A friend recently contacted me as she was putting together a baby registry and asked, frankly, what are the things I could not have survived without during the first year of parenthood (I know I haven’t reached the first year milestone yet, but I’ll be there soon enough). I decided to share my list here so I can reference it in the future, but hopefully it will be helpful to you future parents, or those of you who are looking to buy thoughtful (and useful) gifts for parent friends. Ok, onto the essentials:
A Baby Carrier
We have the ergo and we really love it. They have a huge range of colors, styles, etc. and have recently released the ‘Four Position 360’ which apparently allows you to carry your baby on your back, stomach, side, or facing out. I wish this one was around when I was shopping for a carrier as Violet does enjoy facing out to see the action. Nonetheless, it’s a great item to have, especially if you live in a city and you want to pop out for a quick errand (or take a two month old on a treacherous hike in the Swiss alps…gulp).
[$120 and up]
These seriously are the softest and most breathable blankets (I’ve stolen one for myself on occasion). We were gifted these by my sister who used them for her own son and they have been one of the most used items since Violet was born. They come in packs of 3 and have beautiful designs to choose from and it’s great since they double as blankets and/or swaddles!
[$45 for a pack of 3]
Let’s face it, you’re already lugging around so much crap with your baby, you don’t want to add an additional purse to the pile. So for me, I wanted to pick a bag that I really loved and that didn’t look like a diaper bag. I found this bag on etsy and love that it’s handmade (in Paris, oh la la) and waterproof (which come to find, is actually kind of important for a diaper bag). Plus you’re supporting small businesses by purchasing on etsy, which makes it so much cooler ;)
[$140 excluding shipping]
This thing. We have used this sound machine every single night for the past 11 months. It travels with us across the Atlantic, on every road trip, or even when we are putting Violet down at a friend’s house for a few hours. Every nap, every sleep, the ocean wave button is pushed and it.is.glorious. Plus, how cute is it?
[$29.95 on Amazon]
Extremely necessary for a mother who suffers from extreme anxiety and is convinced that her child isn’t breathing or that the child is going to be smothered by the blanket and won’t know how to push it out of his/her face. But in all seriousness, these sleeping bags are the bees knees. We have the aden+anais bamboo rayon ones for summertime, and Mamas&Papas
(a British brand) makes some super cute ones that are thicker for the winter (and those clever bastards also sew ribbons etc. on the outside of the sleep sack which has helped Violet self-soothe numerous times).
[$37 and up]
Because who wants to deal with individual snaps at 2am with a wiggly baby? And honestly, changing a baby just gets more challenging as their mobility increases. Zipper for the win! I have only been able to find these zipped PJs at Carter’s, and they are extremely affordable and come in several colors, sizes, and styles.
[$7.95 and up]
Again, aden+anais has these great, thick, cute burp cloths that double as a large wrap around bib. These are my favorite as they fit to the curves of your shoulder when burping, and offer full protection of the baby’s clothing when using as a bib. Plus, cute patterns!
I spent a lot of time researching and came to the conclusion that I wanted a stroller that could grow with my kid. There are several travel system options out there, but we went ahead with the bugaboo cameleon and I couldn’t be happier. The frame stays the same, but as your child grows you can change the attachment from the bassinet to the upright chair. The bugaboo also has a car seat adapter, which was great when V was younger—she would fall asleep in the car seat and we’d just snap that into the bugaboo base and go without having to wake her. This stroller also has some pretty nice shocks which are great for a city with lots of cobblestones!
I guess this one depends on the personality of the parent. Some people have told me that having a video monitor would create more stress in their lives—that they would be constantly glued to the device, always checking, always wondering. For me, it has had the opposite effect: this thing has provided me with so much reassurance and has saved me countless hours of sleep (there have been so many times when I was able to just check the monitor and realize V is fine, she is self-soothing, she is not smothered with blankets, she is not upright and crying, she is not stuck in the crib slats, etc.). We take our monitor with us whenever we travel and it has also enabled us to have dinners out (as long as we are within range). It’s a pretty nifty little babysitter.
[$240 on amazon]
This next part is for mothers who plan to nurse (not necessarily something you would get for a baby shower, unless you’re extremely close to the mom-to-be or just comfortable with this sort of thing…)
Necessary, and available as an eco-friendly reusable option too.
and Nursing bras
I’m not kidding, these have been amazing nursing bras. I’ve tried so many different brands and options and these cheap H&M bras have by far been the most comfortable and efficient. I will say, however, you will need to replace them every few months or hand wash as they recommend (I’m lazy and prefer to just replace…but at that price, why not?). Sidenote: there is no padding in these bras, which I actually preferred, but if you are busty or need extra support, it may not be for you.
Finally, a nursing friend wardrobe:
Button-downs are a nursing mama’s best friend. I lived in my denim shirt for the first few months, and it’s extremely versatile (and cute!).
[$59.95 from Gap]
Flattering, easy to wear, and easy to access if you know what I mean…
[starting at $285 from DVF]
A closet staple…and also…ahem…accessible (just be mindful of the material, as it will stretch a bit).
[$9.50 from Old Navy]
Ok, that’s it. Do you have anything you would add to this list? I would be really curious to know what your ‘must-haves’ are!