Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Must Haves

I've had "baby" on the brain lately. I think back to when I was expecting my first and how overwhelmed I was by all the stuff I needed for the baby! I registered at Babies R Us for everything from baby monitors to swings to shoes, diaper wipe warmers, and baby bathtubs. I had no idea what would really be useful. I now have a better idea of what items are terribly practical to have for a new baby and I compiled a list. These are things that I think are really great and I used all the time. Other moms may have different ideas and I would love to hear your comments on the baby items you can't live without.

I didn't have a nursing cover with my first child and I am not sure how I survived. My cousin gave me a Hooter Hider for a gift and the practical item was always with me!

The Hooter Hider is designed with a rigid piece at the top to allow easy viewing of the baby while nursing for mom only. Everyone else only sees a stylish, cute fabric that helps keep breast feeding modest for shy types, like me. You can buy the nursing covers or easily sew one. I should do a tutorial next time I make one -- they are really simple to make.

For baby's fashion needs, Robeez shoes (and they are practical too):

Socks seem to refuse to stay on a tiny one's feet. These stylish, soft shoes stay on and keep the sock on too. I also like how the Robeez complete the outfit for a baby -- so important, I know. I only had one size with my first child, the 12-18 month size and those work well for beginner walkers. For Mandy, I knew how great the shoes are, so I found some used in the smaller sizes too. But I only have girl ones!

This next item isn't normally considered a baby necessity, but I found I used an exercise ball all the time, several times a day with my babies.
I used it for bouncing my fussy newborn while I was sitting and watching tv. Nothing silences Emma's cries like the bouncy ball. Later, like a year after Emma was born,  I realized that the baby weight wasn't just going to fall off my body, I used the ball for exercise. It is very versitile and is now my children's favorite toy outside for rolling around in the yard. You can find these balls used all over the place or new for about $10.

The next practical baby item is sling or carrier to hold the baby close to my body.
The first time around I used a Baby Bjorn. It works okay, but hurt my back after about 20 minutes and was tedious to put on. With my second, I used a cotton sling (my hubby still preferred the Baby Bjorn for carrying the baby). It was faster and I used it constantly until she was over a year old. It still hurt my back a little, but not as bad as trying to lug the infant car seat around or carrying the baby in one arm while I tried to do something else. With my third child,  I will still use a sling for the infant stage and then I would really like an Ergo Baby Carrier (pictured above). You can wear it on the front, back, or side, up to a 40lb child. You won't catch me carrying a 40 pound child anywhere, but it shows just how strong the Ergo is. They are really innovative and I spent about half an hour yesterday watching how-to videos on the website. Now to find a used one for cheap...

A stroller is a deffinatly handy item to have for a baby.
Many people will have opinions about what stroller is the best, but I found I needed 2 strollers. I used the jogging stroller on my rural road for every day walks and a regular folding stroller with small wheels for mall/city trips. I've seen a lot of women try to get away with the jogging stroller at the mall and it is seriously TOO BIG. The double joggers are especially big, but so necessary if you are going on uneven surfaces and/or jogging, just not in the mall. Now I use a double jogging stroller and I have a Sit n' Stand stroller that will be handy when the new baby comes. I also have a Jeep umbrella stroller, and the regular folding stroller. It is a bit excessive, and I need to get rid of a few before they replace my car in the garage.

I also used and still use a pack n' play type portable crib often.
Thankfully I received one of these as a gift, because I had no idea how practical a portable crib would be. We kept ours in the car and it was great for naps or overnight at other people's houses and good outside too. It was also good to have if other babies came to visit us.

Besides the Robeez, there is an item of clothing I think is fantastic for babies and that is the long sleeved onesie.
Carter's makes a onesie that is quite thick and fits babies that are long in the torso very well. I loved long sleeved onesies for my fall babies. The short sleeved ones always left me a bit confused with what to put over it during the day to keep baby warm. I also like the little cotton pants that are often sold right along side the onesies. They are so practical and cute for every day oufits.

A good diaper bag, I think, is an essential.
I had no idea with my first that a great diaper bag would come in so handy. A place to store bottles upright, great organizational pockets, a changing pad, and comfortable strap, plus a cute design are necessary. I am going to have to rethink my diaper bag situation with my third since I'll have 2 in diapers and the pink camo diaper bag I have isn't terribly appropriate for a boy. The one above is from Target and is a little pricey at $60. Anyone have some rich grandparents I can borrow to give me this item?

So moms, what items are on your "must haves" for baby? 


Kellie said...

Here's my Baby/Toddler Must Haves:

1. Baby Sling/Mei Tai/Wrap or other Babycarrying device. I had a microfleece pouch (you could totally sew one yourself, if I can do it I'm positive you can do it) that I *loved* for newborns. Especially fantastic for a fall baby. Wraps are complicated but also great because the work for little babies through toddlers and fit both my husband and myself. Check out for their Buy/Sell/Trade board for used baby carriers. I'm sure they'd have some Ergos for sale. I bought my wrap on there when I was pregnant with Ethan and sold it for what I paid for it this spring.

2. Halo Sleep Sacks. These are great for keeping baby warm when sleeping, Ethan is still wearing one to bed and will until he moves to a toddler bed this fall. Bonus: They prevent baby from climbing out of the crib because they can't physically get their legs over the crib rail!

3. Boppy. I didn't use mine for nursing but it came in handy as a place for a newborn baby to sleep in and they think you're holding them. I'm not ashamed to admit that Ethan slept in a Boppy for about 3 weeks at night. Hey, I needed sleep and he was happy. Also great for when baby is learning to sit up unassisted.

