The Only Baby Crap You Actually Need!
I have four kids, y’all. I’ve been a mom for SIXTEEN (and a half) years. I have all boys… my oldest is 16, my youngest just turned one. Which means, I’ve been through the “first year” 4 times. A lot of products have come and gone during that time, I’ve bought things that I thought were going to be awesome… but they weren’t. And there were some things that I never thought would be so useful and we were all about them.
So, this is [hopefully] a post that’ll help you cut down on the amount of baby crap you buy that you don’t need (IMO, anyway) or maybe help with buying something you wouldn’t have bought! Before I get into it, I have to tell you that the Amazon links that you’ll find in this post are Affiliate links - which means I earn a tiny referral fee. For real, it’s super small. And, I NEVER recommend something that I don’t actually LOVE just for the sake of recommending something. :) Nobody has time for that crap.
Okay! So, I’m going to break it down in following areas:
Sick / Colic
Things that I bought that were a WASTE OF MONEY!
Let me start off by saying I’m on team “FED IS BEST”. If you nurse your babies, I support that. If you can’t or simply just don’t want to nurse and choose to formula feed your baby, that’s cool too. With my four children, I successfully nursed the last two. My first two were primarily formula fed; I nursed my 3rd until he was 22months, and my youngest is ~13mo and still going strong! So, my recommendations for ‘feeding baby’ are for breastfeeding as that’s the freshest in my mind. :)
Electric Breast Pump: Spectra S1 *see below
Manual Hand-held Breast Pump: Medela Harmony
Latching issues: Breast shield **see below
Sore nipples: Ameda ComfortGel
Lanolin: Three mini tubes (living room, diaper bag, nursery)
Breast pump travel backpack
Older baby (sitting in a highchair)
Stainless steel 360 Sippy cups
Spill-proof snack container
Bib with catcher pocket
Baby feeding mat with suction cups!
*The only pump I would trade my S1 for is the Medela Symphony - but that thing is like $2K. Nope. lol Let me save you some time and frustration and give you the ‘insider’ scoop on the Spectra. The pump itself: super powerful - it feels like you’re using the Symphony - but, their parts SUCK. The bottles/nipples/flanges it comes with are total crap (true disappointment and surprise because the pump is such a great quality). I much preferred the Medela flanges/bottles/nipples. Luckily, there’s a “Medela Hack” THAT WORKS PERFECTLY. You’ll simply need this part to connect the Spectra tubing to the Medela flanges (click here). And then just buy the Medela parts separately (click here). I prefer the S1 over the S2 simply because the S1 has a battery and the S2 doesn’t. Which means, if you don’t have an outlet for the S2 you’re SOL. Nobody wants to be SOL with engorged boobs.
** My experience with the breast shields has been a mixed bag. YES, they DEFINITELY help with latching issues. Fo’sho. So if that’s what you need them for, these are super helpful. This product was the only way I could nurse my 2nd. I tried to use them with my 3rd but not because of issues with latching. Instead, because my nipples were RAW and I thought having a “layer of protection” would help (those first couple weeks are awful). But these gave him gas as it allows more air to get to their belly than direct-to-breast (and it didn’t help with the pain, tbh). So, if you decide to use these - watch out for a gassy baby, these could be why!
I really hate buying things that I’ll only use for 3 months. Especially when they’re insanely priced. That being said… if you can get any of these items (especially the bassinet) used: do. Baby will grow out of it quickly, trust me!
Bassinet: Halo Sleeper (great for c-section mamas)
Bassinet pick 2: Baby Delight Beside Me Dreamer
Swing - Graco Snugabunny (I used this swing for napping (with supervision) for my last three babies and it still works. We’re still keeping it ‘just in case’.)
Sleep sacks: Woolino (I love this brand!)
ZIPPERED JAMMIES. Trust me on this. ZIPPERED EVERYTHING! No snaps. EVERRR. Not even in the day. These are under “sleeping” simply because zippered jammies are even more important in the dark. :)
Sound Machine with warm-toned light
PORTABLE sound machine = game changer
I realize that cloth diapers are all the rage and, while I totally recycle our paper/plastic/glass, I just don’t have what it takes to do cloth diapers. I think it’s really cool that some moms can do this - it just wasn’t for me (I tried it briefly). I’m totally a Pamper’s gal. I’ve tried so. many. brands (and all different types of Pampers, too).
