Last summer, when I was registering for baby stuff, I asked several friends for their opinions on what to register for, and recorded their responses on a post here. I thought it would be interesting to add my own thoughts now that I’m almost 6 months into this motherhood thing.
One thing I’ve learned… Babies don’t need as much stuff as stores make you think they need. Oh and all babies are different; these are things that have worked for Savannah but I totally get that other babies won’t necessarily respond the same way. This is just a summary of what my thoughts are based on personal experience. (Next I should go write reviews on Amazon & Babies R Us for all these things… those reviews were so helpful when I was trying to register!) I tried to include links when applicable.
Carseats and Strollers
We got a travel system, infant carseat and stroller. I am SO glad we decided to get the infant seat. I have LOVED being able to take the carseat with me. It’s basically great to have a place to “keep” her when I can’t hold onto her. For example, restaurants, visiting other peoples’ houses (who don’t have a swing or bouncer), and those quick runs into the store when I really didn’t feel like waking her up and taking her out of her carseat. This was especially true when she was a tiny baby and couldn’t hold her head up very well (making it hard to maneuver with the sling). Also, the infant carseat is good for easily traveling in someone else’s car – like for playdates, or to go in a bigger vehicle that will hold more people, or when flying to visit family. I will miss that freedom when we move to the regular carseat. We have only used the stroller a handful of times, and now that she can sit up on her own I think we’ll get an umbrella stroller. I love having a mirror for the car so I can see her while I’m driving.
I love being able to wear Savannah, and it has certainly helped us go everywhere and do everything we’ve been able to do. I have four carriers: a ring sling, a Moby wrap, a Podeagi carrier from China, and the Ergo. They each have their own uses and strengths, so I couldn’t recommend just one. I just got the Ergo today so I haven’t even tried it yet, but I’m excited to use it for wearing her on my back and for when we start hiking.
Activity Centers and Toys
Savannah loved her bouncer, and we used (and still use) it a ton. I have a feeling we’re reaching the end of that, though, so I am going to be borrowing an exersaucer from a friend. We’ve never really tried a swing, but I could see the advantage of having that – maybe for the next baby. We recently got a doorway jumper and I really like that a lot. She does too, just bounces and laughs. We got a play mat but to be honest she rarely uses it – I took the toys off and she loves playing with them by themselves. We have a Bumbo for her which she likes for a time, and it keeps her still if I need to do something. To be honest, I keep it in the bathroom for those times when you just need both hands. :-) As for pacifiers, I’ve found them a lifesaver for naptime and nighttime. Her favorites are the Soothies, and I also got her an adorable pacifier holder that keeps it from falling on the ground and she also loves to chew on it.
I got a Boppy nursing pillow, but I only used it a few times. You can’t use it when sitting cross-legged and I nursed a lot in my bed at the beginning. I bought a manual breast pump, and I’m glad I did. I recommend that moms bring it to the hospital in case you need it while there (I ended up having to pay for another one that the hospital gave me). We didn’t get a high chair, but rather a booster seat that sits on our chair. I kinda wish I had gotten a more supportive one, but this one is fine. We haven’t started solids yet, so I can’t comment on bibs or anything. I’m planning on getting a clear shower liner to put under Savannah’s chair protect our hardwood floors.
Bath and Grooming
I got a bath chair for Savannah, which I like, but it hasn’t been exactly what I thought. I think in retrospect, I wish I had gotten an infant tub and then given it away when Savannah was done with it, and use the bath chair for future children. The chair works great in the tub, and will be good when we have multiple children bathing at once. Baby nail clippers are a must – I feel like I’m cutting Savannah’s nails every few days! Also for us a baby hairbrush was essential to somewhat keeping Savannah’s hair from sticking straight up.
I’ve talked about cloth diapering before so I won’t really say any more. I did disposables for 8 or 9 weeks, and I agree with the moms who told me not to get generic diapers! My favorite is Pampers, but I recently tried Huggies again and I like that too. (Maybe their newborn sizes just didn’t fit Savannah right at the time?) I still use disposable wipes – I like the Huggies brand the best. I have three diaper bags – a small one that I got from Land’s End, and two larger ones (a soft sided one, and a “doctor’s bag”, also from Land’s End). I use the smaller one for day-to-day stuff – it’s a great size, I can fit 2 Baby Kangas + everything else I need, and it’s easy to carry. The larger ones are best for traveling and all-day excursions.
I *LOVE* my Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper. I got the Mini because it fit in our apartment better, and also it can stand alone – it doesn’t have to be attached to the bed. It also has wheels to wheel it from room to room if you’d like (which I don’t actually have since I bought it used). Savannah sleeps in it every night – I like having her close, but to be honest I am glad she’s not actually *in* our bed. I have a few times had her sleep with us, and I wake up feeling as if I haven’t slept at all. The co-sleeper is the perfect compromise. I have a crib for her when she’s consistently sleeping through the night (she still wakes up once or twice), but don’t have a mattress yet. I also have a pack & play that I like. I would recommend getting one with a bassinet and changing table, especially if you have multiple levels in your house. I plan to move ours to the den when we get it finished. For Savannah’s changing table, we got a low dresser/sideboard and some baskets for the diapers and that has worked great. I hang a lot of her clothes, and keep others in a plastic bin in her closet.
Other miscellaneous nursery items: receiving blankets are so useful, I’ve found – I keep one in my purse at all times, and usually have another nearby. I have 3 receiving blankets that are big enough for swaddling (36″ x 36″). Since Savannah loves to be swaddled, those are indispensable to me. Oh and waterproof pads (especially ones big enough for the co-sleeper) are definitely a must! I also have a baby monitor that I like, but don’t use a ton because I can hear her from downstairs.
We haven’t had to deal with this much, but I have given her infant’s Tylenol a few times with her ear infection. I have an in-ear thermometer, but I feel distrustful of it for some reason. (She’ll feel really hot, but have a temp of 97. I dunno.)
Savannah was pretty well stocked for clothes thank to many generous people. At the beginning, she lived in onesies, but when the temperatures got colder switched to sleep & plays. I love those! I still use onesies underneath pant/shirt combo outfits. Most of her clothes were 0-6 months; I am starting to pay attention to clearance racks now that she’s getting bigger and I’m going to have to buy her clothes! I also got her some bows for her hair which I love but always forget to put them on her. Oh, and bibs are very useful for drool! They are better than changing the whole outfit because it gets soaked.