No matter how fat your wallet is, there is never a perfect time to have a baby. Let’s face it, kids are expensive these days but one year in and I am already learning there are a lot of tricks to this trade called motherhood. Registering for a baby put me in a cold sweat. One walk through Buy Buy Baby and I thought the initial price tag of a newborn was a million big ones. I quickly learned how to simplify, simplify, simplify! Bottom line, babies have survived thousands of years without having their bums wiped with a toasty wipe fresh out of the wipe warmer. I don’t claim to be the biggest saver nor the biggest spender. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. I want to be comfortable but I do want to SAVE!
Here are my Top 10 Baby Products:
1. The Puj Tub – This is my favorite newborn item! It was designed by moms – for moms! It fits in any sink, drains the water through a hole so there is never dirty sink water, allows the baby to be in a cradled or sitting up position and lays flat for storage! It is sleek and modern without a hefty price tag.
2. The Ikea Highchair – Oh man am I fan of this baby. It’s sleek looking, easy to put together and cleans up in a jiffy. My sister even takes hers outside and hoses it off. Genius. Don’t spend a ton on a highchair. Your baby is certain to smear blueberries, yogurt and paint all over it. With a price tag of just $25 you won’t mind the mess one bit.
3. The crib. Here is another place to save! Babies love to chew cribs. Almost all of my mommy friends who popped for the $1,000 crib wanted to scream when they found their beaver baby taking a bite out of that beautiful Pottery Barn wood. Just don’t do it. Instead, find a good deal! There are great modern lines of cribs that can be found on Zulily, Target, Overstock, Ikea and even Wal-Mart. I found mine on a daily sale from Zulily for $250. Bite away baby!
4. Video Monitor. This is one place I say to splurge. I made a huge mistake and purchased the monitor which tracks babies breathing and movement. I can’t tell you the number of false alarms that had me bolting to my daughter’s room. It was horrible and essentially useless. Everyone I know swears by the video monitors. Specifically this Motorola one. It does have a hefty price tag but it is definitely a modern convenience.
5. Toys. Keep.It.Simple. I beg you. Don’t go out and buy a room full of toys. Here’s why. You have birthdays, Christmas, Valentines and holiday after holiday that you will need to buy gifts for. My doctor recommends not buying toys invented after 1960. The best kind of toys are wooden blocks, dolls and puzzles. Toys will be pushing out of house and home before you know it. Trust me on this one. Go for one or two newborn toys and call it a day. My favorite newborn toy was Sophie the Giraffe. We love her! She isn’t the cheapest toy but she was virtually the only one we had. Annie loved to chew on her and as she got older learned how to make her squeak. She’s a hit among the babes and one of the hip mom must-haves.
6. The Bumbo – You’re going to need this one. It’s practically a given these days. My advice, go for a gender-neutral color (I already made this mistake) and find one on consignment or craigslist. Bumbo’s are easy to clean and way over-priced! I hear there are piles of them at consignment sales for virtually nothing. Give it a good wipe down with an anti-bacterial wipe and you are set.
7. Strollers. I am convinced there is no perfect stroller. I seem to want every one I see for one reason or another. My advice is to really think through this decision. Talk with your significant other about what you foresee yourself doing with a baby in tow. My husband and I opted for the Baby Jogger City Select because it can grow with our family and looks modern. Right now we use it for one baby but when we eventually have a second it will transform into a double stroller. It has a lot of options as far as seating arrangements and setups. It wasn’t the cheapest stroller on the market but it is going to prevent us from purchasing a second stroller in the future. For us, that was a huge factor. Some of my favorite strollers include: the Bob, the Bugaboo (spendy but oh so compact and beautiful), the Bumbleride and the Uppa Baby.
8. Let’s talk Breast Pumps. If you plan to nurse you’re probably going to want one. Don’t get a hand pump. It’s $50 wasted because man, your hand will be sore. Nursing is a challenge (no matter what anyone tells you) as it is, so lets make it as easy as possible. I loved my Medela double electric. It does come with a rather high price tag but I found ways to save. First, check with your hospital. They will usually have them for 10% less than retailers. Second, call your insurance. Surprisingly a lot of insurance companies will pay for a portion of a pump. If not, check with your employer or your spouses employer. My husband worked for a big company at the time our baby was born and they covered HALF of the cost through a breastfeeding program offered. In addition, a lactation nurse called me every week to offer tips and advice. No, I am not kidding. Use your resources people and don’t be afraid to ask.
9. I have loved the Burt’s Baby Bee soap and lotion line. After hearing some pretty bad reports about some soap lines, I wanted a more organic approach but wasn’t willing to pay $25 a pop. I found this to be a natural and affordable approach. It has worked great for our skin.
10. Last but certainly not least is the diaper bag. In my opinion, go big or go home! This baby is going to be your right hand man (literally) for the next two years. Choose something that doesn’t scream diaper bag that can last you into the toddler years. Make sure it can be wiped clean or thrown in the wash machine. I ended up taking my first diaper bag back in a jiffy after I realized that it was already getting scuffed up after just a day of use. Your clothes may not fit when you leave the hospital but a bag doesn’t care about size. Choose a cute bag that will put a little skip in your step post baby. You deserve it! How fab is this bag by Petunia Pickle Bottom?!
Some of my other favorite baby items include:
Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets
These bows for newborn baby girls. Soft and cute.
Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack
What are your can’t live without baby items?
Great post, I love and own most of these items!! 🙂 I would add the hands-free bra along with that breast pump. Being a working mommy, when I would pump at work, it allowed me to keep the emails going! 🙂
Awesome post, Karly! I would also add a vibrating chair – I used that with all four for months! It’s a great, safe place to stick a baby so you can take a shower, eat, get something done around the house, deal with other children :-). If you have to choose between a swing and a vibrating chair, choose vibrating chair! Oh, and also I loved my Hooter Hider for nursing! Couldn’t have nursed without that thing. 🙂
Great post! I wish someone would have told me about that Ikea high chair years ago after I spent endless hours cleaning and hundreds of dollars on buying the bulky one we have.
Great article, Karly! My must have is the “my breast friend” Pillow. It saved my back!
Fisher Price spacesaver high chair. I hate high chairs b/c they are so big and bulky. This one straps to a chair (easy to hide when you have guests if your pantry is not big enough to hide the standalone one!). It also travels with you! As a working gal, I had a Nest Diaper Bag b/c I was too dumb to remember to move my wallet/Blackberry/work necessities from diaper bag to work bag each Monday and always forgot something. I switched to the Nest bag and never had to worry. My Nest bag has recently been handed down to a 4th person so it’s lasted that long!