Mighty Life List
Jun 9 2008

15 Perfect Baby Things for New Parents

Don’t care about baby gear? Here are some awesome photos of an abandoned Police Department in Detroit.

Still reading? Hello! Oh man, it’s an awesome time to be a parent. Maternity clothes come in options besides “kitten print,” men no longer have to carry pink quilted diaper bags around, and babies are so much cuter than they used to be, am I right?

As you may know, I spend some time looking at cool kids’ stuff, and there’s a lot of it out there right now. But it can be tough to separate the cool-looking gear from the genuinely useful stuff.

These are the things we used every day when Hank was first born; all of it was indispensable for us. Ladies and gentlemen, start your registries:


1. Skiphop Expo Canvas ($64) or the Spark ($30) Diaper Bag

Diaper bags that could double as laptop bags when you’re done with diapers. We had the canvas one, but we graduated to the less expensive Skiphop they make for Target, which I prefer.

Pluses:

- They clip onto your stroller easily
-The more expensive one has an expando-zip around the bottom that’s useful for travel
-Comes with a changing pad (and sometimes a wipes case)
-The Target version has a tote strap that’s always attached, so you can just throw it over your shoulder when you detach it from the stroller, instead of having to reattach the messenger strap
-Ludicrously durable and washable.

One caveat:

Our messenger strap kept spontaneously unhooking, though we had been abusing it daily for a year by that point.

2. Refillable Baby Wipes Holder ($2)

I love the transparent one that came with our Skiphop, because it’s easy to see when the wipes are running low. Too often I’m on the floor of a changing-table-free San Francisco public restroom, with a poop-covered toddler, and then realize the attractive, translucent wipes case only has one wipe. Huzzah!

I can’t find a clear one anywhere online. (Can you?) You can also just get the Huggies version they sell at the drugstore, but you’ve been warned.


3. Nursing Cover by Baby Au Lait ($35)

I was one of those nursing women who felt like everyone in the room was staring at me and judging my technique. Also my post-natal fashion sense. This cover made it possible for me to nurse in public. It’s a lightweight cotton swath with an adjustable strap that goes around your neck. There’s a U-shaped piece of boning in the front that lets you look directly down at your baby but doesn’t give pervos a peek. Killer.

There’s also some absorbent material sewn into the corner so you can catch drips easily. I’d avoid the solid-colored versions, because breast milk stains like a mother. I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did.

4. My Breast Friend Breast Feeding Pillow

Excellent nursing pillow, cringe-worthy name.

The pillow buckles around your waist for stability, and it’s structural enough that you can carry a newborn around on it if you need to grab something in the middle of nursing. It has built-in “pillows” that prop the baby’s head too. No irritating, cutesy pattern, just unbleached cotton, though it does come in other colors. I have a long torso, so I used this with a Boppie pillow underneath.

5. The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper

This is where Hank slept for the first few months of his life, when I was freaked about rolling over on him. The mesh on the sides pushes down, so you can nurse without taking the baby out of it, and even fall asleep while you nurse. Also, it has a tiny, push-button night light on top. We kept ours on the couch most of the time, and when we traveled, Hank still had a familiar place to sleep. Folds up into a little suitcase for easier transport.

6. Kolcraft Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier ($49)

We had the Graco carseat, and had a great experience with this stroller until the mesh basket broke (most likely because we used to it carry gallons of milk and bricks of lead). We replaced it with the Snap and Go that’s made for the Graco carseat, thinking it would be better. Instead was an absolute disaster. I’m pissed just thinking about it. It was so difficult to maneuver that I wanted to smash with a sledgehammer. We finally gave up and bought another Kolcraft.

I adore the Kolcraft and wish there were a better toddler version. Super lightweight, simple to fold with one hand, travels brilliantly, doesn’t wake the baby when you transfer her, and doesn’t take up too much space when you park it next to the table at a restaurant.

7. Little Giraffe Satin-Chenille Baby Blanket

This blanket is so soft it almost feels unctuous, like it’s leaving an oily residue behind. Sounds gross, but I assure you it’s devine. Hank would fall asleep immediately whenever we wrapped him up in this, and it’s his blankie now. We ruined our first one by putting it in the dryer, so remember to tumble or air dry, because these suckers are expensive.

8. American Apparel Baby Clothes

Durable basics for little ones. Best of all, they come in tons of colors that don’t fade much, even when you wash and dry them a zillion times. If I had it to do over, I’d buy Hank a bunch of Karate Pants and onesies in crazy colors, then accessorize with socks, hats, and hoodies.

9. Even Flo Glass Bottles ($11 for six)

Apparently plastic is killing us all slowly. Still, there seems to be a lot of hand-wringing over glass bottles breaking. We haven’t had that problem, but we try not to fling them against stone floors. Glass bottles were hard to find when Hank was born, but now they’re everywhere, so look around for a style that apeals to you. I like these for the nostalgic look, and because I’m pretty sure they’re not killing the baby slowly.

