Gear Guide for the New Mom

When we got married, I was so excited to register. We went to Pottery Barn & Bed Bath & Beyond and got our little gun and went nuts. Everything was pretty straight forward- plates, pillows, platters and silverware. But when we got pregnant for the first time with Ginger, I remember getting online, going to babiesRus and thinking, “What the heck IS all this stuff?!”  Thankfully, a friend forwarded me an email that 7 or 8 different moms had replied to, in which they all chimed in about what they did and did not need with their two cents on the best baby stuff out there. This is my version of that email to you.

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SnugRider Stroller- Let’s start with the most important: the stroller. I have two strollers that I have used a TON. The first a base that my Graco SnugRider Carseat snaps into. It is extremely lightweight and easy to use. Baby Trend has a similar one called Snap N Go- not the one I have, but same idea. You don’t even have to take your baby out of their carseat- just (literally) snap and go. I recommend looking on Craigslist before you buy it new for $80 (I got mine for $15) but either way, trust me- you will like this.

This is the base for the Graco SnugRider. Super light weight and easy to collapse.
This is the base for the Graco SnugRider. Super light weight & easy to collapse and your car seat snaps right on top.

Phil & Ted’s Stroller- I am extremely passionate about the Phil & Ted’s double stroller. This is for when your baby outgrows the infant car seat. I HIGHLY recommend getting it from the start. The doubles kit is detachable, so you can use it for just one child. It is narrow and streamlined and pretty lightweight. The major downfall is that it’s expensive, like very expensive. I got mine used off the Denver Craigslist one summer for $200.

The Phil & Teds with doubles kit attached.
The Phil & Teds with doubles kit attached.

Car Seat- I got the Graco Snugride because I liked the stroller concept (see above). But it truly has been a great car seat, 3 (soon to be 4) kids later.

The Woombie- I swear by the Woombie (ie: Baby Straight Jacket) and prefer it hands down to any swaddle. There is no extra fabric that can cover their face to cause suffocation because it zips. I’ve worried with every child that they would have a hard time sleeping without it and so far, no problems. The Swaddle Pod also works.

Sweet Pearl in her woombie.
Sweet Pearl in her woombie.

Glider- I didn’t skimp on my glider. In fact, it was the group gift from two different showers. Five years later, I still LOVE it. So many sweet memories. I couldn’t find the exact one, but this a similar style in a different color. Funny how a simple chair can hold such special memories, especially late night ones.

glider
My glider.

Bidet- Yes, I said bidet on a baby gear post. But if you had one, you would put it on here too, I promise you. Long story short, my parents have one & gave us a high end one for our wedding (HA!) complete with a remote control. It rinses you with warm water (my parents have a seat warmer and built in dryer as well).  For mamas who are adopting, some of this may not apply, but listen to me- you still need this. And you never knew it was a need until now. For the rest of us moms, this is your at home “sitz bath“. At the hospital, they will give you a little squirt bottle and a portable bidet to keep your bottom sanitary after all the trauma you’ve endured. Coming home to this convenience after having a baby is… wonderful. It is also great for just keeping you clean down there on a regular basis and well, honestly after sex. So there you have it. You do need an outlet in your bathroom near the toilet and though I can’t personally vouch for this one, I know they sell them for cheap ($26) on amazon and it has 1000 reviews, so apparently I’m not alone. Just think about it.

By bidet, I’m talking about a toilet seat attachment that fastens on… and then changes your life. Forever.

The Right Coffee Table- And by the right coffee table I mean the right toy box. Having a giant chest for a table allows our family room to double as a playroom by day, but turn back to a quiet living space at night. This was probably the best $200 we’ve spent yet.

Nebraska Furniture Mart Coffee Table. This continues to be a life saver.
Nebraska Furniture Mart Coffee Table. This continues to be a life saver.

Pack N Play- Don’t be an idiot like me and buy the heaviest one you can find just because the pattern looks like gucci. I want to kill myself every time we take a trip, which is constantly. Consider these lightweight options: Phil & Ted’s Traveller (still $100 cheaper than the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib) or the more affordable option, but works better for kids around 3 yrs- The Pea Pod.

The Phil & Ted's Traveller. Weighs 5 pounds, not 100 like mine.
The Phil & Ted’s Traveller. Weighs 5 pounds, not 100 like mine.

Swing/ Bouncy Seat- My first swing was huge and took up a ton of space. When Pearl was born, I got a Fisher Price swing/vibrating bouncy seat combo. I really like it. It doesn’t go side to side, but other than that, I love.

Fisher Price Space Saver Swing & Bouncy Seat
Fisher Price Space Saver Swing & Bouncy Seat

Breast Pump- Some friends of ours got us the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (double electric). It’s nice. If you have a friend who has one, you can also consider buying new tubing and using theirs. This is also convenient for long car trips if you have a car outlet adapter.

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump.

High Chair- Again, I like small & streamlined, so I’ve liked the Fisher Price Space Saver  because it reclines. But June is 8 months and I’ve switched her to the Fisher Price Booster Seat. These are also obviously great for traveling. If you don’t want to do a space saver, but still like small, try Ikea’s cool looking Antilop chair.

Fisher Price Booster Seat High Chair.
Fisher Price Booster Seat High Chair.

Baby Carrier- I liked the Moby for the closeness, but it did get hot in the summer. I’ve heard a lot of people rave about the Ergo, that they love the back support. And I really like the way that looks. It is pricey, so we opted for the Moby.

The Moby Wrap.
The Moby Wrap.

