This is a strange and random post for a photography blog, but I have had a lot of mommas asking me for details about some of the baby items I’ve shared about (check out my instagram stories for those posts). It’s not that I have some amazing insight into what the best baby items are, it’s just that we have come across some things that we can’t live without, and those are worth sharing. And that’s what has led me to this post… rather than having to re-type and re-explain to anyone who asks, I will post it here so that it’s all in one place and easy to share.
(I haven’t listed every item needed – there’s a really helpful checklist here if you are starting from scratch. These things are just thing things that, 1. have been a huge help to us and are worth sharing, 2. no one told us about and we stumbled across and feel the need to share, or 3. people told us about but said we didn’t need (when, in fact, we did!).)
I listed a lot of things, so in order to help make it a little less wordy (possibly something I struggle to do), I tried to limit my explanations. However, if you want to know more, I LOVE talking baby stuff (what is wrong with me), so email me!
baby carrier… the Baby K’Tan! It is a baby wrap without the wrapping… essentially, it has the ease of a carrier and the comfort/closeness of a wrap. I LOVED this when Winnie was itty bitty. I don’t use it as much now because she prefers the cart or the stroller, but it was something I couldn’t have lived without in the beginning.
stroller and car seat… we use the Chicco Keyfit Urban stroller system (which includes the car seat and base) – we love how many options it has within one stroller. It has the base for the car seat, making it easy when baby is little, and it has the stroller seat that can face forward or backward, which is huge for me – I love watching as Winnie takes everything in on our walks, and having her facing me makes that possible. The seat also can lay flat (like a pram), sit up, and everything in between. It also came with a cover for colder months, which helps keep blankets contained and babies warm! We got ours in the Obsidian print – helloooo adorable and gender neutral.
(*** I was recently contacted by Reviews.com to share more car seat information … I’m happy to do so! here are a couple of links to check out when shopping for car seats: infant car seats and also convertible car seats***)
car seat canopy… I cannot recommend a stretchy cover like this ENOUGH! There are a ton of brands and makers of this kind, so shop around – I found one for $10. It is the best cover – people can’t bother the baby as easy with this cover, making it easier to keep her napping, etc. I’ve heard they also make great nursing covers! Also, I use this in the shopping cart and high chairs ALL of the time – by far, this was one of our best purchases.
car seat mirror… we heard mixed reviews on whether or not a mirror was necessary… I’m here to tell you that it is. If nothing else, it gives a new mom some much-needed peace of mind when you’re on your way to Target and baby is super quiet. Instead of parking the car somewhere to make sure everything is ok (maybe I did this), you can peek and see that baby is just fine.
sun-shade… another necessity, especially if you want baby to sleep in the car (yes, please!)
bathtub… instead of a baby bathtub, we used a bath sling in our kitchen sink until Winnie was able to sit on her own (we got the Babies R Us brand one for $10). Once she could do that, we stored the sling and now put a cute bath mat in the bottom of the sink for her to sit on (so her slippery bottom doesn’t tip her over). These options have been inexpensive and take up little to no space when not in use.
hooded towels…another one of those things that people told us were unnecessary, but now that we’ve used them, we couldn’t disagree more (the same goes for the baby washcloths). Now that Winnie is bigger, we can use any towel without issue, but when she was a newborn, having the smaller, softer towels were so great. She didn’t get swallowed up in them, they were soft on her skin, and the hood helped keep her warm while we dressed her. Plus, oh my gosh, she’s the cutest thing in the world when she’s wrapped up in one.
baby nail clippers… clipping a baby’s fingernails can be terrifying, but we use a set that has a little light, and it has made all of the difference (it also came with a small nail file for those paper thin newborn nails).
aspirator… this is a weird item to have a suggestion for, but I seriously found the easiest and best aspirator (or “nose-sucker,” as it’s called in our house). We received a Little Remedies medicine kit for a shower gift, and it came with multiple medicines, as well as a Little Remedies nasal aspirator (I tell you that because I don’t know if you can find the aspirator separately). The one you receive from the hospital is huge and hard to maneuver in a tiny little nose, but this one is small, easy to squeeze, and is made in a way that you can’t push too far. This is all weird to read if you’ve never used one, but if you have, then you know how great these attributes are. Oh! And this one doesn’t require anything coming into contact with your mouth – HALLE-FEAKIN-LUJAH.
diaper bag… oh my word, these can cost SO. MUCH. MONEY. That being said, we struggled to find a budget-friendly one that was masculine enough for Shane to carry without being so bulky that I didn’t like it. We stumbled across one on Target clearance, and it was perfect – it is a black cross-body by Skip Hop, and I could see it being a bag we use well past our baby years (I think that’s the key for a diaper bag for me – something that doesn’t shout BABY). However… we NEVER use it! We took it with us to places those first few weeks, but then I just started carrying diapers/wipes/a bottle in my purse. When she started being on more of a schedule, I just carried diapers/wipes and left the bottle in the car (carrying it with me only when I knew I would need it). Now I carry a couple of diapers/wipes, a sippy cup, and a favorite toy. If we leave her with a sitter, we pack a bag, but I still usually just use a tote instead of the actual diaper bag. It’s just funny to me how much searching and shopping I did for a bag that has barely been utilized!
