Nobody Needs A Wipe Warmer (And Other Things I Hope You'll Tell Me)

A few weekends ago, I sat down to make a baby registry. Wait, let me just rephrase that sentence: a few weekends ago, I sat down to make a baby registry and did not get up. For the entire 48 hours. Call it anxious first-timer nerves, call it "generally unable to purchase anything, eat anywhere, or make any other kind of decision for myself without first reading seven hundred reviews from other people," but I found the idea of making a baby registry more than a little daunting. (I also found it a little uncomfortable—hey, here's a list of things I'd like you to buy me!—but a couple of kind relatives on Sean's side had been asking, so I figured, if nothing else, it was a way to get my thoughts in order and make a list of things for us that we'll eventually need to acquire.) 

We live in a pretty small house and I don't want a ton of extra stuff—plus, if there's one piece of advice I've read over and over again, it's to buy only the basics and wait until the baby arrives to get the rest (weird as it seems to me now, I do realize that Amazon will still be operating after my due date)—but it was still helpful to me to research (and research and research and research) some of the bigger purchases, and to jot down some of the smaller things I hadn't even realized I'd need (baby snotsucker, whaaat?

Since you have all given me such wonderful advice over the past few months—thanks to your comments, I am now a) buying a carseat and stroller frame instead of an actual stroller, b) investing in the Fisher Price Rock n' Play sleeper, which is apparently made of straight-up miracles, c) putting the baby in our room at first for easier middle-of-the-night access, and d) slightly addicted to the Baby Bargains book for my aforementioned research—I thought I'd ask you for one final favor as I slowly go about accumulating the flotsam and jetsam of the infant years. 

Despite my friend Court's sage advice that "all you need is a bed and boobs"—I feel like I should get this tattooed or embroidered somewhere—the first-timer, pre-planner, can't-leave-the-house-until-I've-checked-three-times-that-the-stove-is-off arrangment-maker in me needs to know that I've struck the perfect balance between having the essentials and not having so many essentials that I'm in danger of turning into a one-woman episode of Hoarders: Baby Junk Edition. While I want to feel capable and prepared for doing something I've never done before—oh, you know, just keeping another human being alive, NBD—I don't want to buy anything I don't need. I especially don't want to buy anything I don't need and then have to to go through the complicated rigmarole of returning it while covered in baby spit-up and operating on two hours of sleep. 

And so I'm wondering, if you don't mind weighing in: what's the one thing you couldn't have lived without in the first year of having a baby? More importantly, perhaps, what's the one thing you absolutely didn't need? 

May 14, 2013

Ha! You really don't need that much stuff - a safe place/way for baby to sleep, things to catch poop/pee/other fluids, minimal things to support feeding them that you will figure out as you go, safe places to put baby down (like a bouncy chair - Baby Bjorn makes a cute one) and comfortable non-fussy things for baby to wear. The rest is figure out as you go for your specific kiddo's personality (and your parenting personality). ACTUALLY, my first baby loved the wipe warmer - it prevented her from crying when we changed her. Was it needed? No. Did it help that particular little baby? Yep. Could we have know that? No. Does baby #2 care about warm vs. cold wipes? No. Eh - you'll find your way :)
The ONE thing I cuold have lived w/o is a safe place to put them down - whatever that looks like for your taste and your baby's preferences.

May 14, 2013

A white noise machine (marpac)! My kids are 5 and 7 and we all still have one in our rooms....there's are original--$50 for years of daily use? bargain!

did not need: changing table. buy a nice dresser and put a changing pad on top :)

May 14, 2013

Three essentials: The book Secrets of a Baby Whisperer, a miracle blanket for swaddling, and a ton of onesies.

Sara G
May 14, 2013

A Boppy pillow was wonderful and invaluable. Great for you to feed the baby, and for Sean to prop him up for easy feeding wiht a bottle if you go that route.
I will weigh in later on what was extraneous after I give it a little more thought.
Oh, and this is Sara from San Diego about 10 years ago. Glad to see you're doing well, I know my husband (Greg in case you forgot) would love to catch up with Sean but he's too lazy to email and we are the last people in the WORLD who don't use Facebook.

May 14, 2013

I have a 10 month old and the one thing I could not live without for the first 6 months were "Places to put the baby." For us that was the Rainforest Bouncer, then the Rainforest Jumperoo, and now his "gated community" which is just a hideous plastic pen thing. Of the three things, the jumperoo was used the shortest amount of time and took up the most space for its entertainment value, so I'd skip that one since you mentioned limited space. But highly recommend a bouncer.

May 14, 2013

I loved my ergo carrier, but didn't really use until my son was about two months, because the infant insert was too hot. Also, totally used a wipe warmer (two on each floor) because cold wipes made my son cry.
Also, he loved his floor play gym thing and a little stand alone mirror that I could set next to him so he could see himself.
Also, those Velcro swaddle things. Worked much better than swaddle blanket as he got bigger.

May 14, 2013

This was our savior in our condo in Chicago

So much smaller than other swings and I could just move it around the house easily as I needed to... kept it in the bathroom while I showered, in the kitchen while I cooked, etc!

As for the miracle blanket - you can have mine. I could never figure the blasted thing out!!!

May 14, 2013

The shangrila playmat. All playmats are NOT created equal...this one is worth the extra expense! I also second the miracle blanket. And agreed about places to put the baby...preferably portable! We moved our rock n play all over the house.

May 14, 2013

You're going to have a huge list here, because everyone does things differently! We love sleep sacks and for me the baby k'tan worked better than lugging a stroller ever did (plus it's awesome for naps around the house). I use nursing tanks from target a lot, too.

May 14, 2013

Ergo, white noise machine (Marpac), co sleeper/RNP, Nose Frida, diapers, swaddle blankets (Aden & Anais), and prefold diapers for burp cloths. You might want to register for things like bottles but you also might be left with ones you thought might work but don't.

I highly recommend making a registry through amazon or myregistry. That way people can buy/loan you things you need, you can link items from different websites and returns are super simple. You just send back what you don't need for whatever you do through amazon. And please sign up for Amazon Mom if you don't already have Prime. It's really amazing to be able to get something in 1-2 days without leaving your house. I have a 17 month old and have never set foot in a baby store.

