What, exactly, do you need for a baby?

So, with the advent of my sister’s registering for baby gear, I was prompted to evaluate all of the crap junk items we have for the Littlest Brewster and to comment on their necessitude.

For your (and my) convenience, I have separated said items into categories and each will be a separate post. Because, believe me, you will be astonished at the amount of stuff you “need” for a baby. Also, if the words are blue, it is linked to the exact (or almost exact) item that we have used and recommended (or not, as the case may be). Usually, the link is to Amazon – this is not because I recommend Amazon over other baby gear sites, it is because it is easy to search and I am too tired to look for the best deal for you. You might be able to find these things cheaper elsewhere, but you’ll have to sniff out the deals yourself.

I do have one Public Service Announcement for anyone registering for baby gear: Register for as much crap as you can. Seriously. Put anything and everything you can possibly think of on that list. There are two reasons for this: 1) Someone may buy you things that you do not need and it is much easier to return them if they’re on your registry. And then you get gift cards you can use for stuff you really want.. And 2) you get at least 15% off the items left on your registry after a specific date. ((Granted, you generally have to use your discount before the baby comes and all at one go, but seriously, people – 15% is not to be scoffed at!)) There were quite a few things that DB and I knew we wouldn’t need for months (safety gates, the high chair, etc…) but we put them on the registry and bought them with the coupon. Because we knew we would need them eventually and what better time to purchase them than when they are on sale?

So, first up is BABY GEAR.

Crib – Okay, so obviously you need a crib ((Unless you’re a bed-sharing parent. Not me, don’t know about it, kudos to you, I couldn’t do it. LB was in her crib the night we got home from the hospital and we were very happy to put her there. Especially as she grunted in her sleep non-stop for the first 3 months of her life.)). We found a used Pali crib in a consignment shop near my parents and it is phenomenal. Sturdy, safe, and as good looking as one can expect a baby cage to be. However, it is apparantly now illegal to resell used cribs in North Carolina, which would mean that there is no way on God’s green earth we could afford a new Pali crib and would have to search elsewhere ((I could be wrong. Feel free to correct me.)). I have heard that Ikea has great, cheap cribs. As long as it meets the safety standards, what else really matters?

Pack-n-Play (or PNP) – This is definitely essential. Not only does it function as a baby containment area when you need to pee in peace, it also functions as a portable crib so your baby has somewhere to sleep. The only feature that is super nice to have (and yet, still not absolutely necessary) is the insert to add a higher level for when your baby is smaller and less mobile. It spares your back for a few months, at least until your little one gets the hang of pulling up and you have to switch them to the lower level. The bassinet and changing table flip-ins are completely unnecessary and a waste of money. You can find a used one for about $35 at consignment stores – but when you can get a brand new one, without other kids’ vomit stains – for $60 and free shipping on Amazon, why would you not buy new?!? Also, make super sure that you get one that collapses quickly and transports easily. This is what we have (okay, not exactly the same one. It’s a different color) and we love it. We take it all over the house, into the garden, anywhere we’re going to be that we want the monkey contained with an unobstructed view of us. It is awesome.

Bouncer – We had the Snugabunny Bouncer Seat and it was great. The Littlest Brewster could entertain herself in there for hours! It was soft and cuddly and had an awesome vibrate feature that soothed her and was inclined enough that she didn’t spit up all the time in it. In fact, she slept in it off and on for a few nights when we got home from the hospital (until we discovered the crib wedge, which is a God send for “spitty” babies like ours). Unfortunately, we have a very large, very long baby and she quickly outgrew the bouncer. Regardless, DB and I both highly recommend having this on hand and think it was totally worth the money for the 3 months of use we got out of it.

Rocker – Once the Littlest Brewster outgrew her bouncy seat, we got one of these rockers. This thing is the mejor-est thing ever. It has two positions (upright and reclined), a kickstand so your little angel can’t flail about, a vibrate feature for when they’re fussy, and it is rated to 40 lbs! AND it has a detachable toy bar that plays music!!! LB rocks and wriggles about for a bit and then falls asleep, which is great. Honestly, there are times I wish we’d skipped the bouncy and gone straight to this, but then I remember how much we loved the bouncy and I’m glad we had both.

High Chair – So, obviously this isn’t something you need right away for a baby. This is at least 6 months down the road. But, like outlet plugs and cupboard locks, it’s good to have on hand because you will need it before you ever thought possible. We got the Space Saver version, as we didn’t want to use up one of our few chair spots with a separate piece of equipment. It’s great – very sturdy, easily washable, sets up in a snap. Sometimes I feel like the tray is a little flimsy, but DB says he leans on it all the time (as do I) and it’s held up fine. (Although with all this leaning, we’ll see…) The seat moves down and up and the arm rests move separately to match the seat – a well thought-out feature so you don’t have a reclined baby with a tray in her face or an upright baby with a tray that plummets away from her. I think that eventually it turns into a booster seat as well, but I could be wrong about that.

Swing – There is no way that we would have made it through the last 6 months without the Snugabunny Swing. Actually, we didn’t get this piece of equipment until the Littlest Brewster was a few weeks old and I don’t know how we survived until then. It is one of the only places that she will nap at home. Granted, she’s getting close to the weight limit for the thing and then we will be up shit creek without a paddle when it’s time to take a nap… but let us enjoy our guaranteed nap time until then. Because it is guaranteed nap time – put an angry, over-tired, fussing LB in the swing, pop a paci in her mouth, turn on the swinging motion – and presto! A sleeping baby! ((I have NO idea how daycare gets her to take naps without the swing but they do, so I know it can happen. I just don’t know how.)) Honestly, though, I would put this as more important than the PNP – but maybe I’m just spoiled. This particular model seems very sturdy. The cover is washable and comes off easily. It’s quick to set up and get going. All in all, this is highly recommended.

Bumbo – The DreadBrewer says that he considers this an essential piece of baby equipment. I would personally put it in the “nice-to-have” category but, as he points out, he uses it with LB much more than I do and is better informed as to its usefulness. His pointers: Get a used one – $40 is entirely too much to pay for a piece of molded plasticky-rubber; Get the cover – $18 on Amazon and it is waaaaay cuter than the plain Bumbo (and washes easily); and Keep trying it. LB didn’t like it too much at first but now she loves her Bumbo and will sit in it for a while we get dinner ready or fold a load of laundry. We don’t have the attachable tray, but it seems like it could be useful.

So there you have it – our recommendations on what pieces of equipment are necessary to keep your baby happy (and maintain your sanity). Stay tuned in the next few days for what you need when it comes to feeding your baby!

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