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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.