On the journey to becoming a family of 3, I aimed to not acquire a house cluttered with clunky toys and devices. I even found a crib that turned into GW his future twin bed. When all was said and done, I believe we faired off well during the journey. Here are my top 10 most functional/useful/ necessary items for expectant parents:
The Car Seat
If you plan to get home by a vehicle, you need this else they wont release you with said child. Reason enough!
Baby 411 Book
When your concerned about what to do about all the crying or other random paranoid parent- of-a-first-child concerns, it was awesome to have this, which was a gift from a friend who found it useful herself.
Pack n Play
When we needed to crash at the grandparent’s, the Pack n Play with the built-in bassinet was clutch. When he got too tall, he eventually was able to take naps in the general area. I did buy from Etsy a couple of fitted sheets for it. Later on a 3″ mattress to make it more comfortable for future sleeping in our room. I recommend the mattress if needed – some swear their LO finally slept the night with the mattress added. As he got to the 19/20 to 24+ month timeframe, I sometimes plant him in it with a bunch of books and toys to stimulate his imagination and also get him away from the computer screen. I’m fact, I have a 2nd smaller one we got and leave it in our bedroom – it also fits inside a large luggage we’ve checked in on flights.
Boppy/MyBreast Friend/Harness Boppy
A friend gave me a boppy which I’ve used to hold up the baby who can’t sit up so early on. Later added the My Breast Friend to help with my tired back from nursing, and the pillow with the harness was clutch into getting a few extra minutes of sleep because I could let him sleep right after feeding since he’d be at an incline. (You can’t lay them down right away as they will spit up as their esophagus muscles/covering is not fully developed early on).
This one held him up after I slipped him in as he dozed – it was the only u-shaped pillow that didn’t have spit up stains.
Milkies freezer sticks were clutch into prepping him his purees the first 12-16 months (before he started rejecting being fed by a spoon). By having an assortment of purees (sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, broccoli, pears, apples, etc.) I could take out all I planned to feed him in the morning and it would be ready (thawed) when he was at that day’s given mealtime. I actually have one from Milkies that was given to me from my SIL and one I bought from another company. I also highly leveraged Pesto Cubes to help freeze and defrost the frozen food sticks.
Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
Because I couldnt hold him up the whole day and, at the same time, I didn’t want him to get a flat head from laying down the whole day, this was a good alternative. It was a way to have the LO accompany me around the house when he wasn’t eating and I need a break to shower, cook, basically most things. I would imagine this also helped build ab muscles to be able to sit up at some point.
If you asked me at 20 months what would the top 10 items, I wouldn’t have thought to add this. Luckily I had a running list of all the must haves as we went through the journey. Why do you need mittens? Because when you try to cut those tiny little fingernails so that the LO doesn’t scratch himself up, you will be so glad you have these mittens to slip on when you don’t have the opportunity to do the cutting in your delusional sleep-lacking state.
Lots of drool/spit up/saliva. This is why you may be doing a lot of laundry and changing his shirt/onesie a lot. They also now have bandana drool bibs that may help to limit the drool outreach.
This finally helps to hold him up when he can hold his head up. I think this may have been around 5 months for me. We could also travel to his grandparents, whom i eventually got them one to keep at their place. We also took this along when we drive to vacation locations and will be away for a few days – he has a place to sit up, eat, converse with the adult company.
I was given one from a friend and never appreciated it until I tried to wash him while holding up his little head, which he couldn’t support at the time. If you really want you can also just use a shallow basin if you are comfortable holding the LO up in the process. There was a youTube video we watched early on on tips on bathing your newborn. Bath wash and some natural sponges are probably more key though!
Whether it’s BM, formula, or vitamin drops, you will need these. My LO took to these Playtex infant bottles bought by my mom (thanks Mom!) and even at 20+ months, doesnt take to the faster flowing bottles/nipples 100%. You will also want a few extra holding bottles because if you’re going to take a long car ride, you will need some backup milks to keep things calm.
When your LO gets close to eating solid foods but may not have teeth yet, this was great to introduce new foods to our baby to gnaw on. I chopped up apples, mangoes, pears and probably a host of other foods. My friend gave he the pacifier and I just bought the new inserts.
This is great for those who plan to make their own baby food vs. store bought. I have 2 sets of these – one 2 oz set and one 4 oz set and I used them to hold his daily meals and the 4 oz ones too helped to hold the freezer sticks mentioned above while they defrosted – the 4 oz could only hold 2 sticks frozen but if made fresh it could hold the full 4oz. Even close to his 2 year birthday I travel with them filled with different cereals, crackers, berries while taking long walks, weekend trips, and vacations. They are light so they work great and you can fit several into a small cooler. (In the above you see my 4 oz of vegetables, 4 oz of fruits, 4 oz of grain (as well as a meatball for him to try) for my 1 YO in the form of 2 oz of sweet potato, 1oz of pureed carrot, 1 oz of steamed/pureed broccoli, a banana, and organic cereal).
Okay, I think there was more like 14 products I mentioned, but all highly recommended! Best wishes in your gift-shopping or wish-listing!
P.S. Diapers , wipes also never hurt. Perhaps some service /gift certificate that would deliver as needed may be best so you don’t bombard the house with months worth of diapers and wipes that may get lost among the gifts from your generous family and friends (or self!) 😉