I was lucky…I have a bestie named Ethne who is a mom to two adorable twins. They are roughly 1.5 years older than my Mur-Man , which was great—this allowed Ethne to test drive baby products for me. And so, when I was ready to register for my baby wish list…I knew exactly where to turn and it was EASY!
Ethne provided me with a list of “recommended items”. Utilizing that list, I registered for my baby shower and now I would like to pass this helpful list onto other future mommies, followers, viewers and likers that might be mommies and daddies in the near future or down the road. My good friend Jen (who is adorable and pregnant) is due in July and already plans are underway for her shower.
So here it goes…first, we will provide you with a list of what we feel are “future mommy & daddy essentials" or the "must have list”:
1. Crib: I was lucky enough to purchase my crib along with a brand new mattress at a thrift store for $125.00! Research your crib well; check your crib for safety, ratings, and recalls. Also, don’t forget to check out sites like Craigslist.com. Consider convertible cribs that turn into a double bed. My advice is to not spend a ton on a crib—consider affordability! If you do buy a used crib, be sure to check its sturdiness and make sure all the parts are there and in good working order.
2. Crib Mattress
3. Pack N Play—Ethne and I both feel this is a necessity. Trust us—once your little one is on the move you will need a place to “keep” your child. Better yet, you can take this on the road and outside. (I have a friend that opted for a baby pea pod—these are great too and more compact for travel). Even today Ethne's KD and Easy Mac can use their Pack N Plays when they go on vacation. And don't forget a Pack N Play sheet.
4. Two fitted crib sheets and two mattress pads: You will want at least two, and be sure they fit tightly and tuck deep underneath the mattress! Babies have blow-outs, puke, and spit up. Two sheets will cut down on laundry and time.
5. A spot to change your baby (changing pad/mat): You will want to determine how and where you will change your child and plan accordingly. I opted for a changing table and Ethne opted for a dresser with a changing pad on top. Either will do the trick. Keep in mind that you want it to be tall enough so you are not hunching over - you change baby's diapers a lot, you don't need your back to hurt too!
6. Two changing pad covers: Like we said with sheets you will want at LEAST TWO. Also, I had thought about making my changing pad cover, but found that it was more affordable, based on fabric and time spent, to purchase a cover. You decide!
7. LOTS of burp rags: My fabulous friend Crafty Katie made me a ton of burp rags, so did my mom (Crafty G-Ma), and others. I feel home-made are the best. Ethne preferred using cloth diapers as burp rags - the double-folded kind.
8. Diapers and baby wipes: That is right…register for diapers and wipes. Lots of stores (including Target) offer a discount to items still remaining on your registry. Ethne and I both preferred Pampers and she used them the whole time; however since having Mur-Man, I have gotten into deals, deals, and more deals. As a result…I use any and all brands of diapers—whatever is the BEST deal. (Of course, some new mommies go the cloth diaper route. Here is a link to one of our favorite blogs young house love where they give you a step by step tutorial on cloth diaper tips and usage).
9. Umbrella stroller: We encourage you to test drive the stroller in the store and select one that is sturdy. Pay a little more for an umbrella stroller that is higher quality. Now that Mur-man is out of his infant car seat…we only use this stroller. It is compact, easy to use, and great for travel. Ethne and Shaun only had, and still use today, their Jeep double umbrella stroller; it worked even when the girls were tiny (the seats recline).
10. Infant car seat and stroller: I liked the car seat/stroller combo because I could pop the car seat in and out of its base and directly into the stroller. (Other parents prefer a car seat and more compact stroller—you choose what works for you). (WOM ADVICE: read consumer reports, read safety reports, etc. to determine if your car seat comes highly recommended. In addition, double and triple-check the buckle system. We loved our Eddie Bauer car seat; however we did not like how it buckled. It was extremely difficult and if given the chance again we would not have purchased that particular car seat). Ethne and Shaun's infant seats were the Graco Safe Seat, with extra bases for the grandparents (they didn't have to buy full car seats that way, they just used Ethne's), and they were completely satisfied; now Ethne's girls have Graco Nautilus car seat/booster seat combo and they love them. A used car seat (unless it was yours from a previous baby) is not recommended.
11. WubbaNubs—this brilliant pacifier invention is the ticket. Check it out, register, and purchase. You will not be disappointed. I have the ones with Soothie pacifiers attached - Ethne's girls only took Soothies too, and she was jealous that WubbaNubs weren't around back then!
12. Aveeno baby bath products: I swear by these products (including body/hair wash and lotion) and my doctor also recommends this brand. Ethne used several Johnson & Johnson products and was satisfied.