Diapers: Pampers Pure (yes, they’re a little pricey. But they’re 100% cotton and no icky chemicals!)
Wipes: Pampers Aqua Pure (99% water. And they’re super soft for baby’s bum)
Diaper Cream: Triple Paste (I swear this stuff is magic)
Applying diaper cream: Bum Brush + travel bum brush (please, for the love of God, buy this. It’s worth it)
Sick, Colicky or Otherwise Unhappy Baby
Gripe Water (newborn+): Wellements (they also have a nighttime version for babies who are over 1 month here)
FridaBaby “Sick Day Prep” (nose frida + more)
Super accurate thermometer
Baby Cold Relief: Boiron Coldcalm Baby (these worked SO WELL for my youngest two!)
I did an insane amount of research on car seats. To me, if you’re going to pick one thing to ‘splurge’ on, let it be the one thing that matters: the seat that’ll keep your baby safe if you’re in an accident! If you can afford to buy a nice carseat: do.
Car sear: Peg Perego 4-35 NIDO *see my thoughts below
Stroller: Peg Perego Book Cross ** see my thoughts below
Attach toy/pacifier/cup/etc: Secure A Toy
*I really love the quality of this seat. In addition to its stellar safety ratings, this seat is just so well made. This seat ranks in the top three (usually in 1st) for safety by many different crash testing/consumer report sites. We’ve been in an accident with this car seat (yes, we got a new one) when my youngest was only a month old - HE SLEPT THROUGH THE ACCIDENT. We were rear ended on I66 and then we hit the car in front of us. A minivan sandwich we were… but baby was perfectly fine. <3
** When it comes to strollers, you can trust that I’ve put ours through hell and back (four loud, crazy, hyper, dirty boys). In a stroller you want three things: 1. You want it to be well made so it doesn’t just fall apart the first time you take it on gravel. 2. Speaking of gravel: the bigger the wheels, the easier to push it over difficult surfaces. Small wheels are awful. Double wheels are worse. You want single, large, heavy duty wheels. In fact, it was the wheels that ultimately made us decide on this stroller (and we LOVE it. It drives over anything… beach sand, gravel, corn mazes etc). And 3: you want leather. Because poop happens. And dirt. And puke. And melted ice cream. And you want to be able to wipe that up without having to disassemble the whole dang thing to wash it.
Things That Were A Waste Of Money!
**These were a waste of money… for me. If they worked for you I’m super jealous. :)
- Dock-A-Tot. I tried it with three of my kids, they all hated it.
- Activity Saucer. All four of my babies weren’t into these things. I bought this one for my 4th. He’s been in it twice.
- Baby bouncer - they’re good until baby starts to roll over, which is ~3mo. Don’t waste your money.
- Rock-N-Play - these have been recalled, don’t use them if you have one!
- Play mats - again… they’re only interesting for so long, baby bores of them quickly.
- Super-duper expensive swings. Don’t do it! Not worth it, mama.
- Pack-N-Plays. I know. I’m going to get a side-eye for this one.. but, my babies didn’t sleep in these. I held them non-stop and when they were bigger and mobile they WOULD NOT just be in a cage. They wanted to be free. Who can blame them…
- A MILLION OUTFITS. Let the madness end! After my first two I realized three things: 1. they go through so many outfits in a single day. Not worth all the damn buttons. 2. I really just want my baby to be cozy and comfy. So, we buy only a handful of ZIPPERED outfits in each size and wash regularly. This isn’t a fashion show, I only ever go to Target. lol. And, 3. they literally wear these things for about 5 minutes and they’ve outgrown them.
- Changing table. We used ours once. You’re going to change that baby’s diaper wherever the heck you are at that very moment.
- Diaper caddy - I used it until the first time it was empty. truth
- Boppy Pillow - I know a lot of people love them but they were totally useless to me. I never used it as a nursing pillow and never propped baby up in it - not even once. I own two of them.
I’m sure I’ll add more to this section as my brain cooperates :)
I hope this is at least a little helpful to a new or about-to-be-new mama!