Hello Everyone! Welcome to my obsessively detailed baby registry list.
I know we’re a little off topic today, but I had a lot of requests for this so there ya go. I spent like, an embarrassing amount of time reading every review, forum, and blog post that had the word “baby” in it and after getting many things, and using them for the past 3 months, I am happy to offer the fruits of my labor (as in the stuff I found out, not my child.) A little background, I made this list as someone that loves (I mean loves) having the absolute best really high quality well-designed things, but I'm very selective about how and where I spend my money, so I'm constantly looking for the best value for the most functionality. This is not a list of the trendiest or most expensive items, but the best and most functional items, some of which are a little pricier, but many that are not, and with tips throughout for getting good deals.
I'm going to dive right in because there's a lot of information. I'm so happy to share it with you! This is really a list of what you'll need/want, not just for your registry but in general, some things like pads and nursing bras you may opt to leave off the registry lol (up to you!) but I thought you'd still want to know about it. FYI, it's going to get reallll TMIish up in here so I hope you don't mind.
Where to Register and Why?
I recommend registering on Amazon.com and at Target. They both give you a completion coupon that you can use towards items on your registry that didn't get purchased as gifts, Amazon gives you 10% off OR 15% off if you have amazon mom (amazon prime but you select that you're a mom and they give you special discounts and perks like 20% off diapers if you subscribe to have them delivered, it's worth looking into if you don't have a Costco membership or if you just like to order things from amazon.) If you don't have amazon prime/mom I recommend signing up for a free trial at the end of your pregnancy so that you can use the 15% off completion discount and the free two day shipping on the items that didn’t get purchased for you. Target gives you 15% off, and they give you one coupon for use in store and one for online, and if you don't receive it in the mail in time (it takes a while) you can call customer service and they'll give you codes you can use. I did that and then I still got the coupons in the mail and now I'm curious to see if they'll still work, I'd imagine they will so that's fun.
The Amazon registry has a super super cool feature that allows you to add items from ANY online store, so if there's something you love on Etsy, or a cuter color or better price of something at Babies R Us, you can add it to your registry on amazon and people just click the link to go to that site! Your amazon completion coupon won't work on those items obviously but, it's still great. Another Amazon perk is that a lot of people have prime accounts, so I think we got some gifts from friends and family that are far away and otherwise wouldn't have sent anything because they were able to get free shipping. Target is great because everyone shops there obviously and the people close by can just stop in and pick something up.
A very important feature of both registries, is their return policy. The fact is, you never know what you and your baby are going to like. I bought a diaper bag that I decided I hated after 2 months, and I have a gorgeous crib that functions as a pretty place to fold clothes because I fell in love with co-sleeping which I was totally against before he was born. You just never know! Amazon will let you return baby items for 90 days, and Target will let you return items (purchased from your registry only, they have to actually be on your registry) for a full year for store credit! It is a new policy so you probably have to call the registry customer service number to get confirmation and sometimes a special code, while you're returning the item at your local target store. Because of the variability of babies and their parents I recommend trying to buy things within the timeframe of return-abilty so that you have time to try them out with your little one and still have the option of returning them if they don't work out.
Now to the fun part!
PS: This post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase something using the links provided I get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Post Partum Recovery Items:
• Granny Panties: That are cheap and comfortable and you don't mind getting ruined. You'll bleed for up to 6 weeks and it's generally gross and you can't have sexy time anyway, might as well be comfortable. The hospital has disposable mesh panties that are actually really comfortable, and if you ask they'll give you some to take home, but obviously not 6 weeks worth so you'll need to buy some. I recommend doing this in advance, it's so much more complicated getting out of the house to run errands those first two weeks (i.e. almost impossible) and you'll need them almost right away so you send out your sweet husband that still thinks you're a size small bless his heart even though you have turned into a postpartum swollen walrus so you have to cut the elastic in the leg holes to make them fit. Not that that happened to me or anything.
• Always Infinity Overnight Pads: I hadn't worn pads since I was like 12 so I did some research on mommy forums and these are the best. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to switch to these from the MONSTROUSITIES they give you at the hospital. They're like space age technology pads. When I ran out of my first box I picked up Always Ultra Thin, which I had also heard good things about, and MAN did I miss the Infinity pads. People that recommend Ultra Thin have obviously not tried Infinity.
• Quality Toilet Paper: I got the advice to splurge and get nice Charmin TP or something, and I'm so glad I did. You'll be very tender, and if you're like 95% of women you'll either have a tear/tears or an episiotomy and potentially stitches, it's so worth it to have toilet paper that's soft and doesn't leave little shreds behind. P.S. Tearing/episiotomies were like my biggest fear going into labor, it sounds so awful and horrifying! But, I had an episiotomy and I have to say it's so not a big deal. I had no epidural and I still didn't feel the episiotomy and the recovery hasn't been a problem at all. Lady parts are resilient.
• Great Body Lotion: I realize you won't have my exact postpartum experience, but my skin got really dry and itchy in the first couple weeks, and I felt so blahhh and tired, so I started using a wonderful body lotion from Trader Joe's after my showers and it was so nice to have a minute to do something for myself and also help my skin to be more comfortable. In the first two weeks it was the most I could manage but it really made a difference in my mood each evening.
• Quick No Effort Healthy Meals: Stock your fridge and freezer in advance. Especially if you don’t have family coming to stay and help for a long time. I can’t describe with words how tiring the first few weeks are (it gets better though!) and you do need to eat consistently to produce breast milk, so do yourself a favor and pick up some frozen meals and premade salads from Trader Joe's, or make some freezer meals while you’re pregnant, just make sure you’ve got food that you can just grab and eat quickly in zombie mode.
• Thermos Intak Hydration Water Bottle: Is it possible to want to marry a water bottle? This thing is amazing. Breastfeeding makes you SO THIRSTYYY all around the clock, so a refillable water bottle is wonderful to have. I particularly want to kiss this one because it’s COMPLETELY water tight, so I can lay it in bed next to my pillow without worrying that it will spill, it’s big (24oz) so I don’t have to refill it constantly, but it’s ergonomic and easy to hold, you can open and close it one handed (hallelujah!) so you can use it while nursing, and to top it off it has a little meter around the lid you can use to track how many bottles you’ve had in a day.
Tip: Before you leave the hospital, ask if you can have some extra pads, undies, witch hazel pads, etc. Stock up on any of the disposable things you use during your time there.
• Breastfeeding Pillow: I read all the reviews, which is why I actually bought the My Brestfriend pillow first. The lactation consultant teaching the breastfeeding class I took actually said, "If you bought a Boppy, return it and get the My Brestfriend. It's just a better pillow." I think the reason she and so many others say that is that breastfeeding is the hardest in the beginning, when your baby is tiny and you're still figuring out how to guide their latch and feel like you don't have enough arms, it is much easier with the My Brestfriend. However, once my baby got a little heavier it became very uncomfortable and I ended up buying the Boppy. I have to say I prefer it overall and I've found that's a pretty general consensus. I actually returned the Brestfriend and don't feel the need to repurchase it when I have another baby. The Boppy is more versatile, it can be washed, it has cuter covers, it can be used for tummy time, or a prop for your baby. It's fantastic for baby photos because I can put it underneath a cute blanket or something and prop him up to take a picture. I use it all the time. Even when I'm rocking him when I'm not feeding because it's more comfortable to hold him with some of his weight laid across it. I also don't like that the Brestfriend can't be washed and doesn't have a waterproof cover (gross, babies pee and puke and squirt milk on their pillows) and the covers can't be put in the drier, so you HAVE to buy backup covers because you can't use the pillow without the cover and it takes a while to dry, so if (when) it gets soiled you're screwed until the cover dries. Also for a $40 pillow the covers feel really cheap and the prints are not very cute. It really was fantastic the first month, and that is truly the hardest time, so I totally understand the hype. By all means get both if you can. But if you can only get one, the Boppy is the better long term investment. I do think either way this is another important item to get within the window to return it after baby comes, you may love one and hate the other! EDIT: I am very excited to try this "Natural Breastfeeding" method with my next little gremlin that doesn't actually require a pillow! Will let you know how it goes in 17 years when I have my next child (just kidding.) Have you heard of or tried this? I would LOVE to hear about it in the comments! I have always found it so strange that women have been breastfeeding for well...as long as people have existed but now we need pillows or it's super uncomfortable and so many women (myself included) have serious issues in the beginning. Like what about before there were lactation consultants and google? Anyway this is the first thing I've read that really makes sense. I would still get a Boppy though because of all the non-breastfeeding reasons I love it.
