So you’re having a baby. Congratulations. Now go buy this.

My girlfriend Amanda shared the news recently that she is expecting. A child. Just in case that wasn’t clear. This is super news. Though it makes me laugh to think of how far we’ve come in the last 7 years. Literally. We met while working in NYC as event planners. I’ve since moved up and down the Eastern Seaboard and Amanda has travelled the world over, many times over.

Amanda was my first friend when I moved into the city. We were co-workers, but working in a 6×6 closet that someone deemed large enough to act as an office, at the same desk with 12 inches to part you will make fast friends. Or horrible enemies. We chose friendship. We had enough problems. One of which was our boss. But those are stories for another day.

Which is all to say, Amanda’s got dirt on me. Lots of it. So I need to tread lightly. Kidding. But I do love her, and I’m excited for her. Because as much as I bemoan having a holy terror as a child, having a little boy is lots of fun. And Amanda is joining the club.

I sent her the following list. I know lots of bloggers do the whole “The Stuff You Need to Buy to Raise a Human.” Well, here’s mine:

(anything highlighted is hyperlinked to a specific item)

So you’re having a baby. Good luck. Now go buy this.

Clothes:

White onesies.

Make sure to have both long and short sleeve up until 12 months. Also, for NB-3 months, make sure to have the kind with fold-over sleeves. Babies cut themselves up like Bloods going after Crips.

Zip up Onesies for sleeping.

You don’t want to be snapping up a million snaps in the middle of the night. Times 8. Sorry, but it’s happening. Deal with it. Move on.

Kimono style tops.

For the first couple of weeks, baby will be soaking up the spotlight. But baby needs to keep his belly button out of the spotlight. This means keep that sucker away from snaps, zippers, what have you. Cuz it’s gonna fall off. But until it does, keep it cozy. Don’t traumatize the belly button.

Sleep:

Light Dimmer.

Grab your husband. Grab a handy man. Just make someone install a dimmer switch in the nursery.

Video Monitor.

We cheaped out because we didn’t think it was necessary. And for the first 6 months, it’s not. In my opinion. But when they start to throw things out of the crib and pull themselves up and you are thinking about when is it okay to start crying it out? You’ll wish you knew if they were in real distress or just threw their soothe and glow seahorse overboard. And to be able to avoid entering the nursery with that knowledge is priceless.

Miracle Blanket.

You will think you want those cute Aden and Anais blankets. You don’t. Well, you can buy them if you want something light to drape over your carseat and shield the baby from Paparazzi. But to actually swaddle the baby? This is it. Get a couple. Seriously, I think we stopped swaddling at like 5 or 6 months. Babies wake themselves up without it. You don’t want that once they start sleeping through the night. Ish.

Sleep Sack.

Here’s the deal. All the baby books tell you, “Keep the baby’s room around 68 degrees!” And you think to yourself, “My sweet defenseless baby will be freezing!” Mostly because all the family visiting you will be walking around in their winter parkas and lamenting on why you keep the house so darn cold. And you will challenge them and say things like “Do you want the baby to DIE?!”. And then they will walk on eggshells around you, stage whispering about “hormones” and “post partum depression” until they leave. And then you’ll be sad because visitors help a lot with babies. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Keeping the house at a nice 68 degrees. And cold babies. And he may be. That could be true. But at first, he’ll be swaddled and in a onesie. He’ll be fine. And then he’ll grow out of being swaddled. And you will freak out. You will actually consult your pediatrician about how to wean your child from swaddling since you are afraid he will never sleep again without being swaddled and what with it being an ice palace in your house, your baby needs a blanket. But blankets are forbidden.  So you go and buy this. And you wish you had registered for it, because at this point in the game you find yourself saying things like, “it’s just another drop in the bucket” and  “put it on my tab.” So even though you may not use this at first, register for it. Because 6 months in? Ain’t nobody buying baby pressies. And that’s sad. For your wallet.

Fisher Price Rock N Play.

This is where your baby will live for the first five months of life. He will sleep here. He will nap here. He will watch you as you try and cook dinner for the first time again here. Don’t learn the hard way and purchase it one month into parenthood, after trying sleep incliners and padding the mattress and finally after reading on TheBump.com about this mysterious “FP RnP.”  You can go with the basic model, though I see they now offer a plush version. Either way, babies don’t care. You might though, when you realize all your pics of your baby have an ugly yellow polka dot background. See also:  all of Colin’s pictures from October 2010 through April 2011.

Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse.

“I am the ugliest product known to man. And I will lull your fussy baby to sleep every night, SO DON’T QUESTION ME LADY. Now, toss the sleep sheep.”

Extra fitted crib sheets.

Have about three for whatever crib you get. Pair them with mattress protectors.

Night Light Turtle. 

At one year, we phased out the Soothe and Glow Seahorse and phased in this guy. He loves to turn it on before he hops into bed which for the cuteness factor alone makes it worth it.

Feeding:

Burp Cloths.

Use the old cloth diapers for burp cloths. They are super absorbent and you can use them later on for cleaning rags. They do an excellent job on windows.

Bottle Brush.

Not much to say on that one. Oh, it stands up on its own. Super.

Bottles.

I prefer Green to Grow. They are all the BPA free crap, but more importantly, they hold up really well. Can’t say the same for Medela and some other brands. Also stay away from Nuk. Those suck balls. But keep in mind you may have to shop around for bottles that work for your baby. All nipples are different, some are faster flow than others, and that may or may not work for your kid.

Bottle drying rack.

It doesn’t scream, “LOOK! I have a baby!” Though all the breast pump parts and nipples might. Plus, the baby is probably screaming, “Look! You have a baby!” Re: the drying rack, you can just shove whatever, wherever. The only downside is the size. I found it a little small. You may want two.

Bottle Dishwasher Rack.

Didn’t even know we needed this. We were gifted it. And then we bought another one. You need this. Two of em.

High Chair.

Small footprint. You will likely buy a booster later on as well when your child sits at the table with you, so keep costs down where you can. This is easy to clean, easy to dissemble. You can pack it in the car if need be.

Booster Seat.

We also have an Inglessina Fast Chair, but be careful of these- you can’t attach them to islands or drop leaf tables, and they are difficult to attach to tables with lips. The beauty of the booster, it works on any chair really. And when you want your child to start eating at the table, you can’t beat the price. I know some people who use this from the get go. Since we didn’t have a dining table in our Boston apartment, we chose to go the high chair route. The high chair now resides in the cottage in Maine for when grandkids visit.

Necessities.

Pacifiers.

This is similar to what they will give you in the hospital or so I’ve noticed with all my friends anyway. Colin never looked back. And all those cute pacis we bought before hand? In the trash. If we had disposable income, I would invest in stock in these. If you have disposable income now, you should do the same. You won’t after the baby comes. You’ll thank me later.

Pacifier Holder.

You know the feeling in the pit of your stomach when something bad has happened? That is the feeling you will get every time you can’t find a pacifier anywhere in the house. Or you’ve clearly lost it somewhere in the mall. You’re going to lose a lot of pacifiers. This helps you lose less. But you’ll still lose a lot.

Thermometer.

We use this one on Colin. Never had a fever before the first year, though. But the pediatrician office approves of digital. However, they do warn there could be a degree of difference.

For Boys (ie. for Penises)

Vaseline and Gauze (2×2 pads) for circumcision wound.

Toys:

Manhattan Toy Winkel.

We received this as a bow on a present. Great idea. But also, the first toy that Colin could actually hold. This was a big deal. And also about three months down the line. Don’t forget your baby will grow beyond three months. I did.

Sophie the Giraffe.

5 months in, the baby will finally appreciate this. His drool will tip you off.

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes.

I am not sure what hypnotic witchery they have going on there at Baby Einstein, but we never left home without this. Cue the zombie eyes.

Activity Station or Jumperoo.

Think beyond that squirmy-does-nothing-all-day-but-sleep-eat-and-poop-baby. One day, your baby will be upright on his own. And he’ll need something to do. Be a pal. Give him something to do.

Activity Mat.

Your child will spend lots of time on this thing. Find one you like and can stand to look at 18 hours a day. Oh, and it should be fun for him, too.

Foam Mat.

When your kid starts pushing himself up, you may want one, especially if you have hardwoods. This can be made as small or as large as you’d like. Rugs work too, though. Don’t get me wrong.

Bath and Cleaning.

Foam Tub Insert.

