When I found out I was going to be a mother, I felt surprised, excited, worried, and so many other things. Most of all, I felt overwhelmed. I remember looking at a registry list and thinking that if I got all of the items, my house would be too full for me to navigate and it would cost me more money than I spend on rent in 4 months.
Did I really need all of this stuff for one small child?
No, I did not need all of it. I did need more than I thought I would however, and some things that I thought would be frivolous ended up being invaluable.
Here are my top items that I found I could not live without (click on the images to find them on Amazon):
1. Rock ‘n Play by Fisherprice
I was surprised by this one. Having never had a baby before, I had thought I would just put her in her crib to sleep. After all, that’s what everyone says you’re supposed to do, right?
Technically, yes, that is where babies should sleep. In practice, it’s not so simple. This wondrous gadget holds the baby so they feel like they are in your arms, and if they move it rocks back and forth from their motion. Mine requires no batteries, has no cord, and is silent. Apparently, the newer models come with a vibration option, which would require batteries, but I don’t think it’s necessary by any means. It’s perfect for when baby is new, and if he or she ever gets a stuffy nose, it cradles them at an angle so their head is elevated. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
The newer versions are available from Amazon in many different varieties. This one is the closest to what I have.
When my baby came home with us, she had one Soothie brand pacifier from the hospital, and my mother-in-law had bought her two more of the same brand. She loved her binkies, but constantly dropped them. She would fall asleep with one, but as soon as her mouth relaxed it would tumble out and she would wake up. Sleeping with a pacifier has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) so I wanted her to be able to have one if it helped her. At the same time, I could not hold her pacifier in her mouth all night long.
Enter the Wubbanub. In addition to being absolutely adorable, these little stuffed animals have pacifiers sewn onto their faces! Not just any pacifiers either (luckily for me) – the only brand of pacifiers that my daughter would use! I was a bit skeptical at first, but after reading a bit about them, and browsing all of the fantastic reviews, I decided to try them. My husband and I ordered two from Amazon (a dragon and a bunny), and gave them to our little girl as part of her Christmas gifts.
We now have four Wubbanubs and find them indispensable. They are weighted and designed so that they lie on the baby’s chest even if the pacifier part is not being suckled. The animal part can easily be wrapped into a swaddle with the baby to keep it in place. I use them for naps, for car rides, and for when she just wants something to suckle. My daughter is 6 and a half months old now and she is now able to put them back into her mouth consistently if they do fall out. Sometimes she takes them out to play with the stuffed animal and then uses the pacifier when she is done. They are also much harder to lose than traditional pacifiers.
The only downside is that my in-laws’ puppy likes to try to steal them.
Here are some of the cute Wubbanubs offered on Amazon.com:
3. Sophie the Giraffe
I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a bunch of hype at first. What’s so special about a little rubber giraffe? I was not going to get one, even when my baby started teething at 3 months. She had a few teethers, and she only used them sparingly. When my mother-in-law bought this for her, I was surprised because I had a general idea of the price tag, and I didn’t want to spend that much on something the baby wouldn’t even really care about.
I could not have been more wrong. She LOVES her Sophie. I don’t know why – maybe it’s the spots, maybe it’s the shape, maybe it’s the material. It doesn’t even squeak anymore, but she doesn’t care one bit. It helps her sleep, it helps her teethe, it calms her when she’s upset. I wouldn’t have spent $23 on it, but it’s probably worth it. If you have the extra cash, I do recommend Sophie.
If you are planning on buying a Sophie teether and would like a high-quality swaddling blanket as well (see number 5), Amazon offers them together for a discount.
4. Fisher-Price 3 Stage Baby Bathtub
At first, I had no idea how to give a baby a bath. Let me warn you, they are very slippery! That’s why I was so thankful for this bathtub. It has a net for newborns, so you don’t have to worry so much about dropping them. It has an insert for little babies to help hold them in a sitting position, which allows one hand the freedom to wash the baby more easily. When baby is old enough, the insert easily comes out to allow plenty of sitting space. We have the “Pink Sparkles” one, but there are other kinds available.
5. Swaddle Designs Ultimate Receiving Blanket
The nurses in the hospital are old pros at swaddling. They can wrap any baby up into a little burrito faster than you can say, “Can you show me how to swaddle, please?”
Unfortunately, not everyone has skills like these. That’s why I really loved this blanket. It is a quality blanket with plenty of material for swaddling that is comfortable and easy to manipulate. The really fantastic part though, are the swaddling directions sewn onto the side. The tag is soft and silky, but it has 3 easy-to-interpret pictures showing exactly how to swaddle a baby. It seems like a simple task, but when faced with a wiggly newborn and postpartum brain, it is easy to forget how to do something you’ve never done. Even if you are way better than I am at remembering simple directions, the new daddy could probably use a cheat sheet.
These are the things that I found the most useful once my baby arrived. Of course, every baby is different and some things that others have found necessary I didn’t use at all. I really liked these products, and I hope you find them to be as useful as I have.
Regardless of your style and the things you decide to use, the important thing is that you are going to have a baby! Don’t forget to enjoy your new little one!