottle (that they gave me in the hospital) of room temperature water. Quick, Easy. Painless. Once he was a little bigger I started using baby wipes from time to time and found that the Pamper brand gave his skin a terrible rash and left him kind of slimy (for lack of better reference). Huggies wipes weren’t terrible, but still irritate him a bit. Then my aunt saved me from my predicament and introduced me to the Kirkland brand of wipes (the store brand of Costco). Since then I have never turned back!! They are cloth like and the best I have found in three years!! For $29 for a case of 900 you can’t go wrong!!! Even though my son is no longer in diapers I still use them.
-Bath: When it comes to picking the perfect tub and bath products here are my picks:
From birth to 6 months pick up a Blooming Bath or a Puj Soft Infant Bath Tub. Both are for use in a sink to bathe a baby safely! The Blooming Bath is incredibly cute and plush, but has to be put in the dryer or hang dried afterwards creating a little more work on your end. The Puj is not plush, but easy to use, clean, and widely recommended! After the baby passes the six month mark I love the Dreambaby Deluxe Bath Seat! It keeps the baby in place safely, but leave plenty of room for you to be able to clean them. By this age they usually don’t like to lay down so it’s nice to use this. Once the baby is in the tub (by six months) you will need a kneeling pad or seat so your back doesn’t break during bathtime. I’m all about the 3-in-1 Sit and Store Tub-Side Seat from One Step Ahead. Incidentally, they have a ton of great products and are a place you must shop at!! You are then faced with bath products…Aveeno and California Baby all the way! No need to say anymore!!!
-Burp Clothes: My son had relfux until he was seven months old so I had to deal with spit up all day! All those thin little washcloth like ones were useless and soaked in two minutes. I went through them like nothing and it was so frustrating! Then a family friend told me that the Gerber Cloth Diapers were the true worthy burp clothes. Boy was she right!!! They are thick, absorbent and one lasted me most of the day before I had to toss it in the wash. Plus, the spit up never leaked through the cloth onto my clothes, which was a big bonus considering that fact that I had no desire to continually smell like ‘Eau de Vomit’.
-Changing Table: I know that the dresser/changing table is a space saver for a lot of people, but who ever said that changing a baby sideways was the right way? I always found it rather annoying and inconvenient and then I found the Badger Basket Corner Changing Table. Not only is this a great idea, but it is a space saver and storage space as well. You can’t go wrong with this and the baby is facing forward. This is a must have for sure!!! Especially for dad’s who are confused by the whole diaper thing in the first place! Bonus…the changing table comes with a changing pad, so all you need to do is buy cute sheets for the pad.
-Sleeping Gear: A lot of people swear by swings. My son was not a fan…if I put him it he screeched so mine was a huge waste of $200 and something I had to give away to someone who said it worked like a charm. A popular choice, a safe choice, a technologically cool choice, and the one I had and a lot of mothers love is the Graco Sweetpeace Newborn Soothing Swing Center. There are a million reasons to love it…you can plug an iPod into it, it has a bunch of great soothing sounds to pick from, the seat vibrates, and the seat comes off and you can click in any Graco infant seat on it. Then comes to cribs and such…that is really a matter of what style you like and obviously there are a million different cribs out there. Do your research and find one that works for you. A great place to put baby down to nap and a lot of people use for newborns before they put them in the crib is the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. With my own eyes I have witnessed what a charm it is, this is a must must have!! Also a up and coming trend that I will definitely participate in with my next child is a baby hammock. These are quite popular outside of this country and are great for fussy sleepers, colicky babies, reflux babies, and former co-sleepers. They cocoon baby, slightly elevate them, and naturally rock them simulating life in the womb. Some of them go up to 30 pounds! You can look into brands like Happy Hang Up, Kanoe Baby Hammock, and Hushamok. They are all shipped internationally and have great reviews and recommendations. I will most certainly be getting one for my second child!
-Other Miscellaneous Must Haves:
-Air Purifier/Cool Mist Humidifier: Get them, you’ll need them!!!!
-Diaper Genie: Yes, it is worth it and what it is hyped up to be!
-Boppy: Loved it and used it from the hospital until he could sit up on his own. He even used it after just cause he liked it.
-Bottles: My son was exclusively breastfed and NEVER once drank from a bottle, but I received a ton of the top brands like Avent, Dr. Brown’s and Tommee Tippee. I will have to return to work after having my next child so I have been looking into bottles and have come across one that will soon be released called Bare Bottle, go check it out at bittylab.com. It is made for breastfed babies to ease the transition and has revolutionary technology, I along with many other breastfeeding moms are already sold on it. It has taken 5 years to develop and is being released in February 2013. I am already signed up for pre-sale orders and discounts and will definitely be purchasing at least 8 as soon as they are available!!! This bottle will be priced at a reasonable $14.99 each and will come in 4oz and 8oz versions.