May 14, 2013

miracle blanket, miracle blanket, and probably 2 or 3 more miracle blankets. Always more than one, because they will get peed on and through a lot.

Booger suckers are pretty important, honestly.

A normal, rectal thermometer, because as fancy and easy as those temporal lobe scanners or ear thermometers seem, they never effing work.

May 14, 2013

My son made it fairly clear after being born that, more than anything, he really, really liked being squeezed. Not, like, extracting-juice-from-an-orange squeezed, but more like being held really tightly or swaddled into a little baby burrito. Extra large swaddling blankets were a must have, as was a great baby carrier that allowed us to hold our son tightly against us while we walked around while still being able to use our hands (we had a Baby Bjorn, but I've heard many great things about Ergo carries, which offer more back support).

May 14, 2013

The one thing I could not live without for my two babes is a baby carrier--I love the Moby wrap for the first few months, and then an Ergo for after that. It is a truth universally acknowledged that babies want to sleep on you, touching your body. A good baby carrier will allow you to let the baby sleep on you and also get stuff done. If you are frustrated that the baby always wakes up when you set him down, put him to sleep in a baby carrier and continue about your day. I partially wrote my master's thesis with my daughter asleep in the Moby wrap. I take the dog for a walk, and go grocery shopping, and cook dinner, and do computer work, while wearing the baby. That is my only necessity.

I also love love love Aden and Anais swaddle blankets, and Sophie the Giraffe (which you are probably contractually obligated to have, living in the Bay Area). In my opinion, swings and bouncy seats are definitely useful but are best borrowed from a friend as babies use them for such a short period of time.

May 14, 2013

Miracle blanket, miracle blanket, miracle blanket. A swing. The vacuum cleaner noise we downloaded (which is still our most-played track on iTunes). So we were basically disciples of The Happiest Baby on the Block, which I also recommend.

If you are going to be nursing, I liked the nursing tank tops from La Leche League the best.

I did not know about the rock 'n' play but I have been jealous of friends who had it since and I wish I had had one!

Emma Denny
May 14, 2013

Lots of muslin squares - you will never have enough! Baby sleeping bags - no worries about blankets falling off and a Bumbo from when they are about 4 months old. All of my children loved this because they could sit up properly fully supported and also it's portable. Otherwise nothing!

Anna Louisa
May 14, 2013

I can't be the only non-mom who loves these posts and feels like your doing our eventual research for thanks ;)

May 14, 2013

More onesies than you could ever imagine.

Socks socks socks - they can double as tiny mittens to keep tiny nails from scratching delicate skin.

Sleep sacks.

A bouncer.

Swaddle things - these were not pre-fabricated when I had my kids, I just used blankets wrapped around them like mummies - but some babies looooove being wound up like that.

Breast pads - even if not breast feeding. Your boobs probably won't get the memo at first, and it can save you from awkwardness.

Stretchy pants, or dresses. For you.

May 14, 2013

Use an old iphone/itouch as a sound machine. Load SimplyNoise and you're good to go. Easy, portable, and can be loaded on all your Apple devices (think: use in nursery, stroller, car/road trips, etc)

May 14, 2013

Ooh, this will be a great list for me, too. Just about 5 weeks to go if I make it to my due date! I went the route of not registering for a single thing, buying it all myself and foregoing a baby shower. We'll have a "Meet the Baby" party once we get adjusted and maybe by then we'll have a better idea of stuff we actually need if people still want to buy us something.
For what it's worth - stuff I bought based on all my extensive research:
Ergo carrier w/infant insert
Chicco KeyFit car seat
the much-loved Fisher Price Rock-n-Play Sleeper for our room and moving around the house
Aden & Anais swaddle blankets
lots of onesies and sleep gowns

That's it! We're cloth-diapering and using flannel wipes so I don't think we even need a wipes warmer. :)
Good luck!

May 14, 2013

I know they're not "necessary" per say, but do you know the difference btw warmed and unwarmed wipes is? In our house, it was the difference btw whether or not that kid went back to sleep after his 2am diaper change. If you're milk drunk and half asleep, nothing wakes you up faster that a cold wipe down of your unmentionables!
Wipe warmer defense aside, I could not have lived without my Miracle Blanket. My capacity to do a proper swaddle is severely limited on 3 hours of sleep. This takes the guesswork out.
As for "don't bother"- in the same vein, those velcro swaddling contraptions. Super baby will break the heck out of it by 3 weeks old!

May 14, 2013

The Kiddopotamus saddle me blankets were a lifesaver. Best things ever!
Good luck!

May 14, 2013

Need: a baby carrier (an Ergo or a Baby Bjorn), Aden + Anais muslin swaddles, a play/activity mat, infant bath tub/sling, "someplace to put baby" (we used the Rock N Play for that), a swing, crib, changing table, a diaper bag, nursing bras, a breast pump (if you want some freedom!)

Don't need: Bumbo chair, breastfeeding pillow, a sling, glider, cutesy clothes (for the first few months anyway), tons of toys, monitor (our house is small though)

Nice to have: Pack N Play (our baby slept in our room in one for the first 3 months, now we take it to friends' houses), jogging stroller, white noise machine

May 14, 2013

- Definitely and most importantly The Contented Baby by Gina Ford (she has a bad rep, but mainly from people who haven't actually read her books). Read it - or whichever baby book you end up choosing - before the baby comes as you'll have no time once its here! I would have been lost without her advice.

- Swaddling blanket for the first few months.

- Kick mat and baby bouncer (Baby Einstein do good ones) for that 'safe place to put them'

- it sounds silly but my Skip Hop Duo change bag. We still use it now and I have a 6 and 3yr old! It has handles which modify to clip on to your buggy when they're little, and also become a 'cross body bag' you can wear when they're older and no longer in a buggy. (unbelievably useful, really..!)

my tip would be don't buy a girly one so that when you take a half a day off in the early days (to SLEEP!) your husband is happy to take the baby AND wear that baby bag to the park/coffee shop etc without feeling like a girl..! You and your husband will be using it for a long time - you'll need wipes, juice, snacks, small first aid kit etc etc and a change of clothes for them for yeeears to come!

Julie Fronmueller
May 14, 2013

Something to carry the baby in that will leave your hands free. Wraps, carriers, etc. My baby is 10 now, so I hesitate to recommend a specific product, but the option to hold the baby close while having your hands free to do others things is sometimes a lifesaver.