Also, I remove the lids and heat them in the microwave without incident. I know this makes me a terrible person, and I’ll just have to learn to live with myself.

10. Kangaroo Corner Adjustable Fleece Pouch ($62)

We called this the man womb. We’d put Hank in, and he was asleep until we took him out. The fleece version is warmer than the cotton one of course, but it also provides sound insulation. As a bonus, it keeps strangers from trying to touch your newborn with their presumably filthy stranger hands.

Blissful, especially if your baby has trouble sleeping.

11. Happiest Baby on the Block DVD ($18)

We read the book, but the DVD is quicker and just as informative. It teaches you the five steps you need to know to calm a screeching baby. Please get a copy before the baby comes along, it will save on therapy bills for the whole family. I’ve used the advice to successfully soothe dozens of cranky babies.

12. Glamour Mom Tank Tops ($40)

These make it possible to nurse without revealing anything at all. They look like regular tank tops, but the front unhooks like a nursing bra–utterly genius. Invest in one to wear under whatever else you have on, and your wardrobe expands exponentially.

13. Kiddopotamus Swaddling Blankets (about $10)

I had trouble swaddling effectively on fifteen minutes of sleep. These fixed that problem immediately because they have velcro closures and are shaped for swaddling. You just pop the baby in, and tuck the velcro closures in tight.

14. Medela Swing Breast Pump ($125)

I rented a hospital pump, and it wasn’t any more effective than this little thing. It’s about the size of a cereal bowl, and it hangs around your neck from a lanyard.

My entire pump set up fit in a cosmetics bag, and it was so awesome that I have to tell you about it. Ready? OK:

An excellent dopp kit from Flight 001 ($32)
Medela Swing Pump with tubing
A couple small glass bottles with lids
Pump sanitizing wipes ($9)
A tube of Lanisoh cream ($7)
-A tiny container of hand sanitizer
-A small ice pack

If you’re looking for a shower gift for a mom who plans to nurse, consider going in with some friends and making her a nursing kit. It’s crazy useful, and it will make her feel sane when the rest of the house is in total disarray.

15. Flip Video Camera ($130)

This wasn’t around until recently, but we use ours all the time, and I wish we’d had it when Hank was teeny-tiny. So easy to operate, even when you’ve only had two hours of sleep. Also, you’re not gonna want to miss the first time your kid poops in the bathtub.

That’s it! Now it’s your turn to tell me about the stuff that makes parenting easier for you. Do it! The comments await.

70 Responses to “15 Perfect Baby Things for New Parents”

  • HouseofJules Says:

    I have an upcoming baby shower to attend and you’ve just saved me a lot of time. Thanks, Maggie!
    Jules
    House of Jules

  • Sue at eLuckypacket Says:

    SO with you on the Kolcraft car seat carrier (especially great for plane travel) and the Medela Breast pump. I also found the hospital grade one no more effective. Great list!

  • amy Says:

    The Go Go Kidz Travelmate! It attached attached wheels to my Britax Roundabout car seat. As a single mom, this made traveling with my out-of-her-infant-seat kid a breeze. Checked stroller at the curb, and wheeled car seat with kid inside to the gate.

    http://www.amazon.com/Go-Kidz-TravelMate-Black%252f-Orange/dp/B000JJK9EY

  • SAple Says:

    Wooo Full Circle. I live in Detroit and can identify most of those buildings on that linked site..

    The other funny thing is probably about 8 years ago I was in that police station to file an accident report….. and now it’s in that state..

  • C Says:

    Since my sum of children is zero, I can’t recommend anything but damn this list would have been handy for a baby shower I went to a month ago. Bookmarked for future use and reference.

  • Liz Says:

    I know a lot of people who love the Kiddopotamus swaddler, but my baby could always find a way to get her arms out of it. We found the Miracle Blanket to be amazingly effective for swaddling and once you use it a few times it becomes super fast and easy. My mom calls it “the baby straight jacket”, but I call it “the reason I was able to get 6 hours of sleep every night since my baby was 3 weeks old”.

    http://www.miracleblanket.com/

  • Jenn Says:

    I had the exact same problem with my skiphop bag, and I emailed the company and they replaced it for free, even emailed me a packaing label so I wouldn’t have to pay for shipping. Stellar.

  • Meegan Says:

    If you have a wiggly baby who wants to be swaddled but tends to break free, I LOVED the miracle blanket. We tried the Kiddopotomus ones but our daughter would Houdini her way out of there in a few short minutes and then scream. The miracle blanket is like a straight jacket, but in a good way.

  • Vanessa Says:

    Oh baby – and of course no pun intended but there it is.

    I have a few additions, suggestions, and favorites…. 2 babies and 4 fosterbabies, along with countless “babies of friends” have led me to these discoveries. Just call me the Baby Gear Whisperer.