• Nipple Cream: You can buy/register for lanolin if you'd like, but I learned from my lactation consultant that hand expressing a few drops of breast milk after each feeding and letting them air dry on your nipples is actually the best thing you can do, and if they get sore anyway, olive oil works great. Now, if your little one does some damage while she's learning to breastfeed like mine did, you can get a prescription nipple cream from your Dr. that really helps speed up the healing. They'll usually prescribe it over the phone too so that you can get it quickly.
• Medela Breast Pump: Medela is like, the Kitchenaid of boob juicing and having a good pump is a MUST. You may already know this, but in case you didn't because it's surprisingly unknown, you can get a FREE pump through your insurance, regardless of what insurance you have. It is now federal law that all insurance plans cover a free breast pump. Call your insurance company, get a prescription for it from your OB, and follow whatever instructions they give you, it varies from carrier to carrier. Try to get the Medela if possible, if your insurance doesn't cover it, do a little research on the ones they do offer to make sure you're still getting a good one. Check and see what’s included with your insurance plan, they usually just cover a starter kit, not a bunch of accessories. The only extra accessory I needed was this little cooler set with extra bottles. If you pump very often you may want an extra set of parts like this.
• Simple Wishes Hands Free Pump Bra: This is basically a bra that holds the breast pump attached to your boobs so that you can have your hands free. I didn't think I needed this, but ended up ordering it later. If you plan on pumping even pseudo regularly, it is a MUST. I didn't realize that to pump you literally have to hold the shields to your boobs the whole time. I know that seems obvious, but I didn't really get what that meant lol. Even just reaching over to adjust the settings on the pump is quite the feat, because, you literally have no free hands. This bra is a godsend. Plus it looks AWESOME (no it doesn’t, you will look freakish while using it.)
• Nuk Breast Milk Storage Bags: These are the very best ones, the least amount of leaks and still a great price.
• Lansinoh Nursing Pads: You'll need these while your body figures out how much to produce. Usually up to a few months, sometimes as little as a few weeks, sometimes you get really lucky and have to wear them the whole friggin time like me. I say start with one large box and go from there.
• Nursing Bras: The Basics Emma and Basics Stella are the best nursing bras for around the house/sleeping. For out and about, I actually had the idea to pick up some front closure bras and just use those, because I didn’t see any nursing bras that I loved. My baby leaks milk and spits up constantly so the base of a traditional nursing bra would get all soggy and gross, so something I could just move totally out of the way was the way to go for me. If you don’t mind the t-back style I highly recommend the Maidenform Pure Genius T-Back Bra it is so so comfortable. I initially bought just one of each nursing bra because I thought that would be enough, HILARIOUS. Nursing bras can get messy so I recommend having at least 5, but remember to get them close to delivery so that you can return them if you don't like how they fit. It's impossible to know how big your boobs are going to balloon up once your milk comes in. My boobs got bigger during pregnancy, but they got WAY bigger when my milk came in. I didn't get any stretch marks on them during pregnancy but now that my milk is in they look like friggin fireworks.
• Covered Goods Nursing Cover: This is a perfect example of when you could use the Amazon feature of adding an item from another website. All other nursing covers basically suck compared to this one. It covers all around you so the baby can't kick or pull it off and reveal your ladies to the world, it's super stretchy and soft so it can be used to cover both arms or have one arm free, it can be used as a car seat cover and you can also wear it as an infinity scarf and they have some really cute prints, plus I love supporting small businesses. I have one and have gotten compliments on it every time I've used it.
• Philips Avent Natural Bottles: Bottles are a little tricky because sometimes babies don't like a certain brand, I took a risk and bought some of these in advance anyway because they really do appear to be the best value/similar to the breast/well liked/easy to clean (I have no tolerance for bottles with a bunch of parts) and I got them during a great sale from Target. Remember to get the Philips Avent Natural, not Original, they're different. Fortunately Cas has no problem taking these, but he's also just a bottomless pit that would probably take breast milk out of my hands. It's still a good idea to wait until close to when you'll start bottle feeding to purchase so that you can return them if necessary, I recommend one set of 4 4oz with slow flow nipples if you'll be home, and two or three sets if you'll be working or formula feeding. You can upgrade to larger bottles with quicker flowing nipples later. EDIT: We actually got the Philips Avent Natural Bottles in Glass for the larger size, and they are amaaaaaaaazing we love them so much!!! I had to throw out several batches of pumped breast milk (devastating) when there was a soapy taste from the plastic medela storage bottle so I love that I know I never have to worry about weird residual tastes in these glass ones. They are a little pricier in the small size, but they are actually only a few cents more per bottle if you buy the $7 ones off of amazon.
• Munchkin High Capacity Drying Rack: Fantastic drying rack, great price, no regrets here.
• Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket: You'll need this to hold bottle nipples and breast pump parts and pacifiers if you have a dishwasher. This one is a little small which works for me because I don't bottle feed and my work schedule is thankfully flexible, so I like to have room in the dishwasher for other things, but if you're going to be using a lot of bottles I recommend this one.
• Two words: BURPY FRIGGIN BIBS. That was three words. Now, babies are messy, they spit up, and they leak your milk everywhere. Admittedly mine is extra spitty uppy and leaky, but even your average baby is still going need burp cloths. Burpy bibs by aden + anais are nothing short of glorious and have been one of my favorite and most used items. You may have heard of aden + anais, they're the cool boutique brand that makes all the wonderful muslin baby goods like swaddle blankets, etc. They are more expensive than some other brands, but they are also just the best. Burpy bibs are awesome because they are huge, and contoured so they fit over your shoulder, or under your boob, or around your babies neck, perfectly, they're thick and soft, but they dry quickly when soiled, they're stupid cute, and they have little snap closures so that your baby can wear them as a bib! Guess what’s NOT fun? Getting in the car to go somewhere with a baby dressed in a cute outfit and having them spit up all over it in the car ride. Guess how often that happens? EVERY DAMN TIME I TELL YOU. Cleaning spit up off car seat straps is also not fun. Downside? They’re a little pricey, I recommend registering for 3 or 4, and then you can always buy more if you need them or go with a more economical option if you’re really on a budget (if you aren’t on a really tight budget then just buy burpy bibs, seriously YOLO. Yolo’s a thing right?) Check around Amazon, Target, Buy Buy Baby, etc. because they have more color options so you can pick out the ones you like. I have 7, and wish a had a couple more, but my cousin only has 3 and then a few cheaper burp cloths and is just fine because her baby doesn't spit up much. This might be the only baby item that I can say with absolute surety everyone will love, I just can't say with surety how many you'll need because that depends entirely on your baby.
