The Essential List of Must Have Baby Gear

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It’s finally Friday!!! Really the days of the week mean nothing to me because it’s all a blur at this point. BUT there’s something so sweet about Friday, right? Fridays are our stay-at-home day. We don’t run errands, we just stay home in jammies and binge cartoons. I love it!!

I have so many friends and acquaintances that are expecting their first baby and it’s really exciting! Since I’m currently expecting my third I feel pretty confident that I’ve got this down to a science. Not that my system is perfect by any means. Let’s be honest, life with a newborn is chaotic no matter how many times you’ve done it! But I know what works for me and what makes sense for our family. And I’ve definitely got a handle on what products I need and what I don’t.

When I was a first time mom I remember feeling so overwhelmed with the sheer amount of baby stuff that exists. I mean what is a wipe warmer? Or a diaper genie? Do I really need  a video monitor? What’s the difference between an umbrella stroller and a jogger? It was exhausting and I had no idea what I really needed.

But now I know! So I decided to put together a two-part series about the absolute must-haves, the have-nots, and the maybes. This week I’m going to focus on the gear related to baby (strollers, car seats, etc.) and next Friday I’ll do a second post about must-haves just for mom. I’m keeping it simple and straight forward to help you buy what you really need, and leave the rest at the store!!

The Must Haves

These are the items I have found are absolute musts. I am going to link the exact models I have so you know they’re mom-approved!! And just so you know, my motto with bigger purchases (like a carseat) is to invest in quality so it lasts for all of my babies.

    1. Carseat: Every baby needs a carseat, that’s a no-brainer. But which one to buy? We started with a hand-me-down from a coworker that was fine but when Nugget came along I wanted an upgrade. We ended up buying the Baby Jogger 2016 City Go. Baby Jogger makes products that are super easy to use and this seat is no exception. My favorite feature is that you can adjust the straps while baby is in the seat. It just doesn’t get any easier!
    2. Stroller: Another big ticket item and one that I invested a good chunk of money into. I know what you’re going to do, you’re going to click that link so you can see just how much money I invested. But don’t get all judgey! The Baby Jogger City Select Double Stroller is top of the line and worth every cent. I won’t go into a ton of details here because I already wrote a post about that was just about choosing a stroller but what I can tell you is this stroller has paid for itself and then some. And I haven’t even given birth to baby #3!! You can buy a single stroller from the same company but why would you when you can just get the double, take the front seat off and use it as a single?!! How great is that? What other double stroller do you know of that you can remove the second seat?!! Then when baby #2 comes along you’re good to go. I could go on for days about all of the incredible features of this stroller but do your own research, you’ll see why I love it!

    1. A swing and a bouncer: I’m a huge advocate in having plenty of places to put baby down safely. But that’s only if you ever plan to shower again, or eat with both hands. My parents bought us this Fisher Price swing for Bubbaloo (although ours has monkeys, not owls) and it is definitely one of my favorite pieces of baby gear! I was also given the matching Fisher Price bouncer by my coworkers at the time and it’s absolutely the best!! It plays music and vibrates for baby and you can bounce it with your foot. I like to put my babies in this and bounce them with my foot while I use my hands to pump or eat!! It’s truly a lifesaver, just remember to keep it on the floor!
    2. Clothing: It’s super fun to go clothes shopping, there are so many adorable choices! But there’s really only a few items you need. Remember that new babies need help regulating body temperature so I stick with long sleeves and pants no matter the season. And tiny baby socks and mittens were clearly invented for babies by people without babies! Those things get lost all the time! I prefer onesies with mittens cuffs and pants with feet. Also, a sleep sack is a must! I have a few different kinds but the Halo micro-fleece is my favorite (I have one in green). When baby is a newborn swaddling them in a blanket is just fine, but as they grow blankets aren’t safe in the crib and a sleep sack is much better. Nugget still wears one every night and I don’t worry about him staying warm.

