What I Wish I Had for That First Baby {Five Favorites}

I haven't really gotten into the mindset of preparing for a new baby yet.
Not like I did last time when I was painting a room before I had even taken the test because I just had a feeling of BABY COMING.  I don't think I'll need much this time in the way of material things, unless, of course, girl.  Then a dress or two would probably be good.  

After having four I'm pretty in the know of what items actually work for us and we have most of them now.  I only wish I had known I would need these things with the first, you know, when you had the big baby shower and other people paid for them.  And because they work so much better and were so much more useful than so many of the things we were told we just had to register for.  There were so many things that ended up being barely used  and later sold and a whole bunch of things I didn't realize were so much more helpful until baby two or three in.  

So maybe I'll make this a mini-series.  Baby Things:  The things I wish I had, the things that shouldn't have been had, and the things that only weirdo (like me) people have.  Something like that.

We'll start this puppy off with what I wish I had had circa baby one.


{1}
The Arm's Reach Co-sleeper


Oh my, I love this thing.  We have the mini version of the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper and it is the bomb.  Our babes tend to want to be right in my arms or skin to skin the first few nights and then a co-sleeper attached bed works the best for us.  I can reach and pull the baby in for night feedings and put them back in without even getting up.  I feel a little freer to actually get into a deep sleep (and don't have to worry about my husband's deep sleeping).  It's the best of both worlds.  We sleep deeper but baby is near us which studies show is safer for his breathing and SIDs risk and better for breastfeeding and natural fertility cycles.

I got our used one off of Craigslist before Michael was born.  It was so much better than the ancient bassinet I used with John Paul.  It's the same level as the bed and I love that it's a neutral cream color rather than obnoxious commercial baby colors or patterns (and now there are several color options, I believe).  We don't use the straps that strap it to your bed as I think they're unnecessary (and can't figure them out anyway) and we do have the leg extenders to raise it up to our bed level.  Our babies have tended to stay in it until 6ish? months before they transition to their own crib.  Bonus, you can travel with it pretty easily and it's nice for baby to keep their own bed and sleep better!

{2}
BumGenius Cloth Diapers
(or any good cloth diapers)


How I WISH I had registered for good cloth diapers with my first!  We used disposables and I don't even remember thinking of cloth as an option.  Silly me.  I wish I could go back and have a chat with her.  We switched to cloth with number two and while cloth diapering can be done very cheaply - way cheaper than disposables - there is a start up cost to swallow.  The nicer cloth dipes, or at least the ones that are most convenient for someone transitioning to cloth, are pretty expensive up front.  I was lucky enough to get our first stash of BumGenius one-size pockets as clearanced seconds so they were "only" $10 a piece.  Brand new they can be an even bigger chunk of money to have a big enough stash for full time cloth diapering.  They aren't going to last through four kids but it would have been nice if I had just had those from the beginning to start with.

We now use a combination of BumGenius one-size and unbleached prefolds and covers.  I took advantage of an amazing Black Friday online sale at Cotton Babies and got a good stash of the one-size all-in-one diapers (no liner stuffing!) for this new little one to replace the one-size pockets in our drawer that have seen much much much better days.

{3}
The Moby Wrap


In full disclosure, I do not actually own a real Moby.  I made several by cutting a long piece of jersey to size.  So easy and so much cheaper.  But it's one of my favorite gifts to give at a baby shower because  a good wrap in the first few months of newbornhood is priceless.  When I was pregnant with my first, we registered for one of those Bjorn things.  You know, the one that Babies 'R Us tells you you're supposed to register for.  We used it a few times with John Paul but it's not good for newborn babies.  They slump and fit weird and their poor head is unsupported and it's uncomfortable with all the buckles and it's hard to get a good fit on a petite mom.  I tried a sling with Michael and that went down fast because I always always felt like he was going to fall out if I moved the wrong way or bent over too much.  By the time David came along I had discovered the magic of the Moby (or "Moby" in my case) and it changed life.  He practically lived in that thing.  He was a hard baby and without that, I would've been lost, I think.  SO wish I had had that from the first go around.

{4}
Swaddling Blankets


I gave up on swaddling for our first couple of babies.  I could never seem to do it right and they would houdini their way out of it.  Enter the invention of the swaddling blanket around the time that David was conceived.  Wonderful, wonderful things.  They stay nice and tight which they love and sleep so much better when they can't startle themselves awake.  There are a bunch of different ones out there now but we have a few of the Swaddlemes and they're great.

Plus, you get a gloworm baby (remember those?) and who doesn't want that?

{5}
A Hammocked Bathtub


I'm telling you the absolute best way to cure a baby with the post-dinner, evening light crankies is by hanging out in a warm bathtub.  The best way to let them do that is with a hammocked bathtub.  I suppose it doesn't have to have a hammock but in order for it to be helpful, it has to be one where a newborn can lay safely on their own (within view and arm's reach of a parent, of course) without needing to be held in a death grip so their slippery little body doesn't go under.  A hammock is good for that.  (The one linked above even vibrates which is a little much.  Ours I got at a garage sale.)  The little tub we got before our first was a foldable basic plastic one.  We barely used it.  We would've been just as good in the kitchen sink.  BUT with a hammocked tub we had with our last two, we could let them hang in the tub in the middle of the living room while we hung out and talked or watched a show.  (We were right next to them, of course.)  Keep a warm washcloth on their belly so that they are totally warm and a previously unhappy baby becomes ultra chill and content baby.  It's like magic.  Just add water. 


Runner up 


The runner up wish-I-had-then baby item goes to the baby seat (aka Bumbo, though the one above looks better and more versatile).  Not a must have but more of a would-have-been-nice have.  They weren't around way back in the dark ages of eleven years ago and I still don't have one.  But I have people I can borrow one from and I most definitely will and have for that stage when baby wants to be upright and a part of everything, can't quite get their body to cooperate with that, and mom needs her hands free.  They're pretty great for that.


