New baby on the way? Maybe it is your second or third. No matter what number baby you are on you inevitably get the list of “must-haves” from all your friends, family members, even BabiesRUs will tell you what you need. One of everything! All the latest and greatest gadgets to help baby sleep, keep baby asleep, feed baby, clothe baby, travel with baby, educate baby, stimulate baby, wash baby, and monitor baby every moment of the day and night.
It can be overwhelming simply trying to research all of these gadgets, let alone purchasing and trying to use all of these gadgets. The good news is you don’t need all of these crazy gadgets. As a long time parent and doula I have done and seen most things. I also like to peruse the interweb to find sites that pull together the essentials, like Baby Cubby! From their site, and my experience, I have created a list of the top 8 things you and your new baby need to make life easy in those first few months.
The top big item, all babies need, is a good infant car seat. And the “must know” rule for choosing a car seat? All car seats have been crashed tested to the same standards. This means that there are tons of choices, but don’t let them overwhelm you! Choose a seat that fits within your budget, fits within your vehicle, and you feel confident you can install correctly every time. Remember the safest seat is the one that is installed correctly.
To go along with your infant car seat choose Covered Goods. There are not many after market items that I recommend but this one falls into the category as multi-functional so it gets my vote. It is designed to fit over the infant car seat, can be used as a nursing cover, a shopping cart seat cover as your little grows older and even a scarf for mama! The cover keeps your baby warm while making sure there isn’t anything bulky underneath them and it can help keep unwanted hands from reaching in to touch your baby. Pro-tip for after market car seat items, ask if it has been crash tested.
Next on the list. Where is baby going to sleep? A crib, bassinet, co-sleeper or bed sharing can all be done safely if you know the must know rules. I highly recommend reading up on safe co-sleeping before your baby arrives even if you are not planning on it. More information can be found at Safe Cosleeping Guidelines by Dr. James J. McKenna, Ph.D. For those who prefer or need their own space, room sharing is a great way to keep baby close, retain some of the positive benefits for baby, and make night feedings easier. A quality crib, bassinet or co-sleeper can be the biggest helper when working through those long nights with a new baby.
As a minimalist I am hesitant to bring this one up but when you have to pee it can be very helpful! We know your arms are the best place for baby to nestle down into. In the past we lived with a lot of family who would take turns holding our baby while we showered. When looking for a safe place to lay baby down take a look at bouncer chairs. They have a short term life span so go for something portable without a ton of bells and whistles.
Now the item that you don’t want to save pennies on is a nursery chair. It’s the last vital big item on the list. This is for anyone who is caring for a baby or child. You’re going to be spending a lot of time holding and rocking them. This is a soft place to land when your back is feeling pinched as you hold your crying little one, a cozy place to feed baby, or even an inviting spot to read to your toddler.
Clothes for baby don’t need to be overwhelming either. Little babies live in footed jammies. They are easy to help keep baby’s temperature regulated, you don’t have to worry about extras like socks, some of them even come with little mitts built in. Keep things simple, don’t feel like you need to dress baby in the matching outfits from head to toe; hats, socks and mitts that are separated often come off, get misplaced, or simply become a nuisance. And remember, as they grow, the fewer choices of outfits you have to consider every day the easier it will be to get everyone out the door.
When it comes to bath time a hooded towel or 2 can be handy for bath time. They can help keep baby snugly warm from the tub to jammies. It can make wrapping your slippery little one easier too. A mild soap that is gentle on baby’s skin is a great addition to bath time. There are many baby lines out on the market, but score double when you find a mild soap the whole family can enjoy. Keep one in every bathroom and you will not longer have to search for baby’s special soap at bath time. Lotion for after bath time can be the same. Finding a gentle scent free lotion that the whole family will love makes it handy and easy to use.
The last, and what I believe to be the most important, thing on the list is an independent baby boutique in your local area. Check out the ones local to you and find one that fits your personality, family values, and product needs. The staff in these local stores are a wealth of knowledge surrounding not only their product but life as a parent. They are there to offer a helping hand, needed advice, knowledge and a listening ear. One of our favorites in the Utah area is Baby Cubby. Not only does their staff come with a vast cache of knowledge surrounding the gear they carry, but they offer free shipping, and even have a stroller track!! We love being able to take strollers for a test drive!!
Do you have an item that you wouldn’t do parenting without? Let us know what your personal MUST HAVEs are below.