  1. A video monitor: Video monitors can be pricey but they are sooooo worth it. It gives me so much peace of mind to be able to see both of my kiddos when the sleep. Plus with the model I have I can hear them and talk back to them. This Samsung is the exact model that I have and I love it! It’s given me so many peaceful nights of sleep, I should really write Samsung a thank you letter. I know there are newer models out there but I just love this one so much, we’re sticking with it!
  2. And a few random necessities: Other than things like diapers and wipes (I only use Pampers, by the way, I’ve tried just about every other brand out there and Pampers outperforms them all!!), there are just a few other essentials I want to mention. I find a Diaper Genie is an absolute must, unless you’re fine with your house smelling like one giant dirty diaper. We have this model and this one (one on each floor). I prefer the first model because it’s larger and has the hands free opener, but both hold in the smell of diapers equally well and that’s the whole point!! I also use and recommend Dr. Brown’s bottles. These bottles have approximately 1,567,892 parts that are a complete pain to wash BUT they really help prevent baby from sucking down a ton of air so it’s worth it. Remember to check nipple sizes because that matters, who knew?! Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is my all-time favorite diaper cream and it’s the only one I use now. Oh and a bottle warmer is a must, even if you plan to nurse you can hopefully pump some extra to leave with dad and other family members so you can do things like pee alone and sleep.

Phew- that’s a lot! And it doesn’t cover everything but it’s a great starting place! I have found these items to be absolutely essential when bringing home a new baby.

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And now onto the baby gear you definitely DON’T need.

  1. A wipe warmer. Someone out there is making millions convincing parents that it’s basically abusive to use wipes that are only room temperature.
  2. A tiny spatula type item to apply diaper cream. What even is that? It’s just one more thing to wash, or for baby to chew on.
  3. A bottle sanitizer. Just nope, it just one more thing sitting on your counter.
  4. A formula keurig thing, how hard is scooping formula that you need a machine to do it for you?
  5. Tons and tons of clothes, yes the clothes are cute but babies grow fast!! I still have clothes from my first with tags on them, don’t spend a ton on each size, they might outgrow it before you can take it home from the store.
  6. Baby toys, you’ll want a few but don’t go hog wild! Once your baby is crawling they’ll be just as happy to bang on pots and pans. Save your money for toys once they’re older!

And finally for the maybe’s. This is the stuff that some people will swear by and others will say they hated it. You decide what works for you!

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    1. Pack and Play: I never needed one but people I know who have them swear by them! Looking back it would have been nice to have a place to put baby where he could sit and play but he was was safe from the dogs but could. Or his older brother for that matter. Maybe for #3!
    2. Pacifiers: I am not anit-paci by any means, I introduced them to both boys but neither of them ever got attached. My grandma would go on a 5 minute rant and tell you all 4,782 reasons why she hates pacifiers but whatever, sometimes you just need quiet!
    3. A bassinet or cosleeper: I mean how many places does this kid need to sleep?! We have this co-sleeper and I love it, but once baby is 3-4 months it’s too small and no longer safe. Also, it doesn’t really come with a mattress we bought an extra diaper changing pad and put that in the co-sleeper- perfect fit!
    4. Baby furniture: Obviously, you need a crib, but that’s about it. The matching changing table and incredibly tiny dresser- yeah, nobody needs that. One of my biggest regrets is that I bought the whole set and I now I don’t love it. The crib is great, but the changing table is small and there’s no storage on top so I’m constantly bending over for diapers and wipes. If I could do it over I would buy a large, long dresser and just put a changing pad on top. But now we’re stuck because I’m too cheap and lazy to re-do it now!
    5. Baby carriers: This is totally a personal preference, but for me it’s not a must. Some mothers would probably disagree. I have two: the Boba wrap and the Ergo. I use them both for different reasons and I love them, but for me it’s not a must.

That’s it!! What a list, do you have any favorite baby gear?? Leave your favorites in the comments below.

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