8 Pound Baby Needs How Many Pounds of Stuff??
October 22, 2010 10:36 PM   Subscribe

We are expecting our first child in the new year (yay!) and we are starting to put the nursery together. We found a crib, a rocking cradle, a change table, a chair and a car seat. What else should we get? Looking for specific product suggestions or a general list of the types of items that we will need. Was there a favorite thing that you were happy to have (a Sophie, a Bumbo, a diaper genie etc)? Something you wish you had right away?

Bonus points if the item is available or ships to Canada or can be found within 2 hours of Detroit or Buffalo.

Also the nursery (for a boy or girl) will be turquoise and blue if that matters.
posted by saradarlin to Shopping (48 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I can think of a lot more things that I realized later that I didn't need rather than things I felt I couldn't live without. If I were doing it again, I wouldn't buy a third of what I bought for my son's nursery. The changing table was my favorite/ most used thing, and the diaper genie is a must have, but you've got those. So, don't feel like you need to have that much. A few onesies, some furniture, a mobile, baby toiletries, and a few comfy toys are really about all you need in the beginning.

Congratulations, and have fun!
posted by mudlark at 10:51 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Everyone I know with children has sophie and says it's their child's favourite toy and great for teething.
posted by sadtomato at 10:55 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: A Boppy.

A bunch of cloth diapers, whether or not you're planning on using them as diapers. They're great as cloths to drape all over---to avoid spitup, or drool, or poop, or...
posted by leahwrenn at 11:13 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

My friend has a 6-month-old and she & the baby both love his Bumbo. She also swears by her Boppy for breastfeeding.

As an ex-nanny who used one, pass on the Diaper Genie. You need expensive special bags and contrary to what they advertise, they smell just as bad as diapers in a regular covered garbage can.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:13 PM on October 22, 2010

My favorite thing ever is my lightweight stroller. You can't really use it until the baby is a few months old, but other than the car seat and the crib it had definitely gotten the most use. I still use mine constantly and my son is a very large 2 1/2. I don't know if there are Babies 'R' Us up in Canada, but that's where I got mine. It's the best stroller ever.

The Diaper Genie was more trouble than it was worth, we stopped using it after about a month due to sheer sleep deprived frustration. And the refills are too expensive, we just wrapped the stinkies in a plastic grocery bag and made sure to take the garbage out often.

Fleece blankets were great to have. All my babies were winter ones and they always seemed to be pooing or puking on their blankets. I think I had about 8 and that seemed like just enough. I'd swaddle my baby in one of those to get them to sleep. They have just the right amount of stretch to make burrito-ing the baby easier. (Make sure you get a lesson in burrito-ing the baby from the nurses before you leave the hospital. It is definitely a skill you want to have.)

Don't get fooled into buying the expensive "Just for Babies" laundry detergent. The regular detergent that is free of dyes and scents works just as well and is much less expensive. You will be doing lots of laundry, the cost adds up. My kids all have sensitive skin and one of my sons actually had a reaction to the Dreft brand. We use All Free and Clear and have never had a problem.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:24 PM on October 22, 2010

Best answer: I also recommend Baby Leg Warmers, I had them with my last and they were great during the winter. They make it so that I didn't have to strip him down completely when he had a diaper change, and they covered the gap that was sometimes left between his socks and his pants. If you are ambitious there are lots of tutorials online.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:29 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can think of ton of things that I bought that I didn't need. But we had three things that ensured that our very coloicky baby made it to toddlerhood without us giving him to the gypsies: a baby sling, a baby swing, and a Fisher Price aquarium. Oh and something to swaddle him in that could double as a puke mopper upper. :-)
posted by pootler at 11:44 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Something you wish you had right away?

The foresight to realise that all things you buy for your baby are overpriced, useless rubbish, except:

- singlets
- things to put over your shoulder when they vomit on you
- spare sheets
- a copy of Baby Love
- a thermometer
- Nappy Sacks, if you're using disposables
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:01 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Congratulations! Our girl is three months old. We loved having a pack and play or other portable crib for the living room, and a mini cosleeper to put next to our bed since we're not ready to have her in her room yet.

Ditto on the cloth diaper suggestion. The prefolded ones are great. We also get a lot of use out of swaddle cloths. Aiden and Anise makes great, very big ones that are easier to oragami up and we like the Miracle Blanket. Both are a little pricey, but we use them every night and it helps our kid sleep, so whatever.

