We are Amazon Prime lovers over here, so no one should have been surprised when we created our baby registry with them instead of a physical store. However, there was another big reason I chose Amazon: I didn't want to be overwhelmed by going into a store and seeing so many options. I wanted to be able to do my research at home on my computer as I found things I needed. Buy Buy Baby is amazing, and I love going there, but let's be real; it's really overwhelming. There are so many things, and you are suddenly second-guessing yourself wondering if you need something you hadn't planned to get.
Due to our small space at home, we didn't want an overload of things we didn't really need, so I chose the few necessities I felt were important. Now that Judah's here and we're actually using things, I can reflect on many of the items and give you my two cents about 12 things I wouldn't want to live without and some additional notes on things we've used or are waiting to use. I'll update more when we use some of the items he needs to be bigger for! :)
1) Pack N Play with Changing Pad Attachment
We skipped the changing table and crib and went with this Graco Pack N Play. The changing pad attachment has been perfect, thought it's a little low and we have to bend down to use it. I'm happy with the purchase though. He's not sleeping in it currently, but he will as he outgrows his bassinet. We could have skipped the bassinet and just had him sleep in this, but our bedroom didn't really have room for the Pack N Play.
If you're looking for a space-saving option to keep your little one in your room with you during the first few weeks, the Fisher Price Rock N Play Bassinet has been great. A lot of sidecar sleepers are really big, and we didn't have a ton of room in our bedroom. It folds almost flat, is lightweight, and has a removable mattress pad (helpful for that one time when Judah overate and projectile vomited after he went back to bed.) :-P We only kept Judah in our room till he was 4 weeks because he likes to 'talk' to himself and grunt a lot while he sleeps or puts himself to sleep, so it was keeping me awake and I needed him out of our room! It was a fairly easy transition into the Pack N Play.
Special note: not necessary, but we were given a SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper by friends that don't use it anymore. It's a great travel-size option for sleeping, and it also fits inside this bassinet (for that one time we had to take out the mattress pad to clean it and Judah still needed to sleep in something!) It's meant to be used in bed with you, between you and your partner. We have a queen size bed, and it's way too cramped that way. King size, this would be a good option instead of a bassinet.
I LOVE my Baby Jogger City Mini stroller. It's light and all I have to do is lock or unlock and pull or push the strap on the seat to open or close it. It takes 5 seconds to have it ready to go. It's easy to push with one hand and walk the dog with the other! Make sure you get the right adapter for your car seat to be used when he's a newborn.
4) Car Seat with Front Tightener Strap
I have no idea if that's what the strap is called. I bought a Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30. It's bulky as most car seats are, but it was lighter than a lot of other carseats, and it clicks in and out of the base REALLY easily. I took it to a car seat inspection at the CA HWY Patrol, and they pointed out that it tightens from the back instead of the front which is really difficult to do correctly, especially with a wiggly baby when he gets a little older. I returned it and got the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 which has all the same features and perks as the other one, but also tightens in front, which admittedly is a lot easier. I also have been really thankful to have the car seat canopy that I made. It keeps the sun out of his eyes and keeps it dark when we need him to stay asleep, which he doesn't do easily because he hates being buckled down.
(Update: Next time I would get one that grows with baby. More cost up front, but it lasts much longer.)
5) Diapers and Wipes
We plan to use FLIP Cloth Diapers soon, but Judah has to grow a little bigger first. In the meantime, we've been using Honest Co. Diapers and Wipes from Target and have had a good experience with them. We haven't had any blowouts, though we've had 3 pee leaks which I think were more from user error than fit issues. They're cute and more eco-friendly and non-toxic compared to other well-known brands. They are a little pricier at $0.41 per diaper, but we're using cloth to save money in the long run, so we were okay with that.
(Update: Judah ended up getting horrible diaper rash from these just before we switched to cloth diapers. Even after we stopped using them and went to cloth, the rash prevailed for the longest time and turned into yeast, which is so hard to get out of cloth diapers! I won't be using Honest Co. again after that headache, even though they're cute. We use Pampers Stay Dry for nighttime, and haven't had any problems with rashes and have had very few leaks. I'm going to try out the Grovia Nighttime Diapers soon, so we might be able to be done with disposable for good!)
