I have a number of friends expecting kids this summer and fall, and if I’ve learned anything from the last 16 months, you should never prattle on to a expecting or new mother what they NEED to buy. But I love telling people what to do, so for the sake of our friendships, I’ll only prattle on about it here! I haven’t included the typical items (crib, carseat, stroller, Sophie), but the items that I never expected to rely on quite as much as I did. For what it’s worth, I’m not being compensated in any way for this post.
Swaddler Maybe it’s because I was a first time mom, but receiving blankets never seemed square at 4 am in the morning when all I wanted to do was sleep. A swaddler made it easy as 1-2-3, especially since the one we bought — Summer Infant SwaddleMe — had the 3-step instructions right on the blanket. She outgrew it after just a couple months but well worth it for that time (we had 2, but I’d recommend getting 3, as one always seemed to be in the wash). Wubbanub I didn’t want C to be a carseat baby, but between family living 2 hours away, and our fitness class being stroller fitness (so a carseat on wheels), she spent her share of time in her plastic and foam bucket. Now, I also never wanted C to be that baby that ALWAYS has a plug in her mouth, but I do let her have one in the car seat, and in the crib. There is nothing worse than travelling 100 km/hr and hearing your baby cry and not being able to hand her a soother (except maybe doing pushups beside your baby’s stroller and having the soother hit you on the back of the head). Wubbanub is a weighted stuffed animal with an attached soother that makes sure the soother never falls far from the mouth. Since the only soother C would take for the longest time was a Soothie, these were great for her. Baby Banana ToothBrush & Teether Beth suggested this one, and it is amazing. Not only does it get your child used to the concept of brushing teeth, but it is also an amazing teething toy. We’ve tried all kinds of teething toys, and (with the exception of Sophie, who actually doesn’t make this list because, seriously, who doesn’t know about Sophie!) the banana brush is definitely the most effective. Just a warning: once your baby gets to the “let’s see what happens when I drop this!” stage, it will bounce. A long ways. Like three or four rows up in the middle of church. A Quality Baby Carrier Or three. Or more. I could not have survived without one for those days when you need to get something done around the house, those stores where stroller just won’t fit, or when you want to get out for a walk (but don’t want to subject her to MORE time in the car seat). C has gone through phases of loving and hating each of them in turn, so I can’t recommend just one. But why three?
- A go-to soft-structured carrier that both Mom and Dad are willing to use (we have the Ergo, but in my next life I’d get a Boba or Tula, as they are a little less bulky for my slim shoulders).
- A snuggly, cuddly, stretchy wrap for around the house, or if you know you’ll need to pop a baby into a carrier when you get somewhere. Unlike soft structured carriers or woven wraps, stretchy wraps generally can be fully tied on before putting the baby in it, allowing you to tie at home, throw a jacket over top and be ready to carry at any moment. (I made a moby wrap, which is significantly cheaper than buying any of the versions of it and so simple to do. However, if I were to buy one, I’d get the Baby K’tan, as it’s easier to put on)
- A carrier to keep in the car for stores without child-friendly shopping carts, unexpected chances to go for a walk and days when she just wants to be carried. I keep my mei tai (the wonderfully low priced Infantino Sash) in the car whereas my sister keeps her ring sling in there (which I will be stealing if I have another kid because it’s perfect for newborns… and stealing her Boba, too. Thanks for breaking that one in for me, D!)
Baby Butz I bought Baby Butz for C because I knew the woman behind the brand from a past job. Having been through her promotional material, testimonies and reviews for that job, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by it. And yet I was! Diaper rash would disappear within hours. Sure, it’s so thick it takes a good scrub to get it off your hands, but that’s because it doesn’t just get absorbed into the diaper like so many others. As an added bonus, it also was great on my winter eczemaLinks Whether we use them to tether toys to her stroller, or as toys themselves, we never leave home without at least half a dozen of them. They make good teething toys, too. We’ve even used them to keep kitchen cupboards closed at times. So simple, but so useful Kushies Bibs We tried all kinds of bibs. We tried fabric (which did nothing for sloppy wet messes). We tried vinyl (too distracting while eating). We tried a fabric bib with a vinyl cover (it ended up in our dryer and melted… fortunately just to itself). But Kushies? It’s like the fabric and the vinyl had a baby. These bibs are fairly waterproof, rinse well and air dry in no time. Sure, we could get away with likely only 1 with how easily they was up, but I can’t help but pick one up every time I walk past them on the way to the diaper aisle. Norwex Netted Dishcloth Now Scott thought I was crazy for telling him to wash dishes with what is essentially a net cloth, after I got tired of all of our dishcloths stinking (and no amount of Pinteresting seemed to freshen them up). While it still is all right for washing dishes (nothing mind blowing), it wipes up the glue-y mess that is baby cereal without smearing it around AND rinses clean. Be still my heart! Hampen Rug from Ikea We have three bright green shag rugs in our house. And C plays on all of them. They have been peed on. Pooped on. Puked on. And they’re still looking as clean as the day we bought them. The best part is that the largest size is only $80, so if they start to look bad (or worse: smell bad) we can just replace it. Pull Out Faucet with Spray Head Sure, the expression is “everything but the kitchen sink” but this is one upgrade that I think is a life saver when you have a baby. Babies poop. All the time. And when they’re not pooping, all you can think about is when the next time they’re going to poop (can you tell we just survived a week of constipation, and of course, it’s messy aftermath?). And of course, there are all the blowouts. As gross as it may be to germaphobes and non-parents, the only thing to do with a blow-out is to drag the stinking kid to the kitchen, fill up the baby tub using the pull out faucet and plop her in. As she’s splashing her rubber duckies (there beside you, of course), blast the poop out of her clothing with the spray head. Honourable Mentions These items are definitely ones I could live without, but have made my life SO much easier or so much cuter they are worth mentioning
One-hand, One-step folding stroller: Every stroller claims to have an easy fold, but the Baby Jogger City Mini GT lets you fold and lift into the car in one step. Plus, it has 3 wheels (easy manoeuvring) that are rubber, but won’t go flat.
Munchkin Mesh Feeder: cram a pear in one, and hand it to C, and I get to have both hands free to eat my own breakfast. Not the easiest to clean, but worth every moment of early morning peace
AMP Swim Diaper: I love AMP because they are a local company, and if we had gone the cloth diapering route, we would have done AMP. With C still going through way too many diapers a day (literally peeing and pooping through… it would be a cloth diaper nightmare), she’s in disposables but I’m glad I get to use a reusable swim diaper. It’s unbelievably cute!
Anything Oball: The best, simplest toys. C loves everything Oball we have, and if I could go back, I’d replace all of our non-Oball stuff with the Oball equivalent.