After you get over the shock of finding out you’re pregnant, the next thing that you check off is figuring out what baby basics you actually need for the baby before they get here!
I remember walking into a big box store to register for baby items with our first born and feeling SO overwhelmed with all the choices. We didn’t find out if we were having a boy or a girl, which helped to some extent. We had to stick with neutral colors and just the necessities. But what I thought was necessary and what the store was telling me I needed to register for, was not reality. And as we add babies to our family, I find even more things unnecessary. So what are the baby basics and what should you splurge on?
Baby Basics: What Do I Need?
If I was pregnant and had nothing, here are the baby basics I would register for and scour Craigslist, Facebook Groups, Consignment Shops, Consignment Sales, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army to find.
A well-built stroller.
We went with the Bumbleride Indie Stroller when our first was born. Had I known we would get pregnant nine months later, I probably would have gone with a single that could convert to a double or even triple like the Baby Jogger City Select Stroller. The City Select has Second Seat Kit you can purchase under their accessories. You can also purchase the Bassinet Kit for when the baby is itty bitty. What I love about the City Select is that you can also purchase a Glider Board so that three children can ride on the stroller. How amazing would that be?!? I know it would be a lifesaver for me at times. Usually, I have two in the Baby Trend Expedition Double Stroller, and one in the Boba Carrier. It usually works, so I’m not complaining.
This is a matter of preference. We went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat. But then we had to purchase a convertible car seat when they were too tall to fit. Three children went through the Keyfit 30, so we definitely got good use out of it. It was nice to be able to carry the seat into restaurants, but when we went shopping I would wear the baby. (sidenote: ***PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, do NOT put your infant seat in the top portion of the shopping cart. If you are buying a lot, please wear your child or find another solution. It breaks my heart when I hear news stories about babies seriously injured or even killed from falling off of a cart.***) If you are tight on money, I’d just go with the convertible car seat. We have the Britax Advocate 70 car seats. You have to look at the weight requirements. Convertible seats can be rear facing or forward facing, hence “convertible”. Rear Facing, the weight starts at 5lbs and most go to 40lbs, but others 35lbs.
We also used our play yard as a bassinet. The more items that can do double duty, the better! With number one we went with the Chicco Lullaby LX Playard. It got so much use by number three we needed another one! This time we bought a Graco Pack-n-Play with a Newborn Napper. Since it doubled as the bassinet, the Newborn Napper was perfect. When we travel, the play yards come with us and double as a bed for the youngest.
I think everyone should wear their baby. It definitely helps the wearer and baby bond, as well as actually accomplish things around the house! I could be considered a baby carrier addict. I have had a Hot Sling, Sleepy Wrap, Ergo, Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, Serena and Lily Market Sling, Boba Baby Carrier, and a Kelty Backpack Carrier. They have all had their uses. I LOVE the wrap and the Baby K’tan for when they are newborn until they can really hold their heads up. The only downside of the wrap is all the fabric. It was excellent around the house. When we were going out, I would tie it around myself while still at the house so the ends didn’t drag on the ground in public trying to tie it. The sling and Baby K’tan are great for quick trips into the store, at church, the zoo, and other events where you need to hold your baby. At 6 to 9 months until they don’t fit anymore, my favorite carrier hands-down is the Boba Baby Carrier. I can easily wear my one-year-old on the front or back, and my 2 and 4-year-olds on my back. I love this option!
Other Baby Basic Items You Need
I suggest glass bottles. Lifefactory offers glass bottles with silicone covers that convert to toddler sippy cups when your baby is ready for that stage. I love Lifefactory Adult Bottles, as they call them. Bottles are good to have whether you are planning on bottle feeding or breastfeeding. Even breastfed babies need a bottle every now and then. When our youngest was 5 months old, I was admitted into the hospital and they would not let me bring the baby. They did provide me with a breast pump, and my husband was able to feed our son with milk I had pumped and frozen. I would either purchase a Medela Breastpump or rent one. Medela has amazing customer service. You never know when you might need to pump and give your baby a bottle.
We have had two Summer Infant Video Monitors and we’ve loved them both. I highly recommend video monitors because you can watch the child. This is especially helpful when you have little monkeys as we do. I was able to watch them see if they were sleeping, playing, or trying to climb out of their crib. Even now that they are older, they can play in their room upstairs and I can watch them while I fix dinner downstairs or fold laundry in the next room. While a video monitor isn’t a necessity, it is a wonderful thing to have. No more trying to figure what that loud thud was in your child’s room. Mine ALWAYS wake up at the least creak of the door. The video monitor was a wonderful thing to have!
While some love the Boppy, I wasn’t a fan. We did use them when I worked in childcare to help support babies who were just learning how to sit, but I didn’t at home. My lactation consultant suggested My Brest Friend to help support a good latch as well as good posture for me. I could have kissed her! My daughter and I struggled a lot at the beginning of our nursing relationship. My Brest Friend was a huge help!
Baby Basics: Items to Splurge On
Aden + Anais Dream Blankets.
They do have a high price point, but I haven’t found similar blankets. We have two, one for my one-year-old and one for my two-year-old. I did not pay full price, I found an Aden + Anais resell group on Facebook :). They are even large enough to cover my four-year-old. I want a Daydream Blanket for me! They are so comfortable.
This soft infant bath is great because it fits in the sink! It has magnets that help contour it to make it fit in the sink and it can be stored flat. Awesome!
I have been through several different diaper bags also. We started out with a Skip Hop Messenger, then we used a little travel bag that was just big enough for the basics. I found a JuJuBe diaper bag at a consignment sale when I was pregnant with #3, so I used that for a while. But then I found Petunia Pickle Bottom. The Boxy can be worn as a messenger, on the shoulder, or as a backpack. I loved all the carrying options! They also have a Cake Collection which is beautiful. Who says carrying a diaper bag can’t be stylish? Do you need to run out and buy a PPB bag? Of course not. But you do need to find a diaper bag that fits your needs. But sometimes mommy needs to feel less frumpy.
Again, I did not pay full price. Look at consignment sales and Craigslist for excellent deals on baby swings. This swing has five unique motions: car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock a bye, and ocean. It has built-in nature sounds or you can hook up your iPhone, iPod, or MP3 player. The seat reclines, it has reversible toy balls, it’s just plain amazing. My son loved it. It was a lifesaver while I was trying to fix dinner or tend to my other two. But other people are perfectly content with simply using a bouncy seat. Swings do tend to take up space, but for us and my sanity, it was a must.
What items would you add to the baby basics list?