Buying for Baby
Ahhh...the good 'ole baby registry. What could be more fun than picking out baby things? However, as a first time parent it is so overwhelming knowing exactly what to get. How many hooded towels do I need? Do I need that baby bath tub spa? It really is crazy. And it all adds up so fast. Have you seen the price of crib bedding?
A little reference before we start:
- Regular bold font (recommended)
- Italicized (highly recommend)
- Underlined (we could not survive without)
Sleeping - Where is baby going to sleep? This will tell you what you need. If you're planning on co-sleeping then all you might need nothing or only a bassinet, play n pak, nap nanny, or bedside sleeper and you can forgo the crib. But if you plan on using a crib, then you will need to purchase one and it's associated mattress along with:
- Sheets (2-3 of the kinds for each type of bedding system you use)
- Water proof pad - these are just really handy and you can use them well into the toddler potty training years.
- Sleep sac and swaddling sleep blankets (Halo preferred brand for sleep sac and Aden and Anais for swaddling)
- Optional crib items: bumper, crib skirt, matching bedding (we NEVER used our crib bedding except for decor - these days blankets are not recommended for use during sleep)
- Monitor - some folks use them and some don't. Our kids always roomed in with us so we didn't need one but if you have baby sleeping in another room consider one.
Feeding - Breast or Bottle or Both
- Breastfeeding supplies - more in a separate posting
- Bottle - formula, 4-6 GLASS (not plastic) bottles and various types of nipples (do your research about bottle brands - I am NOT an expert in this arena as we used our bottles so rarely and even when we did, the kids hated them), bottle warmer.
- Bibs - you can never have too many but get a variety of types as you little one might not like a particular kind and constantly rip them off. They are also great for drooling/teething, too.
- Spoons - there many kinds but honestly I don't think it matters except that they be baby sized. We get the packs of 12 disposables and these have made it through 2 kids for about $2/pack.
- Bowls - have some bowls dedicated for your little one. Make certain they are PBA free, especially if you'll be heating anything in them.
- Baby food making supplies (food mill or blender for pureeing) if you plan to make your own baby food, which I highly recommend.
- High Chair - once again there are tons of models out there. We like ones that fit on our existing chairs so as not to take up much space. Plus, they are inexpensive and easy to clean. We use this one everyday and this one for outings but the latter would also be a great every day use one, too.
- Exersaucer - for use starting at about 5-6 months (before then I just don't think they have enough core strength). Here is an example.
- Activity mat - something with bright colors (babies like contrast like black/white and bright colors)
- Bouncie Seat - most any kind is great. Ones that vibrate are a bonus. And some even convert to toddler rocking chairs, too.
- Mobile - resist the temptation to get the one matching the crib bedding unless your crib bedding is contrasting bright colors and blacks/whites. Also a bonus if you don't have to wind it.
- Walker - probably not necessary unless you're going to keep it set to the stationary position. American Academy of Pediatrics discourages use of these.
(All of above items we purchased used or borrowed, except a walker which we never owned.)
- Various rattles and baby toys - try to get things that have contrasting colors and a variety of textures for baby to feel and bite. I am not a big fan of car seat toys unless they are really soft.
- Board books and texture books - start reading to baby as early as possible (even in the womb).
- 6-12 onesie under shirts
- 6 snap-in-front t-shirts
- 6 gowns (they also have ones that have snaps and convert into union-suits (these are great so you don't have to change their clothes before getting into the car seat).
- 6-12 outfits (PJ suits or playsuits)
- Purchase mostly 3+ month clothing rather than newborn size. They grow fast and the newborn stuff only lasts for 1-4 weeks. Whereas, you can usually start putting them in 3 month right away. Unless, you have a tiny baby (6lbs or less).
- Don't forget to purchase weather appropriate clothing (don't get size 6 month shorts if baby will be about that size in the middle of a snowy winter).
*When our babies were newborns they lived in snap-in-front t-shirts and gowns and were swaddled in Aden and Anais blankets. I liked having the bottom open for quick diaper changes (especially in the middle of the night) but also once they reach that 10 day mark they start needing LOTS of diaper changes. Plus, putting pants over the umbilical stump is not so easy.*
(So much great info out there on the benefits of baby wearing. Plus, you never know the cool things you and baby will get to do.)
- Sling - these was the best for those newborn days and those early baby wearing days.
- As baby gets older a more sturdy carrier. Our favorites are the Boboa, Baby Bjorn (what I am using in the photo to the right), and Snuggie.
*If I were going to purchase just one I'd get the Boboa (or Ergo) - baby can ride in front or back and there is excellent support for the wearer as well as the baby.*
Car Seat -
- An infant carrier will get you started but often it will only last the first 6-9 months and then you will need to transition to the bigger size. You can get bigger sized infant carriers like Chicco (this is what we have). It accommodates infants 30lbs and 30inches but this is the largest I've seen.
