It’s almost gonna be a year that my little human was born and i thought it was time for me to review all the must-haves when you’re expecting a baby and all the useless things that you think you need!
There is thousand and thousand of baby products on the market, i’m gonna be really harsh but i would honestly say at least 80% of it that is completely useless BUT tries to make you think you need it or your baby will be cursed for all eternity…
Of course, every baby is different, every parent is different so we can’t all agree on everything, it’s just impossible. So keep in mind that this is my opinion, as a mom of my particular baby.
Between what we want as parents for our child, which is totally personal, and the fact that our baby is probably not going to be anything like we imagined him-her to be, purchases can be a really hard task for a lot of us.
When i was pregnant, i was always looking for articles like this one to know what i would really need so here’s my own contribution because looking back, i didn’t agree with a lot of things i read in the articles i found. #rebel I hope you will recognize yourself in my choices and if not, it’s okay we can still be friends, i swear!
• Number one purchase of almost everyone is the stroller
So, yeah, we didn’t buy any… I absolutely wanted my baby to be in a sling whenever possible, because i knew about the benefits for my baby and our relationship. You can read more about that here.
That was a huge economy on our baby budget!
Under society’s influence, we finally gave in when he was four months old and bought a stroller, he would go in for a bit, on and off for a month or so. After that he was howling like a banshee everytime i tried to put him in there… I’d also bought it because i thought, like a naive young mother i was, that he would take naps in it, like we could go to a restaurant and he would just peacefully sleep in his beautiful comfy stroller. Well, think again mom! He never fell asleep in it.
Where is this wonderful stroller you ask? Well, it’s getting covered in dust, chatting with spiders as we speak, waiting for me to sell it!
However, because you need to be prepared to every possibility with a baby, if you have a baby like mine who weighs 6kg (14lbs) at 2 months old and 8kg (18lbs) at 4 months old, the sling gets unconfortable really fast, especially the stretchy ones. So i had to be flexible (number one quality you acquire as a parent) and change my mind to buy a physiological baby-carrier, which is a lot more comfy for parents with a heavy baby. Particularly because we still lived in Bordeaux back then, and june/july/august were so hot it was like our living room sat on the hellmouth, so the idea of straping myself to a baby, even naked, in three layers of fabric was NOT appealing.
The JPMBB carrier is magical, it keeps baby warm during winter, cool during summer.
Reminder: always carry your baby towards you, never facing outside, it protects baby’s joints, more info here.
first family outing
• Next comes the night light, i saw this mentioned in a lot of articles and it’s true that it is very convenient and super cute but it’s more for you than for baby. Let me explain.
The first weeks (or even months), you’re baby is a real poop-machine, you’re gonna change a thousand diapers a night, but your baby might already wake up a lot so when he poops, you don’t want to wake him-her up again. Here is where the light comes in handy, you can see what you’re doing but your baby might not wake up, or not completely so that she-he is super hard to put to sleep again.
I’ll take advantage of this moment to give a little piece of advice to (future) parents who would want to cosleep: yes, like everybody else, we put up a nice pinterest-like changing station with every product nicely displayed, but let me tell you that when you decide to be lazy, your life will get so much easier. So one day i decided that i would change him right there in my own bed where he just made a gigantic poop but was still sleeping (for once), i delicately undid his onesie and soiled diaper and put a new fresh one right here, right now, i got to go back to sleep right away without even going out of bed.
+100 points for laziness
(you can put a towel under your baby where he sleeps, because accidents happen and you don’t want to have to change the sheets in the middle of the night and wake everyone for good!)
The night light can also be great when you’re breastfeeding, it helps in the same way by not waking up your baby totally but allowing you to see what you’re doing. Which is good again the first few weeks when you don’t know what you’re doing with those nipples!
• For those moments where you do use your gorgeous changing station, having a cute mobile can be super helpful. My son hated laying on his back and the mobile could make it a little bit easier for him (and me) by distracting him long enough for me to change or dress him. Don’t forget to adapt the mobile to his age and visual capacity, like Montessori mobiles that you can diy (like this), right now we’re using this one that my partner bought and we all love it because dragons!
• The one scary thing with babies (at least i was scared of it): teething.
The scariest part is that you don’t know when it’s gonna start!
Just to be ready, i would suggest having some Camilia (homeopathy) and teething toys like Sophie the girafe or the ones you can put in the fridge.
