I have a lot of friends that are expecting little babies soon…and they ask me pretty often what parents REALLY need for their new baby. There are so many things out there that are cute, and come off as incredibly important to have…but are SO unnecessary (in my opinion)!
These ten items are items that our particular family wouldn’t have survived without. (Keep in mind, every situation is different! I breastfed, stayed at home for the most part, and we are on an INCREDIBLY tight budget!). My husband and I talked about it, and these things were used the most OFTEN. We feel like they were worth our money.
1. The Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breastpump
This thing was a LIFESAVER. I got mine at a consignment sale for $30, and they normally retail for around $250. (I’ve seen a LOT of them at consignment sales). I purchased new tubes and pieces for it (about $20) and was good to go. I bought this before Noah was born and used it until Peyton was 6 months old. So, that’s QUITE the return on my $50 investment. Not to mention the money I saved not buying formula during that time. Also, when I was playing roller derby (which was a total 3 hour commute on top of a 2 hr practice) I could use an adapter to plug this into my car lighter thingy and pump on the way to and from practice (That’s a story for another day..but yes, this happened, haha). It is ALWAYS a good idea to have a few bags of milk stored in the freezer JUST in case! So, yes, we loved this thing. And then I sold it on Craig’s List to a new mommy for $75
2. The Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper
Noah slept in my bed until he was 18 months old (my choice). When Peyton was a month old, we got a new bed…and it is REALLY high off the ground. Like, I have to run and jump to get on this thing. I was REALLY nervous about having Peyton in this bed so high off of the ground. Also, we got a new mattress with the new bed…and everytime someone moved, everyone rolled toward that person. NOT good with a tiny baby. In addition to our bed being not co-sleeping friendly, Peyton had really awful reflux and had issues sleeping flat. He also liked being rocked to sleep. Enter: The Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. The most glorious gift ever given by the baby gear Gods. This thing was kind of pricey…between $50 and $60 from Target (we have the exact one pictured here), but it did everything we needed it to do to get Peyton to sleep. We feed him and rock him to sleep, then lay him in it and buckle him in. We keep rocking it until he falls back to sleep…and then sweet, peaceful sleep (for 3 hours until he gets up to eat again). I highly recommend this thing. And another great thing about it is that he is laying at an incline, so that helps with the acid reflux issue. It also comes in handy when we travel…no bulky pack and play to pack up. With the RnP we just push a button and fold it up flat and throw it in the trunk! Love. It.
3. Summer Infant Video Baby Monitor
We got this when Noah started sleeping in his own bed in his own room. It made me SO anxious to think about him being in a bed that he could basically get out of whenever he wanted and do whatever he wanted in his room (not that there’s anything dangerous in there, but still!). We also have a baby gate in front of his closed door. (His door is literally less than a foot from my door and from my bed I can look into his room). This video monitor is amazing. The camera sits in his room on a book case (or you can mount it on the wall somewhere) and the monitor is in my bedroom. I can see him VERY clearly, even when his room is dark. It also picks up EVERY sound, so that’s an added bonus (especially those inevitable puke nights that catch you off guard). The con is that is picks up EVERY sound. hah. He sleeps with a fan on which is basically just white noise coming through the monitor, so we turn it off. Also, no need to splurge on a color one. This does the job just fine.
Ohhh how I love this thing. We have the type of jumperoo pictured here ( for $30 from Craig’s List!). It is freestanding and adjustable so that babies of different heights can play in it. Both of my kids played in the jumperoo DAILY for months of their lives, and it is a little bit of a miracle worker when it comes to putting overtired babies to sleep. 2 minutes of jumping and BOOM, sleeping baby passed out in the jumperoo. Whether you move them or let them sleep in the jumperoo is completely up to you, haha. Word of advice, however: If baby poops while in the jumperoo and continues to jump..you will have QUITE the mess on your hands! (Silent poops do exist!).
5. Boon Baby Bowls
Babies throw food. Toddlers throw food. Enter: The Boon Baby Bowl. Someone gave this to me as a gift before Noah was born and there is no way to appreciate its awesomeness until you’re teaching your kid to feed themselves and they learn to hurl bowls off of their tray. This bowl SUCTIONS to the tray! The kid can’t get it off…Noah is 2 and STILL can’t get it off no matter how hard he tries. There is a way to do it (stick your fingers up under the suction part) but he hasn’t figured that out yet, so this is our go-to bowl for meals. We’re going to have to get more when Peyton starts eating out of a bowl…. (Thanks Marnie!)
