Wow, I can’t believe we’ve been doing this parenting thing for almost half a year! I’ve found some items to be really helpful and wanted to share. Obviously every baby/family/situation is different, but hopefully this post will help some of you moms-to-be!
Two generic “bests” that I think rock no matter which ones you get… a walker, and a jumper. I got our walker at Once Upon a Child and our jumper is this Baby Einstein one. E is very focused on standing/walking/jumping (and was early on especially because of her reflux- though now she’s also obsessed with trying to crawl) so these things were a huge hit for us.
I didn’t end up using our bouncer a ton, and our swing, while a LIFESAVER early early on, became useless when she could start trying to sit up. Both of those are definitely things to potentially buy used, and register for big items that you’ll get a lot more use out of.
I also registered for a few various brands of swaddles, which I was really glad about. We could NOT figure out how to use a blanket to swaddle (but we use the A&A swaddles for other things- though I don’t think I need as many as I have) so she went from the Summer Infant SwaddleMe, to the SwaddlePod (fail), various Halo products, to finally the Miracle Blanket. Definitely the swaddle for E, but it depends on your baby! Register for a few!
(She needed them at night but was not such a fan in the morning.)
No fun personal picture- since who takes pictures of their own diaper pail in use?- but I also am IN LOVE with our diaper pail. We have an Ubbi Diaper Pail and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We have a plastic one we use in a different part of the house, and while we don’t use that one as much, it seems to hold onto odors, and also looks HIDEOUS and cheap. The Ubbi diaper pails are great looking, easy to use, and even convert to trash cans down the line. Love.
Seriously it comes in fun colors like this! We have a “neutral” grey but they offer a lot of color options to match your nursery. (Picture from their website colors page.)
Random small lifesaver item? Linking rings.
You can see them hanging off her walker here. There’s actually a toy attached to the one on her left but you can’t see it. That’s what we do mostly- attach them to toys for her to grab and play with! I’ve used them for so many things and they’re a few bucks. WELL WORTH IT! Now that you know, you’ll start noticing them in all my pics. We have the Bright Starts Lots of Links.
Something I wished we had bought that I will buy for baby #2? A newborn head support insert for your carseat. Anything like this would be fine.
Basically, before E had neck/head control I hated that her head would flop a little in the car. This would have made me feel more secure- I avoided driving with her alone until she had better control! Otherwise I sat in the back with her and would adjust her head as needed, haha. An easy $20 spent for peace of mind.
Baby sunglasses. Did you know you might need those? I surely didn’t! I thought- “What a crazy baby item! Who would buy those?” We had bought a window shade, so I figured we’d have no use for sunglasses. Well when we’d go out in the sun to events, sun would get in her eyes- it was very limiting. And her carseat is mounted in the middle, in a car without tinted windows. How do we use the window shade!? (You can’t use it on the back window.) I went through a lot of different sunglasses – regular ones she would pull off. Finally I found some that stayed on pretty well- Baby Banz. They have the Banz Adventure for boys or girls, and the more girly Retro Banz. Lots of color options available! We got white Retro Banz for E.
(This was probably the one cold day we had this year!)
They Velcro around baby’s head to help them stay on. I’ve also found a sun hat (made for the pool/beach) is helpful if she’s in a particularly anti-sunglasses mood, but these have been the least offensive and a lifesaver on really sunny days!
As I mentioned before, E is doing a lot of “walking/jumping.” Are you wearing socks? If so, look at them. At the bottom. Are they pristine white? Probably no. And you’ll learn if you haven’t already- baby socks that FIT AND STAY ON are harder to find than the holy grail. I was not about to ruin them (or the bottom of footed PJ’s) because she was “walking” everywhere. Everyone sees baby’s socks when they’re little- you don’t want to be the one with dirty baby socks. B’s coworker gifted us a pair of Robeez soft-sole shoes that his daughter had used, and they’ve been awesome!
They seem to give her some needed traction, and they keep her feet clean and better protected, too. They’re a little pricey to use before babies really start trying to walk, but if you can find them used, or get them as a gift/registry item, I think they’re well worth it for an active baby under 6 months! They don’t slow her down at all!
Random item I would never have thought of if it wasn’t given to us- a “Bath Luve.” Different brands call them different names, but feel free to throw one on your registry. This came to me from a friend who used it with her daughter, and it is great at keeping Effie calm and warm in the bath!
Could you just use a washcloth? Sure. Basically all it is, is a specially shaped washcloth that you wet and put on baby in the bath. Just a small item that I appreciate having!
That’s it for the big items with pictures… here are the rest of my tips!
- If you end up alone with baby a lot (like me) take down your shower curtain and just leave the clear shower liner. Then you can put baby in whatever thing makes them happy that week, and still see them while you’re showering.
- Bibs. So many bibs. I was all “ha, I will never use these bibs!” I WAS WRONG. We are doing better now but for a while we went through multiple drool bibs (different than food bibs) a day. Register. Stock up. We needed them at I think around 3 months?
- Bottles for babies aren’t like cups and mugs are for us. They’re not one size fits all. I went through multiple types of bottles and nipples before we found what worked for E. (Dr Brown’s bottles.) My point? Register for small packs (1 to 3) of a few different brands of bottles and nipples. If you plan to breastfeed, some are geared towards that. If you don’t? There are other options. Basically, be prepared to buy/exchange bottles and nipples. I’m sure it works out sometimes, but from my own experience I’d recommend to avoid registering for a huge set of one brand, because if you use one and it doesn’t work out for your baby, you may not be able to return the whole set.
- This isn’t true for everyone, but we used newborn sized clothes for a while. Like 7 weeks, I think? Buy some used, or maybe buy some and don’t wash it. It’s easier to wash it than run out to the store. And you can always return it later if you don’t use it.
- I wish I had spent more time picking out crib sheets. I was focused on the color we wanted with elastic all around (not just at corners.) I didn’t think softness was paramount because I was thinking babies sleep on their back. Well when they get older, some flip on their bellies. Effie is now one of those babies. As she learns to flip over and crawl, she rubs her face against them, and I feel guilty! We have plans to purchase new ones soon. Wish we had just registered for nicer, pricier ones!
- The BabyConnect app is my life. I wish we had downloaded this pre-baby and familiarized ourselves. You may not think it’s necessary but TRUST ME IT IS. You will not remember when you last fed the baby. Trust me.
- Snaps are the devil when it comes to PJ’s. (The ones on onesies are unavoidable and not bad at all.) People told me this and I scoffed in my head. WHY DID I SCOFF? Being a parent is so humbling. Anyway- up until 4 months or so, maybe 5, it wasn’t so bad. Easy, even. But now trying to get her into footed PJ’s at night with snaps? It’s an Olympic sport. And I’m not even medaling. She flips over and rolls and takes her arms and legs out moments after I put them in. And if you think that’s fun before bed, then try to do a nighttime diaper change. Ugh. The worst. Unless a sleeper for size maybe 3-6 months and up is something important to you or a meaningful gift, etc, just return it. Exchange it for one with a zipper. You will thank me. Don’t scoff. I scoffed and wish I hadn’t.
If I think of anything else, I’ll add it as a footnote here! I hope some of you can find this list helpful- feel free to add more suggestions in the comments!