This weekend I’m going to my baby brother’s baby shower. Well, his long-time girlfriend is having the baby, but I’m going. In fact my whole family is going. Not to spoil any surprises, mostly what we’re giving Jasper’s new little cousin is everything he needed, wore, and didn’t use the first six months of life. Going through all of Jasper’s baby stuff made me realize just how much stuff I got for him that he never used, or barely used no matter how much I thought he would need it.
The baby industry is much like the wedding industry. It preys on your hopes and dreams and it also preys on your fears of being a “bad” parent. Don’t get an cesarian, you won’t love your baby. You absolutely need to get Boogie Wipes, because it’s disgusting to wipe your babies nose with diaper wipes (but what about Kleenex?) No! You need BOOGIE WIPES.
Also, don’t even think about NOT getting the Sophie. As Wendy Brandes says, “If you don’t get the Sophie, you’re abusing your baby.”
When I was pregnant, I was so excited about Jasper. I waited so long to have a baby, I had to prepare as much as possible.
- Intensive labor class? Check.
- Read books about taking care of babies? Check.
- Get everything the baby will need upon arrival? Check, check, check!
Most of all, was the shopping for new baby that I felt excited about. Creating Pinterest boards about what Jasper’s nursery would look like. This beautiful wonderland for the little bundle of joy that would arrive. I went a little crazy, telling my husband we needed to buy a crib, AND assemble it before the baby arrived. We needed, absolutely needed to get everything in order.
It turned out that my little chubby baby didn’t need everything on every list out there on the internet. I didn’t even finish putting together the nursery until Jasper was seven months old. He wouldn’t even touch his crib or anything like a crib until he was seven or eight months old, so he slept with us in the beginning. Ok, he still sleeps quite a bit with us, but at least now he sleeps in his crib part of the night.
Every baby is different, so it’s worth it to wait and see what works for your baby. While this is all fresh in my mind, I’ll share with you what ended up working for us:
- Car seat & stroller system: The hospital will not let the baby go home without a carseat. There are loads of really amazing strollers out there, but I ended up going with the Britax B-Agile B-Safe Travel System which is great (we still use it at 11 months), and probably the best for the price. I love how the stroller just folds up with the pull of a handle and it packs up quickly and compactly. It’s a little heavy and clunky compared to our BOB, but the BOB doesn’t fold up so fast. We also purchased a “baby bouncer” but ended up using the car seat for times when we needed to put him down (But don’t leave babies in there for any more than they need to!)
- Lots of onesies: I’ve bought these in every size from newborn to 12months, Carter’s 4-Pack L/S Bodysuits - Stripe babies will live in onesies for the first year. I would say get two or three 4 packs of size 3 Months. Do not buy “Newborn” sizes, they will grow out of them in a hot minute.
- Socks: You can never have enough socks. I seem to buy them all the time. Don’t worry about getting “nice socks” you’ll just end up losing them. Luvable Friends Infant Boys’ 6 Pack No-Show Striped Ankle Sock
- Baby Tub: My parents bathed me in the kitchen sink. But, I don’t think our kitchen sink would work for our baby. We got the Fisher-Price Precious Planet Whale of a Tub! and used it until Jasper kept trying to climb out of it at around 7months. Now we use baby bath mat so he doesn’t slide around the tub.
- Diapers: No matter what diaper situation you want to do, you’ll need diapers. We just went with Pampers Swaddlers Diapers and they work just fine.
- Diaper wipes: No one tells you how happy you’ll be to see their first regular poop. We actually high fived each other when Jasper finally pooped. And after, we needed diaper wipes, like these Pampers Cruisers Jumbo Pack
- Baby wash: You can really get any wash, but I recently bought this for Jasper, and actually quite like it a lot…. California Baby Calming Shampoo and Body Wash
- Baby carrier: OK so you don’t really NEED a baby carrier, but I tried the Ergo, Baby Bjorn and they were fine, but I really loved how the JJ Cole Agility Baby Carrier went on like a tee-shirt and I could throw it in my handbag and it also fit underneath a sweater or jacket.
- Sleep sacks: Jasper never really loved swaddling, he would always bust out or squirm and cry when we tried to do it. So to keep him warm at night we put him in a sleep sack. We tried a lot of different ones, but ended up liking this for warm nights, aden + anais 100% Cotton Muslin Cozy Sleeping Bag and this for cool nights, aden + anais Boutique 100% Cotton Muslin Cozy Plus Sleeping Bag. He still sleeps in sleep sacks.
- Receiving blankets: You can really never have enough receiving blankets. We used cheap ones for burp cloths and and all kinds of random things Carter’s wrap-me-up receiving blanket-monkey (30″ x 40″). I wish I invested in the nicer Aden + Anais Infant Bejeweled Swaddle because they are bigger and can help shade the stroller as well as keep the baby warm like a stroller blanket, as well as to lay on the ground or wherever for the baby to hang out on. There are so many uses for receiving blankets!
- Nursing Pillow: Although you an really just use regular pillows, the Boppy Slipcovered Pillow was nice to have as it wrapped around your body so you can try different nursing positions. Afterwards you can use the pillow to help with tummy time and sitting up.
- Changing Pad: We never got a “changing table” but especially as the baby becomes squirmy, a changing pad helps to keep the baby in place while you change their business. It doesn’t need to be fancy, something like the L.a. baby contoured changing pad will work.
- Changing Pad Cover: In the beginning we would wash the cover, then two seconds later Jasper would pee on it. So we really didn’t have the cover ON the changing pad often, but it’s nice to have. aden + anais 100% Cotton Muslin Changing Pad Cover
Here are a few non-essentials I found to be quite helpful the first six months:
- Baby monitor: DO NOT GET those ones that monitor movement. According to my pediatrician, they don’t help “detect SIDs”. You could get a video monitor, but we just got the one with sound, an it works perfectly. The first years crisp & clear audio monitor
- White noise machine: This really helps to drown out sounds that distract the baby from sleep First Years Nursery Sound Machine Basic
- Car sunshade: Jasper freaks out if the sun hits his face while driving, so getting sunshades are vital to driving without screaming baby… I use this one Brica Stretch-to-Fit Sunshade
- Auto Mirror: I got this one, Brica® Baby In-Sight® Magical Firefly Auto Mirror it turned out to be the best thing ever. The lights and the music somehow soothed Jasper who hated being in the car in the beginning, and the mirror helps not only to keep him occupied, but so I can see him by looking in my rear view mirror (and not having to turn around which can be dangerous).
- Baby swing: I only really took three weeks off, and went back to work part time at home. Jasper really only wanted me to hold him which wasn’t possible every minute of the day, so he ended up hanging out in the Fisher-Price My Little Snugapuppy Cradle ‘n Swing quite a bit, which gave me about 30-40 minutes of quiet per day.
- Baby Gym: While not essential, this was a good thing to keep Jasper occupied and used to being on the floor, Skip Hop Baby Activity Gym, Treetop Friends we used the toys from it and the play mat until he was about five months old.
If that was too much to read (holy moly!) Here’s a visual:
I’m still going through the “maybe he needs _________” now that he is starting to eat solids and drink water and milk from a cup. I had to try six different types of cups to find one that he would use (it turned out to be a regular cup). I tried about every baby food on the planet to see what he would eat (it turned out to be whatever I was eating).
There are things you’ll think you need, like pacifiers, baby powder, Sophie the giraffe, but hold out until you think it will really help your baby to have them.
But don’t worry… you’ll be fine. Babies do what they need to do when they are ready. All they need is you and lots of love, which I’m sure you’re more than ready to give them.
What did you unexpectedly need, or not need for your baby?