I posted a version of this earlier. But now that we’ve reached the one year mark, this is my definitive list of what I valued and what I’d do without during the first year.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting
- Be Prepared and The New Father books for dad
- The Snoogle body pillow
- Baby Bargains book
- Almond oil – I used this to avoid stretch marks on the recommendation of a Spanish friend. Don’t know if this is what prevented them, but I made it into the 10% or so of women who avoid stretch marks.
Things I’d do without:
· Breast pads and lanolin cream. Wait to see if you need them before buying.
- Swaddle Mes (we used through 7 months)
- A good swing – we loved the Fisher Price Papasan
- What to Expect the First Year
- My Brest Friend (I’d borrow one or buy it used)
- A baby carrier, but I’d purchase it AFTER the child is born to see which one is comfortable and which one the baby likes
- Photo frame with hand or foot imprint
- Lots of burp cloths
- For travel, a stroller frame (such as the Graco SnugRide) that accepts a pop-in carseat is the lightest way to go.
- Fenugreek, alfalfa or other milk-producing herb
- A breastpump
- A baby bathtub
- Household help
- Car-I-Oke music CD
- Easy Expressions hands free pumping bra (if breastfeeding and pumping)
- I didn’t have this, but if I had it to do over, I’d get the Baby Bjorn bouncer. We tried it at a friend’s house and it was snug and comfortable, a rare place where we could set River down.
Things I’d do without:
· A boppy
· A crib or bassinet or playpen – if you think you need one, it’s still a good idea to wait until after the birth to see what the baby will accept. Many babies only want the closeness of another human for the first weeks or months.
· Lots of fancy clothes – onesies and sleepsacks are the mainstay
· A fancy stroller
· Fancy nursery décor – the baby isn’t going to take any notice; it’s only worth it if it makes the parents happy.
- An Ergo carrier – this is most useful at 6 months+, but it’s the best carrier I’ve come across and good for long-term use. It’s expensive though, so it would be a better deal to find one used.
- A jumper – if your baby isn’t eager to stand, this could wait, but if s/he is, they will love this. We liked the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumper.
- The swing remains very useful
- Some type of bed. If you want to make life easier, probably a crib that you’ll use for the long term would be best.
- BumGenius all-in-one cloth diapers – so easy even the dad accepts them.
Things I’d do without:
· An exersaucer – unless you can pick one up for free, as you often can on freecycle
· Any type of travel crib or pen. Unless baby can roll over, a bed or carseat works just fine. If you are actually traveling though and expect to continue traveling, this crib is expensive, but amazing.
· Any but a few basic toys – the whole world is a toy.
· Toys, accessories for car or stroller. We just didn’t find them necessary.
· The chairs that help baby sit – those are useful for about two weeks, if you’re lucky.
· Rice paper liners for cloth diapers – they irritated Soren’s behind and are only useful until the poops become more solid.
· Any of the breastpump cleaning supplies – microwave sterilizing kit, wipes, etc. Never used them.
· A fancy bedtime routine. Maybe some kids need it, but others don’t. No need for parents to stress themselves out with thinking that baby needs a bath every day before bed or other rituals if a bottle and a bedtime song are enough.
- A crib, if you don’t have one already
- Motherease cloth diapers (for home use – you can tell right away when baby is wet. This is useful if you don’t want baby to get used to sitting in wetness). Also, the snap-diapers (such as Fuzzi-Bunz) are more useful once baby figures out how to pull apart the velco
- Baby Bjorn little potty
- A professional portrait – surprisingly worth it. Sears did a great job
- Silicone ice cube trays and muffin pans for making baby food
- A decent food processor or blender. This one has worked well for us.
- An upright seat for the bathtub that keeps baby upright and contained, but allows to interact with water
- Pedometer and The Step Diet book – time to make sure mom is moving enough and beginning to shed that weight. After 8 months of carrying around over 20 extra pounds, I dropped 15 within a few months of starting this.
- The Baby Bjorn bibs. These are expensive, but worth it. They are the only ones I could find with a pocket and made from a solid enough plastic that the food actually falls into the pocket.
Things I’d do without:
- Foam for the floor while learning to crawl – the usefulness is also very limited and baby will learn to crawl in any case. We used ours a grand total of once.
- Same thing with the playyard. Maybe it would be useful if you have a large amount of space and can fence the baby into a limited area. For us, it was pretty useless since it took up most of the living space. In any case, we had other places to put him if an adult needed to be away for a short period of time. When an adult was there, we didn’t have the need to pen him in.
- Onesies - once the potty training begins, onesies are a pain to take off and get the baby on the pot. A few would be useful for special occasions. But for home, normal shirts work much better.
- Shoes – we didn’t see any use for them before he could walk
- Bulk quantities of baby food (unless you are planning to feed primarily jarred food). While the needs may seem large early on, River was completely off of all baby products by 12 months and was eating large portions of standard food before then. The time during which a baby needs purees and special baby foods is limited.
At this age, our need for products is starting to go down dramatically. Clothes, a few used toys, a steady supply of good food and lots of hugs and attention seem to keep River happy. Books started to be appreciated at this age. Farm animal books are great, as are books with textures. A couple of things that have gone over very well are:
- A push walker – The time period that this is useful, in the period just before walking, is very short. This is good item to get used.
- The Leap Frog activity table has provided lots of fun. It’s also a good surface to pull up against. The activities on the table provide motivation to pull up
- Balls, especially lightweight ones, are fun to roll back and forth.
- Parents schoolbus – the bus is powered by pushing down on the driver. River enjoys taking the four student passengers in and out of the bus.
- A pair of soft-soled leather shoes comes in handy once baby is pulling off his/her socks. These shoes are easy to slide on, babies seem to like them, and both the socks and shoes stay on. It also provides some warmth and protection, especially when baby is starting to spend more time on his/her feet. We found one pair to be sufficient, though I know parents who have various pair to match outfits. In fact, in the first year, this pair of shoes was the only one we ever used, except for a single dress-up occasion.