    1. Ergo baby carrier. You are just going to have to trust me on this one. Wear it on the front, wear it on the back, use it for years – this is the best damn carrier of children I have found, especially for someone who has back/neck/migraine issues. I went through almost every front, back and sling carrier I found. From over the shoulder baby holders to Maya Wraps, to baby bjorns and snuglis…. This one kicked ALL of them out of the park.

    2. Maclaren Volo – the least expensive Maclaren. It took me 6 years to finally buy one, I have no idea what I was waiting for. I thought every carriage should have a recline feature, and I was wrong. There, I said it. The seat is nylon and mesh which cleans (and dries) incredibly quickly. It comes with a large sunshade, a rain hood and a shoulder strap. It weighs almost nothing, and has a good sized storage basket underneath. The seat itself is wide, for larger kids (some compact umbrella style strollers are too damn small for any child that has outgrown an infant seat, and so completely defeats the purpose. This seat is nice and wide and my 3 year old is still completely comfy in it)

    3. Kiddopotomus seat guard. Terry cloth on one side, rubber on the other, protects strollers and car seats and swings and bouncy chairs and jumpy seats and everywhere else you baby sits from the inevitable POOP EXPLOSION. Buy one.

    4. Lansinoh products. These are the best, most absorbent and thinnest breast pads on the market. As a woman who went from a 34 B to a 38 J BEFORE MY MILK CAME IN, I can appreciate a good nursing pad. I was literally a walking dairy farm. These pads saved my wardrobe, and allowed me to leave the house without swaddling myself in bathtowels….

    5. G diapers. Listen, I am as concerned about the environment as I can reasonably be – and I understand that disposable diapers are a knife in the side of Mother Earth…but cloth diapers were not an option for a globe trotting mama without regular access to a washer and dryer. Ever change a cloth diaper on an airplane ? Then you may understand why I was searching for alternatives……. G diapers rock for both the eco-conscious me, and the groovy mama me.

    I am sure there are many MANY more items I haven’t listed here, but this is a good start !

  • C Says:

    I have to also recommend the Miracle Blanket over any other swaddle blanket. We got one with our first child and did not use it for the first 6 weeks. On a whim of desperation, we used it and then banged our heads on a wall for not using it sooner. We tried other blankets as a back up but the Miracle blanket was the best and put our children to sleep in SECONDS.

  • Jesse King Says:

    I have absolutely no interest in baby items, but that web site with all the urban explorations pics was fascinating, not to mention addictive. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dawb Says:

    Being it is Father’s Day this weekend may I please add number sweet sixteen in honor of all those dads that do so much these days. It is a horror when they are on baby duty and are forced to lug around Mom’s diaper bag – this is a great gift for To Be Dads! Hope the link works ( just scroll down to the picture of the DJ Diaper bag)http://www.partybluprints.com/Articles.asp?ID=147

  • Lucy Lottridge Says:

    Ok, in no particular order:
    A sling, any sling, that lets you put the baby in and feels comfortable. I tried over a dozen, but fell in love with one called a “heart2heart” sling, which resembles a nojo sling. It looks bulky, but saved my life. My son was over 11lbs. at birth, and grew like a line backer, so everything else just didn’t work for me. I am pregnant again, and already have mine lined up, washed, and in the trunk of each car just in case. (P.S. My son is almost 3 now, and I still put him in it for quick walks through stores, etc. )

    A swing with lights or music. There are all sorts of different ones, I liked the ones that went back and forth and forwards/front. This saved my back, and we were sorry to see our son had outgrown it by 8 months. But we loved it.

    Baby Einstein play station. Any play station that you can put your child in and they can spin around inside and play with different toys attached to the rim. My husband said, seriously, “I’m going to kill myself when he outgrows that.”

    I liked a lot of your items on the list, and it reminded me to pull out our flip and start using it again.

    Cheers!

  • Samantha Says:

    …”the stuff that makes parenting easier for you.”

    1. gin
    2. tonic

    Really? You need more?

    Ok…I guess I am kindda IN LOVE with this great basket: http://www.janetbasket.com/products.htm?type=allon&page=1

    They are bright and fun and carry a ton of great toddler gear that no longer fits in a diaper bag (ie. change of clothes, blanket, beach pail and shovel, costco sized box of Cheerios,etc.) Hubby even asked for the “manly black” one for Father’s Day!

    Also, we keep a portable booster seat tucked in our trunk (I believe we have a First Years…) and I cannot tell you how often we have used it. It folds up and is quite sturdy. I love that it has it’s own tray, so you don’t have to worry about the cooties on restaurant tables. We have used it for eating out, in hotels, Thanksgiving at the in-laws, at picnics… anytime you wish you had a highchair with you to keep Jr. in one spot for more than 30 seconds.

    Enjoy!

  • Jen Says:

    Lots of sharpies
    Custom labels and tags
    Kids have a lot of stuff that has to be labeled at school, nursery, etc..

