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7 Top Baby Gear Essentials—The Must-Haves! 0
As if pregnancy isn’t overwhelming enough, the choices first (and second and third…!) time moms and dads face is both exhilarating and a little daunting. Do babies really need their wipes warmed? What about all those rattles and other sensory toys? Those are all “nice to haves”—the bonuses you might be happy to get as a gift because you aren’t sure you really want to spend the money on it yourself. What are the baby gear essentials? What does a newborn really need apart from diapers, feeding gear and comfy clothing? We are here to give you the 7 top baby gear picks, in no particular order.
Crib This first one seems rather obvious but it’s obvious for a reason. Sure, you could probably have your child live in a drawer for a few weeks but eventually you’ll really want something safe, secure and flexible to grow with your child. We highly recommend convertible cribs. What is a convertible crib? It’s a bed that starts out as a crib, converts into a toddler bed with, and then without, safety rails and finally a twin size bed. Quite honestly, a convertible crib can last into your child’s early teens. Make sure you choose a neutral color that will grow with your child. Here’s one of our bestsellers: Storkcraft Valentia Convertible Crib. You’ll have to purchase the mattress separately but a crib mattress will last for about 4-5 years until your child grows into a twin size bed. Crib mattresses are usually in the $100-$150 range. We highly recommend you spend the extra $30-50 for a good quality mattress—those growing bones need good support.
Crib bedding Again, this one seems logical but it’s important to purchase bedding that is specifically manufactured for baby cribs. Fitted sheets are important because if it’s not tightly fitted around the edges, it could pose a strangling or choking hazard if the edges become loose. The sheets and blankets are also an important consideration due to size. The crib sized blankets and sheets are made to fit neatly into a crib. Even a twin sized blanket is too large for a baby’s crib and again, it could pose a hazard to your baby’s health. We highly recommend purchasing crib bedding manufactured specifically for crib dimensions.
Nursery furniture I kept reminding myself not to buy too many 0-3month outfits while I was pregnant. But they are absolutely irresistible, right? I’m here to remind you that all those 0-3month outfits are pretty useless. Go ahead, splurge on one or two for a photo shoot but no more than that. If your baby is a summer baby, he or she will be living in onesies. If your baby is born in the winter, he or she will be wearing sleepers all day and all night. Fall or spring? A variation of onesies and sleepers. But the inevitable will happen and you will buy/receive/inherit way too many outfits. No 6 month old needs 5 pairs of shoes! And so, a good quality furniture set is essential and it will last years (probably as long as the convertible crib). After all, you need a place to store all those cute outfits. The nursery furniture doesn’t have to match the crib, nor does it even have to be a completely brand new set. However, opting for a new set will ensure that your child has many, many years to enjoy his or her furniture. One of our most popular nursery furniture sets, from AFG International comes in three shades that are sure to please any nursery style.
Baby monitor This one is a very personal choice but as a mother of two, I promise you I could never have slept soundly without one. As a new mom, it’s hard not to stress out over every little peep your newborn makes. I was so exhausted I feared that I would mistakenly sleep through my baby’s hunger cues. A good baby monitor will last you through several years and several kids. They are, relative to the amount of peace of mind they offer, very inexpensive. If you want to really treat yourself, and if you have the extra budget space, you could always go for the fancy video monitor. An audio monitor like this works well and it’s a solid investment.
Car seat Your child’s safety is most important and we recommend you buy new car seats for your children. Furthermore, we highly advise that you heed the expiration dates on your child’s car seats. In many states, you can’t leave the hospital without a child properly restrained in a car seat. If you own a vehicle, or if your child will be traveling with someone who drives, it’s imperative that your purchase a car seat. Safety 1st car seats are highly safety rated and offer a comfortable ride for your little one.
Stroller or carrier You can choose either or both but unless you plan on staying home for the next year, you’ll need to transport your child. The car seat is essential for travel within the car but the bucket seat is bulky when walking with it. You’ll need a solution that fits with your lifestyle. Some people swear by carriers and some can’t live without their stroller. The right choice is completely up to you. As a mom of two young children, I have a double stroller, a baby carrier and two baby hiking backpacks! If this is your first child and you plan on having more than one child, I highly recommend you purchase a double stroller to begin with. You’ll have extra storage space while you have one child and you’ll save yourself the expense of buying a second double stroller once you have the second child. Tandem strollers like this one are easy to steer and simple to get through doorways. The side by side strollers are meant to be small enough to glide through standard doorways but if you are a frequent mall walker/shopper, I recommend the tandem as it’s easier to get through aisles in department stores and through tighter corners.
- Baby swing or vibrating chair You don’t absolutely need a baby swing or a vibrating chair. If you “wear” your baby, you won’t need one at all but if you’d like a break and the crib isn’t doing it for your child, the soothing vibrations and calm music of a swing or bouncy chair are sure to quiet the screams. The swing/chair was a lifesaver for my colicky child. We certainly don’t recommend that you allow your child to sleep in the swing or chair through the night but the occasional nap for baby (and hopefully you!) is certainly worth the price of those contraptions. Make sure that the fabric is removable and machine washable! These cutes swings are portable and compact:
Most importantly: enjoy this time of discovery. You are, or will be, a fabulous parent!
