Calling all “Veteran Moms” what products could you have NOT lived without? Please comment below to share your tips!!
As a first time mom, I am very thankful for the many tips I received along the way that have saved me time and/or money. Whether it is a convo with a friend, family member, total stranger, pediatrician, BabyCenter, book, blog, Facebook status, I always have my “MOM-DAR” on. I am always on the lookout for a new, easy, cheaper method to the madness that we call “life with child”. It feels like yesterday I was fighting back tears when we registered for our baby registry. Reading review after review, sending email after email for advice, I was in a cold sweat in Babies R Us freaking out about all that you think you “need” to have a baby! Six months ago, we decided to put away the stuff we no longer needed now that our baby was ONE years old. Guess what, we did not need or use a lot of it.
That’s when I began the long list of my “must haves” to pass along to my friends to share what worked for US. Notice it is what worked great for us…At the end of the day what works for your easy-going, low maintenance baby boy, may not work for my high maintenance, acid reflux, hyperactive baby girl! If there is any advice I took out of having a baby was to be open to ALL ideas and suggestions from others; it is a great way to be a fabulous mom and maybe even get a tip for a friend or your future, unborn child. I try to use affordable options and look for the best value and bang for my buck. I apologize for the long post; however, I have mommy-to-be friends who have been requesting some info.
What do you ACTUALLY need in the first few months?
1) Safe method of transportation to get home from hospital, aka a rear facing car seat!
- Our hospital required that they see and inspect our installed car seat prior to being checked out of the hospital.
- What we used: We were passed down a Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 and LOVED it.
- Other popular affordable options: I have also heard wonderful things about the Graco SnugRide 30 Infant Car Seat.
2) Somewhere to sleep…Duh! You have a few options.
- Co-sleeping in your bed: Always an option and is of course FREE. Personally it isn’t the safest or most comfortable. I was too paranoid one of us would roll over onto her and smush her. Some people love to co-sleep though!
- Co-sleeper: If you breastfeed, it makes life and sleep so much easier. I heard if you had a c-section it is also more convenient. Very similar to co-sleeping but safer. What we used: Arm’s Reach Mini Classic Co-Sleeper Bassinet
- Pack ‘N Play: similar to a co-sleeper, another option to use in your bedroom until you feel comfortable enough for your baby to sleep in their crib. We inherited & recommend: Graco Pack ‘N Play On the Go Travel Playard . You can’t go wrong with Graco; however, I don’t think you need one with all of the bells and whistles.
- Crib/Dresser/Changing Table: If you have some money and room to spare, you would ideally want to furnish a bedroom and create a space for your child. I love the Baby Cache line. Be sure to do research on the company. Furniture is an investment.
3) Something to eat. Which brings me to the next essential item: MILK/FORMULA!
- Breastfeeding: Obviously, the best method of nutrition for mommy and baby, even if it is just for a few days or weeks. Not only is it free, after you get the hang of it, it is easier than cleaning bottles and mixing formula. It is a personal decision and for some can be painful or a supply issue. Don’t beat yourself up about it, do what you can, and see what works! Check out Kelly Mom’s website for some great information and advice.
What I used: Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump Tote comes with everything you need to get started.
Future Post: Dedicated to nursing, products that will help you be more efficient, and what worked for me, and returning to work after 6 weeks.
- Bottles: Can be intimidating if you hate making a decision. The best advice I can give you is to just buy a newborn set to start, or if you do purchase the larger bottles-wait to open them. Register for a variety, if you want to have options on hand. And, if you know of someone looking to pass some down, grab em!
What I registered for: Born Free Newborn Set GLASS bottles by accident
They didn’t leak; however, they were VERY heavy. We used them for about a week or so and for extras when she was older. My friends loved their Born Free plastic bottles though.
What we tried when her reflux got bad: Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottle Newborn Feeding Set. So many people swear by these bottles; however, when they didn’t show much improvement in her spitting up and I was SO sick of cleaning the parts I decided to try one last route.
What worked the BEST for her and me: Playtex VentAire ADVANCED BPA Free WIDE Bottle Newborn Starter Set
Why: These bottles helped with her gas, spitting up, reflux issues, and worked great for nursing as well, she never had nipple confusion, they were easy to clean, light, and affordable.
- Formula: Enfamil and Similac are the big players when it comes to formula. Be sure to sign up for offers online when you are pregnant to receive lots of free samples in the mail.
How to choose a formula: trial and error. Depends on the baby and any gas, allergy, fussiness, colic, or stomach issue that upsets your baby.
Did we use Generic? Hells yes! I am a HUGE believer in using generic formula if they have the comparable kind you need. Check out the nutrition contents to see for yourself, they are exactly the same. When we started supplementing I was shocked to see you can get double the amount of the generic Walmart brand of Similac for Gas and Fussiness for the price of one name brand. CHA-CHING!