May 14, 2013

Miracle blankets (bought 2 off craigslist)- definitely worth the cost over other swaddling blanket

Aden and Anais muslin swaddle wraps from Target (used for everything)

Long sleeve white onsies

Moby wrap for the first couple months (indispensable to me) and then the Ergo for the next 18 months or so (again, it was indispensable

I didn't need so many baby hats.

May 14, 2013

Nose Frieda. It's gross in theory but plugged baby noses call for desperate measures and this nasal aspirator cannot be beat.

May 14, 2013

My sisters swear by the SleepSack - it'll keep him warm without being able to kick off a blanket, but it's really not necessary until he's more active.

Skip: the changing table. As already mentioned, there are any number of pieces of furniture that work just as well, but once he's mobile, you'll end up changing him right on the floor more than anywhere else.

May 14, 2013

As I'm sure you'll see from the comments...almost everything is up for debate! We didn't use a wipe warmer, but loved the summer infant swaddle me and the halo sleep sacks - but you could definitely just swaddle with a blanket if you're handy (we're not). My sister's daughter hated being maybe register for one and if your baby likes it you can always get more. We loved having a small portable bouncer that we could move from room to room so we had somewhere to set the baby. Also, we didn't get a swing at first but ended up buying one later, so it's something you could wait and see if you need. It was a lifesaver for us. I think a carrier is really nice to have right off the bat. I have friends who loved mobys, we got a hand-me-down mei tai that worked great. A lot of baby stores will let you try on different carriers with weight in them so you can see what is comfortable to you. Also, have you looked into cloth diapers at all? I was inspired by John and Sherry at Young House Love (they have several posts about it) and we bought Bum Genius diapers which we're still using and love (we use flannel wipes too). We started using them when our daughter was around a month old. Can't remember if anyone has mentioned the book Happiest Baby on the Block? It's very helpful. I also like The Nursing Mother's Companion if you're planning on breastfeeding (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is also good). Also, they make cotton reusable breast pads which I found way more comfortable than the disposable kind. We didn't buy a high chair, we just use a fisher price booster seat with tray. Ok, I think that's all for now! I know I went into information overload when I was trying to figure out what to register's true that it's hard to know what you'll need until the baby's here since every baby and family is different!

May 14, 2013

A Moby wrap. Best baby carrier for infants - and you will be so thankful to have your hands free.

May 14, 2013

You will need a lot of burp cloths. When you think you have enough, buy one more package. Then strew them in every room that you think you will walk through with the baby. Truth. Also, I found it nice to have really cosy and soft clothes for that first month. The Ergo carrier with infant insert was also great, because our girl liked to stay cuddled up on me all the time for a couple of months and this way I could still get stuff done.

One thing I didn't need? People bought me a lot of really cute tiny shoes for babies that I squealed with joy over when I unwrapped them, and cursed in frustration over later on when I tried to keep them on her feet. She's nine months old now, and shoes are still a bother. Another unnecessary purchase, we found, was a Christmas gift we received when she was four months old. It was an electronic toy designed to keep tummy and back time "stimulating and engaging" but turned out just to be noisy and chaotic. She liked it for one day, now it's just the toy that everyone--including baby--hates. However, these days she totally digs the box it came in. She can crawl inside it!

May 14, 2013

We actually didn't use regular wipes at all. We cut up old plain white cotton t-shirts and kept a thermos of warm water next to the changing pad and used the cotton squares to wipe. Didn't need a wipe warmer. Didn't need to purchase wipes & throw them away. Daughter never once developed diaper rash. The only thing is we had to wash the wipes regularly, but that's not too hard.

Number one thing I loved was the Boppy, for nursing & propping baby up. So so many things are not necessary. I like the advice of getting minimal stuff & then waiting to see what you need afterward.

Sara Baker
May 14, 2013

Swaddling blankets! Good luck!

May 14, 2013

A baby swing
An incredible stack of soft hand towels or towel like (muslin squares, cloth diapers, etc..)that are easy to launder & soak shit up.
An old fashion rectal thermometer
An emergency can of formula (infant, probably soy) and a bottle that has the same nipple as the favored pacifier (if you are breast feeding)

Honestly, for the first week or two you need more stuff for you then the baby... food in the freezer, clean clothes that aren't big enough to stick a large beach ball in but also aren't the size you wore before baby, and the phone number of someone you can count on 24/7 for advice and calming words.

May 14, 2013

I didn't use the wipe warmer. Just took the wipe, tore it in half (easier for me to clean w/smaller pieces), wadded them in my hand to warm them up, then wipe, repeat. He never seemed to mind.

May 14, 2013

Velcro Swaddles. Couldn't have lived without them.

And the My Little Snugabunny Swing (IT PLUGS IN!!) was well worth the floor space. She practically lived in that thing for the first 3 months of her life.

I had the Rock N Play sleeper... but my daughter is THE LOUDEST SLEEPER EVER, so she was quickly relegated to the nursery. If you have a normal baby, I'm sure it would be very useful! ;)

May 14, 2013

The best booger sucker we used came home with us from the hospital. Don't bother registering for that. As I have a 2 year old and am preparing for our second, here's my advice.
1. borrow the big stuff (bouncer, swing, play mat, bumbo, ergo, etc) If you have friends who have had babies, chances are they would love to stop storing this stuff. Then if Hammish doesn't like to bounce, send it back to your friends
2. Our first daughter loved her play mat and it was our saving grace until she could sit up. We have the Baby einstein underwater one.
3. Sleepers that zip instead of snap. Save yourself several seconds multiple times a day. Zip!
4. Summer brand swaddlers with the velcro. baby burrito, yes please

May 14, 2013

This is really abstract, but take a look at the general availability (and return policies) of the stuff you're uncertain about.

One of my biggest frustrations was wanting to get something I'd been mulling over (after discovering my particular kid would probably respond positively to it), only to find it was many days/weeks/months until I could get one. And the darned little buggers change so quickly, who knows if it would still make a difference 3 days or 3 weeks down the road.

We all made it through, of course, but that happened often enough that I started obsessively pre-shopping for certain things as he reached different ages & stages.

