Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Need baby STUFF advice

It's a backwards day at Shannon's Works For Me Wednesday, and of course, I've got one thing on my mind: BABIES. I've got one in me that's about 16 weeks old.
We are going to try to register early, hoping that we might get help with some big ticket stuff for Christmas, and so we've started the research. Oh my gosh. How on earth do you pick which car seat (infant or convertable? Which brand?), and stroller, and ALL the other things to buy?
More so, I really would rather err on the side of minimalist. I don't want baby stuff just because they sell baby stuff. If we "need" it, fine. But otherwise, my kid can cope.
So....all you mom's... my question(s) for you is what baby stuff did you love having? What things would you suggest I pass on? Were there any specific brands/types that you really thought were better than others? I need HELP!
Really need help. If I get overwhelmed and can't make a decision, I do nothing. That's not necessarily a good decision here. We've had a great debate about where the kiddo will sleep when it's first born. We'd like it in our room, but not in our bed (really - it's not an option, so you can leave out that suggestion). We had a serious discussion about the feasibility of just using a laundry basket. We're currently leaning towards the bassinet in a pack-n-play. Like I said HELP.
Thanks everyone!!


Emily said...

Ahh...yes, babies, I love talking about babies:-) We had our first one 7 1/2 mo. ago and I would definitely put us in the category of "minimalist", too.
Bassinet: We were given a bassinet, we used it for all of 5 weeks. Now, we're going to get rid of it. We have a pack-n-play with a bassinet capability and that's what we'll use for our next babies because I don't want to store the bassinet any more.
Where to sleep: Our baby lasted in our room all of about 2 weeks, you just don't get as good of sleep and when sleep is hard to come by, good quality is what you need.
Carseats: I have a Combi travel system and I LOVE it. When Monkey would fall asleep in the car, I would just keep in his car seat and then clip it into the stroller. (here is the stroller, you can also get a carseat that goes with it, the whole set is about $200.) What I LOVE about it is that the stroller is light weight and doesn't take up your whole trunk like the Graco strollers do.
Leave a comment on my blog if you have any more questions.

Amy D said...

The first thing that pops into my head is: Don't waste money or space on a changing table. We change in the crib for the first few months and then transition to the floor.
And speaking of cribs...our first son slept in his crib in his room the first night home form the hospital and every night after. He has always been a great sleeper and I think this is part of the reason why. Nightime = sleeping = in your bed in your room! Even now, (in a twin bed, of course)and he's 4!

Anonymous said...

AWWWW...babies... I am not aloud any more babies right now(says hubby)

Things I beyond needed:

Boppy: Great for breastfeeding and for the baby to lay on while watching brothers running around.

Baby Eienstien: My first son LOVED these movies and still this day loves music, singing etc. He also still loves those movies!

Stroller: Honestly I can't help ya there I got a double stroller as my first stroller because I was expecting not very soon after my first!

Baby Bed/ Playpen: I purchased the baby bed and a playpen. I purchased an Eddie Bauer playpen with the chaning talbe and bassienet on it... and honestly NEVER used the changing table part but the bassinet I used until he was 5 months old and sitting up on his own. It was perfect and as he got older he acutlly slept in the plapen for about four more months and then had to move to a baby bed because the playpen was to wobbly for a 10 month old and he'd wake himself up!

SWING: This is the biggest one... Honestly each baby is differnt some love the swing and some are not so impressed. But its a great buy either way because babies are soothed by the rocking. We bought the Fisher-Price Nature's Touch Baby Papasan Cradle Swing. This swing was a life saver... I highly recommed this one!!!!!

Good luck and hope this helps!

Karen said...

I think the only thing I couldn't live without is our Pack 'n Play. We've used it with all our girls. With our youngest baby (7 mo. old now) we've never even used a crib. Our house is small and the pack n play works better for us.

I wouldn't spend much on a stroller, depending on how much you think you'll use it. If you use it all the time they all wear out so cheaper is better. If you don't use it much you don't need some $500 monstrosity.

We used a thick pad on a low dresser as a changing table for our first two and no changing table at all for our third. She's wiggly and the floor just works better (or our bed).

As for toys, you'll most likely get more of these than you know what to do with. Toys seem to breed like rabbits at our house. ;)

Lori said...

