I recently read an article that was titled something about how having a baby shouldn’t be expensive.
After having recently reviewed the baby portion of our budget and deeming it anything other than “inexpensive”, I was intrigued. The post was very simple – the way to save on baby expense is to not buy anything for the baby. And by that, the author meant nothing. Just diapers, a car seat and food.
I agreed with the author’s point that baby supply companies have exploited new parents, making them feel that they need way more than they really do. I get it. And I will admit, I fell victim to over-buying when it came to baby supplies. But, I really wondered how this parent could have lived without some of the key baby supplies. A stroller and a couple blankets at the very least, right?? I started to question if this was really a parent writing the blog or if someone had done some glorified babysitting and decided that they had it all figured out.
Maybe this “low budget” approach worked for that particular author and his family but I think most moms (and even dads) would tell you that while you don’t need to buy the entire right side of Buy Buy Baby, there are a few keys items that make life with a baby MUCH easier.
So how does a new parent figure out what items are “needs” and what items might just be “nice to haves”? I recently polled a group of mommies, all with different background and parenting styles to get an idea of what the most loved items a new parent might need when they bring home their precious bundle of joy. And because being set up for success as a new parent isn’t just about the “stuff”, these moms offer a bit of new parent wisdom for you to take with you. Enjoy!
Today’s list isn’t meant to be a comprehensive registry guide, but rather some recommendations of items that you definitely shouldn’t exclude! Here’s another registry list that AMB put together earlier this year… we aren’t too far off with our must-haves!
WHAT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT + A LIL’ MOTHERLY ADVICE!
1. Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n’ Play Sleeper
A real eye-opener for myself as well as other new parents is that newborns actually sleep more comfortably when they are at an incline with a bit of snugness on the sides, giving them the feeling of being held or in the womb. The incline is especially important if your baby develops acid reflux. As your baby gets older you’ll find they will want to stretch out which will make it easier to move to the beautiful crib that’s been waiting for them. Until then, the Rock n’ Play Sleeper or another type of inclined baby sleeper will be invaluable.
2. Video Monitor
Quite a few moms recommend a video monitor over the basic sound only monitors. As you and your baby learn sleep patterns and rhythms you’ll find that just because there is noise coming from the nursery doesn’t always mean you need to go in. A video monitor will help you see if the noise is a “mommy come get me” or just a little late night dance party.
The Angel Care Breathing Monitor is another favorite as it includes an under the mattress sensor pad that will alert parents if a baby has stopped breathing. This is usually advertised as a help for SIDs but it can also be peace of mind for a parent when small infants have colds or RSV. It comes in sound only as well as video screen option. These can get pricey so consider buying used.
3. Sound Machine
A white noise setting on a sound machine mimics the sound of being in a mother’s womb, which is helpful when soothing a newborn. As babies get older a sound machine can drown out the unwanted noises that inevitably happen during the oh-so-precious nap times. Homedics Portable Sound Machine has been a favorite brand.
4. Nursing Pillow
Nursing can take a toll on a mommy’s back so having a nursing pillow is very helpful. Most mommies will recommend a Boppy or My Breast Friend. The Boppy brand pillow can be used to help babies sit up and with tummy time as they get older. Both come with removable covers that can be washed easily.
Swaddles, like the white noise from a sound machine, will help create a familiar environment for a newborn. A snug wrap for your baby will create a warm and secure feeling similar to being in mommy’s tummy. As the baby gets older a swaddle can keep a baby from hitting him or herself in the face when sleeping. Each stage of a baby’s development will require a different type of swaddle. My recommendations would be Woombie at Newborn, Miracle Blanket at 0-4 month, and Halo Sleep Sack at 4 months and up (or when the baby starts to roll over and will need arms free).
6. Baby Carrier
A baby carrier was the first thing most mommies’ said they couldn’t live without. It can really be a lifesaver. Top baby carrier recommendations were the Moby Wrap, Beco Gemini, Bjorn and Ergo Baby carriers. This is something you may want to do some research on or even wait to purchase until after the baby has arrived though. Each baby and each mother carries differently therefore each mother or baby may prefer a different type of carrier. I personally have two carriers because each of my girls preferred being carried a different way. If you can barrow a few different type of carriers from friends this would be the best way to figure out what you and your baby are most comfortable with.
***If you do want to go ahead and have one handy. The Moby Wrap may be the way to start off as it seems to work for most in the newborn stage.***
7. The Wonder Weeks App
The Wonder Weeks is a free, yes FREE, prize winning mobile app that will explain different age related milestones your baby is going through. It can be helpful to understand what is going on in your baby’s world, especially when you feel as if your baby is no longer the same baby he or she was yesterday!
8. Happiest Baby on the Block DVD
No matter what your parenting style this DVD offers some great tips for calming a fussy baby. There is also a book, but my hubby will tell you he swears by the DVD as it gives demonstrations of the soothing techniques.
9. Nursing Bra
Nursing Bra’s, like women, come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are fancy, some more simple. Some are padded and some are even designed specifically for sleeping. You will want to have a couple of these on hand for the hospital but depending on your body type, you may want to make your more long term nursing bra purchase after your milk has come in as your cup size may change. They are sold at maternity stores as well as specialty lingerie stores and even Target.
WHAT OTHER MOMS WANT YOU TO KNOW!
“Don’t be afraid to take help! If you can’t afford formal help and you don’t have family nearby, consider a younger mother’s helper (12-16 years old) who can lighten your load at a lower price.”
~Shelby, mom of a 2 year old
“Anytime you go through a difficult time remember that “this too shall pass”. Realize that some things get easier, some things get harder, but either way they will grow up too fast so don’t wish away their childhood. “
~Lindsay, mom of 2 year old and 11 month old
“Babies are pretty resilient. It’s so easy to look at your brand new baby and worry that you’re doing everything wrong or you’re going to mess them up but babies are actually pretty tough and resilient. Just follow your mommy intuition.”
~Lana, mom of an 18 month old
“Join a mommy group. No matter how much you love staying home with your new baby, it can be very challenging and isolating at first. So as soon as you’re comfortable leaving the house, step out of your comfort zone and join a moms group. You will feel 100% better after you do.”
~Lana, mom of an 18 month old
“Don’t feel frustrated or defeated when your baby doesn’t do exactly what the books say. All babies are different.”
~Liana, mom of an 18 month old
“Put your baby down drowsy but asleep.”
~Barbara, mom of an 18 month old and 6 month old
“Everyone will want to offer you advice. And everyone will feel that their way is the right way. Be prepared to smile and thank them for their advice and then do what is best for you and your family.”
~Melissa, mom of an 18 month old with a second on the way
“Ultimately, my children’s lives aren’t in my control. I often think or want that to be true, but it’s not and that is a good and freeing feeling!”
~Lydia, mom of a 2 year old and 4 month old
What’s your must-have can’t live without ONE registry item? And advice you’d like to offer up to new or expectant mamas?