We've also gotten a lot of use out of our white noise machine (heck, even a homemade recording of your dryer would do).

My mom got us a foam pad that we put the baby on for sponge baths those first couple weeks. And, I bought a little mesh recliner seat meant to be a bathtub insert that never fit in the tub but has been repurposed into a great little chair. We lay our girl in it on her bedroom floor so we can wave toys in her face or fold laundry while she watches us (she seems to prefer it to lying flat on her back).

If you're a big online shopper, which I am almost exclusively, my number one suggestion would be an Amazon prime membership. I've loved having diapers, wipes, extra socks, or whatever else, wisked to my door in 2 days.

Oh, and thank you notes and stamps! People came out of the woodwork to give us gifts so we were constantly sending off little notes.

Enjoy the ride :-)
posted by MediaMer at 1:43 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ohh. Also, we have a calendar on her bedroom wall were we write fin milestones or silly expressions my husband and I used that day. It's been a really fun, quick way to keep track I'd her first few months especially since we don't have time to deal with a proper baby book.
posted by MediaMer at 2:00 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Outside of the obvious carseat and highchair (and crib, if you're into that,) the only thing I consider essential for infants is a sling. (I had a Maya Wrap and loved it, though I also used a friend's Hug a Monkey for a while.)

There are a lot of slings on the market now, and they can be had for very, very reasonable prices. Even if you're not a granola-eating, attachment-parenting hippie (disclaimer: I am), they're really wonderful and have become my default "Yay, you're having a baby!" gift.

I used my sling almost exclusively--we had two strollers, one big fancy one and one lightweight one, and the sling was just so much easier and more practical (think crowded stores or markets) that I almost never bothered with the strollers. My daughter was five pounds when she was born, and we started using the sling in the hospital and kept at it until she was about three and a half. (Er, you can use them to carry a larger kid on your hip--I wasn't carrying my toddler around in a cradle hold.) It was great.

We're hoping to have our second child soon, and I think that the only new things we're buying are a few more slings.
posted by MeghanC at 2:52 AM on October 23, 2010

Oh! Also, regarding what MediaMer said, don't just shell out for Amazon Prime--join Amazon's new Mom Club first. You get three months of free two-day shipping, and then for every $25+ order you spend in the baby store (think diapers, wipes, baby clothes...) you get another month of free Prime. (I think that's how it works--I haven't signed up, so am not totally clear on the details.)

But yeah. Two-day shipping is awesome, and there's a lot to be said for a cheap upgrade to overnight shipping, as well.
posted by MeghanC at 3:02 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Like MeghanC I found wraps invaluable - and still daily use my Didymos wraps with my very energetic 16kg 2 and a half year old. Lots of good advice and sometimes some good bargains can be found at the BabyWearer forums. I'm not a really a "crusty" type of mother but being able to settle child and have hands free saved my sanity.

We got a lot of use out of a playmat such as this one too.

Bumbo came in handy later on.
posted by gomichild at 3:54 AM on October 23, 2010

Sling! I used a pocket sling then a mei tai then an ergo, all handmade. They're great for clingy days, when you absolutely need both hands AND a happy baby, crowded places and dining out in the early days. Even now they're good to chuck in the bag in case we take too long out and she wants to nap and we don't have the pram.

Toybox - still used, still there, $20 from Ikea.

Cloth nappies or a million washcloths. Some washcloths inevitably get mouldy and gross because they got missed in the never-ending laundry round ups so have lots on hand. Good for a lot of things. We used cloth nappies on her butt and never found them useful for anything other than that and occasionally shielding other stuff.

Vinyl drop cloth - we were using a plain calico one and it's just not as good. It's great now she's eating food but would have been good for nappy free time under a blanket as well.

Things we didn't use - the cot for a long time and we could have transitioned to a bed, same with the bassinette although it's a good place to store soft toys in her room, any sort of special bin for disposables, teething toys, most of her clothes and blankets and dummies.

Kids are really really unique so there is a lot of trial and error. But the above was my experience.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:55 AM on October 23, 2010

Best answer: Kids are really really unique so there is a lot of trial and error.

Yeah I was going to suggest that in regards to carriers you might want to wait and see - Elliot Mason absolutely hated slings (to the point of screaming his head off - arms and legs had to be free at all times apparently) and would only tolerate a soft structured carrier for a short time - so even though there is a bigger learning curve with wrapping in our case it was our only option.

