So you find out your pregnant, and if you're anything like me you immediately google "what do I need to take care of an infant" or maybe even "how do I take care of a newborn". I remember the first time someone asked me about a Dock-a-Tot I thought wtf is that? Again, Google saved the day.
There are endless amounts of lists on the internet that will tell you the "Top things you MUST have", I know because I read most of them.. I will say if you have someone in your family or a friend who has a baby, they may be your best source. Even after reading all of those lists, books, articles, and apps my best support and advice given has came from my mom, friends, other moms, and my sister-in-law who is a lactation + baby guru!
If you're pregnant for the first time it can be extremely overwhelming when you start to think about what you need, what brands are the best, etc. Soon the list adds up and you barley have time to get it all.
Let's start by saying my baby girl is only two months old so I am by no means an expert, but I thought it was worth mentioning what has and hasn't worked for us so far. This is not an all encompassing list of what you need for baby, but simply the products we've used so far and the ones we didn't like or didn't end up needing.
Pump & Parts
I knew from the beginning I wanted to breastfeed, it wasn't until my first day home from the hospital did I realize how draining it was to solely breastfeed all while trying to recover. I started pumping right away so others could bottle feed baby when I needed a break. I breastfeed half of her feedings and bottle feed my breast milk the other half. I use the Medela pump and it has worked great for me so far. Remember you can qualify for a free breast pump through insurance!
The Madela steam sterilizing bags are life savers, don't get me wrong. We use them every single day for when I need to just sterilize my pump parts, or her pacifier. But your sink will become a revolving door for bottles and everything that goes inside your baby's mouth. We have dedicated one side of the sink just for those things. So when you have a sink full you're going need to save all the time you can and use a large sterilizer. Our Advent one rusted after two months and stunk so bad. We replaced it with OMORC and love it!
We use Advent and they have worked extremely well, I love them. When she was having a period where we knew her stomach was bothering her we tried Dr. Browns and she did not like latching on those. They also leaked everywhere for us.
Snuggle Me Organic
You've probably heard of a dock-a-tot, or maybe not. I remember someone asked me if I had one and I had to google what it was. Anyway it's a cushion they lay in that prevents them from rolling which in turn, prevents SIDS. We love her Snuggle Me Organic and she does too. She sleeps in it at night and it reminds her of the womb.
This is a total lifesaver for us. It monitors baby's heart rate and oxygen levels, so if you're neurotic like me you can rest assured with this on. If their levels become too low an alarm will go off. We only have her wear it at night. We have heard of this malfunctioning if your WiFi isn't strong enough or it giving a false reading but we have not had any problems with it. Let me say, we've gained some hours of sleep with the Owlet - without it we'd be making sure she's still breathing every second.
For the first few weeks we just used her blanket to wipe any drips from her mouth but when she started drinking more we then started using bibs. I just didn't like her outfits to get soaked and then have to change her. Also if they get wet they'll get cold and then cry. My favorite brands are Monica & Andy, Copper Pearl, & Honest.
We have a ton of these and haven't used one & I don't think we ever will. When baby needs to burp throw her over your shoulder and burp away. No one has time to get a cloth so unless you're wearing a $500 shirt you may be able to skip this. *Disclaimer I'm only saying this because our baby does not have reflux nor ever spit up regularly.
We started using one of these right away in the hospital. They soothe baby and it has not messed up her latch at all. She breastfeeds and bottle feeds perfectly fine. Our absolute favorite brand is BIBS, it's the only brand she uses.
P loves being swaddled. The best brands are Posh Peanut and Monica & Andy. Posh Peanut's are extremely soft and stretchy so I do a "knot" swaddle with these. That type of swaddle is extremely easy for others to learn. The Monica & Andy swaddles are also very soft but firm so it's harder for baby to break out of. I do the traditional swaddle with these.
We started using a sleep sack at about 4 weeks old. By that point she was starting to become strong enough to break free at night and I was sick of waking up to re-swaddle so we switched to a sleep sack, We still swaddle sometimes for naps though. P likes to sleep with her arms down or across her chest so we ruled out the Ollie, and the arm up sleep sack and chose Woombie.
If anything, hopefully this list will steer you in the right direction of things that are at least a necessity. Remember, every baby is completely different so things on this list that worked for us may not work for you. Or things we hated you may love! The best bit of advice I can give when it comes to baby gear is TRIAL & ERROR. First time parenting like solving a puzzle and once you solve that puzzle someone comes and pulls it apart and you once again have to put it back together as baby gets older. Hate to say it but some things you spend a lot of money on may go to waste because you just have no clue what your baby will like or not. But of course no amount of money wasted even matters because the love you have for the trumps everything else.