I’m a first-time mom. While I’m totally in love with my five-month-old, I can’t stand excessive amounts of baby stuff or the clutter it creates. There seems to be a gadget for everything related to babies. (Hmm-bottle sterilize? Hot water and soap has been working for generations.) You could easily spend a mini fortune and fill every gap of space in your home with baby related items.
When it came to baby gear, I adapted the “less is more” philosophy because of….
1) My “Type-A” Personality- I like our house neat, clean and organized. Less stuff makes that easier for me.
2) The Need to Save Money and Space- Enough said.
3) Our Need for Adult Space & Sanity-At day’s end, I want to drink a glass a wine with my hubby and act like a well-rested sophisticated adult while not stepping on Sophie the Giraffe or tripping over trucks. Keeping the baby stuff to a minimum in our living spaces, especially after he goes to bed, helps us focus on one another and talk about other things than our baby!
While my preference on baby stuff is “less is more,” you might feel differently and want all the gadgets, bells, whistles and newest creations. And of course, that is totally fine! Either way, list below is still applicable as these are “Must-Have” recommendations for all parents!
Kris Bineau of Hush A Bye Baby Newborns is a certified advanced newborn care specialist in Parker, Colorado who has been helping babies for 30 years and has worked with over 100 families including multiples. Together we compiled a list of the five “Must Haves” for your new baby followed by the five “Nice to Haves”. Declaimer: These lists do not include the truly obvious things… diapers, crib, car seat etc…
1) Miracle Blanket – This is a one size fits all up to three-four months. No annoying Velcro and helps prevent facial scratches by securing arms. Babies can’t break out of this swaddle so they are able to get a much better and deeper sleep! If swaddling isn’t for your baby, try The Woombie, which our baby, Dec, just loved! The Woombie allowed more freedom for him to move his hands and I was happy knowing he was still contained!
2) Homedics Sound Spa – Set on white noise and use all night & for all naps. The consistent soft noise helps calm babies and encourages a better night sleep. Another option is a white noise phone app!
3) Blackout Curtains– I was very hesitant to purchase these and didn’t do so until Dec was over 3 months old. Once I did, he slept much later in the mornings- extra sleep for Mom (and baby) is priceless. Try Target for affordable options or Pottery Barn if you want to splurge.
4) MamaRoo by 4moms (or other compact swing/bouncer)- Every mom needs a safe place to put baby down so you can get things done (How about a shower!) Yes, the Mamaroo is pricey, but it provides different types of swing, speed and incline options so you can find your baby’s perfect motion. It’s also great to use for reflux, stuffy noses or multiple babies. And since it is portable, lightweight and small, I move it throughout the house as needed. Another option is the Rock-N-Play which is less expensive and offers fewer options, yet still a safe and portable resting spot for baby.
5) Video Monitor– Some adults might think this is overkill. When used for reasons other than just staring at your sleeping baby, parents can actually save themselves time and energy while also encouraging better sleep habits for the baby! Seeing your baby on the monitor helps determine if parent intervention is necessary or not. This encourages your baby to self soothe and keeps Mom and Dad from rushing into the bedroom at every noise. While higher priced than some, I love Motorola Color Video Monitor. It is small, easy to set up, portable, tilts and scans to find wiggly babies. A nice plus is that it is available in different monitor sizes to fit different budgets.
5 Nice to Haves
1) Ubbi Diaper Pail– There are no special bags needed for this pail! It is made of stainless steel so it doesn’t absorb smell and comes in 12 colors to match any nursery! A bit more expensive than the others, but incredibly worth it as the cost evens out after just a few months since there is no need to purchase special bags!
2) Great Stroller– Getting out of the house can be scary with a newborn. Make it easier on yourself to meet friends for a walk or coffee by getting a great stroller! Think about your family’s need before purchasing: perhaps a jogging stroller, small snap & go, or something more versatile. Personally I love my Baby Jogger Summit X3 for running and walks with friends and the Graco Snap-And-Go for quick trips to the mall, airports, restaurants and farmers markets.
3) Activity Gym– This offers another place to put the baby down safely and helps them developmentally from day one. By how you place the baby on the mat you have tummy time options and objects hanging help eyes to focus. Attempting to touch the objects can keep a baby busy developing their hand-eye coordination. It’s also so easy to move from room to room. I like Skip & Hop “Alphabet Zoo.” You can change out the hanging toys and there are different tactile experiences for baby on the mat.
4) Sweetpea gowns from Sweet Peanut – Absolutely great for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes with no buttons or zips!
5) Nosefrida – Finally, something that works great for little noses. Those hospital bulbs are way too big, not specifically made for noses, and are disgusting (full of bacteria, mold and old boogies when you cut them open!)
Hospital Grade Pump and Hands Free Bra- This will save you tons of time if you’re breastfeeding. I loved my pump and all accessories by Medela.
What are your must haves?
Special thanks to Kris Bineau, certified newborn care specialist, from Hush A Bye Baby Newborns in Parker, Colorado, for her help and expertise!
Elissa Sungar is the Co-Creator of If Not You, Who? a free website that offers easy and fun in-home educational activities that help prepare children for kindergarten and life and recently became a new mom to her baby boy! Her passion for early childhood education grew out of her experience as a pre-school teacher at Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. Elissa loves spending time with her family, hiking, running, tennis, yoga, cute workout clothes, good cheese, great baked goods and exploring Denver! Twitter: @ElissaINYW