In my humble opinion, which I finally molded after not one, not two, but three infant bath seats, this is all you need. Yup, it’s five dollars at Target. Get one. Use it. When you’re done, squeeze it out like a sponge. When it gets ratty, throw it out. Buy another. Trust me. Your baby does not need an “infant spa”. Nor do you want to trip over it every morning on your way to the shower. You get five minutes to shower. Don’t use two of them kicking a baby bathtub around and yelling at it. Also, babies don’t fit into every bathroom sink, regardless of what PUJ tub wants you to think.

As an aside, you also don’t really need a knee pad to bathe your child. Grab a towel. You’ll have enough junk in your bathroom following giving birth. Trust me. Hello ice packs.

Aveeno Baby Products.

I use them myself now cuz they smell oh so good. And apparently Johnson’s has some carcinogen. I don’t know. This smells better anyway.

Tub Organizer.

You can shove the foam insert in here. Then when the baby gets some bath toys, you can shove them in here, too. Stays up great with suction. No adhesive strips, which means good for bathroom resale.

Sensitive skin wipes.

Whichever brand you choose.

Diapers. 

Target brand diapers are great so unless you spot a problem, I say go with those. Don’t use Luvs. Just. Don’t. Or do. But invest in Clorox.

Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

Yup, that’s what it’s called. And it’s called that because they have nothing to prove. No need to get all fancy. Best butt paste for rashes.

Getting Around.

Stroller.

I know you won’t listen, because, well, I didn’t. Hello Bugaboo! But trust you me. For the first couple of months, you can get by with a Snap and Go. You’ll be grateful your first solo trip the doctor. Do this. Also, it affords you time to sort out what kind of stroller you really need. A placeholder, if you will. If you decide down the line, you really need a jogging stroller, then great. Go for it. Keep in mind, you also need an umbrella stroller, especially if you travel. You don’t want to be hitting up Babies R Us the night before Thanksgiving because you realize you are flying and can’t possibly bring your full size stroller with you. And they won’t let you through security with your Ergo strapped on. Which results in a panic attack because “WE ARE BROKE!!” That may or may not have happened to me. Maybe.

Stroller hooks.

Your stroller will become your new mobile car trunk. You are now a sherpa.  Invest.

Car Seat.

My recommendation here would be to go with the lightest car seat you can find. Not the car seat that can hold a 35 pounder. You will not be carrying a 35 pound baby in a car seat. Colin is still not 35 pounds. I would never carry him in a carseat now. We went with the Maxi Cosi. Nice and light. Even 15 pound babies feel heavy in a carseat.

Baby Carrier.

People are generally in two camps: The Baby Bjorn or the Ergo. I firmly planted my feet in both. Here’s why: we used the Bjorn when Colin was little little little. We felt like he was too tiny to go in the Ergo even with the infant insert. We used the Ergo when he got bigger because it was better on our backs. Either way you go, you have a baby strapped to you and you’re gonna sweat like a mofo.

Mama.

Okey dokey. Things are about to get real. Real Uncomfortable. Sorry. But it’s true.

Get yourself some yoga pants. And some granny undies. And some really cute pj sets. Some tank tops and zip up hoodies. Cuz that’s your new uniform, mommy! Make sure to have hubby on hand to go out and buy nursing bras once your milk comes in (GAG!). And splurge on those. It makes a difference. Even though you can’t believe you are spending $60 on a flasher bra. Do it.

Can’t say I recommend the Belly Bandit. I still have a pooch. But maybe it helped. Who knows.

If you go natural, you’ll want these on hand as well. I’m sorry. I hate to be the one to break the news.

– Colace (just trust me on this one

– Tucks medicated wipes.

– Spray bottle (they will give you this in the hospital)

– Ice packs (they will send you home with these from the hospital)

– Always Ultra Thin Pads

So, did I cover it? Anyone else got any advice for Amanda? I wish someone had told me that babies grow up to be 6 months old. That would have been helpful. For my bank account.

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12 thoughts on “So you’re having a baby. Congratulations. Now go buy this.

  1. I must say this is the first list that I pretty much agree with everything! My only major departure is Luvs. I swear by them for my little dude’s buns. Although I did use Pampers when my boys were newborns and then switched to the Luvs once they were in size 1. Huggies=horrible in my book. Never tried the Target brand though. Might have to, especially if they’re cheaper. I always had plans to cloth diaper, but never got my courage up.