I was super sceptical about amber necklaces, but when my baby started screaming incontrollably to the point i thought he was dying of pain, i was ready to try anything! A friend gave one to me to try out and my son stopped crying instantly when i attached it to his neck, let’s say i was convinced. Everytime i didn’t make him wear it on a day he was teething resulted in cries of pain. And of course i don’t put it on at night because of choking hazard, and he does wake up in pain. So sceptical or not, i personally will take anything that saves my poor baby, my eardrums and my aching mommy heart. I’ll be honest, i have a lot of comments on this necklace, between people who think that it is SO inappropriate for a boy (eyeroll) and people who think i’m some kind of batshit crazy lunatic who believes Hogwarts is real
(hum yes i do!)
Here is where i bought my son’s last necklace (upon Ellen Fisher‘s advice).
• As soon as the first teeth are here, it’s good to brush them. I discovered this awesome toothbrush that let’s your baby do it himself (it says 2 to 5 years but i gave it to him when he was 9 or 10 months old as it also claims it’s safe for infants). My son loves to chew on it so it gets double points in my opinion: good for teething and for brushing.
• A breastfeeding mama must have would be a not too ugly breastfeeding bra. Because, yes, i like to know that even when i don’t have makeup on, didn’t shower for three days and am wearing sweatpants, underneath all this is a nice lacy bra! I like Heidi Klum breastfeeding collection but they are expensive so be sure to hunt the deals! I sometimes just wear bralets that are comfy and easy to use for breastfeeding and way cheaper.
6 weeks old Baby A asleep on his comfy blanket
• Finally, something that might sound totally lame but revealed itself essential in our home is a good soft blanket. During the first weeks, even if it feels quite hot to you, your baby might feel colder than you do and especially isn’t yet capable of adjusting his body temperature. So putting him to sleep on a nice warm blanket can make a world of a difference. Note that i’m saying ON and not wrapped in, always keep in mind SIDS risks.
Potterhead forever me chose this one on Society6, it’s really good quality, it’s comfortable and cleans well.
Someone offered me this one which is a lot smaller and very convenient to carry around when going places.
About the useless things i mentionned earlier, here is a list i made, keep in mind that it concerns the personal needs of my family, my baby and myself but maybe it can help you save some money:
◊ The crib. We love cosleeping and its benefits, we are of course respecting every safety rules. If we ever want to stop cosleeping, we have prepared a Montessori room with a floor bed which promotes independance and freedom of movement. Here is a in-depth article and you can find cute examples here.
◊ The stroller as i already said, except if your baby is a great sleeper in it, in which case it can become really convenient. But do try it with a borrowed stroller before buying the ride of your dreams!
◊ The playpen. I’m more a free movement kind of mama. Once again, we got a playpen given to us so we did try it but my baby didn’t like it unless we would be inside with him so that wasn’t very practical! The only good thing was that it allowed him to stand up when he really wanted to, when he was six months old i saw that he wanted to get up so bad and was getting really frustrated so i put him in the playpen a few days in a row for a few minutes at a time and he did stand up. Soon after that he was walking around the playpen using the bars. But free movement is really important for babies to develop their motor skills, here is a great article covering it a bit, both in french and english.
◊ Babygym. That is really specific to my baby, he hates being on his back, he always wanted to be sitted or stand up, even at 1 month old! I never could put him under that beautiful wooden babygym, no matter how many cute toys i would hang there…
edit: it turned out my son had Kiss Syndrom, it’s more common than we think, a lot of doctors don’t even know about it but it’s totally curable, and very quickly so! So if your baby arches his back, can’t stand being on his back, has reflux or a prefered side to nurse, or a prefered side to sleep, etc. i’d suggest doing your research, you can learn more about it here.
◊ The changing table. A simple changing mat is enough, put it on a dresser or something like that. I often end up changing him on a towel on our floor or on the couch!
I’m probably forgetting stuff, but you get my point, when buying things for your first baby, don’t hesitate to make lists of pros and cons, to really think through your habits as a family but also what you really want for your baby. It all depends on your preferences, your habits, if you’re often on the go, if you’re super organized, etc. But you will make mistakes and that’s okay, you’ll know for a future baby what you want to buy or not, and maybe you’ll make mistakes again because that will be a different baby and like Forrest Gump’s mom said:
My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Please let me know in the comments what purchases you loved having with your babies and which you regret buying!
If you’re having your first child, shoot me with your questions, i’ll try my best to answer them.