Preparing for parenthood is hard. Everywhere you turn there is a new gadget or toy being thrusted into your face as the new “holy grail” item for baby. How are you suppose to nest with so many options? Everyone and their great-great grandmother is going to have that one “life saving” item they are going to swear by.
Truth be told, every baby is different and every situation is different. Some people swear by swings while others don’t. Some parent’s don’t have large spaces so they can’t accommodate a swing even if they wanted to.
Knowing your situation and what type of parent you want to be (such as the natural mama, the minimalist mama, etc) can help you narrow down your choices. Just remember, what works for one baby may not work for yours, so don’t go and buy everything on the lists you find. These top 10 items are basic things that sometimes get overlooked, but how fancy or water downed you invest in each is totally up to you!
So let’s begin with the TOP 10 THINGS YOU WILL DEFINITELY NEED.
NUMBER 1 : BOTTLES
Whether you’re breast feeding or formula feeding, you are going to need bottles. You are; however, NOT going to need a whole arsenal of them. I’ve heard of people owning close to 20 bottles for one baby! Yikes…..
For us, we had 2 infant ones (for 0-6 months) and two larger ones (6-12 months) and we had no problem with having a clean bottle when we needed one. If you are going to hand wash them, two for each stage should be fine. If hand washing isn’t your thing (no judgement) then 4-6 should suffice (or however many washing cycles you typically run.)
Now with that said, you will not know which bottles work best for your baby. Yes, not all bottles work for every baby. For instance we had the Como Tomo, the Tommytippy, the MAM, the Medula and some fancy one that I can’t even recall the name of because it lasted all of 2 minutes…
Throw a few different types on your registry that look good to you and see which ones your baby responds to the most. Most bottle are sold in 2 packs and have changeable nipples for different flow types, so even if your baby hates one you might be able to use it later on.
NUMBER 2 : TRAVEL PLAYPEN/ SLEEPER COMBO
Invest in a quality, highly reviewed playpen/sleeper combo. This means the playpen can also double as a travel bed (surprising not all playpens can do this.) Also make sure it is easy to assemble and disassemble and doesn’t weight a ton.
We personally had great luck with the Guava Lotus Playpen.
NUMBER 3 : SOUND MACHINE
Its both for YOU and the babe! Honestly this is one of the best gadgets you can invest in and they don’t cost a lot. Many of them are night light combos (winning!) It’ll help you sleep AND baby.
NUMBER 4 : ORGANIC CRIB MATTRESS AND SHEETS
You don’t need droves of sheets for baby, but at least 3 high quality crib sheets is a must. Baby’s skin is super delicate and sensitive so even if you don’t opt for the organic cotton clothing, indulge in the organic sheets. Your baby is going to be resting their little faces and bodies on these for countless hours .
Off-gasing in mattresses is only now being looked at for all their negative long term affects and many major mattress brands are offering organic versions because of this. Repository issues, allergies, skin irritations; the list goes on and on. The flame retardants drenched onto mattresses are also a huge health problem that is now only being looked at.
When investing in a mattress for your baby, opt for the best you can and go for natural as possible. The better quality ones will last you well into toddlerhood and the peace of mind you will gain can’t be measure by money.
NUMBER 5: CHEW/COMFORT TOY
Not all babies like pacifiers and not all parents want their little ones to have them. A comfort toy that a child can suck and gnaw on is a happy medium for both. Whether it’s a ring, a stuffed animal, etc; at least one good comfort toy is a good idea. The brand Littlechew makes some colorful options and is all natural, so no worries about microplastics!
NUMBER 6: DIAPERS
Ah yes, the dirty poo-poo bags for babies. Some people go the reusable route, others the disposable. Regardless of which direction you go for, you will find not all brands are equal or work for your little babes bottom.
If you’re going to the reusable route, look at reviews and how the product is treated. Is it an AOI? Has the inserts been bleached? Snap and Closures or Velcro? Invest in one of each and see which ones works best for you before dishing out the cash for the whole set.
Going disposable? Same stories, folks. Not all diapers are created equal and many brands, for whatever reason, slather their diapers in fragrance and chemicals that should never ever be near the bottom of a baby. Fragrance is a toxic cocktail that makes even adults gage because it can literally be ANYTHING. Avoid diapers with this additive (just smell the package, you’ll know which ones are and aren’t) and opt for as clean as possible.
Of course not all babies will have a reaction to some of the gel additives in the diapers, but why risk it? Many of the major brands now offer more natural versions for practically the same costs.
Remember that a new born will probably go through 8-12 diapers in a day for the first month. Toss a few brands on your registry and see which ones fit best. Not all diapers have the same cut.
NUMBER 7: MUSLIN SWADDLES
Not to be confused with cotton or synthetic swaddles, muslin is airy and gets softer over time. Invest in some large ones. They work great as baby swaddles (duh), burp rags, cleaning clothes and so much more.
NUMBER 8 : SCRATCH MITTENS
Often forgotten but I can not stress enough that you need a least a few of these on hand. Baby will scratch the hell out of themselves and trying to trim down their wee little nails is already nerve wracking enough. These are essential, folks. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on these either, just try and get non-bleach ones in case baby sucks on them.
NUMBER 9 : QUALITY CAR SEAT
This should be no surprise, but invest in the best that you can get. This is literally designed to save your baby’s life! Keep in mind those recalls. There have been some occasions where a top rated carseat was recalled the next year, so look for brands with a good track record. Most brands that produce a quality product won’t deviate from what works, so do your research.
