Both of my children were born two weeks early. Not sure if it was the earliest or my laziness, but I never really “nested” with either child, however, I did freak out about testing schedules and testing data with Flynn. As a matter of fact, the day my water broke at work I was flipping out about having enough proctors for the upcoming state test because a few more rooms needed to happen to accommodate IEPS. Luckily for me, my water broke and that job fell to some other poor soul. With Flynn, I was determined to not turn my small converted warehouse loft into a Babies R US showroom and so I tried to keep items to a minimum. If I wasn’t going to use the item for a long period time or the item wouldn’t be a game changer for me as a mom, I wasn’t really interested. However, a few weeks in and a couple dozen Amazon orders later – I was covered in brightly covered contraptions – some used all the time and others not worth buying. Most of these items were recommendations from other moms who couldn’t live without or loved the item. What I have come to find is that everybody’s “must haves” are different and that taking a wait and see approach may help you avoid the laundry list of items suffocating you in your home. For example, I obsessed over this gray crib for Flynn that was backordered and would come off backorder for 2.5 seconds and then sell out again. I was devastated thinking the crib wouldn’t be here before Flynn arrived. I was able to locate a crib after much headache and time. Best part – Flynn didn’t sleep in that thing until he was over 1 and then slept in it for only a few weeks before figuring out how to jump out of the thing. Perhaps the crib will get used with Nola?
With all that being said I have compiled a list of things that are nice to have from Day 1 of bringing the baby home.
Someway to Drive the Baby
They don’t let you leave the hospital without one. Although, in our case, we totally left without one. Sort of. See Dominique and I (okay just me) said we wanted to avoid the infant car seat and just use a convertible. So we strolled out of Vanderbilt Hospital carrying Flynn. I think we escaped really – because I walked off the floor into the parking garage (no wheelchair, no attendant) carrying my 3 day old baby. No one checked about my car seat. No one even said anything as we walked off carrying a baby. A few days after kidnapping our son, we ordered a convertible car seat. I realized it would be much easier to eat out or transfer Flynn from the car to house without waking him and so we caved. It was worth the “extra” item, especially if you plan on having a second kid. Even if not – they are easy to sell or share with a friend.
Somewhere for the Baby to Sleep
Despite what I tell Dr. H, we cosleep in this house. It is the best way to get sleep for us. However, when Flynn and Nola were really little and for nap time, we needed somewhere for the babe to sleep. While a crib is what comes to mind for most people, I feel you actually don’t use a crib (even if you don’t cosleep) for many months, especially if you are nursing. So having a place for the baby to sleep is crucial. We used both the Fisher Price Rock N Play and the Babyhome Dream Home. In fact, Flynn slept in the babyhome until he was way too old for it and Nola now uses it for naps and starting out at night. It was great for traveling, comfy, not heinous looking which is always a plus and higher up than a pack n play. There are a ton of different options for a place for your kid to sleep, but whatever you choose you probably need that starting Day 1.
Something to Free Up Your Hands aka a Carrier
I often talk about my love for the Ergo carrier. It has been a lifesaver and is great for traveling, particularly because of the zip pocket on the front. If you plan on using this with a newborn you also need the infant insert. The Ergo is great because with the insert it can be used from Day 1 until way older. Flynn still rides in this bad boy and it is comfortable for both of us. I was looking for a wrap to add to the mix with Nola and I have come to fall in love with the Sollybaby Wrap, as well. The Solly wrap has been great to use at the beach since it is lightweight and can easily be thrown in a beach bag. Plus it is comes in super cute colors! The Solly wrap can be used for the first year, but Flynn does ask to be “a baby” from time to time and I successfully wrapped his 27 lb self. There are so many options out there and so my recommendations are if possible try before you buy (you know borrow a kid and someones wrap), but this a must have for me from the get-go (especially with the second baby!)
Something to Sit Baby in While You Pee
I struggled with this one as a must have from the get-go product because the Babyhome or Carseat really could be used for this. However, after being around some more normal children I realize some kids happily sit in these bad boys freeing you up from time to time. So a seat for the baby is helpful from the start. Again, there are so many options out there – and you can often find swings and bouncy seats used on online yard sales or consignment shops. We have the seat pictured above and it really has held up well. While it doesn’t bounce on it’s own or have any light up fanciness, the seat can recline to various positions and you can remove the strap to use for an older kid. There also is a toy bar that you can purchase separately to make the seat more fun as the baby gets older. While pricey, two years in this seat is still in almost new condition and we have gotten our use out of it!
A Diaper Bag
I have tried many variations of the diaper bag from a backpack to duffle bag to a few “true” diaper bags. We have settled on the diaper bag posted above for a few reasons: it’s unisex, doesn’t look too diaper bag-ish, and holds a good amount of stuff. Whatever your preference for a diaper bag, I recommend getting something to use from the start. It may not be the perfect bag at first, as everybody has their own requirements for a perfect bag, but you will want to have a diaper bag (and stock the baby boy with diaper, wipes, change of clothes) so that the first doctor appointment you have after leaving the hospital you aren’t using maxi-pads as diapers.
