(Hello one week old Wesley, how tiny you are. All you wanted was milk, dry clothes and snuggles)
I remember being so overwhelmed when making up my registry list for my baby shower. Why were there cloth bibs and plastic ones? What was the difference between a jogging stroller and a regular one? Dear me, what crib mattress should I get? What about the CHEMICALS (its all about the chemicals?!). So I thought I would make a list of what we ended up using those first 6 months or so. I have a couple girlfriends going through this right now and wanted to share what we did. There wont be links to everything so if you have any questions about what we use specifically, let me know!
I am the type of gal that once I make a decision I tend to just stick with that and not waver on what I 'should' have chosen. So this means I haven't tried every stroller, or every brand of pacifier or bottle. If it works then good, moving on. Plus who has the money for that type of indecision?! There are lots of choices and there are lots of options that will work well for you.
Here we go!
How we registered: We used MyRegistry.com and then could ask for things from different places. People seemed to like that and it worked well. I also made a Pinterest board when I was just scoping out ideas.
Even folks who plan on co-sleeping usually have a crib or something other than their bed the baby may sleep in. You never know what will work for you until the baby arrives. We were open to co-sleeping but then I found that it doesn't work for me. I need my own space to sleep deep enough and Wes was a grunty sleeper so it was better if he wasn't too close.
Crib - We got ours from Walmart here. Though I don't usually shop at Walmart they had a good selection of all wood cribs at an affordable price, I love the BabyMod line. For this little girl we are just going to get an inexpensive Ikea crib.
Crib Mattress - This took so long to decide for some reason, too many options. We got a regular spring coil one for $80 bucks or so. One side is baby and one side is toddler. Works great, no complaints.
2-3 Crib Sheets
1-2 Waterproof crib pads
2-3 baby blankets - You will get these if you have a shower, guaranteed. We have probably 10, none purchased ourselves. Aden and Anais make great ones people love.
Optional things we liked:
Bassinet/co-sleeper/ portable sleeper - The first time we didn't have one. This time we have a rock-n-play. If I was to get something from the beginning I would get this: Rock-N-Play Bassinet. Its lightweight, portable, great by the bed and easy to tote around and travel with.
2-3 Swaddles, sleep sacks: We liked the Summer Infant stage two SaddleMe and also just basic sleep sacks for when he was older like this, Halo Sleep Sack. I found sleep sacks used for a great deal.
White Noise Machine: Worked great from the beginning. Now we use it to drown out our noise at night. This way Wes can't hear the TV or if we have friends over. We have the Dohm Dual Speed.
Baby Monitor: We have a simple audio one like this. I have wanted a video one from time to time, just so I didn't need to go into his room to see what he was doing if he was fussing or just because its fun to spy on your kid. But we have a small house and I can usually hear him from any room so we only use ours when we have friends over or its noisy and I need to amplify his sounds or if we are outside around the house working and want to hear him.
Pacifiers : We have and use them. Its up to you if you are going to. It might be good to have some on hand. Keep in mind they come in sizes so get some newborn/0-6 month ones. We used the all rubber ones for like a week and now mainly use the Advent brand because they aren't as ugly as some.
If breastfeeding goes well and you are doing that for 100% of nutrition you really don't need much for the first few months. I highly reccomend taking a breastfeeding class, taking notes and have a lactation consultant number on hand. We got our service with our health insurance and it was INVALUABLE information/help.
Burp Cloths: We liked using prefold diapers for this, very absorbent.
Lanolin Cream - Free from the hospital and that was enough to last, we still have some kicking around.
Breastfeeding Pillow: I LOVED My Breast Friend pillow. Way better than a boppy. I highly recommend one.
Good Nursing Bra or two/three- I love the Bravado brand. They stretch great so you don't need to get a much bigger size for when you are engorged.
Nursing pads - Reusable wool/cotton ones or disposable. Have these ready right away, you don't want to go to the store. You will need them.
Lightweight tank tops for night - Stretchy ones with shelf bras work well. You sweat out a lot of fluids so plan on changing during the night. The shelf bra is nice because then you can stuff a hand towel down there to absorb the leaking/sweat. Ha! I know... it doesn't last forever, I promise.
Button up shirts in a larger size than your pre pregnancy clothes, cross over tops, zipper hoodies, nursing tanks. Make it easy on yourself have a few of these things around before you give birth.
Pump: We didn't use our pump until a month in and we got it with our health insurance plan. We have this one: Medela Pump N Style It comes with basic bottles and we just bought one more set of storage/freeze bottles. It worked well for us as part time pumpers.
