Being a seasoned mother for almost a year now [pause for applause...and sob! she's almost one!], I’m finally putting together a list of stuff you should register for, buy for yourself, or buy for a friend who is going to have a baby. Yes, oooooobviously I am posting my Amazon Affiliate links, and we can be BFFs if you buy anything (even click through and buy an unrelated item) via one of my links. Thanks. You’re awesome.
Clothes in 9 months +
Tip #1 if you’re buying for someone…do NOT buy newborn clothes. Do not buy 3-6 month clothes. A bunch of other people will. They are cute, but that poor kid is going to have a million things to wear up until about 6 months (and mom will feel kinda guilty about not using it all or returning/exchanging some), and then like…nothing. It seems big and not as cute, but 9 months down the road (or less, if the kid is big), mom will thank you for buying some 9 month, 12 month, and bigger clothes. Also, baby jeans are ALWAYS a hit.
Disney Cuddly Bodysuit
I use white onesies for Ainsley’s weekly pics, so I need a good stock of them. I messed with the Gerber Onesies, but the sizes on those run absurdly small, plus they’re thin and look cheap. But they were the ONLY kind I could find packs of in plain white…until I ran across these. After getting over a Disney aversion, I bought a set. I LOVE them! The grow-an-inch snaps are genius, the fabric is thick and nice, and they wash well. The sizing also seems MUCH more accurate (while I could barely get my average-sized baby in a 6-9 month Gerber, she is comfortably on the smaller set of snaps in a 6-9 month Disney). I only wish they came in 12 months+! (I have been back on Gerber since she got too big for these, and she is now in 24 month size at 12 months.) Because perhaps more awesome of all, they also come in sets of plain colors other than white! That’s like impossible to find (unless maybe you get a pink or baby blue one in a set of 3 where the other 2 are an ugly pattern). Almost every color under the sun. Definitely getting these next time around, and for future baby showerees. Seriously, a plain yellow onesie is like mecca.
Get a few of these. I got one at a shower and forgot about it for a while, so I spent the first few weeks picking up a pacifier all the time. Then I remembered about the clip. You still have to wash the pacifier occasionally, but it’s not falling on the floor all the time. But like I said, get a few. Because they chew on the ribbon, puke on it, all kinds of craziness. So you’ll want to have at least one in reserve for when that one is in the hamper. Also, spend some dollaz to get a cute one. At target, they basically have blue patterns or pink patterns, and you’re going to be looking at that thing ALL the time. So get one you don’t hate.
You may not have noticed, but baby socks are SMALL. So are pacifier clips, baby hats, baby tights, and all sorts of other baby things that you’ll be washing. Grab a lingerie (I can never spell that word right) bag or 3 and put those tiny items right in this when they go in the hamper. My hamper in the baby’s room is one of those mesh pop-up suckers, so I keep the bag in the pocket on the front. You could also use a chip clip to keep the bag easily reachable in the hamper. Pro Tip: Remember to ZIP the bag when you do the load of laundry, otherwise it’s not all that useful. Trust me.
Rock and Play Sleeper
This was our go-to-place to stick the baby for like 3 months or so. She was ALWAYS in this and she felt safe, comfortable, and happy. I have heard from more than one mom whose baby had sleeping problems and this was the ONLY place they could get their baby to sleep for more than a couple hours. Until we ended up unexpectedly getting a real bassinet, this is what I had planned on having Ainsley sleep beside me in while in the bedroom pre-crib. I also love that it folds up pretty compact, so when you’re not using it (which will probably be like never), you can fold it up to get it out of the way.
If you can get a decent quality used one, go for it. She has a Jumperoo at our house, and just an exersaucer at the grandparents’. She loves both, but I love seeing her bounce around in the jumperoo. We started her in this around 3-4 months and put a pillow under her feet when she was too little to reach the ground. This was our go-to ‘stash the baby’ place until a couple months ago.
We have a big swing at home only because it was a hand-me-down. Otherwise she’d just have a small travel swing here, too. She has one at grandma’s house and it works like a charm. It also folds up to be pretty compact, so we were able to bring it with us to our NC trip in June. Whatever swing you get, you will REALLY get your money’s worth out of it. On nights when she’s just not sleeping, we can put her int his early in the AM and usually get at least another hour or so of sleep. She got big for her big swing, so I brought over one of the travel swings and use that instead, because if she tipped herself out, it would be low enough to the ground that she wouldn’t get hurt.
Get the fakers on these, if you can find them. There are plenty of cute boy prints, too. Most of mine are from Target, but I have one white pair (SUPER hard to find for some reason) that I got from Hobby Lobby for crazy cheap. These are especially great for winter babies, but at good for all seasons to stick on with a onesie for extra warmth while at home, or under a skirt when you’re not sure how chilly it will be. Once your little one is more mobile, these are great to prevent rugburn on tiny knees.
Silicone Ice Cube Trays
No need to buy baby-specific overpriced stuff. Just buy these. Use them to freeze breastmilk (this particular tray is about 1oz per cube) and pureed homemade baby food later on. Love these! Supposedly, the silicone will pick up flavors, so I now have one that is designated for baby food (esp since it DID have boobie milk in it) and one for ice.