Check if there are any baby wearing groups near you - they usually do demonstrations and you can try out a few carriers - even before the little one arrives.
posted by gomichild at 4:00 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nth mostly overpriced rubbish. I mean, "Oh god I'm embarrassed I considered buying something so stupid"-level bad. Very bad.

If you are near an Ikea several packs of the Krama washcloths are a good investment; my kid is 3 and ours are still intact. (I know, you're thinking: why do I need fifty washcloths? Poo -- pee -- puke)

Do browse previous Ask baby threads to see the extent to which the Ergo carrier comes recommended. (You: "Ooh, pricy." But I sold mine, which had been in daily use for a year and a half, for $75 when done with it.) I did not get a stroller until nearing 2, at which point the unexcitingly named babye-store.com thrashed competitors for getting a Maclaren to Canada quickly cheaply.

2nd pass on special diaper disposal anything (a family newspaper subscription is important not just for literacy, but because the bags the paper comes in are just perfect to tie up used diapers in), and to pass on special detergent.

Amazon.com doesn't do Canada, tragically... If there is a similarly useful dot-com for baby products (or anything, really) here I did not find it, and I looked hard. well.ca and feelbest.com can mail you a limited, not-on-sale selection of drugstore items. I did a lot of baby clothes shopping at Target on a trip to the US; they have nice stuff for a fraction of what stores want here, definitely worth a browse on your next x-border shopping jaunt. Do not limit your focus to the 8lb baby -- do pick up the on-sale size 6-12M (and even larger!) stuff; you will be tremendously pleased to see it when you need it, and the need will come quite quickly.
posted by kmennie at 4:32 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I desperately needed the Miracle blanket and the Halo sleep-sack swaddle system. We had two of each and he used them for about 3-4 months. I never got the hang of swaddling and these made it a snap.

Seriously, in the middle of the night you don't want to struggle with swaddling a baby.

I got them second-hand, but if you do buy new, choose a store with a generous return policy and then don't open the packages until you absolutely have to--some babies don't like to be swaddled and so you could return the packages.

Ergo carrier very useful--we live in a walk-up.
posted by pipti at 4:45 AM on October 23, 2010

Oh yes, the Ergo is pricey, but it is true that you can resell for something like 80% of the value.
posted by pipti at 4:47 AM on October 23, 2010

I too say buy less, not more. Things I used a lot: sling, onsies, face cloths.

Things that were rarely used: bumbo, crib, play yard.
posted by Cuke at 5:23 AM on October 23, 2010

I'm going to agree with everyone who says you'll use less than you think you'll need. And you'll probably be gifted with about 12 Sophies, and the baby won't be teething for months.

It's fun to put a nursery together and you should enjoy it; but then looking back - sad to realize how little time our daughter actually spent in it. We ended up co-sleeping; she napped in a Moses Basket or a swing that a friend loaned to us, or her car seat during the early months because she was fussy; she was born larger and never wore any of the newborn clothes we'd been given...

Look for things that will make you more comfortable - clothes that you can nurse in and wear comfortably (Target makes these pretty great nursing bras that are like tank tops - they were great for layering under regular tees). Buy great food, fix all those annoying house problems - do all that instead of nesting by furnishing with things that ultimately are fleeting.

And all of those things, like Bumbos and Boppies and Bassinets can be bought second-hand or borrowed for the incredibly short duration that they're useful - and of them never worked for her. I know it feels like there are gazillions of recommendations, and sites will always have lists (and I occasionally write for a frivolous shopping website geared toward moms, so I know this) - but honestly, all you're going to need is a place to put the baby when you're not doing something with him/her; whatever you need for feeding; and whatever you need for cleaning up the end products of feeding; and appropriate coverings. The baby will tell you everything else.

But, yes - one of the best gifts I received was two packs of plain white flannel cloth diapers. I am still using some for dusting rags six years later, but back then, I used them for everything from barf to bare bum time and for change pads.

And that said, I will say that my husband and I much preferred dressing our baby in those nightgowns with the drawstring closure at the bottom for night-time changes. Nobody wanted to be dealing with little snaps or zippers in the middle of the night, and she hated to be undressed.
posted by peagood at 5:42 AM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

Purchase and read The Happiest Baby on the Block *before* the baby comes!

