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Car Seat + Stroller = Travel System
One thing you absolutely have to bring to the birth center is a car seat, and while all infant car seats look very similar, the most convenient would be the one which comes with a travel system. It will include a base which you install in the back seat of your car, a car seat itself and a carrier which the car seat clicks in to. This allow to move your baby in and out of the car without having to wake her up! Absolute must have. The one I chose – Chicco Bravo – also transforms into a regular stroller which will carry your baby from ~6 month (that’s when they start sitting up) through toddler years. Good to know: you can purchase multiple car bases if you use more than one car.
Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System: $379.99, Amazon.com
Alternative: bassinet included
One downside of Chicco Bravo Travel System is that it doesn’t come with a bassinet, which means that if you want to take your baby on a walk, she’ll have to stay in a somewhat upright position strapped to the seat for the whole time. Bassinet, on the opposite side, provides the comfort of the crib and your baby will lay down in it perfectly flat. I personally didn’t enjoy long walks for the first half a year of my baby’s life, so for my needs – such as shopping trips – Chicco Bravo worked just fine. My friend, however, spent hours pushing the stroller at the nearest waterfront park. Well, she was lucky to live near one, and then again that’s how her baby prefferd to sleep. Her family chose to invest into a more functional, more solid and definitely fancier option. The model offers a car seat, a bassinet and a carrier which will work with both of them.
UPPAbaby Vista Stroller & MESA Car Seat Bundle: $1,199.98, Amazon.com
Now one might argue that any backpack or roomy bag will work just fine for purposes of carrying diapers and bottles, but hey, I didn’t have a spare one. A diaper backpack will also come with a changing pad and insulated bottle pockets – nice! Not to mention tons of pockets to keep you organized. And there are all kinds of designs for you to choose from. My husband and I decided on a neutral gray one so we both feel good about wearing it.
HapTim Multi-Function Large Baby Diaper Bag: $46.99, Amazon.com
Blanket: keep her warm!
Regardless of what time of the year we’re talking about, it’s a good idea to have a medium warmth blanket handy, even during summer. Because, you know, air conditioners. A blanket is an easy way to add an extra layer to your baby’s outfit, and it’s actually the only safe way to keep your baby warm in a car in colder months. Safety guidelines forbid parents from bundling up little ones in winter coats and parkas when putting them in a car seat, because the straps won’t tighten well enough. You dress the baby into a fleece suit, strap her into the seat and then tuck a blanket on top of it. My family ended up getting a blanket for every car, stroller and place where baby has to spend time at. We had at least five, if not more!
The very important piece here – you can’t leave a baby with a blanket unsupervised because of a suffocation risk. That means that you’re either constantly keeping an eye on him or swaddle/tuck the blanket into the car seat nice and snug.
Hudson Baby Super Plush Blanket: $13.47, Amazon.com
Car window shades
For car shades, if you’re planning on going places with your newborn and your area gets lots of sun (lucky!), then they are pretty much a necessity. My baby was born in Seattle in the midst of raining season, so I was able to postpone the purchase until later. I still had to get them though! And they don’t have to be a special baby product. It’s more important that they fit well in your car (and cover as much window as possible) than what giraffe picture they have on them.
Enovoe Car Window Shade: $12.97, Amazon.com
Baby car mirror: connect & have fun!
A car mirror is more of an optional purchase. It attaches to the back seat so that you can see the baby while driving. To me it was very well worth it, but it’s still not the same as being next to her. My baby girl slept very well in the car and I remember myself wondering if she’s sleeping or… ? Ah, let’s pull to the side and check!.. There are also car mirrors that lit up and play music for your little one’s entertainment. My baby really liked ours when she was ~3-5 months, but it won’t be much fun for an older baby.
Brica® Baby In-Sight® Magical Firefly™ Car Back Seat Mirror $36.99, buybuybaby.com
Small clothes: 3 big questions
With baby clothes, there are three questions that every parent-to-be is struggling with.
- First, what size?
- Second, what items?
- And third, how many?