The Girl Who
May 14, 2013

I second everyone on needing a baby carrier (ergo, bjorn, moby, that's a whole other rabbit hole you can fall into.) And I know they take up space but both of my kids rocked a baby swing which allowed me to do stuff without holding the kid but with the kid right their looking at me (borrow one or buy one secondhand)

Good advice I got was don't purchase an entire crib set (sheet, bumper, quilt) together because you never use the quilt on that itty bitty baby, it's all about swaddling in receiving blankets and the quilt gets tossed aside. So I bought sheets and bumper (crib bumpers are good or bad for your baby depending on who you listen to) separately.

Don't buy shoes! No matter the impulse to buy cute tiny Converse, you will never put them on, besides they are a nightmare to put on. Onesies that zip, all the snapping is crazy stupid, I actually got sore fingers.

May 14, 2013

Swing (and cushioned insert for tiny heads - same with car seat & stroller)
Pack N' Play
Apps for white noise (don't be afraid to crank the volume)
Nasal Aspirator
Baby bathtub
Baby Shampoo/Bodywash/Lotion
Diaper Rash Ointment
Diaper Genie
Sun glare shield for car window(s)
Burping cloths

May 14, 2013

What I just recently & unfortunately learned(baby is 11 weeks old): If you breastfeed exclusively your baby may not take a bottle. I'm so pissed noone told me this. You need a pump, bottles, & pacifiers if you're breastfeeding. Give him whatever he will suck on right away!

May 14, 2013

Needed: Definitely swaddling blankets. Even if you don't wind up swaddling, there's always something you'll want them for. My brothers (first time uncles) loved it as well because it was much more like being handed a controlled, managed creature than OMG A BABY (Which was the response when we passed either of them a child with limbs aflail).

I also loved my peanut shell and boppy. And the giant leaf from ikea that is still hanging above my son's bed.

Unneeded: Swing, but that depends on the kid. Try out a friend's/store's before buying.

May 14, 2013

1.) moby wrap
2.) halo sleep sack with the swaddle wrap thingy
3.) swaddle blankets
4.) white noise whatever

Basically recreating the womb for another three months or so :) helps keep everyone happy.

May 14, 2013

My little guy is turning one(!) this weekend, I remember stressing out about what exactly to pick, because of course you wanted it to be perfect. So much of the stuff we got he hated/love affair was super brief that took up so much space in our tiny house (play mat, bumbo, & swing I am looking at you) were highly recommended.

It honestly depends on your baby's preference. Ours was super colicky and had acid reflux and the single thing that helped him was a vibrating bouncy seat. The hours he spend it that saved our sanity.

Other lifesavers have already been recommended, but I will chime in. Summers infant swaddle blankets, the nose frida, some sort of bottle drying rack (we have the one by Boon), lots and lots and lots of burp cloths/receiving blankets/spit-up catchers stashed through out your house, an old phone just for him with a white noise app downloaded (and download it on both your phones as well!), some sort of breast feeding pillow, a carrier/sling, a REAL diaper pail (not a rubbermade can) and a great breast pump.

Red Boots
May 14, 2013

It depends on your financial situation/work arrangements for after the baby is born, but in my case (on British maternity leave for 9 months) I found it easier to buy everything I needed (essentials and non-essentials) while I was still pregnant and working full-time and hence on a full-time salary. I knew I'd be on the statutory maternity leave for 9 months (at not a great rate) and then when I returned to work I knew I'd working part-time and paying astronomical childcare rates.

So I personally would say buy loads of clothing - especially besics like vests and sleepsuits up to size 12 months. Don't buy too much in the way of 0-3 month clothing (if your friends and family are anything like ours you'll get heaps of clothing in that age range), but 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 month clothing is really useful to have.

Barbara Whiffen
May 14, 2013

I second Anna Louise's comment about not being a mom yet and I'm loving being able to glean all this info :) Thank you from me, too! (and good luck with your registry!)

May 14, 2013

Things I could not live without (in no particular order)

aden & anais swaddle blankets. Neither of my kids really liked to be swaddled--but these are so light weight and lovely--if you go out and need to block the sun, you can use these over the carrier.

Moby wrap. I didn't use one of these with my oldest, but when the second came along, it was a necessity and I wondered why I didn't get one sooner. So nice to get things done around the house or for a walk around the neighborhood.

My older son LOVED the bouncy seat and swing. The youngest didn't like either. I recommend borrowing these if you can to test out. Because if the kid likes them, they are worth their weight in gold. But if they hate them, a waste of money and space.

White noise machine. My oldest is four and we still use his. The baby has one too.

Sleepers. I honestly didn't like sleep sacks or gowns--I found them harder to maneuver in the middle of the night. I liked the zip up kind with feet. So cozy.

Things I never used:

Wipe warmer. It dries the wipes out faster and then the kid gets mad when their little tush gets touched with a regular wipe when in public.

Bottle warmer. I formula fed and they just had room temperature bottles.

Play mat. Both my kids hated it. They were much more content with random toys in their hands.

Sleep sacks and the swaddle blankets with the velcro. My kids hated being swaddled so these were useless to us.

Good luck! It's totally overwhelming with 8 million choices. Don't register for too many clothes--people will buy them and you end up with a ridiculous amount of teeny tiny clothes that the kid will wear once. I recommended that friends by me bigger size clothes--both my kids were in the 8 pound range and wore newborn size for 3-4 weeks and then went to 0-3 months. While it is very tempting to wash everything and have it ready to go...I recommend leaving tags on the small stuff and washing only a few things (sleepers, onesies, a going home outfit) so you can take things back if you end up having a big kid that doesn't fit newborn sizes.

May 14, 2013

Burp cloths (a lot)
Swaddle blankets
Summer Infant Swaddle me (we ended up getting about 6 of these, but you could start with one to see if you like it)
Travel Sleep Sheep (it's a white noise machine in a little sheep, and the travel size is small enough to put in the stroller or carseat)
Baby carrier of some kind
Bouncy seat or something else you can put the baby down in (carseat actually works well for this at first)
Nursing bras
Nursing app (I liked Milk Monitor, it was simple and easy to use)

May 14, 2013

A way to wear the baby - my favorite is the Ergo. A baby bag you love - I am a bag kind of gal and am up to 3 but I love and use each one but the normal person only needs 1 (or a big purse you love works too). Everything else...meh. See what flavor baby you get. Mine didn't like to be swaddled. People love giving baby blankets so you will end up with way more than you need. Mine was a spitter so lots of burp cloths for us but not all babies are spitters.

