It’s funny to me how drastically your perspective on things can change when the second baby comes around. I remember being pregnant with Tatum and frantically registering and buying items that David and I were told were VERY necessary (bottle warmer, wipes warmer, change table, swing etc.), spending money that could have otherwise been used in more helpful places. As new parents, we were concerned that we wouldn’t have all of the gear that we were led to believe we needed for our baby (those tiny babies seemed to need a LOT of stuff!), and so we went out and purchased many of these items.
Months later, I looked back and realized the wipes warmer and bottle warmer had collected dust, Tatum hated the swing (she much preferred to be rocked in my arms!), and we usually just changed her diaper on the floor on a blanket or a change pad. When I became pregnant the second time, I knew that I would be spending a lot less money on baby items. When we sat down to figure out what exactly we would need for this baby, we were a bit shocked at how much our “must-haves” had changed since my first pregnancy. The list was probably less than half of what we thought we needed before!
I’m a big believer in less is more — I don’t like to have a lot of stuff cluttering up our home, and I feel a lot of the products marketed towards new parents are worth good money that could be spent elsewhere (like putting towards a great carseat or wrap, or in a savings account!). Take a look at my revised list of baby must-haves, and feel free to chime in with what you couldn’t live without when you had a baby!
Oh, how I wish I had known how essential these are. My arms would have been saved from a lot of suffering. When I had Tatum, I realized that babies liked to be carried a lot, and I wanted to keep her close. I tried a buckle carrier a couple of times (it was what I now realize is affectionately deemed a “crotch dangler” carrier) and didn’t really like it, so I gave up on that and basically just carried my little one around. Now that I have Tatum to look after and more things to be attending to, a wrap is going to be my best friend. Babies need to be close to their mamas (or dads! Dads can wear babies too!), and that can be difficult especially when you have other children that need attention. A wrap or carrier is a perfect way to keep your baby close and work on that mom-baby bonding (did you know baby-wearing also promotes milk production, mental development of your baby and results in less colic?) as well as making sure your children (and ugh — that pile of laundry that has been growing and growing) are attended to. Need a few ideas? Check out:
I was so grateful for Tatum’s bouncy chair when she was a baby. During times when baby-wearing is not an option or ideal (i.e. cooking, bathing, etc.), the bouncy chair is so handy to have. I never really got the hang of showering or bathing with Tatum when she was a baby, so having her in the bouncy chair while I quickly got clean was perfect. It was also great to have her in the chair in the kitchen with me while I made supper, and sometimes it was a nice little napping spot for her (if she wasn’t sleeping in my arms ;)). I used the bouncy chair a lot and I expect that it will still be a must-have for this baby as well.
Carseats are not where you should be stingy with your money. A good carseat with a great safety rating is absolutely the most important baby item you will invest in. You may have to spend a little more than you planned on, but you can counter this by spending less in other areas (do you really need that $300 baby swing? Probably not.). When it comes to the safety of your sweet baby, a good carseat should be number one a parent’s list of baby items. The carseat pictured above is a Britax B-Safe Infant Seat, and has great safety reviews.
When Tatum first started eating solids, I didn’t know much about making your own baby food. I went to the store and bought several jars of baby food, and was incredibly surprised at how expensive they were. I went home, and attempted to feed some of the jarred baby food to Tatum. No go. I chalked it up to her not being ready and didn’t push food anymore. Luckily during that break, I stumbled upon a few websites that talked about how easy, economical, and healthy making your own baby food was, and I began to experiment. I didn’t have a processor at the time, but I wanted to see how this would work. Tatum’s first baby food was a carrot, apple and mango puree. I had boiled the carrots, apple and mango, then mashed them until they were smooth. I froze the puree in an ice cube tray, and the next day fed her a cube. She LOVED it, and ever since I have been a big advocate of making your own baby food. You know exactly what is going into it, it’s fresh, and MUCH more economical than buying jars of baby food. A food processor is another baby must-have for us. You will use this TONS when you begin to make your baby’s food, and having one that is well-made and efficient is going to make it even easier than it is.
When we had Tatum, David and I used gDiapers. While I really liked them and the idea behind them, the biodegradable, flushable inserts were expensive and had to be purchased very frequently, and they clogged our toilet. We had a low-flow toilet and it just didn’t work for us. This time, we have invested in a stash of cloth diapers and couldn’t be happier. I can’t imagine spending the money we spent on disposable diapers for Tatum this time around (this article from Squawkfox.com is awesome for comparing the prices of disposable and cloth diapers), and they don’t seem all that comfortable. Besides, whenever I would toss a diaper in the garbage, I would imagine it sitting in the dump for the next Cloth diapers are not as messy and yucky as you imagine them to be, and the bonus is that once you’re done diapering your child, you can either save the diapers for your next one, or sell them. This way, you get a little bit of that diapering money back!
What were/are your baby “must-haves?”