If any of you have strolled down the aisles of a Babies-R-Us lately, you know how difficult it is to figure out what the must-have baby items are. While the assortment of gadgets out there is truly impressive, it is also very intimidating. If I had bought every baby item that I loved with my first child, then we would have been in serious financial trouble.
With my first child, I was blessed with having wonderful baby showers and hand-me-downs, which was much appreciated since we had just bought our first home and a new car. I am also kind of addicted to swap and sell sites and have found amazing deals on quality used baby items through them. I am not adverse to used items, especially baby items, since they grow out of everything so fast.
Even with all this in mind, when I had my second child I found myself wishing that I had forked over the money for certain must-have baby items with my first child! Now that we are almost out of the baby phase with our second (sigh), it is questionable whether getting these baby items for baby #3 (it’s not in the works, don’t worry mom!) would be worth it or not. So, I thought I would make this list to help anyone wondering what must-have baby items they should spend the extra money on.
Must-Have Baby Item #1 – A CHAIR WITH OTTOMAN
Since we already had a wooden rocking chair that my dad had gotten refinished and passed down to us, we thought we could put it to good use in our nursery. There was only one problem: It is terribly uncomfortable. The wooden back slats were pure torture during those 3 AM breastfeeding sessions that always seemed never-ending, and it wasn’t very forgiving to relaxed positions. I really wished (and still do) that we bit the bullet and bought a cozy, oversized chair with an ottoman such as this one from Pottery Barn, but I felt guilty not using the one passed down. I think I may just have to get over it if we have a third child, for my back’s sake!
Must-Have Baby Item #2 – AN EXPANDABLE STROLLER
Of course at the time of baby #1 we weren’t thinking of having baby #2, but after we had baby #2 I really wished we had! We had spent the least amount of money possible on a car seat and single stroller Graco travel system ($100, no joke) and honestly it served its purpose really well. But when we had our second child, I quickly realized that my sanity relied on getting out of the house on a regular basis with my preschooler and baby in tow. Since my preschooler is a super slow walker, a double stroller was a must for us.
Thankfully, we were able to find a great deal on Kijiji (Peg Perego Duette SW with Primo Viaggo car seat for $200, regularly $1000+). I highly recommend that you search for used strollers there as there are such fantastic deals! However, life would have been so much easier if we could have just bought a second seat for our single stroller since we had to switch to a different car seat.
I did a lot of research on all types of strollers, and the Baby Jogger City Elite, though isn’t cheap, ticks all the boxes. I now wish that we had forked over the money for it from the beginning. It is a lot harder than I thought to find the perfect stroller – one with big wheels, enough carry space, spacious seating, yet light and compact enough to travel, and I feel this one has it all. You can even buy a separate glider board to attach behind so your older child can step on for a break. (Edit: I have been made aware that the City Elite is in fact, “a beast” to carry around, so I guess there really is no stroller out there that has it all!)
Must-Have Baby Item #3 – AMAZING BABY CARRIER
We were lucky enough to borrow a Snugly baby carrier, which helped out a lot since my children loved to be carried. However, I found it really hard on my back. I’m not too sure if that is because my babies are giants, or my back isn’t strong enough or if the carrier doesn’t provide enough support, but I would be willing to shell out the bucks for a high quality carrier since I know it will be used a lot. And I mean a lot. I have heard great things about the Ergobaby and Boba baby carriers.
Must-Have Baby Item #4 – BREASTFEEDING PILLOW
I was hesitant on the usefulness of this one because I wasn’t sure if I would want to lug a pillow (and a baby) around my house. But you know what? Breastfeeding is hard, and it kills your back it you don’t have support. I found my nursing sessions particularly gruelling because I have a long torso and found myself constantly hunching over during feedings. My Breast-Friend Nursing Pillow was originally developed by a lactation consultant, and has the added bonus of extra back support and clipping on so that you can actually move around while feeding your baby.