13. Bumbo Chair (the tray is optional): What a fabulous invention. The Bumbo chair works great when your baby isn’t ready to sit on their own—it provides lots of support. We used our Bumbo chair pre-high chair. And it also helps keep your baby off the back of their head (and cuts down on flat head). Both Ethne and I swear by these.
14. Bathing product: I feel that a baby bath tub is not necessary and takes up space. I would recommend purchasing a collapsible bath chair (that is compact) or better yet, a rubber bath matt will do the trick too. Ethne and Shaun had a baby bathtub which they used until the girls could sit up in the bathtub. They liked it, but she said it wasn't a necessity either. (With bathing twins, they could use theirs over the kitchen sink, so they weren't hunching over the bathtub trying to wash 2 babies.)
15. Car Seat Cover: If your baby is due during the winter months and if you live in a state like ND or MN, a car seat cover is an essential. Ethne also had snowsuits that had a slit between the legs where the seatbelt could buckle through - slick!
16. Baby spoons, bowls, and plates. Ethne and I both recommend that you purchase these items from IKEA…they are solid and affordable. If you don't have an IKEA you can get to, most of the brands at Target or Babies-R-Us work fine.
17. Bottles: Ethne and I both LOVE glass bottles and we LOVE Dr. Brown’s bottles. But you choose the brand that works best for you—do the research and ask other mommies. Glass is best though.
18. Bottle supplies including a bottle drying rack and bottle brush. I love my imitation grass bottle drying rack. It is compact and fits well under my kitchen cupboards. Determine what will work best for your kitchen and your space.
19. Diaper bag with changing pad: You will need to select a diaper bag that works for you. I am lucky to have Crafty G-Ma in my life and she made me the Amy Butler Nappy bag and I LOVE IT! Mur-Man is 15 months and I am still hauling it with me everywhere! I even tried to convince my mom to make me another Nappy Bag, because mine was wearing out. Luckily—this bag is reversible and a quick switch made it like-new! Ethne and Shaun use the travel-size Land's End diaper bag and swear by it. They also have the large Land's End diaper bag, but it wasn't as convenient for carrying around for shorter excursions and for daycare.
20. Baby Swing: I think a baby swing is a necessity and we love our “Our Little Lamb” swing from Fisher Price! Your baby will love it too! Ethne had a regular and a travel swing (which was compact, battery-operated and packed up easily). Ethne's girls preferred the good, old-fashioned bouncer seats the best. You don't necessarily need all the bells and whistles!
21. High Chair/Booster Seat: You choose what works best for you and your house. We were lucky to receive a wood Amish high chair from Steve’s folks. Ethne opted for the space saving high chairs that you attach to a chair. Other moms prefer a booster seat and skip the high chair all together. We both used our Bumbo seats, right on the table, to feed the kids baby food.
22. Baby Laundry Detergent and supplies: New mommies and daddies will need a scent free laundry detergent (and there are tons of options). We loved All Free and Clear or All Baby, but don’t forget to look for coupons and off-brand products. To get the puke and poop stains out, Baby Oxi-Clean does the trick. I would recommend a double-rinse cycle and soak before washing. Lastly, you will want a lingerie bag to hold all those baby socks! Trust me—they get lost! Ethne says you can use the homemade laundry detergent we just posted about, even for little babies. It doesn't have any harsh chemicals or fragrances, and is environmentally-friendly.
23. Baby Monitor: Baby Monitors have advanced! Our baby monitor features a video camera, so we can see our Mur-Man sleeping. If your room is in close proximity to the baby room, a monitor isn’t a necessity…if your room is far from the baby, it is a necessity. Ethne and Shaun didn't use theirs as often as they thought because they could usually hear the babies cry anyway.
24. Diaper Garbage: Steve and I preferred the Diaper Champ. This brand doesn't require special garbage bags. However, Ethne and Shaun love the Diaper Genie II. Ethne and Shaun swear that no smells got out and all was contained in their Diaper Genie.
Other items that we L.O.V.E.D., but are not “essentials" are what we call the "might like list”:
1. Multi-Use Waterproof Pads/Sheet Savers: I L.O.V.E. this product. This will cut down on your laundry even more. Steve and I used them on the changing table and in the crib. This cuts down on laundry even more! Ethne says this is a must, by the way.
2. Wipe warmer: Not necessary, but your baby will appreciate it! Just make sure you keep the cover closed when not in use and that you lock the cover down (or your wipes will dry-out). In the middle of the night, would you want your little bottom wiped with a cold, wet wipe?! Ethne and I both used them.
