The Big Baby Gear List!
I have had a number of friends ask me what things I bought when I was getting ready to have Lila. I actually have kept the list in my email box so I could forward it on to anyone who needed it. Another friend asked about it today, so I thought, why not post it on the blog?
I started a Pinterest board for all my tried and true baby items for age 0-1 when my friend Erika was expecting. I've since also started a board for items for kids age 1-2. You can find the age 0-1 board HERE and the age 1-2 board HERE. I continue to add things to both boards as I think of them.
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FOR THE PREGNANCY:
- Belli Oil: This stuff rocks. I used it everyday on my tummy after I showered. I did not end up with one stretch mark.
- Baby Bargains Book- This is a great book that reviews and grades every bit of baby gear out there. Its nice to narrow down what you want before you go shopping by seeing what gets best safety ratings, etc.
- Prenatal Massage - Try and find a great place for this! I had an amazing prenatal massage in Denver. My massage therapist was also a doula, so she really knew what she was doing. I had another massage in Brooklyn at a regular spa, but it wasn't the same as the one in Denver, which pretty much blew my mind. Massage is so so nice especially later on when your hips get really achy.
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I personally think its best to read maybe one really good book about pregnancy and then move on to reading about childcare and breastfeeding (if you are planning on breastfeeding). Depending on how you want your delivery to go, there is definitely some reading that can be helpful about childbirth specifically, but I think reading too much about pregnancy will make you paranoid and nuts...or maybe that was just me - ha! :)
My favorite books so far have been:
- "The Nursing Mother's Companion" - I was so glad that I read this ahead of time so I had some clue about nursing. I continued to reference it throughout Lila's first year. Kellymom.com is also an awesome breastfeeding resource.
- "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" - Good general pregnancy book.
- "Hypnobirthing" - I read a little bit of stuff about childbirth, even though I knew I would probably get an epidural (I was induced with Lila). I really liked "Hypnobirthing" (there are also meditation CDs you can get) - the relaxation techniques were actually really helpful to me during labor and also for stress management during the pregnancy.
- "Wonder Weeks" - This is my absolute favorite. It details all the different growth spurts and what the developments are during each spurt and what you can do to help your baby through them. It seemed like whenever Lila was eating more or waking more, I would look in that book and sure enough she was in the middle of a "wonder week" and all her behaviors made so much sense.
- "What to Expect The First Year" - A great general childcare book.
- "Secrets of The Baby Whisperer" - Once you want to start getting the baby on to a routine or schedule (we started at about 6 weeks), I LOVED "The Baby Whisperer". The author's big thing is a routine called "EASY" (eat-sleep-activity-you). The routine happens in 3 hour cycles - when the baby wakes, you feed them, then activity (whatever - hang out in bouncer, etc), then they nap while you have "you time". I wasn't super strict about the eating - I let Lila nurse whenever she wanted to, but I did keep her on that sleep cycle (starting at about 6 weeks old) - it was really helpful to me when I was ready to come out of that newborn fog and give some structure to our day.
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THE BIG GEAR LIST!
You need very little at the beginning - and a lot will be dependent on what works for your baby, so I would recommend not buying too many of any one thing at first until you've gone through some trial and error.
Also, I got panicky towards the end of my pregnancy when we still had a lot left unbought on our registry, so I ended up buying almost everything that was left on it. Dumb, because after Lila arrived - everyone wanted to buy us things and nothing was left on the list. So - get what you will need for the first couple of weeks, and don't stress the rest, because SO many people will be buying you stuff off the registry after the baby gets there. Especially clothes. OMG, the mountain of clothes.
FOR MAMA, POST-PARTUM:
No one talks about the recovery you have to deal with in the weeks after delivery. You hear all about labor, but dealing with lady bits pain afterwards is NOT FUN, so having some things on hand to help is really important. I had a vaginal delivery with Lila, and these were items that I found essential for my recovery:
- Tucks Medicated Pads - Put them in the fridge so that they are cold for more relief.
- A Perineal Irrigation Bottle - You will probably be given one of these at the hospital.
- Perineal Instant Cold Packs - They gave me some of these at the hospital but I ordered another box for home.
- New Mama Bottom Spray - When you are finished with this, it makes a delightful face spritz :)
- Some Overnight Pads - Only get one package and then see if you need more - I only needed one package before I was able to downsize to regular ones.
- Face Wipes - I used this for my face while in labor, and I loved them.
