Expecting a baby boy? Here’s Kristin’s list of must-have baby items that would make great baby shower gifts or baby gifts for that new little bundle of wiggles and giggles in your life! Enjoy!
I have been asked by many friends, “What are the items you just cannot live without as a new mom?” I started compiling a list. There are just so many great baby products on the market, and this list certainly does not encompass them all. Soon, I’ll assemble a list for the older boys…but for now, these are the things I cannot live without with my baby boy.
The Bumper Jumper has been a lifesaver for both of my boys. It allows us to have conversations as adults, to eat dinner peacefully, to shower quickly, and to use the bathroom alone! I cannot even say how important this tiny item has been in our lives. We take it with us to everyone else’s houses as well. If your doors do not have trim, however, then this will not work for you. Instead, may I recommend the Rainforest Jumperoo, which we bought for our nephew. The Jumperoo even collapses to make storage and travel easier. Just be sure to follow the weight and height recommendations with both, please. If your baby cannot hold up his head, the Bumper Jumper is not appropriate for him yet.
Many might say that the Bumper Jumper and Exersaucer are redundant, but we use both equally. Typically, the Exersaucer allows MD more entertainment, so he plays in it while I make dinner, and he used to play in it during dinner (now he eats with us in his high chair). We were given a hand-me-down exersaucer, so the one we have no longer exists to buy, but there are SO many different ones. Ours adjusts to three heights, which is great for those tall babies. And, MD can spin a full 360 degrees in it. None of the sounds work anymore, but MD does not care. He will play in it for thirty minutes at a time. I used to shower while CW was in it, but now it’s too hard to lug up our stairs (we moved since the time when CW was little).
Another must-have for a newborn (really great to crawling and beyond…in fact, CW at age 3 still likes to play in it) is the Baby Einstein Play Gym. Play mats are so awesome that we actually had two (one for our basement and one for the main floor). The Baby Einstein play gym was our favorite, though. Both kids loved the “star” that plays music and lights up, and they would roll to see it wherever we placed it. MD likes to sit at it and make the toys swing now. It is great for brain and physical development.
When your baby is about eight months old, you may want to start teaching him to communicate with you. I found these Sign Language Videos to be extremely well done. They are filled with classical music, real animals and babies, and they do not move fast. CW learned the basic signs within a month or so (I used them constantly), and MD is already signing “milk” and “dog” consistently. These were truly a wonderful investment. Although babies cannot verbalize their thoughts with words, they are able to sign them at a much earlier age. It saves both the baby and the parents from so many frustrating moments. Your baby will be able to tell you what he needs, and you will know that you are increasing his vocabulary at a young age!
Because we travel often to places where renting cribs is impractical, we bought a Pack ‘n’ Play. I used it for the first month of MD’s life for changing his diapers in our basement. This allowed my body to heal after his birth without going up two flights of stairs fifty times a day. We have taken our Pack ‘n’ Play to a ton of places in the course of four years, and it is very handy; however, keep in mind that Pack ‘n’ Plays are heavy, large, and a bit unwieldy. They take up a lot of trunk space, even when folded down. Still, we would not have made it without one. And although our parents both have cribs at their homes, this would be an ideal idea for at Grandma’s house if she wants a cheaper (and easier to hide when you’re not there) version of a crib.
For the first few months, your baby will sleep in Sleep Sacks and Swaddle Me sleepwear the best. We used the Swaddle Me for the first 1-2 months, and then the sleep sacks after that. The sleep sacks are great for quick nighttime diaper changes, and the Swaddle Me is so much easier than trying to perfect the nurses’ swaddles from the hospital (and then you don’t have to worry about your baby somehow getting loose)! These come in many different patterns, colors, and materials.
Something I used often with CW, but use one hundred times more with MD is the Baby Bjorn. I grocery shop, cook, walk, Swiffer, and dust with him in the Bjorn. He can go everywhere I can go, and I have my hands free to do other things. This is great because his older sibling often needs help, or wants to play outside. And, I often want to get something accomplished, but he is too heavy to hold all the time. CW can ride his bike, while I walk with MD in the Bjorn…that way I can get to CW with more ease than a stroller allows (I also found that CW would constantly run into the stroller because he can’t steer straight). The Bjorn allows me to place CW in the stroller for longer trips at the mall. And, MD loves watching everything that is going on around us. Again, they come in many different styles and colors (and can be used with very small babies (8 lbs.) and up to 25 lbs.!
Something that is not a necessity, but I personally could not live without is the Glider Rocking Chair (with a footstool). I spend a ton of time in that rocking chair (feeding, reading, and rocking). Both boys love the chair, and I love putting my feet up and laying my head back while I’m doing my middle-of-the-night feedings.
Although I nursed full time with both boys, I would imagine the Boppy Pillow could be helpful to all mothers (as I have seen many mothers lay their babies in the pillow on the floor, and I often place it behind MD so he doesn’t fall over backwards). But, I could not live without my Boppy Pillow for nursing. MD is so heavy that I find my hands fall asleep if I have to nurse him without the Boppy for long. Something else that is very helpful for nursing mothers is the nursing cover, or hooter hider. It is great for providing privacy while feeding your baby out in public, or even with friends and family. I will admit that I used it much more with CW. I was more comfortable with my breastfeeding status as a second-time mom. Many are so pretty they can even be considered a fashion accessory. There are many colors and designs, so enjoy the search!
When you look at infant carrier car seats, you will most likely be overwhelmed by all of the choices. I have heard great things about many companies, but I was most impressed by the Chicco KeyFit30. It has three heights to adjust to and goes up to 30 pounds. It is so simple to attach the base to your car, and even easier to put the seat into the base. And, there is a converter to place it into my favorite jogging stroller, The Bob Revolution Stroller. We do not have one of these jogging strollers (we have a different brand that did not allow the car seat to sit in it), but rented one at the beach a few years in a row and love it. The front wheel can be stationary or moving, the handles are comfortable, and the seat is cushy for your little ones. It had the least friction while running, and seemed to have the best shocks to protect your baby from those big bumps! Easy to maneuver and fun to use, it is my favorite jogging stroller by far!
Kristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and new baby brother MD.
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