If you’ve been to a Babies ‘R’ Us lately then you know about the ridiculous variety of items that you can buy for infants and toddlers these days.
When you find out you’re expecting, it can be overwhelming to choose what to buy. Most of us are on a limited budget, and don’t want to spend money on a bunch of crap that we’re never going to use. But how do you know what you need? Well, that’s where I come in because I’m going to tell you. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of a ton of free baby stuff, given to me by my brother and sister whose kids had just outgrown it. Some of it was useful, and some of it wasn’t. I have compiled a list of the top five items that I would definitely recommend for new parents. I’m not being sponsored or endorsed by any of these companies; this is totally my opinion based on my experience.
- Sleep sack – I love putting my baby to sleep in this. Safe sleep guidelines suggest that you not put your baby to bed with a blanket, but I wanted to keep my baby warm. The sleep sack is warm, comfortable, and roomy enough that your baby can move his legs around inside it. It comes in different sizes, and depending on the brand may be sleeveless or have long sleeves (I love the long-sleeved ones). They can seem a little pricey at $20-$30 each, but if you use it every night like I do, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of it.
- Bottle warmer – babies like warm milk. I didn’t want to warm bottles in the microwave, but waiting for water to heat up on the stove, then placing the bottle in the water until it was warm took forever. When my little guy is hungry, he’s hungry now! The bottle warmer that we have is awesome. It heats up a bottle from the fridge in about 2-3 minutes. You just dump some water in the bottom of the warmer, pop in the bottle, and press a button. Steam heats up the bottle quickly with no hot spots. I love my warmer!
- Receiving blankets – I was given many of these as gifts. At first, I had no clue what they were for. I folded them up and put them in a drawer and figured that if I didn’t need them, I’d just get rid of them. Now, almost six months later, I probably go through two or three blankets a day. They are great for cleaning up spit-up and drool on your baby’s face, clothes, the floor, etc. When your baby is little, you can use them to swaddle him. If I’m out at a play group or someone’s house and want to put my baby on the floor, I can spread one out and put him on top. I tuck one onto my baby when he’s in the car seat or stroller to keep him warm and for easy clean-up. Honestly, it’s rare to see me without one of these blankets tossed over my shoulder. They are so immeasurably useful. Buy more than you think you’ll need, because you’ll be using them all the time and they get dirty quickly.
- Travel system – if you’re going to leave the house with your baby, you’re going to need a car seat and probably a stroller. Travel systems are cool because the car seat clips right on to the stroller, so you can transition the baby from your house to the car to the stroller without having to take him out of the seat. It’s great for babies who like to sleep in the car because you can get them into the house without having to wake them up. My little guy just outgrew his travel system car seat and we’re adjusting to having to strap and unstrap him from the new seat to get him in and out of the car. The travel system was WAY easier. I miss it.
- Video monitor – my partner and I had a lot of discussion about what kind of monitor we wanted. The video monitors are quite a bit more expensive than the ones that just provide audio, so we were trying to decide if it would be worth it. In the end, we decided to splurge and spend a bit more for a video monitor and I’m glad we did. I love being able to turn on the visual and watch my baby in his crib. Even if I can’t hear him, sometimes I can see him wriggling around so I know that he’s okay. When he’s older and more mobile, it will be nice to be able to check on him and see what he’s up to in his room. Considering that we’ll be using the monitor every day for at least a couple of years, it was definitely worth the extra expense.
These are the five items that I have found most useful in the first six months of my baby’s life. I hope that you find this helpful. In my next post, I’ll help you save some money by listing the five baby items that I found totally unnecessary.
- Must-Have Newborn Supplies: Baby Bathers and Other Essentials (erissandra.wordpress.com)