You don't need a diaper genie--just fold the diapers up into tight little triangles and toss in the regular trash. You *do* need an Ergo carrier, badly.
posted by tetralix at 5:53 AM on October 23, 2010

I'll link to my comment from an April thread, and there are plenty more at least as good there. Congratulations - we also have another joining our brood in late December.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:12 AM on October 23, 2010

First baby arrived three weeks ago and doesn't have her own nursery - she goes where we go and is perfectly happy sleeping in whatever portable baby container we put her in.

Cloth diapers are unbelievably useful for a multitude of sins - get the fluffy towel-like ones rather than the bandage-esque cheesecloth-y ones.

You will go through more wet wipes than you can possibly imagine. I thought we were heavily stocked. Baby delighted in challenging that assumption.

Onesies with feet are a nightmare. Stay away! They may look cute but when it's 3am and you haven't slept in four days and she's kicking and oh god there's poo everywhere it's just not worth it. Stock up on the gowns that have elastic all around the hem - they're so easy for changing and keep baby nice and snug.

If you have family, they will buy baby more clothes than she can ever possibly wear, so don't waste time getting any yourself.

Make sure you get a couple of blankets that are big enough to swaddle the baby because wrapping the little suckers up tight and holding them on their side really does work. In the same "I learned this from watching the happiest baby video" vein, have a radio in the nursery and tune it to white noise. Calming for baby and parents.

During the first week, when nobody was getting ANY sleep, a whiteboard was great to have for tracking what time baby ate and how many poops we did and so on. You'd think it would be easy to remember, but when there are two of you caretaking and you're both near delirious from sleep deprivation, it's so much easier to just have it written up there on the wall.

Most of the stuff people will buy you (little bunnies and what not) will be utterly useless when it comes to meeting the baby's demands - they just want to be warm, full and clean.

I'd also say treat yourself to a couple of pairs of comfy pajamas - there is not going to be much showering and dressing going on.

Congratulations and good luck! : )
posted by Kappi at 7:12 AM on October 23, 2010

I would actually buy nothing. You might think you'll like it, but you have to wait to see if the baby likes it. Just based on my experience, buying a bunch of baby stuff is like collecting junk for your next yard sale.

But be ready to go run and buy something you need at like, 3am on a Tuesday night.
posted by Wayman Tisdale at 7:20 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you want a diaper disposal pail, I strongly recommend the Diaper Champ over the Diaper Genie. The Diaper Genie holds very little and requires special, expensive refill bags. The Diaper Champ works fine with cheap kitchen bags (even though they sell branded bags, I can't believe anyone buys them).

You can dispose of diapers in the trash as people are suggesting, but you're going to change thousands of diapers and end up spending a LOT of accumulated time fussing with individual bags if you don't want them to stink. With a Diaper Champ, you will spend five seconds tossing the diaper into the hole and flipping the top, and two or four minutes a week changing the bags. You can get one for ten bucks at a consignment store/yard sale.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:26 AM on October 23, 2010

Just want to nth the whole wait on the carrier thing, too. My son not only hated every sling or bjorn type thing that I bought, but he also hated to be swaddled after about 2 weeks of age. I'd by an inexpensive version of whatever carrier you're interested in to see if he likes being carried that way before I shelled out major dollars over a fancier version.

Also, we had a really nice nursery furniture set, with an organic mattress for the crib (in super-fussy fashion) and also had a co-sleeper bassinet, and my son has slept in my bed from day 1 and still does. He *never* slept in that crib, not once. We used it to store toys. So also, read up on co-sleeping if you haven't and be as sure as you can about sleeping arrangements. That alone could save you a ton of money.
posted by mudlark at 7:52 AM on October 23, 2010

Best answer: Seconding the Aden and Anias swaddling blankets. Get the "real" ones - from their website, or a specialty store - not the ones from Target.

Use babycheapskate.com to find the best deals on stuff.

A really FAST thermometer. Our favorite is a blue and white rectal one - I think by the American Red Cross.

A good humidifier.

A "soother" for the crib - we have the fisher price rainforest one (I think they've moved on to precious planet or some such now) - the light fascinates them when they are little, and at night, our now 17 month old still likes to push the buttons and watch.

