Last week I posted thoughts on the emotional side of preparing for/having a baby, but it occurred to me this morning that sometimes just the task of choosing what things to include on your baby registry can be pretty overwhelming, too. Or choosing which things to give as gifts to a new Momma. So I decided that I would do everyone a favor and share the things that we really couldn't have made it without for Baby A. So, for what it's worth, here you go:
*Note, this list will not include the obvious things that ALL babies clearly need like clothes and diapers because...duh.
**Note: this does include affiliate links.
- Carseat- this should be obvious, but it tops my list because we use our cars a lot. As in we put over 30,000 miles on my car in two years. When Baby A was first born Husband was driving a pickup that didn't have room in the backseat for a carseat, so we only have one, and that's been just fine. We have this one, and it's been great. It's sturdy but not too heavy.
- Stroller- I recommend doing one of two things with the stroller; either get one of the jogging strollers into which you can click your carseat (you'll get many a mile out of it; it collapses smaller and is therefore easier to store and transport; you'll be able to use it for years with each child) or get a stroller with multiple attachments (we have one that has a bassinet-style attachment, a sitting up attachment, and an attachment with seats for two children--it will last us a long time!). I'd say both options have their pros and cons, but they're both equally good in my mind. We have this jogger an love it, but we used this stroller when Baby A was tiny. It's my favorite, but I have a small car, and the bigger stroller took up the whole back!
- Thermometer- Nothing fancy required, but there will come a day when you'll be convinced Baby has a fever, and then you'll be glad for it (but maybe that's just the nurse in me talking).
- Pump- Again, nothing fancy required. We just have a Medela manual pump, but it does the trick. If you're planning to breastfeed, you're definitely going to want a pump whether it's to pump so you can have a date night or to help maintain your supply (or to help keep you comfortable if you have extra).
- Wrap/Carrier- I've already described my love for the Baby K'tan, and I still feel that way. It has lasted us seven months, and Baby A loves it. It says it can carry up to a 35-pound baby, but my shoulders start to get tired with her in the K'tan if we're doing any serious hiking. But for church, grocery shopping, going to the farmers market, cooking dinner/baking (as long as Baby isn't in danger of being splattered or burned), dishes, etc, it has been perfect, especially when A was really tiny (she now weighs about 17 or 18 pounds). We also had a Snuggli for when she was a bit smaller, and my husband used it a lot. It was great when she was smaller, but it puts Baby's weight on one shoulder, so it's not a helpful now that she's growing so much! I'm super excited because a friend is letting us borrow their Ergo this weekend, so we can see how we like it before buying one for ourselves. I'll let you guys know my thoughts on it next week!
- Toys- I really love the nice, wooden toys for baby. They seem so timeless and sturdy! Toys are one of the things where you can really go overboard, and we learned quickly that Baby A has one or two favorites that she cycles through, so less is definitely more in the toy category. These days, she is really loving this wooden abacus, her stacking rings and shape-sorter blocks (we have these, but how fun is this wooden set!), and her wooden bead maze. I really only included this in the must have section because of how important I think play is to a baby/child, but, in all honesty, A has been just as happy playing with measuring cups and wooden spoons as she has with a lot of her toys. And, in her mind, no toy is even close to being as fun as talking to and making faces at Momma and Daddy! Again, nothing fancy required!
- Fleece sleep sacks- I know I said I wouldn't include clothes, but these are seriously a must. So warm and cozy! And, if you're using a crib, baby can't get their legs stuck in the slats!
- Quality mattress- We did sooooo much research on what mattress to use, and finally settled on this one. Email me if you want to know why. Baby A still ends up sleeping with us most nights, but I try to always at least start her out in her crib in the nursery.
- Swing OR bouncy seat- A didn't like her swing, but she has always loved her bouncy seat. Ordinarily I would say that it's something we could do without, but she happily plays in it while I cook, shower, etc. I try to limit how much time she's in it because I think it's good for her to be able to move around, play, and explore, especially now that she's crawling, but it has been a super helpful addition to our baby gear.
- Pack n' Play- Like I mentioned earlier, we always start A off in the crib in her room, but she often ends up in our room before the night's over, and, when she does, she usually sleeps in the pack n' play beside our bed. For the first three months of her life she slept in our bed with us, but now she likes her own space (but still in our room....so, she likes her own space but not too much space, I guess). So, the pack n' play comes in very handy. It's also nice for overnight trips out of town. I will say, though, that the napper/changing station that came with our pack n' play was NEVER used. Totally an extra thing that you don't really need.
- A good hat- Like my cousin said, all babies need a good hat. Whether it's the summer, and you're trying to protect them from the sun or the winter, and you're trying to keep them warm, a hat is always handy. (Thanks, Lisa!) The same cousin also sent us a beautiful knitted prayer shawl which is basically the coziest thing on the planet, especially for chilly nighttime nursing sessions. I would argue for one of those, too.
There are tons of other baby items available on the market, but these ones are the ones we've consistently used the most. We do have more than what I've listed here, but these are the indispensable things, and we're actually going through all our baby stuff and getting rid of some of it.
Other mommas, what items could you have not done without?