  • becca Says:

    oh….thanks for this yummy list.

    i’m sitting here with laptop-resting-on-pregnant-belly drinking in all the suggestions.

    hey, one thing i’ve read (in response to comment #9) – cloth diapers aren’t necessarily better for the environment – because of water waste/chemicals used to clean them…travel the world sans guilt.

    don’t know if that adds anything useful to the pot.

    cheers!

  • Shannon Says:

    I second the SkipHop bag–we have the Dash and I’ve been using it daily for two years with absolutely no complaints. It is extremely well-made and durable; my husband and I both love it.

    My contribution to the list is at least six or seven cloth diapers, whether you use disposable diapers or not. They are perfect for so many things besides their intended purpose–burp rags, changing pads, even a small stand-in blankie if your kid needs comforting in a pinch. We always keep one in our diaper bag, and it still comes in handy with our now-toddler. (Great for drying wet shopping cart seats on rainy days!)

  • Jennifluff Says:

    The things I loved/couldn’t live without?

    1. Angel Care Baby Monitor. We have a two story house, so it was completely necessary that we get a monitor. We got this one because it has a sensor that you put under the mattress that can sense the baby’s breathing. It really gave me peace of mind through the whole SIDS period.

    2. I have two kids, and I do a fair amount of jogging/hiking, and the BOB double stroller is the biggest stroller on the face of the earth, but it is amazing. I can push it with my finger (but really. And I wouldn’t say my index finger is particularly strong). I bought the attachment that allows me to use my Graco (you can use most infant car seats) infant carrier in it, and both of my kids are very happy and comfortable while in it. And since it’s so big, we can use it until the kids are at least five. Oh! And though it’s huge, it fits in the trunk of my Corolla.

    3. Roobez. They are the best shoes. I have lost so many pairs of baby shoes, but these guys stay on, and they’re totally adorable. They’re leather, but you can wash/dry them and I have used the same pair for both of my sons, and they still look great.

  • Keely Says:

    Great list. Just wanted to add that I found a clear wipes holder. I just ordered these wipes pouches: http://www.organize-it-online.com/itm_wipespouches.html–after I knew what to look for I found them in several other places as well. I looked high and low because I hate that the Huggies and Pampers travel versions still take up so much room in the diaper bag.

  • Jenn Says:

    I’ll second the Bebe Au Lait cover and the Robeez. I have a Phil and Ted’s stroller that I love. For shower gifts I often give: Penaten Cream and Ovol.

    Jenn

  • Jessica Says:

    Don’t know that I can call it a parenting essential – but I’ve loved it and will happily give it as a shower gift.
    http://www.rookiemoms.com/
    they published a handbook. I didn’t get it until month 2 was pretty much over and regretted not having it for month one.

    Also:
    friends told me that the wipes warmer was indespensible. It’s not. Could totally live without it.

    I’d also recommend 1)the ability to ignore any advise that makes you feel small or like your baby’s sleeping problems are your fault. And 2) the ability to read stacks of books that contradict eachother and still remember which ones you agree with after 2 hours sleep every night for a week.

    Give those as a shower gift and you’ll be loved forever and ever, Amen.

  • Lisa Says:

    My Fleurville diaper bag also came with a diaper wipe case, but it’s see-through orange, as opposed to clear. I love it! Here’s a looksie:

    http://www.pintsizediva.com/browseproducts/Wipe-Case-by-Fleurville.HTML

    The pouches from organize-it-online.com mentioned above also look very cool.

  • Sarah Says:

    you hit the nail on the head…i couldn’t care less about baby stuff, but am totally into the detroit photos.

    also, i read your book tonight and it rocked!

  • Deb Says:

    On the nursing pillow front, I am a HUGE fan of the Bosom Baby nursing pillow, it’s like having the best of both worlds between a Boppy and My Breast Friend.
    They also have swaddling blankets that I swear by…lots of people like the Miracle Blanket, but gotta tell ya, not a fan. It’s too hot…the swaddling blankets I use are cotton muslin which is very lightweight. My baby just uses it as his blankie now though.

  • Deb Says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that The Bosom Baby is at: http://www.lunalullaby.com Oops! :)

  • Michelle Says:

    I am envious of your list. I’ve had my babies, and obviously missed out on many cool innovations in the three years since my last one.
    I love Vanessa’s list too (9.)! I will second the Lansinoh products part, as I was also a walking dairy. As for the Ergo, a friend just said the exact same thing to me at the park this week.

  • Tempest in a Teapot » Blog Archive » New Parent Suggestions Says:

    [...] For my future reference – this post over at Mighty Girl was really helpful. It’s a list of things that worked well for her when her son was born. (I’ve got the Happiest Baby on the Block book/dvd she recommends, it’s nice to hear it worked for someone else!) [...]

  • Blythe Says:

    We love our SkipHop bag, and their diaper wallet is a lifesaver too. It’s great for traveling – fits in a backpack so you don’t have to haul a whole diaper bag as your carry-on, and it’s easy to carry to the teeny airplane bathroom.

