Sorting Through the Stuff

Have you ever been to Babies R Us?  Boy, do they have a lot of stuff.  Bath stuff, clothes stuff, toy stuff, bed stuff.  And most of it is just that, stuff.  Stuff they want you to believe you need, but really stuff you can get by without.

As new parents, we definitely got sucked into the idea that we needed a lot of stuff.  Without any previous experience, we were unable to differentiate what was necessary and what was not.  So we got it all.  And nine months later, we realized a lot of the stuff we thought we needed, went unused.  Therefore, in an effort to help new parents navigate this pile of stuff, Freddie and I have written a little guide on what items we used that you may need and what items we didn’t use that you may not need.

Baby Carrier

Used This

Moby Wrap– This was by far the most useful baby item we got.  I wore this thing everyday for 4 months.  It was comfortable, versatile and easy to clean.  Harper loved it and would hang out in it for hours.  The Moby allowed me to carry her hands free, which was helpful in doing everything from housework, to shopping or going out to eat.  There are a ton of carriers to choose from.  I just happened to love the Moby.  The best advice I can give you is to check out all there is to offer.  But having a carrier that works for you and your baby will be a major help.  For more on baby wearing check this out.

Not This

Baby Travel System– I am sure there are tons of parents out there who could never image not buying a stroller.  So if you have to, the travel system is definitely the way to go.  But from my experience I would propose that you wait to buy a stroller until your baby is too heavy to be in the baby carrier.  I have to admit, this may be a bit biased since I am practicing attachment parenting, but Harper never really used her stroller.  Besides the benefits of baby wearing, I found it a whole lot easier to plop her in her Moby than having to wrestle with getting a stroller in and out of my car.  Plus, getting around with a baby in a carrier is much easier than a stroller, as you don’t have to worry about navigating stairs or other obstacles.


Used This

Muslin Swaddling Blankets–  If you clicked on this link and saw the price for 4 blankets, you might think I am out of my mind.  But I promise you, these puppies are worth every single penny.  Of course, there are other brands, and I am sure they will work just fine, but in my opinion it is important that you find muslin.  Swaddling is a great tool for soothing and calming your baby as well as helping them organize their nervous system.  Harper for one grew out of it very quickly as she started sleeping on her tummy, but for the short time she would take a swaddle, these blankets came in very handy.  The muslin helps to regulate the body temperature, not allowing the baby to get too warm.  The fabric also stretches, making it easy to create a swaddle that will hold.

Not This

Receiving Blankets–  As cute as all the designs may be, these blankets served no practical purpose.  They are too small to swaddle with and too thin to warm her up.  The problem is, I bought a TON of them thinking that we absolutely needed them.  So now, I am trying to figure out how I can make a quilt out of them, because after all, they look so pretty.  My advice would be to buy 1 pack at the most.


Used This

Good Old Fashioned Pillows-  Nothing fancy about this.  When it comes to nursing, especially for new moms, it is important that you support both you and the baby while nursing.  But I would suggest you use extra pillows you have at home instead of the fancy pillows that are on the market.  Chances are you have a few extra that would work well, and if not, then at least if you have to buy some more they can be used for the next time you have an overnight guest.

Not This

Special Nursing Pillows- There are a ton of them out there; Boppies, My Breast Friend, The Easy Feed, and the list goes on.  The concept is good, but the prices are outrageous.  These special pillows can run you up to $80!  And when we are talking about baby stuff, there is so much more you can buy.  Plus, as well as these may work, you don’t want to get attached to them.  What happens when you go out to a restaurant with your family?  Do you bring the pillow with you?  It’s not a small item.  Do you leave it in the car?  Bring it with you when you travel?  For me, it comes down to this, women have been successfully breastfeeding their babies for ages without the use of special pillows.  So is it really worth it to invest in this contraption?  I think not.  I for one was given two.  They came in handy for a few days, but when it came down to it, any pillow did the trick.