I recommend holding off on a lot of other things until you figure out what your kid likes. Ours didn't like the swing very much, but thought the rainforest jumperoo was the best thing EVER.

posted by dpx.mfx at 8:00 AM on October 23, 2010

I should have said, our baby was a "hate to be swaddled" baby, but the Aden and Anias blankets are great for many things - playing on the ground, nursing, just being a blanket. We have 8, and they are her "blankie" now - she has one at daycare, one at the sitters, one in the car. They really do get softer with every wash.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:02 AM on October 23, 2010

BabyLegs leg warmers and that Sophie thing have been all the rage among my friends the past few years. BabyLegs are great 'cause it makes changing much easier, you don't have to pull down pants or whatever and it gives them a bit of padding when they start crawling around.
posted by ifjuly at 8:07 AM on October 23, 2010

Also, if you guys are breastfeeding everyone I know who did swears by Lansinoh breast cream to prevent painful cracking and whatnot.
posted by ifjuly at 8:08 AM on October 23, 2010

A rubber duckie that changes color to let you know the bath water's a safe temp also comes to mind. And someone's mentioned it on Mefi before, but once you do figure out through trial and error what your must have staples are, Amazon subscription services/Prime are a good idea. Diapers, bottles, whatever delivered straight to your door right away when you need them, since you'll be a zombie who may find it very hard to leave the house...
posted by ifjuly at 8:10 AM on October 23, 2010

Our bouncy chair was so handy. When the kiddo was in the hospital with RSV and needed to have his head elevated, it was invaluable.
posted by lemniskate at 8:40 AM on October 23, 2010

The MINUTE mom has any kind of nipple soreness from nursing, get her a pair of Soothies or other hydrogel pads. I waited for two more feedings to see if I could tough it out, and that was all it took for my daughter to take a literal chunk out of my left nipple. Soothies let it heal just fine.

Sling, of some kind. If nothing else, you've got to get the kid around, the baby bucket carseat is heavy and awkward, and sometimes she just likes to be held.

I'm due. . . any minute . . . with our second. We don't have a crib for this one yet, or a changing table; I kind of wish we had a dresser, though. We cloth diapered our first and are re-using all the dipes with this one. She never liked swings or bouncy seats. Oh! We got several giant flannel blankets, 40" square, double-sided, from a friend, and they were absolutely the one thing that made our lives so much easier. If you know anyone who sews, go fabric shopping with them, buy the fabric (it's pricey -- you need two 1.25 yard pieces for each blanket) and tell them "Just sew the right sides together, leaving a gap, then turn it right-side out and topstitch." Those blankets went everywhere with us for eight months.
posted by KathrynT at 10:21 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I suggest a waterproof mattress pad for your bed if baby is going to be in it with you for any length of time. Or at least a thick soft one to soak up any fluids that the little one might emit.

Nthing the thick cloth diapers. My daughter was a very urpy baby and the thin receiving blankets weren't that great at soaking it up.

And this is more of an older-baby-to-toddler thing, but we got a tiny table with two sturdy chairs from Babies R Us a long time ago, and it was wonderful! If you find one with chairs as strong as ours, you can sit on one of the chairs with the child at their own child-sized table when feeding them or playing or whatever. And a small visitor can sit with them, etc. They can get into and out of the chairs without help (unlike the big table), if they fall out it's unlikely to result in an injury from such a small distance (unlike a big chair), and you can fit the table and chairs in your living room easily and move them back to a corner when you're done. I liked ours so much I bought a set for my mother's place, and she still raves about how much use she got out of it for the visiting grandchildren.

What you need and use depends a lot on how you interact with the baby, what your particular baby likes and hates, and how often and for how long you go out with the baby. Don't feel bad if you end up buying things that you don't end up using, or hardly use. You can't be expected to know ahead of time exactly what will be most useful for you, so don't sweat it too much. Just sell or give away the stuff you don't use. Some other mother will be grateful.

Congratulations, and I wish you the best for the rest of your pregnancy and the birth.
posted by marble at 11:08 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Our baby's very favorite thing was a bouncy seat - one of those wire frames with cloth stretched over it to make a seat. You lay the baby in it and she kicks her legs and it bounces up and down just a little. These are only about $25. She was able to make it bounce practically from the time she was a newborn (babies kick a lot). She was happier in this seat than she was in her swing, baby papasan, etc. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't spend so much on so many places to stick the baby. (But all babies are different.)
posted by Knowyournuts at 11:30 AM on October 23, 2010

It's fun to put a nursery together and you should enjoy it; but then looking back - sad to realize how little time our daughter actually spent in it. We ended up co-sleeping; she napped in a Moses Basket or a swing that a friend loaned to us, or her car seat during the early months because she was fussy;

Agreed with others who have said don't overdo it on the equipment; the stages pass so quickly. Borrow, where you can! Having said that, I agree with peagood about the swing--IME, a must-have. You can put the seat all the way back so the baby's in a cradled position, and let him or her sleep through the night while you finally get some rest. Or during the day when you need to get stuff done.