4. Baby Bouncer. We used ours so much the vibrating function broke before Ethan got to use it and the frame is completely bent. It was the only place Grace would nap for months and Ethan loved to sit in it and watch me cook dinner. Could not live without it.

5. Bumkins Super Bibs. They cover baby completely for mess-free meals and art projects. They hold up really well (We're still using the 2 I bought 3 years ago for Grace) and wash great. Don't even bother with any other bib!

6. Fleurville Sling Tote Diaper Bag. Yes it's expensive but sooooo worth it. I bought mine with Christmas money and have used it for 3.5 years now and don't plan to stop using it for a long while. It has held up beautifully and is completely functional for me. I had two in diapers at the same time for almost a year and it held everything I needed for that and then some. Plus I have a pocket just for myself!

I'm sure I can think of more. I love finding new/cool/functional baby products!

Anonymous said...

I'd add these:
Portable folding baby swing
baby food mill
my towel bibs
Floppy seat for shopping
Jenni Birch
p.s. Do you want baby boy clothes?

Dan & Hillary and little Russell said...

... aw, and I just bought you the 'state-of-the-art' wipe warmer;-)

Your list is very good. Definitely a 'yes' on the sleep saks!

Cathy said...

Great list! Don't forget the exersaucer. I LOVE those things...oh, and so did the grandbabies. :-)

Lindsay said...

My mother in in law made me some awesome flannel burp rags. They were probably my most favorite and well used item. Wyatt was a HUGE spitter. I'm so bummed I had my babies before I knew about hooter hiders and baby slings.

Andee said...

1. Hooter Hider--absolutely. Hands down, I would do an infomercial about it in a heartbeat.
2. I don't even know what you call it, but one of those diaper clutch things that have room for one or two diapers, the wipes and a changing pad. That way you don't have to haul out the entire diaper bag for a quick change.
3. Diaper Duck--loved having plastic bags handy for stashing stinkies. Bonus is baby can play with it to keep his hand out of stuff he's not supposed to be in during a change.
4. Flannel receiving blankets. These make the best burp cloths ever. With two massive spitters to contend with, these were my constant companion.
5. The Bella Band. Yeah, I know, after the baby comes the maternity stuff is supposed to magically go away, but now you have that problem where your maternity pants won't stay up and your regular pants won't zip up. Bella Band saves the day!

Shawna said...

My favorite thing I couldn't do without if I were to do it all again: My Video Monitor. I didn't get a monitor at first because I knew I wouldn't ever be far enough away to NOT hear her. BUT I had trouble not going in at night when she would cry out and not really be awake and then I would wake her and we were having sleeping through the night. Someone suggested a video monitor.

It has been SO GREAT! Not only can I see her if she really needs me like if she has her legs stuck in the slats of her crib (another benefit of sleep sacks) and I so enjoy watching her in the morning taking her time waking up, hearing her talk softly and watching her sign to her bear and rub her silky blankie. I LOVE IT! I also particularly like it when I wake up in the night and I get to look in on her without bothering her and it just makes me all warm inside!

Shawna said...

I saw on the border that you were looking for an external frame baby carrier backpack. I have one I never used. I bought it for RICK to use after I could no longer carrier her in the Bjorn. I would be happy to send it on up to you! I will find a picture of it and see if it is what you are looking for. I need to find a home for it.

Sara said...

My "must-haves" list:
1. Hooter Hider - actually, my mom made mine following the Hooter Hider pattern for less than $5!!
2. Bouncer Seat - Abby loved it and I'm hoping Ben will enjoy it just as much!
3. Breast Friend Nursing Pillow - WAY better than the Boppy, especially when baby is newborn age.
4. Boppy Pillow - not for nursing, but for sitting on while my 3rd degree tear heals!
5. Ergo Carrier - don't have one, but want one sooooooo badly!
6. Multiple strollers - I prefer the jogging stroller for our everyday walks around the neighborhood, an umbrella stoller is always stored in my trunk for quick trips at a store, and my Graco stroller is great for in between stuff (day at the fair or something like that).
7. Shopping cart cover - keeps baby away from yucky germs, has some toys attached for entertainment, and provides a little padding for a more comfortable ride. My cover works on standard shopping carts as well as the large-size Costco carts.

Stacy said...

This is SO helpful!! Jonathan & I are expecting our first in December & I have no idea where to start with all the stuff I know we will need. I will be printing out this list and researching every one of them. Thank you all!!

mamaof2 said...

I have a Beco Butterfly 2 carrier...A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I wish I had discovered it sooner. It is similiar to the Ergo but comes in stylish patterns and is a little bit sleeker than the Ergo. The Ergo would rub my armpits sometimes. And it has a panel in between you and the baby that holds the baby in the carrier so he doesn't slide out when you are switching them from front to back. It has a removable infant insert. I love having a back makes grocery shopping so much easier. They are very comfortable and distribute the weight wonderfully so they feel almost weightless at times. The are worth every penny(and I'm a penny pincher) and make your life so much easier. In my humble opinion. They are more expensive then the Ergos ($140 new). But you can get them on sale for $120 sometimes. Or buy the 1st version they made for $99. Check their website for the latest info. They also have a way for you to find local retailers to try one on. Sorry so long...I just wish I had had this info sooner myself so that I could have had my Beco from day one with my son.
Enjoy your baby when he comes! Boys are wonderful! I have one of each!