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FOR YOUR BOOBS:
- Nursing Pads - I recommend using disposable ones at first until your milk comes in and starts to regulate a bit. Once you know whether you are an over-producer or under-producer you can shop for re-usable nursing pads that will work for you. I was a normal to under-producer so I didn't leak much. I really liked Lanacare nursing pads - they are big so cover the whole boob so you don't see lines through your clothes. And they only need to be rinsed periodically.
- Nipple Cream - I liked this brand a lot.
- Nursing Bras and Tanks, as well as Sleep Bras to go under PJ's (unless you wear nursing tanks to bed). My favorite nursing bras were Elle Macpherson's Maternelle bras .
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FOR THE BABY:
- Nursing Pillow - I had a My Brest Friend, and I LOVED it. I like that it has a belt to go around you so you can adjust it higher or lower and it stays there.
- An Additional Cover for your Nursing Pillow - VERY helpful when the baby barfs all over it :)
- A Log for Tracking Feedings. A lot of my friends use the Total Baby app on their smartphones. I went old school and used this book because I wanted to be able to hand it off to Eric or his parents, who do a lot of babysitting for us while I'm at work.
- Nightlight/Dimmer - We have a dimmer on our bedroom lights and it is fantastic - that way you don't have to turn the full lights on to do feedings in the middle of the night which can be jarring to the baby and also wake up your partner.
- Water Bottle for you - I get so thirsty when nursing!
- White Noise Machine - Lila still sleeps with one - it blocks out other household noise (our house is tiny) and signals sleep. SO essential. We also take it when we travel.
- Humidifier - Its really humid in New York during the summer, so I only run the humidifier in the winter.
- Co-sleeper/Cradle - Assuming you are having the baby in your room at first. We had two cradles that were handed down from both sides of our family, and Lila wouldn't sleep in either of them. She slept in our bed on my chest for the first two weeks, then a friend lent us a "snuggle nest" that we used in our bed for a couple of weeks. Finally, we were able to get Lila to sleep in a Rock n Play, which she slept in until she was five months old - at that time we did some sleep training and transitioned her to the crib in her own room. Moral of the story: don't buy too many sheets, etc for whatever crib/cradle you have until you are sure the baby will sleep in it!
- Swaddles - We were given tons of receiving blankets: I didn't used a single one. For swaddling my favorite was the Miracle Blanket - and then once Lila outgrew the Miracle Blanket, we moved her into Halo Sleep Sacks - She now sleeps in Sleep Sacks for Walkers .
- Pacifier - Pacifiers are tricky. Lila didn't start taking a pacifier until she was 3 months old. I tried five different brands before I found one she would take. Her favorites were by Natursutten. If you find your baby likes the Soothies, the Wubanub is awesome. The weight of the stuffed animal keeps it from falling on the floor all the time and its easier for the baby to keep the paci in their mouth.
- Burp Cloths - A LOT of burp cloths!
- Diapers - 1 box of newborn and 1 box of 1's is a good idea to start out with. Don't buy too many newborns - many babies right away are too big for them. We only used one box before Lila graduated to 1's. We really like the Pampers Swaddlers brand - we've had hardly any leaks at all with them.
- Wipes - We like Pampers Sensitive brand. Wipes warmers are totally unnecessary in my opinion.
- Boogie Wipes - I should buy stock in these, I use them so much. Always have them in my purse. We keep a canister in the kitchen.
- Diaper Genie - Awesome for keeping dirty diaper smell at bay.
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As far as bottles/feeding stuff goes, if you are exclusively breast feeding you won't really need much of this at first.
- Pumping Bustier - Allows you to pump both sides at the same time while surfing the web - heh :)
- Bottles - I used Dr. Brown's - they are apparently the best for reducing air intake and help prevent colic. I had a couple of2 oz bottles which are good for newborns, but mostly used 4 oz bottles after about 3 months. I also had a couple of 8 oz bottles. Many babies are super particular about what kind of bottle they like, so I would not buy a whole lot of them until you find what works best for your baby.
- Nursing Cover - Very helpful for nursing or pumping in public.
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LOTIONS AND POTIONS:
- Vaseline - Great for everyday use on the baby's booty.
- A&D - For preventing diaper rash.
- Destin (in the purple tube) - Best I've found for treating diaper rash.
- Aquaphor - The BEST for newborn dry skin.
- CJ's Butter - This is also great for dry skin and diaper rash. We use the unscented version.
- Lotion - Lately I've been using this Shea Butter Lotion you can get at Target, which smells delish.
- Shampoo - Believe it or not, we use regular adult Head and Shoulders (recommended by our pediatrician). It kept away the nasty cradle cap and it also smells really good.
