I’m a brand new mom that absolutely flat-out refused a baby shower. One of the reasons was that I had married the previous year and friends and family had already been very generous to my husband and I. Another reason was that I simply detest attention and hate opening gifts in front of people. Trivial, I know, but at least at the wedding shower I could drink.
Long story short, my husband and I were on our own for our baby purchases, for the most part. My husband’s parents bought the crib and my father bought the infant car seat and stroller. So with those two large purchases out of the way, my husband and I hit Babies R Us.
I have a love/hate relationship with Babies R Us. Now that the baby is here, I love that store. It is so convenient because everything is in one place. When I had to race to the store for a steamer and bottle warmer when I had a three week old that pretty much refused to nurse and was losing weight rapidly, I had a plethora of choices. Plus, they very conveniently have multiple buy one get one 40% sales.
When I was pregnant, I hated Babies R Us because there was TOO MUCH stuff and I had absolutely no clue what we needed, what was decently priced, and what I could live without. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, on new mom blogs and asking the advice of moms around me.
Now, I am ready to share my two cents with anyone that will listen. So here is a list of the products that I LOVE as a new mom, and also a few that I am sorry I wasted my money on.
DISCLAIMER: No one pays me for my opinion or for endorsing their product or anything of the sort. If they did, that would be awesome. I just wanted to share the items that I found most and least helpful as a new mom.
Baby loves these pillows. Originally, I bought it as a nursing aid (like everyone recommended) but I found it too large and cumbersome to actually work for that purpose. So it became a baby propper-upper. When I am chilling on the couch with baby I can place her on it. Sometimes she gets so comfy she falls asleep. Yes, the warnings explicitly say it is not for naps but as I am sitting right next to her and don’t leave her alone I do not see the issue. Now that she is getting older, it helps support her back as she plays with her toys. She isn’t yet holding herself up or rolling over so I can place it on the couch or bed without much concern. We have two, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. It’s perfect to have on the bed when we are getting ready in the morning.
(2) Infant Swing
This swing was a true lifesaver in those early days. I was able to strap her in, turn it on, and cook dinner or shower. It was a safe place for her to fall asleep so that she could stay downstairs with me. And when I wanted a bubble bath, I would carry it in to the bathroom and place it beside the tub. Now that she is older she has outgrown this style. She gets in it and proceeds to kick and kick and kick and make herself laugh with all the noise she is creating. But for the $42.99 – 10% from Burlington Coat Factory, the three months I got out of it was well worth it.
(3) Pack N Play
I don’t bother bringing baby upstairs during the day for naps. It’s too warm in her room and I would rather not run air conditioning all day just for her three-four short naps. I keep a pack n play in the far corner of the living room. This is where I change her (bonus, didn’t have to buy a changing table!) and where I put her down for naps. When she was born she would nap everywhere except large flat open surfaces (swing, boppy, my arms, etc) but now that she has transitioned successfully to her crib she is able to nap in the playpen. I have yet to actually pack it up and bring it anywhere but that’s okay. It works perfectly in the living room. As she gets older this will be my go to place to stick her when I need to do the dishes or go to the bathroom.
(4) Jogging Stroller
Yeah, I don’t run. But those huge wheels on the jogging stroller are PERFECT for just about everything. We took it through the sand in the “desert” of Maine and on the cobblestones of Portland just without any problem. It also works well on some of the busted up roads and sidewalks in my area (perhaps I should start illustrating the potholes with dirty pictures like Wanksy).
(5) Billions of burp clothes and bibs
Now that baby is drooling like a St. Bernard, I am ever so thankful to have a ton of these. I keep extras handy in the diaper bag and on both floors of the house. It is so much easier to swap a bib than it is to swap a whole outfit!
