The only Baby Products you need for your small space (and the ones you can REALLY live without)
I've learned two very important things about baby products since Selma was born:
1. Expensive does NOT necessarily mean better (and often means worse.)
2. When buying baby products, it's important to make sure you'll have enough space to walk from one side of your house to the other without falling on your ass.
A friend of mine recently announced she's expecting a baby girl and I immediately wanted to send her a list of items she actually needed for bringing home a newborn baby before she bought any of the MILLIONS of products I was told I absolutely had to have. New parents are a marketers dream: we really have no idea what our lives are going to be like once our little one arrives, so we'll buy pretty much anything we're told to. Especially If we live in a small space, it's easy to see why having too many products around the house can quickly become a nightmare: before you know it, you're living in a 950 sq. ft. home or apartment that's covered in contraptions with no room to spare.
Needless to say, I made a few purchases I regretted before Selma arrived and now that we're 4 months in, these are the products I can say we really did need for the first few months of our newborn daughter's life:
EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, told us we were going to need this ancient thing. They also told us to be sure we bought the one with the auto (not just manual) rocker. Everyone was right. We used this as Selma's bassinet until we transitioned her to her crib at one month old (and we did NOT use the Halo Bassinest we spent $250 on at the last second because, again, I was told we HAD to have it.) The Rock n' Play has everything from an auto rocker to music to a vibrating mechanism that calms most crying newborn babies in a pinch. We still use it for Selma's daytime naps.
While I was initially worried I wouldn't be able to figure out how to tie and secure the Boba baby wrap, it turned out to be much easier than I realized with the help of this video. I was so glad we had this because the Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier, even with the infant insert, seemed too big and uncomfortable for Selma in the first few months of her life. The wrap, on the other hand, was a tiny miracle. I wore Selma around all day, every day while I took care of all the household chores. She usually fell asleep in it after several minutes of being worn around. It was bliss for both of us! Other baby carrier brands I've heard good things about include the Moby and K'tan.
Boppy Newborn Lounger
This is the one product I seriously wonder how the people of the olden days lived without. We used it all day, everyday. Just buy one. You'll understand what I mean once your bundle of joy arrives.
You might be one of the rare experts of swaddling blankets, but neither my husband nor I could get those blankets secure enough for our fiesty little newborn. She much preferred the swaddles that were fastened with Velcro and they kept her sleeping through the night like a little angel. The first ones we tried were the Halo SleepSack swaddles, which run for about $20 each. They work really well, but if you have a little extra money to spare, my favorite product of all time is the Ollie Swaddle, which is about $60. It regulates body temperature and grows with your baby, so you never need to buy a bigger one to replace it. I'm convinced it played a huge role in getting Selma to sleep through the night.
Any mat will do, but it's good to start tummy time as soon as you're ready. This was one item no one told us we needed, so I'm adding it to my list to save you post-partum trip to target (no one wants to leave the house when their feet are too swollen to fit into any of their shoes...)
Speaking of not leaving the house, be sure to stock up on:
Don't buy too many in the Newborn size because the size 1s fit most newborn babies after a few weeks. That said, buy a big box of them and about ten packs of wipes to start off. You'll be grateful you don't have to keep running out to grab more in those first crazy weeks of your newborns life.
Yes, you need as many as people tell you you need. A LOT. Think of it as the more you buy, the less frequently you'll have to do laundry :) Also, I would only buy 3-5 inexpensive onesies in a newborn size since most babies either never fit into this size or grow out of it after a few days or weeks. Size 0-3 months will fit most babies and in most instances (if your baby is born weighing more than 6 pounds, your baby won't ever fit into a newborn size at all.) We had about 20 newborn size outfits waiting for our 8 pound baby when she got home and gave all of them away before Selma could even wear them. I wish someone had told us that the 0-3 month sizes were likely to fit her in those first days.
I love having lots of baby bottles because washing them takes FOREVER. Especially if you use our favorite brand, Dr. Brown's, which come with five parts per bottle. That being said, if you won't have much help and will be relying on yourself for most of the cleanup, consider getting a bottle without as many parts. The Dr. Brown's are our favorite because they significantly reduce gas and colic and thus, fussiness. Other options with fewer parts are the Munchkin Latch bottles and the Phillips Avent bottles.
My friend told me to get these before Selma was born and I'll admit, I was super skeptical. Let me just say, these saved our LIVES and those of most of our friends. My favorite homeopathic brand is Hyland's Gas Drops. We also love Little Remedies. A few drops of either one and the gas is gone!
You'll need this after your first Vaccine appointment and trust me, you won't want to go to the drugstore after that appointment to pick it up. Grab it beforehand and save yourself a few extra minutes of sleep and before to consult your doctor about proper dosages for a newborn.
Also known as the "snot sucker", this is one of those things I swore I would NEVER use that I couldn't have been more grateful for when Selma got her first cold. This is a must, especially if you live in a climate where the weather in constantly changing.
Bonus: 4Moms Mamaroo
Disclaimer: this is the one product on this list that some babies LOVE, and other babies really can't stand. If your baby loves this, it's a lifesaver, but if they don't, it's a waste of about $250, give or take. I bought it after Selma was born so we could test out a friend's first and see how she liked it. I would highly recommend waiting until after delivery to make this purchase since there's really nothing worse than an expensive, large contraption lying around the house that your baby doesn't use. That being said, if she does use it, it's a miracle device.
A Rocking Chair
Yeah, I wasn't going to get one of these and I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking. I do have one friend that is perfectly fine without one, but I think she's the exception and not the rule. Unless you plan on standing and bouncing your baby to sleep while you yourself haven't slept in several days, get a rocking chair.
Want to know more of my "must-haves"? Click here to send me a message and I'll give you my extended list (including my favorite solutions for a great night's sleep.)
Now that we've covered the "must haves", here's what I really didn't need:
An additional bassinet other than the Rock N' Play
A Pack N' Play will serve as an additional sleeping space if you insist on having one, but I'm a firm believer in transitioning a baby to a crib as soon as possible (especially if you're in a small space.) Babies don't know the difference between a crib and a bassinet when they are first born, and if you wait until a baby is more aware of their surroundings before moving them into a crib, they might not be so excited about the change of sleep space (read: more sleepless nights for Mommy, Daddy and baby.) That being said, if you plan on breastfeeding and/or want the baby in your room for the first year (as many doctors are now recommending), I highly recommend putting the crib in your room until the baby is ready to be moved into the nursery. There's no use in having a bassinet if you're trying to save space.
There are so many different kinds of strollers, but you really don't need twelve, or even two in most cases. If you're athletic and like going on jogs, consider making a jogging stroller your only stroller. There are infant inserts you can use with several jogging strollers so that you can start to use them earlier, and by the time you are ready to use one, it will probably be the only one you want to use. That being said, if you live in a suburban area and will be taking the baby with you in a car a lot, you'll want to have a second stroller that allows you to snap your carseat right into it. A good alternative to this is a Snap n' Go if you'd rather not purchase/store an additional stroller.
Dock-a-Tot or other pricey baby lounger
I find that with baby things, the originals are always best and more expensive does NOT mean better quality/more useful. The Boppy Newborn lounger is $30 and does the trick. Same goes for the Rock n' Play: there are a million devices just like it that are way more expensive, but nothing beats the original.
These are super cute and make for great photo-ops, but they're not a necessity and they take up a lot of floor space. The Boppy Lounger serves the same purpose while using up fewer square inches.
An excessively large baby bathtub
I have way more to add, but I'm sure most of you have run out of time after reading this long list! If you want my extended list, click here to send a message and I'll get it to you.