Stroller dilemmas not just for first time parents 0
Stroller dilemmas not just for first time parents
If you are expecting your first baby you will almost certainly be going through the stroller choice ritual. If you are expecting number two, three or four you will be nodding your head sagely at the memory but you may still be agonising over the choice to go for the double or triple stroller. Sound familiar? If so, we understand what you are going through and will try our best to make your choice easier with some sound advice.
There are so many different strollers out there that it’s mind boggling. You’d think choosing one would be pretty straightforward but it isn’t. Be prepared for the onslaught of advice offered by well meaning relatives and friends who insist on certain strollers because of their own experiences. Believe it or not there are even countless blogs out there devoted to strollers. Ultimately though it is up to you and you need to have a good think about what features will suit you. This may be difficult to imagine if it is your first baby but it does help to try and look ahead.
Stroller for now or longevity
Buying a stroller may be one of your most expensive purchases when you shop for baby equipment so you may want to think about getting your money’s worth over time. Some strollers are really only suitable for the first few months to a year of a baby’s life and this means buying another one not long after you have started, not the most economical way of transporting your baby. By looking into strollers that develop with your baby you will make a good investment. These strollers have multi-reclining positions and you can switch the direction the baby faces when you are ready. Many of these strollers then convert into a more toddler friendly version where they face forwards and can sit up straight or recline if they nap while you are out and about.
It is worth looking at any extras on offer in terms of accessories. Look to see if the stroller has a rain cover, drinks holders for babies and for parents, and what kind of cold weather zip up blankets and fleeces either come with the stroller or can be bought as extras to fit your stroller model. The sophistication of strollers nowadays means that you can even consider the suspension of the wheels or tyres if you think you might be going off road, using a lot of staircases, or just being a super fit mom and pushing the stroller while you run for exercise.
Storage is a very important feature for many moms, whether you can hang a nappy bag safely from special clips on the handles and how much room there is to store shopping or extra bags under the seat. It is never a good idea to try and carry too much on the stroller apart from your baby for safety reasons, but there are often times when busy moms have extra toys and snacks to carry and may have picked up a few things from the store.
Stroller health and safety
Another consideration when choosing a stroller is using it in a way that ensures the safety and good health of your baby. Naturally most of these safety issues will be obvious to parents but in those first few months of your baby’s life things are understandably blurry so it is good to remind yourself. You should always stay close to the stroller, keep brakes on when stopped, always buckle your baby’s harness and don’t hang items from the handle bar unless there are specially designed clips. You should always take care when folding the stroller making sure no little hands and fingers are nearby that could get trapped, and never leave the stroller in direct heat or sunlight for too long.
A popular choice of stroller now is one that has a travel system meaning you can transfer your infant car seat and click it safely into the stroller. This system is very convenient and can be especially helpful when travelling and at airports. Babies love to nap in their car seats and strollers but parents must always try not and be tempted to leave them sleeping in their car seat when it is not in the car, no matter how convenient. Medical advice also warns against letting them relax even while awake for long periods in the car seat out of the car. Studies have shown that sitting upright in a car seat could compress a newborn’s chest and lower blood oxygen levels – even mild obstruction of a baby’s airway can impair their development. Sitting in a car seat for too long could also add to the development of flat spots on your baby’s head and potentially worsen any gastroesophageal reflux disease – a chronic digestive disease sometimes requiring prescribed medicines and ongoing treatment. Nowadays stroller manufacturers are very aware of safety issues and most strollers are designed and made to the highest safety standards, we just have to ensure as parents that we use strollers in the safest way applying common sense.
Serious baby transportation
Most moms think they have put the stroller dilemmas behind them after they have their first baby but then number two comes along and they are faced with it all over again. Some moms agonise over whether to purchase a double stroller, or in some cases a triple stroller which is a serious commitment. These strollers can be very practical, especially when you can transport a baby and a toddler at the same time. It really depends on age difference though, and how long you think your first child needs to be using a stroller. There are double strollers where the children sit side by side or one in front of the other, so you need to consider how many doorways you will be trying to push it through and what you need to manoeuvre around on a daily basis. Another useful option is attaching a board to the back of your single stroller for the older child to stand on, however depending on their age they might not like this idea for long journeys.
Many parents also like to purchase an extremely lightweight stroller to use on day trips as it can be folded away easily and carried on public transportation or stowed away in the car. It is also a very good option for taking on holidays. They are great if you need them for short periods of time when you can do without all the accessories and usual stroller comforts.
So when you go out to make the big stroller decisions try not and be fazed by the huge choice and stay focused on the practical, daily needs that are important for you. Ultimately you want your baby to be comfortable and safe as you transport them around and it needs to be as simple and practical as possible for you as parents.
- Simple Baby Necessities
- Tags: Strollers