Also agree that carseats can be good for this, and that a bouncy-seat is awesome for the portability. The bouncy-seat and swing were our most-used equipment. Never bothered with some of the other stuff like, for example, a changing table (you'll end up changing the baby everywhere, anyway) or a diaper pail (just used the trash can).

You probably want lots of receiving blankets and burp diapers, as everything those first few weeks seems to get wet. Formula/breast milk, pee, spitup--it feels like you're constantly pitching wet stuff in the laundry.

Congrats! It's a lot of fun.
posted by torticat at 11:54 AM on October 23, 2010

Nthing Diaper Champ (not the Genie), kiddopotamus swaddleme or the miracle blanket for swaddling, a co-sleeper bassinet (bought it used, they're incredibly expensive new), generic cloth diapers for burp cloths and cleanup, and a bouncy chair (preferably one with a vibrate function), boppy or My Brest Friend.

Never used the pack'n'play or play yard.

Try and buy the big expensive items used, like swings, bassinets etc.

I'm really into baby wearing, but I found it difficult during the very early days when he couldn't support his head. before you buy any carriers, find a local babywearing group so you can try some out at a meeting.
posted by Joh at 1:54 PM on October 23, 2010

Best answer: A dad here to nth the ergo baby.

Also, Ikea sells this wood thing for $25 and we've used it constantly from months 2-8 and expect it will still be used up until 12 months or so (first on the back staring at it, then reaching for and grabbing it, then sitting, then as a support for standing...). Fits great in the crib too and I suppose it could be used to distract on the changing table.
posted by furtive at 2:25 PM on October 23, 2010

Resist the urge to gear up. For the first few months, I didn't need anything but a sling (I had a Maya wrap), lots of onesies, a few cloth diapers (for rag-like devices) and lots and lots of the little, thin blankets. Everything else just cluttered up the space. I ended up taking the changing pad off the changing table (rather change her on the floor where rolling wouldn't be a disaster), changing diaper containment three times until I just used a foot pedal trash can to be the easiest and ditching the huge stroller for a combo of the wrap and a smaller stroller that actually didn't take up the whole trunk.

What you may not have, however, is music. I don't mean crappy lullabies. I mean songs that you can sing along to -- fast and slow -- when you need to sing something, anything to soothe the savage baby. I never thought I'd be the one to say this, but thank god for Smashmouth. I quickly learned that the rhythm of Blood Sugar Sex Magic and NWA didn't work for baby soothing, but pop did.
posted by Gucky at 3:11 PM on October 23, 2010

I have a two year old and a five month old and these things made life possible:

ErgoBaby Carrier

Sleepy Wrap

2-3 dozen cloth diapers for burping

Aden & Anais muslin swaddling blankets

Primo bathtub and a foam newborn insert

a noise machine (waves, rain, white noise, etc) Cloud B makes a cute 'Sleep Sheep'

FWIW, I hate my dutalier glider. It's squeaky, noisy and the cushions broke down within 6 weeks. They trick you at the store - you waddle in 8 months pregnant, walk around a bit and by the time you sit in the glider, just sitting feels like heaven. You could be sitting in the back of a camel in a chair made of cactus and, damn, it feels good to sit.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:56 PM on October 23, 2010

I don't have kids but I do babysit a lot, and I took care of a 3-month-old last weekend, and I was thinking that it was really useful that they seemed to have some kind of bassinet/bouncer/carrier in every room, so if I needed to just plop her down I didn't have far to look. FWIW, she really seems to like this little seat thing that vibrates - she usually falls right asleep!
posted by radioamy at 6:26 PM on October 23, 2010

It's funny, half the stuff people are recommending, I'm thinking, that's useless; and half the stuff they're pooh-poohing, I'm thinking, that's totally essential! And then, thinking about my three children: first and third were huge spitters, so couldn't use the Bumbo or a sling because the tummy compression was disastrous, while the second loved both; also first and third needed approximately six million puke-mops, whereas they stayed in the box in the attic for second; first loved the Bjorn, second the Ergo, third the Bjorn again. First and third love the swing; second hated it. First moved early, so needed a crib right away; second and third were delightfully chubby lumps whose crib needs could be indefinitely postponed.

