***I have partnered with Similac for this piece.
I will never forget the day in late 2007 when I entered a Babies “R” Us for the very first time.
If you’re a first-time parent who has no clue about anything baby or parenting related, walking into that store to pick out things for your baby registry is absolutely terrifying and overwhelming. I saw products we couldn’t afford, didn’t know we needed, and didn’t even know existed. I stumbled around the store like a zombie, wide-eyed and confused holding that little electronic scanner but not knowing what to point it at.
As a result of being shell-shocked, we ended up with some things we really didn’t need. Also, years later when were having our second and had gathered a little more parental wisdom, we realized we didn’t get a bunch of things that would’ve been nice to have.
So what do you need and what can you leave in the store? Here’s a few thoughts on baby items that are either must-have or heck no.
You don’t need a wipe warmer. We put this on our registry the first time around because, well, I thought how nice it’d be if my buns were wiped with toasty warm paper, so why wouldn’t I extend that courtesy to my newborn son? But while it’s good in theory, in practice it’s terrible. Even before it broke, all it really did was dry the wipes out and render them borderline unusable during changes. Totally useless.
You do need a diaper disposal system. We didn’t do a diaper genie, but we did get the generic system that’s pictured above. I guess you could empty the trash every single day but honestly, it’s nice to just toss them in a bucket until it fills up and then take them out. The one we have doesn’t let the stench out and the refill bags are inexpensive, making this a must-have in our house.
You don’t need a changing table. My wife disagrees with me on this one, but this is my site so I win. I just didn’t understand needing to buy an entirely new piece of furniture in the changing table, when all it looked like to me was a small dresser with a frame on top for the changing pad. If you have an existing dresser, just get a pad and put it on top and use that for changing. Boom, you just saved hundreds of dollars and retained the same functionality.
You do need a rocker/glider. I didn’t want to spend the money on this with our oldest because I thought it was unnecessary, so we didn’t have a glider. Then, with our second, we were in a better place financially so we got one. And let me tell you — it’s fantastic! The chair we have is comfortable and Sam falls asleep almost as soon as I sit down with him and start rocking. Totally worth the money (if you can swing it).
You don’t need a standalone high chair. There was nothing wrong with our first standalone high chair, and it served as quite well. The only problem is it took up a lot of space and we were in a small condo. You might be asking how do you eat a meal at home without a high chair, which brings us to…
You do need a portable high chair. These things are glorious, and became popular by the time our second was born. Instead of being a big wooden high chair, these things are small seats that strap to existing chairs. That saves a ton of space and, as a bonus, you can also easily pack it up and take it with you to restaurants or on trips. Huge advantage.
You don’t need a video monitor. A lot of people will disagree with this one, but I’m sticking to it. With Will, we only had an audio monitor and it was fine. We learned his cries and knew when to go in and when not to. But with Sam, we got a video monitor and I drove myself crazy with it. I spent my nights watching him and making sure he was breathing, which can be tough to do with a grainy monitor in the dead of night. I fixated on the monitor and suffered even further sleep loss because of it.
You do need two strollers. One is the Cadillac Escalade sized stroller for when you need storage and you’re going to be out all day. The other is a smaller umbrella stroller for when the baby is a little older and you don’t need to store all of your belongings. For too long we relied on the huge one which was a pain to pack up and stow in the car. When we made the switch to the smaller stroller it was so much easier.
So that’s my short list. Did I miss any must-haves or must-avoids? Leave some suggestions in the comments.
I was compensated by Similac for the “Sisterhood of Motherhood” campaign (#SisterhoodUnite), which aims to unite all parents in a judgment-free zone. But as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I hope you enjoy this fantastic video Similac developed that shows we’re all #ParentsFirst when it comes to raising our kids. You can visit Similac’s website or go to its Facebook page to learn more.