Planning for a baby can definitely be overwhelming. When you start to look around and find all the must have items lists, it becomes even more so. I’m a big proponent of the idea that babies don’t really need a whole lot. Sure, a fancy stroller is nice, and most babies like either a bouncy seat or swing, which can be a total lifesaver when you want to take a shower or make yourself something to eat, but there are plenty of lists that include those types of things. I’m pretty sure that every baby related item that exists is on someone’s essentials list. So, take this with a grain of salt. What works for one baby might not work for the next. And, if you’re counting on it to work, it probably won’t. Babies are sometimes jerks like that.
Although some of these items have already been mentioned in this series, for my part, I wanted to do a list of my top 5 baby items that were a little more unexpected, at least for me.
1. A Front Carrier
There are tons of options when it comes to carriers. A front carrier was invaluable when Logan was a baby. Putting him in a carrier not only kept him calm and happy, it also freed my hands to be able to get anything done. Sometimes it was the only way to convince my tired baby to take the nap we both desperately needed him to take. It was also great for skin to skin contact, which is especially important with preemies, so we tried to do it often. Extra awesome because it helped keep us both warm during that time, without being awkward. When Logan started to outgrow the Moby wrap (which happened pretty early, he’s always been a big baby,) we switched to the Ergo carrier. We’ve always used a carrier more than his stroller, so we wanted to continue, and had to find a new carrier to suit our needs. We still use the Ergo fairly often, even with Logan weighing well over 30 lbs. now. It’s still a pretty sure fire way of calming Logan down, and it’s amazing when he wants to be held for an extended period of time, because I can’t support his weight with just my arms for very long. It definitely distributes his weight in a way that is manageable. There is also a back and side carry option. Both carriers were able to be adjusted to fit both myself and my husband, though there are carriers that are designed to custom fit the parent, so you may not be able to trade off (the baby k’tan comes to mind).
And maybe keeping my baby close as an overprotective first time mom was an added bonus.
2. White Noise Machine
We’ve used a white noise machine from early on, and it has definitely helped. We can travel and it doesn’t throw off Logan’s sleep too much, because when we bring the white noise machine, it feels familiar. We also don’t need to worry too much about being super quiet while he is asleep, or about noise from neighbors/ the street, because the white noise drowns out outside noises. Living in a small apartment with a newborn, this was essential. It has also become part of our night time routine, which makes bedtime easier. As an unexpected perk, constantly hearing the crackle of the white noise on the baby monitor, or not, as the case may be, alerts me very quickly if the monitor has stopped transmitting.
3. Breast Pads
This is definitely not something I thought about while pregnant, or even at all, before actually needing them. I’m not sure if this is one of those things that is universal or not, but for me, as a new breastfeeding mother, my boobs leaked. Especially in those rare instances when my sweet little newborn would gloriously allow me to sleep more than an hour or two between feedings. My boobs would get full, and inevitably end up soaking my shirt and bed. I would wake up to being wet instead of to a baby crying. Not exactly the ideal trade off. But, it’s not only the middle of the night I had to worry about. If I was out doing errands, and the movement and hum of the car kept Logan asleep just a little bit longer, yep, same deal. So, that being said, getting breast pads to absorb those embarrassing wet spots was definitely a must. Now, for me at least, my body regulated to my son’s changing eating habits pretty effectively and quickly. I did not need to use breast pads for very long, so I’m glad I didn’t invest in anything fancy on that front, but there are definitely plenty to choose from; everything from reusable to disposable, much like diapers.
4. Baby Nail Clippers
This might be the most obvious on this list, but I didn’t understand how important baby nail clippers would be. I affectionately refer to Logan’s fingernails as talons. No joke, they are SHARP! And, as he grew, he got more interested in grabbing and scratching at me, especially while breastfeeding. Keeping his nails clipped every few days is the only option. And normal sized clippers are just way too big. If you can find them, baby clippers sometimes come with a grippy cover, and they are way easier to hold on to while trying to wrangle squirmy baby fingers.5. Caspar Babypants CDs
This was my most surprising “can’t live without” find. Ever since Logan was three months old, as soon as any Caspar Babypants music comes on, he is instantly calm. Mesmerized might be a better word. It’s insane. If he’s fussing getting into his car seat, arching his back and refusing to get buckled in, we put on Caspar Babypants (CBP) on our phone, and he is much more agreeable. No other music has quite the same effect on him. CBP is specifically designed as kids’ music, and he mixes reimagined classics with original songs, without it being as… annoying as some other popular kids’ tunes. The man behind the music is Chris Ballew, from the band the Presidents of the United States of America. It’s baby music I don’t mind listening to, and I think there are 6 CDs, so if I keep them in constant rotation, I don’t get burned out on the songs too quickly.
Did you have any items you didn’t realize you were going to need, but turned out to be a must have?