April 2, 2014

Stuff Your Baby Needs! (And Doesn't Need.)

By Amy

I'm almost 20 weeks...wahoo!  I'm past the exhausted, feel-like-I-got-hit-by-a-truck first tri, and I'm not achey and uncomfortable like the third tri, so I'm in the sweet spot...I feel good!  :)  Plus, I'm looking genuinely preg, not just the awkward bloated look or like I pigged out a little too much last weekend--I look legitimately "with child" and THAT is something to celebrate. :)  Life is good.  I'm getting out, getting stuff done, and I'm happy to be pregnant, with all things baby on my mind.  Which has led me to make many lists.  (ha, I'm obsessed with lists!)  Examples: "What to accomplish before baby #2 comes," "What we need to buy for baby," "What I will do to not end up a depressed, weepy, frustrated basket-case for the first month like I was with my first baby"...ya know, just some general lists. :)  Here's one list I was thinking about:

SO, everybody has opinions on what you need for your baby.  Here are my 2 cents for all those soon-to-be first-time mommas.

1.  Swaddler.
Ya know those little mummy wrap things?  We called Hayden's his straight jacket.  He was in his every time he slept till he was over a year old!!!  He left one arm out after about 8 months, but if he wasn't in that sucker, he'd flail and crawl around.  So, I was grateful for the swaddle to help him feel cozy and secure.  And, having one with velcro is HEAVEN!  You don't have to keep re-swaddling your child through the night when they wiggle out of their blanket and start crying...and duct tape is frowned upon.

So, the pic isn't the most photogenic, but it's the only one I could find of him in his straight jacket!  It's just the free one we were given at the hospital after he was born.

2. Binks.
Um, yes.  If your child will take one, then hallelujah!  I had an infant who cried...and cried...and cried...so, the bink allowed me to keep my sanity.  We had to try several till we found one that he would take. (He loved the MAM brand binks)  And no, you don't have to let them use it till they're 17.  Chill people.  When Hayden was a little over a year, we made the rule "Binker is only for sleep."  And he whined about wanting it for a few days, then got over it.  Now, as soon as he wakes up, he says, "Bye, bye bink." and hands it to me.  (Ok, ok, and he gets it now and then when we're super desperate in church.)

Update: Becca reminded me, and I can't believe I didn't mention: bink straps!  Super helpful.  Seriously.  It' is VERY annoying to go wash the babies bink when it hits the ground and it stinks to lose a bink...do yourself a favor.  Get a strap.  Make sure the strap isn't too long, please, especially if you clip on their bink at night!  That can be a choking hazard.  I made a short little ribbon for one of his binks and superglued the ribbon so it would come undone, then attached it to an old-fashioned diaper pin...they are safe (they don't come undone!) and less bulky than a big clip for sleeping.  When my son hit 10 months, he started putting his own binky back in at night...MIRACLE!!!

3. Bouncer.
Or something like this that keeps baby comfortable and safe so you can get stuff done around the house (or you can put baby in it and set it on the bathroom floor so you can take a desperately needed shower--which is super relaxing while baby screams the entire time...haha!  Who needs shaved legs anyway?)  You can't hold your baby at all times.  Don't do that to yourself.  And for times when you don't want them on a blanket on the floor, (like on the hard bathroom or kitchen floors) a bouncer does the trick.  And the little hanging toys can keep them entertained!

Hmm, now this pic makes me a little nervous...it looks like the bouncer could fall off the edge of the step!  I swear he was safe.

4. Play Saucer thingy.
Life saver for us.  My babe wanted to be standing from like 2 months old!  He loved being in that thing. We'd take it to lots of different rooms in the house and in front of windows, etc.  It was nice when I was cooking or doing dishes.

We used this when he was pretty small--we'd wad up blankets to stick around his torso, so he didn't bob back and forth.

5. Baby Carrier
SOOO nice for walks with an infant.  When it was chilly outside, I'd wear a big sweatshirt over me and the baby!  It doesn't really work to put a tiny, tiny baby in many types of strollers (they get all slumped down) so for my infant, I loved using a simple carrier that I could wear.  Plus, on hikes, carriers come in handy!  Unless you are cool with pushing a stroller up a mountain. :)

See Hayden?  He's on my back! :)

6. Stroller (maybe two!)
I like to keep a cheap little stroller folded up in the trunk of my car...has come in handy many times.  And a nice, bigger stroller with storage under is super useful (for longer strolling at the mall, fair, farmer's market, walk to the park, etc.)  I love that our stroller has a little tray in front, cause we could have lunch at the park, and he had a perfect little spot for me to put all his finger food! :)

All cozy in the big stroller.
7. Bassinet.
I did not want to walk down the hall every time I needed to calm my babe through the night, I wanted him within arm's reach!  After 3 or 4ish months my babe started rolling over, so we moved him into his crib in his own room.  (Too bad he still didn't sleep through the night for a while...darn reflux!  Sometimes I slept on a camping pad on the floor next to his crib.)  But, a bassinet was SURE handy for the first few months!

