Flash back six months and you’ll see me scrambling in a totally Type-A attempt to prepare for the arrival of my first baby. My preparation included A LOT of pinning, reading and shopping. For me, nesting included an embarrassing amount of time reading recommendations about “must have” baby products on all sorts of blogs, researching every large purchase by reviewing consumer reports, and comparing a ridiculous amount of options and prices online. Keep in mind that indecision was a major pregnancy side effect for me, so all of these seemingly huge decisions may or may not have been a little blown out of proportion.
Either way, when Skylar was born we had an arsenal of products and tools to help ease her transition into the world! There were a few items that we literally thanked God for and others that fell to the wayside and kind of got lost in the shuffle. Now that the reality of parenthood has officially set in I thought it might be a good time to re-examine that list of “must have” baby items and share my two cents about what you really need to survive (and succeed) in your first few months as a parent (because OMG guys, my baby girl is already six months old!! Where did the time go??). Every family is different and there are sure to be products that one person loves and another hates but I can tell you one thing for sure… It doesn’t take long to find your favorites after baby comes home! Here’s what worked for our family:
- Baby Carrier: We were beyond grateful when a friend handed down a Moby Wrap when Skylar was born (Thanks Laura!). I will admit, I didn’t peg myself as a baby-wearing mama but she loved being worn and I love to wear her! The Moby Wrap was perfect when she was tiny and new: it made it possible to do light housework and go grocery shopping alone (seriously, you can’t take an infant carrier grocery shopping and you can’t push a stroller and a cart at the same time…). When Skylar gained head control we began using the Baby Bjorn because it’s so simple to put on and take off. She still loves it, and I can see many more months of use in it’s future.
- Noisemaker: Push a button and it soothes your baby? Yes, please. This was our “easy button” for the multiple nighttime feedings those first few weeks. It really helped soothe Skylar back to sleep at night and helped to drown out our barking dogs and other random sounds during naptime.
- Lightweight car seat and stroller: I’m a wimp and I know it, so finding a lightweight travel system was at the top of my list, and I am so glad it was! We purchased the lightest stroller we could find that accommodated an infant car seat. It’s just under 17 pounds, and I can’t imagine lugging a heavier one into the trunk of my car. Same goes for the car seat: find something light that also has excellent safety ratings.
- Drawer organizers: These little gems transform a full-size dresser drawer into the perfect place for baby clothes. Instead of having a disastrous pile of infant clothes floating around in haphazard piles inside your drawer, you have nice little compartments to keep the onesies, pj’s, pants, and socks all organized. We use the dresser as the changing table, and these dividers work great to keep our diaper-changing supplies organized in the top drawer, too. Best Ikea purchase ever, and certainly worth paying the shipping cost if you won’t be making the trip to an actual store anytime soon.
- Sleep Sack: I didn’t realize how important swaddling was until I became a mother – even with a summer baby. Not only is swaddling calming for (most) babies, but it quickly became a recognizable part of our “bedtime routine”. We are big fans of the 2-in-1 sleep sacks that allow you to swaddle baby with arms in as a newborn and arms out once they master their inner ninja skills.
- Bouncer/Infant Seat: We purchased a multi-use swing with a seat that easily pops off and can be used individually as a bouncer. I thought we had to have a swing so we splurged a little here, and I’m surprised to report that that actual swing has been used less than 10 times but that handy bouncer seat is used Every. Single. Day. Moral of the story: you must have a seat that is portable and comfortable that baby can use as a newborn and beyond. Now that Skylar is a wiggle worm, I’m really loving that ours has a 5-point harness to keep her from rolling over or standing up in this seat!
- Scratch mittens: The hospitals really don’t give you these (which seemed unbelievable to me) and those cuties come out with some wicked nails! Avoid unnecessary bloodshed and keep a pair of mittens handy for the first couple weeks.
- NoseFrida: AKA the Snotsucker. We literally refused to put this item on our registry, but we were immediately thankful to the wise friends that gifted us with one. The nasal aspirator bulbs do not work, like not at all. Even though it seems weird, this works really well. End of story.
- Sophie the Giraffe: I thought this thing had to be a load of bull… it’s hard to believe that one teether can be so superior to all the others, but it is (by far) the one that our daughter prefers! I couldn’t make myself buy the full size Sophie so we settled on the smaller (and cheaper) So’Pure version. Skylar’s stocking was filled with various teethers this Christmas, but she latched on to Sophie from the moment we put it in her hands, and the others are rarely touched.
- Coffee: All jokes aside, you really need this. I may have become slightly addicted to iced coffee this summer, and I was probably a better mom because of it. Ha!
A few other things we learned in the first six months…. You don’t need a lot of bottles (even if you bottle/formula feed). Having a big supply of bottles just makes it easier to let the dirty ones stack up! We have 3 bottles and it’s perfect. We also found it very handy to load up a diaper caddy (or any basket/bag) with all the basic diaper changing supplies (diapers, wipes, cream, hand sanitizer, changing pad) and keep that stashed in your main living space – we rarely go to the nursery to change diapers, so our diaper caddy lives in the closet in our living room. We could have done without a diaper genie, and we received so many adorable outfits after Skylar’s birth that she literally never got to wear some of the basic outfits that I had purchased beforehand, so use restraint when buying baby clothes and blankets, too. Now that we’re past the newborn stage, we could totally add the Bumbo seat and Jumper to our list of favorites!
If you’re a been-there-done-that mom, what baby items do you consider “must-haves,” and what items did you toss aside in the early months?