6. Bumgenius 4.0 diapers
(This is my kid, don’t steal my picture)
This one should go without saying, but I MUST mention it! These are our go-to diapers and the diapers we grab when other diapers fail. These are the ONLY diapers we trust for overnight for both of our kids (paired with a Thirsties Hemp Doubler). AND, they just won Padded Tush Stats’ Diaper of The Year! That should tell ya something. Anyway, we love them. If you cloth diaper they are a must, in my opinion.
7. Boba Carrier
Ohhh the frustration that this thing has saved me! First of all, it’s one of the BEST carriers out there for babies. It has a large seat so that the weight is distributed evenly and babies aren’t “crotch dangling.” Companies like Bjorn and Infantino are getting a lot of flack lately for their carriers and the effects those carriers can have on babies’ spines (Why You Should Avoid Crotch Danglers
). Anyway, I’m 5’0 and when I was 7 months pregnant I EASILY carried my 16 month old around on my back AND front in the Boba carrier (and if you’ve seen me pregnant you know my belly is HUGE). It was just a lot easier than chasing him around places and having to carry him in my arms). Now that I have 2 littles, it is even more handy. When we grocery shop (which I usually do by myself with both kids) I put Noah in the cart and put Peyton in the Boba. There is really no good way to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping with TWO kids without wearing one. Anyway, this thing is a Godsend and I wouldn’t survive without it, seriously. I’d buy it 100 times over. We take it everywhere with us and use it everywhere we go.
8. Episencial Baby Wash
When Noah was born I was totally stocked up on Johnson and Johnson baby wash and lotions…and then I started reading things. Bad things. Things like “Tear free shampoo is tear free because it contains a numbing agent.” Also, this: “The key chemicals of concern are 1,4 dioxane and the preservative formaldehyde, which is slowly released by a chemical called quaternium-15 to kill bacteria. Both 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde are probable human carcinogens; formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant.” (Source: http://www.parenting.com/blogs/natural-parenting/brian-parentingcom/johnson-and-johnson). That day, all of the Johnson and Johnson went in the garbage and we started buying Episencial Baby Wash. Episencial describes their products as made for the most sensitive of skin (ages 0-5) and manufactured under solar power. It is made exclusively with all natural ingredients, the majority of which are organic ingredients with no unhealthy chemicals, ever. This is somethign I feel GOOD about putting on my kids’ skin. It costs a little more than JandJ, but a little goes a long way with this stuff. We also use Episencial Snuggly Lotion after bath time and it smells SUPER good. Anyway, I highly recommend this company…excellent customer service, excellent product.
9. Aden and Anai Bamboo Blankets
Again, not something I had with Noah, but that ONE thing I just had to have before Peyton was born. That one little SPLURGE. So, this isn’t necessarily a MUST HAVE but I do love them and I don’t regret spending the money that I spent on them. They are SUPER soft and P sleeps with one every night (in addition to others being stashed randomly around our house for random clean ups and spit ups). They also make great little nursing covers…many times I just threw one of these over my shoulder. They’re very big and come in adorable prints. You can also get them in organic bamboo, but they’re a little more pricey.
The Boppy pillow is good for a MILLION things. When you’re breastfeeding you basically can just lay your baby in it and have your hands free for other things. It’s also REALLY awesome for helping baby sit up when that time comes. We used it a lot to let Peyton lounge in when he was smaller as well so that he was a little upright and I could play with him
I know a lot of people have put their newborns in a boppy in the baby’s crib to sleep at night, but that’s NOT something I would suggest anybody do. It really is very useful for a lot of SAFE uses for baby though! Also, you can buy adorable covers for it (and even organic covers). You’ll want a cover..I promise. This thing will be covered in boobie milk and spit up. (Sexy, I know).
And there you have it, folks. The 10 things that made life for my growing family MUCH simpler! There were so many things we thought we needed that we barely even touched. If you have tons of money to spend and can buy every baby item out there then GO for it. You might find some of it useful. But if you’re on a super tight budget then nix the changing table and grab the necessities! My BIGGEST advice for expectant mommas on a budget is NEVER buy NEW unless you have to! Consignment shop EVERY weekend! I have saved INCREDIBLY amounts of money buying BIG TICKET items at consignment sales. I’m not snobby and I don’t care if someone else’s kid has used some equipment before mine….save yourself some money and shop used. Things like swings, pack and plays, bouncy seats, boppies, clothes, etc can ALL be purchased in GREAT condition second hand (and then you can turn around and resell them and make your money back). Obviously there are a few things you don’t want to get used…use common sense.