(6) NOT a Diaper Genie
When baby was born and we realized just how often we would be changing diapers we realized how inconvenient it was to have to leave the baby alone to go and dispose of the diaper (either in the kitchen trash on the first floor or the bathroom trash on the second). We had purchased a Diaper Genie but didn’t set it up in those early days simply because of how quickly we would go through the refills. Now, I have no use for it. For under $15 we bought two lidded trash cans from Walmart. One is next to the playpen and the other is upstairs next to the changing table. I use regular kitchen trash bags for these. When the lid closes, there is no smell. And I can attest to this as one trash can sat just three feet from my side of the bed for months. Sure, it’s not as sleek and pretty as a diaper genie but who cares. I have already accepted the fact that my house will never be clean again so I’m not worried about the trash can in my living room.
(7) Swaddlers and Wearable Blankets
I really really should have swiped those swaddle blankets from the hospital because nothing I purchased came remotely close to working the way those did. I inherited two Summer Infant Swaddle Me baby snuggies, and received one from the hospital. I started using them around 6-8 weeks when baby was transitioning from her hammock-style rocker in our bedroom to her own crib in her own room. These worked perfectly to give her the sense of being in the rocker because she was tightly velcroed in. From there, we transitioned to the zippered-bottom one where we could leave her arms out. This was very helpful if her diaper was too full in the night because it allowed us to change her without undoing all the loud velcro fasteners. Now, at almost four months, we use a Halo sleep sack to keep her toasty.
My very smart cousin told me about these little creatures. Baby does not use the pacifier often but if we are out and she is hungry/tired it is great for calming her down. Also, when she is having difficulty falling asleep at nap time, she uses this. At first she kept pulling it out of her mouth on accident but now she is able to grab the animal and find the pacifier part to put in her mouth. We are about to order a second one from Amazon.
(9) Bottle Warmer
We did not buy a very high quality bottle warmer. We have the Phillips Avent one that lacks features that would have been helpful such as an automatic off switch or a timer. But, it heats up the bottle and I have yet to burn the house down so I call it a win. I find it is much easier to make a large batch of formula in the morning and heat it up (only to take the chill off) as needed rather than make it fresh (one-handed, as I hold baby) each time she eats.
(10) Munchkin Fresh Feeder
This is a relatively new purchase for us. I came upon it by chance at CVS and bought it. Baby, at almost four months old, has been watching us eat, licking her lips and opening and closing her mouth fairly often so I know she is almost ready to add some solids to her diet. For now, I use the fresh feeder. We’ve tried watermelon and peaches to great success, and apples to a lesser degree of success. Baby is great at chomping down on the mesh bag and sucking the juice out of the fruit.
SUPER HELPFUL THINGS – BONUS SECTION!!!
I LOVE convenience. I am also a bit lazy. So having a trash can specifically for diapers on each floor of my house was a given. I also set up HOME BASE in my living room as this is where I spend most of my day working out of. Keeping the following things within reach of the pack n play where I change baby have helped me save a lot of time:
Three-Drawer Organizer (1-bibs and burp cloths, 2-coats, sweatshirts and shoes, 3-extra blankets)
Tucked into the side pocket of the pack n play I keep spare outfits, a nail file, J&J Head to Toe baby wipes and doggie pee pads (for the epic poonamis). I also keep a basket of toys, the boppy, basket of books, the activity mat and baby’s extensive collection of Auntie-made headbands all in the area so I if I have to jet out the door I have everything I need to get baby ready and restock the diaper bag all in one area.
Speaking of lazy, the BEST thing that we ever did to prepare for baby was to put a mini-fridge in our bedroom. Sounds silly, right? But at 3:00am when we are both too exhausted to function, having formula already made and in the bedroom is super awesome. Plus, in those first 8 weeks when we were still trying to nurse/pump, having cold juice boxes and bottles of water were amazing. We also kept fruit and granola bars upstairs with us. Waking up every two hours all night can sure make you thirsty and hungry! I don’t think I would have bought a mini-fridge, but when one was offered to me free of charge I gratefully accepted!