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Baby Registry Essentials

December 7, 2011

Registering for your baby shower can be a daunting task!  Once you walk into Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby you are instantly overwhelmed at how much there is!  Each person will have a different registry then the next but there are those essential “must haves” that most parents couldn’t have lived without.  Now, one major thing to remember is that each and every baby is different so I can only speak for what I found to be most helpful.  So, here’s a summary of what we found to be most helpful and useful.

1.  Where to put the baby 

In the beginning we pretty much only used the Boppy Pillow for D to sleep on.  It made him feel nice and snug and comfy in between all his numerous nursing sessions.  It is also a savior if you plan on nursing!

We rarely used his bassinet because he preferred feeling snug and didn’t want to lie flat, so we used the changing accessory from his pack and play for him to sleep on.  He slept in that until he was getting too long and then we moved him to his crib (which was hard for me to handle, knowing my baby was already growing up).  I posted a picture of one so you can get the idea of what I’m talking about as pack ‘n plays have changed so much from when they were first invented!

Of the people whom I know that co-sleep, they LOVED their co-sleeper and a few still use it.  So if you are considering co-sleeping, co-sleepers are something I highly recommend looking into.  However, you might want to hold off on purchasing it until you really feel that it is something which will be useful for your family.

After a month or so, we found the swing to be a LIFESAVER!  He slept in the swing ALL the time.  Although it is recommended that babies get their best sleep without motion, I believe that in the end one must find whatever works best for their own sanity purposes.

The vibrating bouncy chair that has toys hanging from the top was rarely used.  However, when it was used I found it to be a huge help while in the kitchen or getting ready.  I think that in our case our baby was just so long that he didn’t like that chair.

One of the best investments that we still use at 9 months is the Prince Lionheart bebePOD PLUS (just like the Bumbo Chair).  We chose this one over the Bumbo for the simple reason of the price for what you got.  It had everything included and more compared to what came with the Bumbo chair (the tray was a separate item you could purchase).  It comes with a tray that easily comes on and off, has divots in the tray for the toy that comes with it, an attachment to put in place of having the tray installed and two place mats.  D just LOVED sitting in there while we were cooking in the kitchen or eating dinner.  (We allowed him to sit in it while on the kitchen counter because our kitchen counters have two levels, thus allowing him unable to fall back if he pushed back from his strength, if he ever were to.  The Bumbo chair has been recalled because children have fallen and severely hit their head.  So just use common sense when using such devices and NEVER leave a child unattended!)  As he got older he also has used it as a high chair when we’re out at a friends house.

2. Ways to Carry the Baby

The stroller and car seat is something that really just comes down to personal choice for the most part.  The major thing you want to look for, besides of course high safety ratings, is the length/weight maximums for the infant car seat.  The safest car seat for your baby to be in is the infant seat, so you really want to keep them in this seat for as long as safely possible.  So this is a huge factor to keep in mind when looking at the millions of car seats available.  Be sure to have your seat checked at the local fire department to ensure it is installed correctly.  The travel systems (car seat and stroller combos sold together) look nice but in all reality are not the best way to go.  The strollers are usually big and bulky and the last thing you want to be dealing with when it comes to traveling around town.  I would recommend just getting the snap n’ go stroller as this is the easiest for travel and then as the baby gets older, purchase a stroller if you still feel it is necessary.

There have been many studies published regarding “carrying” your baby and all the benefits to this.  Baby slings and carriers are a great investment and are a LOT easier to use than lugging around a car seat when your out and about.  Even in the house they are great to use, especially if you are breastfeeding.  There are SO many different kinds, styles and brands out there so you definitely want to do your research.  My best recommendation is to go to a local store that carries baby carriers and try them out with your baby and see what you feel most comfortable in.  Biggest thing to remember is that there are different carriers that work better for different ages and uses.  We have a Baby Bjorn which is a very popular one.  My husband uses this one more because it fits his body type better.  After I did some research I discovered that it is actually not good for the babies natural spinal curvature to use carriers like the Bjorn where they are facing outwards.  So I found a Becco Butterfly carrier (similar to the Ergo carrier), which evenly distributes the weight with a hip strap and the baby faces towards you.  This carrier was the best investment ever and is also something we will be using for a while since you can also turn the baby to be carried on your back as well.

3.  Feeding the baby 

My baby was a boob man all the way!  Around 6 weeks I started pumping once in the morning (after D ate) so that Daddy could feed him and Mommy could get a little break.  🙂  We tried a LOT of bottles and after our experience I would say that it’s not the bottle that makes the difference about whether the baby will take the bottle or not, it’s usually the baby.  But this is from a breast fed babies experience.  In general, a lot of people like Dr. Browns bottles.  But if you’re formula feeding that is a LOT to clean, so you might want to get a bottle with less accessories.  We did get a drying rack which we still use to this day to dry his bowls, sippy cups, etc. so that is a sure thing you will find many uses for!

I cannot really say much in regards to pacifiers except you will probably want to just hold off on buying those and wait and see if your baby is even interested in them.  If you do get any to have on hand just in case, I would get the Soothies by Avent (these are the ones that every hospital carries and uses).

Breast milk is the best gift that you could ever give your baby.  I could go on for days about all the benefits for baby and mom.  There are also SO many resources available for any mom who needs extra support, encouragement, and guidance when it comes to Breastfeeding.  I will be covering more regarding this topic in another post so I don’t want to get too detailed here.  But I believe that every woman should offer the breast first before formula from the very first feeding of a babies life!  Also, find a lactation consultant to guide you through any questions or issues you may encounter, their there for support in every single town!  The best online resource for Breastfeeding I have found is www.Kellymom.com.  And if you are adopting a baby, there is also a possibility that you may be able to Breastfeed the baby as well, so don’t count that option out! 🙂

As the baby grows beyond six months, it’s a whole new story with regards to feeding your baby.  I will cover this in a future post as well!

