You know, what other parents think were the absolute must haves of raising their tots?
Truthfully, I read them to get an idea of parenting styles, not really to get ideas for things to buy. If I saw lots and lots of activity things – swings, bouncers, mats, toys, bumbos, play pens etc. I jumped right to the conclusion that “That parent wanted to plop their baby in some sort of baby container so they could go about their day.” I was judgy.
Becoming a parent is both completely humbling, and also the most judgemental time of your life. But these are topics for a future post.
This post is MY list of Baby Essentials, the things we would not like to live without. Some of which I totally thought were “stupid” and ended up loving, some that I never thought of and some that I absolutely knew I would love (and did) – later the follow up post will pinpoint the things that I just knew we would love, and didn’t.
This is my number one item that I thought was a stupid, un-necessary baby item, and ended up loving. We didn’t even register for a swing. But when my friend Mya offered to lend us theirs until they needed it for a new baby, I of course said Yes! I figured the worst thing that could happen would be we didn’t like it but it didn’t cost us a dime, best case scenario we love it and it still doesn’t cost a dime.
Aria LOVED it. Like really loved it. I think if we’d tried one when she was younger, it wouldn’t have been so successful. The key to her loving the swing is that she is actually at the age where she focuses on toys, gets interested and “plays” with them. Talking and laughing at the swing mobile quickly became her favourite thing to do. Using the swing as a helpful pair of swaying arms quickly became my savior when I needed something to put her to sleep.
That being said, I don’t think everyone should buy one for full price. A lot of people try them out on a newborn and don’t like it. So if you’re going to buy one, don’t give up in the first month. Try it again at 2-3 months. If not, borrow one from a friend or check Craigslist for a used one (Craigslist is like the graveyard of baby swings, there are a million.) Oh and if possible, get one that swings side to side and front to back. Some babies only like one direction.
I’ve mentioned this before. Get a sound machine. Whether it’s an actualy “boom box” type, or just a Sleep Sheep. These things are awesome. Your baby grew in a very noisy womb, and finds sounds comforting. White noise especially. I knew people recommended them, but never thought it was necessary. Totally, totally essential.
Double points for the Soothe and Sound Seahorse because it glows and plays lullabies.
I was all for being a baby wearing Momma. As I’ve said before, I wanted to love the Moby. Aria hates it (well, she might like it better now, but she hated it the first month) but I refused to give up baby wearing.
Enter – the Ring Sling. A fun and easy way to carry your newborn – small toddler. The ring sling allows you to do lots of different holds, the cradle, the hug, hip etc. Lots of options for babies and a lot less restrictive than the Moby (which was Aria’s problem with it.) Baby wearing is fabulous. It makes grocery shopping a breeze and I’ll admit, I never get bored of everyone stopping and commenting about “That adorable baby!” and “What a neat way to carry your little one!”
The brand variety is the Maya Wrap, but it costs like $70. Check out Etsy (I got mine from Raspberry Baby) for much more affordable options. I love mine because the fabric is a much more durable, strong (yet somehow magically thin and airy) linen compared to the soft, flexible fabric of the Maya. Mine breathes really well for keeping baby comfortable, and it feels a lot more supportive to me. Just my opinion, lots love their Maya RS.
Oh god, here I go again. Okay, I’ll shut up. Not for everyone. Do your research.
Muslin Swaddle Blankets
Oh Aden + Anais, how you changed my life. These are the.best swaddle blankets in existence. The generic flannel receiving blanket is something like 30 inches/30 inches, which you’ll quickly realize around the one month mark, is way to small to effectively swaddle a baby. A+A blankets are 47 inches/47 inches. PLENTY of length for wrapping and tucking. Not to mention they are tissue thin, making them perfect for keeping your baby at a comfortable temperature (especially in this Arizona summer heat!)
They’re also great for tummy time because the fabric is so wonderfully thin that baby can easily grip on to it. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to lay her on them. I don’t really know.
P.S. Summer’s Infant also makes a muslin swaddle blanket, they’re just a tad smaller, but just as good – and cute!
Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair
Best purchase EVER. Without a doubt. We initially chose this high chair because we don’t have a big dining room. I didn’t want a full size high chair that would take up tons of space. On top of that, I also have a strong belief in sitting children at the table. High chairs, although great, don’t really encourage family eating as much as I would like.
This seat though, attaches to any chair and can be pushed right up (and under if your table allows) to the table. It comes with a tray, but I don’t see us using it.
I also didn’t think that we would find a use for a high chair early on. Lately I’ve realized how much Aria likes to sit at the table with us though. Usually we plop her in the bouncer and sit her right in the middle of the table. She loves it, but it totally takes up a lot of the room and isn’t quite the dynamic I was looking for at meal times. So I broke out the high chair a few months before I expected to.
It is perfect! Now, Aria sits right there at the table with us (the seat also reclines a bit so it can be used well before 6 months) and she is so perfectly happy!
Bibs Bibs Bibs
Okay, so this is one of those things I didn’t “get” when I was pregnant. Everyone seemed to be registering for a million and a half bibs, and I just didn’t understand.
For one, a baby doesn’t need a bib until they’re eating. WRONG. As soon as your baby starts drooling and spitting up, you’ll find a bib to be the best way to keep their clothing dry and clean.
Secondly, who needs LOTS of bibs? Everyone. I’m telling you. Have a bunch because you won’t want to keep putting a dirty one on your baby, and you’re going to go through at least one a day.
Get cute ones, because if not, you’ll be upset that you’re covering your cute baby outfits.
Well, not really. I know I already listed cloth diapers, but now I’m talking about using them as burp cloths, not diapers. Prefolds are without a doubt, the best burp cloths in existence. They are uber absorbant, the perfect size and way durable. Like last you forever durable. We have some that we stole (not really since my insurance company was totally charged for them) from the hospital, some that we registered for just for this purpose (Gerber cheapos) and then of course her actual diapering prefolds (organic unbleached cotton.)
They all work just as well as the last. The organic unbleached are the thickest and softest. The Gerber are the biggest. The hospital ones are the thinnest/most flexible (probably because they were used by a hundred other babies before I stole them.)
Cloth diapers as burp cloths – must. Have lots. Keep them everywhere. Like, tuck one in the couch cushion, keep some in the diaper bag, under your pillows, in the crib, in the bassinet. Just have them all over the place.
So there you have it. My pseudo Must Have list. Short and sweet. Maybe you loved some of these things, maybe you didn’t.
But there is one more thing that my list is missing.
It is the biggest. Most important. Baby must have item.
A GOOD CAMERA
Any camera will do, but I won’t lie, my SLR is my best friend when it comes to pictures of my little girl. It was worth every.single.expensive.penny and I can’t wait to buy myself more lenses so I take even cooler pictures.