Judah loves to be swaddled. We wished we had more swaddles when we got home from the hospital. The Summer Infant SwaddleMe velcro ones are our favorite because they're easy and snug for him. When it's a little warmer, we just put him in that and no PJs. When it's still too hot, the muslin Aden and Anais brand is nice and lightweight. We wished we had more because when the diaper leaked or he spit up we had no other good swaddle to put him in that same night!
(Update: Once Judah was able to roll both ways, we had to switch to a transition swaddle. The Zippadee Zip has been amazing. I would have bought two of both sizes, one in fleece and one in cotton.)
7) Nail Scissors
Nail clippers didn't work for Reagan. Biting didn't work for me. Then I discovered nail scissors. Easy peasy. Wish someone had told us about those. They're small and thin and can easily get under the nail edges and do multiple, quick snips. Babies come out of the womb with long nails, so we needed these a lot sooner than we expected. (See the special note about mittens at the bottom.)
(Update: Now that he can sit up on his own, we've been able to use regular nail clippers easily. But I was so thankful for the scissors prior to that point!)
8) Bath Supplies
You don't necessarily need an infant tub right away if there's two of you but it's nice to have when there's only one of you home when he needs a bath. Reagan usually holds Judah as he's floating in the water while I wash him. And at the beginning you're just sponge bathing anyway. I recommend the following supplies:
- Bamboo washcloths and towel - super soft and smooth on the skin
- Non-toxic baby shampoo/wash - we use California Baby and Honest Co.
- Infant tub - I got the Summer Infant Splish Splash Mother Touch Deluxe Baby Bather (that's a mouthful!) It folds flat, though you have to use some super strength sometimes, haha. It's been on Zulily a few times, so keep your eyes open for that deal!
(Update: Now that he can pull himself up, Judah likes to stand in the bath. Haha. A no-slip bath mat is a must! We like this one; it actually stays down on the bottom instead of curling up like others we've tried: http://tinyurl.com/haxagvr)
9) Diaper Bag
We got a backpack that was unisex for both me and Reagan to use. I didn't want something really big, but multiple pockets was nice. The one we got isn't available on Amazon anymore, but BuyBuyBaby has some nice ones by BlueKiwi that are similar. Or there's this one on Amazon. Lots of diaper backpacks or bags come with a travel changing pad--if it doesn't you should get one of those too. It's super convenient for on the go! I made one myself that I love. :)
10) Burp Cloths
Listen carefully. You cannot have enough burp cloths! I had made about 6 with flannel and terry cloth--fabrics with good absorbancy...terry cloth especially; the flannel just kind of sits in a puddle for a little while and then absorbs well later. Terry cloth is a bit messy to sew with because little bits of the cloth fall off and get everywhere. Then a mom in my class made me some more that my students put handprint animals on as a gift during teacher appreciation week. Thank goodness I got those or I wouldn't have had enough. Here's the tutorial I used to make some: The Homes I Have Made
11) Nursing Supplies
If you're breastfeeding, there's a lot you need. Here's some things that have been useful for me
- Nursing Pillow: I have a My Brest Friend with the Deluxe slip cover (so soft!) It's made of foam and creates a nice firm platform to keep baby on. It tends to slide down, so I use my Gia nursing pillow underneath it to keep it high enough, but I'm sure you can use regular pillows you already have. The Gia Nursing Pillow is nice for propping baby up on when you want to set him down and keep him in place. Note, the cover for the Gia pillow does not cover the entire pillow. It covers the top and has a pocket at one side to keep it attached.
(Update: I wish I had gotten a Boppy instead of the Gia. The Gia has been too squishy and I don't like that one side is smaller than the other. Since the cover doesn't fit the entire pillow front and back, I can't just flip the whole thing over.)
- Motherlove Nipple Cream: Doesn't have to be washed off before nursing, and eases soreness.