• A Comfortable Place To Nurse: This is a complicated recommendation. The conventional rocking chairs you see, wooden frame with padding, are just not that comfortable. They're fine, but they're still a couple hundred bucks usually. They're also not very cute in my opinion. A lot of people use full on rocking recliners, like lazyboys, which are a very comfortable option, but they're still expensive (but worth it if you don't already have a comfortable place to rock and nurse) and more importantly to me, I loathe them. I just find them so hideous and I'm super vain about the decor in my home. I did some research on upholstered rocking chairs, and found that they can be very cute and comfortable, and they are super expensive. Like $500+++. I found via online mama forums that the best brand for upholstered rockers is Best Chairs (fitting name.) They're made in the USA and retail at certain furniture stores and some Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us locations, they make each chair custom, you pick the style and color. So I scoured craigslist and I found a used Best Chairs Nava for $60! It is my single most used baby item and the one I'm most grateful for. I really can't overstate that. It makes nursing him so much easier and more comfortable. He loves to be rocked to sleep in it, and I also love that when we're done with constant night time feedings it's cute and comfortable enough to just be a piece of furniture in our living room. Word to the wise though, if you get a glider or rocker, get a gliding ottoman to go with it. Mine didn't come with one and Chris convinced me to get one, I was lucky enough to find one on craigslist for $10 (I'm going to reupholster them so it's okay for now that they don't match) and it makes all the difference in the world. It's about 10x more comfortable when you have something to prop your feet up and stretch your legs out on, and it makes rocking easier. PS I found several other Best Chairs on craigslist but they tended to go for more like $200+, so if you decide to look on craigslist for a chair/recliner don't be surprised if you see options more in that price range. Yes there is always the chance that your baby will prefer being walked around to being rocked, but odds are they will like it, and they at least won't actively dislike it, and it's really nice to have a comfortable place to sit in motion with your baby even when they're just pissed off and there's nothing you can do about it at 4 in the morning. Also as I mentioned if you get a cute and comfortable one it can just be a piece of furniture in your home and certainly a sweet place to do story time as your baby gets older.
• Maxxima LED Night Lights: I didn't realize that in order to nurse (at least for the first few months I would imagine) you kind of need to be able to see at least a little, and when they move around in their sleep and make noises it's nice to be able to see their face and know whether or not they're awake awake or just being little grunty babies. So for the first few weeks we just had to sleep with our bedside lamp on because it was too much of a hassle turning it off and on all the time, we were so exhausted that we could sleep anyway but it was annoying and a waste of electricity. So I found these on amazon and they're awesome! Just enough light to nurse/peek at him in the night, they use almost no power and they have a sensor that turns them off automatically when they detect daylight so I don't have to worry about plugging/unplugging them and the two pack is only $10. I put the other one in his nursery where the changing station is so that I can find my way to the lamp at the changing station at night and no longer need to leave that lamp on all night.
•Ikea Antilop High Chair: Okay I have strong feelings about this one. I originally purchased a Fisher Price portable high chair attachment thing, and while I like it for travelling, I am officially team Ikea. I don't even care that this high chair is only $20, it's just my favorite high chair for a million reasons. It is SO easy to clean, which matters more than I could have anticipated. You don't have to remove the tray to take them in and out, which also matters more than I could have anticipated. It's light weight, it's simple, it's not ugly, it's $20 freaking dollars, it's Swedish, it's my friend. Don't waste money on something else.
• Reusable Baby Food Pouches: I honestly don't know what I would do without these. My son is crazy stubborn, so he refuses to let me feed him, but is also not super coordinated on account of the whole he's a baby thing, so these pouches are a life saver. Also, they sell a lot of different reusable pouches like this and a lot of them are pretty expensive, so trust me and pick up these. You get a 50 pack for the price that you get like 8 from other companies. And they work really well! I have been using them for months and I see no difference between them and the ones I bought for 5x the money.
• Gerber Sippy Cups: I really like these sippy cups, super easy to clean and easy to use, plus they are training him well for normal cups because he has to tilt them back.
• Take and Toss Flatware: Kind of like the Ikea high chair, the cheapest baby spoons and flatware happen to be the best ones so don't waste money on something else.
On The Go:
• Beco Gemini Baby Carrier: THIS CARRIER IS MY LIFE. In fact, the only reason I'm able to spend hours compiling this crazy list is because he's happily hanging out in this carrier on my chest. I asked a million moms on the internet and in person what their must have baby items were and a good baby carrier was number 1 on the list (tied with a baby swing, more on that later.) Almost every single one of them recommended the Ergo carrier, but some further research introduced me to the Beco Gemini, a lesser known but superior carrier. It has all the benefits of the Ergo, super comfortable (it's actually more comfortable), well made, multiple carry positions, extensive weight limit, easy to use, BUT you don't have to buy an annoying separate "infant insert" to use it when they're tiny, you can use it as soon as they're 8lbs! Also once they have some neck strength you can carry them facing out, while the Ergo only allows them to face inwards, which is irritating to kids as they get older and want to see more than just your boobs in their face. Also, we've had a couple rough nights where walking him in this thing is the only way he fell asleep. You can buy it on Amazon, or at Buy Buy Baby with a 20% off coupon. Edit: The only thing I wish the Beco had is a pocket to hold my keys/phone/etc. When I did my initial research I didn’t see any comparable carriers that also have a pocket, but I have since come across the Lillebaby Carrier and it is very interesting to me! I haven’t used it personally but I wish I would’ve had a chance to at least check it out before deciding, as it does have a pocket and seems similar. Let me know if any of you try it!
• Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat: You can get it on Amazon or at Babies R Us etc., but I'm partial to the color "Legend" because it's grey, and grey is my everything, and it's only available at Target. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is an infant carseat, meaning you can take it in and out of the car with your baby still in it, or attach it to a stroller when they're tiny, and you use it for about the first year. Now you could get one of those convertible carseats that are a little more expensive but they can be used like, until they go away to college, and you don't have to purchase a new seat once they outgrow the infant seat. If you decide to go with an infant car seat, the Chicco is the way to go. There are some other good ones on the market for a higher price point, but I didn’t feel the need to spend more when the Chicco is so great. For me the most important factors are ease of use, and safety, and it gets a 10 out of 10 for both. I recently travelled with this and had to install and uninstall it in 4 different cars multiple times per car in 4 days, and it didn’t make me want to kill myself, so that’s a big win. Driving in your car is the most dangerous thing you'll do with your baby by far, so I wasn't messing around when it came to car seats, and this one has GREAT safety ratings. Please be advised though that the safest car seat is the one that’s used correctly, and a shocking 90% of car seats are not used correctly, so please do some research and learn how to correctly install your seat and buckle in your child. If you want to attach the Chicco to a stroller you'll either need to buy one of the Chicco travel systems like the Chicco Cortina or Chicco Neuvo which is the most economical way to go, or you can be rad and buy a different stroller and get an adapter to make it fit with the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat, which is what we did because...
• The Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller: is ALL kinds of awesome. If you want the most convenient, well made, and generally awesome universal stroller this is your friend. It literally, folds in one step. You just pull the handle on the seat and it magically folds itself. It's so glorious. You should've seen my father's face when I showed him the fold. Complete shock, giant eyes, open mouth and, "Wow. Yeah we didn't have that when you were little." It’s lightweight, glides smoothly, great canopy, it’s just awesome. To clarify, it's not a jogging stroller, Baby Jogger is the name of the brand, but they do make the world's most awesome jogging stroller as well (better than the Bob on all fronts) but we'll get there in a minute. It's pricier than some of the other options out there, (but cheaper than some of the more extravagant options and I actually like it more.) However, you can sometimes find previous year models (they're pretty much the same thing) for less on Amazon, or on this awesome website (this is where we got ours.) Also, after I already fell in love with it and bought it I learned that Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, and Jim Gaffigan use it so....yeah. It's cool.