Used This

Baby Play Gym– Harper loved to play with this.  She started becoming interested in it when she was about 4 weeks old and continued to enjoy it until 3 months old.  Unfortunately after that she was done, but that’s a good run for a baby toy.  This play gym would keep her occupied long enough for me to fold laundry, tidy up or clean the dishes.  As she got to the age where she could grasp, she loved to reach for the different toys that would hang from the rods.

Not This

Tummy Time Mat– Honestly, this mat was a definite waste of money.  You don’t need a special mat for your little one to do tummy time.  All you need is a soft clean surface and a towel.  But, we wouldn’t have known that if we didn’t try.  Harper enjoyed using it, but in hindsight, there were more useful things we could have spent our money on.


Used This

Bouncer–  As much as I am not a fan of baby gear, this was a great investment.  Harper was content hanging out in her bouncer while I took a shower, got dressed and brushed my teeth.  As long as she was close by and could see me she was happy.  The key to using this is to not keep them in it all the time.  It is a great tool if you use it sparingly.  I would only put her in the bouncer when I needed to get something done that wouldn’t allow me to wear the carrier.  The best feature was that it was light weight and portable so it was easy to move from room to room or to take with us on road trips.

Not This

Baby Swing–  This machine was not a good investment.  It was big and bulky and Harper was not a fan.  It is not portable and took up too much space.  Over 5 months, we maybe used it a total of 5 times.  The idea of the baby swinging to calm them sounds good, but they would rather you rock them then sit in a plastic chair all by themselves.

To be honest, as long as you have clothes, diapers, blankets and a food source, your baby will be just fine.  People have been having babies for years without any of the things listed above, and they all turned out great.  But in a consumer culture, if you must buy (or be bought) some things, these items listed under “used this” will definitely be worth your dollar.

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16 thoughts on “Sorting Through the Stuff

  1. GREAT post. I will most certainly be needing this when the time comes!

  2. inherchucks says:

    thanks Koko…it’s only fair to return the favor since you turned me on to so many of the baby products i used a ton! thought it might be helpful to your boss as well…so many babies!!!

  3. […] recently read a post on what items were used and not used by new parents, IN HER CHUCKS, and I thought I’d share some of her great finds:  Baby […]

  4. Wow! I could not agree more on so many of these items. My son is now 2 and we have another baby on the way and I’m already getting rid of stuff. Worst investment was the stroller travel system for sure. After 4 months old we bought an umbrella stroller and have been using it ever since. So much easier when we travel. I do have a jogger too for when we are home, but that only really gets used when we go for walks, not grocery shopping or anything. I never did figure out my Moby and my son hated it, but he LOVED the Ergo. Thankfully I had borrowed half of the baby stuff since friends already had kids. So much easier to test out what works and what doesn’t (swing worked, bouncy didn’t for us.) Every kid is so different, just like the parents. You just never know :-)

    • inherchucks says:

      Thanks Karyn. I am glad you enjoyed the post. It really is hard to know what you are going to need unless you have some good advice from other parents. It can be very overwhelming in the midst of registerring and preparing for the little one’s arrival. You are very lucky to have had the opportunity to borrow things. That is the way to go for sure! Besides, they barely get any use out of it, everything remains in such good shape. Good luck with baby #2. Very exciting!

    • inherchucks says:

      Hi Krissy, Thanks for taking the time to read it. Congratulations on your pregnancy! This is such a special time in your life. I am looking forward to following your journey.

  5. Jenn says:

    Thanks for this post! We’re due to be first time parents in early Feb and I am definitely finding the selection of ‘stuff’ overwhelming!!

    • inherchucks says:

      I am happy you found this helpful Jenn. February is a good time for babies :) Harper was born in February too! It’s hard not to get caught up in the craziness of it all, but just remember, as long as your little one has you, they will be happy. Everything else is just extra…mostly to make parents lives easier.

      Good luck on the rest of your journey. Enjoy motherhood, its the best!

