My daughter is now 19-months-old and this is my take on the items I found to be both essential and non-essential during the first early months of her life. Everyone’s experiences are different, but these were the things that made life a little easier for us, as well as the things that we barely used and could have done without.
- Carter’s Onesies: These plain white onesies were the basics that I loved going back to over and over again for day-to-day use. Newborns need to be changed frequently, and I always kept a couple of these basic and no-fuss pieces in my bag just in case. Since they come in short sleeves, long-sleeves and long-sleeves with mittens, they were versatile throughout the changing seasons.
- Puj tub: Figuring out how to properly bathe the baby can be nerve-racking at first, but this Puj bathmat made the learning experience easier. It is recommended that you do not submerge the baby in water until they can hold their heads up and this was the perfect contraption for holding up the baby in the sink while we washed her.
- Miracle Blanket: We used this to swaddle the baby more than any other swaddling cloth or blanket. The design made it really simple to figure out how to swaddle the baby and the cloth remained soft and durable through many washes.
- Stroller and Car seat: There are so many great strollers and car seats out there now that it is hard to do wrong if you do some research and ask around for recommendations. I do recommend testing out the stroller before making your decision and accessing how the stroller and car seat will fit your lifestyle. We went with the Baby Jogger and Maxi Cosi infant car seat and loved being able to transfer the car seat directly into the stroller. The stroller is an easy one-step close and open, and we often carried the car seat into restaurants with no problems.
- Nursing cover: It was really important for me to be able to get out with the baby, and since I was nursing around the clock, this nursing cover was always in my bag.
- Glider: This was one of those things that didn’t seem like it would be necessary, but it turned out to be a huge help. It made nursing a more comfortable experience, and it was especially helpful for those nursing and rocking sessions in the middle of the night. And my husband loved hanging out in this with the baby!
- Pack N Play with Bassinet: Although I was eyeballing those sleek playards that pop open with just a push of a button for ease during traveling, I’m actually really glad we got one of these basic pack ‘n plays that come with a bassinet. My daughter slept in the bassinet in our room for the first few months, and when she was old enough she slept in the pack ‘n play when we traveled. We got great use out of it for the money we paid and we are still using it.
Didn't Use Enough:
- Wipes warmer: We had a wipes warmer in the nursery but it went untouched. My daughter never seemed to notice the temperature of the wipes.
- Diaper Pail: We didn’t get a diaper pail, but it was one of those things that I kept meaning to get until I realized we were doing fine without one. Just make sure to take the diaper trash out often and use a deodorizer like this one in the trash can to ward off the smells.
- Baby monitor: We had an audio baby monitor and I was surprised to find that we barely used it. She slept in a bassinet in the room with us until she was about 3 months old when she was sleeping 6-8 hours straight through during the night, and so there was less of a concern about how she was doing in the crib. It also helped that we could hear the baby from different parts of the house, but I could see it coming in handy if you have a house where this is not the case. I also have friends that use the video monitor and love it.
- Infant shoes: We got so many adorable infant shoes as gifts but I found that there wasn't much point in putting shoes on the baby, especially when she wasn't walking yet. When it was cold, we put our daughter in body suits that covered her feet, so shoes were unnecessary.
- The Mommy hook: I bought this thinking it would be helpful for holding bags on the stroller while I walked around town, malls, and farmer’s markets, but I didn’t love it as much as I expected to. The hook would sometimes get stuck and the foam started coming off pretty quickly. I recently learned that you can pick up a jumbo carabiner for less than half the price at your hardware store to do the same job.
As always, we would love to hear about things that worked or didn’t work for you!