Monday, April 23, 2012

Must-Have Baby Products

The other day my mom asked, "now that you've had some time to use all of the products you purchased for baby, which do you think were not worth buying?" I had to think a bit on that one and that inspired this post for what I believe are must-have items before you bring that sweet baby home. Since quite of few of my good girl friends have yet to have babies, I hope this post is relevant. You can put some of these items on your registry or just purchase them yourself. Either way, you're going to need them. Again, this is just based on my personal experience, many of you may disagree with me.  Also, all babies are different and I only have one. Most of my links are to products. I strongly recommend subscribing and setting up the delivery system, it is such a time-saver.

**I'll Update as I think of more**


Must-Have for New Mommies (in no particular order):

1. Happiest Baby on the Block  Book. The 5 S's are amazing and truly saved our sanity in those early months. Read this preferably before you have the baby, although I read it when Mark was a couple weeks old and we were able to implement the 5 S's pretty quickly. Keep this book at your fingertips in those early months because you may find yourself in a haze and not able to recall all of the tips...especially at 3 am.

3. Diapers. Lots of them. In some of my reading during pregnancy, and believe me I did LOTS of that, it estimated that in the first 6 weeks you would go through 600 diapers. It recommended that you get 100 of newborn size and 500 of size one. Mark weighed 8 pounds at birth and was a big boy. Those amounts worked for us. We tried Pampers, Huggies and Target brand. The Huggies and Target brand leaked often as breastfed babies often have more frequent and looser stools. We are still using Pampers now and love them.

4. Wipes. Buy the non-scented ones initially. New baby skin can be incredibly sensitive and harsh smells can cause irritation. We purchased an extra pack of cheap washcloths and used that with a squirt bottle of water in the beginning to help with the diaper rash. It cleared right up.

5. Laundry Detergent. You will need to wash all of baby's clothes, blankets, burp cloths etc (i.e., anything that will come in contact with baby's skin). We personally used Dreft because I love the smell. However, it is definitely overpriced and All Free and Clear is just as gentle and about $5 cheaper.

6. Laundry Basket. Anything will do, but because baby's clothes need to be washed with the gentle detergent initially, you will want to keep the laundry separate.

7. Diaper Pail. I am a fan of the diaper genie. It kept the odor contained. Then again, Mark was exclusively breast fed and poopy diapers of breastfed babies are so much less foul than their formula fed counterparts. If you get the genie, you will need the refills. Whatever  pail you choose, choose one that contains the odor or else you will be making many trips to the trashcan.

8. Clothes. This is where many people go overboard. Sure, it is very exciting and I fell prey to draw of it all. However, I quickly learned that babies spit up on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. As well and peepee and poop on it. And trust me, there is a lot of all of the above. So, in the early weeks, invest in casual clothes that can be stained and easily washed. Save the smocked garments for when baby is a little older and isn't pooping 8-10 times per day. I recommend footed pajamas that baby can wear all day and the gowns for at night. The gowns are awesome for middle of the night diaper changes...easier on you and not as disruptive to baby. Onesies are great for warm-weather newborns. If you purchase 8-10 of each of these, you will be set for the first couple of months. Of Course you will need a couple of outfits that you deem appropriate for socializing but dont go overboard. The footed pajamas are acceptable attire for many months. If you do purchase some out-of-the-house wear, I recommend soft, breathable cotton. Avoid harsh materials with irritable fabrics.

9. Bottles. For us, this was trial and error. Mark initially liked the Breast Flow bottles but then we let time lapse (big mistake) and when we tried to reintroduce, he was not having it. He ultimately took to the Tommee Tippee. I have heard good things about the Dr. Browns (except that they are hard to clean) and the biggest pro for the Playtex Drop-Ins is that they are so easy to clean.

10. Bottle cleaner. The brand for this will depend on the bottle you choose. But definitely get one of these as your standard kitchen sponge will not get into the grooves of the bottles/nipples and you want to make sure you are cleaning every inch of your bottle.

11. Nose Freida. This is SO MUCH better than your standard nasal aspirator. That being said, hold on to the one they give you in the hospital. But DO NOT purchase one from the store, as it will not work as well. Trust me, we lost our one from the hospital and purchased 3 different ones, none of which worked. I had to call our pediatrician in a panic and because he is awesome, he gave me another. Then I discovered the Nose Freida. It is awesome. And don't worry, you will not get anything you suction in your mouth-it is protected.

12. Swaddle Blanket. This is part of the 5 S's from the Happiest Baby on the Block Book listed above. I had the muslin blankets (see #40) but I preferred the velcro swaddlers. Mark couldn't break out of those.

13. Burp Cloths. I preferred cloth diapers because they were easy to wash and much more absorbent.

14. Bath Towels

15. Wash Cloths
16. Shampoo, Body Wash and Lotion. There is much debate between organic and non-organic. We use Johnson and Johnson Lavender and I absolutely love it. I think if I smell it when I am 90 years old I will be brought back to the time when I massaged my sweet baby every night following bathtime. You may want to get a sensitive skin brand as backup in the event your baby is allergic to the perfumes.

17. Diaper Rash Cream. There are so many out there but our personal favorites are A&D Ointment and Desitin.

18. Pack N Play. You don't need one with all the bells and whistles and you only need this if you are going to have baby in your room initially. A simple one will do. If you do get one, get a couple of extra sheets for those instances where baby spits up, or the diaper leaks.

19. Swing. This is a polarizing item. Some babies love it, and some absolutely hate it. If possible, borrow someone's to see your babies preference before you dole out the money. If that is not possible, I have heard that most babies enjoy the side-to-side motion offered in the modern swings and that all babies do not like the front-to-back motion of the more tranditional swings.