If you plan on using formula: Check with your hospital before to see if they offer formula. Some hospitals that advocate for breastfeeding do not provide formula during your stay and you must supply it.
4) After they eat, what happens? They poop and pee! That brings me to the next item-Diapers!
You have two choices-disposable or cloth:
- Cloth: I wish I could be more environmental and cost effective but I didn’t have time for that. Did you know that you can save thousands of dollars by using cloth diapers? Cloth diapers have come a LONG way, with inserts and look practically like disposables. Unfortunately I have no advice on which products are better than others, sorry!
- Disposable: I am a Pampers Person! I LOVE PAMPERS and EVERYTHING about them!
WHY? I have a child who inherited not only her daddy’s gas problem, but his sensitive skin as well so we have to use “the good stuff”. She has only had one diaper rash when I used Huggies because I ran out of diapers and wanted to use what I had from my shower. And lastly, I have never had to change her sheets due to a pee or poop leak during a nap or at night.
What kind we used: Pampers Swaddlers for sizes newborn through 2
The newborn diapers with the umbilical cord area cut out and the wetness indicator (in size 1 as well) are the best for newborns.
Pampers Baby Dry Diapers: Size 3-current and love them.
How many? Typically newborns use 10-12 diapers per day. So…84/week until they get older, then they use 6-8 per day if you are registering for larger sizes. If you know you are having a BIG baby you may not need many newborn diapers. For pampers, Newborn size goes up to 10 lbs, and Size 1 is 8-14 pounds. Wait to open many packages in case you want to make a return because you have too many or too few of sizes.
- Baby wipes: Pampers Sensitive Wipes
Why? They are gentle, and leave her behind fresh and we haven’t had any issues!
Prevent Diaper Rash Discomfort:
What I LOVE? Aquafor Baby Healing Ointment, one day and a slightly red butt will be healed and happy!
5) Your Baby Layette
Don’t be totally confused like me who thought it was some sort of sleeping mechanism-it is actually what is recommended for clothes. Newborns need to keep warm no matter what time of year it is, and comfortable.
- I love Carter’s! I would have registered for ALL Carter’s clothes if I would have known better. The Carter’s brand runs on the smaller size for pounds, you can catch their stuff on a great sale, and was it over and over and it keeps in great shape.
- I would not take too many tags off the clothes you receive until you see how big your baby is. We had a TINY baby and actually had to go out and purchase newborn clothes. I’ve had friends with a big baby and lost out on returning clothes for a bigger size because the tags were off and it was worn, and they barely wore their newborn clothes.
- I can’t say it enough…zippers…zippers…zippers!
Here is what the experts suggest to have for the first few months:
- 10-15 bodysuits: you will want both short and long sleeves
- 6-8 Sleep and Play outfits: provide head to toe snuggly comfort
- Carter’s has AWESOME Zip Up Sleep and Play Outfits from premie and up that are PERFECT and come in cotton, terrycloth, and velour. After so many washes we never had ANY issues with the zipper which was my fear. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THESE!
- 2-4 baby gowns
- I used many baby gowns for bedtime under the Halo Swaddle Fleece Sleep Sack so there was no buttons involved in the middle of the night. If you are in a warm climate, baby gowns could be enough warmth for bedtime.
- 2-4 baby hats
- You don’t realize how important they are (especially during the summer) to keep your little nugget warm. I loved the Carter’s Caps 3 pack we had to start.
- 2-3 Swaddle Sleep Sacks
- I confess, I suck at swaddling and I can’t to save my life. I love the HALO Newborn Micro-Fleece Sleepsack! It is GENIUS and did save me from stressing about the perfect swaddle!
- I had one microfleece in newborn, 2 in small (1 cotton and 1 fleece), and 1 cotton in medium-which got returned because she was standing up when she was that size.
- Nothing is better than having to get up in the middle of the night and just unzip, pull over her butt, re-zip and just pull a piece over and not have to actually swaddle. Have I mentioned I LOVE THESE?
- 2-4 blankets
- Aden & Anais 4-Pack Swaddle Plus Wraps are fabulous! These are the best blankets to swaddle if you are going to, if not, they are comfy, cozy, light and airy, and serve more uses other than a blanket.
- 4-6 bibs and burp cloths (at least)
- Burp cloths are a must; however a tip I was told was to use pre-folded thick, cloth diapers! I loved Gerber 6 ply cloth baby diapers. We had so many bibs handed down to us, but the smaller newborn ones were the best when she was so tiny. I liked some similar to the Gerber Unisex-Baby Newborn 3 Pack Interlock Dribbler Bib, that weren’t bigger than her and washed well.
- Few basic optional things
- Pacifiers, diaper bags, monitors, jumpers, medicines, oh my!
Also, check out my “Favorite Products” section with full personal reviews on products listed-which will be updated periodically. Be on the lookout, I will discuss more in the near future, along with what else I suggest for secondary items that are useful! As always, I look forward to your comments, so please comment away!