Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My "Baby Essentials" List (what I use, what I don't use, and why)

Recently I've enjoyed reading through some baby "essentials" lists that are being circulated online. As I'm perusing the lists that begin, "Every mom must have..." sometimes I find myself nodding enthusiastically, and at other items, I'm staring at the screen, wondering what that contraption even IS! 

So just for fun, I thought I'd write up a list of the baby items that I've used this time around (and honestly, must have), and then I'll write a second list of the baby items I haven't used with Caroline (and what I use instead!).

My "Baby Essentials" List:

1. Diapers and wipes

I've used cloth diapers (Flip) and disposables (currently I'm loving Up & Up for Caroline, and Parents' Choice for Matthias). I buy wipes at Walmart, too.

2. Clothing.

My favorite outfit on 0-3 month babies would be a onesie + zip-up sleeper overtop (or just the sleeper, if your baby's a summer baby!). It's so easy--especially for the frequent diaper changes, many of which are during the night! I wanted Caroline to be a *little* dressed up whenever she went to church, though, so I found a bright pink tutu/skirt that she wore over her pink sleepers to church. This is definitely a change since Rachel and Jemima were newborns, though--they wore cute outfits and dresses all the time. I guess once you're on Baby #4, you realize that your little one will be wearing "clothes" soon enough!

3. Car seat.

Of course. If you're planning on taking them anywhere, this is a must-have.

4. Crib.

Babies could technically sleep on the floor, or in a drawer, or pretty much anywhere... but our babies have always slept in a crib.

5. Burp cloths

I always have one of these handy whenever I'm feeding Caroline. They can double as a nursing cover, too (more on that down below)!

6. Baby carrier.

We don't currently own a stroller, so we've made excellent use of our Baby Bjorn baby carrier! Whether you're shopping or taking the kids to the park, it's so nice to have your hands free.

7. Diaper bag.

Everyone has different "diaper bag essentials." Here's what I keep in mind: light-weight large burp cloth (for nursing), second burp cloth (for when the baby spits up), diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for the baby. Not a lot of stuff, which means it's easy to haul around!

8. Pack 'n Play

While not a necessity, our pack 'n play has been profoundly helpful. We've used it as a nice transition item from the crib to a bed, as well as carrying it with us whenever we travel.

I could go on, but those stand out as the biggest "essentials" that we've used...

Now for the "Baby Essentials" We Do NOT own:

1. Stroller.

I've heard amazing reports from moms who use strollers, so I guess I've just never found a stroller that I found extremely helpful. If we're shopping, Caroline rides in the baby carrier (or she'll sit up in the front of the cart), and the rest of the kids will walk or ride. I try to avoid taking all the kids shopping, though. I'll wait for a time when Matt can watch a couple kids, and I'll take one or two with me. The shopping trip goes by so much faster that way!

When we're in a setting where there aren't carts, Caroline is carried, and the rest of the kids walk beside us.

2. High chair.

Nope, we don't own one. We used to own a chair that clipped onto the dining table, but it didn't fit our specific needs. Caroline's still exclusively breast-feeding, and I'm not sure when we'll be transitioning her to table food. We have a booster seat that we might use, if she's sturdy enough in sit up in that. Aaaand... we might just break down and buy a high chair. Definitely possible!

3. Nursing cover.

I use a large, light-weight burp cloth. When I'm in a public setting, I normally find a private room to breast-feed in anyway, so then modesty isn't so much of a concern.

4. Changing table.

We've changed a LOT of diapers, but we've never had one of these! We normally change the kids' diapers on the floor, or on a bed.

5. Baby bath-tub.

Again, I've heard glowing reviews of baby bath-tubs, so I'm not saying I wouldn't love it if I owned one! When our babies are small, I wash them in the bathroom sink. When they're old enough to (mostly) sit up by themselves, they "graduate" to the kitchen sink. And when they're standing by themselves, we shower them (we don't have a bath tub, sadly).

6. Baby monitor.

There's always one of us close enough to Caroline's room that we could hear what she's doing. Even Matthias is quick to tell me when "Cayayine" has woken up or is crying. 

7. Nursing/feeding pillow.

As with several other of these items (stroller, nursing cover, baby monitor), I've had one, didn't feel like it was helpful, and passed it along to someone else. 

8. Musical toys/rattle/stuffed animals.

And here I present to you the joys to being the fourth-born in a family. Caroline doesn't have toys specific to her. She plays with whatever the other kids are playing with, whether it's a car, blocks, or an egg separator. The older three keep her very entertained!

While I doubt I'll ever take any items off my "baby essentials" list (I think those items are pretty basic!), there's a good chance I might being using one or two of these non-essential items somewhere down the line. I'll keep you updated!