4.  Keeping the baby warm and snug 

Swaddling babies is done in every culture known to man since history was recorded.  No matter what culture you are, there is some form of swaddling a baby.  But believe it or not the swaddle sure has evolved since!  There’s the good ‘ol fashioned receiving blankets that every baby is wrapped in from the time their born.  To the Muslin blankets which are very popular now for the breathability of the fabric their made of and the large size.  They are about 47″ by 47″.  The fabric is very similar to cheesecloth but is very soft!  I have found many uses for this blanket, especially because I live in a warm climate so it’s nice to have a light blanket available.  I also use it to cover me when nursing in public sometimes.

Now there is the ever popular, must have, SwaddleMe blankets, which is a self-adjusting velcro blanket to keep your baby tightly swaddled.  So whichever you choose, they all work the same way in the end.  It all just depends on your own personal choice.

Now don’t get me wrong, the SwaddleMe is wonderful for its easiness of keeping   the baby bundled up but a receiving blanket swaddle will do just as good for most people.  And you can re-use the receiving blanket to make your own cloth wipes too!  However, as the baby starts to move more and the startle reflex begins to wake them up a lot, a sturdy, firm swaddle is the way to go.  One step beyond the SwaddleMe brand is the “Woombie“, which offers the utmost in possibilities for swaddling a baby.  It has numerous ways you can use their product to either keep one arm out and/or legs out, all while keeping the baby cool enough when sleeping.

We were given a sleep sack as a baby shower present and it was the best gift ever!  I was so bummed once D was too long for it anymore.  Sleep sacks are such a nice and easy pajama option and help the baby feel free and comfortable when they sleep.  Also, our baby was under six months during the summer heat of Arizona so it was a great way to keep him cool, yet warm enough at night without needing a blanket.

5.  Keeping the baby clean 

There are so many options out there for diapers that it can become really overwhelming for a parent.  There’s an entire aisle at the store dedicated to just diapers, it’s nuts!  In the end, we found that Huggies worked for us but Pampers worked better for others.  So it really comes down to personal preference and what fits best on your baby.  In the beginning they go through diapers like their going out of style so we just got the best deal of the week at the store.  There are always coupons as well on their websites and local stores, so be sure to check those out too.  We found the best deal wasn’t always the largest box, so you wanna be vigilant about this.  Those companies are out there trying to take advantage of all the sleep deprived parents!

After noticing how expensive diapers were becoming and feeling bad about contributing to the land fills, I did a lot of research regarding cloth diapers.  I never thought I would ever cloth diaper but when D was about 4 months old we switched over to cloth diapers.  At first I was going to just use them when we were at home but I fell in love with the diapers and switched to cloth full time.  It’s a larger expense in the beginning but once you do the math, you will most definitely save money in the long run!  And a huge positive regarding cloth diapers is that you can sell them when your done with them!  🙂  You can also use them for more than one child, thus multiplying your savings even more!  And the benefits to the baby are huge!  I plan on writing a post just about cloth diapers so I will go into more depth there for those who are interested in learning more.

Wipes are all the same no matter what brand you get.  Just make sure you have lots on hand for the never ending diaper blowouts you will endure.  🙂  We found that just a wet soft wash cloth worked the best during diaper rashes so you might want to think about getting the sensitive skin kind just in case (and lots of wash cloths).  Or you can just make your own cloth wipes and reap the benefits and savings there as well.

With regards to what kind of soap to use, that’s a toss up.  Every babies’ skin is different and there are endless kinds of baby soaps for sale.  I would recommend keeping away from the ones which contain parabens and other harsh chemicals.  There are some great websites that can help you with such decisions regarding what’s best for your babies skin with the least amount of bad chemicals.  For soaps, as well as sunscreens, I have found this website to be very resourceful about what various products contain.  My personal favorite soap to use for D during his baths is Weleda baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash.  And we use California Baby Calming Lotion for after his bath.

 

6.  Baby Clothes 

I thought we would need a lot of clothes for the baby as soon as he came home but what I discovered is that babies really don’t need all that much for clothes.  They grow SO fast that you really only need a handful of onesies, pants, socks, and a cute outfit or two.  Once they start slowing down their growth (around 6 months) then a few more outfits and variety makes more sense to have.  We were thankful for all the hand me downs a friend gave to us and we still haven’t needed to buy D much clothing.  The best places to buy baby clothes are second hand stores most definitely!  There’s no reason to spend full price for an outfit that they will only wear a few times.  Also, with regards to the sizes of baby clothes, I always double the babies age and that’s about the size of clothes they fit into.  However, this is a general statement because brands vary GREATLY in sizes, as well as babies bodies too.

Baby shoes, as cute as they are, are really not needed until around 8 months or so.  It’s a good idea to get them used to shoes before they can walk so you will want a pair of soft soled shoes to put on them once in a while.  Bobux is a great brand if you are looking for a chemical free kind (since everything goes in their mouth, it’s something to consider).  Target and Stride Rite also carry similar, easy to put on, soft soled shoes.  Once the baby starts walking it is recommended they they still wear soft soled shoes for developmental reasons and then once walking is mastered, hard soled shoes are OK.

7.  Everything Else

I’m pretty sure I have covered the major points of what items we have found to be most helpful since our baby was born. It is definitely a constant learning experience when it comes to babies and there will always be new products out there that they have thought of to “help” you with making something easier.  The best advice I could give to any new parent is don’t get caught up with all the hype that you need this and that – just focus on the necessities and you will be just fine.  🙂  Also, do your research about products and read what people have said before you make any major purchases or put items on your registry.

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