By Kelly Hamilton
With my first kid I had everything and used about 65% of it. I bought a lot that just didn't make sense for our lifestyle. All of the gear on this list is awesome, but you probably don't need all of it. Every baby is different and may hate what you choose, so get your favorite and then borrow or buy used for the others. I recently discovered and love Facebook local exchange groups for this stuff because you can get something in great shape for less money.
I won't go into depth about why I love each item because this post would go on even longer. Let me know if you want details. Babies need a lot of stuff. Buy less up front, get to know your baby, and then fill in the gaps.
Bob Stroller vs. Umbrella Stroller - This decision totally depends on your lifestyle. I used to run and I take it on trails so the Bob is perfect for me (and very durable!). An umbrella stroller is good for running around with a toddler, but I have yet to find one I love because I am tall. This is one area where you will probably end up with a few options in your garage. There are other really cool stroller systems as well but I love these because they are so versatile.
Infant car seat - One base or two? Stroller frame? It depends. First, find the right seat for your car (Car Seats for the Littles has good advice). Then decide how often your baby will be in other people's cars. I'd get a base for every car that is used frequently. The frames are amazing because you can just drop the carseat in and go. I used this traveling because it had a great place to stow my carry on and made for less "stuff". I almost never used it at home. We went with the Chicco Key Fit 30 and it's great.
Baby carrier - I love my Ergo. You'll need the infant insert early but this is so much easier than pushing a stroller or lugging a car seat. The insert is hot for summer babies so you may want a light wrap for the early days instead. I like the Solly Baby wrap! Much easier than many others and so cute.
High chair - Stokke Tripp Trapp is my overall favorite gear item. It is easy to clean and looks good in my house versus all the other kiddo stuff that doesn't exactly go with my decor. You can use it forever as a chair and it adjusts easily. I have the infant seat, but not the tray or cushion because I never really needed them.
Baby monitor - Motorola is awesome. It has great night vision, good range and a color indicator so you can hear how loud they are crying if the volume is turned low cause you're on the phone, trying to sleep etc. My first was born before wifi cameras were really a thing so I am not cool enough to have one, but if you are I have friends that love theirs. I do love having a camera whatever you choose. I still watch my kids for breathing and you probably will too.
Chair vs. Swing - Decisions decisions. I like to have a place to put the baby nearby so either have a different one for each of the areas in your home where you spend a lot of time, or one that is easy to move. This FP Snuggabunny swing was well loved by my babies and they were also big fans of the Fisher-Price bouncy seat. Mamaroo is amazing if you have the budget or really nice friends.
Crib and Glider - I cheated and did not register for these things, but I will tell you what I love.Ikea cribs are my jam. They are safe, cute, and crazy cheap. My kids are two years apart so I have two and I love them. My Pottery Barn glider was not cheap (thanks mom!) but I love it too. It is comfortable and I am always so happy when I rock my babies in that thing.
Feeding gear depends on how you choose to feed your baby. I do have a few tips though...
- Most insurance companies cover pumps, so go that route if you can because they are expensive!
- Don't buy too many bottles before hand. Most babies will like one brand more than another and you may have to try a few.
- Very few people seem to like or use their bottle warmer.
- I learned so much from kellymom.com - They are focused on breastfeeding, but any question you have around feeding your baby they can answer - including gear advice.
Blankets - Aiden and Anais. Lightweight, wash up well, and double as nursing cover if you tie the corners.
Bathtub - Whale of a Tub is awesome and grows with your kiddo.
Swaddles - Summer Infant. They have velcro. I am a big fan of the velcro.
Like I said, this is a long list, but it's all great gear. If you get what comes highly recommended you won't find yourself having to buy more at 1 am while holding your screaming baby (it's what Amazon one click buy was made for). Congratulations on your baby!
One last thing... this post is dedicated to Sally, my lifelong friend who was a brilliant mother and told me about 90% of this stuff.
About the author, Kelly Hamilton: