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I did A LOT of research when putting together our registry and buying items for Ramona. I did not want to be that first-time parent who buys way, way too much stuff that never gets used and just takes up space in the house. But man, it was hard! The temptation to get everything is real.
All in all, I think we did a good job deciding what we needed. Sure, there were things we didn’t really use at all and things that we probably could have gotten by without. But overall, I think we had a good lineup of stuff. That said, there were definitely things we used more than others, and there were things that were absolute must-haves for us. I’ve typed versions of this post up for a bunch of friends over the past few months, so I thought it might be helpful as a blog post.
(Note: For the purposes of this review, I’m going to exclude the most obvious things: her bassinet, which she was in for 1 month; crib; changing pad, diapers, and wipes; and carseat.)
So what baby stuff is actually worth it?
1. Boppy Newborn Lounger
The Boppy Newborn Lounger was a highly prized item until about 2.5 months. It’s a safe and easy place to put baby when they are very little (maximum weight limit is 15 lbs). You can also wash it and easily move it from room to room unlike a bigger swing or bouncer. We often threw a Muslin blanket over it because we had a VERY spitty newborn, and it was much easier to throw a muslin blanket in the wash than the entire lounger.
2. Muslin Blankets
Speaking of muslin blankets, I use them for just about everything (other than swaddling). If she doesn’t need a heavy blanket, a muslin blanket will do. Throw them down over things you don’t want to wash if they get a bit of spit up or pee on them. Use them when changing baby in public or setting her down for a bit. Drape them over the carseat in public so people don’t touch your baby without asking. Tons of uses. I have this set and love the modern prints.
3. A Good Humidifer
The URPOWER Humidifier puts out some SERIOUS moisture. It’s also really sleek looking and easy to clean. We loved it so much that we got a second one for our room. After we moved Ramona out of our room at 1 month and she took her humidifier with her, we realized how nice it was sleeping with one.
4. Target Cloud Island Brand Sleepers
This is one thing I recommend to everyone. The Cloud Island Sleepers are the best. I’m talking about the three-pack sets with the inverted zippers that zip from the bottom, the built-in mittens, and the elastic bands around the backs of the feet.
Ramona has lived in these since she was a newborn. She’s still living in them at about 3.5 months, and I’ll keep her in them until it gets too warm for them in the late spring. They run from newborn to 6-9 months. And they have the cutest prints for the cheapest prices!
5. Bandana Bibs
Speaking of Cloud Island, we really love the Cloud Island bandana bibs. We bottle feed and have a very messy eater who also spit up a lot as a newb, so these bibs were really helpful. Washing them instead of her entire sleeper was great. And, like the sleepers, they come in really cute prints.
6. A Good Stroller
This was a must for me because I walk almost every day. I decided on the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Stroller because I wanted a stroller that had real tires and good suspension. We have walked nearly every day since Ramona was about 5 days old. If it’s cold, I just bundle her up. The only days we don’t walk are when it’s pouring rain or sleeting. Sometimes we walk twice a day. The fresh air is amazing, and it was an amazing way to get out when she was a little newb and driving me insane some days. We used this stroller with the carseat attachments when she was littler. (Note: The stroller itself is expensive, but you can usually find last year’s model for a bit cheaper somewhere online.)
7. Carter’s Fleece Bear Coveralls
And speaking of bundling up, I’d say the coveralls I use most are these Carter’s bear fleece coveralls. I have a thicker bunting I use when it’s very cold or windy, but these and a thick blanket do the trick most days. They are no longer available, but Carter’s always has cute coveralls like these. This is the one I ordered in the next size up to get us through the rest of winter.
8. The Free Hats From the Hospital
We got an unexpected amount of use out of the free hats from the hospital! They were so cute and comfy and fit her tiny head really well. She didn’t grow in to any of the hats I’d gotten for her until about 2 months, so we used these a ton.
9. HALO Fleece Velcro Swaddle
We were big fans of the HALO Fleece Velcro Swaddle from 0-6 weeks. They quickly and easily put her to sleep. We’d change her, wrap her up in her cozy swaddle, give her a bottle, and put her down. This routine nearly always put her to sleep without much fuss.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no swaddling past 8 weeks, so we began transitioning her out of it at 6 weeks (about a week after we moved her to her crib in her own room). Some babies don’t like swaddling, though, so I’d recommend getting some different ones second hand to see which option your baby likes. Our neighbor gave us one of these to try.
After we transitioned her out of the swaddle at 6 weeks, we tried a few different post-swaddle wearable blanket options. We settled on the Zipadee-Zip, which is marketed as a swaddle transition blanket, as the best option. It keeps her contained but gives her access to her hands.
It’s also perfectly safe for when she starts to roll. My coworker highly recommended it and got us this one. We just ordered one in the next size up. The smallest size is 3-6 months, but they don’t really have much of a shape, so we were fine using it beginning at about 6/7 weeks.
11. Washable Play Mat
Nice place for toys and tummy time. Mine is a DIY mat I made using fabric and the thickest batting I could find at Jo-Ann. It’s comfy even on our wood floors. I’ve also been using it for our monthly milestone pics.
12. Fish-Price Kick-and-Play Piano Gym
This is not a purchase I would have made myself as I am not a huge fan of gaudy baby stuff that takes up a ton of space. But we have gotten a ton of use out of our Fisher-Price Kick-and-Play Piano Gym my mom got us. I have it here on the play mat I made. I love the gym part, but the play mat it came with is very thin, so it didn’t work well on our wood floors in the living room.
13. Baby Bjorn Bouncer
I. Love. This. Thing! The Baby Bjorn Bouncer is so sleek and blends right in to the room. It’s easy to wash—just slide the cloth part off and throw it in the wash—and it’s comfy for baby. You can easily move it around the house. The second pic below is of Ro in the garage with me while I was working on something. I believe you can use this thing until they can sit up unassisted. We started using it at about 2 months and use it every day, multiple times per day.
14. Tiny Love Stroller Arch
Best 20 bucks spent! I ordered a Tiny Love Stroller Arch mostly to attach to her Baby Bjorn, but I also use it on the stroller for walks when I don’t want her to fall asleep. This thing is like stimulation central for babies, and she LOVES it. There are a few different models to choose from.
15. A Good Pump and Accessories
I exclusively pump and bottle feed, so a good pumping system and accessories is definitely a must-have for me. I started out using an Ameda hospital-grade rental. I also used an Ameda Purely Yours that I got free from insurance. Neither compared to the Spectra S1 Pump I ended up buying myself. Highly recommend if you’re breastfeeding!
And when I figured out that I could pump directly into our Avent Bottles (all Avent wide-neck bottles fit the flange threads), it saved a ton of washing up. Check out the third-party Maymom flanges on Amazon for off-brand sizes, which will make pumping easier, faster, and more comfortable. Oh, and although Bamboobies are great, just do a search on Amazon for reusable Bamboo nursing pads. There are tons of cheaper options, and they are all pretty much the same.
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