• Chicco NextFit Zip: When Caspian was about a year old I upgraded him to a convertible car seat, and I might be eating my words about using an infant car seat. I'm on the fence about whether or not I'll buy an infant car seat for my future babies. I love this car seat so much. It's pricey, but he can stay in it forever, it's SO easy to install (even easier than the keyfit) and I basically just like it more in every way. For our second car and traveling, I picked up this $40 car seat from Walmart and I understand why it's 1/10th of the price because the quality is obviously less but I love it for traveling because it's super lightweight and it gets the job done!
• The Britax B-Agile Travel System: This is the next best thing if the Chicco+City Mini+adapter=travel system thing seems like too much of an investment to you. It's made by Bob brand (Britax owns the company Bob) and while the car seat isn't quite as good, and neither is the stroller, they're still super great and it's a cheaper ensemble. I would definitely go for this before I went for the Chicco Cortina or Neuvo travel systems. I've also noticed that these tend to go on sale more often than the Chicco and Baby Jogger items so look out for that. It's not as good of a system, but it's nothing to scoff at, still great quality. We read reviews and comparisons and tried them out in store to compare, and opted for the Chicco and Baby Jogger.
• The Baby Jogger Summit X3: The mother of all jogging strollers. If you buy the 2013 model it's the same price as Bob, and it's so much better. My cousin owns a Bob and the Summit X3 and said, "since I got the Summit X3 my Bob has been decorating the wall in my garage." It's slightly less cumbersome, it has individual wheel suspension, comes standard with a hand break (the more expensive Bobs are the only ones that feature that) and it has the same GLORIOUS ONE STEP FOLD that the City Mini has. Bonus, because it's the same brand as the City Mini that car seat adapter will work with this jogging stroller as well.
• Diono Buggy Buddy Stroller Organizer: Stroller caddies come in all sorts of prices and sizes, this one is fantastic and $8. We got one for each stroller and use it to hold water bottles, keys, phone, etc. Awesome!
• Baby Jogger Child Tray Single: This is the tray that's compatible with the City Mini and Summit X3
• Diaper Bag: Skip Hop makes the best affordable diaper bags. I LOVE the Skip Hop Duo Essential Diaper Bag in French Stripe Limited Edition. Again, once you're ready to head out and about with your little one you may find that the functionality of the bag you bought doesn't jive with you, so try to get it within the time frame to return it after you've had a chance to try it out a few times.
• JJ Cole Pacifier Pod: I didn't know that these were a thing, but I got one at my baby shower, and as a borderline organizational fetishist, I am thrilled with it's existence. I love that I can clip this to my diaper bag and know exactly where my clean backup pacifier is.
• Ikea Changing Pad: The Skip Hop diaper bags come with portable changing pads, but they're a little small so they won't last forever. Ikea makes this super cheap one that folds up nice and small and gets the job done for the best price. Gotta love the Swedes. It's literally $5.
• Shopping Cart Cover: I use my Covered Goods Nursing Cover and it's amazing! Doesn't take up any more space in my bag and adapts to any cart.
• Leachco Safer Bather Infant Bath Pad: I love this thing. Most people opt for one of those plastic infant bath tubs, which are fine, but I hate clutter and don't have a ton of storage space for a big plastic tub thing, so I fished around and saw this bath pad. It hangs so it doesn’t take up any space, it's comfy for baby, it keeps their little head elevated, because it's soft and pillow like it fits in any sink when they're tiny and just doing sponge baths at first, and then once they take real baths it keeps them in place in the tub. It's the perfect blend of features in my opinion. A note about maintenance: It does need to be cleaned and/or dried occasionally. It’s humid here so it’s hard for it to completely dry, so every few days I throw it in the washer on the delicate cycle with some gentle laundry detergent and vinegar. Also, I hang it in the shower at night after bath time so that it can drip dry, and then in the morning I hang it from a shelf in his room so that it doesn’t get mildew from living in the shower 24/7. Edit: We actually bought one of the most popular and well reviewed plastic tub baths because I wanted to try it and we HATED it. I wonder if some people think their babies hate baths because they use these. Caspian LOVES bath time, it’s the only thing that he consistently is happy about, and he screamed the entire time he was in this thing. The plastic tubs are just not very comfortable, they’re at more of an angle so his chin was against his chest and the top part of his body was out of the water so he got cold, plus, I didn’t think about this before but, babies are splashy! So yes I could bathe him on the counter/sink and not bend over, but he got water everywhere. We are back to using the bath pad and both very happy. However, a lot of people love the plastic tubs so you never know!
• Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash: You can always use the classic Johnson + Johnson baby shampoo, it is cheaper, but I am so in love with the Burt’s Bees wash. It smells like heaven, it’s my favorite smell besides the direct smell of my baby. And when they combine? Heaven help me I want to stick this kid up my nose. Also he started to get cradle cap once and washing with this got rid of it immediately. I have also accidentally tested its tear freeness on several occasions and Caspian has kept right on smiling even with soap bubbles in his eyeballs. I have zero complaints and will buy it for all my babies.
• Baby Lotion: I don't use one but am bringing it up to remind you in case you would like to and are using this list as a checklist. My Dr. told me that people use baby lotion because in the weeks after birth their skin starts to peel a bit because the water saturated layer of skin from the womb begins to dry and peel, which in the past caused people to believe that babies had dry skin and needed lotion. It's actually just a natural phase that comes and goes whether you use lotion or not; a healthy baby's skin will be plenty hydrated on it's own. Caspian's skin is actually softer than a puppy's fur, it is a phenomenon that I can't wrap my head around. I do love the idea of giving him a little baby massage sometime so I'll update this once I have personal experience with one.
• Gerber Baby Washcloths: These washcloths are soft and just the right size and a great price, I love that they have a soft side and a mildly exfoliating side. I bought two packs and we use them all the time. Edit: I have actually commandeered these for my personal use as well now because they are amazing so we bought another pack.
• Baby Bath Towels: Okay, you can just use your normal towels, OR you can get adorable little hooded baby towels because SO CUTE. For an affordable option, I liked these: Circo Newborn Pack and Circo Newborn Bear and Circo Newborn Lamb. But then we saw them in store and Chris revealed that he has a super weird, but very real, aversion to microfiber. After he touched these he walked around the store pursing his lips and rubbing his hands for 15 minutes, it was hilarious. So we ended up getting this more expensive but kind of magical towel from Pottery Barn. We got the Elephant and it's so beautiful and snuggllyyyyy. You can also embroider the back for no extra charge. Such a sweet little keepsake. These towels are all pretty baby sized, so if you want something larger that will last longer, we also like the aden + anais Hooded Towel Set in Twinkle.
• A Place For Baby to Sleep: Oh boy, so many options and it's so subjective. We went insane and sort of got all of them so I can break it down for you. My only advice is that you be flexible because you never know what's going to work for you, and definitely hang on to the ability to return things.
Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Clear-Vue Mini: This is a little bassinet that attaches to the side of your bed, so that you can have the baby close to you to give comfort and snuggles (and conveniently breastfeed) if you're into that. It can be used for the first few months until they can sit up on their own, then you need to move them to a crib or something with higher walls.
Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Sheets: It comes with one set, but it’s good to have a back up if this is where your baby will be sleeping all night. I bought backups that don't get used because if he does make a mess in the night I just stick him in bed with me (safely.)
