I have found that there are far too many lists of things your baby NEEDS and most of them are written by the same people that sell those items. I am here to offer up my list of items I could not have lived without, and a short reason why these products are awesome. You may first notice that some very obvious baby furniture is missing from this list. I am assuming everyone has already purchased the true baby essentials; crib, change table, stroller with infant seat, bath tub and toiletries. After these 5 staples have been attained, the rest is only strongly recommended.
1. Breast pump – and milk freezer bags. Let someone else feed the baby for once and go have a long, relaxing bath. You are going to want an electric pump that stimulates the milk ducts, not just emptying them. The Freezer bags are to store them for future as opposed to immediate use. Most pump systems come with a bottle.
2. Muslin wrap. If you have a summer baby, a baby that runs warm or just likes to stuff the blankey in his mouth while sleeping, you are going to need something a little thinner than your traditional swaddling blanket. They are extremely thin for warm days but also offers the tight-wrapped feeling that your baby may need to fall asleep. My little guy likes to suck on the blanket while sleeping so this one was a no-brainer for me. I don’t need to worry about him chocking on the blanket or it interrupting his breathing.
3. Sophie doll – this rubber giraffe is a fad at the moment, so I thought. I received one at my baby shower and was wondering “what in the heck is this thing”? It squeaks, yay for us. But it is also made of natural rubber and no chemicals so baby can chew on it all he wants. The thin neck and legs also made it easy for the little guy to grab on to; this was the first toy he grabbed a few months ago.
4. Leather bib – leather, pleather, something not cotton. It is far easier to just wipe the food off then to wash it after every meal. I would need something like 10 bibs (because I do not do laundry every night) just to keep up with the mess this child makes while eating. The leather bibs also have a magnetic clasp so it can hang on the fridge when not in use.
5. Swing – for the first 3 months, this was heavenly. Baby used to nap in his swing; whenever he was crusty he would have his time outs in the swing. It really kept him occupied when I was just too tired to bounce him on my lap for the next hour. At around 2.5 months it was getting harder for him to nap in the swing, this is when I started napping in the crib. He was almost 15lbs by 3 months and I didn’t want to have to move him from swing and bassinet out of necessity. I made the transition a little early but also under my own terms and it worked out great. Considering the first few months are the hardest, having a friend on your side like the Swing is the difference between a happy baby an a screaming baby
6.Play pen – we went on an over night trip to visit a friend of mine a few towns over and knew right away; even though we have never used the playpen for playing, it can now be used for sleeping. This little guy was our portable crib and I loved it; we just set him up in the other room. Now that he is older, we have it set up in the living room so he can play with his toys safely while I cook dinner; he is sitting now but falls over sometimes so falling onto the mesh sides of the playpen is much nicer than the hard fall onto laminate flooring.
7. Play mat – now that he has outgrown the swing, baby quiet time in the morning has moved to the play mat. At 6 am I place him on the play mat and he plays with the hanging toys while I get our breakfasts ready. He learned to roll from back to belly during baby quiet time; it is one of the only times during the day I just let him lay there without external stimulation.
8. Squeaky rubber ducky – distractions in the bath tub make a happy baby learn to like bath time. He has learned to reach for items by having the ducky float beside him, he perfected his grasp because the ducky became slippery when wet and his aim has improved – stuffing the duck in his mouth I mean. This is one of those times when a duck is not just a duck, it’s a whole learning experience. If you have another toy that you prefer, have at it; my hubby was obsessed with a duck specifically.
9. Lots of books – ready to baby is a great way of expending their vocabulary and teaching them healthy reading habits. I found that I did not talk to baby enough during the day so I read him a story during bed time routine to make up for it. He will lay in my arms, read to nurse, but looking at the book then looking at me reading it to him. Now he tries to eat the book but he enjoys that time together that we share; its bonding and its relaxing. I haven’t read a good book myself since just before he was born so my brain is not going to mush quite as fast since I am still exercising it, and he gets to relax between bath time and falling asleep.
10. 1st step sippy cup – this sippy cup has grip handles for baby to grab and the mouth piece itself it rubbery like a bottle nipple. It’s the in-between stage because he can not chew on the hard plastic sippy cups nor can be really hold on to his bottles on his own without a handle. The sippy is great for walks and traveling. You will no longer need to stop every 30 min to feed a baby; he can drink it himself. I introduced the sippy cup at 5 months and he figured it out in an hour. We leaned him back like we were giving him a bottle and stuck the sippy cup in his mouth. Like always, he tried to grab and hold it himself but this time he had something to hold on to. Once he mastered the sippy cup, he moved on to holding his bottles on his own. Very shortly we will be taking away the bottles and only giving him sippy cups, moving on to the hard plastic spout in a month or two.