    Also could not agree with you more on the snap and go. My husband even reported some woman practically beating up her husband after seeing ours at the mall. I had run off to the potty so I didn’t witness this, but she apparently was cursing at him for not listening to her and having to lug the huge convertible stroller everywhere. Best advice ever to go with a snap and go style and then get your jogger or whatever for strolling through the ‘hood. Because the snap and go does not like the uneveness of sidewalks and will get stuck at the slightest quarter inch discrepency in sidewalk pavers. We went with the City Mini for general strolling and even bumped it up to the double when we had our second.

  2. I swear we are the same person. I completely agrees re: pacifiers, bath sponge thingy, rock n play,, onesies, baby carriers, etc. My advice for Amanda (congrats btw!) is for the first 4 – 6 weeks I used cotton balls and warm water to change diapers. It’s less harsh than any wipes you can find and you can avoid diaper rash. Also, I use Aquaphor if a diaper rash does occur. I also love pamper newborn diapers – same as the ones you will get at the hospital. Good luck on all of it – greatest adventure ever and you have an awesome friend (Kate, duh!) to help you through all of it!

  3. We use a ton of similar items. I have yet to try out the ergo since the bjorn was the big item when I had my son. My recommendation would be frozen meals. Not the grocery store box. Instead find a gourmet kitchen and stock up. Or if you are into cooking (I’m so not) there are tons of recipes online. We did this after our second child and it kept us full and sane.
    Oh, and Kate- Hopefully you have discovered Neillios and Wilson Farm in Lexington. Delicious and worth a trip from the city.

  4. So, we received a FP RnP for the baby at my shower. Being that we have two large, rambunxious and generally unintelligent dogs who are unaware that they are large, we deemed it the “infant death trap”, anticipating it would take the animals about three seconds to sideswipe it and send the baby flying. I have heard a lot of people totally dig it though. So, just be aware of any stupid animals you may or may not have in your house.

    I second sleep sacks or other swaddler type things. Or the Woombie. Weird name, neato product. My husband swore he would swaddle our daughter until the age of 16 if it helped her to sleep at night. So easy to zip up or velcro in the middle of the night when you can’t see shit.

    And stroller – Chicco Liteway. Good price point, holds up well, has a handle on the side for carrying through an airport. And it’s light enough that you can have that in one arm and the baby and diaper bag in another…BY YOUR SELF. It’s an umbrella stroller, and the only one I have (aside from the original Snap’n’Go).

    On a side note, excited to see you again Kate at Always Crafty…I better register before Shan kicks my ass.

  5. KP’s right, I’m gonna kick her ass soon. Meanwhile, this is the best, most hilarious yet informative baby stuff list. We never used our highchair. We started out with the booster and kept right on using it. We just this week left the tray off and scooted him up to the table with us. I kinda love it. He’s a such a big boy! And I really agree about the video monitor. I wish we had bought one, for now! I still might get one if I can find a cheapy.

  6. I love this, especially the video monitor part. I have a friend who really wanted one for her three year old, so she would know when he was actually asleep and when he was just really, really quiet (which probably meant he was up to something!). I never had the Rock and Play sleeper and never felt like I needed it, but I know some people who love theirs, and imagine it is also especially great if your baby has some reflux.

    I did like Nuk Bottles, but I think bottles are such a personal preference. The baby will have a preference, and so will the mom. We ended up using Gerber bottles because my son needed to be exclusively bottle fed (so I didn’t need something that mimicked the breast), and these are BPA free and cheap. I hated Avent bottles until 6 months, then they were okay. Also, Wal-Mart diapers. I know a lot of people don’t like to shop there, but their diapers are even cheaper than Target’s, and just as good. I wouldn’t recommend them for tiny babies or super-sensitive kids, but if you can use them, they’re great. Would I rather be using Pampers? Probably. But I like that I have more money to put into savings so I can send my kid to college.

    I found you through Kim @ NewlyWoodwards via Pinterest. I will be back!

    • So glad! Thanks for your input- I loved lists like this when I was pregnant since everyone has such different experiences. I thought about posting a big disclaimer at the top saying these are all just my opinion of course, but it took away from the snarky tone. So it had to go. 😉 Love Kim’s blog!