Rock n Play: Many moms freak out over this thing. Some babies sleep much better in it than on a flat surface, especially if they have reflux, so depending on your baby it can be a lifesaver. For me, it’s just an incredibly convenient baby holding apparatus. It's super portable so I literally move it all around the house all day when I need somewhere to set Cas so that I can like, go to the bathroom or take a shower. It also has a little vibrate function, and you can rock it with your foot if the baby is say, fussing while you try to pee, or sleep, or write a blog post about baby registry items. You need some kind of portable baby holder, I figure it might as well be this one. I love that it’s deep enough that I can just plop him in it quickly without fear of him leaping out of it somehow, and it has a seatbelt for when he's more mobile. Sometimes when he’s napping in it if he starts to wake up I can rock it and he goes back to sleep and it is priceless. In theory, if you have this you don't need the co-sleeper, because this is essentially a bassinet and you could stick it next to your bed. If I'd realized that I may have skipped out on the co-sleeper, though I do like having him closer to my level, and in my head I tell myself that it will be easier to transition him to a flat bed later because he isn't used to sleeping at an incline but that's probably a load of crap.
Crib: Cribs tend to be expensive, but are probably worth buying new because a lot of the older ones have been recalled for serious safety issues. However, I scoured and scoured the interwebs and found a few that were more affordable and still super cute and good quality. We got the Fisher Price Charlotte 3-in-1and it is lovely and well made. But, I also think the Stork Craft Mission Ridge Convertible, the DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Convertible, and the Union 4-in-1 Convertible Crib are pretty timeless and classy. If you have the budget, you can get real fancy, and I highly recommend getting one from Restoration Hardware and then posting pictures of it so I can drool. I couldn’t justify spending thousands on something that is essentially a pretty place for me to fold laundry and do tummy time. I recommend getting one that transitions to at least a toddler bed because again, you never know what your sleep preferences will be.
Safety 1st Transitions Crib Mattress: This is a great and affordable convertible crib mattress and it also transitions through toddlerdom. My little dude seems quite pleased with hanging out on it.
Burt’s Bees Baby Crib Sheets: Burt’s Bees came out with a line of clothes and linens for babies and I'm OBSESSED. Their sheets are soo soft and adorable and I love that they're organic. They (and the whole Burt’s Bees Baby clothing/linen line) are actually really reasonably priced. They have several styles but I love these grey honey bee and the alphabet bee prints the best.
Summer Infant Waterproof Crib Pad: These are the best priced and reviewed option for waterproofing the crib/toddler bed. Bonus they aren't contoured to a crib shape so you can use them other places.
Breathable Mesh Crib Bumper: If you use a crib, you'll want a bumper to keep them from getting their little arms stuck through the sides once they get big enough to wriggle around. Unfortunately, they don't recommend the cute ones anymore because they pose a suffocation risk (eek!) but they make these less cute but not awful breathable ones now. Now that I know better I would say if you're going to have your baby sleep in the crib, you could probably just not use a bumper while they're too tiny to move, and then use a cute one later once their older because the SIDS risk is much lower by 6 months of age. Or I don't know what I'm talking about. Point is, hang on to the receipt of everything sleep related lol.
Lotus Everywhere Crib: A travel crib or playard is a must have multi-purpose item, it can be folded up to take on trips, and used for play time. The Lotus is the gold standard of travel cribs. It’s super lightweight and can be used as a carry on for flying, it takes like 20 seconds to set up (literally), it uses all safe materials and no flame retardants or harmful chemicals, and it's made by a cute little family in California!
Lotus Everywhere Crib Sheets: These are the sheets that are made to fit the Lotus.
Graco Pack n Play Playard Aspery: If you’re looking for a more economical option, this is a great value and gets the job done.
• aden + anais Swaddle Blankets: Newborns need to be swaddled up at night, it keeps them warm safely, and (usually) they love it. It makes them feel cozy like the womb, and keeps them from awakening themselves when their little arms and legs shoot out randomly. The bestest ones that everyone and their mom will recommend to you are from aden + anais. Now, when I saw these I noticed a price difference between some of them and I thought it was a weird amazon thing, but it turns out there are actually two quality tiers from the brand. There's the original boutique line aden + anais, which are more expensive, and then there's Aden by aden + anais which is the cheaper line they came out with that's available at Target, Babies R Us, etc. I registered for some of both, because I didn't realize there was a difference. There is. The Aden by aden + anais are still good, but the prints are less cute, they're not as soft, and they're a little smaller. I still use them constantly and don't regret owning them, however, the one pack of original aden + anais we have is soo nice. It gets a little confusing if you purchase through Amazon, because some of the nicer ones (aden + anais) are on sale or offered lower price like the less nice ones (aden by aden + anais) so just look for the name change, and if it's not clear you can always check the aden + anais website to see where they have that particular print listed. Anyway, get a couple packs, and learn to swaddle nice and tight. I recommend the method taught in the DVD Happiest Baby on the Block (which I will talk about more later.) Also, these blankets have a bajillion uses. They make the perfect lightweight blankets for around the house and out and about, I wrap them around his baby carrier to protect him from the sun on our walks without overheating him or when he’s napping to block out distractions, I also use them as car seat covers, burp cloths, a quick nursing cover when it’s too hot out for a real cover, and I routinely throw them down on our changing table when he's puked or projectile pooped on the cover we normally use (this WILL happen by the way.) Edit: My super awesome cousin showed me this website that makes knock off swaddle blankets that are apparently awesome and way cheaper, unfortunately not until after I already had more than enough, but you should definitely check it out and see if you like any of the prints! It's much cheaper and they always seem to have a 20% off code available.
• Summer Infant SwaddleMe: I stand by what I just said about getting muslin swaddle blankets and learning to swaddle nice and tight, however, get these. When it comes to actual night time swaddling these are sooo much easier and they keep your little one’s arms more contained. They have lots of pre-made swaddle type products on the market and we have a few of them, like the Miracle Blanket, that we got as gifts, but to me they just aren’t economical ($30 a pop usually) these are a great price so you can have enough that you aren’t doing laundry every single day. I also like that they are fairly lightweight so they aren't unbearable in the summer heat, but that could be a slight con if you live somewhere very cold (although a warm outfit underneath would probably balance it out.) The only con I can see would be that the velcro is, like all velcro, pretty loud so if you need to open it up or adjust it you run the risk of startling a pseudo asleep baby. However the velcro works very well and is the reason they can be lightweight (unlike other swaddles like the miracle blanket that rely on wrapping layers to be secure) so I think the pros outweigh the con. Remember, there will be times when everything has been peed or pooed or spit up on or they’re between sizes or you’re out of the house and they’re fussy and you’ll want to know how to whip up a swaddle with a blanket. Also, some rare babies don't like having their arms swaddled at night, so you'll need to learn a special kind of a wrap with a swaddle blanket that allows them to stay warm but also have free arms. So just in case these are definitely something to get within the return window.
Diapering and Laundering:
• Changing Station: We were actually not going to use a station, I thought we could just have some little baskets with diaper changing essentials around the house and some portable changing pads (like the ones from Ikea.) Chris convinced me to get a station, and I'M SO GLAD. It is so much easier to just have a set place that I know where everything is. I don't have to arch over anywhere, and I don't have to worry about trying to clean explosive poop out of random places in my house. I can't recommend it highly enough. Here's a breakdown of what you need for a changing station:
Ikea Hemnes Dresser: I realize they make changing tables specifically for changing stations, but that seems like a giant waste of space and money to me, so we just used the dresser that we needed anyway for his clothes. I searched FOR MONTHS for a dresser because I cannot shut off that obsessive deal-finding part of my brain or my love of refinishing furniture. Eventually I got too pregnant to refinish anything but the inside of my womb (that was a weird thing to say but I’m sticking with it) but anything inexpensive had terrible reviews for being terrible quality. I finally found this one from Ikea. We got the color white stain, and I'm super impressed with the quality. It's looks great and it's the perfect size and height for a changing station, plus the drawers are plenty big enough for all his little clothes and linens. It's $150, and kind of the only option for a good quality dresser under $400 unless you get craigslist lucky. In the top drawer we keep his diapers, and back up wipes, plus the refills for his diaper pail, a little box with first aid stuff, and a little box with his tiny socks and hats and mittens etc. The middle drawer has his actual clothes, and the bottom drawer has his blankets, towels, sheets, washcloths, etc. I actually super love it. Good job Ikea now give me some meatballs already.