Let’s start with sizes. With an infant you have a choice of three sizes – Preemie, Newborn and 0-3 months. Preemie is tiny, so unless you know for a fact that you’re having a very small baby, no need to consider it. Usually the first size in clothes for most babies is Newborn. Baby sizes are based on both weight and height. Per Carter’s size table, Newborn fits babies with 6-9 lbs. weight and 17- 21.5" height, and that’s not a particularly big baby either. My baby was born 7 lbs. and 20 inches, and wore Newborn for 3 weeks before we moved to a size up. Your baby might be born bigger or grow up faster and outgrow his Newborn clothes even sooner than mine did. And I know parents who didn’t purchase any Newborn clothes at all. Knowing all that, I would recommend getting some clothes in both sizes – Newborn and 0-3 months.
|Size||Height (in)||Weight (lb)|
|P (Preemie)||Up to 18"||Up to 6 lb|
|NB (Newborn)||18-21.5"||6-9 lb|
|3 (0-3 monthes)||21.5-24"||9-12.5 lb|
To the second question – what items to get? With baby’s body so fragile and her head so soft you won’t be looking forward to changing her outfits. It’s all about comfort and convenience here. Soft natural materials, no tight necks, as few buttons as possible. You’ll see that quite a few things fit this description, including kimonos and gowns, etc. My choice fell on a set of onesies and a set of footed sleep and play’s. Different brands name their items differently, so to explain myself – onesie is a t-shirt which clips under the diaper and sleep and play is a full body suit. Onesie serves as a first layer and can be the only layer during summer time, while sleep and play will go on top of it on a cooler day. Onesies can have short or long sleeves and different head opening designs. Choose onesies with wider head openings, you’ll be grateful for those. Sleep and play’s come in cotton and fleece, as well as different styles. I prefer zippers over buttons/clips and footies over non-footed ones. Buttons look cute, but doing them in a right order is a pain. And with non-footed ones you might want socks, and socks easily get lost, so footies rock!
Apart from onesies and sleep and plays, for the first six months of my baby’s life I barely used anything else, expect maybe for photo times. Obviously your decision will depend on temperatures in your area. For winter times you might want a jacket (with mittens attached, convenient!), a hat and soft fleece booties. For hot sunny days out there are hats with brims.
Okay, let’s say I persuaded you to buy onesies and sleep & play suits, but how many? The amount of clothes you need will depend on how messy things will turn out (which you don’t know in advance!) and how often you prefer to do laundry. Onesies and sleep and play suits are often conveniently sold in sets. Get a set of five items each and you are covered for the beginning. If your baby will have a lot of blowouts or reflux, buying extra clothes is not a problem – ask someone to stop by the nearest Walmart or Fred Meyer, they sell baby stuff everywhere now. Otherwise, you might find yourself covered with just those few things. If you decided to follow my advice on getting both Newborn and 0-3 sizes, you’ll need four sets total.
Carter's Baby Girl 5-Pack Bodysuits: $12.00 with 60% off, carters.com
Carter's Baby Boy Sleep & Plays: $8.00 each with 60% off, carters.com
Baby bath tub
The idea behind an infant tub is that it supports the body of an infant in a recline position making it easier for you to wash her. It doesn’t have to hold a lot of water (danger!) and many of them don’t hold water at all. It’s meant to be either placed in a regular bath tub or in a kitchen sink. This is that sort of an item which is absolutely okay to get used from a friend or OfferUp. Babies outgrow them in a couple of months and the little tub goes into the storage replaced by a bigger one.
Angelcare Baby Bath Support: $24.99, Amazon.com
Baby wash & shampoo: 2 in 1
Baby skin is sensitive which is why modern skin care industry has everything baby – baby wash and shampoo, baby oil, baby sunscreen, etc. Since we mentioned them, baby sunscreen (even though it has the word “baby” in it) should not be used until 6 months old, and baby oil is optional. Unless your baby has a very dry skin, there’s no need to apply it. Baby wash and shampoo, on the other side, are pretty much a must. They often come in one bottle, similar to men’s body wash and shampoo. One of the leading brands in baby skin care is Aveeno, and I was very happy with their products not only for the little ones, but for us parents as well. They are gentle and very lightly-scented – exactly what we need.
Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo: $6.97, Amazon.com
Baby bath towel
Honestly, I believe any soft towel would do. Doesn’t have to be big, just enough to wrap the baby into it after a bath. If you’re going to get a new one, they make adorable hooded baby towels with teddy bear ears, etc. Those make great baby shower gifts. I’ve never considered myself a person with a tremendous amount of friends, and I somehow received four baby towels for my little one. Four! I kept two and gifted the other two. Ah, that’s how I got that many… Maybe hold off on this purchase?
Premium Hooded Baby Towel and Washcloth Gift Set: $25.99, Amazon.com
Sometimes baby bath towels come in a set with one or two washcloths (like the one I recommended above), but you definitely will need more than that. Washcloths are not only for the bath. They make a great cleaning tool whether it’s a baby face or a baby butt, or your new blouse. Very very handy. I kept them everywhere, including the diaper backpack and the car, etc. How are baby washcloths different from regular washcloths? Well, they are supposed to be softer, and they are made of nice materials. For example, everyone is raving about bamboo. Interestingly enough, my favorite ones were the plain cheap ones with fairly low rating on Amazon, probably because they are very thin. But I liked them to be thin! I found it much easier to clean small creases on baby body with these, rather than thick bamboo ones.
Spasilk Washcloths 10 pack: $6.97, Amazon.com
This is a simple item. A whale-shaped rinse cup. But if you don’t have it, how are you going to rinse the baby? It also comes with a soft rubber edge which you can gently press against your baby’s head and it will prevent water from running over her face. Don’t overestimate this feature though. It works better with a little baby who doesn’t understand what’s going on, and not so much with a older one who refuses to sit still or hold her chin up. Regardless, the whale is a must.
Skip Hop Waterfall Rinser Bath Cup: $9.99, Amazon.com
Crib is not only a place where your baby sleeps. It is also a safe place where you can leave the baby unattended knowing that she won’t roll over and fall (the danger becomes real at ~4 months of age). Therefore, definitely, get a crib! I am linking the one we ended up buying – and we are very happy with it! – but, honestly, I think the decision should come up to your furniture preferences. Cribs come in two sizes – standard and mini. You need a standard one which will fit a mattress of 28 x 52. Most cribs will feature adjustable mattress heights. Putting a baby down into a crib without waking her up is quite a task, so assemble the crib with your mattress on the highest setting – you’ll be grateful for that!
Now, what you also need to know is that when your baby will start sleeping in the crib is a big question, and will depend on your thoughts around co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is considered unsafe and oh so not recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics, but many Moms end up going co-sleeping route anyways. Sleep training an infant is hard. Having to get up for a feeding 3-4 times/night is hard.
Delta Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib: $249.96, Amazon.com
Crib mattress, mattress cover and sheets: full set
The crib won’t work until you have a mattress and a sheet. Usually a mattress is not included with a crib for the same reason an adult mattress won’t come with a bed – there are tons of options and the price range is huge. The safety guidelines call for a firm mattress that fits snugly into the crib (to prevent suffocation risk), but less expensive mattresses meet these requirements all the same. I would also recommend a waterproof cover for the mattress, so that cleaning is never a problem. As for sheets, any fitted sheets should do – yes, there are so many cute designs! Depending on the baby you may find yourself changing sheets as rarely as once in 2 weeks, or as often as every day. But since you don’t know how the routine will look like yet – 2 sheets and 2 waterproof covers would do for starters.
Delta Children Twinkle Stars Mattress: $54.99, Amazon.com
Organic Cotton Waterproof Fitted Crib Pad: $30.99, Amazon.com
Crib Sheet Set by Ely's & Co: $20.99, Amazon.com
Swaddle blanket: noone gets out!
You can’t leave a baby with a blanket unsupervised because of a suffocation risk, and therefore no blankets go into a crib. By blanket I mean a loose blanket. You can swaddle a baby though and I would highly encourage all new parents to at least give it a try. Swaddling is not only a great way to keep your baby warm, but also a great technique to comfort him and help him fall asleep. Babies are not used to moving their arms and legs freely, there was not much room for exercise in their mama’s belly. Being swaddled reminds them of the safe place and help them relax. If it’s a new concept to you, I highly recommend “The Happiest Baby on the Block” – a famous book by Dr. Harvey Karp. It has some great information about why babies cry, along with practical advice of what to do about it.