First off, congratulations on your baby! What fun! And I agree, I had a hard time sorting through all the baby paraphenalia that is available. Everyone's preferences are different, but here is what I found helpful.
We did not initially get a bassinet, but after one night at home we went to the baby consignment store and bought one. My daughter slept in it for four months next to our bed. She made the tranistion to her crib wonderfully (I on the other hand had a very hard time!) I liked being able to open my eyes and see that she was still breathing. It helped our sleeping that she was a very quiet sleeper.
We purchased (again at the consignment store) a changing table that is also a dresser so I didn't feel bad about spending the money on it since it has a double purpose. And I love it.
I think that the bouncy seat we had was a life saver, and my daughter is still using it at 9.5 months. It was purchased at a garage sale.
The swing is the other lifesaver. She loves to be in it and it allows me to fix dinner or clean up.
I debated about not getting the infant car seat, but I am so glad that I did. It really is nice to not have to wake her up if she has fallen asleep in the car (or if I know that I have to go somewhere shortly after nap time, I put her in it to fall asleep to start with.) I definitely think getting one that snaps into a stroller is a good idea.
As for clothes, there are a couple of things I have found really helpful. One is that I loved the layette items that had mittens built in (usually additional fabic at the end of the sleeve that could be folded over the baby's hand.) My daughter would not keep on mittens that were separate and she was constantly scratching her face, no matter how often I filed her fingernails. The other thing that really worked for us, and not just with clothes, is to shop consignment stores, garage sales, and Craigslist. Most baby items are used for such a short time that they are still in excellent condition even if they are used. I was very particular about what I bought and was able to get an exersaucer for $3.00 and tons of clothes for almost nothing.
Good luck with your new adventure! It is so much fun!

Amy said...

I couldn't have survived having my son (now age 15 months, a preemie) without a good baby sling. Mine is a New Native, but there are many kinds out there. He's a cuddler, and needed to be held a lot (skin to skin contact helps preemies develop) so the sling was great for us.

A bouncy seat is debatable. Neither of mine liked to just sit in them when awake, but, both of my kids had bad acid reflux, so we wound up letting them sleep in the bouncy seats sometimes to elevate their heads. So that's somethign that will depend on the abby.

Swing: I loved the portable travel swing and used it with both kids. It folds up to take it to grandma's house... which is great when everyone's eating dinner and you'd like to put the baby down. It also takes up a lot less room than a regular swing if that's a concern.|FisherPrice_Aquarium_TakeAlong_Swing&ref=tgt_adv_XSN10001

And as someone else said, don't worry about toys... your home will soon be over-run with them!

Best wishes!

Jeni Allen said...

The best diapers we tried were Pampers Swaddlers. Too bad my girlie outgrew them.

Loved the Exersaucer - she used it from about 4 months through nine months. It was great!

Play-yard - get a Graco. We were given an Evenflo and ended up replacing it because it wasn't sturdy enough. It's an essential not only for travel, but for those times baby needs a safe place to be while mom's out of the room. (Mommies DO have to potty sometimes.)

Oh, yeah, and lots and lots of Oxiclean. It goes in every load of my girlie's clothes!

Jamie said...

Things I've loved with my 4 kiddos:
Bassinett- especially with wheels that you can port the baby around the house in.
Boppy- totally dismissed this with my first 2, but got one for my 3rd. It was the first thing I dug out of storage when I found out I was pregnant with #4.
Bouncy Seat
Infant car carrier (mine's a Graco that clicks into the stroller, which was nice)

Things I could've lived without:
Changing table- the floor or bed is just as convenient
Pack and Play- I'm in the minority here, but they were always so uncomfortable for the kids to sleep in and the older kids loved to climb in with the baby.

Simple Chic said...

I love babies, and I'm due in the Spring so I've been thinking about what we should get. Luckily I have some experience since I have one already.

Definitly do not waste the space or money on a changing table. Mine ended up a very expensive toy storage system.

I think my best and biggest splurge on my son was a 4-in-one crib. It goes from a crib to a toddler bed, to a day bed, to a regular sized twin bed. I think it is an absolute must.

Not the Queen said...

A play yard with a bassinet and changing table.

If you're planning on having more kids, and having them closer than 4 years apart, get a sit-and-stand stroller. It has room for an infant to recline, and a platform for a toddler to stand or sit.

Use a dresser as a changing table. Just buy a chanding pad and place on top. There's plenty of room for wipes and diapers, plus clothing.

Johnny-jump-up. Love them!

Graco is a great brand with reasonable prices for everything from carseats to playpens. Plus, they have the cutest fabrics, and, if you insist on everything matching, everything matches.

