Now, a disclaimer: these are my opinions, as the mother of only 3 children. In the grand scheme of all the kids in this world, that's not a lot. And also - I'm weird. I like things that other people don't, and I don't like things that other people do. But - I am a real person, and not someone paid to endorse a product. I also do not have a housekeeper or a personal assistant, or enough hours in the day, it seems. So these are real-life looks at some of those products you "have" to have. Or maybe not. In no particular order.
Boppy Pillow - Love it. It not only helps with nursing (especially the first few months), but I used it a ton to just prop the babies up to play or sleep. Definitely worth getting.
|Paxton (top) and Xander relaxing in the Boppy.|
Diaper Pail - Don't do it. Everyone I know who got one of these (like a Diaper Genie, for example) ended up disliking it greatly. Either it broke or the refills never fit correctly, or you could still smell the contents. Yuck. Instead, buy (or register for) a ton of these bags (they have them at Walmart). You throw a dirty diaper in it, then throw it in your regular trash. No smell. Promise.
Wipe Warmer - I liked ours. Now, hear me out, because I know a ton of people have this "don't spoil your kid by making his bum warm" thing against warmers. But here's why I liked ours - not because of the warmth (my kids didn't mind cold wipes at all), but because the thing is plugged in, which means I always know where the wipes are. Those little plastic tubs get moved around way too much - even if you explicitly say to keep one by the changing table. So the warmer ensures that wipes are always where you need them. (And for the record, we've had 3 different kinds and this one is my favorite.)
Burp Cloths - I guess it's obvious that yes, you will need these. But I wanted to let you know the best ones - cloth diapers. The cutesy burp cloths don't absorb enough. Get these.
|These burp cloths get so soft, you can sleep on them! (The Boppy in yet another useful role, too!)|
Monitor - Honestly, this depends on your house and the layout of it. Our room is on the opposite side of the house as Xander's, and on a different floor than the twins', so I needed a monitor to hear them at night. And I actually still have Xander's in his room - I just like being able to hear my kids at night. But, I don't think they're necessary if your room is close enough to the baby's where you will hear him/her cry. And if you do need one, a basic noise one is fine. They have cool ones now that have a "motion sensor" where it beeps if it detects the baby has stopped breathing. That sounds awesome, except when you have a wiggly baby that scoots off the sensor and it freaks you out in the middle of the night. Really - if you need one, just get the regular monitor. It will be enough.
Bumbo seat - These have gotten some media lately for being unsafe. I read the recalls and reports and it seems that kids were toppling over in them - when they were placed on a high area and unsupervised! Um, what? Who is putting this thing on the countertop and walking away? Don't do that. But when used correctly, I like it. Does it help your baby learn how to sit up faster? No. No, it doesn't. But is it convenient to sit your baby up instead of laying him down sometimes (when he hasn't quite mastered sitting)? Yes it is. Still - this is not a "must have." Find a friend's to borrow or check craigslist for a cheap one.
|Xander's first spoon feeding and the twins' first Christmas - all in the Bumbo|
Travel System - This one is very dependent on you and what you want to do with your baby. We were given a hand-me-down system (which was awesome, by the way), but I was so glad I didn't buy one, because I rarely used the stroller part. It was huge and cumbersome, and I think I used it 3 times. (For the record, Lucas says he really liked it, but I was the one taking Xander out most of the time.) Also - Xander was born in mid-September, so by the time he was a few weeks old (when I was really comfortable taking him out a lot), it was cold. So we weren't really going on long walks or anything. And if I took him to a store, I preferred to wear him in the Moby wrap. Now - if you're going to have a spring or summer baby and you want to get outside with him/her a lot, then maybe this will be great for you. But just think about it - check out other options and weigh the pros and cons. And keep in mind that by the time your baby is 6(ish) months old, he or she will be able to sit up in a smaller, more lightweight stroller.
|Xander, almost 5 months old, in his Combi stroller.|
Swaddle blankets - These are the blankets that are specially designed to swaddle babies. Often they have a "weird" shape (not square or rectangle) and maybe velcro to help you swaddle correctly. Don't buy them right away. First, because your baby might not like to be swaddled (none of mine did, but a lot babies love it), but secondly, because you can swaddle with a regular blanket. Use receiving blankets until you are sure your baby loves it, then you can go get some of the fancy ones if you want.
Exersaucer/Jumper/Vibrating seat/Swing - Here's the thing: every baby is different. Xander loved his vibrating seat. Piper and Paxton were indifferent. Xander did not like the swing. Piper loved the swing. Paxton was indifferent. Xander and Paxton loved the jumper. Piper was indifferent. Xander was indifferent toward the exersaucer. Piper loves it. Paxton is, again, indifferent. (To be fair, though, Pax is pretty laid back and doesn't mind where he is.) So - bottom line: borrow all of these if possible. If not, find them on craigslist or at a consignment sale for cheap.
|Xander, Paxton, Piper in their jumper horse|
Glider - Don't buy one! If this is the only thing you remember from this post, remember not to buy a glider. If someone gives you one for free - yes, take it. But if you have to purchase some sort of chair to go in the baby's room, get a recliner. Do it. They aren't that much more expensive (which is crazy), and they are so much more comfortable. I spent many nights in our recliner and I am so very glad we decided to get one instead of a wooden glider. Plus, when you're finished with it in the nursery, you can move it to your living room. Also - you can take cute baby pictures in it. Like the ones here and this one:
|Xander-Man - 6 weeks old|
Those are just some of the things off the top of my head. Tell me in the comments - what is your must-have baby item? What could you have done without? Or - anything else you have a question on whether or not you should get it? Let's hear it!