Everyone knows the basics. Crib, changing pad, etc. These are the things that maybe you don’t know if you need. Maybe you’re unsure about brand. Maybe you're so overwhelmed by registry check lists that you want to scream. I know that all babies are different, but based solely on my experiences with my baby boy, these are the items that have been life savers for us.
Nuk Pacifiers. These are the best I’ve found for Xander. He’s not a huge pacifier baby and we don’t push it on him, but sometimes he really wants it and sometimes it helps him fall asleep. These contour to his face and he spits them out much less often than the others. Soothies seem too heavy and Avent are too flat. Plus, the little “handle” is big enough to attach the handmade pacifier tethers, if you will, that a friend made me.
Halo Swaddle SleepSack or SwaddleMe. Swaddling works wonders for Xander’s sleep. He’s not crazy about being in the sack anymore and he doesn’t like being swaddled when he’s awake, but as soon as he dozes off or is about to doze off we swaddle just his arms and he sleeps more soundly. The Velcro is a lot easier than messing with a blanket and also more secure. I know we should start transitioning him away from swaddling soon, but for now it's still very much necessary.
Gripe Water. Xander was a pretty gassy baby for a while and sometimes it was uncomfortable for him. If we gave him a dose of gripe water it calmed him down almost instantly. I don’t know if it actually helped the gas or if the sweet taste calmed him down, but this stuff is just tops. We don't use it as much anymore, but we used it a lot up to about 3 months.
Bouncy seat. Or another easily transportable seat. I moved Xander’s into the kitchen while I cooked or cleaned until he was big enough for the Exersaucer. Now I put him in the exersaucer unless it's almost bedtime or he just ate, then I still use the bouncy seat. He can bounce away while I sing along to Pandora to him or while I give him a cooking lesson and teach him how to load the dishwasher. It’s never too early, folks.
Snugabunny Swing. This thing. I’m telling you. It’s the best. It can swing him side to side or back and forth. There’s a mirror over the seat so he can look at his handsome face. There’s a mobile that he loves and it plays lullabies and nature sounds. For the first 3 months it was Xander’s favorite place to be when he wasn't being held. We still use it when we want him to wind down before bed and when we need him contained and happy while we get ready for work. It might be pricey but it’s so worth it. We found ours on a Facebook yardsale site, so keep an eye on those.
Avent Natural Bottles. These are great for breast fed babies. They are similar to the breast so they combat developing poor latch. Plus, they only have three pieces so they’re super-easy to clean. I hear that there are a few different brands out now that have the natural nipple, but this is what has worked great for us.
Sprout Iphone app. This helps me track everything. I track pumping, feeding, milestones, height, and weight, but if you’re so inclined you can track sleep, diaper changes, immunizations, medications, etc. I forget everything now. This reminds me of when I last fed him and on what side. I'm a lot better at reading his cues now, but I felt like I couldn't live without this thing until he was about 3 months.
Rectal Thermometer. They will probably send one home with you when you leave the hospital, but if they don’t, get one. This is the most accurate way to record a baby’s temperature. Xander had a UTI when he was 5 weeks old and had a temperature of 101, but we didn’t know he had a temperature because the temporal thermometer was registering a temp of 98-something. If we’d have used the rectal thermometer instead we could have gotten him to the hospital and feeling better a lot faster.
Pampers Baby Dry Diapers. We use Target brand diapers during the day (cheap and just as good as name brands), but at night we use Pamopers Baby Dry. They’re guaranteed for 12 hours, which means that unless your baby poos, you don’t have to change their diaper in the middle of the night, which is awesome.
Nursing Pillow. Trust me, your arms and back will thank you. Even if you plan to bottle feed, these are nice. I have the Boppy. You can also use it to prop baby up in the early days of tummy time.
Sound Machine. Some people don’t want their baby to rely on a sound machine to go to sleep, but my theory is that there are worse sleep habits. As long as he’s sleeping in his crib and I’m sleeping in my bed, I’m happy. They make stuffed animal sound machines, which is what Xander had at first, but they're battery powered and have a timer, so he got a machine that will play all night for Christmas. It’s great for blocking sounds from around the house and at lulling him back to sleep when he wakes up but doesn’t need to eat or be changed. Added bonus? When baby has a sound machine and you use a baby monitor, mommy and daddy also have a sound machine.
A Soft Blanket. Xander has a fuzzy blue blanket with Tigger on it that is just his jam. It calms him down when he’s upset and it makes him happier when he’s already happy. We put it on him in his swing, we bundle his legs in it in the car seat, and we put it on the floor for tummy time. Feeling that blanket on his face, I’m convinced, is one of his favorite things. Watching him cuddle that blanket is one of the cutest things I ever did see.
Baby carrier. There are tons of options out there, but the one we have and that I like is the Boba 3G Carrier. It’s expensive, but worth it. I wear Xander at the grocery store sometimes so I have more room for groceries. His seat takes up a lot of room in the cart and I won’t balance him on the seat because that click doesn’t mean his seat is secure. I’ve heard great things about wraps, but I know I’d be afraid it would come undone and down goes baby, so it’s just not for me. No matter which type of carrier you go for, do your research and try them out before purchasing because the good ones are not cheap. As great as the baby carrier is, I could live without it so far. I think ours might get more use when it warms up and neither Xander nor I are bundled up for the cold.
Nursing Pads. I haven’t needed these at all and I bought two boxes before Xander was born. I haven’t had a leaking issue; however, I can see how these would come in handy if that’s an issue you have. My advice? Get a small box or a few samples of disposable pads and decide if you’ll need them before investing in more.
Travel system. Ours has been really convenient, but not life changing. We haven’t used our stroller THAT much. We could easily have just picked out separate pieces, but I like the stroller and seat we have and I like that the stroller folds up with just one hand.
Gerber Sleep n Play pajamas. They zip and they’re light weight enough so that he doesn’t get too hot when he’s swaddled.
Pee Pee Tee Pees. Seriously, they are not necessary. If your baby pees on you it’s not the end of the world. And if you’re that icked out, just cover him with a wash cloth (especially in the bath).
Gowns. Xander wore one one night and when he woke up his legs were freezing. Maybe our house just has temperature control issues, but we have a bunch in a drawer that will not be used.
Wipe Warmer. I can't find it in me to coddle him that much. Also, I hear the wipes dry out and that's a waste of money. So no. Just no.
Bottle Warmer. Much like the wipe warmer, no. Just no. SO not necessary.
"Complicated" Outfits. Before Xander was born I thought I'd dress him in little sweater vests and jeans all the time. The reality is that he is most comfortable in one piece outfits. So anything that's not a one piece or made of cotton is reserved for special occasions. At least at this point.