Back to blankets. Swaddling is a skill. If you won’t do it tight enough, the little one will loosen the fabric and wriggle his arms out, and that’s exactly what kept happening to me. Even with all the diagrams and YouTube videos, I somehow still failed to get it right. And that’s when I discovered swaddle blanket wraps. These come with self-fastening flaps that securely snuggle your baby in a safe swaddling sleep sack. You don't have to remember any swaddle techniques, and your baby won't be able to squirm out! A true lifesaver!
Ziggy Baby Swaddle Blanket: $21.99, Amazon.com
Sleep sack is an alternative to a swaddle blanket in a sense that you’re keeping the baby warm by adding an extra layer, and it’s safe. They come in cotton and fleece, and in a variety of colors and cure designs. They are a great buy for babies who don’t like being swaddled. Yes, some babies won’t let you keep them swaddled for the whole night and some won’t tolerate it at all.
Carter's Fleece Sleep Bag: $9.00 with 50% off, Carters.com
Pacifier yaaay or nay?
If you’ve been researching baby stuff, you probably ran across at least a few articles advising against pacifiers. Typically these articles will emphasize that pacifiers might ruin your attempts to establish breastfeeding. The baby would prefer a pacifier over a breast or fail to develop a proper sucking technique. Personally, I thought this to be a valid point, so I waited ~3 weeks before introducing a pacifier. By that time our breastfeeding was at full speed, while my husband and I got so sleep-deprived, that we were ready to try anything to help our baby sleep longer stretches. It worked on several occasions, but overall our little one never developed a big love towards pacifiers. By the age of 6 months we got rid of them. Later I would meet parents of 2-3 year old’s who would complain how they can’t wean their kids from pacifiers. Being honest, it sort of made me feel good about ourselves. At the same time, remembering how little sleep we had, I know I would definitely try pacifiers again with my next baby.
Pacifiers have sizes. That makes sense. Babies grow, so older babies will need bigger pacifiers. They also come in different shapes, which you just have to keep trying until you find the one. One of the most popular brands for newborn babies is Philips Avent.
Philips Avent Soothie 0-3mth : $3.78, Amazon.com
Bouncer, rocker or swing?
These three devices do different things. A rocker is similar to adult's rocking chair. You push it by either using your hands or simply nudging it with your toe to initiate the rocking motion. A bouncer is a seat on a wire frame that allows it to spring up and down. And a swing swings back and forth. Swings are powered mechanically and are larger than a bouncer or a rocker. In general, baby swings cost more too.
They all, however, use the same idea of motion which babies like so much. This again goes back to their time in the womb where their world was constantly bouncing with mama’s movement. I’ve heard of kiddos who would strongly prefer one type of device over another, but my baby didn’t. We had both a bouncy seat and a swing, which worked great in a two story house! I mostly used them when my baby got sleepy during the day and needed a little help to drift off.
All swings, bouncers and rockers have weight limits, but expect the magic to be over before your baby reaches it. Babies loose interest in them at around 6 months when they learn a new skill - crawling.
Fisher-Price Snugabunny Cradle 'n Swing: $141.10, Amazon.com
Optional: co-sleeper bassinet
Now many parents are not excited about the crib in the beginning, because it seems too big, too cold and too far away from their bed. There are all kinds of bassinets on the market, including so called bedside bassinets – those which are meant to be positioned right next to your bed for easy checking on the baby. The downside of any bassinet is that the baby will inevitably outgrow it in a next few months and will have to go back into the crib, so for me it felt like an unnecessary expense. I didn’t have a bassinet. My friend – on the contrary – did and she loved it! Their bassinet was designed for bed sharing – they placed it right on their bed between Mom and Dad. She said the baby was much happier sleeping next to them and with the C-section it was a huge relief to be able to take care of him without having to get up.
SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper: $48.99, Amazon.com
Breast pump: just get it!
