I remember being pregnant with my first child and thinking that I had to buy, literally, ALL THE THINGS, because otherwise what kind of mother would I be for skimping on baby gear?! Of course that was all well and good until it actually came time to make a purchase and I realized just how expensive baby gear can be. Instead I relied on items bought for me, baby shower gifts, and hand-me-downs. While none of those are bad (especially considering I was looking so save anywhere possible), I still ended up with items that were basically non-essential. Useless, in fact.
So now that I’m on my third ….. you’d think I would know what I’m doing by now but of course that’s not the case. It’s been seven years since my last baby and this time there REALLY isn’t money to spare. Excluding very obvious needs such as bottles, diapers, clothes, etc – I think I’ve narrowed down the list of my top ten picks for essential baby gear items:
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The pack n play tops the list at number one for sure. You might have assumed I’d put “crib” as a number one item, but in reality most doctors don’t even recommend babies sleep in a crib until they’re about six months old. The pack n play can move with you from room to room, you can take during those holiday treks to and from relatives’ houses, and if you’re really fancy, you might even find one with the removable changing table and lounger.
This is most definitely a necessity for any new parent. As a matter of fact (and please correct me if I’m wrong) I believe that some hospitals won’t even let you leave without a car seat…. Definitely not an item I’d recommend purchasing used, however. The safety regulations on car seats are continually updated and improved on, and if the seat and/or base was ever involved in an accident, you would need to get a new one. SO, if you are going to spend the money on one new item, I’d make it the car seat!
While most parents I know buy a stroller travel system that comes with a car seat, some do not. Whatever your preference, I would suggest really purchasing an item that fits what you need. If you are a runner/walker and plan to take baby out on your daily trips, you might benefit more from a jogging stroller because of it’s ability to move freely, and because of the better tires and shock absorbency. However, if your intent is mostly focused on the indoor and/or casual outing, the stroller may not make a huge difference to you. Ultimately what it comes down to, is when making a purchase that for some can be quite a large expense, make sure you’re getting the one item you will get the most use out of. Make it a stroller you actually WANT to use.
I repeat. TRAVEL SWING. These things are fantastic and take up half the space of a traditional swing. Bonus is, that some travel swings also break down into bouncy chairs, for times when swinging might not be an option. I absolutely loved mine, and we took it everywhere with us. Plus, it folded up, which made it easy to store and to carry.
Originally I had thought to include a walker as my number five choice, but after further consideration I think an excer-saucer would fit the bill quite nicely. Especially if you have a small house like mine and can’t afford to have a little one rolling around from room to room. Excer-saucers can also double as ‘high’ chairs when they get old enough to eat baby food. And to be honest, most Moms can’t always hold or wear a baby all the time. Excer-saucers can be moved indoors or out, and from room to room, making it the best choice for me.
A diaper bag in any sense of the word, is definitely a must-have in my book. It can come in the form of a backpack, a purse, a traditional diaper bag…. you name it. As long as it holds all your bottles, diapers, formula, and any other essential for baby, I think you’re good to go.
For me, a baby monitor was a necessity, and is definitely something I’d recommend to any new mom. I know I can’t always have baby within my line of sight, especially when doing things like cleaning bathrooms or the kitchen – and having a baby monitor keeps me totally at ease and alert to every peep. To be honest it doesn’t even need to be a video monitor to give me peace of mind. As long as I know when baby is crying, I’ll drop what I’m doing to get to him.
While not really considered baby ‘gear’ per se, I think baby storage should be included on the list. Even if you can’t/don’t/won’t have a dedicated nursery, ensuring you have some sort of dedicated storage space for baby will definitely make your life easier. It can be something as simple as an old dresser or plastic drawers with wheels. This keeps all your essentials in one place and out from under foot!
The baby sling is fantastic for those days when baby just needs Mommy, but Mommy can’t afford to carry him/her constantly. I remember wearing my first two pretty regularly, especially when trying to get clothes folded and floors swept. And really…. lets be honest, sometimes a stroller just isn’t convenient. That’s where the baby sling comes in handy. I’d highly suggest to any Mom, that they look into this as a purchase no matter if it’s baby one or baby six (of course by then I hope you’ll have already got one for yourself).
I really debated whether or not to include this on my list. To be honest it’s not something I ever really used for my own children, but I know some new Moms might be really uncomfortable holding a slippery baby while trying to bathe them. I actually used the sink and placed a towel down before putting in warm water. As they got a little older and could sit up, I bought a non-slip mat for the tub and let my boys sit in about an inch or two of water while I gave them a quick rinse. However, all things aside, a baby bath can still used when occasion calls for it. It really is convenient when you need to really scrub in and around those little sausage rolls, or for when you can’t use both hands to help bathe. Certainly not a wasted purchase for everyone.