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If there is anything I’ve learned after having 4 kids, it’s that you don’t need HALF the junk you thought you needed before having your first! Adding things to your registry can be really fun, but all those lists of essential baby items can send you into a panic. I’m here to tell you it’s almost all unnecessary. Unless you enjoy wading through a sea of baby toys and tripping over gear every time you cross the room, there are only a few things needed to keep a baby alive.
Of course, that’s the real key – finding a balance between what is necessary for keeping a baby alive and what will make your life easier!!
When we adopted a newborn this Summer, we realized there were a few items missing from our home that we had either given away, broken down after use from the first 3 kids, or were really outdated and due for an upgrade.
Here’s what I considered when starting over again with baby #4:
- Do I need this?
- Will this make my life easier?
- How much space does this take up?
- How much use and length of use will I get out of this item?
- Does the color coordinate with the rest of my house?
Here are some of the essentials I ended up with that have definitely made my life as a mom of 4, that much easier!
- I have loved the K’tan carrier, because it is easier to use than other baby wraps and it’s so snugly!
- We swaddled all of our kids for the first 5 months or so of their lives and it made ALLL the difference. I would wrap them tight with the SwaddleMe and then use a stretchy knit blanket as a second layer. Ask me about it – if you’re doing it right, they CANNOT get out and they will sleep so much better. I’ve had so many friends ask me over to swaddle their babies because they kept busting out of their swaddles. Swaddling is a game changer.
- Once your baby starts to roll over, you cannot swaddle them because they risk suffocation. You can transition to on of these cool sleep sacks that are designed to catch them when their startle reflex kicks in, yet are safe for when they roll over onto their stomach.
- A small but comfy glider that is cute and fits easily in a corner of the room is a really nice thing to have for late night feedings!
- This dome may not be handy for everyone, but it has been great for us! We have taken it camping and to the beach and we love that it provides shade and bug protection while babies are little.
- We have tried many different jumpers and exer-saucers but they can be so big and are never easy to store. This Johnny Jumper easily attaches to the door frame and comes down for easy travel or storage.
- This newborn napper is what all of our kids have slept in for the first several months of their life. The motion or vibration setting is great for keeping them asleep and I like that it keeps them on a slight elevation rather than laying them flat on their back. This is especially good if your baby spits up a lot or has acid re-flux. I find that a bed like this, along with swaddling, helps a baby feel more secure and calm.
- A good stroller and travel system (baby carrier/car seat) is arguably the single most important piece of baby gear you will own. The carrier needs to be A. safe B. lightweight and C. easy to get in and out of the car. I researched so many strollers before purchasing this one because I wanted it to have a tray in the front, lots of storage and I wanted it to fit in our trunk without taking up the ENTIRE trunk. We have loved this system!
I nursed my first three kids, but when we adopted our 4th, I realized how important it was to have a bottle that you like! We tried so many different types of bottles and even SEVERAL DIFFERENT Dr Brown bottles. Did you know Dr Brown has LOTS of different types of bottles? We didn’t! We tried several that Asher would not latch onto properly and others even leaked. You may want to start with a couple different bottles and try them out before committing to a certain kind, but for us, these Dr Brown OPTIONS bottles were the best. I like that they don’t leak and can be used with or without the insert. This is especially nice when using the Y nipple and thickening your formula with cereal (which I always did after a few months to help my kids sleep better at night!)
Everyone is different and there will always be things you find work really well for you and things that don’t!
Other Handy Items
- Pack N Play
- Sound Machine
- Travel Breast Pump
- Mommy Hook
- A basic crib that converts to toddler bed
- Retractable Gate