While you don’t have to shell out the big bucks for every item on your registry, strollers are something I wouldn’t recommend skimping out on. Not all strollers are created equal and sometimes investing a little more in the beginning will make your life easier down the road. I’d definitely recommend going into a store and “test-driving” a different models in order to figure out which one would best suit your needs.
2 | Car seats
Unlike strollers, all car seats are created equal, at least in terms of safety. While some car seats may have more bells and whistles, making life easier for you and giving your baby more comfort, all car seats must pass the same safety standards. So even if you can only afford the $90 car seat, your baby will be equally as safe as she/he would be if they were in the $300 car seat. That being said, a few things to look for would be…
* Weight/height requirements – if you know your family has a tendency to produce large babies you may be better off getting a seat with a higher weight/height max so they can stay in it longer
*Stroller compatibility – you may want to find a car seat that has an adapter for that stroller so you can click it into the stroller when the baby is still fairly young
*Weight of the actual seat – this mainly applies to infant bucket seats since you’ll be carrying them in and out of the car. This is another good thing to test out at the store before deciding to buy
My biggest piece of advice with car seats would be instead of spending all your time researching the “perfect” car seat, take that time to educate yourself on proper car seat use and installation. It’s not as straight forward as you would think and details matter. Your $300 car seat won’t protect your child if they are improperly restrained. My biggest piece of advice would be to seek out a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) and have them show you how to properly install your car seat and explain how to properly restrain your child in it.
3 | Crib
Like the car seat, you don’t need to shell out big bucks for a fancy crib, a simple, inexpensive one will do just fine. And also like the car seat, instead of researching the “perfect” crib, take the time to educate yourself on safe infant sleep practices. The AAP recommends children sleep in a bare crib (crib sheet only, so no need to buy a complete bedding set with blankets and bumpers for the crib because those are both a big no-no). If you’re worried about your baby being cold in the middle of the night I highly recommend getting a wearable blanket or sleepsack. My personal favorite brand is Halo.
4 | Baby-Holding Devices
I’ve found that life is MUCH easier when you have some sort of baby containing device on each floor of your house, whether it be a bouncer, swing, rock and play, whatever. Just somewhere safe for you to put the baby while you’re showering, going to the bathroom, etc. What kind you get is really up to you, but some of my favorites are the rock and play, mamaroo swing, fisher price jumparoo (once the baby is at least 5-6 months) and the baby bjorn bouncer. If we’re being real, your baby will probably hate all of them and want to be held all the time anyways so I wouldn’t fret too much about what kind to get I will say though that I recommend either trying to borrow these from a friend or buying them secondhand (either from a consignment store or Facebook yard sale page). Your babe will be in it for such a short time that there’s really no need to pay full price if you don’t have to.
5 | Baby Carrier
Even if you’re not super into baby-wearing I would definitely recommend getting some type of baby carrier because as we’ve already discussed you little one won’t want to be put down and at some point you’ll have to do something other than just sit and gaze into their beautiful face (though it will be hard to gain the motivation to do so!). My favorites are the lillebaby all seasons carrier and the baby k’tan. The k’tan is great for when they’re tiny and is much easier to use than a traditional wrap carrier.
6 | Bottles and Pacifiers
These two are both filed under “whatever your preference may be”, though my suggestion would be to not get too many all at once. Babies tend to be particular and you could stock up on a brand of bottles and pacifier that your baby hates and end up having to get another kind. My advice would be to pick the one you like the best, buy a few, then stock up later once you determine if your baby likes them or not.
7 | Wipe Holder
Skip the wipe warmer but the oxo wipe holder is one of my favorites
8 | Blankets
No need for a ton of big bulky blankets since they can’t go in the crib with your baby, though one or two thicker blankets may be good to keep baby warm in the stroller or car seat. Definitely stock up on swaddling blankets. Aden and Anais are a favorite of mine and for the swaddling novice, Swaddleme has a great line of Velcro swaddling blankets to help keep baby nice and cozy.
9 | High Chair
My personal favorite high chair is the Oxo tot sprout.The one-handed tray release is a life saver when you have a kid on your hip. It’s also super easy to clean. My one tip when getting a high chair is don’t get one with a fabric cover. Kids are gross, adorable but gross. Get something that wipes clean each time, you won’t regret it.
So hopefully this list helps takes a little pressure off. While there may be a hundred other little things along the way that your baby needs, if you’ve got the basics, you’re ahead of the game. Now that you know what to get, you can sit back and wait for your little bundle to arrive!
Author: Courtney Decker, Professional Nanny