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad: I love this one. Why? Because it is cheap and it fulfills it's life purpose well, which is all I'm really looking for in a changing pad. It has a little thing that attaches it to the back of the dresser so it won't slip off, and it also has a little seat belt for safety.
Summer Infant Ultra Plush Changing Pad Cover: This is the one that matches the changing pad and it is also awesome. Cheap, soft, neutral, doesn’t retain stains easily, and it fits perfectly. Get a backup. Burt's Bees also makes some cute ones that match their sheets.
Basket: We bought a cute little basket to put on top of the dresser to keep diapers, wipes, booty cream, and anything else we might need to grab quickly so we aren't opening drawers and fiddling around while changing a diaper. Because time is of the essence during diaper changes (have I mentioned exploding poo? It has a friend called pee fountain.) P.S. Walmart has cheap and surprisingly chic storage baskets, like kind of a lot of them. They have a line with Better Homes and Gardens and they make impressively cute stuff, this is the basket we got.
Lamp: You need a little more light to change diapers than to nurse obviously, so a lamp at the station is a must, unless you want to turn on the main light in the room at night (which you don't, unless you want a VERY awake baby.) We got this cute one at Target, gotta love Threshold.
Arm & Hammer Munchkin Diaper Pail: This is another thing that Chris wanted and I didn't think we needed, but am so glad we have. Even before your baby's diapers are smelly, you change SO MANY that it's really nice to just have a clean place to dispose of them right there where you need it. We went with this Munchkin Arm & Hammer one over the Diaper Genie, it's cheaper and better, plus it seems to go on sale at Target a lot, which is where we got it. It’s normally $30 at Target, and on Amazon it's $43 right now. Sometimes Amazon is weird like that so always double check pricing for things.
Munchkin Diaper Pail Bag Refills: Bag refills for the diaper pail.
• Diapers: Most moms recommended that for the first couple sizes I get Pampers Swaddlers. They're more expensive than some other diapers, but they're really soft and great for when baby is tiny. We also got some Huggies Little Snugglers from the hospital, and liked those as well. I got a big bag of newborn and a big bag of size 1 Pampers before he came, but I don’t recommend getting more than that; you never know how long your baby will be in a given size. You can always put your baby in a slightly too big diaper, but putting them in a slightly too small one is not only uncomfortable, but you're just asking for exploding poo. For the bigger sizes I think it’s nice to experiment with cheaper diapers to see if you can save yourself some cash because diapers are money pits. EDIT: Now that Caspian is almost a year and a half old, I swear I've tried every diaper on the planet. I LOVE the Target brand diapers. Every baby butt is different of course, but they work great for us, they're soft, they are not visually offensive *I'm looking at you Luvs! Purple and green are for the Joker in the 90s not for diapers) and they are among the very cheapest diapers you can buy. If you are interested in cloth diapers, check out the website. www.fluffloveuniversity.com and join their facebook group. We did cloth for 6 months and FLuff Love is the absolute best resource on the web for cloth diapers.
• Wipes: I feel like the friggin Goldilocks of baby wipes. Pampers Sensitive were too wet and soapy and soft, Target Botanicals were too dry and thin, Huggies Naturals were too linty and now finally Kirkland Signature are JUST right.
• Burt’s Bees Baby Diaper Ointment: The most important quality for me is always functionality, however I love when something is also natural, which is why I absolutely love Burt’s Bees Baby. It works so so well because it has more of the active ingredient Zinc Oxide than most, including Bordeaux's Butt Paste (another popular booty cream), so it cleared up his diaper rash the fastest, and it doesn't absorb into the diaper as much. It smells fantastic because it's really just a simple blend of Zinc Oxide dissolved in natural and essential oils. I put it on him before bed and it’s part of our little nighttime ritual; we’re both relaxed by the fact that he smells like lavender cuteness. Because of the natural and simple nature of the ingredients plus the high Zinc Oxide percentage, the texture can be quite thick and it does separate inside the container a bit, this doesn't bother me because I like the other things about it more, but if you don't care about things being natural or good smelling, Triple Paste is an extremely effective fragrance free medicated ointment.
• All Free and Clear Laundry Detergent: Do me a favor, and don't buy friggin Dreft baby detergent. It is such a scam, yes it's wise to use a gentle detergent for babies until they get a little older in case they react to the harsh fragrances and detergents that are in regular laundry soap, however, Dreft is not gentle! It's full of fragrance! And it's so overpriced! Sorry, I just get annoyed with all the baby items that seem to be made just to get new parents to spend money (I'm looking at you wipe warmers!) Just get a big jug of All Free and Clear. That's what we did and even washing his clothes cold and on the gentle cycle gets out the spit up and poo stains. If poo gets on something I just rinse it off and massage some detergent straight into it and let it sit for a bit and throw it in the wash, so far that has gotten out almost every stain, no need for special stain removers or stupid Dreft. There have been a couple times when a really absorbent white fabric still had a little remaining poo stainage so I did my fancy trick of spraying it with hydrogen peroxide, then rubbing baking soda into it, and massaging a little detergent and it gets it out completely every time.
Health & First Aid:
• Nail File: When they are super new you can't really safely use clippers or scissors on their tiny nails, my pediatrician told me to use a nail file, and it's much less scary. Besides you need to file the edges if you use a clipper anyway. Get some good ones like these Tweezerman files, they make it so much easier than stupid floppy ones (I also love to use these myself.)
• Piyo Baby Nail Scissors: Once their nails get a little stronger you may not want to file them anymore, but clippers are just an accident waiting to happen on those little hands. These are the best pediatrician recommended scissors for trimming little nails. They work wonders for his toenails and the little sharp corners on his fingers that I sometimes can't get with the file.
• Hair Brush: This is good for gently exfoliating their little scalp and brushing their hair as it grows, this set is the best rated/most economical.
• Braun Forehead Thermometer: Until 1 year of age, you need to take their temperature with a rectal thermometer because it's the most accurate, however I still bought this forehead thermometer because after that it's way more convenient and they're normally a lot more expensive but this one (the best rated of course) is actually being replaced with a newer version so it's a crazy good price. I think they’re just good to have. The hospital actually gave us a rectal thermometer so you may not need to buy one.
• Baby Motrin: You'll want to have this on hand for times when your baby is in pain from teething or sickness. I like this so much better than Tylenol, which is much thicker, stickier, and sweeter. Caspian would scream and scream when we gave him Tylenol and sometimes vomit the second we gave it to him. Please keep in mind that I'm not a Dr. and check with your Pediatrician before giving your baby ANY medications and get correct dosage amounts for your child.
• Baby D Drops: If you breastfeed, your pediatrician will likely recommend supplementing with vitamin D drops, I was skeptical until he explained that babies that took vitamin D supplements had a 2-4x decrease in infections! He was also awesome and told me not to get the Enfamil kind but buy these ones off amazon that are SO much better. Instead of a bunch of nasty liquid (that gives some babies upset stomachs) you just put one drop on your nipple before feeding once a day. I also love that it's all natural, just straight vitamin D dissolved in coconut oil.
• Baby Care Log App: For the first few weeks you'll need to keep track of how often/long your baby feeds and how often they go to the bathroom. Your pediatrician will ask for all this information at the first few appointments. The hospital gives you pieces of paper where you can write it down, or you can be awesome and download this free app. It's so much more convenient.
• Baby Buddy Baby’s 1st Toothbrush: Once their teeth come in it's important to brush them, it's also nice to massage their painful gums during teething. This is a fantastic little brush and you don’t have to worry about getting your finger bitten off by a teething shark baby like those ones you wear like a thimble.
• Nuby Silicone Teether: According to the reviews these are some of the most effective and soothing teethers for sore gums aaand they're cheap. I know a lot of moms are in love with Sophie the giraffe, but I can’t spend $25 on a plastic giraffe. I just can’t. Power to you if you have it and love it. Is there something I'm missing? Some magical power it's embued with? I would love to know in the comments.
• Crane Cool Mist Humidifier: If you live in a dry climate, you can use it to help baby's breathing and skin, and if they get sick it helps with their congestion. Unfortunately it seems even the best humidifiers still have issues. The crane works great and it's the best one I've found, but they seem to have issues with breaking down sometimes. They also make them in cute animal shapes for kids, I preferred the original shape but do a search for crane humidifier and you'll see the different animal options.
• NoseFrida The SnotSucker Nasal Aspirator: I read one Amazon review of this entitled “The Grossest Thing I’ve Ever Loved” I think that’s accurate. It seems like a gimmicky parenting thing, it isn't. It is infinitely more effective at getting snot out of your baby’s nose than a traditional bulb syringe and if your baby has a cold it will save your life. Just put it in your cart and buy it. I'm really serious here. Unless you are confident that your baby will never have a stuffy nose (they will), take advantage of modern ingenuity and get one.
• Simply Saline Baby Sterile Nasal Mist: Oh how I wish I would've had this on hand for the first time he got congested. This is the highest rated saline nasal spray (the only kind of spray that's safe for infants) that loosens up the mucous to make the nasal aspirator more effective. Tip: use this and the aspirator before a feeding when possible because aspirating can trigger their gag reflex=crying stuffy nose miserable baby now vomiting=terrible.
• Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen: I love that this is totally free of harmful chemicals, it has a great rating with the Environmental Working Group and it has some of the highest reviews of all the baby sunscreens I looked at. It never irritates his skin, it goes on smooth, and it just works!
Disclaimer: I subscribe to the notion that babies and toddlers can use cardboard boxes and car keys for entertainment, so I really didn't care about registering for a bunch of toys. Also people will buy them for you anyway. But, here are the ones I did want to mention:
• Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym: These little portable mats are really good to have, it gives your little one a place to hang out and be entertained, and provides a clean surface when you're out and about. I'm always amazed at how fascinated he is by this thing. They can get really fancy and expensive, but I was happy with this well priced and rated version. How many gadgets is a little baby really going to appreciate? I also found it to be less visually obnoxious than a lot of the other ones I saw. The color is "Vintage Boy" but I think it's gender neutral.
• Rainforest Jumpero: This definitely falls into the "wait until they're old enough to use it then buy it in case he hates it and you need to return it" category. But, I waited too long to get one and that made me sad. I was scared of baby hip issues because of the internet but honestly, just don't leave them in it too long and it's fine. I only had a short window between when I broke down and bought it and when he was too big for it and that sucks. I spent several months making my life a lot harder than it needed to be.
• Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton: Most people either already know, or can easily google the great classic baby books so I won’t get into that. An old and dear friend surprised me with this book in the mail for Caspian and if you are kind of weird and kind of funny like me, you will love this book. I LOL when I read it. It’s short, it’s weird, it’s funny, it’s like me in children’s book form.
Edit: Obviously as Caspian gets older he'll have a greater interest in toys, so I'll update this section in the future when we have more information.
What are baby tools? I'll tell you, tools to help you with that baby. Tools to help them sleep, calm down, etc. These tools will save your life and brain.
• The Happiest Baby on the Block: This is a book and/or DVD about a method created by a brilliant pediatrician to soothe fussy babies. It's often referred to as the 5 S's. I had about 800 moms recommend this to me when I would ask for advice in person and on the internet, and one of my friends literally just sent me a copy in the mail with a post it that said "Watch this. Seriously." And now I'm going to pass that on to you. It really is brilliant. It's not magic, sometimes babies fuss and there's nothing you can do, but the information on this video really saved us.
• White Noise Baby App: One of the things you'll learn on the DVD is that babies love white noise. It's super loud in the womb, as in as loud as a vacuum cleaner, so they are not that comfortable with how quiet planet earth is all the time. The first couple nights when Caspian wasn't feeling good and just WOULDN'T sleep, at 4am Chris remembered about white noise and downloaded this $0.99 app, and he should be given a Nobel Peace Prize for it. He turned on the "Air Conditioning" sound and held it up to Cas's ear, and what's that? He stopped crying. For the first time, in hours. We were able to soothe him and go to sleep for the first time in 25 hours I kid you not. The app has different types of sounds, and it drains almost no battery, so you can just leave it on all night at first to help your baby sleep, which is what we did the first couple weeks. Plus it's great for travel. The only downside is the sound shuts off if you need to access another app, so you can't multitask. Which is why you should get the…
• Marpac DOHM White Noise Machine: I JUST bought this and I am sad that I didn’t get it sooner. Contrary to what this post may imply, I actually don’t like buying things. It’s the reason why I obsessively research, to make sure if I’m spending money it’s on the very best for the best value. I couldn’t justify a $40 machine that sounds like an air conditioner when I had a $0.99 app...and an air conditioner. Plus, I was worried he would become addicted to the white noise and then not be able to sleep without it. Then I read that white noise is one of the most effective tools for getting babies to sleep better and one of the easiest to transition out of, because if you want to wean them you can just start turning down the volume over time until it’s no longer on. To be honest, I don’t even care to ever get rid of it now that we have it because it’s so nice. We all sleep better with it. It’s just so soothing. And one HUGE plus for me is that it's not a recording, there's actually a little fan in there making the air whoosh. It sounds so much better. My brain always picks up the subtle loop of recorded white noise machines and it starts to drive me insane, so I love that this one is natural noise. I recommend buying it at Bed Bath and Beyond because you can use one of their 20% off coupons and they have an incredible return policy. EDIT: My love for this has only grown I have a cult level of obsession with it and I will never not have one ever in fact now we have two. Interesting anecdote, I always bring it when I travel with Caspian to make the travel sleep transition easier (and I am a LIGHT packer, for several week long trips with myself, and my toddler I only bring 1 carry on and a diaper bag. The white noise machine still makes the cut.) However, we recently went camping so I didn't bring it because you know, no electricity in my tent. We actually slept great without it, which NEVER happens. Anytime we try to sleep without it at home we're all super aware of the quiet and it's very noticeable that it isn't on. But, when you're camping, it's not quiet at all. There's wind, animals, etc. Natural white noise! This just reinforces my cult-worship-addiction to this machine because it confirmed my belief that humans need white noise machines now because houses are unnaturally quiet. In nature, if it gets super quiet it's because there's a predator! Haven't you ever seen a movie?? Quiet is always bad in the jungle, and so I present the belief that white noise machines are a modern necessity otherwise your subconscious believes there is a jaguar in your house and you therefore cannot sleep. The end.
