Monday, April 28, 2014

What Does Your Baby Really Need? Baby Registry Tips for New Moms - Updated 2018 After Baby Number 4

My first pregnancy 20 wk ultrasounds
So, you're pregnant!  It's an exciting time, especially with a first baby.  The mind wanders and dreams of what being a mom will be like, what the new baby will be like, and all of the cute things that can be done with a baby.  It is a grand romance of the mind, but then, registering for gifts begins.
Sure, it's really fun in the beginning and really exciting to hope that someone will buy that really beautiful $2000 sleigh crib as a gift, but as items fill the registry, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with just how much a baby needs!!!  Well, I'm here to tell you there is actually very little your baby needs, in fact, go with less and you will actually have a much healthier and happier baby!

First, let me start with a disclaimer.  I do not ever do "reviews" in exchange for anything. Period.  I am a four time mama and have learned by the wasting of much money that more stuff does not equate an increase of ease or happiness for you or baby.

I do have Amazon affiliate links in this post.  Clicking on the links does nothing for me, but should you buy an item from the link, Amazon will pay me a very small percentage.  This helps me keep my blog up and running. Your price is not affected by my links. 

I have three main categories that are grouped by level of necessity:

You need it:
These are items most people NEED to have.  They are either required by law or are necessary to caring for a baby.

Car Seats - If you travel by automobile, it's the law.  Don't go used.  God-forbid you are in an accident with your baby, you want to know that the car seat will function as it is supposed to.  You don't have to buy a top of the line seat, but do make sure it is new.  Car seats are supposed to be thrown away after an accident, but many people will sell these seats on Craigslist and in yard sales.

When your baby is small,  it's really convenient to have a travel system that the car seat can snap in and out of.  Some babies hate car seats (two of mine did) and once they fall asleep, the idea of waking them to get out of the car to put them back in 5 minutes later is enough to cause total mom anxiety!  Having an infant seat with a snap-in base can be a total sanity saver.

When we had 3 kids that were 3 and under, we had two strollers/stroller systems that we loved.
This one with it's coordinaing carseat:
and this one:

These two systems worked seamlessly together.  The car seat could snap into both of these strollers, so depending on where we were going, and the terrain we were anticipating we had the perfect stroller in each case.  Although you really need to buy the car seat new, keep an eye out for lightly used strollers!  The jogger has bike tires, so if you find one with worn tires, you can get a really inexpensive repair from a local bike shop.

Since our fourth baby is so much younger than the others, I did not need (nor desire) double strollers.  This time around I only purchased  the single.  It's the same stroller, but for one baby and came with the car seat (which he is still using at almost 14 months) and one base (we don't buy a second base--just use the seat belt when we travel in daddy's truck).

 As a bonus tip, my friend told me about Amazon's baby registry  Use it and once $10 is purchased by anyone you get a cool "Welcome box" as well as a 15% off coupon that applies to an entire order!  There are exclusions, but this was super awesome!  In addition to Amazon's awesome return policy, we got an additional discount and some cool things including a cotton muslin swaddle! 

Diapers -  Your baby will need diapers of some sort.  After our first year of diapering, I realized that we were spending a lot of money on diapers.  I read that cloth diapered babies tend to potty train quicker and that cloth is actually better for baby.  I did some research and decided to make the switch.  If you are thinking about cloth, its best to invest before baby comes.  Different companies have different recommendations on how many you will need but I think they often over estimate. If you have a washer and a dryer, you can go with a little less than someone who needs to run to the laundromat.  I personally hand washed diapers for years, but drying time varies, especially in the colder seasons.  If you are looking to build a stash really inexpensively, check out prefold diapers.  They are very cost effective and last for multiple babies! About 24-30 prefolds with 3 wool covers and a set of Snappis or other diaper fastener, you are all set!  Check out my handmade diaper line!  I've been in business since 2008!

If cloth really isn't for you, or your spouse isn't on-board, look for natural disposable diapers.  Major brands and generics like Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs are filled with nasty chemicals.  Do your research and make informed decisions.  When we travel and will not have access to a washer and dryer, I personally use Seventh Generation unbleached diapers.