-Soothie Pacifier: I was totally anti-pacifier, but in the hospital they ended up giving it to my son and he was hooked. I ended up loving them and he used them until he was three months old when he weened himself off of them. They are great and inexpensive.
-7Am Enfant Blanket 212 Evolution: This is something I had to have despite the $189 price tag. It pays for itself it is so good and comes in a bunch of great colors too. Like I said I do a lot of walking and my son was born in October so it started to get cold as soon as he came home. I had a JJ Cole BundleMe which was nice, but it didn’t cover around his head and only fit on his infant seat. So like I always do I started to research and came across this great find. Not only does it go from newborn to 4 years because it expands in size (which no other one does) but it went around his head and provided more warmth and weather proofing than any other one I had found. It goes from the infant car seat right into the stroller and can be used until the child is no longer stroller compatible! Now JJ Cole finally caught up and makes one exactly the same and just as good, but without the abundant color choices and it is only $120! It is called the JJ Cole Polar BundleMe. Scoop it up it is worth every penny!!!! Baby doesn’t even need a coat under here, just a sweater and hat which is awesome because it is not recommended that a baby wear a coat in the carseat. Keep this in mind if you have a winter or cool weather baby as they will not release you from the hospital with more than one layer of clothing on the baby or any kind of carseat cover. You will only be allowed blankets. Obviously once I left the hospital I immediately put on my JJ Cole, I never felt like it was a safety hazard, ever!
-ERGO Baby Carrier: Great choice and comes in great patterns and colors and has a lot of great accessories with it as well. Goes from newborn to 45 pounds!!
-Nasal Aspirator: In the first few weeks mine proved to be essential and the NoseFrida Snotsucker (gross name, great product) was a God send.
-Nail Clipper and nail files: Baby is usually born with thin, but kind of long nails. People are always afraid of cutting them, but you really should to avoid scratching. Since they are so thin at first you don’t even need to use the clipper, but simply file them down. I did this on a regular basis as baby nails tend to grow pretty fast from all the calcium they receive. I hate seeing babies in those creepy mittens because I don’t believe in the sensory deprivation. A tiny scratch on occasion never killed anyone, they are most certainly not going to claw their eyes out, and have no coordination, so please loose the mittens!
-Onesies: There is no such thing as too many!! Stock up when they are on sale while you are pregnant and always! They will become soiled a lot and you will use them under most outfits so always have a ton! I bought tons of Gerber white onesies, but my true favorite are the Carter’s white onesies because they was really well and don’t shrink like Gerber ones
-Bibs: Once baby starts teething or if they have reflux you will need these. I worship the Carter’s brand as they are lined with plastic in between the layers of fabric and obviously don’t leak through to wet babies adorable outfit. They come in different sizes and with cute phrases and designs. They wash wonderfully unlike most bibs and I bought them every time they were on sale and used them until he didn’t need then anymore.
-Medela Breast Pump: It is worth the hype. Especially if you are a working mom committed to breastfeeding. Get one!! Remember..breast milk is the best milk!!! These tend to be a bit pricey running from $200-$350 range, BUT make sure you check with your insurance provider to see if they cover it. Now a lot of insurance company’s are either paying for it in total or covering a decent portion of it.
-Beaba BabyCook 4in1 Food Prep and Blender: worth it, buy it, don’t be lazy! Making baby food of your own isn’t only healthier, but saves you a ton of money! Do it on the weekends during baby’s nap time or at night after they are out. You can make enough for the week and freeze it and send it to the baby sitters or daycare or if you stay at home its a good once a week project. It will literally slash your food spending in half and you will have the comfort of knowing exactly what is in your child’s food. Buy reusuable pouches like Go Fresh Baby or Little Green Pouch to store the food to go. You can also just steam them and then puree them in your food processor if you want to save the money on this little device. If you don’t care to make your own food go with Earth’s Best, Ella’s Kitchen Organic food, and Plum Organics. I still use them till this day and my son is three! I add them to his food since he hates veggies and he doesn’t even know its there.
-Protect-a-bub Classic Sunshade: It has 50+ UPF and completely covers the baby since most sunshades are short and do not provide UPF at all. With my extremely fair skinned son this was important. Every parent should protect their kids from the sun as much as possible!!! Don’t forget the Neutrogena baby sunscreen!! Gentle on the skin and great protector!!!
-Graco 4-in-1 Highchair: Love, like all Graco products it comes in a variety of great designs and is the highchair you can have through all stages, but most importantly it is affordable!!!
-Okkatots Baby Depot Diaper Bag Backpack: All you need to do is Google it and you will see exactly why this is the bag to have, especially if you’re not a first time mom. I made the mistake of getting a trendy, expensive one that didn’t have enough room to do anything besides look cute! This bag is durable, practical, and can carry everything you need!
What are some baby products you guys consider a must have that I don’t know about or missed? There is always something to add! I hope this helped some people expecting new babies and people who have new ones!! Just thought I’d put this together since so many people have been asking me about baby products…now I have it written down!