What you really need to survive infancy

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I’m a hater of “stuff.”  I hate clutter and big bulky things that just lay around and take up space.

I also had a baby.

Those two things do not always go together.

There are major marketing campaigns designed to convince you that without <insert expensive baby device here> your baby will die and so will you.

Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it may as well be to a pregnant woman – particularly a first time mom.

So what do you really need to have to make sure that your baby is happy and healthy?  Here’s what I’ve needed to get through the first few months with my adorable and colicky baby.

1) A knit/woven wrap, i.e. a Moby Wrap.  This was a life saver during the early days. For the first 6 weeks, Little lived in my Moby. If you are especially crafty you can easily make your own like I did (it’s just one LONG piece of fabric with a marker in the middle).  Bought or made, these stretchy life savers keep you mobile, yet close to your baby, so you can do things like pee. Or eat. I hear those things are essential to life.

2) A structured baby carrier, i.e. a Baby Bjorn or Ergo.  Full disclosure, I’ve never used the Ergo, but I know some prefer it and it will allow you to carry your baby longer and in more ways than you can in the Baby Bjorn.  That being said, I love my Baby Bjorn.  It is a true god send when little is tired, but absolutely refuses to go to sleep unless she is being walked…this is a nightly battle. And just like the Moby, it allows you to keep baby close and secure while you can still go about your business.

3) A diaper bag.  Seriously, folks.  Babies require a lot of stuff.  That stuff needs to follow you when you leave the house. I have the JJ Cole Satchel Diaper Bag and I love it.  It fits everything I need, including dog treats, mom treats, my wallet, glasses, phone, and anything else that I can think of.  Also, as an added bonus, a bottle of wine fits snuggly in the outside pockets. Because, wine.

4) A white noise maker.  There are soooo many out there, but my best mommy suggestion? Find one that plays continuously (but also has a timed option) like this one.  I just got this baby a few weeks ago and it is amazing. It helps to drown out all the random noises that tend to wake babies (and mommies…) so that everyone sleeps a little deeper. And who doesn’t love sleep?

5) A Boppy (or two) – especially if you are breastfeeding.  This thing is a serious back saver, especially if your babe likes to cuddle all the time.  I recommend having two, because, well, babies tend to make a mess of things. They spit-up, projectile vomit (those are two very different things…), pee, poop, drool, and sometimes all of the above.  All over your device that allows you to feed them comfortably…Get two.

6) A co-sleeper, bassinet, or pack-n-play along with flexible thinking about where the baby (and you) will sleep.  I was pro-bed-sharing momma, before I actually had a baby.  I mean, I still am – it just doesn’t work for me at this time.  I just lay there. Waiting. Is she awake? Is she comfortable? Am I squishing her? Is she choking?  Because of this, I now sleep her in her co-sleeper (with her baby nest) in our room, but not right next to the bed. That way her breathing doesn’t keep me up all night.  If possible, I would also suggest the Pack-n-Play as well, because it’s great for traveling (super easy to set up unlike the co-sleeper) and offers a place to play safely as well as to sleep. If my room was bigger, I would just use the Pack-n-Play.

7) A bouncy chair or swing.  During the early days of mommy-hood, I was extremely nervous to have the baby out of my sight for even just a moment.  Bouncy Chair to the rescue.  I would put baby in the chair and bring her into the kitchen, the bathroom, bedroom, wherever I needed to be, but didn’t want to carry her in my arms or in the Moby.  Their portability make them great additions to your baby arsenal.  While the swing isn’t as portable as the chair, it has been a real life saver for when Little wants to be rocked to sleep, but mommy is feeling a little touched out…Only one is needed, but I am sooo glad that I have both.

8) Seasonally appropriate clothing!  This seems like a big Duh! but I truly did not even consider this when I was registering for newborn clothes.  I have a whole slew of cuter than cute onesies that were never worn because my baby was born in November and short sleeves are not necessarily the best…If you are having a Baby Shower, I would suggest reminding people about the season of birth.  Especially if your friends that are coming don’t have children of their own…

9) Receiving blankets (not swaddles – although those are handy too).  Receiving blankets are made of flannel, not muslin, and are a little bit smaller making them easier to use on small, little bitty babies. They work great as super soft towels after bath time.  They are great little blankets for the car seat. Need to cover up the changing table because your cover got pooped on? Receiving blanket to the rescue.

10) A SIMPLE baby monitor. No need for video, just something that helps calm the anxiety that tells you your baby isn’t breathing…Finally getting a baby monitor seriously saved my life (and my sanity).

11) Car seat, duh…unless you never want to leave the house again.  No recommendations on this one because well I got mine from my sister (don’t worry – no accidents and hasn’t expired…).  The only recommendation that I would make is if you have more than one car – purchase more than one base.  Don’t know what a base is? Head down to Buy Buy Baby (or other similar store) and they can fill you in on all the cool car seat things.  Also, please read the manual! Car seat safety is not something that you can phone-in on.

12) Lastly, a changing table and pad (don’t forget changing pad covers…). I purchased mine from Ikea, because they are inexpensive and I like the look of raw wood. That being said, you can also use a dresser that is waist height with the pad on top.  You can easily attach a wood rail to the edge to ensure that the pad won’t slip off the edge if you are worried about that.  As an added bonus if you use a dresser – extra space to put all the things where you need them (and storage! Especially if you are going to be cloth diapering…).  I.e. wipes, lotions, extra diapers, etc.  That is the one thing that I feel like I’m missing out with my changing table.

That’s about it.  Except for ever lasting patience, but last time I checked that can’t be ordered off Amazon…

Oh and don’t forget diapers…lots of diapers.

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