Which ever route you go, do not stock up on newborn diapers unless you are planning for a non-hospital birth.  The hospital will give you plenty of newborn diapers. 

Clothes - This one is obvious, but which clothes you need might not be.  You don't need a ton, babies grow quickly.  Make sure you have some plain long sleeve rompers for under other clothing, a few short sleeve rompers for hot days (only use these indoors or in shady areas, infant sunburns are very dangerous), some pants with footies (socks never fit newborns), and some beanies.  Everything else is extra. I personally prefer Carter's brand over Gerber and keep an eye out for Burt's Bees organic product sales! I go for neutral color pallets with solids to make mix and matching easy. This saves both time and money!

You want it:
These are items that some would call necessary but are really items that you will just be glad to have.

Stroller - Huh?!?! Not necessary??? No, they are not.  They can be very convenient and I am not going to try to convince you not to have one, but it can likely wait.  Carry your baby as much as possible.  They grow quick, you will both benefit from the snuggles, and you can nurse your baby while in a carrier, not in a stroller. 
Baby Carrier
- You don't need one, but I highly recommend them.  Buy from a place that accepts returns and exchanges or support a local baby shop.  They will allow you to try different carriers with your baby and will train you on how to safely use them.  I could not have gotten anything done around the house for the first year without one.  Where ever you decide to look for one, make sure it supports Baby's head, spine, and keeps your baby's legs bent and not dangling.  These things are bad for your baby's developing spine and hips.

Crib/ Play Yard - These really are not necessary, especially if you co-sleep but they can be very nice to have for day time naps, especially once baby starts rolling around and crawling.
Breast Pump - This is not a necessity, but I do recommend one.  Check with your insurance and see if they provide one.  Most American insurance companies do.  They are great for the purposes of starting your "let down" and latching, especially if your nipples are sore.  They are also good for storing extra milk.  You may never need to use the extra milk, especially if you exclusively breastfeed and breastfeed into the toddler years, but it is a better "back up" than formula.  If you produce a lot, you might want to consider donating excess milk (do keep a reserve for your baby though).
Nursing Cover and Nursing Pads -  You can technically live without these, but they are nice to have.  Even if you have no problem breastfeeding without a cover, occasionally you may be around a weird man who just can't stop staring at your breast.  It is nice to have the option to easily cover up without overheating your baby.  Nursing pads are great too.  I love washable pads.  They are eco-friendly, double-able, and much cheaper in the long run.  I like to make my own from hemp fabric.  It's super affordable and they are so absorbent!

Don't Buy it:
You might decide to buy these items later, but they are completely unnecessary items, especially early on. 

Bottles, Bottle Warmers, Formula, and Feeding Items - Don't worry about this yet.  There is no logical reason to stock up on baby bowls and spoons yet.  Consider delayed solids.  Not only will it encourage natural breastfeeding, but it will save you money and is much better for babyRead my post about breastfeeding beyond the first year here!  Breastfeeding is best for baby, no one will deny this, but with all of the "convenience" of bottle and formula gifts and coupons, it is easy to give up in the first weeks.  For many moms, breastfeeding does not come easily, so eliminating bottles and formula from your registry--and even respectfully asking that no one purchase them as gifts--is a great way to ensure that you do not fall into the formula trap.  Eliminate your "back-up" and you will have much better chances of success.  If you are unable or unwilling to breastfeed after the first few months, then go out and buy what you want, but first, do your baby and yourself a favor, give it a valiant effort and commit to exclusively breastfeeding for at least one month.
Changing Table - Putting a fleece blanket on the bed works just fine (it's water retardant).  If you really want a "changing station," buying a changing contour and placing it on a dresser works great!  After your baby becomes mobile, it is actually much safer to change your baby on a bed or the floor.

More information:
Delaying Solids

Experienced moms, what items did you buy and not need?

Here are some other posts you may like:
Creating an Educational Philosophy - Free Printables
How to Clean Your Warm-Mist Humidifier
Life-Schooling Through Books

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