When having your first baby, you spend hours researching the best baby items and gear and see what others recommend based on their experience. At least I did. After all, I had no idea what I was going to need as a first-time mom.
It was so exciting every time we got a baby gift or bought something for Blair leading up to her arrival, and I was feeling SO prepared, at least when it came to all the baby gear. Once she arrived, though, we started to see what was actually helpful and what we may not have needed after all! As it turns out, there were quite a few things we could’ve done without – and it was much easier to know what the ‘essentials’ really are when it came to baby number two! So without further ado, here’s my list of necessities and things you just don’t need!
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- Rock ‘n Play (with auto rocking motion) – We had the regular version with Blair (side note: why was it called a Rock ‘n Play if it didn’t actually rock?!), but I sold that one when we found out we were expecting again and bought the version that rocks itself. Verdict? It’s a lifesaver. Our babies like to move move move, and don’t sleep well in a stationary position (unless it’s my arms…then they can sleep for hours).
- Halo Swaddles – We had registered for the Summer SwaddleMe brand, but quickly found out that Blair hated them – and hunted down the Halo Swaddle a few days into her being home. This time around, I bought another Halo Swaddle for Blakely since it worked well the first time – and so far, so good! She sleeps in one every night.
- Aden + Anais Swaddles – While I don’t actually swaddle babies with these blankets (because I’m a totally inadequate swaddler), they are perfect for keeping baby warm in the car seat, swing or any other baby contraption 😉 They’re so soft and are plenty big. Tip: The Aden by Aden + Anais version just isn’t as good as the original…so the kinds at Target/Babies ‘r Us are NOT my favorite. I like the regular Aden + Anais blankets better (they’re bigger and softer!).
- Baby Swing – This was something I swore we wouldn’t need when we had Blair, but a week into her screaming for hours at night, I caved. After reading The Happiest Baby on the Block and learning about the 5 S’s, I was willing to try anything if it meant she would stop crying! We’ve been pretty fortunate this time around, because it seems like Blakely cries less than Blair did (she does still get super fussy in the evening) – but the swing is essential when it comes to having TWO kids. I can put Blakely in the swing when I need to tend to Blair, and it keeps her quiet and happy (and she takes great naps in it!).
- Boppy Newborn Lounger – I did not have one of these with Blair, but realized I would need a spot to put Blakely down now that I had two kids to take care of and only enough hands to help one at a time! So far, this has been a worthwhile purchase and I can easily tote it wherever Blair demands we go 😉
- Boppy Nursing Pillow – In my opinion, a nursing pillow is essential when baby is little! It makes feedings so much easier, and the pillow is also great for supporting your arms when holding the baby.
- Lansinoh Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra – So easy to use and made pumping easy when I went back to work after having Blair. It was nice to have my hands free to get things done while I spent so much time pumping each day (or if I was in the car!). This time around, being home, I probably won’t pump much, but since I have two little ones running around, it’s nice to have my hands free when I do!
- Glider – This was another item I said ‘no way’ to when my mom suggested we needed one in the nursery for Blair. In my mind, the less baby stuff we had, the better – I didn’t want it taking over our house! After about two weeks of nearly constant evening crying from Blair, my mom insisted we get a glider and she would buy it. So we let her, and the rest is history. We (well, Michael) spent many hours rocking Blair to sleep when she was a baby and we’ve used it quite a bit with Blakely already. It’s also super comfortable – I actually take my laptop in the nursery so I can sit in this chair while I work. #owningit
- Baby Carrier (so many types) – We have a Baby Bjorn that we got the first time around, but we didn’t get a lot of use out of it until Blair was 4+ months old…then we used it all the time! This time, I also got a Solly Baby Wrap, because I wanted something better for newborns and heard great things about this particular one. We’ve used it a handful of times so far and it’s SO easy to use! Blakely is hit or miss with being in a carrier – we’ve used the Baby Bjorn and the Solly and the verdict is still out on which she prefers…sometimes it’s neither. 🙂
- Covered Goods nursing cover – I can’t recommend this cover enough! It’s life-changing. Last time, I had one of the apron-style covers and it was NOT user-friendly nor did it really cover anything well. I heard great things about Covered Goods (and Milk Snob, which is the same type of cover) and knew I had to have one this time around…especially since nursing in public is probably going to happen a lot more this time around. It also doubles as a car seat cover, which we’ve gotten tons of use out of already (to keep nosy strangers from touching my baby! Seriously, though…people are crazy.)
- Honest Lactation Plus – With Blair, breastfeeding certainly wasn’t easy and I never produced enough. Our lactation consultant recommended Fenugreek and Fennel Seed capsules to boost milk production, so I was popping 5-6 pills a day just for a slight increase in production (but I was willing to do anything to make it work!). After doing tons of research, I found Honest Lactation Plus capsules, which combines all of the herbal supplements that boost milk production into a single capsule – and you only need to take two per day. The best part is, they really do make a difference – I used them for the last six months or so of breastfeeding Blair and I already have a bottle on hand this time. Interestingly enough, so far I think I’m overproducing this time around…so weird how it can change so drastically between babies!
As for things we ended up NOT needing:
- MOBY Wrap – This contraption was the devil. Too much fabric, too thick, too heavy. Just no. I never mastered the tying process, and Blair hated it since it took forever to get her situated in the wrap. I tried selling it a few months back but had zero takers…I guess everyone knows better!
- Bottle Warmer – We registered for one of these the first time around, but quickly realized it wasn’t necessary. Not only was I exclusively breastfeeding (at least until I went back to work last time), but we later learned it was easier to thaw/warm breastmilk with hot water. We ended up giving it to my mom to use when Blair stayed at her house, but the time it took to prep the warmer probably wasn’t worth it. Save your money and just use hot water!
- A variety of bottle nipple sizes – Our pediatrician told us if you’re breastfeeding, you should always use the smallest bottle nipple size so it replicates the amount of milk your baby gets from nursing. When you start moving up to the bigger sizes, it makes it easier for the baby to drink the milk out of a bottle and they will get frustrated when nursing and might favor the bottle. I wasn’t about to do anything that might hinder breastfeeding, so we used the smallest size (with Dr. Brown’s and Medela bottles) until Blair was a year old (and we switched to sippy cups).
- Medela Hands-Free Pumping Bra – This was another one of those bad purchases. It was incredibly difficult to use and the zipper ended up getting stuck, so it was essentially useless at that point!
- Baby Walker – This is totally personal preference, but after reading an article about how walkers can make your baby lazy when it comes to learning to walk…we decided to nix the walker with Blair. She started walking (by holding on to furniture to get from point A to B) at 8-9 months, and took her first steps without support at 11 months. I don’t know if the walker would’ve negatively affected that, but it was something I felt comfortable doing without! Plus, we didn’t have a ton of floor space for it at the time.
I think it goes without saying that every baby is different, so the things that were ‘lifesavers’ for us might be different for someone else! But now that I’ve been able to test these products out on two babies, I feel a little more confident that some of these things just might work for you, too 🙂