With new babies comes lots of stuff. Our small house is pretty much packed to the brim, so we’ve had to be a bit picky at times about what baby gear is must-have versus just nice-to-have. I’m almost three months into this new gig and here’s my list of favorite items. You’ll notice that nearly all of them have to do with nursing or sleeping. That’s pretty much all I try to get babies to do all day long!
Boppy pillows. Two of ’em, for us. During daytime hours, if the boys are not in our arms, they are most likely sleeping nestled in a boppy pillow (with supervision). When they were smaller, my favorite thing to do was to shove them into one boppy. I got mine for free from a neighbor and registered for new covers. I only use them for breastfeeding if I’m feeding one baby.
Breastfeeding pillow. I have the twin version of the terribly named “My Brest Friend” and it’s the only way I can successfully tandem nurse. I’m not sure how necessary this is if you don’t have twins.
A nice chair for nursing and pumping. Ours is the TRYP from Best Chairs, found at local furniture stores and places like Buy Buy Baby. This chair was the most expensive thing we bought (slightly less than $500 — more than both cribs combined), but I’ve logged literally hundreds of hours in it already. It rocks and swivels and reclines. We chose a neutral linen fabric with gray cording.
Simple Wishes hands-free pumping bra. I am scared to think of how many GALLONS (yes, gallons) of milk I’ve pumped by now. If I couldn’t do it hands-free, my babies would definitely not be drinking breastmilk.
Dr. Brown’s bottles and the preemie flow nipples. All my research said this combo of bottle+nipple was best for breastfed babies. Although they are kind of a hassle to clean because there are so many parts, we don’t have particularly gassy, burpy, or spit-uppy babies.
Swaddle blankets. Until the boys fit into their sleep sacks, we swaddled them in aden + anais blankets every night. The bamboo ones are softer and nicer for daytime use, and the regular ones have more “grip” for a tight nighttime swaddle.
Sleep swaddle sacks. These were a gift from Liz, and whoa, thank you, Liz! It took a few weeks for the boys to grow into these, but they now sleep in them every night and are probably the reason we ever get any sleep. (Not that we’re getting a ton…)
Video monitor. We have a Motorola one that I like a lot, but the battery life is short and one night it randomly had the White Screen of Death. Other than that, I love being able to see which baby is crying and I’m sure I’ll like it even more once they start moving around in the crib.
Something for babywearing. We have a Beco Gemini (thanks, Alison!) and a borrowed Moby wrap, and the babies like both of them. They’ve been most helpful when a baby is fussing but I have to get something done with my hands (dishes, playing cards, etc.). My next goal is to go on a walk with the babies in carriers but we haven’t tried it yet. I also might use the Beco at the grocery store if I ever have to take both babies with me (one in a carseat and one in a carrier?).
Humidifier. This might not be necessary for a summer baby, but in the winter when the heat is on all the time and the air is dry, our babies sleep a lot better when they don’t wake up with dried out mouths and noses.
A ton of burp rags. They don’t have to be fancy — ours are a mixture of hand-me-downs, gifts, and home sewn from cloth diapers — but we go through a ton of these every day.
Carseat bunting. It’s like a blanket built just for a carseat, and completely eliminates the need for bundling the baby up in warm clothes or a coat when we leave the house. All we add is a hat. I think this is a must-have for a winter baby.
Extra diaper changing station. We have one in the babies’ room and one in the living room, with a changing pad and a stack of diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.. It may seem like overkill, but we change something like 15 or more diapers each day, and I’m glad I don’t have to walk upstairs (or downstairs) every time.
A smartphone and #newmom and #bfing friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Wanna know who else is up at 4am? Moms. Want advice on sleeping, nursing, and anything else baby-related? Want to see and share cute baby pics? Talk to other moms. I also recommend following @nancyholtzman, who answers questions all day and night and has a ton of free sleep and breastfeeding webinars available on every topic imaginable.
Freezer meals and friends who cook. Among the many nice things people have done for us is make us so many good meals. This was lifesaving for me especially, because during the first few weeks the only thing I could think about doing was feeding babies. I had no time or mental capacity to think about feeding myself, even though I was ravenously hungry all the time. My SIL set up a schedule on Food Tidings.
Things I did not list because they are kind of obvious necessities: carseats, stroller, cribs, etc. I like the ones we picked out but there are so many different options out there I can’t say for sure ours are The Best.
Things we live happily without: Fancy clothes (we are grateful for loads of hand me downs and gifts), a bottle or wipe warmer, crib bedding other than white sheets, expensive cribs (our were $99 at IKEA with $50 mattresses).
Things I recommend you borrow but not buy (if you can): Swings and bouncy seats. Ours come in handy here and there so far, but I’m glad we borrowed them from friends for the amount of use we get.
What are your must haves for the first few months? I’m curious to see if we generally agree or if everyone has different items!