May 14, 2013

I never had children of my own but I was a nanny for two infants and then toddlers for a few years.
The one item I could absolutely not have done without: a Baby Bjorn
Items that were a waste of time: wipe warmer!

May 14, 2013

One of each?
If you're breastfeeding, the apps they have to keep track of that feedings, diapers, etc. can be very helpful. I used Feed Baby Pro w/ my 2nd and loved it. (First time around I couldn't keep track of anything.)

Didn't need? Binkie holders & clips. Always forgot them. And the ribbon on those binkie clips was always covered in drool when I did. I just accepted that I would continually lose them and have to buy more all the damn time.

(Wipe warmers are good for just holding/storing the wipes, but I found they dried the wipes out so I kept mine unplugged.)

Oh- Old school cloth diapers? The best spit rags. I liked the slighty thiner ones. I'd keep stacks of them everywhere. And I'd drap them over my tummy/lap/boppy/sholders when holding & feeding my boys to lessen wet diaper leakage & spit up messes on me.

May 14, 2013

A Boppy is wonderful. I cannot live without my sleep book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It is the best sleep book on the planet, hands down! Also, I don't know if anyone told you this or not, but take EVERYTHING from the hospital! Every time they wheel your baby in, with the cart drawer full of diapers and wipes, take them. Extra binkies, take them. The pink plastic bin, take it. Take it all! I felt like a fool doing this with my first baby, so I didn't, but I did it with my 2nd and 3rd. Your insurance is paying for all of this anyway, and diapers are expensive. Take them!

May 14, 2013

We didn't find out our baby's gender, did not have a name picked out and were basically as unprepared as could be ahead of time - here is what I needed besides a "bed & boobs"


the aden and anais swaddle blankets that were already mentioned.

You really can get all the rest after you have him :)

May 14, 2013

In: Anything that allows you to get more sleep and/or be hands-free. It was different for all of my babies, but I agree that those swaddle blankets are pretty cool, and the baby wearer is a good idea...I loved a bouncy/vibrating seat too because it allowed me to bounce the baby with my foot while I ate dinner....
In: Anything you will want at 2 in the morning. Gas drops, a rectal thermometer (the mom that said the ear ones are too big was right), a rocking chair...
Out: Anything they will want as a phase and/or you can borrow from a friend. All three of my babies were mostly different with the big stuff-- swing/playmat/exersaucer. Find a loaner, if you love it, will deliver it the very next day if you order by 5pm.

Margie K
May 14, 2013

Never heard of a "nose frida," but deduced its definition from the comments. We got a "booger sucker" in the hospital kit (i.e., stuff they send home with you, whether you want it or not, you're paying for it anyway).

My "kids" are 28, 25, and 22, so a lot of what was mentioned didn't even exist back when my kids were babies. :) I think Amalah (Amy Storch) has a great list on the AlphaMom site. Of course, like everyone else, what works well for one baby or family situation, may not be useful for another.

Swaddling in a receiving blanket isn't that hard. They'll teach you how in the hospital, probably even at a prenatal class assuming you take one. But yes, lots of receiving blankets; hard to have too many, as they can serve as burp cloths, window shades, any number of things.

"Pac'n Plays" hadn't been invented, but we got a lot of use from our play pen (same idea, a little less portable). We'd take it to the lake and put a blanket over the top to provide shade.

One thing I wish had been invented a bit earlier was a pacifier tether. Basically a ribbon that clips to their clothing you thread the pacifier through. Kids are always spitting them out and losing them. We got one with the last child when she was almost done using them.

If you decide to nurse and want to pump (good idea), it's worth it to get a good pump. I never had one. I was given a useless hand pump as a hand-me-down, so ended up supplementing with formula. I don't recommendations (LaLeche League might), but many hospitals rent good ones.

Probably the best thing to have for me was other girlfriends and co-workers with young ones, who could answer my questions, reassure me, etc. My mom and MIL were across the country, and not much help. Nowadays you have the internet, so friends and answers are always at your fingertips. :)

Margie K
May 14, 2013

OK, I just submitted a comment and it got rejected, so this is a test.

I've had comments rejected before, so I'd appreciate feedback as to what is causing this. :(

May 14, 2013

Muslins, baby sleeping bag, swaddling blanket, breast pump.

Tissues for day 3 after birth when you will cry and cry for no reason. My husband brought Marks and Spencer's strawberry tarts into the hospital at 6am - that helped too!

I also recommend Gina Ford's Contented Baby Book - not to follow slavishly as it's kind of bonkers. However I was clueless about what a normal routine looked like and her book was really good just to get a rough idea of what your baby should be doing in terms of number of naps etc otherwise you spend a lot if time wondering if they are napping too much, not enough etc.

Also, just to gross you out, freezing cabbage leaves to soothe breasts. I thought that sounded bonkers and bought some gel-filled cooling pack thinking modern technology would be better but it was useless and the cabbage leaves were nothing short of miraculous!

Can I also sound note of caution on car-seat/stroller frame? Young babies should lie flat so at least for the first few months you should be able to let them sleep flat in a pushchair - apologies if you have a solution for that.

May 14, 2013

If you are breastfeeding I strongly suggest a "My Breast Friend pillow"...yes it's the worst name ever, but unlike a boppy, this pillow provides a lot of support and stays in place ... Good Luck!

May 14, 2013

One hundred million burn clothes and a few good swaddling blankets. My favorites for swaddling were thin and slightly stretchy. (For swaddling babies, I mean. I don't remember the blankie preferences of my youth.)

May 14, 2013

I read about half the comments and felt overwhelmed! I have a 9-month-old and some things we have really loved:

Baby carriers. We have a Moby Wrap and an Ergo (with infant insert). Love them both, but find myself using the Ergo almost exclusively from about 4 months on. I started when he was about 2 weeks old and it was the only way I found to get back into life, rather than exclusively being about baby care.

Swing/bouncy seat/exersaucer/play yard. Scope out the space you have and choose accordingly. For a small baby who can't sit up yet and then for a mobile baby that needs to be contained. We didn't think ahead enough on this and now have a crawler/climber that we are constantly having to redirect.