Bottle Brush/ Drying rack
Hands free pumping bra: SAVES THE DAY, seriously if you are going to pump, get one.
Nursing Cover: I really like these lightweight ones and will make one for this time around. I also would take one of those gauze blankets and just tie the corners together like a bandana and throw that over me. Worked well and I always had one on hand anyways.
Its up to you if you want to put the following feeding solids/puree supplies on your registry. They don't eat solids until about 6 months in so its not something you need right away.
High Chair - If you are short on space look for one that attaches to a table or a chair/portable one. We have the OXO full size one and love it, but it was a gift so we would have gotten a cheaper alternative if we had to buy it ourselves. This one is pretty neat!
2-3 Good washable/wipeable bibs - Plastic or rubber ones, the ones with a bottom pocket are good.
Stick blender or blender if you don't already have one
Ice cube trays
Baby cups/sippy cups
Check out my past posts on cloth diapers: here and here
Either way if you go cloth or disposable have some newborn, size 1 disposables and wipes on hand. You never know what life will throw at you those first two weeks so its good to have them. We liked Pampers swaddlers and Seventh Generation. I heard the target brand and costco brand are also good for bulk buying. The baby will need to be changed 10 times a day in the beginning, no joke. So plan accordingly for the first few weeks. You cant have too many.
A good way to stock up is to grab a pack every time you go to the grocery store in the last part of your pregnancy. That way you pay over time. I have also heard great things about Amazon Prime accounts and buying diapers that way.
Diaper cream: If you are using disposables you can use anything the store sells. If you are using cloth, coconut oil is a safe bet. Its good to have on hand anyways for dry skin and the like.
Changing Pad and 2-3 covers: For the first month or so we didn't even have the cover on because it got soiled so often it was just easier to wipe down the plastic pad itself.
Changing table: We used a dresser top and now its just on a futon.
We liked Carters brand, Circo, H&M baby, American Apparel and Zutano the best. Tea Collection makes adorable clothes that are a bit pricier.
8-10 Onesies in a mix of newborn, 0-3, and 3-6 size: We were shocked at how small a 7lb baby is. Wes was very much in newborn clothes for a few weeks if not a month. Have some on hand, they grow fast but they also need clothes when they are tiny.
Some cross body long sleeves or Kimono style shirts: We loved having a few of these
Sleepers- 4-6: Zipper is quicker than snaps but people like both. I liked having ones with feet as well as having ones that are open. Again get a few tiny ones (newborn and 0-3m size) unless you seriously expect a huge baby. The fold over cuffs are handy for those sharp little nails.
Tiny baby pants/leggings: We liked ones with cuffs as they are warmer, like these.
Try to find newborn socks that are tall and tube sock like. They stay on better, the short ones just fall off. I just got these for baby #2.
Booties that stay on: We adore the Zutano Baby Booties
Shoes: Babies don't wear shoes except for looks, good booties are key for colder weather but until your kid is walking/crawling they don't need shoes. I did like having some leather crib shoes like the Robeez brand and we really like Stride Rite now for shoes. I would say ask for size 4/5 and up if you ask for real shoes.
Hats : We got one at the hospital and people love making/giving these so you will probably get plenty
Scratch mittens: SO HANDY! Get some.
6 or so small cloth bibs - For spit up/drool cover, great so you don't always have to change the whole baby.
Fleece Bunting for cold weather. I loved the Zutano ones.
Diaper Bag: I made mine and now we just use a simple cotton tote because we don't need much. I did learn that you do need a decent sized bag, I thought I could get away with a small purse but this time around I am going to make a bigger one.
Infant Car seat or Convertible car seat that goes down to infant: We have both. If you live in an area where you drive a lot an infant seat is nice. We had the Chicco Key Fit 30 and loved it, we will use it again for baby #2. Wes was able to stay in it until he was about 10 months old. We used just one base, if your car is from 2006 or later they just clip right in easy.
Snap and go stroller - My mom got one of these used. They are great for the beginning. If you go shopping and the store does not have carts big enough for your car seat, strolls around the block and such. My only complaint is that it has those 4 little crappy grocery cart wheels. Not so good for winter ravaged Vermont roads and sidewalks. But for smooth surfaces they are great to have.
Pack n Play - I have a love hate relationship with this thing. It does not fit through most doorways, so don't expect it to be something you can move around your house with ease. However it is great for trips to the grandparents. I also brought it outside last year when Wes was younger and let him play in it.
Stroller - If you have a snap-n-go or you prefer to baby wear you may not need a stroller right away and can take some time after the baby is here to decide what you want. Many strollers don't work well for infants unless the seat reclines all the way or you can get an attachment that holds the car seat. To be in a upright stroller your baby needs to pretty much be able to sit upright (around 4-6 months).