- Transitional seat - Britax Marathon is what we use and we LOVE it. It will accommodate through 80 lbs. Technically you could also use something like this for baby starting at 8 lbs. It just would not come out of the vehicle like an infant carrier - which we would be fine with because we NEVER took our car seat out of the car (maybe 4 times total with baby #2). I'm of the opinion that car seats are exactly that - car seats. Leave them in the car.
- Mirror to see baby - something you attach to the back seat so that you can view rear facing baby through your rear view mirror. Here is an example.
Strollers - not too much to say except that most folks have a heavy weight one and a light weight one. Go look at them. Make sure you have a good one you can take walks with and carry some cargo as well as one for tight spaces like malls and farmers' markets.
|Our used super cool, super light weight Japanese stroller.|
- Hooded towels - 2-4 count - these just work perfectly for bath time and swim time.
- Something to bathe baby in - there are so many different kinds of devices. We've tried lots of them. We borrowed a really cool baby tub for T Rex and used it for a while. Then we had a blow up duck tub that he bathed in for a while. Bebe Sister took her baths in the sink for the first 6 months. I'd say whatever makes your life easy and it will probably change and evolve. You probably don't need the spa tub for baby but if that is what makes bath time fun for everyone, go for it. My only statement about bath time - NEVER leave baby unattended even for a second.
- Baby wash/lotion - Burt's Bees has always been our favorite for soaps, lotions, diaper cream - everything. But water is also one of the best cleansing agents for babies, too.
- Do not use baby powder, though. Talc in baby powder has been found in cancer tumors so it is no longer recommended even though you will still see it available. If you want some kind of powder ensure it is talc-free.
- Comb and brush (brush is great for working out cradle cap)
- Baby toothbrush (seriously never too soon to start)
Diapers and Accessories - separate posting about this later in the week.
- Nail clipper - you'll be surprised, some babies are born needing their nails clipped.
- Mittens - those tiny nails are sharp and they like to scratch themselves
- Thermometer - typanic (ear) ones are not accurate on babies until they are 6 months old so find another one for use during that time. And there is nothing wrong with good old fashion rectal thermometers (we still use ours). They are still the most accurate. If I were to purchase a new thermometer I would get an Exergen temporal thermometer - it's what our local clinics and hospitals use.
- Alcohol wipes - once to twice daily cleansing of the umbilical stump until it falls off sometimes around day 10-14.
- Vaseline or some kind of barrier ointment in case of circumcision.
- Swing - add this to your MUST HAVE list - this saved our lives so many times with T Rex (something with a high setting). Use with the high setting and it will calm a crying baby. Get one with a high weight limit (ideally 30lbs not 25lbs) and something that can swing forward/backward and also accommodate a swaddled baby. Here is the kind we have. Hint: ALWAYS keep extra batteries on hand for this item.
- Noise generator - something that makes ambient noise ideally with a white noise or rushing water sound. Think the sound of blood rushing in the womb. A fan works for this, too. It's soothing for baby and parents, too. And it you co-sleep it keeps down on parental waking from every little sigh and coo (unless you like those sweet baby sounds.) We own three of these.
- Burp cloths/receiving blankets - you cannot have too many of these. No matter how many we had, we always seemed to run out. Old style prefold cloth diapers or flat birdseye cloth diapers are the best burp cloths. They are cheap and clean up beautifully.
- Diaper bag - Go look at some and pick out a couple. We have a bigger one for long outings and a smaller one for quick trips to the store. And it's another one of those things that you'll find it to be ever evolving.
- Vehicle - Definitely consider what vehicle you drive and whether it will accommodate a rear facing car seat for two years. The new guidelines recommend keeping baby rear facing for a full two years and with one of the bigger transitional seats rear facing, you may find that your two-door car is not very car seat friendly.
- Pacifier (Bimpie) - T Rex never used one and Bebe Sister used a Soothie for about 3 months. Breastfeeding experts say you should not introduce one until age 1 month if you plan to breastfeed. However, neither myself nor any of the other moms I associate with had any issues breastfeeding and also using a pacifier from day one. And they really can be magic and there is some info about use being associated with a decreased incidence of SIDS.
One other note - buy as much as you can used and borrow, too. Lots of these things babies only use for a short time so if you can just borrow them, then you won't have to spend the $200 to purchase and then have to store them when you're done. The one exception is car seats - I just lean more toward getting a new one so you know exactly where it's been. But as I said, if you do have a used one, ensure it's still current and not expired, that it is not on any recall lists, and properly installed (check your local fire station) because you probably don't have the user's manual to know exactly how to install and it is NOT intuitive.
What were your must have baby items? Or do you have a favorite brand of a particular product mentioned above?
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