As I started to put my baby registry together on Amazon I quickly realized how much stuff a baby needs. I'm a minimalist at heart so I try to keep material possessions to a minimum, and try to buy things that are truly necessary (versus wants.) Of course I splurge on food, books and travel! After I started researching what items were best in terms of parental opinion and safety ratings, I came across a lot of 'been there done that moms' who advised against purchasing some of the traditional 'must have' items. I've opted out of things like a diaper genie, wipe warmer, and exercausers/jumpers (after reading how much damage they can cause to baby's bone and joint development.)
When I searched for information on what items are truly necessary for a baby I always come across the same response: somewhere to sleep, a car seat, clothes, diapers/wipes, and bathing/medical items. Everything else is a 'nice to have' addition. That is certainly a bare bones list and I have quite a few items that aren't 100% necessary, but I think will make life with a newborn better.
The first thing I purchased was this travel set on Amazon. At the time it was only $199! It has good reviews, and while the jogging stroller certainly isn't top of the line I didn't want to spend $$$ on a BOB until I tried running with the baby for a while to see if I'd even like it.
The only downside to this set is that the stroller is pretty bulky. I will have a very hard time getting it in and out of my car, but thankfully I will be upgrading to an SUV with AWD when we move to Alaska in September.
After reading Happiest Baby on the Block I knew I needed to get the hang of the whole swaddle thing. Virtually any blanket can be used to swaddle, but I came across these 'miracle' swaddle blankets and the reviews were so amazing for them I decided to put them on my registry. My Mom bought two for me so I'm hoping they live up to their name!
I actually scored this same activity gym at Target for $50 so check their first if you are looking for this one. I was shopping with Travis and my parents that day and I spent a few minutes comparing the features of multiple activity gyms. Finally, Dad made some comment about how he doubts his grandsons future success in life will be determined by which activity gym I picked out. We all had a good laugh and I realized it really doesn't matter too much what activity gym, crib mobile, or bedroom theme I go with. Baby just needs good ol' fashioned love and attention.
Since we will be moving 4-8 weeks after the baby is born we aren't setting up a bedroom for him yet. I'm purposefully not calling it a nursery as we are trying to buy items for it that will last for years. We are going with a woodland/camping theme that we hope he will like as he gets older. Travis's father bought us an amazing Pottery Barn crib and furniture set that just arrived this past weekend. It's nestled nicely in our dining room for now (and not at all aggravating my anxiety to have everything in it's proper place.)
For the first few months of his life baby boy will (hopefully) sleep peacefully in this Pack 'N Playard that Travis's mother bought us. We went with this model since it also has a changing station and shelves where we will keep his diapering items and clothes. Almost every house we've looked at in Alaska is two story, so it will be nice to have this on the opposite floor his bedroom is on so I always have somewhere I can change him and put him down to nap.
Since I plan to breastfeed I kept hearing how amazing the Boppy pillow is. I like that it can also be used to lay baby down, and do tummy time with him as he gets older. My Mom actually found one at TJ Maxx for $25 so I'd look at places like that before spending $40 on Amazon.
One of the first items my Mom bought me, that wasn't even on our registry, was cloth diapers. I must have looked confused as I opened them because she immediately explained, "don't worry I know you aren't planning to cloth diaper!" She said she had cloth diapers for my brother and I and ended up using them for everything. Even the package lists a few alternative uses for them; burp cloths, changing pads, nursing covers, and even household cleaning!
Something I had never heard of before becoming pregnant was a Rock 'N Play. After trolling the Babycenter message boards I quickly saw it was mentioned over and over when anyone asked "what is the one newborn item you can't live without?" Apparently babies love to sleep in these things, and if the baby has issues with acid reflux they love that they can sleep slightly elevated. Now that I'm in my third trimester I'm having issues with heartburn myself and I feel significantly better when I sleep with my head slightly elevated.
Baby carriers seem to be such a hot topic! While most Mom's I know swear by the Moby wrap or Ergo I came across this Baby Bjorn and it had better reviews than the Ergo. Honestly, I'm a little afraid of wraps. Every time I see a baby in one they just look smushed, and I've head that all the fabric can make Mom (and baby) very hot in Summer temperatures. I wanted something with a little bit more support, and Travis and I both tried on the Baby Bjorn and loved how it fit.
The one absolutely not essential 'luxury' item on my registry was a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag. I could have easily found one for $30-40 in person but I kept reading how amazing these bags were. With every purchase we've made we've tried to get the best we can afford so that it will hopefully last for 2-3 babies. We also went gender neutral with almost everything we've bought so that they can be handed down to little brothers or sisters.
I did search around for a while trying to find a diaper bag that I really liked. I hate purses. I hate shopping for them, I hate carrying them, and I generally felt the same toward diaper bags. Most of the ones I found were huge! While this one is still 5x bigger than most purses I've used it's on the smaller side of diaper bags, and the print is nice and neutral.
I was going to add that this item was more for me than baby, but baby is the one who will be 'eating' this! When I talk about breastfeeding moms are quick to tell me 'apply nipple cream constantly.' I'm gearing up for the first few weeks of breastfeeding to be challenging as baby and I (and my body) get into a groove but I'm hoping this cream will help ease the pain a bit. Most Moms recommend Lansinoh, which is 100% lanolin from sheeps wool, and can have some pretty nasty stuff in them.
I stumbled upon Motherlove cream (sold in Target, too!) and love that it's made with organic extra virgin olive oil, organic beeswax, organic shea butter, organic marshmallow root, and organic calendula flower. We are still waiting to buy a breast pump now that my insurance (tricare) has officially announced they will pay for them. We are also holding off on a baby monitor for now as baby will be in our room for the first few months. I almost put a movement/breathing sensor on the registry to help safeguard against SIDS, but then I read that SIDS experts actually discourage parents from using them!
We didn't put a lot of clothing items on the registry but already have almost his entire wardrobe for the first year thanks to excited grandparents (and great grandparents!) We also have received a few adorable handmade blankets, some stuffed animals, and even a few helicopter toys and books. Since we aren't having a baby shower I certainly wasn't expecting to be so fortunate with so many gifts!
With 10 weeks to go I've been grabbing a few smaller items every time we make a trip to Target. Thanks to watching for sales I've been able to score about 600 diapers (pampers swaddlers in size newborn, 1 and 2) for $110. I've been taping the receipts to the boxes so if baby has an allergic reaction to them or doesn't fit in them well I can exchange them. I bought some bottles and pacifiers to try out (tommee tippee and Dr. Brown) and need to get a few other baby hygiene/mom postpartum things.
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What are/were your newborn essentials?