Let's face it: when you're a first time parent, you have no idea what baby items will be useful. You just know that there are too many options, and simply just too much STUFF and you are OVERWHELMED with it all.
I had a minimalist registry, and still carry in a minimalist attitude towards Henry's gear and clothing. We will NOT be that house full of baby gear, where you trip over baby toys and crap whenever you come over. No. Just no.
Thus, we arrive at my opinions on the best and worst baby items as experienced after one month of utilizing them on Henry. Worst items are getting tossed or donated, best items are getting used with baby #2! You know, when I decide I can endure pregnancy again...
PS - Henry is exactly one moth old today. Happy one month birthday, my little HenHouse!
The "It" List:
- Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash: Shocked a BB product made this list?! I know, I know. But seriously, this stuff makes your babe smell like honey! Mmmm. It's gentle enough to not cause issues if it gets in your baby's eyes, or if your kiddo is strange like mine and loves to drink bath water (yeah - what?! Henry turns his head in his baths and gulps it up. Obvi I try to stop him, but this kid is determined). It doesn't create some crazy lather, but most products that do that are full of icky chemicals.
- Avent Soothie Pacifiers: My child LOVES these! They also came as the only ones recommended by our lactation consultant as paci's that don't contribute to "nipple confusion." As a breast and breast milk bottle fed baby, this was important to Henry (yeah... or me). We wouldn't make it through our long nights, and I wouldn't make it through my long days without Kirk, sans our Soothies.
- 365 Everyday Value Diapers: (The link is for a size 4, but clearly I get the newborn size) Diapers are pretty unique to the baby they're on, but these work best for Henry and meet my standards of not containing chemicals, fragrances, perfumes, or "skin conditioners" and are as environmentally friendly as a disposable diaper can get. They fit him really well now that he's up to over eight pounds, and are the only diaper that hasn't allowed a "blowout" to date!
- Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets: These. Are. Awesome. If you're having a spring or summer baby, get many packs of these! If you live in the South like me, get many packs of these even if you're having a January baby. They're light, breathable, forgiving of baby-stains, and are flexible (in terms of messes they address - we've wiped up many a spit-up projection and they've caught several diaper blowouts, without fail).
The S&*! List:
- The Boppy Pillow: This pillow sucks. It just... It straight out sucks. It's too "fluffy" to use when breastfeeding - it will knock your baby's head back so that he can't swallow - and that's coming from a mama who is 5'10! Is there another use for this pillow? It's a strange shape. It looks "baby-ish" so it won't fit with my decor. Fail. This pillow will be donated shortly. Meh, now I know, and now you know too!
- Medela Newborn Nipples (and bottles): While I love my Medela breast pump and storage system with the lids that inscribe the date of which you pumped (GENIUS!), I do NOT love their nipples that turn your storage bottle into nursing bottles. Some work great; others don't let air through so that they collapse on themselves. Others allow too much air/milk through and you'll spend the whole feeding cleaning milk of your baby's face, neck, and outfit. Skip the inconsistent nipples, even if it does seem too handy to pass up!
- Burt's Bees Baby Bee Wipes: Hey-oooo, a Burt's Bees fail! Well, not to me. My husband hated these though. While they're nice and thick and smell great, they are indeed hard to pull out of the package, and you usually get more than one or part of one that ripped off from the last change and one or two more. And when it's 2am and you're trying to do a change, or you're trying to get a change in before a pre-feeding meltdown, struggling to get the dang wipe out of the container will all but make you chuck the container across the room.
- Bamboobies Brahh: Much like the Burt's Bees wipes, I don't want to list this as a fail, per se... But, I own a black bamboo "brahhh" and it's true, I do wear it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. But it's getting horribly stretched out. I ordered per their size recommendations, and it's too large for my rib cage (which is why it became a sleep bra) and now the straps hang off my shoulders. So while it's the most comfortable nursing bra I have, it's not supportive enough for daytime wear, and you need to order a size smaller than you think. And it will likely still become too stretched out. And at $32, it seems like a rip-off that this thing doesn't fit after only a month!
Of course, all these are very dependent on your particular baby, but it's a good start to what I've found to be successes and failures in the over-crowded baby-product-market. If you've recently ventured into new mommy-dom or are about to, best of luck in the first few weeks figuring out what works for you and your family!