Must-Have Baby Item #5 – MEDELA DOUBLE BREAST PUMP
With both of my children I was lucky enough to be able to pump more than I nursed, and therefore create a freezer stash so that my hubby and parents could feed our babies while I went grocery shopping on my own (gasp!). However, I think those pumping sessions would have been quicker (and quieter!) if I had gotten a Medela double breast pump. It’s hard to really know for sure whether you will use it and it is quite expensive, so I would recommend waiting until baby comes to assess your feeding choices.
Must-Have Baby Item #6 – CO-SLEEPER BED
Here’s some words of warning: Babies tend to not like sleeping on their own. This fun fact shouldn’t surprise us, considering they have been cooped up inside of us for nine months, but it doesn’t jive well with the current recommendation for baby to sleep on her back in a crib or bassinet. And having baby sleep in a bassinet makes life difficult for the breastfeeding mother.
Too bad there isn’t a co-sleeping option so both mama and baby could benefit while still keeping baby safe…Oh wait, there is? Enter a co-sleeper bed, that you either place on your bed or attach to the side. A co-sleeper gives baby her own safe space to sleep but within arms reach of mom. As a mom that spent six months sleeping on an awful futon mattress with a baby perpetually attached to her nipple, I am telling you that it’s worth it! I love how beautiful this one is from Arm’s Reach.
Must-Have Baby Item #7 – SWADDLING SLEEP SACKS
Infant blankets are no longer recommended as they may pose a strangulation risk to babies while sleeping. Therefore, sleep sacks are an amazing alternative. Basically, they are sacks that you can zip on to baby so that their bodies stay nice and warm and there is no way that they can be kicked off. In addition, they have a swaddling option, helping babies sleep through the night by preventing baby from having the moro “startle” reflex. With our first child we used normal swaddling blankets and they were normally off by the morning.
The Halo SleepSack Swaddle comes in adorable patterns and within a reasonable price point. It can be adjusted in 3 ways: Arms in, hands-to-face, or arms out, so it can grow with your baby. In addition, the Halo SleepSacks are recognized as “Hip Healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute – which is always good in my books.
Must-Have Baby Item #8 – ADJUSTABLE VIDEO MONITOR
Though we had a video monitor, we would often accidentally move it while dealing with our flailing baby during diaper changes. Of course when we got downstairs and turned the monitor on, all we would see was the floor or the wall, and would have no way of adjusting it. Having any sort of video monitor is a huge plus and we used ours all the time, but a step-up would have helped us out a lot too.
This one by Timeflys that I found on Amazon has great reviews and has remote-controlled camera rotation, tilt, zoom, 2-way talking, night vision, temperature sensor and changeable lullaby! I’m not going to lie – the thought of having this much technology in my back pocket makes me giddy and I will probably have to upgrade ours when it’s time for baby #3.
Must-Have Baby Item #9 – COAT EXTENDER
This didn’t matter as much while I was pregnant with my first child who was born in May, but my second child was born in February (AKA, dead of winter). Oh, and did I mention that we live in Canada? Having a coat extender would have meant being able to wear my usual coat while pregnant and not having to shell out for a maternity coat that I’ll never use again. In addition, I love how your baby can fit inside in her baby carrier after birth. To me, this is a definite must-have baby item and would have made our winters a baby and toddler so much easier! You can find these coat extenders with Kokoala and Make My Belly Fit (added bonus: it is a Canadian Company!)
Must-Have Baby Item #10 – CRIB DRIBBLER
If only these were legal!
So, there you have it. My top 10 (OK, 9) list of must-have baby items that I wished I had when starting off with my first child. These are the products that I believe are completely worthwhile forking over cold, hard cash for… Especially if you are thinking that you and your partner will be having more than one child. In addition, many of these high quality must-have baby items have a great re-sale value if they are taken care of well.
What do you think? Was there a must-have baby item that you wished you had bought from the beginning? What are your must-have baby items?
The Mama Nurse, xo