As a new mom the thought of registering for baby “stuff” is absolutely overwhelming, especially if none of your friends or siblings has kids and the only advice you receive is from the people who put YOU in diapers. Where do you even begin to decide what the must have baby items really are? Or what a baby actually needs? The little amounts of advice I did receive led me down paths with conflicting opinions, so I came to realize that I maybe we just needed to wait and see what it is OUR baby really needs.
But pressed by our families to register for gifts, my husband began our journey of registering for our soon-to-be bundle of joy. The big retailers offer a list of “needs” and “conveniences” to begin the journey, but I was convinced they were just trying to sell me a bunch of stuff I didn’t have the money or room for.
I started with the big items: stroller, crib, car seat, and the accessories to go along with. I’d done my research on Consumer Reports and some trusted blogs to get a better feel of where to start with the million and one options on the market today to find safe, yet affordable options. I used that knowledge to make my choices.
As we moved along the list to some of the other items, we found things like vibrating chairs, small play gyms, baby tubs, grooming kits, pack-and-plays, gliders, and swings, car mirrors, butt cream, toys that hang from the car seat, and small animals that attach to the crib and make whale sounds (yes, we have a sheep that makes whale sounds…). At this point, I think “flabbergasted” summed up our experience. Our baby was due in a few months and we were determined she needed everything so we registered for… everything.
10 Must Have Baby Items – Our New Mom & Dad List
Our sweet baby girl is five months old now and I have to be honest, we still have many gifts in unopened boxes. Not because she is too little for them, but because she didn’t need them. So, to all you new parents out there looking for some more conflicting advice from a mom, I want to share with you the top 10 most crucial items I have used in bringing a new baby into our home (in no particular order):
- Crib– as I mentioned, check out Consumer Reports for a safe option that fits within your budget. Remember, this is just a place for your baby to sleep. In my opinion, safety and acceptable style is more important than how expensive it is. Plus your child won’t sleep better in a $900 crib versus one that costs $150, as long as the mattress is comfortable and the crib is safe. I would spend more on a top quality, organic crib mattress instead which you can purchase for 75+. Or at the very least, an organic crib mattress cover ($30-$100) for your standard crib mattress.
- Car Seat– many will tell you not to purchase a used one from a stranger, I agree. You don’t know if it’s been involved in an accident, banged up, or passed around before its current owners. We received a used one from a trusted relative to save some money. Just an FYI, the hospital will likely not allow you to leave with your new baby unless you have a car seat, so get one!
- Stroller– I highly recommend getting a stroller that your car seat can click right into. This makes it very convenient to remove the car seat from the base and set it right into the easy-to-use stroller frame. We have the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base and Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller Frame, but there are many other brands and similar options.
- We also have a jogging stroller that we use when going on long walks. This is much bigger than our other stroller because it serves a different purpose. Jogging strollers are a great resource for getting out to drop some of that pregnancy weight, but it may need to be a luxury you can wait a few months after birth for depending on circumstances.
- Baby Swing– the only reason I am able to successfully shower each day. The swing we have is compact and reclines so the baby can sit up or lay back.
- Rocker/Glider for parents– great for rocking the baby at night, sitting in while reading together, or while nursing. We struggled to find one we liked for the money many retailers were asking. Most of the stores we went into only had two to three options to try and they all seemed cheap. We ended up purchasing a rocker/glider combo online from Costco because we knew if we hated it we could return it. I initially struggled with the price we paid but have to say it has been extremely well worth it.
- Vibrating Baby Chair– these come in a variety of options and sizes. We chose the Fisher-Price Papasan Seat after hearing great reviews from other parents. The chair vibrates, sings songs, and has a combo option. This option is similar to the swing but is more compact. It often puts my baby to sleep with the vibrating motion.
- Infant Bouncer– any sort of toy that a baby can sit in once they can successfully hold their head up. Our little Paisley loves to push off the ground with her feet while she enjoys sitting upright in her Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo– something still relatively new to little babies. This allows your child to entertain herself so you can get other things done… or just sit.
- Car Mirror– great for being able to see what your baby is doing while driving down the road. We chose the BRICA Day & Night Light Musical Auto Mirror for in Car Safety because of its soft frame, remote-activated music and lights, and a dual-mode LED that allows you to check on the baby and then it fades . The mirror is shatter-resistant and does a good job at allowing us to keep tabs on Paisely.
- Breast Pump– this has been a true convenience when traveling as often as we do. It is easy to have prepared bottles while driving down the road or when out in public when I really would rather not have to nurse. Check with your insurance as these are paid for by many insurance companies.
- Stability Ball– many women experience these in pregnancy classes or you’ve probably used one at the gym. They are extremely useful during the late nights when your screaming baby will not fall asleep. I have the Max Fitness 75cm Exercise Ball, but any size will do, as long as you are comfortable. Just swaddle the baby in a blanket and bounce your heart out. Works every time!
Every baby is truly different and might hate half of the “necessities” I just shared. The most important thing is to be patient as you navigate ways to creating a safe and happy home where your baby can grow and be loved.
What are your must have baby items? I’d love to hear about them!