I remember when I had to register for my baby shower having NO CLUE what we needed. I had some great things that my sister gave me, but I also knew that I wanted to get some new things for Olivia and I didn’t really know where to begin.
My mom and in-laws took care of basically everything in the nursery. We got the furniture from a local baby store that was great. If you can, I highly recommend seeing if there is one near you. There were many benefits to shopping at a local store.
1. Ours was an older store that had been there for YEARS and YEARS. The folks that worked there were extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
2. They had a great selection but not an endless one. The internet has endless options- it can be difficult to narrow it down.
3. They delivered and put together the crib (it was actually their policy that they require that they put it together). The installers were from the store and not contracted out, and it took them 10 minutes to assemble everything.
Anyway, some of the other things that have really helped us are:
Brest Friend Nursing Pillow- INVALUABLE. Helped me SO much for positioning for feeding. It also clips around your waist so you can keep it on if you need to get up for a diaper change. In the middle of the night when I feed Olivia I snap it on, pick her up from the bassinet and walk into the nursery with the pillow still on. I feed her on one side, swing the pillow around so the big part is in the back, change her, swing it back around, and feed on the other side. (This may not make any sense to you right now, but if you have the pillow and you’re trying to figure out night feedings with one set of hands you will see what I mean about my strategy).
Arms Reach Co-sleeper- We tried a few things when it came to where Olivia would sleep. Initially we put her in a bassinet upstairs in our room. While she slept just fine, I didn’t. I hated that I couldn’t see her and at first I really didn’t know what all of her crazy noises meant. Was she grunting because she couldn’t breathe? Then when she wouldn’t make any noises I’d freak out too. My sister gave us a Snuggle Nest Co-sleeper so we tried that first. It was nice at first but ultimately neither of us wanted her in our bed. We both worried about rolling on her or accidentally putting a pillow or blanket too close to her. And since we were so deliriously tired, it just felt unsafe. Eventually we bought the Arms Reach co sleeper which is the best of both worlds. She is right next to me so I can see her, reach her to rock her a bit or replace her pacifier, but she is not IN bed with us.
Fisher Price Piano Mat- We got this mat as a gift and it has been awesome. It really makes "playing" so much more fun! It’s not that easy to play with a newborn and when I watch her on this mat, I can tell she enjoys it. It gives her stimulation because she looks in the mirror, swats the animals and when she moves her legs they hit the piano keys and play music. It’s fun for her and fun for me too. The bar also can be laid down with the mirror facing up for tummy time. She hates tummy time, but I try it anyway.
Two Changing Tables/Two Bassinets- We were fortunate enough to have an extra changing table given to us by my mom and an extra bassinet that my sister gave me. But let me tell you, they are lifesavers. We spend most of our time downstairs during the day and it would be pretty exhausting to have to go upstairs to change Olivia every time she had a dirty diaper. It also is a convenient place to change her before and after bath time. I guess I could change her on a mat on the floor, but it’s nice to have a place for everything (diapers, creams, burp cloths, etc). Upstairs I just put a changing mat on top of the dresser. As for the bassinet, when we started to use the Arms Reach, we brought the other one we had downstairs. Olivia takes naps in it and I know it is a safe place to put her if I’m not in the immediate vicinity since it doesn’t move or vibrate or anything like that.
Kushies Mobile- It may not match anything in the nursery, but she loves it. After I change her in the morning I put her in her crib and she enjoys staring at it for a long time. It is fun for her and I can put in my contacts and brush my teeth. All of the Zolo/Kushies stuff we have has been a pretty big hit with her.
A bazillion burp cloths/cloth diapers- We didn’t have even close to what we needed. I use these for EVERYTHING.
Fisher Price Snugabunny Swing- I’ve mentioned this before, but this swing is a lifesaver. She loves it, we love it. The fact that it swings side to side is really what I think makes it soothing.
Bouncy Seat/Vibrating Seat- While Olivia doesn’t LOVE her vibrating chair, she will tolerate it while I’m in the shower or drying my hair. Mostly because she enjoys the sounds of the water from the shower and white noise from the dryer. Either way, I think its necessary to have something like this that you can bring into the bathroom.
Swaddle Me- Swaddling isn’t hard, but my super strong baby was busting out of any single blanket swaddle I did. Since it’s getting warm I don’t want to always have to wrap her in two blankets. These work great and they are lightweight cotton, and only $12.99 at Babies R Us.
Things that didn’t really work for us (or at least not yet)
Boppy - Awkward and uncomfortable for breastfeeding (too high and didn’t really work with a postpartum tummy)
Boppy lounger- Olivia was never happy on here unless she was already asleep and swaddled. Looked so comfy, I thought she would love it.
Aden & Anais swaddle blankets- I love the way they feel and the fact that they are so lightweight but busted out every time. And yes, I watched a million videos on HOW to swaddle with these blankets in particular.
Moby Wrap- Meh. It was okay at first but as she got bigger I didn’t love it. I felt her head was too wobbly because she didn’t want to tuck it inside the pocket. It’s also hard to get on quickly. I thought I would be more of a baby wearer than I actually am.
Ergo Infant Insert- I really like the way the Ergo feels and how secure it is, but the thing is HOT. Add the insert which is like a down comforter and bring on the sweat. I wish there was a layer between the Ergo and me, but Olivia is right on my chest, so when I get hot, she gets hot. I took her out of it after a walk one day and I was nervous about how warm we both were. Not a fan.
I hope this is helpful to any new moms out there!
What are your baby essentials? What were some things that you thought you would need/want but didn’t?