One of my favorite experiences of becoming a mother was preparing for the arrival of my children. Getting the nursery ready, washing the tiny baby clothes in the aroma of baby detergent and purchasing the necessary items gave me something to do with all of that bottled up anticipation.
However, deciding which baby items to purchase, especially with the first child, was overwhelming at times. There is just about everything imaginable on the market, from bottle warmers to spa baby baths.
After turning our home into an obstacle course of baby gear (twice), we found that there are a few very helpful items and many more seldom used items that can be helpful but mostly just take up precious floor space.
While every baby has different preferences, here are my top five most helpful baby items (aside from the basics, like a crib, bottles, high chair, etc).
1. Fisher-Price My Little Snuggabunny Newborn Rock-n-Play Sleeper. When I was looking for baby gear for my second child, I wanted something that was small, portable and convenient for naptime or bedtime. The Snuggabunny sleeper had an overwhelming number of five star reviews and very few negative ones. Most parents claimed that their children slept much longer after they purchased this item. I didn’t have this sleeper for my first child, but I wish I had. My daughter slept well at night. It was very light weight and easy to move around the house during the day when she napped or to pack up and take with us on overnight trips instead of a pack-n-play. We used this daily for about the first six months. At approximately $80, it was well worth the money. This was hands down my most helpful baby item.
2. Baby carrier. I used a Baby Bjorn, but many of my friends have used different styles and everyone swears by the carrier that works best for them. The baby carriers enable you to use both hands while carrying the baby so you can get things done and keep up with older siblings while still caring for the little one. These are especially useful outdoors, at the park or anywhere away from home. It is important for whichever carrier you choose to be easy to put on and take off (and take baby in and out of). If it takes too much time or is too difficult, you will never use it because the baby will be screaming by the time you get him situated.
3. Floor play mat. These are also well worth the money, and you don’t have to buy the expensive one. Any mat with some kind of toys dangling above will do. This provides hours of entertainment while giving babies room to wiggle around, do tummy time and learn to roll.
4. Bouncy chair. These little things give you an opportunity to take a much needed shower. They help babies sit in a reclined position with or without toys. Many either bounce or vibrate. Place them just outside the shower so you can see and soothe the baby if necessary, and you have a safe place for the baby to stay entertained while you get ready. I used this a lot with my first child, but it was often replaced by the Snuggabunny sleeper with my second.
5. Exersaucer. From about 6 to 9 months old, this (or a high chair with toys) seems to work best when you need to contain the baby in one place while you cook dinner, shower, etc.
Each baby is unique, but I think it is safe to say that the items on this list will not go unused. I hope it helps make shopping (and those early months) a little bit easier.