AKA: Baby “Must Haves” (eew), “Registry Essentials” (gross), “Things you absolutely cannot live without once you have a little tiny human depending on you for survival” (gag)
When I was pregnant and preparing for Lydia I scoured the internet for lists and descriptions of everything I “needed.” I found that a lot of people think they need a lot of crap. For us money was tight and space was tighter. I found myself getting annoyed with the countless posts and lists saying you needed everything under the freaking sun, and it just so happened that most of that crap was plastic and somehow determined to gouge your eyes out with obnoxious colors/bells/noises. Why did I need a gizmo for absolutely everything? Why is all the cool looking stuff so expensive and finally, why does every single baby thing have to light up and play music?? Seriously, I saw a changing pad that had an attached toy bar. OMG. I was determined to welcome our baby into the world without a boatload of stuff and heaven help me, I want to avoid as much overstimulation as I could for as long as possible.
I think we’ve done pretty well not getting too much, but my husband disagrees. Maybe he’s right, but he doesn’t seem as overwhelmed now that he see what we have has a purpose. He actually even suggested we get a new swing tonight, so maybe he’s coming around! That being said, here’s a list of my favorite/most needed/most appreciated things at 2.5 months in
(clockwise from top left to center):
Infant carseat: I swore up and down that we did not need an infant seat. My dad and step mom bought us an awesome convertible carseat and I knew my baby would be safe in that and I just assumed that I’d wear her all the time so a removable carseat would be unnecessary excess. This is just one area in which parenting was so much easier before having a baby! Ha! Yes, an infant car seat is not necessary, but it is SO NICE! I love that I can strap Lydia into her seat and get her all bundled up before going out and facing the cold. I love that I can keep her safe in her seat when I go into stores. I could use only a big seat, and get her out every time I make a tiny little stop (and I’d probably stop less, thus saving us more money, but then there’s Amazon Prime, so maybe not…), but it’s so very convenient that I do not have to! Plus, we got our Britax for free when we bought our stroller, which makes me love it even more!
Awesome stroller: When babies were merely a dream I knew an Uppa Baby Vista was the stroller for me. It’s beautiful and cool and I’d be the hippest mama pushing one of those! Well, as it always does, real life hit and I didn’t exactly have $700 to shell out on a stroller, so I had to scale down my stroller dreams. Enter the BOB. Yes, this is also expensive, but my hubby works at REI so we got it at a major discount (with a free carseat to boot!) and it really is an awesome, awesome stroller! It pushes like a dream, turns on a dime and perfectly fits our carseat. It offers good storage (especially with optional parent console) and it’s pretty much the official stroller of Portland mamas, so I totally feel a part of the club 😉 Sure, it’s a bit big and cumbersome, but so is the UBV and any other heavy duty stroller. We may get an umbrella stroller someday in the future, but for now, this thing is a good mix of smooth ride and ruggedness. It’s perfect for us and I love it!
Brica InSight Mirror: I didn’t even think to get a mirror for the backseat, but a girlfriend of mine did and I received one for my shower. That one didn’t work for our car, but this one attaches to the headrest in the backseat and allows us to see if our little miss is awake or asleep. It’s more reassuring than I thought it’d be to see her hanging out back there. This was definitely a great $20 spent!
Boon Naked Bath: Am I the only one that hates traditional baby tubs? Why are they so big and ugly? Why does every freaking baby thing have to be an obnoxiously bright animal??? This bath is bright, but it’s fun and doesn’t make me want to have a seizure. It folds flat-ish and hangs. I like it a lot, but I do recommend you pick up a little sponge thing because it’s kind of deep for small babies. If you’re wanting to be super minimalistic though, I’d just throw a hand towel in the sink and bath your babe on that until you’re confident enough to bathe them in the shower. I don’t consider a bath a need, but I like that we have one!
Mustela No Rinse Cleanser: I was gifted this for my showers by some more knowledgable mamas. I thought they had given me the best smelling, most expensive hand sanitizer ever until I randomly read the back of the bottle when Lydia was a week or two old. No, this stuff gently cleanses your baby’s face and hands without you having to give them a full bath. Full disclosure: people say that newborns don’t get smelly. People lie. Milk gets everywhere, and pretty soon your sweet little baby starts to smell sour and that situation must be remedied. I love this for in the morning when I want to freshen her up for the day.