- Soap - We have always used sensitive skin Dove bar soap (as recommended by our pediatrician).
- Gripe Water - Its magical for getting rid of hiccups.
- Nosefrida - This snot sucker is kind of gross in theory, but really does help to clear tiny blocked noses.
- Nail Clipper - We have this one.
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CLOTHING AND BEDDING:
- Clothing - You will get SO much given to you, that I would not buy much. The Side Snap Shirts are nice. Also, try and find Sleepers with Zippers. (Eric LOVES the zipper sleepers - so much easier). Also, Gowns are really nice and make diaper changes very easy. Finally - get some Slipper Socks - they are not easy to find, but Carters makes some, and you can often find them at Target. They are the ONLY thing that stayed on Lila's feet when she was tiny. Not even socks stayed on her feet - so I put socks on under the slipper socks. Seriously, they are THE BEST.
- Crib Bedding - I think we have 3 fitted sheets and 2 rubber sheets. I layer rubber sheet, fitted sheet, rubber sheet, fitted sheet so that if there is an accident in the middle of the night I can just rip off one layer and not have to deal making up the bed half asleep.
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- Mobile - I made one, but if you are getting a wind-up one, I was advised to get one that plays for an extended period of time so you don't have to wind it up constantly. I think there are some Fisher Price ones that play music for 20 minutes. We keep our mobile over the changing table as a distraction.
- Pack n Play - We have actually only used ours a handful of times - mainly as a travel bed. This is the one bit of gear that we probably didn't really need.
- Changing Pad - We just have one cover for our changing pad and instead keep a Disposable Pad on top at all times. We can go weeks using the same disposable pad, but then if there is a super messy situation, we can also scoop everything up in the disposable pad and throw it away. Works for us.
- Stroller - We have the City Mini by Baby Jogger and we love it. We never used the car seat attachment because I got one of these - and was able to put Lila in the stroller right away with it (just make sure your stroller can recline all the way if you decide to do this with a newborn). Many people use a Snap-and-Go for newborns. I personally hated lugging the car seat around because it was so heavy and I had a hard time getting it in and out of the car, so I left it in the car pretty much all the time and either used the stroller or a baby carrier.
- Car Seat - For bucket car seat we have a Peg Perego, mostly because I liked the fabric, but it also gets great safety ratings. A lot of people get the Graco Snugride because it also has great ratings. Our convertible car seat is a Recaro ProRide. Lila moved into that at around age 1.
- Video Monitor - We love our Samsung. I know people who don't have a video monitor, but I've found it so helpful in knowing whether we should respond to cries or not by being able to see what's going on.
- Baby Carrier - I have the Beco Gemini, the Ergo with infant insert, the Sleepy Wrap and a Ring Sling. I use the Beco Gemini and the Ergo the most but the sling or the sleepy wrap are nice for around the house and especially with a newborn. I'm a huge fan of babywearing!
- Bouncer and Swing - Lila loved both. We have the Snuggabunny Bouncer and a hand-me-down Graco swing. The swing was KEY to naps. Lila wouldn't nap anywhere else for a long time. Our swing is an older version of this, and was great because it folds up to store or throw in the car.
- Activity Mat and Mirror - Both are good for tummy time.
- Bath - We loved our Fisher Price Whale Bath and used it until Lila was about one. We put it in our tub and did bathtime there. The seat in it is really great.
- Hooded towels are a must!
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This is another good list.
Some websites that I subscribe to because they have awesome sales are:
If I need anything in a rush, I don't order from those sale sites because sometimes shipping takes forever, but if you see a good deal on there and don't need it right away, then these sites are great.
Another good deal to sign up for is Amazon Mom. Big discounts if you "subscribe and save" on items like diapers and wipes.
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And finally, for those who live in New York State, I recommend looking into this health insurance program for your child - Child Health Plus. We could not afford to add Lila on to my insurance (it cost $700 a month), so CHP has been a lifesaver for us. The application process is a pain in the butt, but its worth it. There are similar programs like this in other states, too.
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I hope this list is of some help to anyone who is shopping for their first child - I know it looks overwhelming - just remember, all you REALLY need are some clothes, food, diapers and a place for them to sleep - all the other stuff is secondary.
Addendum: We decided for a number of reasons that cloth diapering was not going to work for us, although I was very interested in trying it (we weren't sure where we were going to be living/what our laundry situation would be/what Lila's childcare situation would be once I went back to work, etc.). However, if you are interested in cloth diapering your baby, you should check out these awesome posts on my friend Rebecca's blog.