Monday, March 11, 2013

Listmania: Baby Registry Must Haves

Nowadays most full-time parents will register at a chain brand for baby items that will come in handy during baby's first year. I did a lot of research around the time I was 4-6 months pregnant and was focusing on the safest, most highly-recommended items by parents who had "been there, done that". Now that we have made it through our first year, here is a list of items (and recommended brands where applicable) that I could not have lived without.
$15K crib for rich kids. Not normal.
  1. Pack-N-Play This item was used as Bugga's bed for the first couple months. It is portable so it can be moved from room to room easily if necessary. We selected one with a "newborn napper" feature that was a cozy bassinet-like piece that attached to the top of the item. Note - once our daughter moved to her crib for all her sleeping, we honestly didn't use this anymore, unless we were roadtripping and had space to take it with us for use in a hotel or another home.
  2. Crib Once Bugga was ready for her own room, she needed somewhere to sleep, and all babies need a crib at some point. Do NOT get a dropside crib, if that even needs to be mentioned.
  3. Crib Mattress Obviously required or your infant is sleeping on the wood board at the bottom of the crib, and who wants that? There are tons on the market - look for waterproof styles, and there are even eco-versions that work great.
  4. Crib Slat Bumpers The standard bumpers should not ever be placed in the crib, unless you are photographing the nursery before your baby is born. It just isn't worth the suffocation risk. Or the risk your baby will get caught in it - also not good. I still don't understand why so many parents keep buying these things. Or that they're even still sold in the first place. What you might not expect as well is several months into this parenting thing your baby starts to become mobile and keeps whacking his or her head on the wood of the crib at night (ours certainly did). And then tries pulling up in the crib at 2am and REALLY whacks her head when she falls backward. That sound broke my heart and it will break yours. Slat bumpers are the best thing since sliced bread, and I wish I knew about them when I was putting my registry together so we could avoid all the head-smacking. These are safe, they look nice, and they are even cozy for your baby. Your bigger kid can't use them to climb on (like regular bumpers) and air still passes freely between them. OK off my soapbox. Get these.
  5. Warming Plate Once your kiddo starts eating solids, you might be defrosting food cubes on a daily basis. If you are like me, you will often forget to take things out of the freezer the night before for thawing, and the microwave leaves hotspots that can burn your child's mouth. A warming plate like this one heats things quickly and safely.
  6. Video Monitor When Bugga was born we lived in a small two-bedroom house where even when she was in her crib, she was barely 20 feet from us. We assumed a simple audio monitor would be fine. Until we tried sleep training. With an audio monitor we could not tell why she was crying - sometimes we thought she might just be upset because we had stepped out of the room for 5 minutes too long, but then we'd return to find her leg had gotten stuck between the crib slats and we didn't know until we went back into the room. Once we ordered our audio monitor, we never looked back. I still love to peek at her sleeping on the camera, and I can do this without having to go into her room to disturb her.
  7. Diaper Pail There are a lot of these on the market, and they are relatively inexpensive. We have the Arm & Hammer version, but I've heard good and bad experience with every single one, so just pick one. But you DEFINITELY need something to corral the evil odor that comes with diapers.
  8. Strollers You can probably survive with only one. You can even get the all-in-one travel system style that can get you easily through the first year. But those are heavy and often excessive for everyday needs. What worked for us: a Snap-and-Go style stroller that is pretty much nothing but a stroller frame that your infant carseat snaps right into. It is light, and should be able to be closed with one hand (and maybe a foot). You also need an umbrella stroller which is easy for popping out of the back of the car, or taking on airplane trips (get one with a carrying case to protect it from dirt and damage when gate checked like the Chicco Capri that we use still). We also have a jogging stroller. I wish I used that thing more. I am not a jogger, though I seriously tried when I was on maternity leave. It's just not my thing. And the stroller is pretty bulky for heaving in and out of the trunk compared to our umbrella stroller which is just as good. If you do a lot of outdoorsy stuff, then a jogger is more on the must list. But bottom line - you NEED a stroller(s).
  9. Infant Car Seat Try to find one that contains your child as long as possible based on height and weight maximum capacities. Many go up to 35 pounds, but typically kiddos quickly outgrow their car seats based on their height versus their weight. By the way, don't mess around on this one. Find the safest rated car seat on the market based on Consumer Reports. There is ZERO reason not to. At the time we had our baby, the Graco SnugRide was one of the highest rated, and at 15 months Bugga has still not yet grown out of it (though we are on the verge).
  10. Baby Bouncer / Swing OK the hard truth about these items is that every child is different. Some like one and not the other, and vice versa. We registered for both a bouncer and a space-age-style swing. The bouncer was a LIFESAVER while Bugga hated the swing. Well, she didn't hate it, but she certainly didn't want to be in it for more than 10 minutes, which for me is a huge fail. So that thing is taking up some serious closet space should potential baby #2 have a different opinion.
  11. A great double breast pump and all the related parts If you are breastfeeding, you need a pump, and a double electric pump is the only way to go. This makes pumping quick, because you certainly don't want to spend extra time doing this if you don't have to. You can also get the battery pack and/or the car lighter adapter so you can do this anywhere that works for you. I used this one and it was fantastic for every situation I needed it in. Oh, and although I linked to the product on Amazon, I actually bought it from Baby Depot for less than $200 (vs. $270 on Amazon and Babies R Us) so definitely price shop if that is a concern for you.
  12. Doesn't your kid need a stroller made by Aston-Martin?
    No, no he does not.
  13. Baby Toiletries It should be obvious, but you need all of the following in baby size: brush, comb, nail clippers, nose sucker, and thermometer. I also recommend a Nose Frida - it is disgusting, but holy crap this thing works. Don't forget shampoo, baby wash, and lotion for bath time. You might also want to have on hand Baby Tylenol, Baby Vick's Vapor Rub (for the bottoms of their feet when they are stuffed up), diaper rash cream, Little Noses saline solution (for stuffy noses), and Little Tummys gas relief drops (for gas obviously). You hopefully won't need these at all right away, but you never know, and it sucks to have to run out to the drugstore in the middle of the night.
If you are looking for some toys to add to your registry, or to have ready for their homecoming, here is a list of toys that we enjoyed in our house from birth to 8 months old.

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