8. Update: I am adding, slick, plastic kind of bib with a pocket!  (Good point, Becca!)
These are the bomb. (You can see one of my son's in the pic above.)  I just rinse them off in the sink after a meal or two, and I never have to put them in the laundry!  They catch so much crap in the pocket that would end up on his clothes...and once when he started puking in the car, I used one of his bibs to catch the puke!  haha!  We pulled over when he was done, and I opened the door, and poured the puke right out of the pocket...easy peasy, no extra laundry!

9. White noise machine or small fan.
It's soothing for baby and cancels out noise enough that they can nap during the day without anybody else needing to worry about keeping their voices (or the tv/music volume) down.

Ps.  Most of these items we got from garage sales, Craigslist, hand-me-downs from my older sisters, or we borrowed them.

Things you really don't need:

1. Wipe Warmer
Um, why would you want your baby to get used to having warm wipes?  You can't take a wipe warmer and plug it in when you are out and about and gotta change a stinky...so, you use a cold one, and they pitch a fit.  Very unnecessary.  Cold wipes grow character!  They put the hair on baby's chest!

2. Shoes for an infant.
Unless your baby is a prodigy and walking around at two months, there's no need!  Socks, my friend. And while we're talking baby shoes, they don't EVER need expensive shoes.  Ever.  Toddlers either.  (I have gotten all of mine second hand, at a thrift store or a garage sale.)  They wear each pair for like two months, then they're out of them.  Let other people spend $30, then drop off the little Nikes at D.I.....where you'll be waiting.  And you'll pay $3 for barely worn shoes.  Bwahahaha!  Suckers.

3. Church clothes for tiny infants.
Seriously, just leave them in their pjs!  Nobody will think they are inappropriate.  And, half the time, they just stayed swaddled in your arms and in their car seat anyway, so nobody even sees what they are wearing!  Now, be sure to put your foot down when your husband also wants to wear footie pjs to church.  Sorry, hon.

But, Oh my gosh...I can't deny the absolute sweetness of a an older baby all dressed up fancy!  See how he's showin a little leg?  Scandalous.  He's such a tease!

4. Full-sized standing high chair
Now this is just a matter of preference, but we've used this booster seat since Hayden was eating solids (5ish months) and he still uses it!  (He's 2.) When he was smaller, we used the tray (which can be adjusted in and out and taken off completely) but now he just sits in the seat up at the table.  It doesn't take up any more space than a regular chair, cause it attaches to one.  The straps make it adjustable, so we can strap it on any chair...we've even strapped it to a folding camping chair!  Since it folds down and is SUPER portable, we take it on every out-of-town trip, (relatives often don't have a high chair on hand) potlucks, parties, dinners with friends, and even picnics.  (We've even just set it on the ground for him to eat in!)  This little chair has been perfect! :)  Plus, it's nice that there's no fabric to clean...sometimes, we just take it outside and hose it down.  Once, when Hayden puked all over during dinner we just unstrapped the seat from the chair underneath and carried it, baby and all, to the tub.

If you still prefer the full-sized standing chair, this style of a seat would be handy to keep in addition to your regular high chair for trips and outings.  It's also a good gift for grandparents, cause they can fold it down and keep it in a closet to pull out when grandkids come!

Hayden's first birthday!  He's so dang sweet, all serious and focused.  :) 

This is with the tray off...now he just eats right up at the table!  Or lounges at the table.  Ha!

5. Fancy Crib Bedding.
Get several fitted sheets and just swaddle your baby--they'll be safer anyway.  People will most likely give you blankets as gifts, so just use those when baby is a little bigger!  There's no need to spend a fortune on the frilly stuff, especially crib sets that come with puffy quilts that you won't use.  But, ya know, that's just my take on it. :)

Alright, now that I spouted off all of my opinions, what do you think?  Anything you totally disagree with?  Anything I missed?  And, please don't be offended if you LOVE your fancy baby bedding or faithfully warm the wipes...to each his (or her) own!  :)

Also, I'd love your take on the following products: I know many mommas think that swings were life-savers, but Hayden wanted to be bounced up and down---that calmed him--but the swing didn't, so I didn't use the one we were borrowing very much.  Did you love having a swing?

Oh, and I never ended up getting a Bumbo, but I think Hayden would have liked one.

And how about Boppys?  If your read my breast-feeding post, you know that nursing was a bust for me, but I loved using the homemade boppy pillow my mom made me when Hayden started sitting up!  Just plop his little bum down in the middle of it and he could tip over in most directions and not even get hurt!  Awesome.

Have any of you used the bassinet that hooks to the side of your bed?  They look pretty darn nice.  If you did, what did you think?  Like this "Mini Co-sleeper" bassinet?  I love that it keeps baby so close for night-time feedings (I hope that I can nurse my next!) but I wouldn't have to be paranoid about rolling over my baby all night, like I would be if I tried to co-sleep with him IN our bed. (I am a very deep sleeper and a thrasher.)  I'm thinking about trying this co-sleeper with baby numero dos!  But, I'd need to try to get it on sale...a little spendy!