- Nursing Bra: I prefer soft fabrics, not molded cups. They're easier to fold down and get out of the way when nursing. It's hard to get them in advance because your size changes multiple times, so you might be buying multiple ones. Word to the wise: TRY THEM ON. It's hard to find ones that fit comfortably, and online is hit or miss.
- Nursing Nightgowns: These aren't super necessary, but I LOVE the two I bought on Amazon from Motherhood Maternity. They're really comfortable and soft and so much easier to clip down to nurse at odd hours of the night when I'm half asleep. It's a lot quicker than undressing a PJ top and sleep bra, which is helpful because I want to feed Judah ASAP before he works himself up and becomes wide awake at 3 in the morning. Haha.
- Nursing Cover: I made one on my own out of jersey knit fabric. It's cute, covers more, is comfortable and more flattering than the stiff kinds with the strap. However, it tends to get in the way of being able to see what Judah is doing and help him latch while holding him and myself and the cover. So the stiff ones are a good move. ;)
(Update: Get one that's lightweight! It's like a heater underneath there when baby's nursing, and if the temperature is hot out? Even worse!)
- Nursing Pads: I love the reusable, organic bamboo ones I found on Amazon. I started with just a pack of bamboobies, which ended up not being nearly enough since we don't have a washer/dryer. (Handwashing and air drying didn't work very well because they don't dry soft without a dryer) They were also a little too thin to last through some days and most nights. These bamboo pads are nice and thick, soft, and came with a lot more pads than a box of bamboobies.
12) Baby Carrier
Baby carriers are a huge help around the house to have two free hands and a contented baby that wants to snuggle. The Baby K'tan was difficult to use with Judah; I think I should've bought a medium instead of a small. I love my Tula, it's really easy to put on and I purchased an infant insert with it so I can use it with Judah now. (Without the insert, you can't use it until baby is 16 lbs) He almost always falls asleep in it; so on those days that he just fights sleep and won't nap, this is a lifesaver! I also bought a Beco ring sling, which has been nice too. It can be used from 0 months up through toddler age kids. It does have a bit of a learning curve to do by yourself; it's important to make sure the fabric isn't twisted or overlapping inside the rings or it doesn't pull through to tighten as easily. I highly recommend washing it prior to use so the fabric is easier to manipulate.
- People will buy you baby clothes. A LOT of baby clothes. Even if you don't register for them. And chances are, people will have hand-me-down clothes to give you too. If you decide to register or buy baby clothes anyway, here's what to look for: Clothes that snap or zip all the way down and don't have to be put over the head. (This is also convenient for doctor visits when you know you're going to have to undress them for their check-up. You don't want to be taking forever to undress or redress your baby. Or look for necklines that have snaps or buttons to make it wider. Babies don't like to have things shoved over their heads. Also look for pants that snap open. Otherwise, you're having to take off his pants completely to change him. No one ever suggested these things to me, and I wish I would have paid attention to those features instead of just "Oh this outfit is so cute, he has to have it!"
- Do not buy baby mittens. Everyone says you need them because he'll scratch himself with those sharp little nails that grow faster than you can say, "Cut them," but you don't need them. Baby should be exploring and interacting with his environment. Covering his hands will not let him do that. If he does scratch himself, it'll heal fairly quickly. Or just keep his nails clipped. He sleeps pretty often to make that possible anyway. ;)
- White noise machine isn't super necessary when you can just use your phone. I've used my phone more than the machine. It is nice to have the machine on a timer though.
(Update: The white noise machine is a must now that Judah sleeps for long naps. I kinda need my phone...)
- Rocking chair is nice but not necessary. We picked this LexMod one to save some space.
Burt's Bees talc-free baby powder (Judah's arm and leg pits got some white, liquidy stuff in them and the skin was red and irritated. Apparently this is very common, and just needs to be wiped clean with a damp cloth and kept dry. Baby powder was really the only way we could keep it dry since he keeps his arms and legs closed tight all day long in those areas!)
doTERRA Touch Kit (pre-diluted essential oils, making them safer to use on newborns. Please make sure you use the oils safely. They are effective when used correctly. I'd be happy to share about it with you one-on-one.)