Because of our long winters, crappy sidewalks, lots of trails and other outdoor bumps in the road I highly recommend a "big wheeled" stroller. We have the BOB Revolution SE and ADORE it, but I also run with it. Anything with 4 tiny "shopping cart wheels" don't work so well in Vermont. If its a 3 wheel one look for a front wheel that can lock or be swivel, again key for our roads, sidewalks and trails. If I don't find a used BOB double stroller I may get this brand for a double as its cheaper but still has the basics that I want.
I also recommend a small umbrella stroller that folds up. Its great to just keep in the back of the car if you need it. Not something you have to get right off.
Baby wearing/ Carriers: We have an Ergo. I do like it a lot. However if you live in a warmer climate it can be very warm. I would look into a Beco or something similar, I hear people love them. (I just checked out the Ergo website and saw they have a cooler Performance carrier and a 4 position carrier, so cool!) I never got into the Moby wrap and this time for when the baby is tiny I will probably mostly use a Ring Sling I am making. I have the infant insert for the Ergo and used that with Wes but since its going to be August this time I am looking for something more lightweight.
Playtime and Other Supplies/ Things we liked:
Rocker/Glider: We have a wooden rocker that was my moms. We lived without a glider/rocker but I will say whenever I sit in someone else's I kind of love it. We may grab a used one this time for our room. Its nice to have someplace comfortable to sit late in the night while you are feeding. There are some gorgeous high end ones that are major $$ and most of the affordable ones all look the same. They aren't pretty but they are pretty comfy.
First aid kit: Has a brush, nail clippers, nose sucker bulb and thermometer in it as well as other handy items, so its all in one.
Swing/Bouncer combo: We got this one and used quite a bit. Wes took some early naps in the swing and the bouncer was great when we wanted to eat dinner and bounce him with our foot.
Tummy Time/ Floor play mat: Free play and movement time is very important. Its best not to have your baby in a 'baby holder' for as much as possible to provide good muscle growth and body development. So we didn't have a walker, a bumbo and only rarely used a used exersaucer.
Teething items: We liked these Chewy Q's made in Maine. We made it through without a Sophie Giraffe.
Mobile: Wesley was never one to just stare at a mobile but they are cute and you can even DIY one. So many good ideas on Etsy or Pinterest. They are good over a changing table as well as crib.
Toys: For those first few months their hands, the lights, the ceiling fan, the wall, their feet and your face are all the toys they really want/need. The next 6 months Wesley's favorite toy was a used Ricotta container with fabric scraps he could pull out. Blocks, balls, music toys, containers, books, scooters/push carts those are good ideas and are even better for one year olds. So no rush on the toys.
Bathing Items: These are all kind of optional, you most likely have a sink and towels/washcloths already so buying things just for the baby are more for fun. You will probably get some at the shower, people like buying this stuff.
Small baby tub - We had a few and didn't really love them. The sink worked and once Wes was sitting we used a Tupperware tub we had. It worked great, we could do a bath anywhere and didn't even need a proper tub. If you want one the kind with the removable infant sling are the best, like this one.
Pack of small washcloths - great for the changing table as well as bath. If you have a little boy, just throw one over his penis so you don't get soaked!
Baby hooded towels
Baby bath wash/shampoo - If you put one of those sets of wash/lotion on your registry that should last you a while. We liked Earth Mama Angel Baby a lot! The foaming bath wash smells so good, is super easy to use and lasts a while. They have good little sets of things for breastfeeding or just postpartum mommas too, throw one of those on there.
Momma Recovery Items not listed above:
Have these on hand before you come home from the hospital/ give birth.
Witch hazel or Tucks pads
Large absorbant sanitary pads
Take a pad, squirt witch hazel/water mix on it, put it in the freezer and your vagina will thank you when you put that sucker on. AMAZING.
You may want a Sitz bath, I didn't end up using one.
Comfortable cotton undies
Herbal recovery and breastfeeding teas. We have a great local tea/herb shop that has these awesome blends. But you can find tea packs for this even in your grocery store.
THE END of LIST - tada!
I have had good luck with buying used items either locally at Once Upon A Child or other baby consignment stores or on Ebay/Craigslist. If you are open to it and want to save some serious cash there is a huge market out there for used baby items.
If you sew check out this post on how to make some handy items that are on this list.
I know that was a little wordy, I tend to be that way. I hope it helps some expecting parents out. All you experienced parents did I forget things? Anything I didn't have that you loved? Anything that you never used?