Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Must Haves For Baby: Adding to Your Baby Gear

Sweet Pea loves her Rock-n-Play
Yesterday I wrote about the six basics every mom needs when coming home from the hospital with a new baby - that's right - just six items. Today I'm explaining other items that you might eventually find useful - even if you do not have a dedicated nursery. Again, you don't need all of these things right away, nor do they need to be brand new. Beg, borrow and hit the garage sales and you can get almost everything pretty inexpensively.

Adding to Your Baby Gear
Many of these things will make your job as Mommy easier!
  • Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper - This may be one of the greatest inventions for parents. My sister recommended it to us after having she had difficulty getting her newborn son to sleep. The Rock-n-Play is portable (we moved it around the house as needed throughout the day), it breaks down easily if you want to pack it in the car (we used it in hotels), it's easy to clean when baby makes a mess, and last, many moms (including myself) swear that it's the only place baby would initially sleep. And sleep is important for EVERYONE! Now that Sweet Pea is older we keep the RNP in the kitchen as a place for her to play while we cook.
  • A cradle/swing - We love the My Little Lamb Cradle and Swing. Although there is nothing sweeter than snuggling with your new baby, at some point you have to eat and this is a great place to put her while you do that.
  • Sling/Moby Wrap/Ergo - Whatever your choose, a carrier is another great way to get things done around the house while keeping your baby close. I went through four carriers before Sweet Pea finally grew into my favorite, the Ergo Carrier
  • Sleep Sheep - a little white noise can really help a newborn sleep; as baby grows the Sleep Sheep also does a great job of drowning out household noises as well. There are all kinds of white-noise machines out there, you can even download white-noise to your iPod to play for your little one.
  • Wabbanub pacifier - I was totally against my baby using a pacifier because I thought it would harm breastfeeding. I changed my mind after another NICU nurse told me that a pacifier would help my daughter sooth herself, and besides getting a little sugar water with her heel sticks, this was the only real pain relief that she had. An extreme example but seriously, if your baby likes a pacifier the Wabbanub is the way to go. It looks ridiculous to see a toy hanging from a baby's face but my daughter was able to stick it back in her mouth all by herself!
  • Boppy pillow - These are great to have for: breastfeeding, bottle feeding, playtime, tummy time, learning to sit. So many uses for a relatively inexpensive item. (I also lay on it while watching Mad Men - my guilty pleasure while Sweet Pea naps!)
  • Pack-n-Play - Once baby grows out of sleeping in the RNP, she can move into the PNP if the crib isn't ready. If you don't travel or if all of your friends have kids you can probably get away without this.
  • Infant bathtub - Sweet Pea hated baths for the first few months after we came home from the hospital. We'd struggle to get through her once-a-week dip. At first you can get away with washing your baby in the sink or in one of those pink-buckets your probably got at the hospital. Once they are bigger having an infant tub is nice. We used the Infant To Toddler Tub with Sling. 
  • Stroller - A big ticket item, it is best to really think about how you are going to use the stroller. Will you be walking daily, weekly? Where will you be using it? Indoors? Outside? Dirt roads? Once you have figured out your primary use go to a store and give several a test run to make sure it fits you and your lifestyle. (Here we went with the BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller for several reasons: we live and primarily use the stroller on dirt roads, my husband is a runner - and sometimes I pretend to be, it's easy to use and folds down to fit in my trunk, and it looks pretty cool.) 
  • Playmat/gym, bouncy seat, Bebe Pod, jumperoo, etc. - These are all nice to have as baby gets older. You don't need any of these right away and you also do not need them to be brand new. Borrow from friends or look on Craigslist or at garage sales for good deals.
  • Diaper bag - These come in all shapes and sizes and colors. I have a dear friend who refused to spend a ton of money on just one and instead bought several different large purses that she rotates through. Many women also splurge on diaper bags since they carry it with them everywhere, often in lieu of a purse. I ended up getting one that my husband isn't embarrassed to carry around.
  • Baby clothes - Besides the few essential onsies that you will need right away,  you do not need to spend tons of money on baby clothes. At this point I've bought less than $50 worth of new outfits for the Sweet Pea! People will buy you tons of clothing if you have a baby shower even if you don't register for any. Also, hand-me-downs rock. We've received bags and bags and bags of clothes from family and friends. Save your money for when your kid starts middle school and really becomes conscious of what they are wearing.
  • Toys - This was the area where I needed the most help. My sister noticed that I hadn't put any toys on my registry! Initially, Sweet Pea only had a few things while still in the NICU: a mirror (which she loved!), this Freddie the Firefly Toy  that hung above her bed like a mobile, a Waterfall Soother, and a doll from my Mother. We also had a ton of books from friends and family. Once home, her toy collection grew to include all kinds of exciting things like: paper, a paper towel roll, and balls. You can find an excellent list of developmentally appropriate toys at the BabyEarth website. BabyCenter also has a page full of games and activities for your baby. If you sign up for their emails two different activities will be sent to you each week.
 On deck for tomorrow and Friday: Building a Nursery and Feeding/Nursing/Pumping Essentials. Also coming up, my list of totally useless baby things!

Did your baby have a favorite toy or other item that I forgot? Is there something you recommend to all new mothers? Leave a comment and let us know!

1 comment:

  1. We love the UPPAbaby Bubble. It goes over any travel system car seat and creates a little screen room. Great for keeping strangers from touching your baby when you're out in public. Also keeps mosquitos from biting baby when you're out for a stroller walk. It has a spf 50 sun shield, too. It folds for storage.


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