- Pacifiers: We have a variety of kinds since different babies like different kinds: Wubbanub and soothies, Tommy Tippee, and Nuk. Pacifier clips are also needed. We are waiting till Judah is 4-6 weeks old and breastfeeding is established before introducing pacifiers to him.
(Update: I decided against Nuk pacifiers because of the shape; I didn't want to cause nipple confusion. The soothies and Tommy Tippee binkis are more shaped like a real nipple so we tried both of those. Judah can't keep a soothie in his mouth--maybe because it's too long or is straight with no grooves to hold onto in his mouth. He loves the Tommy Tippee ones, thank goodness. They have been a life saver and really helpful while we're teaching him to self-soothe at naptime/bedtime.)
- Bottle Feeding Supplies:
We have the Kiinde system for storing, and the Comotomo bottles which I read feels most close to a breast, eliminating nipple confusion. I'll let you know how that goes. I won't start pumping until weeks 4-6 after breastfeeding is established. I got a free breast pump from A Breast Pump and More which is from Hygeia Medical Group and recommended by the La Leche League. I have a bottle brush that looks a little too big for the Comotomo and a bottle drying rack.
(Update: The bottle brush has soft enough bristles that it fits inside my pump flanges and bottles. I had to get the Kiinde adapter box which ended up having a ton of adapters for all types of pumps. There were two for my kind, which is a little frustrating. I have to wash them constantly to be able to pump more than once a day. The Kiinde storage bags are easy to use, though I didn't know at first that you have to open the bag a little at the bottom to show how much you really pumped--it's not supposed to stay flat. I like the stackable storage tray we got with that system too. Judah LOVED the Comotomo bottle and had no issue taking it the first try. He liked to guzzle the milk down because it comes out without much work at sucking. We have to pause him in between sips which makes him angry. He stopped taking a bottle around 8 months though. Super inconvenient, but at least he's supplementing with solid foods now so his tummy isn't completely empty on days I substitute teach. I'll be weaning him in a few months anyway, so I'm not completely devastated.)
We got a Sofie the Giraffe, a teething ring, and some that you refrigerate--BPA free
- Sage Spoonfuls jars and cookbook for when I can start making baby food for Judah. I plan to use my Vitamix so I didn't buy the food processor that comes with that set.
(Update: I should've bought the food processor. It was really hard to get the food smooth enough since it's such small quantities in the Vitamix. Judah wouldn't eat hardly any of the pureed food I made myself. We had to buy it or do some Baby Led Weaning methods.)
- BabyBjorn Soft Bibs: These were great when I babysat, the food doesn't fall into baby's lap and it's easy to wipe clean instead of having to throw in the washing machine like cloth bibs.
- Amber Necklace: No one seems to know if they work or not, but they're pretty cute on babies. :)
- Frida Baby Nasal Aspirator and Windi: Haven't needed to clear his nose yet, and am curious to try the Windii as Judah gets lots of gas which makes him awake and angry for waaaay too long at 4am. :-/
(Update: This works a lot better than the nose bulb. TMI, but boogers can be very long, stretchy, and sticky, so the bulb can get out part of the booger, but the rest is stuck in his nose! The Windis have been a lifesaver. They've helped relieve his gas and helped him poop when he's constipated. It gets a little tricky when he's kicking his legs while you're holding them and trying to keep the Windi in his butt so you don't get pooped on! Note, these really only work until baby starts eating solids, then you gotta stick to prunes!)
- Baby Banz silencing headphones: For use when I start singing at church again and need to bring him to practice. :)
- Touchless Thermometer: Have heard good things about these.
(Update: Gets different readings when done one after another. So I'm skeptical on the accuracy.)
Doorway Jumper: Major space saver, and Judah LOVED it so much. It was really sad when he outgrew it!
There you have it! Those are the things we've used and loved.