So now I want to know…are there things you wish you had had before that first baby???


Linking up with Jenna for some Five Faves!



FYI, affiliate links enclosed!  I think I'm supposed to say that here.

20 comments

  1. wish I would have known about a lot of these the first time around also! (especially that hammock bath seat. genius!)

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  2. ditto Theresa! although some of these items weren't around when I had my first 11 years ago! The baby bjorn was the only baby carrier out there. (makes me feel kind of old) Baby items really exploded a few years after I had Drew- the only thing I would add is the ergo- I still use that with my 2 yr old- couldn't live without!

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    1. Yes! The Ergo is so great. I hate having to switch from the wrap but when the baby is too big for that, the Ergo is next up.

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  3. Great list! Great choices! I couldn't have lived without a swing for my first one though. I like the small travel size ones which I had for my second (didn't have them the first time around).

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  4. I have had ten beautiful blessings and I was lucky enough to get a Bumbo with my last one. I think if you get one it will move from your list of nice-to-have items firmly over to your absolutely-necessary list. It was great for general family interaction, strengthening muscles, and very convenient for feeding time. I always kept it down low on the floor for safety reasons. But this meant there were often little people passing by and wanting to play and realizing the baby was fully accessible for silly games and teaching grabbing practice and "reading" books, etc. Win-win for everyone when that baby is old enough to support his head and learn to sit! Really loved it, saving it for guests and Grandchildren someday! Enjoy this pregnancy and your beautiful family!

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    1. I can definitely see the draw! I have a feeling we'll be very thankful to have one this time around! Thank you, Helene!

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  5. What a great idea to make your own Moby wrap! Do you have a pattern you like to use?

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    1. Oh, it is so easy. I hate to even call it 'making' because all you do is cut a piece of fabric to size! If you use a good jersey, you don't even need to hem it or anything. I think I did about 5 yards and cut the whole length of it lengthwise (so cutting the 60" width into to 30" wide pieces) and got two out of one piece of fabric. (I kept one in the car and one in the house - perfect.) And that's it! It's kind of funny that Moby can get away with charging so much for just a long piece of fabric :) I know there are specific measurements online and I just used the smaller size since I'm smaller. I hope that helps! For one of mine, when I was really cheap, I bought 2 1/2 yards, split it, then sewed the two ends together. It only made one but half the cost and I only wanted one so it was fine.

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  6. In the thick of it currently I absolutely agree with the swaddlers. My husband is great at swaddling with anything but I need the velcro if there's any hope in it lasting more than 8 minutes. SO glad I have some!!

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  7. I definitely thought that we would never use the SwaddleMes when I got them as a gift at a shower, but holy cow - we would have been absolutely lost without them! Our big (9lb 1oz at birth) baby grew out of them pretty quickly but they were lifesavers for the first few weeks. I think I'd add a swing to your list - we got a hand-me-down when she was about a month old and it made all the difference in the world! Always helped with the evening-light blues. :)

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  8. Lol, we are like baby gear twins. Right down to the BumGeniuses:)

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    1. Ha, so funny! We'll see if it keeps up when I post the others!

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  9. Love this! It is so interesting to see what other moms swear by when it comes to baby goods. I have to admit, I don't think any of those items would make my must have list except the swaddles. But then again, I am also that person who doesn't carry a diaper bag and just throws a disposable in my purse ;)

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    1. Ha, a diaper bag may be on the "things I never really needed" post. Because purse.

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  10. Having a grand baby in the house gives me a chance to use many of these items. And yes I have worn the Moby and loved it. It took me a little bit of practice to get the swaddle on right. It is amazing how quickly it calms him and then he is asleep. Looking back to my being the mom- I wish I had a co-sleeper. Feed the baby and put back in the bed and never get up - perfect!

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  11. Gee some items I've never seen! I was told I must have a change table but then I never really use mine, but it sits there looking nice;) Definitely a sling, I use a Nursing Mothers one that baby sits in front and straps criss-cross and a pram. really though we don't need half what we think we do.

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  12. Totally agree on the Moby diapers and swaddles. Those would be in my top 5 along with a cheap, no frills bouncer and an Ergo. Maybe I was missing something but... I don't know that I 'get' the co-sleeper? I bought one at a garage sale for $15 (steal, I was so proud) but it was basically just a pack 'n play for me, only infinitely harder to pack up. I used it as a shower gift for a friend who went crazy over the prettiness of it. And I gave it to her all set up because I couldn't get it packed even for her. It is pretty. But we needed something we could travel with too. Maybe it's me? And just don't want to store a baby tub. We put the baby on a couple towels in the bathtub, but they don't seem too keen so maybe if there's another baby we should think about an upgrade.

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    1. Our pack and play is about double the size of the cosleeper and with the cosleeper the baby lies level to the adult bed and the side drops down so that you're both level and you can reach over and grab the baby without getting out of bed or bending down into the bed. If we put a baby in our pack and play, they would be almost at floor level so much harder for me (and my old, achin' back). It is heavy, though, I admit…but not heavier than the pack and play. I used to have Brian pack it up for me because it is trickier to break down but I've got the skill down now :) As far as bathtub, if it were just for washing, I'd totally agree with you and would be just fine with the kitchen sink. But when used as a soothing/entertainment device? It's been irreplaceable!

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  13. Baby gear just seems to get better and better. Until my third, we didn't have a base for our infant carrier. That meant belting the car seat in for every trip. The base is indispensable. Loved the Bumbo. Tried a zillion different wraps and carriers, but not the Mony. Maybe that would have done it for me.

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