They've all loved the Miracle Blanket, though.

But anyway, if you feel you can, just WAIT and see what your baby likes. For slings, find a babywearing group and try out their carriers, with your baby, to see what works. For strollers, see what kind of trips you make and when you say to yourself, "Gee, I wish I had a stroller for this," think about what kind of stroller would work best. (Are you wanting to take walks around the local cemetery (jogger)? or stop into a few stores and grab a bite to eat (lightweight)?)

Also, forgive yourself in advance for wasting a lot of money and yet still needing stuff that seems A LOT LIKE the thing that was useless. I don't know anyone who doesn't have all kinds of stuff in the attic, and who nevertheless needs to buy another sling/stroller/swaddling wrap/swing/whatever. You feel like a big moran, but you're not.

posted by palliser at 8:05 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Has nobody mentioned "baby monitor" yet? If you have a separate nursery room you'll feel more comfortable leaving her sleeping alone in it if you're sure you'll hear right away when she wakes.
posted by roystgnr at 10:21 PM on October 23, 2010

You need an iPhone. No, really, you do. And it has to have these apps:
• Total Baby (tracks everything trackable—feedings, poo, sleep—with an clean interface)
• Ambiance (provides white noise when exhaustion prevents you from being able to shush for a minute longer)
• any Flashlight app (nighttime diaper changes)
• Netflix (for when baby won’t sleep unless you’re holding her)
• entertaining apps/games you can play in two-minute intervals (to keep you awake when doing the nighttime walk-n-shush with the baby—I like Balloons)

Of course, the standard iPhone features are also incredibly useful:
• Safari (to look up the lyrics of the songs you want to sing to baby but that you can only half remember)
• Still camera/video camera (never miss a minute of adorableness!)
• Mail (to try to keep in touch with the outside world—also, when friends and relatives see that you’re writing back as you nurse at 3:14 am, they may be more sympathetic when you tell them how tired you are; to send photos and videos quickly)

Other things that have been a great help to us with our new little one (sorry—too sleepy to add links for all of these):
• The Happiest Baby on the Block (video)
• Caring for Your Infant and Young Child: Birth to Age Five (by the American Academy of Pediatrics)
• My Brest Friend (not Boppy)
• Swaddle Designs blankets
• Medela Pump in Style (not the Medela Freestyle—I had to return mine because it didn’t work, and trying to return a breast pump is no fun at all)
• Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (meanwhile, the crib we set up is sitting empty)
• Pukies brand burp cloths

Finally, our baby hates, hates, hates the big, pretty swing we got her. Once your baby is here, see if you can let her try a range of baby-moving contraptions (there are things that sway or bounce the baby rather than swing her) before purchasing one.
posted by TEA at 12:47 AM on October 24, 2010

Nthing the Miracle Blanket, Boppy, Diaper Genie 2 and Swing. I also put white noise on my iPod and let it rip at night or when the baby is sleeping to block out any loud noises in the house or outside.
posted by jasondigitized at 12:23 PM on October 24, 2010

Best answer: Keep a changing pad with (white, bleachable) covers in your family room. Plus a basket of diapers and wipes. You're not seriously going to trek back to the nursery every time baby needs to be changed? (Or maybe I'm lazy.)
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:51 PM on October 26, 2010

I have a four-month old and don't know how we'd survive without the Miracle Blanket. We also love the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper. Our little one slept in it in our room for the first month. Now, she happily sits in it in the kitchen while we cook. I found the Boppy a little unwieldy and prefer My Breast Friend.
posted by JuliaKM at 10:24 AM on November 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks guys. We bought the Aden and Anias swaddling blankets because they are amazing. Decided to go with a regular trash can (with step lid) for diapers and bought a funky mobile. The MIL is knitting some baby leggings and I am sure that we will end up with a Sophie and similar things from a shower. I wanted to get a baby carrier so am taking the advise to go to where I can try the different ones on before buying. Most of the other stuff I will wait until the little boy is born. Thanks!
posted by saradarlin at 9:55 AM on November 18, 2010

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