diaper pail… this was something that I heard time and time again was a waste of space and money. And I can’t tell you how WRONG that is! If you are on the fence, I can’t recommend it enough. We have the Munchkin STEP Pail – it was important to me that this thing looked nice, and I felt like this one was more discreet and cleaner than a lot of the others I saw. I mean, we all know it won’t always smell nice, so it has to have SOMETHING going for it, right? Except that it never smells bad!! It works how it is designed to, and it keeps all the ick trapped inside. I couldn’t stand the idea of Winnie’s room (or our house) smelling like a dirty diaper, and thankfully, it never does, thanks to this.
changing pad… this is another thing people kept saying we wouldn’t use, and we use it all of the time. Sometimes we are downstairs, and I don’t need to go up to her room (where this is), so I change her on the floor or the couch or wherever. But, most of the time, I change her in her room on her changing pad – when she wakes up in the morning or from a nap (which is usually when she needs a new diaper), it’s super convenient to not have to put her on the floor (my old-lady knees prefer that I don’t). As for covering it, I have one cover (a white one!) that I have only had to wash a couple of times – I keep a cloth diaper on it as an extra layer, and that is super easy to throw in the wash (or the garbage… and yes, that has happened) and replace with a clean one.
travel changing pad… the disposable multi-use pads from Babies R Us are one of the best, most random purchases I have made. The travel pad that comes in the diaper bag (or I guess you can buy on its own) is great for diaper changes in the back of the car or on the nightmares that are public bathroom changing tables, but sometimes things can get a little ugly, and it’s a nice option to have something you can just throw away. I have only used bathroom changing tables a couple of times (I always choose to change her in the car if that’s an option), but when I have, I always put one of these on it first – it’s a lifesaver for my germaphobic self. And when I have changed her in the car and I know it’s going to be a bad one, I put one (or two) of these down first, then just wrap it aaaaaall up and throw it all away. So much easier and cleaner than carrying around a dirty changing pad (GROSS).
disposable diaper baggies… if you have ever walked a dog and carried the little doggie bags around for clean-up, then you have used these. These are just re-branded and re-packaged doggie bags that are cuter and smell nice. And they are GENIUS. It probably appears a little over-the-top to need baggies for diapers, but go ahead and have a massive diaper mess in public and nowhere to go with it (no garbage cans in sight), THEN come tell me these are silly. (added bonus: they have a dispenser you can attach to your bag, but I just keep a roll tucked into my purse… however, because of that, I can’t always locate them, and I have actually used the actual doggie bags at times (I keep some in the stroller for walks) #noshame)
toys… early on, I was opposed to most toys because I can’t stand the clutter they bring. However, we quickly found that Winnie would get bored just like we would if we were having to stare at the same thing all day. Through baby showers, we were gifted with some really cute and fun things, and she really loved just about everything. Our favorites and “must-haves” would be: a play-gym – this made tummy time more fun for her, and also gave her something to look at/reach for; a bouncer seat – we didn’t have a swing/rock-n-play/mamaroo, so I can’t speak to whether those would be equally as handy, but this was great for taking her room-to-room with me. She didn’t always love it, but it kept her safely contained (before she was mobile and tried to climb out of it) while I showered, did dishes, etc.; doorway jumper – once she could sit up, she was bored with anything stationary, so we ended up with a simple doorway jumper to give her some movement before she was actually mobile. This eventually took the place of the bouncer seat when I needed to get some things done around our house; Skip Hop activity center – this is the one thing we waited to buy and I wish we had purchased it on day one. This helped her learn to balance while entertaining her. This is the one toy from those first few months that we still use almost daily – because she gets into everything these days, if I need to do something that requires more of my attention, I put her in this to keep her safe. When she’s a little bigger, we will convert it into an activity table and get another year or so out of it.
video monitor… I was annoyingly particular about choosing a video monitor. I couldn’t stand the look of most of the cameras, so we ended up choosing the VTech Safe and Sound monitor specifically because of the camera. We ended up with two cameras (that’s all that was available at the time), and it has been a huge perk. Anytime we have traveled, we have taken the second camera with us, meaning we haven’t had to unhook and re-setup the one that’s in her room. My lazy self loves this.
movement monitor… in addition to a video monitor, we use the Angelcare AC300 movement monitor, and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s on the lesser expensive side when it comes to baby things, but really, any price is worth the peace of mind it brings. We are crazy paranoid about SIDS, and it’s not because we are first-time parents. Of all the worries that come along with having a new baby, SIDS was the one thing we couldn’t find peace about. We decided to try this monitor, and I think the night we set it up was the first time Shane actually slept in the two months Winnie had been with us – that alone was worth it.
Things I’ve been asked about that we didn’t use (and didn’t need):
car seat “head support” – Winnie rode in her car seat as-is from day one, never using any extra support or padding
humidifier – we did receive one as a gift, but we haven’t used it yet
wipes warmer – my thoughts on this are summed up in one word: really?
bottle warmer/sanitizer – this wasn’t necessary for us because I (proudly) didn’t breastfeed; my breastfeeding momma friends that use them do love them
rock-n-play – Winnie slept in our arms or a cradle from my childhood until she transitioned to her crib
baby food maker – I registered for one, but I’m thankful we didn’t end up with it… I realized I am totally not that mom. I fed Winnie the purees from the store (after reading ingredients, I realized that there was no reason not to) until she could manage to feed herself. Then, she started eating table food and hasn’t looked back.
I’ll probably continue to update this as we go if for no other reason than I want to remember these things for any possible future babies we bring home (but don’t get any crazy ideas, that is not happening anytime soon and that is STILL not any of your business *insert cheeky emoji*). If you can think of anything I’ve left off, comment below or message me – I LOVE talking baby stuff. It’s almost weird.