Oh, the world of registering for, getting, storing and using things for baby! I was overwhelmed when Aaron and I first registered for things for Shepherd; the sheer volume of baby stuff out there is just mind-blowing! We had a few guidelines we wanted to follow when it came to baby stuff: we wanted to keep it minimal and we wanted to purchase durable, high-quality items that could be used for multiple children. Our small apartment doesn't have a lot of room for storing baby paraphernalia, so we tried to keep our list relatively small. We were blessed with many gracious friends and family members who wanted to give us lots of great things, and we are happy to say that we have used almost everything we registered for and received.
These are the things I would recommend to new parents that aren't highly subjective, like furniture or decorations. I plan to update this as Shepherd grows older, but this is a list of what we have used often and enjoyed in the three months since Shepherd's birth.
I'll start with part one and follow up with part two tomorrow.
1. Carter's onesies. There's nothing cuter than a newborn in a white onesie. Shepherd live(d)(s) in the short-sleeve version of these. Gerber brand cost less, but we have found they shrink a lot. We also loved the kimono-style when he was first born and his umbilical cord hadn't fallen off. Since it has been warm and humid since Shepherd was born, we received a lot of long sleeved, footed onesies that we haven't been able to use much (and some not at all), but these cool, short sleeved guys fit the bill for our hot-natured baby.
2. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. These are a perennial favorite among all the moms I know. And for good reason; they are the best. We swaddled Shepherd with them at first, and now he uses them both for sleeping and for soothing. I would recommend buying a few; we have the bamboo (absolutely the best!) and the Aden and Anais for Target brand. The bamboo are nicer to the touch, but both are great, and they wash very well.
3. Cloth diapers, which we have used these for burp rags. I drop a few in every room of our apartment, and they are always there when I need them! I expect that once we are past the spit-up phase I will be able to use them as cleaning cloths, too. We have a few that are embroidered with fun fabric scraps, which was really easy to do and cost-effective.
4. SwaddleMe sleep sacks. Shepherd wore a sleep sack to bed from three days old to about a month old with his hands inside the sack and until about two months with his hands outside the sack (at which point he got too long for it). These kept his arms from flailing and waking him; he slept markedly better in them than swaddled other ways. I would recommend a sleep sack for at least the first few weeks just to try it.
5. Boppy pillow. Looking back, I wish I would have got a My Brest Friend (stupidest name ever!) pillow instead, but the Boppy did well enough for positioning during nursing. I did find it lost its shape a bit, but I also used it a lot for Shep to lounge around in. For the next baby, I might consider buying a My Brest Friend pillow instead. You could use pillows, but I liked my Boppy more than a bunch of pillows to prop my arms.
6. Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat and extra base. We love our car seat. I was going to get a different color in the KeyFit 30, but after reading Amazon reviews about stains that are impossible to get out in certain styles, we went with Fuego, which was the most highly rated. It has been easy to clean whenever spots appear. The extra base works well so we can snap in the car seat no matter whose car we are in. It's definitely not a necessity, but for us, it works great.
7. UppaBaby Vista stroller. First, I have to say that this is probably my favorite gift we received. Aaron wasn't convinced we needed such a nice stroller when I told him it was my choice, but, three months in to parenthood, he is a convert, and, I daresay, an apologist. Our stroller came with the stroller base, the bassinet and the seat you see pictured above (along with rain gear and mosquito netting). For his first seven weeks, Shep slept in the bassinet. It worked like a charm, and it was so easy to wheel around our home if he was napping and I wanted him close by. We take a walk almost every day, and yes, I love this stroller. I love that it can accommodate multiple kiddos in the future, too. The stroller base folds up and latches easily and can be handled with one hand; it fits easily in the trunk of my small car and Aaron's hatchback. The seat and bassinet components are very easy to install but very stable. I love that I can use the base with the car seat adapter when I don't want the bulky bassinet, for instance, when we are shopping.
8. Chicco car seat adapter for Uppababy Vista. This was something I wasn't sure about purchasing when I bought it, but I am so, so glad I did. It is a snap (literally) to attach in to our stroller base, and it allows us to use our Chicco car seat in place of the bassinet or seat. It has been well worth the cost on trips to the mall, Target, grocery store, and generally out and about. It is so nice to easily set up the stroller base and pop in the car seat and be on our way!
One thing I've learned through these first few months is that you really don't need much to take care of a baby! There are some essentials, but for the most part, they are pretty low-maintenance in terms of "things." So much of what we see for babies has such limited use and life span, but the "baby industry" markets so well that we feel like we might be shortchanging our babies by not buying in to all the stuff. By reducing what we buy, Aaron and I hope to be able to invest in higher-quality items, keep our money and save space. In my opinion, it's the intangibles that you have to be willing to provide more than the things. Look for part two of our baby essentials tomorrow!
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