I know posts like these are all over the internet, but I found them totally helpful when I was pregnant, and trying to register and navigate the thousands of possible baby items that we may or may not need. But, I am going to make this list only the things that I truly consider a MUST. We had plenty of things that were nice, but we would have survived with out. Ok, we would easily survive with out most of these as well. So I suppose this is a list of things that are really really really really helpful, but not 100 percent necessary for babies survival. I suppose all you absolutely need is a way to feed the child, and clothe the child.
1. A Bouncer.
We have this one. It’s no longer sold, but a comparable one would be this one.
Picture from fisherprice.com
Nothing too fancy, and light enough to pick up and carry it around the house. I put Anderson in this pretty early, but he had pretty good head control, I don’t remember now how young he was when we first used it. Maybe three weeks. I put him in it when I cook breakfast, when I need to go the bathroom, when I am doing laundry, in fact anytime that he is NOT sleeping, eating, or actively playing with me, he’s probably in this. He has even napped in it a few times. Now that he is older, I have removed the center toy from the bar (not sure if the new models allow you to take these off, but my center toy is velcroed on) and have attached links with a grabbable toy on the end for him to play with. Our seat was a hand-me-down, so I think this is totally the type of thing that can be purchased used, and you will be getting just as good of a product as if you purchased new, assuming nothing is broken or missing.
2. A baby carrier.
We have this one, by Ergo. I don’t think one has to have the most expensive carrier, but I do think a carrier that supports baby’s hips in the correct position is a life saver. We also have in the infant insert.
I also purchased a ring sling, this one, by Maya. The ring sling is awesome. Until Anderson was big enough to sit in the Ergo with his legs out, this was by far my favorite carrier.
It doesn’t really matter what type you have, as long as it’s safe for the baby, and comfortable for you. But I find having the ability to have my hands free, was imperative. Also, my child HATES his car seat, so wearing him in a carrier is the only way to go to the store by myself, or out to eat before he became strong enough to sit on our laps while we ate.
3. Flannel/Cotton Receiving Blankets.
I received a ton of these at my various showers, and dutifully washed them, folded them, and placed them in the “swaddle” section of Anderson’s dresser. Of course, they are too small to actually swaddle a baby in, especially mine. BUT, they are the only thing I use as a burp rag. I also recieved plenty of wonderful burp rags, but they are all pretty small. I don’t know if Anderson has reflux (I don’t think so, as he clearly grows like a weed, and is rarely fussy when he spits up) but he spits up frequently, and a pretty decent quantity. With these flannel receiving blankets, I can cover half of my shirt, which saves me from having to change myself, in addition to him, every time he spits up. I have one on my shoulder anytime I am holding him.
image via shopko.com
4. Waterproof all-purpose pads.
I read about these on a blog, and promptly put a set on my registry. I use them over our changing pad. I only have one changing pad cover, and didn’t want to continually have to wash it. These come in a pack of two, and I quickly realized that wasn’t enough, so I bought another package. Four total works for us, especially now that we are a bit more adept at changing diapers. They are also great for travel. When Anderson was 6 weeks old, and again when he was 10 weeks old I went home to Reno to visit my mom, and took one of these to act as his “changing pad.”
I don’t really need to link to Google do I? I have found the internet to be invaluable in this first couple of months, whether it’s googling breast feeding questions at three in the morning, or reading reviews on various baby products. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Google/the internet is the modern village.
6. A regular pillow.
I have a boppy, but it doesn’t work for breastfeeding very well. I don’t know if it just doesn’t work well with my shape, but it’s not easy for me to breastfeed with it. I just use a regular old pillow, with an old pillow case.
7. A sturdy blanket.
We are blessed with talented friends and family members, so Anderson has two quilts that are beautiful, colorful, and quite sturdy. They aren’t going to be blankets to cuddle with, but they are perfect for tummy time on the floor. I keep one in the car for trips to the park, and one in the living room. We have a dog, so I’m not willing to put Anderson straight on the floor, while he still has the tendency to face plant towards the end of tummy time.
8. Something for bathtime.
I know, pretty vague right? We actually have FOUR different baby baths. Two were gifts, one was a hand-me-down, and one I purchased for use at Grandma’s house.
First we have the Babies R Us Stages & Ages Newborn to Toddler Tub. This is the tub we registered for. I thought the mesh sling would be great for infant bathing. Anderson HATED this. It kept him out of the water, which basically kept him cold. Also, I could not, for the life of me, get this tub to stop leaking. I should add, when using an infant tub we have to bath Anderson on our counter, as it didn’t fit on our sink, and our bathtub has one of those annoying sliding doors that only exposes half of tub at a time, and it didn’t make using the tub very easy when Anderson was an infant.
We recieved the The Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub as a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law. I like this tub, but it doesn’t seem very comfortable for Anderson. We used this from weeks 4-12.
I also received the Summer Infant Mother’s Touch Baby Bather as a gift from a fellow mom. We just used this last week for the first time, and I love it! I’m able to use it in either our sink OR our bathtub, Anderson can easily sit in it, and I don’t feel like I need an extra pair of hands to make sure he doesn’t topple over or slip into the water. Also, it’s so nice to not have to rinse and drain out a tub. The bonus about this? It folds up completely flat, for easy storage or travel.
The fourth thing we have is a simple foam insert for the bottom of the tub. I bought it for three bucks at Wal-mart, to keep at my mom’s house. It involves a little more work while Anderson is little, but once he can sit on his own, I think it will be great.
So, moral of my long story? Go with the Summer Infant Mother’s Touch Baby Bather. I should also note that Anderson has been bathed in an old (clean) dish pan at my Mother-In-Laws house. This also worked fine. I don’t think it matters what you use, you just need something when they are tiny, and oh so slippery.
I think this is the end of my list. Obviously, we use other “gear” but these are the things that I would for sure purchase again, if I had to do it over. And, again, these are the things that I consider almost-essential. I do feel as though I should address the baby swing. We have one, a hand-me-down. Anderson sits in it, and enjoys it for about 10-15 minutes, but he likes the bouncer much better, and I like the bouncer because it easily moves around the house. I know some people have babies that sleep in their swing, but alas, I do not. Anderson has fallen asleep in his swing exactly once.
As Anderson gets older, I think this list will change. I plan on writing another one of these for 3-6 months.