Baby gear is one of those things that pregnant women are inundated with...all of the things that you absolutely must have or your baby will suffer etc etc.
It's hard to determine what you really need or what you just really want :-)
Being blessed enough to have a lot of family to host showers and friends with little ones to share hand-me downs, we got a lot of "gear". I've compiled a list of the good, the bad and returnable.
1. Cradle action swing--there are times when LM doesn't sleep unless he's in this. Several nights he and I have gone downstairs so he can sleep more upright so he'll stop spitting up/choking on it. Now that his vision is improved, he LOVES the mobile and mirror above him. He'll watch it forever--or at least long enough for me to eat or go to the bathroom. He doesn't like the regular swinging motion options yet--I'm glad we got one that does the cradle swing. It also plugs in--a great battery saver!
2. Tiny Love Mobile--this item is something that LM didn't start to really like until about five weeks old (when he could see it), but now that he does--it's a lifesaver! He loves to lay in his crib and watch it/listen to the music. It helps me get stuff done upstairs while he coos and smiles at it. Not only that, but it has a lot of great black/white patterns, along with bright colors for later. The repetition of the sliding pieces also creates a great white noise.
3. Pack N Play with Newborn Napper--I knew we wanted a PNP but I was hesitant to get the one with the newborn napper and changing table. Did we really need this?? Yes! LM is still sleeping in the newborn napper at night because it gives him the incline he needs to sleep--plus it puts him about at my eye level in bed which makes seeing him easy, plus getting him out to nurse. And, it's super snuggly!
4. Swaddle Blankets--I went overboard with receiving blankets thinking that we'd use them to swaddle at night but LM quickly outgrew them. I wish I had spent my money on some bigger swaddle blankets like A&A at Tar.get or Swaddle D.esigns.
5. Portable Folding Swing (FPrice)-- We keep this small swing upstairs in the master bathtub. I set LM in it when I'm taking a shower---it's the only way I get one somedays! It's small enough to store in the bathroom or carry out to the bedroom/anywhere else upstairs when I need to put him down. We will also take it when the grandparents babysit.
6. Rainforest Bouncy Chair (FPrice)--I adore this new addition to our family. I wrote a whole post on it (mid May archive) but the long and short of it is that it has baby-activated features...I LOVE cause/effect!
7. Baby K'tan- I did a post on carriers but now that I've had this wonderful thing for a week or so now, I love it and am so glad I got it (when TH admits it was a good purchase, you know it rocks!). It is so much easier than a friend's M.oby as it requires a lot less steps and is easy to put on--for me, the M.oby was just too much. Plus--LM loves it and falls right asleep when he snuggles in. Even without total head control, we still have three great holds (there are 8 possible) to use.
8. Ergo--This is a super comfy carrier---it doesn't hurt my back at all. But..unless you buy the insert, it doesn't really work until 3-4 months. But--for a front hanging carrier, it's the most comfortable I've tried.
9. Changing table pad liners--We have a variety of these--boppy ones, Gerber ones and sometimes we use the plain prefold cloth diapers. I have a whole bunch of cute changing table pad covers and these are the only things that keep me from changing it with almost every changing!! Between spit ups and runaway poop, these liners are fabulous at keeping the cute covers clean!
10. Skip Hop Via Diaper Bag--I love this messenger style diaper bag. We both use it--we got it in platinum--and it has the luxury of not being so large that I get carried away and carry everything in the world. It has made me pare down to the essentials and not carry every little thing. Love it!
11. Diaper Genie II Elite--TH has a super sensitive nose (which has its pros and cons) and this keeps all of the diaper smell in (so far!). We empty it 1-2 times a week (someone doesn't wrap the diapers as tight as I do which takes up more space). It is easy to reload, empty, change etc. Even with a heavy load (sorry!) of diapers in it, the bag has never broken on us when carrying it to the garbage. We were hesitant to buy this but have been very pleased with it.
1. Store brand wipes--We've had good luck with store brand diapers but ALL of the store brand wipes we've bought/been given have resulted in diaper rash/redness.
2. Narrow burp cloths--the interlocking prefold ones are good but the narrow, super cute ones are just a mess!
3. Learning DVDs--no need for these things!! Read to your baby, talk to your baby and play with them...enough said.
4. L.ansino.h breast pads--these just don't stick for me! I had better luck with the M.edela brand.
5. Nasal aspirators--they sell cute ones but the ones the hospital gives you (or your pedi) blow them away (no pun intended!)
1. The video monitor---I thought I'd love it and need and wanted it more than anything. But, we returned it to put towards other things. I don't regret this--even when I desperately want to peek at him sleeping. The regular monitor works just fine--you learn to recognize the noises that they make in their sleep and the noises that mean they're awake or on the way there.
2. H.alo Sleepsacks with Swaddle--these are great for a lot of people. Heck, they worked for us in the hospital. However, LM likes to be able to free his arms during the night and he screams bloody murder when his arms are velcroed in. The swaddle blankets give him enough wiggle room. Our hospital gave us one so I wish we hadn't already bought one--or at least not opened it so we could return it. Again, some babies love them, but not LM. *edited to add--at nearly 3 months, he's developed a taste for these again--but still the newborn size--I think he likes them because he's too big for it and can make it stretch so he can wiggle his arms**
3. Carseat mirrors--These work fine if your car is configured exactly right and even then, the only way I can really see LM is to turn around and look into the mirror. From rearview mirror to the carseat mirror is too blurry. Not worth keeping.
4. Clothes that say things like "Mommy's New Man"...ick.
5. Receiving Blankets--these are cute and great...but you don't need a million of them! Ours are currently being used as burp cloths mostly...but they are cute and they do make me happy. I just wouldn't have registered for so many.
6. PNPlay Sheets--Some of these sheets fit tighter than others (and safer) but all of the ones I tried were not absorbent enough. Any trace of drool or spit up goes right through to the mattress--so I have to clean it anyway. LM has no problem sleeping just on the mattress (it's comfy enough) and if I'm going to have to clean it anyway...!