Jes said...
That is a link to how my friend cosleeps. it's a great idea, I which I had thought of it with my baby.
My daughter was in our room for a few months then I got tired of not sleeping. I couldn't handle being able to hear every little breath and every time she moved. In order for me to get sleep we had to put her in her room.
We didn't bother with a changing table, my dresser was a low one, so we put a pad on that and use it. it works great.
You'll probably get more receiving blankets and burp cloths and little toys than you know what to do with regardless of whether you register for them or not.
I do not recommend Evenflo car seats, we got one with a travel system and it was a big waste of money. It gave us nothing but problems. We purchased a convertible car seat when my daughter was 6 months old. I really don't recommend them for younger children. At least not the Eddie Bauer one. It doesn't work well when they fall asleep, their heads have no support.
With Strollers it depends on how active you are and how much you will use it. A lot of the time you can get a travel system (infant car seat and stroller together) for around $200. Those strollers are good for walks, trips to the mall or stores- especially while the baby is little and is in the car seat, it just clips on the stroller. Umbrella strollers are good once they get bigger for mall and store trips. If you are active and into jogging or walking on unpaved surfaces don't bother with a travel system stroller, get a jogging stroller. You can get those with the infant car seats that clip on too.
My daughter loved the swing, we got a travel one, because we have a small apartment and you can fold it up and tuck it away somewhere.
Other things I have really enjoyed are the diaper champ (great place to put smelly diapers and you can use any bag in them)
the exersaucer- my daughter loved hers, I think a walker with toys would do the same thing it just depends on what you feel comfortable with, if you want the baby to be able to move around get a walker, if you want to know that it will stay in the spot you put it then get an exersaucer.
That is all i can think of now. congratulations!

SummerM said...

I've got 2 boys and am definitely a minimlaist. we didn't hbuy half the stuff everyone claims you need. Bare minimum: clothes, a sling, diapers, a car seat. That's about it, really. We didn't need a stroller, playpen, crib, swing, or any of that other stuff.
I actually wrote an article a while back on how to have a baby without spending a lot of money. Hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

Read this article to get some perspective!

carrie said...


We had our first child last year and I interview several moms and compiled a list of what they reccomended. I can e-mail you that file if you send me your e-mail address.

A, B & C said...

My daughter is almost 11 months, so I have been through all the newborn purchases and back!

Bassinet: Get a Graco Pack-n-Play with a bassinet attachment. We used the bassinet until my daughter was 4 months. It has a vibrating function, with a light and sounds/music, which were all so great. Now we use just the pack-n-play (the bassinet part is packed away) for trips and at other people's houses.

Carseats: I will second the Combi recommendation... the stroller is one of the lightest out there and has a carrying strap. The infant carseat so easy to snap into the stroller and base. Love it! Now that's she's out of the Combi infant carseat, we bought a Britax. Expensive but one of the best rated and they can use it until 65 pounds... basically when they no longer need a carseat.

Stroller: Once I packed my combi carseat away, I also packed away the matching stroller to keep it nice for the next baby. So we bought... yes, a Maclaren. I said I'd never go in for one of those expensive things, but it really is worth what we paid and more. Spins on a dime and so many compact features. You'd have to have a huge stroller with other brands, but this is tiny, light and lays back, foot rest comes out, washable... great! I can't do those big Gracos... once you have a small stroller, you can't go back.

A few other things:
I'd definitely get a Boppy, and a good gym/floor mat for tummy time (supervised only of course), and a mirror or toy for the crib... it'll give you an extra 30 minutes to sleep at least.

As for swings/bouncers... they are great, but if you're on a budget don't get both.

My final recommendation: support! Breastfeeding was really important to me so I found a group of Moms who all breastfeed. I'm still going strong with it at 11 months b/c of their support and advice. Find friends with babies who share your values... it's so important!

One thing I wouldn't recommend... any videos or movies. My pediatrician and the AAP strongly recommend no TV until age 2. I notice how much more engaged in people my daughter is compared to her TV watching playmates. We sing, play music, dance, read... and it keeps some noise in the house so you don't feel so alone during your days as a SAHM, if you're planning to be one.

Stop by my blog if you have any questions or need advice on anything!

kel said...

So many comments - this is AWESOME! Keep 'em coming!

