as i think back on how COMPLETELY overwhelmed i was trying to figure out what we really needed to be ready for ellie (little ridiculous when the registry essentials list at most stores has over fifty items...) i thought i'd share the 10 things (by category) we REALLY needed & couldn't imagine these past two months without. hope this is helpful as you plan for a little one or for those of you wanting to know what the perfect gift might be for your favorite parents-to-be!:
1. aden + anais swaddling blankets. they were on every list i looked at & recommended by every mom i talked to -- with good reason! ellie LOVES to be swaddled, but we've also used them as burp cloths, stroller blankets, etc. they're a must.
2. chicco keyfit 30 car seat and caddy stroller frame. it seems the graco snugride and chicco keyfit are neck & neck for the safest car seat out there for infants. we went with the chicco cause good friends had it & honestly i liked the colors better (eek, so petty), and we couldn't be happier.
ESPECIALLY because the caddy stroller frame is such a dream. it is SO light weight and easy to get in and out of your trunk. running errands is a breeze (or as much as it can be with a baby & all their things!). ellie sleeps & i go in and out of places without disturbing her rest. we have the BOB stroller for running/family walks, but this caddy is SO practical for every day use.
3. clothes that zip, snap and slide. we, sort of by luck, had 0-3 month old clothing (with a 9lb 4 oz baby we pretty much skipped the newborn size... :) that were a variety of zip up, snap up and sleep sacks and so appreciated the versatility. at nights we stick to sleep sacks and zippers -- making late night diaper changes that much easier, and use snaps a lot during the day. having all three to learn how to do diaper changes, get her in and out of was so great.
most of ellie's clothes are from target, baby gap and old navy, almost all bought on sale. i loved hunting for them & she has some pretty wonderful aunts who helped! ellie has also loved trying to scratch her face, so we're a huge fan of the outfits with built in mitts for little hands!
4. hooded bath towels & mustela bath products. giving your baby a bath for the first time is scary business (for them & you!). new babies are slippery & you're so worried about getting soap in their eyes, keeping them warm & figuring out how to deal with a baby with no diaper on! we LOVE having hooded towels to keep ellie warm & have really like the mustela products mainly because ellie's skin seems to like them!
one great tip we got is if your newborn is not liking the baby tub you have or just being in the tub alone (ellie was hysterical), just bring them in the shower with one of you for the first few weeks. it's quick (one parent hands the baby in & stands at the ready with the towel) and ellie has been completely calm (& clean!)
5. pampers swaddlers, diaper genie elite & wipes warmer. there's no getting around it, you're going to be changing a bunch of diapers. it can be a bonding, hilarious, terrifying or some combination of the three experience (we've had all of the above...) & for us the key was to be prepared.
we've really liked the pampers swaddlers diapers. they were highly recommended by lots of parents we trust & we got a few other samples from the hospital which didn't seem to be nearly as good for her skin/durable. especially for a winter baby, the wipes warmer has been a nice little luxury. and to keep everything wrapped up & your nursery smelling nice, we've been thrilled with the genie elite -- it's super easy to use (i'm the least handy person ever & even i can use it no problem!) & holds a good number of diapers.
to keep things easy, i've used the amazon subscribe & save for diapers, wipes & the genie refills -- so, so easy & the best price out there! right to your doorstep without you needing to do a thing! plus, amazon prime is free for moms, so two day shipping for free -- wahoo!
6. kate spade diaper bag. as i was researching diaper bags, the reviews seemed to be focused on two things: how heavy they were & how easy they were to clean. practical gals! & boy were they right. you are lugging A LOT: a baby who is growing all the time, a car seat, bags of groceries... and having a diaper bag that doesn't weigh a hundred pounds before you put anything in it is key! & of course babies/life is messy, so you want to be able to clean it easily.
that all led me to this adorable kate spade one -- now before you understandably roll your eyes, i got it WAY, WAY on sale (a scandalous price really...) at an outlet store when we were on this wonderful pre-baby vaca. for some reason this was a "spring color" so they were trying to get rid of them on the double. i LOVE it. and the navy/gold polka dot inside/diaper changing pad are just too cute. plus, the outside pockets are so, so practical -- i stick pacifiers, my iphone, etc. in them for easy access!
** update: kate spade is having a sample sale til march 7 & baby bags are $159! check it out here!!
if you don't have a kate spade outlet near you, i've heard great things about this bag for all the same reasons!
7. boppy pillow: much like the aden + anais swaddling blankets, boppys are most often at the top of new mama's lists & with good reason. i've joked if you want a new mom to think of you eight times a day, give her the boppy! we use it every feeding & in between (ellie considers it her personal lounge chair & it's great for tummy time!).
8. mam pacifiers: you'll get plenty of advice on when/if to introduce pacifiers & you'll have to make the best decision for you & your baby. for us, the mam pacifier has been a wonderful thing. ellie has been a great latcher in terms of feedings & these have been great soothers in between, especially in her car seat.
i'd recommend having 1-2 of a couple different kinds of pacifiers if you're thinking about using them because every baby is different. we had several others that ellie spit out immediately, the mam was an instant favorite. & now we have a ton, cause these little suckers seem to hide/run away!
9. mama's milk sling: i did a bunch of research on baby carrying before ellie & knew i wanted to have a good, simple sling for those first days at home. i couldn't have been happier with this sling & for $30, you'd be hard pressed to find a better deal. ellie absolutely loves it. she hangs out in it most mornings while i do dishes/clean up around the house & again at night during her fussy time. it's also been great for church (we stand in the back & sway :) & times when a stroller just won't work.
we just got the ergo, which was by far the most recommended & i'm sure it will be the new favorite as she gets bigger, but for a new baby, i can't think of a better way to spend $30 than this simple sling.
10. ikea dresser: i'm excited to do a whole post on ellie's nursery, but for now, i'll share my favorite part -- the dresser/changing table. her room is average size & we knew storage was going to be oh so important. this dresser is the best. we use the top two right drawers for diapers, the top two left drawers for bibs, burp cloths, hats & booties. the bottom two left drawers for clothes & the bottom two right drawers for things like extra diapers, wipes, first aid kit, etc. we have so much tucked away in there!
the top is the perfect size to be able to handle a good size lamp, changing pad (we love this one; with this pad) & all the supplies you need for diaper changes! it's hard to beat the price & i love the yellow & white stripe lined drawers! i swapped out the ikea knobs for simple brass ones from lowes ($2 each!) that match the frame hung above it, but you could do fun knobs from anthro too!
there you have it, our top 10! i'm sure this list will grow & change as ellie does, but these have been our tried & true staples as we've welcomed this sweet girl into our lives. hope it's helpful to you! back soon with my top 10 list for new mamas! xo