Amber Teething Hippie Magic
PROBABLY this is all in our minds. But supposedly, amber heats up when against the skin and it’s ancient tree sap magic has some healing properties. So when babies wear them during teething, it supposedly cuts down on the sads.(I got an anklet from the same Etsy seller I got the necklace from, but it won’t stay on so we stick to the necklace.) She even sleeps in it most of the time (I check it often to make sure it’s secure and not broken). And I swear, she has less drool and less of a runny nose when she is wearing it. Again, prob a coincidence, but. If nothing else, it’s a cute and cheap accessory.
We had a regular bumper that Will’s mom made and that was totally adorable (cotton covers, bumper inserts purchased at fabric store). But after enough people told me they were evil (including the state of Maryland, where they can no longer be sold), I took them off about 1.5 months after she moved to her crib (still want to do SOMETHING with them, since they are so pretty!). And all was well, until she started to get more mobile in the past couple months. Every couple days we have to pull out the crib and clean out the binky graveyard. So I got this (in brown, so it blends) so it’d hopefully curb that a bit, and it has worked like a charm!
Spin Pins and Suave Dry Shampoo = Amazing Mom Hair
You know what’s the instant cure for mom hair? Spin pins. They’re amazing. Especially now that my hair is long, but I used them 2 years ago when it was just over shoulder-length, too. The trick is to make sure you grab into the hair on your scalp and not just the hair in the bun. They come in mini, too. Pair with this amazing dry shampoo (like it better than pricier kinds) and you will be classy mom even though you can’t be bothered to wash your hair every day any more. [NOTE: I have stopped using that dry shampoo after it built up too much in my hair and I realized that petroleum (wtf) is one of the ingredients. If you have a good DIY recipe that doesn't include alcohol, let me know!]
A Wooden High Chair or one that straps to a dining chair
We currently have a high chair that folds up very flat so that we can store it in the laundry room or, more often, against the wall in the kitchen. I love that we can stash it, but if I did it again I’d buy a wooden high chair or get one of the ones that straps to a dining chair. Here’s why: I got 2 seat covers with my high chair, but they still need to be washed a lot because stuff gets dropped and smushed in. And I don’t wash the covers as often as I should because it’s kind of a pain. And you can’t use my version without the covers. My mom has an Eddie Bauer high chair (a passdown from a friend), and you can use it with or without the covers (so keep them on but it’s OK if they’re in the wash, or take them off and it’s WAY easier to wipe down the whole thing). I thought having one strapped to a chair would annoy me, but stashing the existing one is kind of a pain, and you really have to fold it up or it’s TOTALLY in the way in our small kitchen…and you can’t open it up with one hand holding a baby. The small ones you put in a dining chair aren’t that pretty, but the chair can still often be pushed under the table to partially hide it. Plus, they can be tossed in the car if you need to travel with a high chair for some reason (say, family holiday dinner at a relative’s house). Next time around, I might do a swap with my mom.
I’m sure there will be more (in the way of toys, especially, as she gets bigger), that’s a pretty good roundup of our must-haves in the beginning. Now for some things I didn’t use as much…
STUFF I GOT TOO MUCH OF:
This is a partial lie. For the first few months of nursing, I used the Boppy. For the first few weeks, it was an integral part of the situation (heat up rice pillow for around neck to ease my tension from the pain, soak important bits to fix healing wounds, place baby on Boppy). But as I got more adept, I could use any old pillow, or nothing at all, as needed. I got my Boppy from a thirft store for $5, and bought one extra cover with gift card money. So I can’t call it a total waste. We also used it when she was a baby to keep her in one place on the bed or floor while we were putting away laundry or whatever. So maybe see if you can borrow one from a friend or something? It’s nice to have, but they are just so overpriced!
Everyone always said “you can never have enough blankets!”…I had too many blankets. I mean I used them somewhat (laid her on them, snuggled her up in them), but it always seemed like one was in the wash and one was being used….and then the rest of the pile just sat until I sort of rotated what was on top. I didn’t swaddle her for long, and used the sheer blankets that we maybe stole (?) from the hospital for that. I don’t really use a blanket in her crib now because she sleeps with her butt in the air and immediately throws it off. I didn’t use a blanket with her carseat because I had one of those carseat blankets (which could probably go in the “good to have” list above, because they are great!). So anyway…you need SOME blankets, but not like 20. Definitely not 30.
Another thing people say you can’t have enough of. Ainsley did spit up a lot when she was younger, but I never liked keeping a bib on her all the time (just for a bit after feedings, usually). So she’d usually just use one bib a day, and sometimes one would even last a few days as she got bigger if she didn’t spit up. I never got very deep in the pile o’ bibs we have, so I guess we just have plenty of unused ones for the next baby (thankfully, lots are unisex). What you SHOULD BUY are some of these plastic bibs (below). We exclusively use these now for feeding. Food falls in the bib pocket, and the whole thing can be quickly rinsed off or tossed in the dishwasher or washing machine, so you don’t have to worry about them getting dingy and gross looking. Semi-related are burp cloths. I did use those a lot during those spitup days. We now use them in place of endless paper towels for wiping down her face and hands after eating. They get stained, but whatever…they aren’t heirloom items, anyway. And they do a better job of cleaning up than paper towels.
Any more suggestions? I’m sure I’ll think of stuff I forgot about for both lists.