  • Pascha Says:

    I didn’t use all of the items on this list, but several of them I found quite useful. Here are my points regarding yours:

    3: Nursing cover. I bought mine from a store called “Hot Mama,” and I loved it. Same tie around the neck, bendable front so you can see your baby without anyone else seeing, and the baby moving around couldn’t make it fall off like a blanket would. Also, mine had pockets on the inside of it for a place to store your nursing pads when you take them out of your bra.

    5: The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper: I wanted this product so badly I bought it before my daughter was born. I returned it the next day after she slept in it for the first time. The netting by the feet offers NO protection, and my daughter is a little tornado and tosses and turns in her sleep, even from day one. She rolled right out of it. I returned it and found a better one that had solid sides by the feet, and it still had the night light attached.

    9: We tried a lot of different bottles before we realized our kid just doesn’t care where it comes from, as long as she got it. I liked Dr. Brown’s at first (BPA free) but those things are a PAIN to clean. Medela bottles are nice, but you have to buy an entire kit just to get the nipples, you can’t just buy them in a package. (At least not here in Minneapolis.)

    We tried another kind, I forget the exact name, something like “Nature’s Best” or “Second Nature” or something like that. The nipple has several holes to emulate the flow from the actual breast, and the baby has to suck to get anything, just like the breast. But everytime we used it, we had to keep stopping, unscrew the lid, and fix the nipple because it would always collapse. Then we tried Playtex drop-ins, and finally settled on the new Born Free.

    Born Free also come in glass bottles, but whether you buy the glass or not, they’re expensive. Like $20 for two bottles. But we stuck with those because they have awesome ways to transition to using a sippy cup. The sippy cup spouts come in soft rubber, like a bottle nipple, and you have to suck to get anything, and they don’t spill. I LOVE THEM. You can eventually switch to the harder rubber spout when baby is ready.

    13: Kiddopotamus swaddling banklets rock.

    And if you’ve made it this far, some other thoughts:
    Baby diaper warmers are useless. Yes, it would be nice to have a warm tushie, but once you’re out in public and use wipes without the warmer, your kid will make sounds like you’ve never heard before.

    Vibrating chair. Saved my sanity.

    And my OB doctor, who seriously saved my sanity and mental health when I saw her when my daughter was two weeks old and I hauled ass into her office because I knew I had post-partum depression and anxiety. My daughter was exactly one week old when the 35W bridge collapsed, a bridge my husband and I used everyday. The anxiety and fear gripped me all day, everyday, and the BEST advice I can offer a new mom is to see your doctor if you even THINK you’re experiencing PPD or anxiety.

  • Pascha Says:

    One more thing…I really wanted to try re-usable nursing pads (not wasting and whatnot) but they made it look like I had dinner plates in my bra. So terribly bulky, no matter what I did. I ended up using the Medela breast pads, since they curve naturally to fit the shape of your breast. The Medela breast cream worked well too, and my husband might kill me for putting this out on the internet…but he is training for a marathon and uses my breast cream so he doesn’t get chaffed nipples. Hehe.

  • Queen Zucchini Says:

    Ahhh…such a great list! I second many of the items on your list, and have a few to add:

    Some that have been mentioned by others – Ergo baby carrier, swing that goes back and forth, a sling, and a bunch of prefold-type cloth diapers to use as burp clothes, snot rags, etc.

    Some others:
    Sophie the Giraffe – awesome natural rubber teether – worth it’s weight in gold!

    The Ultimate Swaddling Blanket – it’s the perfect size for swaddling. A good swaddling blanket is at least 42” x 42” and this one fits the bill. We’ve got two, one regular and one organic – the organic is soooo much softer than the regular.

    Danacare all natural wool baby blanket – This all natural wool blanket is free of any dyes or processing that most wool goes through, which makes it incredibly soft and naturally antibacterial.

    Muslin swaddle blankets by Aden + Anais – these lightweight, soft blankets are perfect for swaddling in the summer time.

    Baby Legs – especially great for crawlers and diaper change squirmers

    A jumperoo – we had the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo (the least crazy of the ones we saw) and putting it in our bathroom allowed me to take A SHOWER every once in a while – YIPPEEE!

    Cloth Diapers – Being a “green mama” I’m a big fan, but let’s leave that debate for another post, shall we?

    phew – sorry such a long comment!

  • heather Says:

    Here’s a second vote for the Ergo carrier! Two thumbs up from me and my daughter. My husband loves the Ergo too. It’s easy to adjust and comfortable for kid and adult.

    I also found a sling extremely useful. I have a Hotsling. When my daughter was tiny and wanted to be held 24 hours a day, I put her in this and could move around the house. Now that she’s 18 months old, I put her in the sling and carry her on my hip for short trips (into the mall, for example).

    BABY WASHCLOTHS. Can’t recommend them enough. I got 2 packs for my baby shower and thought I’d never use them. Ha! I ended up buying another 3 packs because I use them constantly. Baby wipes don’t agree with my kid so I use a dampened washcloth when a diaper change is in order. They are also super useful for wiping mouths and hands and spills and dribbles…I carry one in my pocket constantly when I’m with my kid. Cheap and oh-so-handy.