Mum & Bub Shampoo & Body Wash: It seems my love for random beauty products has crossed over to baby products, much to my husband’s dismay. I first wanted California Baby because it was “the best.” However, I had two different kinds of CAB and I think it smells like mildew! In fact, I returned my first bottle of shampoo and lotion because I thought it must have gone rancid. Turns out, I just don’t like the stuff because my second bottle has the same smell, only mixed with lavender. Gross! I got a sample of this at a baby boutique and it is so not rancid! It’s just the right amount of sweet and fresh. It’s no tear and comes in a pump bottle, which is super nice for when I give Lydia a shower instead of a bath. I love smelling her sweet head after a bath with this! Well, truth be told, I love smelling her head even when it’s stinky.
Hats: I didn’t know this about myself until I became responsible for keeping a tiny human warm in the middle of winter. Hats are essential! I have a ton of hats for Lydia and she only goes out of the house without one if it’s daytime and she’s wearing a headband. Ha! Mittens are a bit overkill and maybe unnecessary, but they are adorable.
Wubbanub: Some babies like different pacifiers, but Lydia easily took the Soothie brand and they are her most favorite things. I like the Wubbanub because 1) it’s adorable; 2) it’s big and therefore easy to grab and put back in the middle of the night or if you are reaching behind you in the car and 3) the weight of the animal prevents the binkie from flying onto the floor every other minute
Carriers: If you have a little nugget that loves to be held all.the.time, carriers are your best friend. I have a Moby, Ergo and two ring slings (I threw my desire to be a minimalist out the window in this department) and love them all. I highly suggest finding a carrier you love and can easily use and use it! They are good for mamas and babies and for keeping strangers away from your little germ magnet
Babylegs and white long-sleeved onesies: This is Lydia’s uniform if we’re at home. I could lie to you and say that it’s convenient for diaper changes and what not, but mostly I think it’s freaking adorable. I love the little peek of thigh chub at the top of the stocking and white onesies are perfect for layering or matching to fun Babylegs. I really like the Gerber onesies, but many people prefer Carter’s (Gerber has longer arms, which I like better for layering).
Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Balm: This is like sending your lady bits to the spa. It’s also the best $15 I have ever spent, by far! It soothes your abused nethers and speeds healing. I plan to give this to every mama-to-be with every shower gift. You can do you own research, but just take my advice and if you’re going to buy anything to make post-partum recovery easier, buy this.
Bouncer: We are borrowing our friend’s Combi (not the print above, just a simple brown one) and I love it because it is not horrendously bright or overstimulating, but mostly I love it because Lydia likes to sit in it. We have to give it back to our friends so I’m currently looking for a replacement. For my baby, I would consider a good bouncer a baby “must have.”
Medela Freestyle: If you’ve got to pump, get a good one. I have been really happy with this one, though I have nothing else to compare it to.
Boppy Lounger: This was gifted to us and I was sure it’d just take up space. I could not have been more wrong! For some reason Lydia loves this and thus, I love it too! We’ve used it in the living room, in our bed, for traveling. It’s awesome and isn’t a big investment, so I’d definitely recommend getting one of these!
Swaddles: I was pretty proud of my swaddling skills until I had my houdini baby. Sis can get out of most swaddles, but not with our current strategy (which I cannot take credit for, my friend Jessica did it first). I use an Aden & Anais bamboo swaddle first and wrap her super tight. Then, I put that little mummy into a SwaddleMe and she’s a perfectly content little burrito. I’ve tried not swaddling her but she does not sleep well. This little get up keeps her warm and snug and we all sleep better.
Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: Sure, Lydia much prefers to sleep right next to me in my nice, cushy bed, but I do appreciate having a safe place to put her that is right near to me but not in my arms. I also like that this is small and easy to move (when not strapped to the bed obviously) and it fits perfectly between my side of the bed and the wall. Because Lydia does sleep with me most of the time, we could probably do without this, but I’m glad we don’t have to.
So, there you have it. My list of baby junk I love. In truth, all you NEED for a baby are some diapers, a few clothes and a boob, but I hated that answer when I was pregnant. I don’t think I have a gadget and gizmo for everything, but the ones I do have I like a lot, some more than others. I haven’t exactly managed to stay minimalistic, but like I tell my husband, it could be so much worse!