As you go forward with registering and preparing for your little bundle, or bundles, of joy you will no doubt be overwhelmed by the multitude of baby products that exist. I know I was. It was a dear friend who took me into Babies-R-Us for the first time and overwhelmed was an understatement to the way I felt. Thankfully, she guided me through the store one section at a time and pointed out that I didn’t have to process it all at once. So what can you make of all these products? Do you really have to have all this stuff to have a happy, healthy baby? Of course not! But there are some things I have found to be essential. Here I will outline what is essential for baby and for mommy. Please feel free to add comments about what you have found essential because I know I have left out things.
Gotta Have It! Baby Gear
1) Steam Bottle Sterilizer: I, stupidly, thought that I’d just run my bottles through the dishwasher or boil what needed sanitizing. After all, isn’t that why I was going to be a stay-at-home mom?!? Well it took approximately 3-4 days of this foolishness for me to see the error of my ways. This product is quick, simple, and quite affordable. It is well worth the money! I purchased the Munchkin steamer and use Avent bottles in it. The 9 oz bottles can be sanitized standing up, but anything above that would have to be sanitized by laying them down. This would cut down on the amount of bottles that can be sanitized in one go, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
2) Water Filter on the Tap: This is so much faster when filling bottles and keeping yourself hydrated. There are many different varieties, just pick one that is price appropriate for you and keep the filters changed! I choose the Brita filter.
3) Bottle Warmer: If I only had one child, perhaps I would continue to heat bottles in a cup of warm water. However, I have 2 children and when they are hungry, I need a faster method of heating those bottles. (Especially for those over-night feedings.) It was especially important to incorporate the fat back into the pumped and stored breast milk. I choose, again, the Munchkin bottle warmer. It heats one bottle at a time, which is a little inconvenient in my case, but I only found 1 bottle warmer that heated 2 bottles at once and it was WAY out of my price range. I both love and hate this bottle warmer. It does heat a bottle at approximately 1 minute per ounce, but because I have to heat 2 bottles, which means that the second bottle sometimes gets over heated because the warmer is already hot, and the time was off. Also, the reservoir often leaks. I keep the warmer on a plate to catch the water. I know this happens when the reservoir gets low and most often when heating the 2nd bottle. For most people this won’t be a problem. I’ve learned to deal with it because other warmers are so expensive and according to many reviews I’ve read, also leak or overheat the bottles.
4) Bibs – Get bibs that are plastic lined. If your kid or kids are anything like mine, you’ll be dealing with some serious spit up! The plastic lined bibs keep the outfits dry, where cloth bibs just absorb the moisture and pass it right on to the cloth and your baby’s sweet skin. And once you think you have enough bibs, get one more pack.
5) Burp Clothes – Just like bibs, once you think you have enough get one more pack.
6) All Free & Clear – I use this instead of Dreft and my very sensitive children have never had a bad reaction.
7) Downy Free – See above.
8) Highchairs – The newest trend in highchairs are the mini-chairs that strap onto a regular chair. These recline and have a tray and can even be broken down and put into a dishwasher. They are fantastic! Easy to store, easy to clean, and they take up a fraction of the room. Plus they cost less! Mine where from Fisher Price, but other companies make them too.
9) Play yard – AKA: Play pen. If you have a 2-story house, get one for the floor that is not where the nursery is. We have ours in the living room downstairs. Get one that best suits your needs. There are one’s with side organizers, changing tables, and adjustable higher levels. Shop around and get the most for your dollar.
10) Garment Bags – Get large garment bags to wash bibs in because the Velcro will stick to everything in the wash and tear it to shreds. The smaller garment bags are handy for keeping up with baby socks.
11) White noise machine – This helps babies to sleep by recreating the white noise of the womb. It’s also very relaxing for mom and dad.
12) Extra bases for carseats – If you are going to have multiple vehicles for the babies to travel in, extra bases make getting out of the house a snap (literally and figuratively).
13) Waterproof pads for crib(s) – Having extra pads for the crib(s) and layering them for quick changes can come in handy at 3AM when you’ve got to change ALL the bedding. (again)
14) Flannel sheets – These sheets are just a little warmer and more snuggly for babies. When you go to lay that sleeping angel down, the temperature change is a little less severe and the babies are less likely to wake up.
15) Shirts – Little shirts are helpful until the umbilical cord falls off.
Gotta Have It! Mommy Gear
1) A composition book or notebook – This is great for keeping up with everything that happens as the moments quickly pass. Jot them down with a note about the date, then use the notes to fill out baby books and scrapbooks.
2) Dermaplast – This is an analgesic spray that is essential for mommies who have had a vaginal birth. If you’ve had stitches, this spray will help ease the pain you are going to experience. If you’ve haven’t had stitches, things are still tender and this spray is wonderful. However, be forewarned: There are 2 kinds of Dermaplast. Only buy the kind with the blue lid. Remember blue is calming and red is angry (which is exactly what your stitches will become). This is often sold behind the counter of the pharmacy, but you don’t have to have a prescription. It is well worth the money!
3) Fiber One bars – These are quick, tasty, and full of fiber. All of which you will need.
4) Milk of Magnesium – Getting things back to normal post baby can be a little uncomfortable. This gentle help is appreciated when things are tender and time is of the essence.
5) Overnight pads – Have these ready for when you get home from the hospital. Regular pads just won’t do for a little while. These can also be used to cushion a C-section incision
6) Cute PJ’s with buttons – Odds are that you are going to spend a good amount of time in your pajamas, so why not prepare with some cute ones! If you are going to nurse, I recommend pajamas with button tops. These give easy accessibility for nursing and pumping.
7) Hydrogel pads for nursing – There are multiple companies that make these and you’ll figure out your favorites. My favorites were the Ameda Comfort Gel Nipple Pads. You can also put them in the fridge for added cooling relief. Just make sure that you aren’t wearing them for too long. Otherwise you can promote infection.
8) Disposable nursing pads – I found that the disposable nursing pads pulled moisture away from the skin and helped to limit infection where the reusable pads kept moisture on the skin. Of course it is best to allow your nipples to air as much as you can.
9) Scented candles/candle warmer – Candle warmers develop the scent of a candle without actually burning the candle (i.e. that last a lot longer), additionally you can’t leave a flame unattended because there isn’t one. Scented candles can help you to ignore the fact that your house isn’t as clean as you would like. Instantly the house can smell of clean laundry or fresh apple pie.
10) Flip-flops – Just buy the cheap ones to help with those swollen feet. My puffy, sausage piggies would never have fit into real shoes when I went into and came out of the hospital. It was a couple weeks in fact before all the swelling in my feet and legs subsided completely.
11) Granny panties – These high waisted beauties are not going to make you feel like a sexy new mommy, but then again it’s all about comfort for those first couple of weeks. These temporary undies will help with those overnight pads that you are loving so much. They will also help to hold a pad over your C-section incision. Don’t worry, these aren’t forever, but they are great for those first couple weeks. So pick up a pack and get in touch with your inner granny!