It makes sense that whether to get a breast pump or not should depend on your thoughts on breast feeding vs formula feeding. You might have your heart set up one way or the other, but – and this is a big but! – you don’t know in advance how things will go. The beginning of my breast feeding was so painful and miserable, I’d never guess I end up doing it for the whole year, while actively pumping at work for 9 months of it. My friend, on the other hand, was excited to start breast feeding, but her little guy refused to take the breast. The baby is one year old now and turned out just as healthy. My advice? Make no plans, get a breast pump and be ready for whatever happens. Recent research highlights so many benefits of breast feeding for both baby and mama, it seems logical to at least give it a try. And if it won’t work for some reason, then it won’t work, but at least you tried.
Now that might not make sense if you’re unfamiliar with breast feeding, but the breast pump is not just for those days when you’re away from your child. You will likely find yourself pumping to stimulate the supply in the very first days, and to express extra milk to prevent engorging, and to maybe even store some extra. All these are very good reasons to get a hold of your breast pump in advance, not after the little one comes out. Many health insurances cover breast pumps now, so check with your provider about your options. Mine recommended Medela, which was covered 100% and it did the job just fine. Now, there are many-many accessories for this pump – from cleaning supplies to breastshields of different sizes. These all seem to be important, but since you don’t know how the breast feeding journey will turn out, hold off on buying any extra for now. The only thing which makes sense purchasing right away is a set of extra bottles, so that you don’t have to wash the two that come with a pump after every pumping session. As for other accessories, after returning to work I bought a hands-free bra (this is a must!) and borrowed one of my husband’s backpacks for carrying the pump around. That’s it!
Pump in Style Advanced® Starter Set: $0.00 with most insurances
Milk collection/storage bottles
Most pumps come with two bottles which might seem enough for the beginning, but in reality washing them after every pumping session is a hustle. I had to purchase a set of 6 extra bottles almost right away and wish I did it earlier. Having extra bottles, you can use them not only for collecting milk, but also for a short-term storage and even for bottle-feeding – that is if you buy compatible nipples. About compatibility, before getting different brands always make sure that items you plan on buying will work with each other. Some things do, some don’t.
Medela Breast Milk Collection and Storage Bottles, 6 Pack: $15.99, Amazon.com
Bottles with preemie nipples
If you already have a Medela breast pump and bottles, the easiest way would be to also purchase their nipples. This way milk can get from breast to baby in one bottle. You might not need any bottles at all, if your breastfeeding will do wonders and the baby will stay with you for the whole time. But again, this is something you don’t know, and we need to be prepared for all scenarios. If you won’t need bottles right away, you most likely will use them later.
As for the choice of bottles, I got Dr Brown. My lactation consultant spoke very highly of them. In particular they recommended Dr Brown’s preemie nipples which have a slow flow and are considered closest to breast feeding. This way the baby will learn how to feed from both breast and bottle without developing a strong preference. As my lactation consultant explained, breast feeding babies need to work hard for their food and they might loose interest in it if you introduce a fast-flow nipple too soon. I started relying on bottles early on when I went back to work in 3 months, but I also wanted to continue breastfeeding which is why it was important to me not to sabotage it with bottles.
Dr. Brown's Original Bottle, 4 Ounce, 4-Pack: $19.99, Amazon.com
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie: $10.04, Amazon.com
Choosing a formula for your newborn is an important decision, and the more you plan on using formula, the more important it becomes. One of the safest, most nutritious and most difficult to get in the US is German brand Holle. If you will formula feeding exclusively, it’s a good idea to do your research and check what options are available to your family.
If you’re set on breastfeeding, having some formula around will give you confidence that come what may, your little one won’t be left hungry. In this case you don’t have to be picky. Enfamil and Similac are recommended by pediatricians and readily available in any grocery/department store. You don’t even have to buy it. If you register on Enfamil or Similac web-sites, they’ll send you a free sample box, along with their coupons, etc.
By the way, supplementing with formula is totally fine. Many moms will find it’s hard to maintain milk supply after returning to work. Supplementing ensures both healthy benefits of breastfeeding and having enough food to satisfy your baby’s hunger.
Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Infant Formula: $28.98, Amazon.com
Sterilizers uses steam to kill bacteria on baby feeding supplies, such as bottles, nipples, pacifiers, teethers, as well as breast pump accessories. Whether to use a sterilizer at all is up to you, but many families choose to sterilize these items for at least the very beginning of their baby’s life when her immune system is still weak.
There are two types of sterilizers – microwave and electric. I decided on a microwave one, because I didn’t do that much sterilizing. I mostly used it when I had to hand wash items (those washed in a dishwasher seemed clean enough) and only during the first 3-6 months of my daughter’s life. Additionally, many reviews mentioned rust type residue on electric ones.
Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer: $19.99, Amazon.com
A must-have to go with your purchase of bottles. There are plenty available, but I picked OXO because it includes a stand to ensure both your brush and your countertop will stay neat and dry. It also looked sturdier than some other brands.
OXO Tot Bottle Brush: $6.99, Amazon.com
OXO also makes cute little dishwasher baskets for bottle parts and accessories which proved to be super useful. Without it you’re guaranteed spending tons of precious time searching for nipples and straws on the bottom of your dishwasher. The doors of the basket hold up to 8 bottle nipples, which is a good amount. And you can always use it for bob baby-related items as well!
Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer: $9.99, Amazon.com
Burp cloths... any kind of cloths!
Whether breast or bottle, feeding the baby will be a messy process, 99% guarantee. Milk can leak, and on top of that little babies tend to spit up a lot. Many babies spit up right after the feeding, but it may also occur 1-2 hours after the fact. Some babies spit up more than others, and quite a few of them unfortunately get what’s called a gastroesophageal reflux. This is me trying to tell you that you'll need a lot of clothes both to clean up messes and cover things to protect them from getting messy. Until my daughter outgrew spitting up I would cover any surface that she was laying on.
As for what to use, it can be any piece of soft clean cloth. If you don’t have anything which would do the job, you can invest into burp clothes. They are non-expensive and you’ll get the value out of them. I actually purchased what’s called receiving blankets, because they are larger and will cover more space. They can also be used as blankets. Great multifunctional item!
Most babies outgrow spitting up by 8 months of age, and so did mine, but I still have one of those receiving blankets in my diaper bag, because… you never know when you’ll need to clean something up!
Simple Joys by Carter's 7-Pack Flannel Receiving Blankets: $15.99, Amazon.com
It doesn’t have to be Motherlove, but some sort of nipple cream is absolutely a must if you plan on breastfeeding. It is supposed to be a pleasant experience for both mama and baby, and once established it is. Getting a hang of it, however, will most likely take a few weeks, and these first 3-5 weeks might turn out painful.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your doctor and lactation consultant have other (stronger) options for reducing the pain (such as nipple shields and prescription-grade creams), so you definitely want to be in touch with them if you’re experiencing serious discomfort or it’s not getting better over time. The issue might be caused by other means, such as infection which will require medical attention.
Motherlove Nipple Cream: $10.95, Amazon.com
Changing pad: with changing table or without
No special piece of furniture is needed to change diapers. You can and will change diapers anywhere – on the bench in the park, on the grass in the wilds, in the trunk of you car… What I highly recommend to get for your home is a changing pad. It’s soft, has taller sides to prevent the baby from rolling over and stripes for even more protection. It’s also waterproof and easy to clean. And all this greatness is only about $20.
If you have a larger budget, and also a large enough room, you can invest into a changing table. It usually has three levels with the top one designed to fit the changing pad (it might even come with one). The lower levels are convenient for storing diapers and baby clothes. I initially didn’t have a changing table, but later got one from a friend and was very happy with it, because I didn’t have a good place to turn into a diaper changing station. And yes, changing table is that sort of item which is not cheap, but which you won’t have a use for after your kids grow up, so it might be worth asking around for one. Chances are you'll get one for free!
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad: $22.99
Changing pad cover
Fitted cover for a changing pad which will help cleaning messes and make things look prettier. Come in a variety of colors and patterns!
