With baby #2 on the way, I have been reflecting a lot on when my daughter was a newborn. It was such an amazing time. There’s really nothing like having a brand new baby in your house to really put life into perspective. Of course, there are the sleepless nights, the weeks of colic (you can read about my experience here), and the blowouts. Oh, the blowouts… But there are also so many moments of wonder, awe, and joy, as well.
One thing that I didn’t really anticipate was how. much. stuff. a baby came with. Like a dutiful new mom-to-be, I downloaded and printed a list of “Must-Have” baby items from a big retailer. I proceeded to register for, and then either receive or purchase, most everything that was on that list. The list included well over 200 items. 200!! Of course, that number reflects multiples of certain items (i.e. 4 receiving blankets), but still… It was a bit overwhelming. As first time parents, though, we weren’t really sure what was actually essential and what wasn’t. So, we wanted to make sure we were prepared.
Fortunately, this time, we know much better than we did before. So, for those of you expecting a new baby, especially if this is your first, I thought I would put together a short list of items that I found to be life-savers with my first. These are all items that I will absolutely be using again with this baby.
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For us, an audio monitor was absolutely essential. For some who may live in a smaller house or apartment, it may not be necessary. I live in a two-story house, though. So, it’s vital for me to have a monitor in order to hear my baby no matter where I am in the house. I chose this particular model based off of reviews, and I have been very happy with it. It comes with a single base and two receivers. It has a talk-back feature, nightlight, sound level indicator lights, belt clip, and low battery indicator. We actually still use it with our two-year old, since she is still in her crib.
Some people in the reviews complained of too much static feedback, and while there is some, it has never bothered me. I keep it at the lowest volume setting and am still able to hear my daughter clearly when she is talking/fussing/crying/etc. I will say that over time it has lost the ability to hold a battery charge for very long. This hasn’t been a problem for us, though. Since there are two receivers, we just have one plugged in upstairs and one plugged in downstairs. We also travel a fair amount since both sets of grandparents live out of state. These are super easy to travel with – small and portable. I would definitely recommend these as a basic audio monitor.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted a video element for monitoring, as well as audio. I am a worrier, and being able to actually visually check-in on my babe helps ease my mind. We did a lot of research when choosing a video monitor. As you may have noticed, this isn’t technically a baby monitor. It is a security camera. We chose this because it would allow us to check in on our daughter no matter where we were (which I have put to good use, might I add….), since it is streamed through the internet. Also, once
my daughter I grow s out of the need for a video monitor, we can simply use this elsewhere in our house for security purposes. So, we will get much more use out of it.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to both options – a security camera that runs through internet vs. an actual baby monitor that does not. This was what we felt would be best for our family, and we have been very happy with it. It is very small and easy to travel with. It is also very simple to set up when we are out of town visiting the grandparents. If you are looking for something high quality, with a number of great features (including a movement tracker), that will last you a long time, then I highly recommend this camera.
This is the last monitor on the list. I realize it may seem a bit like monitor overkill to some of you, and that’s okay. As I said, though, I’m a worrier and struggle with anxiety. So, all three of these monitors greatly helped put my mind at ease when my daughter was very young.
There are various different breathing monitors you can buy for your baby. After much research, I felt that this one would be the best fit for us, and I loved it. It is a small little device that clips onto your babies diaper. I would clip it to the front of her diaper, just slightly off center. Since my daughter slept on her back for the first 5 months, I never felt like this was intrusive or uncomfortable for her. The monitor detects movement – the rising and falling of your babies abdomen. If no movement is detected after 15 seconds, it will vibrate to try to rouse the baby. If no movement is detected 5 seconds beyond that, it will sound an alarm.
We used this monitor on my daughter for about 5.5 months, until she began rolling over to sleep on her stomach. In all that time, it only went off one time when she was about 1 week old. She was in a bassinet next to our bed, and I was sleeping when the alarm went off. It woke me up, and I snatched her up out of the bassinet. I realized almost immediately that she was still breathing (I didn’t even wake her up!), and I was able to breathe again myself. Whether this was just a false alarm, or the jolt of me grabbing her out of her bed was what prompted her to start breathing again, I’ll never know. I do know, though, that I was SO much more comfortable going to sleep, knowing that this little device would alert me if there was a problem. I may not have slept a wink the first 6 months if not for this. I’ll definitely be using it again for #2!
I’ve actually given this to a number of friends who are expecting their first child. It always gets some raised eyebrows and laughs, but let me tell you, this thing is amazing. I realize that the concept is a bit of a turn-off – sucking your babies snot with your mouth through a tube… Let me assure you though, that none of those ‘boogies’ will ever make it even remotely close to your precious taste buds. And it’s so incredibly effective. Truthfully, we gave the little standard suction bulb a go at first, as there’s much less to worry about as far as potential snot-to-mouth contact goes. It lasted all of about 5 seconds, though, before we pulled out this bad boy and actually suctioned our daughter’s nose out. My daughter is two years old now and has learned how to blow her nose. Yet, we still use this on her regularly. So, you had better believe that this will be our go-to for baby #2 as well. We may even get a second one…
We started giving my daughter a lovey to help her sleep when she was about 6 months old. I had received a number of various loveys as gifts before she was born. The Angel Dear lovey that she received was my favorite though. The fabric is so velvety soft, and the design was very simple. It’s literally just a 12″ square of fabric with a cute little animal head attached. There are no ribbons, tags, or anything else that could potentially be dangerous for a little one. My daughter took to the lovey very quickly, and they have become her security blankets. I say ‘they’ because we are up to 6 of them. Ha! She chews on the corners for comfort – in the crib, in the car, in new places, etc. This means a) they need to be washed often, and b) it doesn’t take too terribly long for them to become pretty ragged. Hence the reason we have so many.
Even as an infant, my daughter never took to a pacifier. So, I love the fact that she has something that helps her draw comfort on her own. It has saved us many, many tears, tantrums, and outbursts. I highly recommend getting one (or 10!) for your baby.
So, there you have it. My personal list of must-haves for your new baby. There are certainly other things that I could probably include in this list. I really wanted to break it down, though, to the things that I absolutely couldn’t imagine being without.
If you are going to be adding a new member to your family soon, congratulations! Just remember that all the new little bundle really needs is you. The rest is just extra. 🙂