This post was also featured in the October 2018 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting magazine.
Stop stressing over the nursery and just buy some diapers.
Seriously, there is so much crap you don’t need when you have a baby (wipes warmer, Diaper Genie) that I felt compelled to write a post that only covers what you really do need. Making a registry can be super stressful for a new mom (literally, I cried over it 7 years ago), so here’s the shortened version of what you really freaking need. Seriously, just the basics and you’re fine.
It’s the most obvious, but seriously, ask an expecting mom how much of her nursery is decorated and then whether she has diapers, and you will probably chuckle at the answer. I buy the cheapest diapers, which are usually the generic versions at Aldi, Target and Walmart, but Amazon also has a generic brand that is good.
Pampers are the most expensive, so I don’t tend to buy them except for my first, but if you want to go all out for the softest and most luxurious for your baby’s bum, then that is the way to go. Luvs are also a great buy, especially on Amazon. I usually buy 1 small package of newborn diapers (since sometimes newborns are too big for this size) and 2 large boxes of size 1 diapers to start.
2. Car Seat
I get a lot of questions on my favorite car seats, and honestly, to me they’re all the same. With 4 kids in the last 7 years and 3 vehicles at our house with car seats (my husband’s and our au pair’s), I tend to think I’m an expert in car seat buying as we’ve probably purchased 12 in the last 7 years. And here’s what I’ve come up with. They are all safe. Just buy the cheapest one with the best reviews on Amazon.
I know, you were expecting something much more inspiring, but that is all I’ve got. I found this Graco SnugRide infant car seat for my little lady, and we’ve loved it. My favorite toddler car seat is this one by Britax, because of the cupholders and it’s easy to get in and out of. And we buy these inexpensive booster seats for the big boys.
There are tons of strollers out there, but I love the BOB because the resale value is high and it’s excellent for jogging.
It’s a little longer than some of the other strollers out there, but I like that it’s hefty. (If you want something a little less bulky, I’ve heard excellent things about the City Mini as well, both the single and the double.) I have a single BOB as well as a double BOB, and I love them both. My single is over 7 years old and still going strong. I’ve never needed to buy a replacement. BOB stands behind their products and has sent me replacement accessories, free of charge, more than once.
For new moms reading this, once the baby is older and can sit up, you can use less-cumbersome umbrella stroller. I usually switch to the umbrella stroller at about 4 months. I am obsessed with my Maclaren, and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see that Amazon still sells the denim version that I’ve had for 7 years, and literally still get compliments on every time I take it out. (It also comes in plenty of other colors, like black and gray.) I saw it in People Magazine when I was pregnant with my first, registered for it, and I always feel so chic when I take it out. It’s also super easy to wipe down, and folds up tiny for easy stowing.
4. Burp Cloths
Seriously, you need these the first day. I used to use the old cloth diapers, but when my last kid came along, I realized I’d thrown them all away and couldn’t find them again to order. So I found these ones which are definitely the closest thing.
I love that they’re super absorbent, and since they’re white, they can be bleached and put on the sanitary cycle on my washer. (Yes, I bleach all my white baby stuff and have never used Dreft or any special baby laundry detergents and never had a problem.)
Along the same lines, these are a must.
I bought a bunch of new bibs for my last baby, and these were my favorite because they were absorbent, and again, bleachable. Some of the reviews say the edges fray and the neck opening is small, but my baby is 9 months and I’ve never had those problems.
6. White Noise
All 4 of my kids are all good sleepers, and I credit our white noise practices to that. We have one of these in each of their rooms, and in my experience, using it soon after birth trains the baby to self-soothe and relax when it’s time to sleep.
You can also use a white noise app on your phone (my favorite is Sleep Pillow, which is free) but let’s be honest, I need my phone during naptime so these noise machines are the best. There are more complex noise machines out there, but this one is simple and cheap and honestly all you need.
I love these swaddle blankets! When it comes to getting the baby to sleep, you have 2 options for swaddles: swaddle wraps and swaddle blankets. I buy a couple of these swaddle wraps and then about 8 swaddle blankets. These are soft and come in the cutest patterns! I tend to buy more swaddle blankets than swaddle wraps because the blankets are more versatile as nursing covers, nap cuddles and even a burp cloth when you’re in a pinch.
That being said, I do also love these swaddle wraps and usually buy 2 to 3 per kid, one in 0-3 months size and 2 in 3-6 months. In fact, I bought this exact set for our fourth baby. I usually go gender-neutral because they will last through more than one kid. After 6 months, some kids do great in the swaddle and others will fight it and it keeps them awake. I’ve had both. My oldest had a swaddle until he was 14 months old, but my third was out of his by 2 months because wrestling out of it kept him awake.
While we’re on the topic of swaddling, I learned everything I ever needed to know about sleep training from The Happiest Baby on the Block. I highly recommend it to any first-time mom, or any mom with a newborn who is having sleeping troubles. It changed my approach to newborns and I’ve used the strategies I learned in it with all 4 of my kids.
8. Rock ‘n Play
Okay, run don’t walk and register for this right now. Seriously, I should’ve started the post with this. This thing is magic when it comes to helping babies sleep.
It’s called a Rock ‘n Play, which is kind of confusing because the baby doesn’t play in it. It’s basically a very lightweight, easily-transportable cradle that rocks itself. Seriously, buy one now. I only found out about these after my fourth baby, and I borrowed one from a friend. Let me tell you, it was in our bedroom that first night she came home from the hospital and she slept in it every single night for a good 4 months, until we moved her to her crib. Because the Rock ‘n Play is kind of slanted, the baby’s body really