NUMBER 10 : BABY CARRIER
Not everyone will need a stroller or even want one, and baby shouldn’t be in the car seat for long stretches of time (compresses on the spine and neck) but a baby carrier is a great way to go hands free!
Do your research and see what style of carrier you want. Are you an avid hiker? Do you really only need the carrier for short stretches of time? Will you baby carry for hours each day?
Try on the baby carrier if possible, not all of them will work for every body type.
10 BABY BUSTS
Now….for the baby BUSTS. These are products that you don’t really need (at least in the beginning.) Of course as the baby grows, some of these might be helpful but I would highly suggest second hand or if you have any friends or family that have any of these products, try them out first.
NUMBER 1 : BABY BOUNCER/SEAT/BOPPY
Chances are you are going to get one of these from a friend or family member, so hold onto your money for now. Not all babies are going to like the same kind of seat/bouncy either, so ask a friend or family member who may still have one to let you try it out before you dive into buying one yourself.
NUMBER 2 : BABY CLOTHES
Believe me when I say that you will probably be swimming in baby clothes. Everyone, literally everyone is going to buy you clothes because they are the easiest thing to buy for baby.
Also keep in mind SYNTHETIC materials may make your baby break out, so check the labels and opt for cotton/tecel/model and rayon blends.
NUMBER 3 : PLUSHY BABY TOYS
Microplastics are TOXIC. Only recently has the scientific and medical field started to research their long term affects on the human body. Plushy baby toys made of synthetic materials such as polyester are dangerous because as baby chews and sucks on them, those fibers break and are ingested.
Unfortunately, you are probably going to get a few of these as gifts. Hold onto them until baby is done teething to avoid them sucking on them. Plastic is a deadly material and often baby toys have high levels of lead (used to make plastic pliable and bendy) and cadmium (hello shiny.)
There are countless ‘organic’ options. Of course its not good for baby to digest cotton either, but it’s a hell of a lot better for them. For the first 6 months you can probably just bypass all plushy toys anyways because the baby won’t have any interest in playing with them for a while.
NUMBER 4 : PLASTIC TEETHERS
Same as above…plastic is just a no no for baby. Honestly just skip right over them and opt for natural rubber or even silicone.
NUMBER 5: WIPE WARMER AND CHANGING TABLE
I am lumping these together because they tend to come in a bundle. As nice as a wipe warmer sounds, it’s just useless. You can warm the wipe in your hand for 0 dollars.
Changing tables…well….kind of useless. Unless you’re going to take a blowout diaper cladded baby all the way to where the changing table is (which probably you’re not) then chances are you don’t need a dedicated changing table. A portable changing mat is just as good and often has more cushion. Oh, and costs like 20x less.
NUMBER 6: DIAPER BAG
Nope. You don’t need one. A large purse or backpack works just as good. If you are formula feeding then you don’t even need to worry about the insulated bottle compartment they toot so much. Breast feeding mommas who are bringing bottles can simply get a 10$ thermos. Hello savings.
Now, if you really want one, then look at what kind of lifestyle you have. You also don’t need a diaper bag for you AND your partner. They can cost a good amount of money and most of them are useless past the toddler phase so opt for a good backpack or padded purse.
Number 7 : Baby Monitor
Ok ok ok, yes, you NEED one of these, but you probably don’t need to buy one or spend a small fortune on one.
Lots of digital monitors are being found to have some huge security issues (people hacking in and watching your baby…creepy) so do your research first and once you find one you like, drop one on your registry and see if anyone is gracious enough to buy it first.
Bare in mind many digital monitors require a monthly subscription to get the full benefit of the product.
Number 8: Bassinet
Ok folks, if you want one, go for it, but remember this thing is only good for 6 months and tends to take up a fair amount of space. Of course there are some options on the market that promise to help sleep train (hello Snoo) but make sure to do you research and try to find second hand before spending your hard earn money on one. Chances are a crib is more than enough but some parents may even opt to co-sleep in the same bed so figure out what your goals for sleep training are first.
Number 9 : Baby swing
These can run pretty pricy and not all babies like them (ours definitely didn’t.) They also are very bulky and take up a lot of precious space, so opt to trying one at a friend’s or relative house if they have one first. If that isn’t an option, try second hand. Second hand swings are considerably less money, meaning you can save that mulah for something else.
Number 10: Baby Hygiene Products
You need only ONE solid shampoo/body wash combo and a nice oil/moisturizer. There are so many individual products out there for a full array of things, but chances are you will never need that speciality conditioner or that scent baby wash cloth.
Keep in mind too it is not recommended to wash baby every day as it will strip away their natural skin’s barrier and can cause irritation. Of course if baby is filthy, scrub-a-dub away but try not to use shampoo at every bath if not needed.
Also avoid MINERAL oil. Like vaseline and other by-products, these can contain very harmful components and should not be near baby at all. A simply mixture of shea butter and sweet almond oil should be all you need, but of course test a small area first and if baby displays any allergic sign, stop right away.
Those specialty combs seem like a great idea at first too but really you only need to gently scrub the baby’s head to get the same affect. If you have the space and are set on having a whole vanity set, then by all means but chances are you won’t need them.
What are some of the products you would suggest to these lists? Do you have a favorite or a baby product regret?