Aiden and Anais blankets are awesome for so many uses (blanket, nursing cover, shade, swaddle); they swaddle easily and then if you have a baby who likes to be swaddled (mine didn't) you can order a miracle blanket or five off Amazon.

If you are breastfeeding, the name and number of a good lactation consultant. I fully expected breastfeeding to go swimmingly and it didn't. Scope out sources for renting a hospital grade breast pump, if needed, although you live in a major metropolitan area (I don't), so it shouldn't be too hard.

Every single bit of flexibility you can muster! :)

And Craigslist is totally your friend for this stuff, especially the carriers and jumpers/saucers/etc. Good luck!

Nothing But Bonfires
May 14, 2013

Margie (and anyone else who's had a comment rejected): Apologies! My spam filter is pretty sensitive and flags anything that it considers too long or anything that contains a lot of links -- both of these things appear a lot in junk comments, so while it's helpful in that it (mostly) keeps away the viagra-peddlers, it does tend to accidentally catch a lot of legit comments too, especially on posts like this where people tend to write lovely long replies and include links. Rest assured that I go in very frequently and liberate the obviously-not-spam comments to be published -- so if yours gets flagged, you don't need to try again; I'll find it shortly afterwards and will publish it straight away. Sorry that it's such a pain!

May 14, 2013

Couldn't live without: vibrating lounger thingy

Could live without: changing table, I preferred to just use the floor. I'm a lefty, dad is not so it was confusing for us to share a changingspace. And a wipe warmer is the stupidest invention EVER. They get cold the MOMENT you remove them from the warmed box. Grrr.

May 14, 2013

You don't need a wipes warmer - sometimes I wish we had one when Dear Boy reared up and squealing during the late night changes, but you don't need one.

I will second a noise machine - it worked like magic for our baby when we were really struggling to get him to sleep. He now sleeps with the waves sound on, unless we're travelling (he's not addicted and can sleep without them). We got a China cheapy version that played heartbeat, birdsong, whalesong, waves, rain, storms, rivers, creeks, etc. Probably won't find it on a gift registry though.

The only other thing I advise is to avoid the really, really cute little baby singlets and to use singlet suits or long sleeved body suits that snap at the crotch. I was continually tucking in the singlets on my little wrigglepuss, but when I switched to the bodysuits, there was always a layer to cover his little back and tummy no matter how much he wriggled. The extra snaps weren't any more hassle when it came to changing (or checking for poo - because really, you can smell those suckers from a mile away without having to stick a finger in).

Oh and P.S. Baby Legs are also awesome. Brilliant for in between weather.

May 14, 2013

I might have repeated here, but couldn't be bothered reading all those comments (I'll wait til I am having a baby and then read here for advice!). I have no other expertise besides being in charge of a few group presents for new baby. The feedback I got from the parents as the best presents ever:

1. Ear thermometer

2. Room thermometer (helps you put the baby in the right wrap for the temp of the room so they sleep better)

3. New born baby picture book (its all just black and white swirls and blobs. Apparently its the only thing they can actually see with their newborn eyes. My friends baby was so entranced that she was able to do nappy changes without any problems at all).

4. Baby sleeping bag (my friends kid is 2 years now and they bring the sleeping bag with them so he has something familiar and can therefore sleep anywhere, they upgraded at some point from the baby size to the toddler size, but its the same animal print so their kid didn't notice)

May 14, 2013

I'm at work (I know, I should be working and not reading blogs)and did not have time to read all the comments so, if someone already said this I'm sorry. Yes, you really do need a baby wipe warmer. I received one as a baby gift for my first born and still use it now with my second baby. It's the one thing I don't think my boys could have done without. Just ask them how they feel about getting their butts wiped cold wipes, they don't like it one bit.

May 14, 2013

Controversial perhaps, but skip the Ergo and Moby and get a Beco Gemini. I have all three; we barely used the Moby (always felt insecure to me), the Ergo plus infant insert was too fiddly, and now that our not-so-little man weighs over 20lbs the Ergo is, ironically, so much less ergonomic than the Beco. Every single person in my SF moms' group ditched their carrier and bought one. Natural Resources in the Mission do loans of all carriers if you want to try before you buy.

I didn't read all the comments but in case no-one else said this: BREAST PUMP. Medela Pump n Style. One of the three things we bought on Amazon prime on day 1. I thought I wouldn't need it right away but it was necessary for getting through the engorgement and establishing supply.

OK one more thing. Expect that you will be in bed for the first two weeks. You may well feel much more energetic than this, but the rest is essential for recovery and establishing milk supply. Which, to be honest, is the number 1 thing to get straight (BTW I know I'm assuming you'll be BF'ing and that that is not a straightforward assumption).

May 14, 2013

already so much advice, so what's a little more...if you haven't heard this yet, I could not have survived without Lily Pads and nipple cream. those first few weeks of nursing take some adjusting to and EVERYTHING felt scratchy to me. Lily Pads are silicone and so soft and didn't rub...pure awesome! I actually had two to wash and one to wear. worth their weight in gold.

also, don't bother buying any 'sized' nursing bras b/c you have no idea how big you will be. and it takes at least 2-4 weeks before your size settles in. just get some sleep bras and maybe a sports bra for leaving the house. wait on the regular bras for a few weeks. everything I bought before or right after ended up being all wrong after the first month. and I lived in my sleep bras the first two weeks, b/c you are constantly feeding and they are the easiest. that and maybe a few nursing tanks, I loved those as well.

finally, my babies (all three) lived in those white snap t-shirts and diapers. you change them so often and I always fed skin-to-skin so I could quickly un-snap their shirts and they were naked. if they weren't snuggling with me they were swaddled and you couldn't see their clothes anyways. and load up on white cloth spit-up rags ever. use your DIY skills to decorate them. mine were always covered in pretty ribbons and fabrics on one side so I could take them in public.

May 14, 2013

This will seem entirely extravagant and unnecessary, but was the best thing ever with our baby, even in a tiny one bedroom apartment -- a video monitor. Yes, you can hear your baby from anywhere, but it is super reassuring to take a peek without opening the door and potentially waking them up. You can tell if that crying or fussing is settling down activity and just fine or a sound made in sleep or if there's some dire emergency that SHOULD send you rushing in. Plus, it's super adorable to watch them sleep peacefully (without having to constantly hover over the crib). We have used it for 3 years and I suppose we'll stop at some point. Definitely worth the investment (or a gift suggestion for generous relatives).