  • Mel O. Says:

    I received this (http://www.amazon.com/JJ-Cole-Essentials-Pacifier-Pod/dp/B000G7WX52/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1213106501&sr=1-10) as a gift and it seemed totally unnecessary but it’s SO handy. I keep it on the carseat and I can easily reach the pacifier and I always know where it is. There’s no digging around in the diaper bag. I highly recommend it!

  • Laura Says:

    The best bag for use as diaper/laptop/carry-on is a Coakley (http://www.coakleybusinessclass.com/). A bit pricey but a classic look and durable in a good way – you won’t have to buy another one for years. Plus – great colors!

  • jen Says:

    we are addicted to the american apparel karate pants and also wish we did not spend money on all the cute jeans and cargo pants that won’t actually button over our baby’s belly…..

  • Louise Says:

    Thank you for the police department photos. I think there is still time to renovate the place to accommodate the percentage of 2008-born babies that will inevitably end up there in about 16-20 years.

    I hope you will follow up with an awesome list of items to give to an incarcerated person, with baby photos to distract those who are not interested in prison topics.

  • Dani Says:

    I found a clear wipes case at Babies R Us. I didn’t know they were hard to find. I just liked that it didn’t have some horrible design on it.

  • marymuses Says:

    I’ll just second (or third) a few suggestions that I’ve found incredibly helpful with all the babies I’ve cared for over the years.

    1. Plain flat-fold cloth diapers–useful for many things, including what I use them for most, which is wiping up spit-up.

    2. A baby-wearing device such as a sling or the Ergo carrier. I do not recommend the Asian style, as babies who like to face front are miserable in them. I’ve had good luck with most babies in a basic ring sling. On days when baby is fussy and just wants to be held, this allows you to do it while still getting on with life as usual.

    3. A portable swing. If your baby requires a lot of face to face interaction, this will save your life. You can easily move the swing to whatever room you’re in and still get things done while interacting with your baby.

    4. Music you can both live with. I know that some parents don’t mind the electronic music on kid toys or listening to kid stuff a lot, but after seventeen years of being a nanny, I find that I just can’t take it anymore. There are a lot of iPod compatible products out there, so use ‘em! Put on some soothing music that you will both like; there’s nothing wrong with teaching your kids to like the kind of things you find to be pleasant. There are precious few years before they discover everything you find annoying; take advantage of those years.

    5. A good babysitter. I say this as the babysitter to a lot of great kids. You will have a better time when you’re out if you know your baby is in good hands, and all the parents I work for tell me that it’s worth the higher cost to have an experienced sitter. If you know of an excellent sitter, a great shower gift is the number of your favorite sitter and the offer to pay for a night (or two) of his or her services.

  • charlotte Says:

    So. Totally. Bookmarked! Please, I need all the help I can get from teh professionalz. No, really. AND if anyone knows of a great carseat and stroller, I’d appreciate it. I’m not due until December, but just going through the sheer numbers of carseats and strollers makes me more queasy than my morning sickness …

  • Desiree Says:

    Great info, Maggie. Now I’m off to buy that video camera.

  • Alison Says:

    Excellent list. Used most things you mentioned except adorable Flip, never got a Giraffe blankie (& couldn’t justify the expense) and going to look up the American Apparel stat.

    I have a 3.5 & 12m-old boy.

    Comments (babies/toddlers):

    1) Universal car carrier: Virtual knuckle bump.
    2) Drive around? Have a basket in the trunk w/a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks,toy, etc you’ll never know when you need it (aka: Emergency diaper bag). Blowouts aren’t reserved for newborns.
    3) Ergo: Word up. Good for babies & older ones too (have used it for my 3y.o. for hikes, more comfy than the Kelty, etc). But I can’t put my 12m old on my back by myself. HELP. OK, maybe I should just watch the instructions on the website?
    4. Books: Dr. Sears 0-2 and/or AAP 0-5 (the later I got free from my pedi). Good reference “go to” books once you’re done reading obsessively all.things.baby.
    5. Snack trap! http://tinyurl.com/4ndnsp
    6. Strollers: *After* the Universal Car Carrier days, I LOVE the Maclaren Triumph (it has a strap for the bus!) for two kids: I swear by Phil & Ted’s. God.Send. Have traveled with both strollers everywhere.

    Love your lists & loved your recent post re: baby weight.

  • Judy Says:

    Another tip for moms to be: Don’t bother with Consumer Reports online. We based a lot of our choices on their reports, but found that they are outdated, and do not cover a lot of the car seats/strollers/travel systems are are so popular with other moms. I felt like the information just muddied the decision making process. You can get basic safety tips from the site without paying for the reports.