  7. Kate, as I’ve mentioned in plenty of other scenarios, you are an angel. This list, and all of the other wonderful comments, have certainly put my mind at ease. My very robust excel spreadsheet with the working title “baby stuff I MUST have” (not to be confused with the one titled “baby stuff I might need” has certainly come down in size. Shareef thanks you for restoring some sanity (and for minimizing the impact on our bank account).

  8. A few of my favorite things:

    http://www.amazon.com/Skip-Hop-Treetop-Friends-Activity/dp/B0042RU2SW/ref=sr_1_10?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1333392287&sr=1-10 (expensive but sooo cute)

    http://www.amazon.com/UPPAbaby-0067-MKN-G-Lite-Stroller-Magenta/dp/B004IYHNAY/ref=sr_1_6?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1333392316&sr=1-6

    http://www.amazon.com/MAM-Orthodontic-Silicone-Pacifier-Colors/dp/B0037UZUR8/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1333392342&sr=1-2 (all other pacifiers were too big…this was also the kind we were given in the hospital)

    http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-COuncey-Bottle-Sleeve-Colors/dp/B001H0GGWS/ref=sr_1_4?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1333392379&sr=1-4 (I love glass bottle…you do not have to worry about any of the chemicals in plastic)

    http://www.amazon.com/B%C3%A9b%C3%A9Sounds-Angelcare-Movement-Monitor-Parents/dp/B0000E262S/ref=sr_1_6?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1333392497&sr=1-6 (I would have also liked a video monitor to go with it.)

    The boon drying rack is a must. I can fit 11 full sizes bottles with the nipples and lids on it.
    Sophie was great for awhile. I also recommend all toys Haba.
    The pacifier clips also work for small toys.
    The night light turtle was one of my favorite baby shower gifts.
    The jumperoo entertained my daughter for many hours and allowed me to leave the room without her screaming.
    The miracle blankets are another must have in my opinion.

  9. For mama, I’ve heard Depends are actually much more comfy & practical than the mesh panties/pads you get at the hospital. Not really something register-worthy, but anything to make PP more comfortable amidst the tucks, colace & spray bottles…
    I HIGHLY recommend the angelcare monitors. We have the one w/ two pads, and it really allows me to sleep better at night. I wasn’t particularly worried about SIDS, but knowing that she’s breathing is priceless! I’ve read there’s a new one out w/ video, but it’s like a gazillion dollars or something. I also highly recommend the WTE app for the first few months when tracking diapers, feedings, etc is needed. Great way to track it all and have that info at your fingertips at the peds office. I love our g-luxe umbrella stroller, and the JL Childress carseat travel bag is *awesome* for anyone who travels a lot and doesn’t want to subject a pricey car seat to airline luggage handlers. Oh, and one last thing. Give her monistat, maalox & extra strength desitin for the baby’s first yeast rash. Those things are a bia.

  10. love the list! i agree on many items. i read a book once that had a list of “must haves” for baby and on the list was a wipe warmer. seriously!?! a wipe warmer? total disagree. so i compiled a list very similar to yours for my friends when they were standing in the doorways of babies-r-us scared as can be.

    i disagree on the video monitor, and this might just be my personality, but it totally defeated the purpose of putting baby to sleep. all i did was watch the screen! got no sleep and nothing accomplished. we’ve never had a big enough house to really warrant a monitor, so we did fine without. if we had the money i would have picked up the angel care on, though. i’ve checked my baby’s breathe more times than i’ll admit to.

    and i am from a third school of thought on baby carriers – wraps! moby is the widely available version, but i had a handmade version called a “wombfruit wrap” that is made from a gauzey fabric. not so sweaty! i love how secure baby is in a wrap, that a newborn can be carried in a wrap and i can be completely hands free. also awesome for nursing mamas, because all you have to do is a small adjustment and baby can chow while you’re on the go, still completely covered and secure, and no one even knows!

    i think you also missed the pack-n-play. i swear up and down by my pack-n-play, especially if you have baby-on-location. go to grandma’s a lot? pack-n-play. make it happen.

    what i like to tell everyone when they are buying the baby crap is that they should solve their problems. don’t buy it until you know you need it!

    • Thanks, Jo! Yes, agree on the PnP. We lived in a single level condo when we brought Cols home, so a pack n play wasn’t necessary for us until our first weekend away, but I agree, it’s necessary when traveling. Goes with your motto that you shouldn’t buy it till you need it! And preferably, have Grandma buy it! 😉

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