• Pacifiers: This is tricky because some babies just don’t like some pacifiers. I think you just have to buy a few kinds and see which one your baby will take. However, there does seem to be two general types of pacifiers and I have a recommendation in each category. First, there are pacifiers that are shaped (more or less) like a regular stationary nipple. Soothies are the most popular option. These are the pacifiers that hospitals typically use. They are fantastic because they are one solid piece of silicone so you don't get nasty bacteria build up in the area where the nipple meets the plastic base, they also don't hug your baby's face so they don't get those red marks from sucking. They are the only pacifier that really works with the ever popular and very brilliant Wubbanub, a small stuffed animal attached to the soothie that makes it easier for your baby to hold onto their pacifier. The only problem is, some babies just don't like soothies. Caspian would not get into it. The other option is an "orthodontic" pacifier, which is shaped the way a nipple forms while your baby is nursing, slightly flattened with an asymmetrical tip. If your baby will take them, I highly recommend the Nuk 100% Silicone Orthodontic Pacifiers. They are basically soothies but with the orthodontic tip. They do contour to the face slightly, so they could potentially leave a red mark unlike soothies, however they are so soft that we haven't had that problem. The silicone is also slightly stickier than the soothies, but overall they are better than the traditional nipple-meets-plastic-base pacifiers. Also, I bought a wubbanub because they are so awesome, and I read an amazon review that said you could just pop the seam to take out the soothie and then hand stitch in your othodontic pacifier, if your babies doesn't like soothies. What they did not mention is that if you use a regular pacifier with a plastic base and little handle, it moves around and gets twisted making it hard for the baby to keep the pacifier in their mouth because it goes crooked if they don't stay perfectly still (which is not something that babies do) so it defeats the purpose. Soothies work because they don't have a handle, just a little ridge of silicone that gets stitched through so it stays in place at the right angle for your baby. Well now that I've discovered the Nuk knock-offs, I'm optimistic that I'll be able to successfully stitch it into the wubbanub afterall. EDIT: Yes I was able to stitch these into the wubbanub and yes it is AMAZING.
• Booginhead Pacifier Holder: These are so cute and work very well, I tried a few crappy ones before I landed on this gem.
• Baby Monitor: Okay so I went super cheap and basic with the baby monitor because we co-sleep, so I only use it when he's taking a nap, or in bed earlier than me. This one works really well, and is lightweight and comes with two parent units for $30.
• Baby Swing: I'm going to repeat to you the advice that I got from a friend. Do NOT NOT get a swing. I almost didn't listen! They're big and expensive and seem like such a first world thing! Let me tell you, FIRMLY IGNORE EVERYONE THAT SAYS NOT TO GET ONE. THEY DON'T REMEMBER WHAT PARENTING A NEWBORN IS LIKE. It’s a biological necessity that you brainwash yourself to forget how hard the first few months can be, otherwise no one would have more than one child and the earth’s population would dwindle to non-existence (it really does get so much better though!) My Aunt told me, "there are times when you would pay the $150 just for that one individual nap, let alone all the others." I thought she was being cute. NOPE. You are so tired sometimes that you would quite literally pay $150 to buy a swing if someone told you your baby would chill in it for a couple hours. Our swing, the baby carrier, and the Best Chairs nursery glider are the three things that I cannot live without. They were also the most recommended to me, and I understand why. I honestly think these are the definitive must have items for a modern parent. Yes there’s a chance your baby won’t be into them, but he probably will. And if he doesn't? Return it! Try another one! Return that one if it doesn't work! That's the beauty of large retailers. We no longer live in tribes or societies where there's always someone to hold your baby and comfort her when you need to take care of yourself or get extra sleep, and you need tools to handle that. Do not not get these tools. So now that I've turned this into a rant, what swing should you get? It comes down to two:
The Fisher Price Snugabunny OR the 4moms Mamaroo: The mamaroo is more expensive, but it has the amazing ability to NOT take up a giant space in your home. Go to Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby and check them out, the Fisher Price swing has quite a large footprint. That being said, we actually got the Fisher Price Snugabunny. It's true that some babies prefer certain motions/swings over others, and even though the Mamaroo is great and convenient and LOTS of moms swear by it, the Fisher Price Snugabunny makes a bigger swinging motion and seems to work for slightly more babies than the Mamaroo. Plus it's cheaper. Word to the wise? If you don't get one as a gift, check craigslist!!!!!! And not just for swings, for anything you don't get as gifts. We saved hundreds using craigslist. People post used baby stuff all.the.time. and you can always find these two items used if you're in any kind of city. If it doesn't work out resell it on craigslist!
Okay I'm super picky about baby clothes, I like for them to be a little bit more dignified than they typically are because I think children should be dressed as tiny chic adults. My tips and recommendations for baby clothes are:
Tip #1: Resist the urge to buy a million clothes, especially super cute and multiple piece outfits. All in one outfits are your friend at this point. Ease of use and comfort will become your priorities, and little babies are so floppy that it's sort of hard to show off their more sophisticated outfits. When you have a tiny baby that you're trying to keep a collar and bowtie straight on you'll understand what I mean.
Tip #2: Think about the seasons where you live and the size your baby will be during them when buying clothes. Babies are not good at controlling their body temperature and if it’s a little warm they will be hot and if it’s chilly they will be cold. All the little cute outfits in the world will be useless if they aren’t weather appropriate so don't get things too far in advance because you can't predict what your little one's growth rate is going to be. I have some ADORABLE outfits that were useless because he grew too quickly and they ended up not being comfortable for him with the weather.
What You'll Need to Start Out:
7-10 One Piece Outfits: Short sleeved onesies and rompers (maybe a couple long sleeved thrown in there) for warm weather, long sleeved onesies and all in one sleepers for cool weather (and maybe a couple short sleeved in the mix.) Get a combination of newborn and 0-3 month sizes, using common sense. Are your ultrasounds predicting that your baby is going to be 6lbs? Get more newborn sizes. Are you gestating a giant? Get more 0-3month.
3-4 Cute Multiple Piece Outfits: Shirts and shorts or pants and/or little dresses. It's nice to have the shorts and pants for pairing with your onesies sometimes, and having some cuter outfits is nice for when you want to go out and about or take a photo. Remember, weather appropriate!
Special Occasion: Are you going to take newborn photos? Have a special event? Pick out these outfits in advance, but only for the events that will take place soon. Anything more than a couple months out, wait to see what size your baby will be.
Accessories: 5 pairs of tiny socks, a couple little beanies (I just used the ones the hospital gave us,) a couple pairs of mittens or a couple extra pairs of socks. In the beginning it's nice to have something to protect their face from their tiny ninja talons while you're still figuring out how to file them. We got a few mittens at our shower and honestly they just fell off, we found that socks worked better because they're tighter. However because he was born in the winter the best thing was his long sleeved outfits that had built in hand protectors.
• My favorite stores to get affordable baby clothes are:
Carter’s: They have cute and quality basics. Costco and Kohl’s usually have the best deals. Kohl's tends to have them on sale often plus they give you $10 Kohl's Cash for $50 purchases (sometimes promotionally they give it for less like a $30 purchase) I got like $170 worth of little onesies and sleepers for $60 a while ago by going when they were having a sale $10 off your $30 baby purchase+50% off Carter's brand+$10 Kohl's Cash on your $30 purchase.
H&M: Very very very cute little clothes. In fact it’s actually my favorite place to get baby clothes now including the more expensive stores that I like. I've started phasing out my purchases from other places. They are really reasonably priced and so flippin cute but they are also incredibly soft and I’m so impressed with the quality.
• My favorite stores to splurge on super cute baby clothes are:
Janie & Jack: They have some SERIOUSLY chic baby clothes. Think vintage Parisian gentlemen and lady babies. I’m totally obsessed.
Restoration Hardware: In keeping with the brand’s impeccable style, their baby clothes are super cozy and classic.
Well that's pretty much it! Yowza.
What are your favorite baby items? Anything I left off that you love, or anything I included that you weren't crazy about? I want to hear!
If/when you have questions ask me! Seriously. It's probably clear from this absurdly descriptive post that I am happy to give information.
Thanks for reading! I'm going to update this post from time to time as Caspian gets older when there are new products that I love or things I think should be mentioned.