  • Absolute » Blog Archive » 15 Perfect Baby Things for New Parents Says:

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  • Lisa Says:

    I’m sure that my suggestion will get a few eye rolls, but I really love the Skip Hop Splash bottle drying rack. Yes, it’s expensive but it fits and organizes so much…nipples, nipple rings, bottles, pacifiers, teething toys, etc. It’s easy to clean, as it is only two pieces and they can both fit in the dishwasher. Also, it isn’t made which any of the bad plastic ingredients. It also has a great bottle brush. And finally, it’s cute.

    http://www.skiphop.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SH&Category_Code=HN&Product_Code=302000

  • dani Says:

    Man I am jealous that I cannot get most of these products as I am in Oz!
    I have taken note of them all and will have a look around for equivelents. We have really stringent safety requirements for car seats etc and have only just got around to the concept of portable carseats/systems that connect to strollers.
    Would be interested in hearing more about reusable/modern cloth nappies as I am going down this route with some Aussie brands and was wondering what the pro’s and cons are…

    Good posting for us heatherns that havent got the time/energy/inclination to shop endlessly and research for years for these product.

    dani (35 weeks and counting)

  • Lizzy Says:

    Our Kushies waterproof change pads. We put one on top of the sheet that covers her her curved change table topper (curved hard pillow thing) and whenever she pees on it (frequently) or even poos on it (just today – whole crap) you just pick up this pad, leaving a nice clean pad below.

    Oh an other MUST HAVE thing? Spray and Wash. See above.

    http://www.kushies.com/Cataloque/catalogue.html

  • Jodi Says:

    This baby wrap (Ultimate baby wrap) – my daughter lived in it when she was an infant and now my son (5 weeks old) lives in it.
    http://www.amazon.com/Parents-Invention-Ultimate-Wrap-Black/dp/B0009RMHC8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1213155686&sr=1-1

  • Jodi Says:

    Also? For breastfeeding the first few weeks of life I’ve needed to use nipple shields/guards because of inverted issues – any way – here’s the link, http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Contact-Nipple-Shield-Standard/dp/B000067PQ0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1213155977&sr=1-3

    I keep one in the bedroom, nursery, and diaper bag. I wish they would get smart about it and put some sort of color or a ring or something on them because they’re SUPER easy to lose being clear and all. However indispensable for me.

  • Meaghan Says:

    1. Pacifier leash (they were one of the most inexpensive yet indispensable baby accessories for the first few months, and drastically cut down on the number of Nuks we had to pack when we were out.)
    2. Signing Smart book- amazing. I believe this was the number one frustration reducer in our lives after Owen outgrew the Happiest Baby on the Block stage. (But seriously? That man is a genius).
    3. Wine.
    4. A chihuahua- once you can control the barking, you never have to pick up a single crumb again.

    Can you recommend a sippy cup that doesn’t leak?

  • Jennifer/The Word Cellar Says:

    As a non-parent, I appreciate you looking out for my interests with the other link. But I’ll file this post away for future possible use, should that time ever come. :) Oh, and Meaghan above, #4 is hilarious!

  • Sandi Says:

    As a mom of twins I will share a few items I found useful.

    1. EZ 2 Nurse pillow. This was great for the learning how to tandem nurse.

    2. Skip Hop Duo Double diaper bag. Big enough to carry all the gear and stylish enough that we will be able to use it for years to come.

    3. Mountain Buggy Urban Double stroller. We were gifted this great stroller and we bought the bassinets to go with it. I love this stroller! Alternatively the double snap’n'go is pretty awesome too. It works with Graco and Peg Perego carseats. You just snap in the carseats so you don’t have to wake up a sleeping baby.

    4. Vibrating chairs. These were a life saver for those times when I couldn’t pick up both babies.

    5. Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper. This attached to our bed allowing the babies to sleep beside me. I could not imagine having to get up and go to another room to nurse the babies.

    6. I’m joining in with all the others and recommending the Ergo carrier. I can put a baby on my back and still hold the other baby.

    7. Having friends and family show up with ready to eat meals. Seriously. There was no time to make meals and having people show up with food was so wonderful! It doesn’t have to be fancy, just bring dinner and throw in a load of laundry while the new parents eat.

  • Tootsie Farklepants Says:

    The part that made parenting easier for me was when my children became old enough to feed and wash themselves. But that’s probably not what you had in mind when you asked. Am I right?

    Also? Why were maternity clothes so I Love Lucy-ish when I was pregnant? And now I’d probably buy the new maternity clothes to wear even though I’m not pregant, they’re that cute. No fair.

  • sp Says:

    not a parent yet, nor anytime soon, but definitely bookmarking this for future baby showers. thanks!

  • Mrs. C Says:

    Friends recently gave our 4 month-old an O Ball (http://www.rhinotoys.com/product_oball_orig.shtml. He loooooves it – and it is apparently a gift that keeps on giving as the child gets older. A nice “gift-topper” accessory.

  • Eric Says:

    Dear Mr. Mason:

    I read and enjoy your wife’s website quite a bit. She’s a great and creative writer, and you definitely married well.

