Baby gear – it is a huge industry. You can have everything from diaper pails and wipe warmers to pack and plays, baby gyms, bassinets and cribs. There are so many options these days! When you have that first baby, you think you need all of it. We certainly did! And we purchased it all as well. Some people will definitely disagree with me on this point, but after my first baby, I realized that most of that gear is unnecessary.
My kids are older now, so we have gotten rid of most everything that we once had. Some of it is with my sister-in-law, and I am sure when we need it, we will be able to get it back. So we are starting fresh with the gear this time around.
The big thing that seems to be missing from our home, that most people find odd, is the crib.
For our first two babies, we had a crib. A beautiful crib that I picked out and loved, and one that we used maybe a handful of times. I didn’t realize that we would co-sleep. It wasn’t something that I had planned on, but it is what happened with our first little one, after she had been in a bassinet for the first couple of months. Then when our second came along, I immediately put him in the bed with me. It works for us.
With our newest little one, we do have a bassinet, but I fully expect that she will be in the bed with us sooner rather than later. Part of it is due to me nursing. I have found that getting up out of bed and sitting in a chair to nurse in the middle of the night is just not for me. I completely fess up to needing my sleep, and if I can get a little shut eye while nursing, I will do it. Those first weeks are rough guys! Is that to say that we will keep her in the bed with us? I have no idea. I like to take each baby as they come, and see what works best. Although, with our first two co-sleeping has definitely worked the best.
We have a pack and play that we kept from our oldest, and I love it. It is one that has a basinet/changing table attached to it (although I think they all come that way now). Plus, it will keep little hands mostly away from her when she needs to nap during the day.
The next item on my must need list is the Moby wrap, or an Ergo – or both. I love my Moby. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I was just learning about baby wearing and other natural parenting philosophies. It sounded great to me! And it was. I wore Emma in that Moby for her first year, and then we switched to the Ergo once she was able to hold onto my back and I could get her in it without assistance.
Wearing my baby allowed me to get things done that I certainly wouldn’t have if I was constantly putting her down. It allowed her to nap and me to nurse when needed. And overall, I felt much better about taking her out to stores if I could keep her really close to me. For some reason when I go out to run errands, strangers have this innate need to come and touch my baby. Now, I did still have a few little old ladies come up to me and lift the wrap up to see the baby (I don’t get it for the life of me!), but it was rare.
My other absolute must have for baby gear is an Exersaucer. Both of my kids liked to only be upright…ever. It might be because I had them in the Moby from birth, but if you tried to do tummy time with my kiddos they would scream and scream and scream, and then learn to roll over early. So Exersaucer it was! Sometimes you need to put the baby down, obviously, and this was a perfect place, where I would know where the baby was, they couldn’t get hurt or get into things they shouldn’t, and they were able to get some energy out. Granted, we took all the toys off the thing, so that it wouldn’t drive us crazy, but the kids loved it just the same.
These are my essentials when it comes to a baby. The only other thing that I can think of is a baby monitor, which is obviously important. But, everything else is kind of extra in my eyes. Now, if you have all the baby gear you could ever want, great, I’m glad it works for you! For my family, we are much more minimalist when it comes to the baby gear.
What were your essentials when you had your first baby? Have your ideas changed?