Planning for a baby is a big task. I remember like it was yesterday. You get signed up for all these “freebies” and subscriptions, and the emails start flooding in with gadgets you have to get. The new “IT” item. It can be quite overwhelming and hard to know what you will use and what is just nice to have, but will likely just collect dust. I am very conscious of our budget and splurge on very little, so I wasn’t a typical first time mom buying everything I could get my hands on. I wanted our little guy to be comfortable and have what he needed, but I also wanted to get things that I was 80% sure we would use. I would say 100%, but as I have learned, the baby will determine what is used most and what is not used at all based on his/her own preference.
I spent a lot of time online reading articles from other moms who narrowed down their list of what to get for the baby and budget lists of how not to go overboard with the world of baby items. Between all of those, I was able to create a list of our own based on our lifestyle that I’d like to share with you. Here are the top 10 items we were very happy we got and we used very often (sometimes multiple times a day). I won’t go into brand names, as there are several out there for each of these recommended products. My advice there is to go with a brand you are comfortable with.
- As I mentioned in another blog post, we used the swing every day for naps and for night time sleep because it was what he would sleep in. There are many kinds out there, we got one that swung in different directions and had music.
- Boppy Pillow
- This was a godsend for many reasons. I used it all the time while breast feeding. It was also used for tummy time and helping him sit up. When he was first born, he was also swaddled and curled up in it taking naps.
- Baby carrier
- There are many kinds of carriers that help you “wear the baby”. Find the one that fits your body best – I recommend trying them on at the store. This was great because I could do so much around the house while keeping a close eye on the baby.
- Space saver high chair
- There are several different kinds of high chairs out there. I am not one for clutter, so a space saver one appealed to me in a big way. The plus is that it has a reclining back so it can be used right away and transforms to a booster, so it’s an item that can be used for a few years – bonus!
- Music box
- A friend recommended a music box instead of a mobile because you could use it longer and her baby loved it. So I gave it a try, and it’s his favorite. He loves music, so he loves to fall asleep to it and now can control it on his own turning it on and off and changing the music settings.
- Pack n’ Play
- These have been around forever, but they certainly got an upgrade. We used our pack n’ play a lot at the beginning as a changing table. We set it up downstairs and it was great. We did not get a changing table because I knew I wasn’t going to walk my butt upstairs every time he needed changed. We got the pack n’ play originally for when we traveled, but it proved to be a great buy for the changing table option as well.
- Fold-able bath tub
- So you know those bath tubs that have cute designs on them and can be used from infant to toddler? Those are great, but my dilemma was where do I store this thing when I’m not using it? It’s too big to go in my bathroom cabinet. Enter a fold-able bath seat. You can find these at any major retailers; we got ours at Target. It’s a mesh seat that has different reclining positions and the best part, when you’re done, you can fold it up and fit it in your bathroom cabinet!
- Floor mat
- A floor mat with toys on the mat and above was great for baby. He would lay there for hours tugging at the toys on the mat and playing with the ones above his head. It really helped with tummy time.
- Drying rack for bottles
- Let’s face it, a baby uses a lot of bottles a day, even if you breast feed. I found a drying rack specifically for those to be extremely helpful and I still use it today for his sippy cups. I personally did not go with the grass like one and chose a two level rack. It seemed to fit all the bottles and was easy to disassemble to clean.
- Diaper bag back pack
- The first diaper bag we got was the traditional “messenger bag” style. It worked for a bit, but for me, it got to be too cumbersome trying to carry that while holding the baby. It kept falling off my shoulders and I felt like my hands weren’t as free as I’d like. So we tried a back pack version and absolutely loved it. It was so much easier to carry around the baby and was much better for my shoulders. Plus it had a side pocket for easy access to wipes and an insulated one for bottles.
There you have it! I hope you found that list to be helpful as you might be embarking on narrowing your own list of the ‘must haves’ for your little one. Just ask yourself – How will I use this gadget and does it fit in with our lifestyle?