3. Bottle warmer: We rarely used a bottle warmer and instead always served our bottle to Mur-Man at room temperature. The only time the warmer was used was when the bottle came out of the fridge (of course a cup of hot water would do the trick). Handy, but not necessary. Even Ethne and Shaun used this - they heated up breastmilk bottles in it - Shaun often fed one baby at the same time Ethne nursed one so they could stay on the same feeding schedule.
4. Hooded towels/baby washcloths: Of course any towel will do the trick, but an adorable hooded towel is even better. (There will be a future post tutorial on how to make a hooded towel, but for now consider adding a few hooded towels and wash clothes to your “wish list”). Select fluffy hooded towels (not the thin version) and select thin washcloths (this is my preference and they work best).
5. Baby Bjorn/sling: Crafty G-Ma made me a sling (future post) and honestly Mur-Man didn’t love hanging out in it, but other mommies I know use a baby sling all the time. Also, a Baby Bjorn (or another brand) is great for doing house work, shopping, walking, and so much more!
6. Bouncer chair: Bouncer chairs are portable and compact and are great for moving your baby around the house while you work. (Remember—don’t leave your baby on their back too long…tummy time is necessary too!). PS - Ethne and Shaun found this was "must-have".
7. Swaddle blankets: Maybe as a new parent you will turn into an expert at swaddling. It was amazing to me watching the hospital nurses turn Mur-Man into a mini burrito. But trust me—it is a skill. I preferred the pre-made, ready to swaddle blankets. And I had several blankets, to cut-down on laundry. Shaun was a master swaddler with regular baby blankets and as newborns, their girls liked to be swaddled - it was an essential for them. They preferred the larger flannel hospital-style blankets.
8. Formula Travel Container: Of course, this isn’t necessary for a breast feeding mommy, but if you are going to use formula or are going to supplement with formula this is a necessity for your diaper bag.
9. Suction Cup Toy: Baby’s hit a stage where they throw anything and everything. I recommend a suction cup toy for dinner out! (I purchased my toy at a garage sale).
10. Bassinet: This is definitely not a necessity and for some new mommies and daddies - the pack n play works too. I was lucky to find a brand new modern bassinet at a thrift store. And the best part was that my thrifty co-worker Kristi and I shared the cost and the bassinet (she had her baby first). Since then we have shared it with lots of new mommies.
That concluded our “must have” and “might like” list for you. But we do have a few more tips for you that we have discovered since becoming moms:
Butt cream is not a necessity. Mur-Man rarely gets diaper rash and when he did typically the Aveeno Lotion did the trick. When it didn’t, I was given a prescription diaper cream from my doctor (and actually this is something that can be made at home)…and it lasts, and lasts, and lasts and does the trick. Ethne's girls got diaper rash on occasion, so they used butt cream all the time as a preventative - Balmex and A&D ointment were their faves. I recommend that you purchase it as you need it rather than stocking up on it in advance.
No need to register for blankets (unless it is part of your baby bedding set). Most likely, you will end up getting lots of blankets for your baby shower (home-made and store bought).
No need to register for baby clothes or toys. Most likely you will get clothes, toys, and books at your shower. I would stick to the “must have” and “might like” list.
I found that a dishwashing basket wasn’t necessary. We actually ended up using our silverware basket already in the dishwasher for nipples and other bottle supplies. Ethne and Shaun used one and they liked the Target brand best.
You never really know how breast feeding is going to go. It is sometimes work to get baby to latch on (though some babies take right to it) and perseverance is recommended (KD and Easy Mac were preemies so they didn't have the suckle/latch down right away - but Ethne stuck with it and after they got the hang of it, it was SLICK) (one thing to consider is a Medela nipple guard - it might help baby latch on better and once that happens you can stop using it). Ethne was a breast feeding machine and I was not so much. So here is my advice…I wouldn’t recommend initially purchasing a breast pump. Instead consider renting a breast pump from a health supply store or you could even borrow a breast pump from a friend. The hospital will provide you with a state of the art pump to use…and from there you will have a stronger sense of how breastfeeding works for you and your baby. Then purchase the pump. Ethne had a used Medela pump and it worked great.
Eventually you will need sippy cups, teething toys (purchase small teething toys for small hands), homemade baby food supplies (including a food processor (I used the magic bullet), ice cube trays, zip lock steam bags, and zip lock freezer bags), bibs (I like the plastic wash-off version), snack cups (they can stick their hand in but the snacks don't fall out when the cup is shaken) and a potty chair (we prefer the IKEA chair—it doesn’t have lots of bells or whistles or places for germs to collect). These are items you will eventually need so if you have space register for it and store.
MOMS—WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Comment away if you have mom shopping advice!