SO friends, at the end of the day, this is what I found worked for my son.  Ever baby has their own preferences, and I'm sure my next babe will probably have a lot of differences from what worked with my first!  SO, figure out what products work for you and your babe...but, remember...you are not required to buy every fancy gadget on the baby market!  :)  Some products can really be lifesavers, and others end up being unnecessary crap that adds to the clutter.

Again, I'd love to hear your input!  What would you add to either list?  And, if you found this helpful, please Share or Pin for other new mommas!  Thanks. :)  If you're new to SOM, Welcome!  Like and Follow to join the party!  I swear, we talk about more around here than baby products. :)


  1. I've met a lot of mamas of my generation who don't want to let their baby have a pacifier--but my Mom was all for them, all 7 of us kids had pacifiers, and yep, we didn't take them with us to college! :) When I was babysitting I sure loved those saucers because baby was happy with toys and guaranteed not to escape anywhere!

  2. If you do the pacifier I also suggest a pacifier strap to attach to the baby. Saves you a lot of headache hunting for the thing all day. I do like having a booster for outings but we prefer a high chair. Ours is an awesome Evenflo one we got used on Craigslist. I like the nice big tray it has (to contain most of the mess). It also adjusts height, and rolls (or has brakes too) so you can make it the perfect height to scoot under the table. Plus since we have 5 in our family now and our table only seats 4 we don't have to upgrade to a bigger table yet (so it saves some space). Plus Caleb is using the booster seat at the table now... I'm thinking of getting another booster (if I find a used one) just for travel etc.

  3. I agree with with everything, you said but I have to add a few things. Now what worked for us may not work for somebody else so my first advice is to do what works best for you. But here is what we really liked. We were given a diaper changing pad that would fold up but it had pockets for diapers and wipes. It folds up to about the size of a book so it is easy to carry in a bag and light weight. We loved that,especially when we were out and about doing things. And I didn't have to worry if I forgot to grab the wipes because everything was bundled up together. I have seen them at Walmart. Also, don't ever buy clothes brand new! I only do that for special occasions. There are so many second hand kids stores that have basically everything you need for much less. Things like snowpants, or boots that they will grow out of fast so you don't want to spend a lot. I didn't end up using our baby carrier much, but it was only for the front so I felt pregnant again carrying my baby in front. We also did the 2 stroller thing, but we also bought a jogging stroller from costco that can convert to hook up to a bike and we have used that alot. It was about $130 but so worth it. Ok, one last thing ..... a humidifier. I kept procrastinating this and I would just borrow one from somebody, but it is so much better to just get one. I didn't need one until my daughter was 1 year old, but it can be a life saver. Oh, one last thing ( I promise!) do not get pajamas with buttons! Always get zippers! They are so much easier! I think my main advice is that kids don't have to be expensive. All they need are food, clothes and diapers,and lots of love! How much you spend on other things is all up to you. They don't care if they have brand names clothes or if there clothes are second-hand.

  4. I forgot, for my sanity, less mess in the wash and less mess in the car I recommend a good pocket bib. See my review here: http://do-it-yourself-mom.blogspot.com/2012/09/best-bibs.html

  5. We must be related, cause I used almost exactly the same stuff - and have the same thinking :) A full-size swing has saved me alot, so it's one I would recommend trying out, but like you said - not all babies like them. I'm all for binkies! Try to limit to sleep-time, church, and to keep thumbs out!! My baby now is stinker with that! Borrowing, KSL/Craigslist, thrift stores, yard sales is definitely the way to go for almost everything - and for me that continues well into their older years :).

  6. I agree but would add most of my kids didn't like a bouncer but loved the swing. We had the kind that adjust two ways and some of my kids liked one way and others another. I loves bimnkies but sadly only one of kids took it for more than a few months.

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  8. IKEA's high chair is the best. It's cheap and you can travel with it/clean it easily.
    Fisher prices rock and play. Our little Andy was a stuffy baby so it was nice for me to know he could breathe well at night in it.
    Cloth diapers. Best burp cloths around.

  9. I'm not a mom yet (but will be soon, so this has been on my mind), but I hear that on the swings it just depends on the kid. Sounds like most prefer either a bouncer OR a swing, but not both. :)

  10. A changing table pad makes the perfect cosleeper if baby won't sleep or you just prefer to have baby with you. Just put in between you and the wall or in the middle if the bed between you and your hubby. The raised edges keep baby away from bedding and you from rolling on baby.

  11. PS I actually found infant shoes with Velcro were helpful for keeping on those baby socks that Mr. C was always kicking off. I also used his cuter onesies for "church clothes." :)

  12. You don't need a changing table 90% of the time you will throw down a blanket and change them in the floor. Muslin blankets are a must great for swaddling because they are large and won't over heat. They cover you during nursing and soak up a lot of spit up!!! Seriously great Aden and Anais is a great brand they are spendy but worth every penny. If it's s second child a backpack style diaper bag that keeps your arms free for toddler and new baby.

  13. Your list is pretty close to mine except I'd switch out a pack and play with a bassinet attachment for the actual bassinet. You get the same benefits but will use the pack and play for MUCH longer.


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