Diaper Bag- The key to a good diaper bag is this: POCKETS. Especially side pockets, but just lots of pockets in general. I got mine 4 1/2 years ago so it’s no longer available, but I’ll post a pic so you get the general idea. It’s the Fossil Key Per Coated Canvas Utility Tote. I like that it stands up and I can put my coffee mug on one side and a bottle on the other. I keep 2 different sized diapers in the pockets in the front. It has a ton of room and 4 large pockets on the inside as well. I tried a couple other ones before this that just didn’t work and haven’t seen anything like it since. If you’ve found one you love, post in the comments.

Fossil Key Per Coated Canvas Utility Tote.
Fossil Key Per Coated Canvas Utility Tote.

Cloth Diapers- They’re not as weird as you think- they go on & velcro just like real diapers. But you do have to be willing to get your hands a little dirty. We did bumGenius diapers with our first two. We registered for 25, which was plenty and just used disposable wipes. I loved doing cloth diapers and highly recommend them. I just chose to stop doing them for a while because they are a big time commitment and I couldn’t keep up with so many little ones at once. But if you are able to get them as gifts and even use them for your first couple children, it’s a major money saver (especially if you have an HE washing machine) not to mention it’s awesome not throwing all those diapers away. Speaking of diapers, no one ever told me about cloth SWIM DIAPERS! I just discovered them a year ago. I will never buy swim diapers again!

Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diapers

Diaper Cream- You’re not supposed to use diaper cream with cloth because it can strip the absorbency of the inserts, however… when I needed to, I used Beudreauxs Butt Paste. 

Crib Sheets- You’ll need 2, maybe 3. Make sure they fit the mattress. I have a couple that are annoyingly small and I get int a fight with them every time I have to put them on.

Small Thermal Cooler Bag For bottles & breast milk. The hospital gave us one for free & it was nice to have.

Other- 3 Changing pad covers, Bathtub & support insert, Bobby Pillow, 1-2 padded pack n play sheets, car seat head support, playmat, exersaucer, bumbo, burp bloths (at least 7 or 8 if not more), binkys(?), Bassinet & sheets (something easy to borrow), Dr Brown’s Slow Flow bottles (glass or plastic), bibs, baby spoons, sippys….

What I didn’t need:

Diaper genie- No. I recommend a small trash can for pee diapers and keeping plastic bags in a drawer ready for poopy diapers that you can put in the garage.

Changing table- You really don’t need one. Just a dresser that you can put a changing pad on and you’re good.

Sheet savers, lap pad & waterproof pads- I’m not even sure what these are & you don’t need them.

Crib soother- our kids used sound machines instead.

Car mirror- I always wanted this to work, but it never really did for me.

Jumperoo- I know some people swear by these, but I just used our exersaucer.

Wipe warmer- Seemed a little high maintenance but what do I know.

JJ Bundle Me- EVERYONE told me I needed this. And again, I wanted to use it a lot more than I did. But they’re kind of a pain to get on and off and a blanket works just as well.

Video Baby Monitor- I know people who couldn’t live without these, but I got freaked out by a segment I saw on Good Morning America about hackers who could see into your baby’s room and sometimes even talk to your baby. Needless to say, I didn’t get one.

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On a not-so-side note, this stuff adds up. In Columbia, we have a Facebook group called Como Moms Exchange were 2,000 moms buy & sell used stuff. It’s like an ongoing garage sale, except I can see if we have mutual friends. And because of it, my girls have a Barbie Jeep, two bikes, scooters, and lots of other fun things. Check & see if your town has one & if not, consider starting a group yourself.

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What Baby gear do you have that you have loved? Do you have a diaper bag you love?

8 Comments on “Gear Guide for the New Mom

  1. Great post, Eliz! Wanted to add that all insurance companies are required to cover breast pumps, so definitely call them before going out and buying one. I naively bought an Ameda the first time around, but made sure to get my “free” Medela for baby #2. Also, embarrassingly enough, we ran out and splurged on a diaper warmer the first week we had Hannah at home. She just wailed every time a cold wipe hit her bum and this new mom couldn’t handle it :).

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    • Thanks for the reminder about the breast pump, Siobhan. I recently learned that too- so good to know. And LOL about the wipe warmer. Maybe certain extra special babies DO need warm wipes. With cheeks that cute, they need a little spoiling!!!

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  2. I have loved my Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack diaper bag. I found it at Nordstrom rack for much cheaper or sometimes they sell on Craigslist too. It was a gift so more than I would have originally spent myself- but I use it every single day- it’s worth it.

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  3. Hey! Mer has been enjoying your blog. She mentioned several things, I’m looking forward to reading in its whole.

    I just skimmed the part about pack and play, 5 lbs sounds A LOT better than 100.

    Love it eliz.

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    • Thanks, Adrienne! It’s fun to think of Mer reading my blog- and I love that you read it too! Stay tuned for my next post on “How to Throw a Block Party”. We have 100 people coming tonight- I’m super pumped!

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  4. Hi Eliz! Love the list you put together and all the tips you have! Being a new mommy I can attest to many of your recommendations! I personally love having a diaper genie and find it convenient that all diapers go in one place. We registered for and received an Ergo, but my baby did not like it one bit (too active and felt restricted I guess!) so we ended up getting a Bjorn off craigslist and she LOVED it.

    Looking forward to reading more from you 🙂

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  5. Dara! Good to know about the Ergo- funny how even as babies we have our own little preferences. Awesome you found one on Craigslist. I tried to look and see if Bend had a Moms Facebook group like the one I mentioned, but I didn’t see anything. Loved hearing your thoughts- keep ’em coming!

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