When I found out I was pregnant for the very first time, I could hardly wait to fill my home with all things baby. I wanted the swing, the bouncy seat, the Exersaucer, the tummy time mat, the wipes warmer, the jogging stroller, the everyday stroller, and the umbrella stroller, and the list went on and on. And on.
Flash forward eleven years to when I found out I was pregnant with our (surprise) fourth and you see an entirely different story. My first thought (after the initial panic attack) was I can’t believe my house is going to be filled with baby stuff again!
Luckily for me, and for my baby, the gear available for small people is so much cooler than it was eleven years ago. Also, I’m wise enough to understand at this point that I need most of this gear for such a short time that it makes much more sense to either borrow it, or purchase it used.
In an effort to share my baby gear wisdom with all of you, I’ve compiled a short list of Baby Must Haves and Don’t Needs.
Top 5 Baby Gear Must Haves:
This is #1 on my list for a reason. My two month old daughter is now officially sleeping through the night, and part of the reason for that is because this miraculous little contraption is so comfortable.
The Rock ‘n Play keeps baby slightly elevated, which helps with reflux, and keeps her from kicking her legs and waking herself up. It’s like a little nest, and when she burrows into it, she goes into a trance.
In my most humble opinion, the person who invented the Rock ‘n Play should be sainted.
Evenings with infants are difficult. When the witching hour hits around 5:00 you generally have to settle in for the ride until bedtime arrives. The cradle swing has become our saving grace during those long evening hours. With the ability to swing in multiple directions, and the soothing sounds of the mobile spinning above, this is the perfect place for my daughter to get that little cat nap that carries her (and the rest of us) through dinnertime.
3.) Infant Activity Floor Mat
I didn’t think we would need one of these at first, but quickly reconsidered when I realized that I couldn’t hold my child all the time, and laying her on her back in the middle of the floor was both boring and a little dangerous in a house full of rowdy children who sometimes forget they have a baby now.
The activity gym gives her something to look at while kicking around on the floor and it gives me some hands free time to prepare school lunches, make dinner, or help with homework. It also provides enough bulk in the middle of the floor to remind passing children to watch where they’re walking.
I have a love/hate relationship with this blanket. I love it because when she is wrapped up tight, she sleeps amazingly.
I hate it because it’s ridiculously complicated, and for the first few minutes after I finally get her wrestled into the blanket, she fights against it like the Incredible Hulk trying to tear himself from his clothes.
That said, I place this on the must have list because I’ve tried every swaddle blanket on the market and this is the only one that keeps her wrapped up through the night. Though she may resist, she cannot break out of it, and ultimately that is a good thing.
5.) The Wrap
I was most excited to try wearing my baby this time around. Baby wraps were just gaining popularity the last time I did this, so I never had the experience of wearing my child close to my chest. The wrap has been our saving grace at soccer games and gymnastics meets. I’ve tried several different kinds and have found that I love the Moby Wrap the best. The material is thicker, which allows me to wrap her more snugly against me and, in turn, allows her to sleep more soundly.
It’s a win for everyone.
Top 5 Baby Gear Don’t Needs
1.) Wipes Warmer
It’s just not necessary. Your baby will survive the cold wipes on her bottom.
2.) The Bouncy Seat
This is a tentative add to this list. If you can borrow a bouncy seat, I highly recommend you do so, because you use them for such a short period of time. And the fact is, if you have the swing and the Rock ‘n Play, then your child most likely will never sit in the bouncy seat. This is an easy one to pass on, in my opinion.
3.) Lots of toys
Your baby won’t play with half of them. Keep the toy box sparse and invest, instead, in a lot of good board books.
4.) Receiving blankets
5.) Shopping Cart Cover
It’s a hassle to get out and put in the cart, and after a while you’ll realize it’s just as easy to wipe the cart handle down with a wipe and be on your merry way.
We need a lot less for our babies than we think we do. Stick to the basics, and spend the time enjoying your sweet bundle of joy while she’s still easy.
Because when she starts walking, it’s a whole different ball game.