Recently, my cousin announced she and her husband are having a baby. I am THRILLED. I actually started crying when she told me the news. And then, after I calmed down, I sent her my over-inclusive list of baby gear suggestions with a lot of editorial comments (of course). She responded that she really appreciated it, but didn't I recall they live in a small apartment in LA? Ah yes. We don't all live in the 'burbs with room for all the baby junk one can afford/register for.
So, I set out to cull the list. After I finished, I myself wondered why I had so many things for such a tiny baby. But a word on that: you do, in fact, need some baby gear. And I mean YOU, not necessarily your baby. But if you value sleep, showering, your sanity and the occasional quiet moment, then yes - you need a few things, but not everything. Below is what works.
Baby Gear: Musts (IMO)
i. Traditional: Anything safe (bars close enough together; no bumpers) with a firm mattress.
ii. If you’re strapped for space or debating an upcoming move, consider an uber-fancy Pack n Play that includes a bassinet, changing table, storage, etc. instead of a traditional crib. And (bonus!) then you have a travel crib!
iii. Bassinet (newborns only): I have friends who SWEAR by the Fisher Price Newborn Rock-n-Play Sleeper. An upright position is very good for newborns, especially if they have reflux. I’m buying one for the next baby.
i. Love the Aden +Anais blankets for everything (swaddling, floor time, putting over the car seat to block the sun, wiping up spit up…endlessly great).
ii. Summer Infant “Swaddle Me” Velcro and Halo swaddle wraps are essential. We double-swaddled Muffin initially (Aden +Anais blanket on the inside and the Velcro swaddle wrap on the outside) at the suggestion of a friend with twins and it worked!
iii. Wearable blankets for post-swaddling.
c. White Noise: At a minimum download free white noise onto your iPhone. I also love our Sleep Sheep.
d. Pacifier: (If you want one.) Muffin loves the Philips Avent Soothie.
a. Formula Feeding:
i. Bottles: Muffin loves the Playtex VentAire with a wide nipple. The Playtex Drop-Ins are nice too for less clean up if you’re travelling.
ii. Formula: We use Earth’s Best. If you look at the ingredients in the more traditional formulas, you won’t be very impressed either (corn syrup, sugar and oil).
iii. Formula dispenser (I like Munchkin)
i. Lanolin gel: A nipple saver!
ii. Nursing tanks: I like the ones from Target
iii. Nursing pads: Either the toss away kind or the reusable ones (wash and wear). ESSENTIAL to prevent massive leakage/embarrassment.
c. Burp pads/Bibs: Aden +Anais makes adorable ones that are both!
33. Baby Care:
a. Eucerin: Original lotion for the body, Eucerin Aquaphor for their faces/bum and Eucerin baby body wash/shampoo for the bath (per my pediatrician, you aren't supposed to use "baby" lotions/washes on newborns).
b. BananaBoat baby sun block (suggested by my pediatrician and it’s great)
c. Any baby care set with nail clippers, combs, etc.
d. A couple of thermometers (we use one to test the bath water -99-100 degrees- and one for the baby)
e. Nosebulb (hospital will probably give you one) and saline for babies noses (LittleRemedies makes a good one).
f. Bathtub: We have the Primo Euro Bath and absolutely love it. It has two sides and works for newborns through toddlers.
g. Diapers: Love the 365 brand from Whole Foods and the Honest.com diapers (adorable colors and patterns, made from corn with no chemicals). Honest.com also delivers to your door and gives you free wipes!
h. DekorDiaper pail. Yes, you need one.
a. ErgoBaby: In a word – amazing. You can get an infant insert for when they’re newborns or use it “as is” once they’re over 15 lbs. Provides more support than the Bjorn (which rocks for newborns) AND you can wear it on your front or back (or side, but seriously…). It also comes with a “sleep hood” that is the best. Muffin will sleep in the Ergo anywhere, anytime (parties, BBQs, campfires, sun deck at the Hotel Del…) with a pacifier in his mouth and the sleep hood up.
b. Swing: Grayson HATED his swing for two months and then it became my best friend. We have the expensive Fisher Price one and the cheap Fisher Price “space saver” (which really should be called “life saver”).
c. Car Seat: Required by law. We have the Graco35 (so the baby could be in it longer).
d. Activity chair: Some call it the circle of neglect, others the circle of autonomy (me) but either way it will entertain your baby and keep him safe so you can do important things, like use the restroom or take a shower. We received the Summer Infant Activity Chair and it’s GREAT. Same idea as the Excersaucer (also amazing) but much smaller and can be used as an infant seat, high chair/booster seat. Its $50 and does what 3 separate expensive products do!
a. Footie PJ’s are essential as are onesies with optional matching pants. Fancy/complex outfits aren’t really used as much when they’re infants unless it’s a special occasion. They sleep a lot in the first few months and frankly babies seem really uncomfortable in the other stuff (darn).