20. Baby Bath tub. You will need a safe place to bathe baby.

21. Baby Monitor. Some people never use these. I never used it at night because Mark's crib is down the hall and I always heard him. I did use it if I needed to go outside during a nap or if we were watching tv in the living room and his door was shut. I have a traditional monitor that I have had no problems with, although I think I will invest in a video monitor for the next baby. Though I do not think it is necessary.

22. Changing Pad and cover.

23. Rectal Thermometer. According to health professionals, this is the most accurate measure for a baby's temperature. It doesn't seem to bother them when they are small.

24. Infant Car Seat. Do your research here. We have the Chicco Key Fit because it is the easiest to install. We did not opt for the Key Fit 30 ( ours is a 22 pound weight limit) because we were told that although it could last until the baby was 30 pounds, the height requirement was the same for both and most babies would outgrow the height requirement before they attained 30 pounds. We wanted a carseat that was an infant carrier as well because it was easier to pull the entire seat out of the car than to wake the baby.

25. Stroller with adapter for car seat. See above, it is easier in the beginning to just take the entire carseat out of the car, rather than trying to remove the sleeping baby.

26. Baby Carrier. I used a sling in the beginning because it was easier to get stuff done around the house with my hands free. George preferred the Baby Bjorn. During Mark's Colic-ey period, we would wear him and it always soothed him to sleep.

27. Rock and Play Sleeper. This is great for babies with colic or for a change-up from the swing. I used this alot  in the beginning. Then again, I put it away by the time he was 5 months old.

28. Crib Sheets.

29. Sheet savers. These are great to have down because in the middle of the night, when baby spits up or the diaper leaks, you don't want to have to change his sheets as well as baby's clothes. With this, you just replace the sheet saver.

30. Safe nail clippers. Their nails grow so fast and are super soft, like paper. You may want to just use a nail file although that did not work for us. I used the baby clippers in a well-lit room while baby was sleeping and peaceful.

31. Diaper Bag. Do your research here. You'll want one big enough for  a change of clothes, burp cloth, wipes, diaper rash cream, diapers, a few toys etc. but you wont want it so big that it is too bulky to manage. Try out different ones.

32. Activity Mat. Preferably one with a tummy-time option.

33. Toys- Get a few Brightly colored, soft toys.

34. Crib. Buy new here, don't get a hand-me-down. You want to make sure it is up-to-date with current standards.
35. Crib Mattress. Opt for a firmer matress for reducing the rate of SIDS.

36. Changing Table/Dresser Combo. This will eliminate the need for a separate changing table.

37. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

38. Large Dispenser of Hand Sanitizer. Keep it within arms reach for when you have lots of visitors coming to see your new baby. Insist that they apply a generous dose before handling your little one.

39. Infant Tylenol. Use only after consulting with your pediatrician.

40. Receiving Blankets. I recommend the muslin blankets as they can be used as a swaddle, or a light-weight blanket.

41. Teething Toys. Our Personal favorites are Sophie the Giraffe, Razberry, and The Mesh bags filled with either breastmilk icecube or frozen banana.

42. If you have a boy AND you choose to have him circumsized- Gauze and A&D Ointment

44. Baby in Sight Mirror. Put your mind at ease when you are traveling alone with baby in the car by  being able to keep an eye on him/her.


For the Breastfeeding Mother:

1.The Breastfeeding Bible aka, "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding." I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. Not only is it best for, and what was intended as baby's first milk, it also has tremendous benefits for mother. It is what nature intended. That being said, it is not easy initially; in fact, it can be really hard for some. It was for me. Fast forward almost 9 months later and parts of me are dreading stopping. I read this book twice before I brought Mark home from the hospital and I consulted it endlessly in the first 3 months. I know you may not plan to breastfeed, but I think you should atleast try. Any amount is better than none at all. This book will help you. It is a little extreme IMO in some instances but the knowledge is invaluable and the tips are helpful to say the least. Keep this book within reach as well, as it is difficult to remember all the information in a sleep-deprived state.

2. Breast Pump. Based on what you can afford, the hospital grade pumps are the better route. I have the Medela Pump in style and it works great. Although I have been told it might not last me through the next child.

3. Nursing Pads. You will leak in the beginning. ALOT. These will save you from having to change your clothes and sheets in the middle of the night.

4. Nursing Bras/Tanks

5. Lanolin.

6. Freezing/Storage Bags if you plan on building up a freezer stash and/or your supply.

8. Extra Pillows: It can be difficult to hold the baby to breast so the extra pillows will support your arms and the baby.

9. Bottles with Slow flow nipples

10. Hands free pumping Bra if you plan on pumping when you return to work.

11. Boppy Pillow or My Breast Friend pillow. I used the Boppy but I have heard alot of people complain about how it does not fit around their waist. I still use it and like it. I have only heard good things about the My BreastFriend Pillow.

Things you Dont Need:

1. Separate Changing Table

2. Bottle Warmer. You do not need this UNLESS your baby is going to be getting all of his/her meals from a bottle. Then you may want it. Remember that if baby goes to daycare, they will be responsible for warming most of baby's bottles.

3. Wipe Warmer

4. Bottle Sterilizer. An old fashioined pot with boiling water works just as well. This is just more stuff, and you'll soon realize you dont need any more of that.

5. Sleep Sheep/Sounds Machine. If you get this as a gift, keep it, but it is not a must-have. We used it alot initally but I used it to help me sleep, not the baby. It can create a dependency and that is something you do not want to do.

6. Bumper Pad. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against their use. Save yourself some money and don't purchase one.

7. Baby Mittens. Your baby needs to use their hands for fine motor development. Do not cover them. If you are worried about them scratching, trim their nails. And if they do scratch themselves, it is not the end of the world, their skins heals remarkably fast.

What do you experienced mom's think? Did I miss anything? Leave any tips in the comments below.

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