  6. harrietarcher says:

    LOVED the post! I am well past the baby stage with my two – but have a couple of friends who are about to have babies… Man, the stuff they just had to have (well, mainly one… the other was a bit more pragmatic about the whole situation) I think if you can’t work out what it’s for without reading the instructions – you don’t need it!!! And I absolutely second you on the muslin wraps (but don’t bother with the ones that are less than 120cm squares unless you have very small babies – I didn’t, lol!) MUCH more useful than receiving blankets.

    I had a baby gym – the eldest loved it until he was 8-9 mo; the youngest thought it sucked. Carriers… back was wrecked with #1, so it was pram all the way; #2 liked to be carried ALL the time – but only by me. No carrying aids were allowed until he was six mo, then he’d tolerate the baby bjorn if he absolutely *had* to… He didn’t mind the pram at all, though, and loved the bouncer.

    It so depends on the kid! And it’s awesome if you have a bunch of friends having kids one after the other so you can borrow and pass along. Best “gadget” I ever bought was a “pop up” travel cot. We went away a LOT before kid #2 was 3-4mo; plus my mum looked after him once a week when I was at uni… It was heaps easier than lugging the portacot everywhere only to put it up for an hour or two. I was given the pop up cot by one friend (who got it from someone else), passed it along to another friend, who passed it along to someone else… I think it ended up being used by six or so babies!

    • inherchucks says:

      Thanks Harriet! Its funny the lessons we learn…after the fact :) My hope is that “families to be” can use this as a tool to cut down on the stuff before their little one arrives. But then again, you are so right…every baby is different! That’s why the idea of sharing is so wonderful. Sounds like that is the best way to go. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t have any other family members or friends with babies close by. But now as Harper grows out of stuff we pass it on to our friends who are expecting. There is no reason to hold on to it. Pay it forward :)

  7. jen says:

    I totally agree with your assessment… so many unnecessary baby products out there! I am fighting the plastic explosion of baby crap that’s hitting my house (thank goodness we didn’t find out it was a girl until she was born, or I think it would all be pink plastic crap!).

    I found the specialized nursing pillows useful, too (not necessary, but really nice to have). The my brest friend (oh gosh, what a tragic name) was really great at first because I had no clue how to hold my tiny baby and get it to latch and whatnot. BUT, I used it for a month, until I got the hang of nursing and didn’t need it anymore. The boppy has been a little more useful – I sat on it while recovering from giving birth, and now use it to rest my arms on when I’m nursing. It’s also helpful to give older folks who want to hold the baby but might not have the arm strength to do so (although almost all of them are baffled as to why I want to wrap this brightly colored pillow around their waists…). And now that baby is almost sitting by herself, I sit her in it to give her a little cushion in case she might fall. So, I do think it has the potential to be useful, and a little more versatile than the MBF.

    We also registered for & were given the cheapest travel swing we could find… thought it would be a little more useful if we could move it around the house. Really, though, my kiddo could care less about the swing – she might as well be in the bouncy seat. Some people swear by them, though.

    I was skeptical about the muslin wraps based on price, and we use them for EVERYTHING.

    • inherchucks says:

      Thank you for you input Jen! It is so fun to hear about other people’s experiences, as all babies are so unique and therefore need and prefer different things. What is most useful to new moms is to hear a variety of opinions so that they get the chance to see all angles. What is important to remember is that even if you don’t have any stuff, you can still be an incredible mom :)

      I have to agree with you on the wraps. A lot of people passed them on my registry because they thought it was crazy to pay that much for blankets. But little did they know they are worth every penny!

  8. Excellent post! I had no idea that you practice(d) attachment parenting! I’m currently 37 weeks along with my first child and plan on practicing attachment parenting. :D It is great to see this posts (I’ve been scanning through several of yours). Very informative.

    • inherchucks says:

      So glad you found it helpful :) I used to have more time to post about mommy life but with a tot running around it’s hard to do the research anymore. Hope to get back to that one day!

      How exciting to have your little one on the way. Let me know if you have any questions. Attachment parenting has worked very well for our family and I feel that Harper is thriving because of it.

      Good luck!

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