COSMOPLUS Stretchy Changing Pad Cover 2-pack: $9.99, Amazon.com
Waterproof changing mats
This is another item which is not an absolute requirement, but will make your parent life a whole lot easier. It is a relatively small piece of strong waterproof fabric which goes on top of the changing pad cover or on top of any surface you’re using for diaper changing. Now you might think it to be redundant if you already have a changing pad cover. Well, the problem with a pad cover is that it’s fitted and can’t be taken off the mat while your baby is on it. So if you have a mess which needs to be removed right away before it gets into your baby’s clothes or legs, this changing mats are perfect. You can just pull it from underneath the baby and right into a laundry basket.
This leaves the changing pad cover from above being merely a decoration. Do we even want it? Yes, we do! (it looks so cute, add it to your baby registry!)
Monvecle Baby Waterproof Bamboo Changing Mats 4-pack: $11.48, Amazon.com
Diapers: newborn and size 1
First, I need to say that to my great sadness, I didn’t have a chance to try cloth (reusable) diapers which is why I can only share my thoughts about disposable ones. For brands, there are not that many big players on the US diaper market with the most popular being Pampers and Huggies. We went with Huggies because I could get them a little bit cheaper in local Costco. They often get on sale there for ~$8 off. Costco also sells their own brand of diapers which cost less. A few of my friends were very happy with them, but coincidental or not, my baby immediately got a diaper rash when we tried them. They also felt more like paper to the touch compared to soft Huggies. Try one brand, but don’t hesitate to explore your options if the baby seems to develop redness or rash for what seems no good reason.
Diapers also have sizes, which similar to clothes have more to do with the size of your baby rather than her age. The smallest size of Huggies is Newborn and is supposed to fit babies up to 10 pounds. The next size up is for babies from 10 to 14 pounds. I’ve heard about parents who had to skip the newborn size, but that should be a pretty big baby. You can safely purchase a good size box of Newborn and another big pack or two of Size 1.
Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers, Size Newborn: $39.76, Amazon.com
Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers, Size 1: $46.70, Amazon.com
Every company that makes diapers also sells wipes, but you don’t have to buy the same brand. Wipes can have fragrance or be fragrance-free and occasionally might become a source of discomfort for your babies sensitive skin. I happened to try quite a few brands of wipes and didn’t see much of a difference.
Huggies Natural Care Unscented Baby Wipes, 3 Refill Packs (528 Total Wipes): $14.99, Amazon.com
Reusable tub for wipes
You will need a lot of wipes, so the cheapest way to purchase them is in a form of refills vs. individual packages. With Huggies you can buy one tub (sturdy plasticky container with a nice lid) which holds 64 wipes and then add refills when it turns empty. You will still want to buy a box of individual packages which will go in the car and into the diaper bag, etc.
Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes, Unscented Tub : $2.24, Walmart.com
Diaper rash ointment
Diaper area rush can occur for many reasons including a diaper that hasn’t been changed in time, an illness and even a growing tooth (though I still can’t comprehend why). Some babies are more prone to diaper rush than others, but all of them will eventually get it, and you want to be prepared. A+D proved to be a strong and reliable ointment to both prevent and fight existing rash. Another good option I tried is Bepanthen, which is very popular in Europe.
I normally wouldn’t use the ointment with every change, but will keep one tube at home and one in the diaper bag and will apply it at a first sight of redness to prevent it from spreading. As mentioned earlier, diaper rash can be a symptom of an illness (for example, a yeast infection which is pretty common in little girls). Take your child to the doctor if the diaper rash doesn’t go away within a few days.
A+D Original Diaper Rash Ointment, 4 Ounce Tube: $4.52, Amazon.com
Typically a diaper pail is an item which starts the list of things you DON’T need for your baby. Interestingly enough, we think of it as a great purchase in my family. Basically, a diaper pail is a regular pail with a tight lid which can be locked. Not sure how valuable the locking ability is, but a good lid makes enormous difference, because diapers smell very very bad… A lot of diaper pails come with special bags which is how they make money of parents. The bags are inexpensive, but for some reason I didn’t like the idea of having to buy them, so I splurged on a pricey Ubbi - a fancy looking diaper pail which can be used with any bags. My advice for you however will be to check with your friends or a local “Buy Nothing” group. Parents with older children will be happy to free up some storage space!
Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail $79.99, Amazon.com