I do want to carry the baby as much as possible in a sling, but I'm guessing there are times I will also need/want a stroller. I especially want one I can go for good walks in...some don't really have enough room and you kick the wheels. I don't know if I should bother getting a jogging stroller. What if I only want to jog in my neighborhood. Will a normal stroller work fine? Also, I want the baby facing me, but if I attach an infant car seat, they will be facing me. So, is it a non-issue then (since not all strollers will let you change the direction)?

I also have a specific question about nursing pillows. Is one needed? And which brand? I've only had friends w/ a boppy (and loved it), but my mom just got me a different kind at a consignment sale, one that my sister's bigger and flatter. But, it's HUGE. Do I want a boppy?

I also want to use cloth diapers. Any advice on brands / methods? How does that work for when you are out of the house?

Thank you all so much. This is so helpful! I'm over-joyed at the response.


Marie said...

You'd be amazed at how LITTLE you really need for a baby. With both of mine I bought or recieved every baby gadget imaginable, and hardly any of it ever got used. We are now considering a third, and this time honestly won't buy ANYTHING ahead of time. For shower gifts I will just ask for gift cards so that if we do end up needing something we can go get it when the time comes. There is a lot of useless crap out there!

Marie said...

Just wanted to add:

Ah yes, one thing we would DEFINITELY buy is a swing! A good swing is essential.

Joo said...

I didn't have time to read all your responses so forgive me I am repeating or negating what someone else has told you.

As far as a bassinet, I used the mini Arms Reach co-sleeper for the first few months. And while, I loved the convenience, I wish we had purchased a pack and play instead. So that sounds like a great idea to me.

I love my Snap and Go stroller. I got a floor model for just under 50 dollars. Our daughter is almost 11 months and we still use it. If she falls asleep in the car, I don't have to wake her up to take her places. I just snap her car seat in. And the stroller folds up fairly compact for my trunk. It's perfect for when you just want to dash in someplace and don't want to undo her from the seat.

In conjunction with that, we use the Jeep umbrella-type stroller. The wheels are nice and rugged and it turns with ease. Again, less than 50 dollars.

I loved the Boppy but a regular pillow works fine, too.

I have a number of slings but I found the Baby Bjorn to be the easiest to use and the only thing my daughter would tolerate.In fact, she loved it. I got mine at a consignment store for only 20 dollars. (I love those places!)

I only used cloth diapers for the first few months and then I pooped out on the laundry. I splurged on all-in-ones from - Bum genius. Expensive, yes. But by far the most convenient and attractive option. I tried others but I just wasn't a fan of anything else. If you go to their website, check out Baby Legs as well. They were great at keeping her legs warm in winter and now they spare her knees from getting bruised from crawling on our hard wood floors. And they are so cute!!

I'm happy to answer any more specific questions if I can!

Anonymous said...

Here are my semi-minimalist suggestions from mommy of 2. :) (They used to be 2 under 2).
-Consider that your baby will outgrow the bassinette in a couple months. We used a Portable Crib in our room (3/4 sized crib) from Toys R Us with the plus that it folds up 6" thick (but it will still fill up a big car trunk). We moved it into babies room when we were all ready. :) Most babies fit in them until they are about 2, but if you have a tall one, it will be outgrown sooner).
-We didn't use a pack & play or swings and such. Just a doorway "jumper" that could be moved from doorway to doorway and taken on trips! Children are only supposed to be left in those things for MAX 20 min. per day. So there is no point buying more than one kind.
-We did get a bouncer for baby to nap in those early months or to watch me cooking.
-You must have a carseat. :)
-A stroller with a nice sized basket and that fits in your car. Maybe add an umbrella stroller later IF you can't always bring the big one.
-My #1 tip is DO NOT GET FLASHY ELECTRONIC TOYS. Babies don't need them. :) Give them a lovey to attach to (a safe blanket or toy) and safe developmental toys to look at and chew on, and wonderful picture books. :) No TV, videos, needed. :)

ThoughtfulMom said...

We love these things for the first six months:

a wrap (
Britax Roundabout (until 40 pounds)
Bumbo seat (months 2-sitting up well)
travel swing (newborn - sitting up well)
pack n play - protects baby from siblings when necessary
a comfy quilt to throw on the floor and make a roll-a-round spot.

We have the current baby in a full-size crib in our room because there happens to be room for his crib there.

Leigh said...


Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog. Thank goodness you don't have to go through my phase :)

I've browsed your whole blog and the craft one - I love those paper notebooks. They're gorgeous. Please do a tutorial and come tell me so I can try to make them.

Emily said...

I agree with what the others have said about the changing table - we didn't use ours once!

