Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gear for the First Year

As we are preparing for baby number two, I've been thinking a lot about what baby gear I really loved with Ella, and what baby gear I could have (and sometimes did) done without. I know every parent and child are different, but here are some of the products I thought were great to have with Ella. At the end of my list, I've also included a few things I want to get next time around that I didn't have with Ella. I bet this post will be continually edited/added to as I think on it more. :)

Gear I couldn't live without:
  1. Swing. I particularly liked this style of swing that swings in two different directions.
  2. Bouncer.  A lot of folks will tell you this is a waste of money, especially since you only get a few months of use out of it, but I thought it was wonderful to have - especially when I needed to take a shower or get something else done. For example, I could put her in the bouncer in the bathroom while I showered, and always have my eye on her.
  3. Swaddling blankets. I did not have this particular brand of swaddling blankets (I actually had some pretty cheap ones that didn't hold up well), but I've read that these are great quality swaddling blankets. As a side note, in case you don't know, not just any blanket works well for swaddling!
  4. Halo Sleep Sacks. These are great for the baby to sleep in!
  5. Burp clothes: We needed lots of these because Ella spit-up a lot (turns out she had a milk allergy and that is why she spit up so much), but babies spit up and make lots of messes and burp clothes are great to use to clean up these messes.
  6. Bottles (if you plan to bottle feed at any point): I tried three different kinds out with Ella (Nuk, Playtex Ventaire, and Playtex drop-ins). I liked the Nuk ones the best, but I also liked the Playtex Ventaire bottles. I HATED the Playtex drop-ins, but maybe that's just me . . . I know a lot of people recommend them.
  7. Pacifier (if you plan to use a pacifier): I'm really thankful that Ella took a pacifier (it helped out in lots of ways), and it wasn't too hard to wean her!
  8. Happiest Baby on the Block. I have not read the book, but we watched the DVD in the hospital (I believe all the information is the same, just different formats). He has some really great tips for calming babies. They worked great on Ella!
  9. Your Mama Don't Dance. Ok, this isn't just for the first year, but for a lifetime of parenting. This is really a great Christian parenting book.
  10. Car seat. Obvious, I know. However, in my opinion, it isn't necessary to get an infant car seat that has weight limits above 22 lbs. By the time your child is that large you DON'T want to carry them in the infant car seat any more, and it is somewhat difficult to buckle them/get the child in and out of the car in the infant seat (if you just leave it in the car rather than taking it out).
  11. Pack and Play. We used this as our bassinet for the first few months (in our room), but we've also used it extensively when we traveled, as well as when we are out at a friends house and want to put Ella to bed.
  12. Moby. I loved being able to wear Ella.
  13. Boppy. Great for nursing, as well as just holding her in my lap. A least a couple of slipcovers are useful as well because it does get dirty!
  14. Stroller. There are lots of mixed opinions about the type of stroller to get. I've liked ours, although it is somewhat bulky (it is kind of a middle-sized stroller that our infant car seat would snap into).
  15. High chair. Some folks recommend the spacesaver type (which I also have for traveling and eating out - and like for those purposes), but at home I much prefer to have a regular high chair. If I was limited for space, I might think about this differently.
  16. Camera. I didn't get this camera until Ella was a little older, but a camera (of some sort) is absolutely necessary!
  17. Camcorder. I've used this a lot more as she's gotten older (after all, new babies don't really do much) but I'm still glad I had it when she was a newborn.
Gear I thought was nice to have, but not absolutely necessary:
  1. Diaper pail. I used this a lot in the beginning, but found that I just ended up throwing the diapers away in the regular trash most of the time. With that said, we take our regular trash out frequently - if you don't, you will most definitely want one of these.
  2. Mobile. I really liked one that was battery operated (rather than wind-up) and had a remote control so I could start it back up without disturbing Ella.
  3. Jumperoo. I was tempted to put this under the "I couldn't live without category" but I realize it isn't a necessity. Ella loved this thing though!
  4. Bumbo seat.
  5. Playmat. Ella liked this, but it wasn't something we used for a very long period of time.
Gear I want for the next baby that I didn't have with Ella:
  1. A good nursing cover. I absolutely HATED the one I had, but I really want something that hangs around my neck (rather than just using a blanket). If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!
  2. Noise machine. I'm not sure about the specific one, but I'd like some sort of white noise machine. White noise is great for newborns.
Moms, what gear did you like for your little one?