Burp Clothes..Lots of Them
Just stock up on these. The simple gerber prefold diaper ones work great, but I am huge fan of the Aden + Anais burpy bibs. We have a ton of these and while some are stained (mainly from being worn as a bib) they are still in excellent condition. I love that the are thick, fabulous burp clothes, but also convert to a bib. Both of my kids spit up all the time and so I would put this “cape” on them and then also hang one over my shoulder to prevent changing outfits 900 times a day. For those of you looking for a shower gift, these are an awesome gift or add-on item, even if they are not on the person’s registry!
Those of you reading this looking for the perfect baby gift, these are it. Even if the person receives duplicates, I have found you never can enough of these! Aden + Anais swaddle blankets are my favorite and are both my kids “blankies”. Flynn uses the basic cotton swaddles, while Nola has the bamboo ones. I did this on purpose to avoid any drama. Both kinds are perfect for swaddling and for security blanket purposes. They can also work as towels for the kids when out at the beach or pool, a floor blanket or light cover when the kids are older. Whatever the brand you choose – you want to have a few of these on hand!
A Sleep Sack
I said a or one sleep sack because you don’t really know if your kid will dig these or not. I had a two-pack of swaddler things for Flynn and he hated them. A lot. He hated his hands being wrapped up and wanted no parts of the bad boy. Then Nola was born and the chick loved these things more than life itself. We had a few of of the summer infant swaddlers, but the hospital gifted us the Halo Sleepsack when we left with Nola, and that has been by far her favorite sleep sack device to date. We have used the Aden + Anais sacks as well and then have been our second favorite as she got older, but the Halo sack was great because it had the option for her hands to in or out of the swaddler, which was a nice little feature in the beginning. I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying a whole bunch of these or a whole bunch of one kind. If you want to have a few on hand, buy/register for a few different ones and then see what the babe likes before investing in a bunch. Again, if you are here because you are looking for a good gift – these are always a nice $25 and under gift!
I always find a nice baby bath towel is a great gift. It also was a nice thing to have in the beginning and lasts well in to toddlerhood. I love both the 3 Sprouts Towel and the Aden and Anais set. They are big, absorbent towels that Flynn still uses. Some baby bath towels are small and a few short months laters barely cover the baby’s growing Buddha belly. Both of these towels are thick and comfy and look super cute as well. If you haven’t noticed, I am sucker for cute. These make for a cute gift and are always fun to pair with a nice baby lotion, infant body wash or bath book.
In full disclosure, I did not own a baby monitor until we moved to Philadelphia. Flynn was 16 months old. I also don’t own the monitor shown, but wish I did! I own two different monitors – one cheap camera one I found 50% off at Target and the other a cheap non camera one that was 70% off at Target purchased months later. They work fine, but if I had my choice I’d take the Summer Infant one with two cameras! The reason was pretty simple – Flynn slept in the room with us at night and during naps we could hear him as our house wasn’t all that big. However, if your house is a little larger and/or you are going to put your kid to sleep upstairs from the start – you may want this Day 1. If you are not sure your of sleeping plans and are playing things by ear – you can definitely wait on the monitor, especially with all the apps that exists these days. With Flynn, he often napped in the living room since it was usually just Dominique and me home during naps. I tried the same with Nola, but Flynn often found it fun to wake her up, so she did move upstairs a little sooner. So I go back and forth on Day 1 needing a monitor, but figured most people may want one of these from the start, especially if you want to develop specific sleep habits from get-go.
A few Comfy, Easy PJ/Outfits
You will receive outfits as presents, which is great and super helpful. And if you are here reading this because you are looking for gift ideas – I recommend some Kickee Pants one pieces or pajamas. They are soft, I mean really soft, lightweight, adorable , wash well and easy to get on/off. There are also discounts for Kickee Pants either from their direct website (especially if you follow them on instagram) or through Amazon and/or Diapers.com. I don’t recommend getting a ton of newborn outfits, as my kids always grew out of them pretty quickly (Flynn almost 9 lbs, Nola almost 8 lbs), but having a few comfy, rompers or outfits from the start is nice. I previously posted about money saving tips for clothes and if I find something at a good price, in a larger size I’d stock up. It was always nice to be like crap my kid is not fitting into anything and realizing you have an outfit or two already purchased. Most people tend to buy 0-3 and 3-6 months as gifts and so having a few 6-9 on hand is always helpful. Since this post is really about Day 1 – have a few comfy one pieces in newborn and a couple more in 0-3 months. The key in these first few months (and really always) is comfort and ease.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, c-section or vaginal birth – a cute, loose fitting top is great. I love a nice, flowy top, that is easy to feed the baby in, hides the belly and can make me
look feel somewhat put together even if wearing with leggings. I find tops, like the one shown above, look great with both leggings and jeans and make you feel acceptable leaving the house. They also still work as you lose the baby weight, which is great, because I hate buying clothes that I hope to not be wearing for long. Stock up on a few staples before the baby is born – black leggings, yoga pants, a decent pair of jeans, and loose, comfortable shirts that make you feel like you are not wearing PJs all day.