I remember feeling completely lost when registering for gifts for my baby shower. I had no idea what stuff I needed and what I could live without. Did I need a walker? Baby powder? What kind of bottles? What size clothes? How many diapers?
Between a baby shower at work and one thrown by family, we ended up with a lot of stuff. I like to joke with my husband that there is officially more kid stuff in our house than stuff that belongs to us. While grateful for all of the gifts our loving family and friends gave us, over the past three years we have found several things we couldn’t live without and others that weren’t as helpful as I had hoped.
Six items that weren’t worth it
Both of my children weighed over eight pounds at birth, so most of the newborn outfits were either a snug fit or quickly outgrown. We didn’t get much use out of any of the newborn sized clothes. I preferred 0-3 month outfits and felt like they were utilized much more in the short time my babies were itty bitty.
I had received an adorable pink polka-doted minky changing pad cover that was incredibly soft. I imagined that it would be very soft and comfortable for my baby for diaper changes, but I used the changing pad maybe five times total. It worked just fine, it was just a hassle to go to the baby’s bedroom each time I needed to change a diaper. The living room Pack ‘n Play had a changing station that was much more convenient and when she was bigger we just started using the floor. The one thing this was good for, however, was laying baby on to take photos.
My husband’s grandmother gave us two of her glider rocking chairs before we had our first child. I recovered the cushions to match my daughter’s bedroom. Unfortunately, neither baby liked being rocked, so they just take up space and aren’t very comfortable to sit in.
I made one comment about my son not liking the cold wipes during middle of the night diaper changes to my in-laws when they visited me and the baby one afternoon. Half an hour after they left, my father-in-law showed up at my door with a brand new wipe warmer from Walmart, saying, “So he doesn’t freeze his nuts off.” I used it for a couple of months, but it was a pain in the ass to remember to make sure it was filled with wipes, to make sure the pad in the bottom was sufficiently moist, and to order the pads online because they didn’t carry them at my Walmart.
So the Diaper Genie was all hyped up in a lot of the “must-have” lists when I was registering for my baby shower, but it is really just a glorified trash can. I didn’t find that it did much of anything to keep the poopy diaper smell at bay and I eventually quit using it during my second pregnancy because the smell made me sick.
When we first brought Abby home from the hospital we tried to have her sleep in the bassinet next to our bed. This didn’t work because she did not like to sleep in it and would cry all the time. If she would sleep in it, I always worried for her safety because she was strong enough to roll over by herself (she did so her first day in the hospital). Finally, we slept in the living room so she could sleep in the Pack ‘n Play. After several nights of being uncomfortable on the couch, we bought a second Pack ‘n Play for the bedroom and she slept in that for the first six months until moving to the crib in her bedroom.
Six items I would buy again
Hatch Baby Rest Nightlight, Sound Machine, and Time-to-Rise
My sister gave us this sound machine when Oscar was born. I had previously used a different sound machine with Abby and this one totally blows the other away. It will link to your smart phone so you can turn it on or off and change settings remotely. You have the ability to set favorites, program it to turn on or off at certain times, and there are many different sounds and colors to choose from to create your perfect combination. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind having a second one for my bedroom. It is lightweight and portable, which makes it excellent for overnight trips.
We started out with a regular baby monitor but were given a video monitor for a baby shower gift the second time around. Video monitors are more expensive than a regular baby monitor, but I think it has definitely been worth it. We have one camera set up in both kids’ rooms and can see them at anytime. It is great to be able to check on the kids without waking them with a squeaky door or creaky floorboard. My favorite features of the monitor we have is the temperature display and the ability to speak through the monitor to each room.
Depending on your price range, you can find models of video monitors with tons of different features. Check out Reviews.com for their list of the best baby monitors of 2018 here.
Pack ‘n Play
The Pack ‘n Play has been infinitely useful for us. We have two, one in the livingroom and one in the master bedroom. Both babies slept in the Pack ‘n Play in our room for their first six months before transitioning to their crib. Otherwise it has been invaluable for a place for baby to safely play while I am showering in the morning, cooking, or cleaning. It has also been helpful to bring with us when traveling for the kids to sleep in.
The exersaucer has been very useful. When my daughter was small I would often sit it in the kitchen so I could cook or clean and she could be entertained at the same time. It has three different height settings so it will grow with the child. Now that my son is mobile I use it in the mornings when I am trying to make coffee and breakfast, get the kids’ clothes ready, take a bathroom break, etc.
Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
A friend gave me a used Infant-to-Toddler Rocker when I was pregnant with Abby. Little did I know, this was going to be one of the most useful of all gifts. It has a toy bar for entertainment, vibration, music, the ability to rock or stay stationary (pictured above without the toy bar attached). The fabric cover is easily removed for washing, which was helpful after blowouts.
Abby went through a phase when she was about three months old where, for a couple weeks, she would only sleep in the rocker with the vibration feature on. I used it every day until she outgrew it to keep her contained and content while I took a shower and readied for work (Oscar never liked it for that purpose, unfortunately). It was incredibly helpful when both babies had colds and needed to sleep propped up at an incline and wouldn’t stay at an incline in the crib. I loved it so much that I bought a second, newer and more updated version for grandma’s house.
Graco Nasal Aspirator
My sister had one of these for her kids, so I saw it in action before I ever had one. The battery powered nasal aspirator helps clear baby’s nasal passages gently, but effectively. It beats trying to use one of the rubber bulb ones. It is amazing how much snot will collect in the little cup when you use it. It has a built in music feature which helped my first child not be scared of the vibration.
What items did you find useless or useful for your children? I am always looking for new ideas for baby showers or to use at home!