May 14, 2013

The thing I really LOVED, especially as a new mom was the Angel monitor. It let me put my daughter down and not worry about her. A sleep-saver for sure. I could have lived without the sling-I never figured out how to work it with my kids-we liked the Baby Bjorn. Daughter 2 could not have lived without a pacifier-the one we got in the hospital.

May 14, 2013

You definitely need a Nose Frieda and a quick-read thermometer. You do not need a changing table - just change baby on a pad or blanket on the floor.

May 14, 2013

I feel like a diaper genie is totally unnecessary. We always have used a small trash can with a swivel top and just put plastic grocery bags in them. Never smelled a thing.

May 14, 2013

Three things that were essential for us (second two are still in use at age 15 mos.):
1. Boppy pillow
2. Baby carrier (fave is the Beco Gemini, as it has the most positioning options and is most comfortable)
3. White noise machine (SleepMate is my fave, just white noise, no "ocean" or "rainfall" or other options that might drive you nuts)

Non-essential for us due to space constraints and personal taste:
1. Exersaucer and/or play gym
2. Anything with extra light & sound (basically anything that requires batteries)
3. Baby-centric music. We just listen to what we've always listened to, and our baby has latched onto a particular song as her nighttime song.

We do use a wipes warmer, but only because we use cloth wipes, and there's just something about a cold cloth wipe that bothers me. It's a personal issue, and the baby probably wouldn't care either way. She has no problem with me wiping her bottom with cold disposable wipes when we're out.

May 14, 2013

Go for an amazon registry and join Prime if you haven't already.... then everything else doesn't matter. Anything you need you can get super fast and anything you don't need you can return within a YEAR.
My two wishes:
1)I was TOTALLY prepared for breastfeeding. Then my boobs didn't cooperate :( I never made milk... I wish I had armed myself with that research and didn't have to do it while postpartum and grieving (yes, I grieved) for the loss of that experience. Things to look at in this category: finger feeder, domperidone, fenugreek, maximizing skin to skin contact.
2) That I knew about hypnobirthing. I was firmly in the gimmethedrugs camp, but after hearing the birth experiences of friends that did hypnosis, it is definitely the path I will choose next time.

ALSO. Start reading "Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys". It's amazing.

May 14, 2013

The Baby Bargains book helped me so much. Also, the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. Every baby and every parent is different, so you really do just have to figure out what works/doesn't work for you and little Hamish. Here's what I really got a lot of use out of and what I could do without.

My Must Haves:
NUK pacifiers (the only brand he could keep in his mouth)
bouncy seat
Boppy pillow (made breastfeeding so much easier and made nervous friends and family comfortable holding baby)
plain ol' cloth diapers to use as burp cloths
diaper genie
swaddling blankets (very versatile)
pack 'n' play (he slept in this in our room for 5 weeks and now we use it for travel)
nursing bras
nursing cover (Some people use a blanket, scarf, or nothing at all, but I found a nursing cover to work better for me.)
breast pump

Didn't Need/Have:
wipes warmer (my kid was never bothered by cold wipes)
Bumbo seat (nice to have but not necessary, especially at first)
nursing clothing (didn't see the point)
Miracle Blankets (my kid only liked them for a couple weeks then HATED them)
white noise machine
bassinet (just used the pack 'n' play then a crib)
changing table (used a dresser)
baby shoes
baby nail clippers (I found them harder to use than regular ones)

May 14, 2013

Yes to the swaddle blankets- love Aden & Annais. My baby hated being swaddled but they are the perfect material and great for covering up while breastfeeding, throwing on the floor to put baby down on, covering up the sun while in stroller, etc. I also liked A&A's burpy bibs because during a drooling phase I would snap around neck for bib but then they are also burp cloths too.

Someone else mentioned this but I'll echo it- borrow or buy for super cheap on Craigslist the big stuff- exersaucer, bumbo, etc. They are totally worth the space and super obnoxious color schemes :) But they can only be used for a short time so either buy cheap and sell later or just borrow someone's who is in between babies. They are great to buy second hand because usually not a lot of wear and tear.

Good nursing cami's are a must have. Makes it super easy to breastfeed discreetly and plan what you are wearing- cardigan + cami= done. Oh yeah ya might want to add pants :)

NO to the wipe warmer. As I told my husband- someday she's gonna face the reality of a cold, hard toilet seat :)

May 14, 2013

I will second the old iPhone as white noise machine. It's by far louder and cheaper and smaller and more customizable than anything I've seen on the market for sale.

And, uh, a Roomba. You should totally get a Roomba. I know it's not baby-specific, but will it make your life easier? YES IT WILL. And really, 80% of the crap on a registry is all about making things easier for you anyway. A Roomba totally belongs.

I so wish we lived closer. I would be SO HAPPY to unload all my stuff at your front door.

May 14, 2013

Boudreaux's Butt Paste®. Best cream out there for sore little bottoms. Nothing makes baby unhappier than a sore bottom. Use it liberally.

May 14, 2013

I was (and will be again) a baby wearer so I will say an ergo is an essential aside from the obvious crib, changing pad, diapers, etc. Other things I ended up buying later that I quite liked are the diaper genie and wonder bumpers for the crib. I was very anti large toys (bouncers, walkers) for the first year and lo my child crawled and walked early. My one exception was a borrowed Fisher Price swing. For the first 4 months, that was the ONLY way to get a shower. Such a life saver.

Sarah Wynde
May 14, 2013

Useless: the changing table, the fancy crib, the pretty baby bedding. (All the most expensive stuff, sadly.)

Essential: the swing. OMG, the swing. Saved my life. It didn't last past six months but for those first six months, it was the one and only place where my boy would tolerate sitting on his own for ten minutes while I took a shower, cooked a meal, or really did anything that could be done without a baby attached to my chest. Apart from the swing, he was locked to me, 24/7.

That expensive set of baby bedding? Sheets and bumper and cute little crib liner? In pristine condition when I dumped it at Goodwill.

May 14, 2013

Portable changing pads stuck in every vehicle, bag, briefcase, and so forth. that might be with us when we needed to change them. Thermoscan thermometer, because being sick is tough enough without enduring the indignity of a regular thermometer.
Also, not stuff to buy but to remember: always leave a change of clothes for both you and Sean in the car, sometimes diapers don't catch everything....enough said; have Sean take clothes to the hospital too in case you are in labor for a long time. He should also bring medication with him (ibuprofen, and so forth) because you can have everything you need, but he isn't a patient so they can't give him anything. And speaking from experience, the gift shop is rarely open at 3am.

May 14, 2013

nose frida. and saline spray to spray up his nose if the boogs are crusty. you could use breastmilk, but I always just made sure I had saline spray.

miracle blanket (buy off cl if you don't recv as a gift. hamish might not like to be swaddled, but if he does, this is THE swaddle)

a+a muslin blankets. mll also has them now for much cheaper & I've heard they are also amazing quality. they can be used for so many things.

and definitely a wrap. it stay pretty cool where you are, yes? a moby would be good & a nice soft structured carrier for when baby gets bigger (15+lbs). you might want to check and see if there is a baby wearing groups in sf (I'm sure there is. it's sf) - most of the time they will let you come in & try the different carriers before you buy one. they all fit differently & everyone has their own preferences. some stores that sell carriers also have a "try before you buy" policy, so that might be worth looking into. if you are going out & anticipate being hot, a frogg togg chilly pad is amazing. seriously. keep it wet & it stays cool. you can stick it down in between you & hamish to keep you both cool.

I've always used cloth wipes (aka baby cotton washcloths)(we also cloth diaper, so there's that) & just wet them before wiping baby down. use warm water & no wipe warmer needed!

in fact, I did a quick search & the ladies of this group might be able to help you with finding a suitable carrier if that is something you are interested in:

Lisa Y
May 14, 2013

My friend who is a dietician bought me a little hand-crank food chopper that I did NOT register for and now I'm that obnoxious shower guest that buys them for everyone whether they want one or not. Whatever vegetables I made for dinner, I'd throw in there and have instant baby food. As my girls got older, in went pasta sauce, curry, or whatever my husband and I were eating. And they all three STILL eat everything we eat.

I never used the shopping cart seat cover. When they were really little, I put my girls in the carrier when I was shopping. And when they got bigger, well I guess I'm just not germphobic like that.

I also registered for and received two changing mat covers that I did not use. It turns out that plastic changing mat is super-easy to clean sans cover. I didn't actually need extra laundry to do.

May 14, 2013

and if you do decide to go the babywearing route, please don't get a bjorn or anything else that dangles the baby from their nether regions. here's a link with information on that in case you are interested:

and should you be a more visual person:

May 14, 2013

and coconut oil! that is all I've ever used on my lo's bottom during diaper changes (now 14m) & she's only ever gotten diaper rashes when teething. co is amazing. so many uses.

seriously, I'm done now.

May 14, 2013

Could not live without: Rental or purchase of a breast pump machine, if you're breastfeeding. I actually did live without one, and it was my worst mistake of newborniness.

Useless: Bumbo chair. Someone gave me one and said they were invaluable, but my kids hated it. I can see why; it seems super uncomfortable.

May 14, 2013

Man, I think everyone here covered it pretty well. I will add that I really liked the hideously named My Brest Friend nursing pillow; it is more supportive and can strap around your waist so that when you stand up with a sleepy, milk-drunk baby, it doesn't fall down and trip you. Yes, you look like you're wearing a donut around your waist, but parenthood isn't dignified.

Take EVERYTHING that isn't nailed down at the hospital. Hide it and ask for more. I don't think I ever actually bought nipple ointment, I had so many little packets.

An excellent idea: buying big-ticket items used, like the swing and the eventual jumperoo and baby jail.

Obvious: car seat (brand-new), baby clothes (esp. sleepers and kimono-wraps and karate pants; my son hated having clothes pulled over his head). Boobs. Bottles. Baby Tylenol, thermometer, etc.

Yes: swaddles (Miracle blankets!), swing, white noise, bouncy seat, breast pump, breast milk storage bags for freezing, cheap cloth unfolded diapers for burp cloths, baby playmat/gym, stretchy nursing bras (Bravado). Video monitor.

Nice to have: some nice clothes for the "fourth trimester," i.e. nice black jersey stuff. I wish I could find the link, there's a company that sells a package with a nursing top, pants, skirt, and dress.

Eventually: a crib, probably. Depends on how you decide to handle sleeping. A good crib mattress - don't skimp there, but don't go nuts either. Whatever sheets make you happy.

We didn't need: a mobile/baby entertainment system, a Moby or Ergo or mei-tai (bought two of the three, brand-new; son hated both).

Margie K
May 14, 2013

Thanks, Holly! i do tend to be a bit verbose, but it would explain why I see other posts about as long that got through. :)

May 14, 2013



(Except not really kidding.)

I think the exersaucer (something he won't need right away but definitely the first year) was invaluable for us. Also, one thing I loved were these tiny t-shirts. At first, I really preferred them to the onesie style since you change 9 million diapers a day and this made that one step easier:

I mean it about the booze though.

May 14, 2013

Baby carrier! Free hands, blissful baby - it doesn't get better than that. I started with a bjorn, then migrated to a sling and finally landed on the Ergo with my second child. I adore the Ergo, but didn't discover it until my baby was five months old (and am still using it almost two years later). If I had a newborn again, I might try a wrap for the first month or two... they look so snuggly.

The stroller just gathered dust in the closet throughout two children until I finally got rid of it to save space. Kudos for putting off the purchase of one for the time being; you can always get one later if needed.

May 14, 2013

I used the receiving blankets a lot. I swaddled my son and it helped him sleep more comfortably. I used it for tummy time specially when we were out. I used them when he started eating solids as little table clothes.
One thing I had forgotten to buy were baby hats. It was hard to find cute ones but the doctor told me since babies have large heads compared to their body they lose all the heat through their heads so hats are a must.
What I didn't need were milk bottles since I breastfed. Even if you need them in the beginning they give these pre made bottles in the hospital.

May 14, 2013

Could not have lived without: diapers. Could have lived without: most everything else. Keep it simple. Besides, you will get tons of stuff at showers, which are so much fun! Cute baby clothes FTW!

PS Although you will actually use that snotsucker, I'm sorry to say.

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