When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was very intentional about trying to figure out what items I really needed. I didn’t want to accumulate a lot of stuff and I didn’t want to spend money on or receive as a gift something that I wasn’t going to get a lot of use out of. We made sure to get (almost) everything in gender neutral colors so that we could use it for future children regardless of their gender.
As far as “baby gear” for the first child, we went with the bare minimum: car seat & stroller, breast pump, and video monitor. We received the crib, dresser (to use as a changing table), high chair, pack & play and activity mat as gifts. Friends told us that they had a swing we could borrow, and when they brought it to us, they also had a vibrating baby seat and a rock & play. As she got a little older, we purchased a bumbo seat and an exersaucer.
As we were preparing for the arrival of our second child, we tried to decide what we needed that we didn’t already have. It’s not a very long list, but three of the five items were big investments and I’m so happy that we got what we did.
- 4Moms Mamaroo – We weren’t able to borrow the swing and rock and play this time, so those were at the top of the list. Elida used the swing a little, but I knew that baby #2 wouldn’t be held as much as she was and that I would need to put him down (#reality). I had seen the mamaroo in a couple stores and read about it online shortly after Elida was out of the swing stage. I was intrigued by it, but, at the time, it wasn’t something we needed. When we had our first discussion about what we needed for baby #2, this was at the top of my list. I had since done more research and decided that if we were going to get a swing, this was the one I wanted. We have a tiny living room, and the Mamroo takes about 1/3 of the space that most swings do. I also really liked how it had a range of different motions at different speeds that were made to mimic the way parents move when they hold infants to soothe them. We’re eight weeks in to this little guy’s life, and I love the Mamaroo! He spends four to six hours a day – waking and sleeping – in it and it was totally worth it.
- Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs – Every other mom I know sings the praises of Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. We received one as a gift when Elida was a baby, and I liked it, but not as much as I liked our other swaddle blankets. I didn’t know what all of the fuss was about. But when I saw these burp rags, I was intrigued. I liked the size (MUCH larger than most) and shape (made to drape around your neck and over your shoulder). I was not, however, a fan of the cost. $10 for one rag?! My grandma bought one for us as a gift. It took me less than a week into Wyatt’s life before I bought more. Not only are the size and shape so much better than any of the other rags I’ve used, but they are also super absorbent. They’re expensive, but I don’t need as many of them as I did other rags because of their absorbency.
- Bob Duallie Stroller – We actually bought this stroller before I found I was pregnant with our son. But we knew we’d want a double stroller at some point, and found a stellar deal on this one (25% off at REI). Much like the Mamaroo, I did some serious research on this. I talked to a LOT of people, and everyone that I knew that owned a Bob swore by it. There were a few other double strollers that were good options as well – namely the Uppababy Vista. We “test drove” both of them at baby stores (I’m not kidding), and loved them both. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that the Bob was less than half the cost of the Vista. Wyatt was born in October in Minnesota and he’s already logged quite a few miles in the stroller.
- Beco Gemini Baby Carrier – We registered for a carrier when I was pregnant with Elida, but didn’t receive one. There were a few times that we wanted to use one, and just borrowed one from a friend. I knew that the second kid would be worn in instances where kid #1 was carried, so a carrier made it on the list of purchases. We tried a few varieties when we borrowed friends’ carriers, so I had some idea what we were looking at. I found the Gemini at a baby store in St. Paul, MN and they had a generous return policy, so we tried it. I liked that I could wear him on the front with him facing in our out, on my back or on my side and that we didn’t need any special “newborn inserts” or any additional equipment for it to be comfortable. At least once a day, Wyatt wants to be held when I need my hands. I strap on the Boba and have gotten very good at doing dishes while wearing him.
- Rock & Play – We didn’t even know what this was when our friends gave us theirs to use with Elida. But use it, we did. It was an obvious purchase for baby #2. It’s great for portability and he can sleep at an incline when he’s congested. He’s sleeping in it next to me as I’m writing this. I would put this item on any one’s must-have baby gear list.
If I’m going to spend money on something, I want to make sure to get a lot of use out of it, and if we didn’t use any of these items any more after today (which won’t happen), I would buy them all again. And I don’t like spending money, so I think that says something.