Graco SnugRides are the best infant car seats.

Here's a couple things I would have done if I had known then what I know now:
-- Bought the Britax Marathon... it's $$ but we bought the Evenflo for $180 or something and then had to buy a Cosco carseat for another $120 when our daughter outgrew the Evenflo. Better to get one that will go the distance.
-- Bought the Snap 'n Go stroller for the time we used the infant car seat, and then invested in a really nice umbrella stroller (like the Maclaren Triumph) that you can use for years. The Macs are realllly light and fabulous. I love them.

I was adverse to getting a swing, but we got one as a gift and it was a lifesaver. Our daughter even slept in it (at night) for a while!

Also, Miracle Blankets make swaddling about a zillion times easier.

The first thing I would do if I were you, though, is to head to Amazon and pick up a copy of "Baby Bargains." They do a great job of weeding out what's important to have and what's not, and rate/compare makes and models of everything you'll need.

Good luck!!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

We love our basic pack-n-play. The bassinet works when they're little (ours is still in it at 7 months old) and you don't have to buy anything new when they get bigger.

Things you can't live without: a sling or mei tai baby carrier. I promise, you need one. If you know how to sew at all, mei tais are easy to make and I can send you instructions (I just finished making one).

The other thing I highly recommend is a GOOD diaper bag. I went through three cheap ones before finally "splurging" on a nice one from Pottery Barn Kids. It would have been cheaper to just get that one in the first place! If you go to the Pottery Barn Kids website, and search for "Ultimate Diaper Bag", you'll find the one I'm talking about.

Other than you planning to use cloth or disposable diapers? If cloth, I recommend Bummi's Super Whisper Wraps for the covers. Wow those things are perfect. :)

Honestly, though...don't stress about it. Your baby doesn't need stress. Your baby just needs a happy mommy, and the rest will fall into place.

Oh, and one more thing before I go. If you have minimalist tendencies (like I do) you should let people know that BEFORE they start buying things for the baby. Otherwise you'll end up with a bunch of stuff you don't want and can't get rid of because Grandma gave it to you. That isn't fun. So decide what YOU want in YOUR house and put that on a registry. Then kindly but firmly let people know that you don't have much space and you would prefer to only receive items on your registry. I wish we'd done that. :)

Good luck!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Hey Kel, why don't we email about baby stuff. I'd love to send you a bunch of info and it doesn't work well in the comment section. :) You can reach me at my junk address first and then I'll give you my real one.

Talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

If they still make "Diaper Genies" to hold dirty diapers, don't get one. It contains all the smell, but the smell will knock you over when you open it up to empty it! Putting the disposables in the trash works just fine.

We loved our pack-n-play with bassinet. We used the bassinet only for a little bit, but it was worth it since I'd had a c-section & couldn't manage much bending/lifting. Later, we used the pack-n-play as a travel crib.

We chose a regular crib instead of a convertible one. Convertibles just look too flimsy to me. We also got a dresser that has a changing area on top. Other than that, we had diapers & supplies on each level of our house. Who wants to have to go up or down stairs every time baby needs a change? I really liked the waterproof mats & just spread one of those out on the floor to change baby.

Car seat: choose the one you like then go out to the parking lot & try to install it. I've had to take a couple back since they wouldn't fit well in my older car.

Best wishes!

TulipGirl said...

We did minimalist in general, but especially with #3 and #4--both of whom were born in the midst of moving.

Like Karen, we have preferred a pack-n-play to a crib. Some of our friends have had arms-reach co-sleepers which they loved, but our pack-n-play worked great. Baby could snuggle with us, or sleep in the pack-n-play in our room, or sleep in it in the hall or other kids' room. . . Easy to move, and very convenient for small spaces and simplicity.

A good sling or pouch. One that is comfortable. Great way for cuddling, nursing, walking, doing errands. . .

Extra burp cloths.

Since you want to cloth diaper. . . we did. . . You don't need all the cool and pretty and neato cloth diapering systems. I'd ask around and see who is selling their diapers. See if you can get a variety pack from someone who has outgrown theirs and see what you like. We had some of the "fancier" things (well, as fancy as things were 10 years ago) as well as plain ol' prefolds and plastic pants. Cloth diapering takes more a mindset than anything.

And some mommy-encouragement that I read years ago which I think you'll like:
What Every First Time Mama Needs To Know

Grace and peace,

TulipGirl said...

Errr. . . that link didn't work. Trying again:
What Every First Time Mama Needs To Know