    I’m not sure if you follow your wife’s blogging closely, but on the off chance that you don’t, I felt it incumbent upon me as a fellow dude to call one small item in the otherwise excellent post above to your attention: “If I had it to do over, I’d buy Hank a bunch of Karate Pants and onesies in crazy colors, then accessorize with socks, hats, and hoodies.”

    As the husband of a mother of a son, I’m just here to tell you that moms love to do this sort of stuff to their boys, and if you’re not careful, one day a little Ziggy Stardust will walk out the door to greet you. Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to butch up your son, or that you should take him to a strip club or to Hooters. (Of course, I’m not saying *not* to take him to Hooters.) I’m only saying: semper vigilans.

    A Friend

  • Kristi Dorson Says:

    The snack and play travel tray:
    http://www.familytravelgear.com/page/FTG/PROD/car-snack-play-travel-tray

    We took a 20-hour road trip to Florida a couple months ago (with a 3 year old and an 18 month old, god help us) and this was INDISPENSABLE. It’s also been great for much shorter jaunts around town. I love that it is soft and collapsible; not only is it easier to transport, but it’s safer if there should be an accident. Yet the foam sides hold up admirably and make a great surface for the kids to play on, eat on, etc. The fact that they clip on from either side is wonderful, and the pockets are big enough to hold drinks and toys and easy enough for my three year old to access. Finally, they were easy to clean, and even helped to keep the car clean on the trip.

    My husband and I both loved these.

  • Kristi Dorson Says:

    One more thing – I see someone mentioned “music you both enjoy” as an essential. To that end, I strongly recommend The Jimmies: http://www.gimmejimmies.com/
    Catchy tunes for kids that adults will appreciate for their musical style. We love their CD. Even my husband’s father loves their music.

    If you go the website, you can preview their songs to see if it’s your style. It’s good stuff!

  • cloud9 design Says:

    Thanks for this great post! I LOVE the GlamourMom Nursing Tanks.

    Check out my etsy shop for adorable Angel wings onesies & Haute Mama maternity shirts:
    http://cloud9designstudio.etsy.com

  • My daughter is 6 months old! Says:

    Tonight I thought of something else. My hand emersion blender. We tried to make baby food in the counter blender, but the the emersion blender is SO MUCH BETTER. Easier, less cleanup, less waste, smoother baby food. Definately worth the investment.

  • Stephanie Says:

    Loved your list! Especially the Bebe Au Lait nursing cover and the Close and Secure Sleeper (can’t wait to try both of those products when baby #2 comes along!)…

  • Marie Says:

    A pilates ball!
    Bouncing + holding baby = calm baby
    Great for playing with baby too (roll them on their bellies on the ball; it strengthens their neck and sense of balance) And good for slowly getting back into shape at home too.

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  • Carrie Says:

    Judging your technique? That never occurred to me! I can honestly say that I have never critiqued another mother’s nursing technique, and I’m relatively confident no one’s been holding up any number cards for me either. The pervs might be getting a look, but the biggest hazard I’ve encountered is the “sudden look away” which is understandable but can be disconcerting in conversation.

  • amanda Says:

    I am on my third daughter and currently have 2 in diapers. I couldn’t live without my Baby Bjorn, but also my diaper caddy http://sarabearbaskets.com
    I have diapers for both girls in it and can lift it with one finger, which is often all I have. It, unlike so much other gear, can be tucked in a corner and not scream The Kids Are Taking Over The House!

    Must go check out the Ergo carrier. And for nursing, I tuck a flour sack cloth in my bag, works for quick changes, spit up, privacy and shielding new noggins from the sun. Dirt cheap too! Having a few in a drawer at home also work as great gift basket liners for unexpected last minute gift-giving demands.

  • Jessica Says:

    http://www.pollywogbaby.com has a wonderful breastfeeding pillow that is this wedge shaped thing, eliminating the need to shove pillows under the boppy or the boppy under the my breast friend. I’m tall myself, and this thing was fantastic.

  • Jessica Says:

    Oh! And ditch the Lansinoh – Nipple butter from http://earthmamaangelbaby.com/ is so much better.

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  • baby Says:

    Nice website!!

  • samantha jo campen Says:

    –I’ll be the 56th person to say I couldn’t live without my Miracle Blanket. My son is 3 months old and was very colicy. This blanket saved our lives. For our next baby I’m also going to try the Woombie–the concept seems pretty cool: http://www.thewoombie.com

    –I totally agree with you about the SkipHop bag and the Swing breastpump.

    –Medela breast milk bags. The best out there. They attach to any breast pump and stand alone when full. Love!

    –The Snoogle body pillow! I swear I wouldn’t have made it through my pregnancy (including bed rest!) without this thing. I still use it–helpful when nursing at night as well.

    –Tiny Love Music Deluxe PlayMat. Our son loves this thing–the toys are cute and the music isn’t annoying.

    Oh and The Boppy sucks. I’m going to use My Breast Friend next time even though the name makes me want to cringe.

    Yeah for fun baby stuff!