Needs, Wants and Crap for Babies: Part 2

The first edition of Needs, Wants, and Crap was a great success when published 18 days after our son’s birth. Eight months later, it’s a good time to update the list and see how things have changed.

I haven’t included everything from the original list, so if you’re curious, be sure to check it out here.

Necessities

We consider these to be things we could not live without (in addition to everything on the original list):

  • Baby Detergent: Part of the original list, after trying a few brands and seeing how our son’s sensitive skin reacted, we settled on Greenworks Free & Clear.
  • Diaper Bag: I want to reiterate the usefulness of this all-purpose accessory. It holds everything from diapers to clothes, food and even my wife’s purse whenever we leave the house with the baby.
  • Sippy Cups: These have been invaluable as vehicles for our son’s drinks of water and juices and the best stepping stones from bottles to full-fledged cups later on.
  • Diaper Champ: I had previously labeled this heaven-sent tool as “very useful,” but after eight months I have to say it’s practically a necessity. If you live in an apartment like us with a far walk to an outside dumpster, this will keep the foul smells in check.
  • Bottles: Originally, these made the list because they’re a must for breastfeeding on the fly. But these bottles double up very well for water and juices as your little one grows up.
  • Pack-and-play: I’m including this one for a second time because it’s been absolutely priceless in the many trips we’ve taken with our son out of town. This playpen-doubling-as-bed fits in hotel rooms, in-law’s homes, and anywhere else you happen to go!
  • Storage containers and blender. If you’re going to make your own baby food, a good blender or food processor (large one, preferably) are a must. Also useful are good, spill-proof storage containers to refrigerate food for a few day’s supply.
  • Booster Chair: We got this in lieu of a high-chair because it’s easily portable when we travel (it measures about one cubic foot). Your baby has to sit somewhere when you feed him, and that’s preferably not on your lap (trust me!).
  • Good bottle brush. A regular kitchen brush just doesn’t cut it when it comes to the awkward shapes of a baby bottle and nipples. Make sure you get one with a special tip designed to wash the tight areas of a nipple.

Very Useful

These are useful things that we simply couldn’t classify as necessities because if hard-pressed, we’d do without them. But they’re nice to have.

  • Look-alike toys. For whatever reason, babies seem to be incredibly interested in TV remotes, cell phones, any anything else with buttons that’s easily breakable. We haven’t been able to stop the madness totally, but our son’s “fake” cell phone keeps him occupied enough to leave the real one alone for a while.
  • Baby swing. Our boy didn’t take to this contraption as first, but soon enough it was the only way to get him to take a nap during the day. Your mileage may vary.
  • Swimming hat. Inexpensive, 50-SPF hats (and shirts) are readily available during the summer months. They help keep the sun off your baby’s sensitive skin so he doesn’t get too toasty! A life-saver for us in Florida.

Ehh…Not So Much

Useful for some people, but we feel like these tools just haven’t realized their full potential:

  • Baby Guide Books: This is today’s “biggest faller” as it was part of the original necessity list. I can honestly say that after the first few months, I didn’t need to refer to these books anymore. A lot of information is now available online on sites like these, and a good doctor is always just a call away when something goes wrong.
  • Bassinet: We received ours as a generous gift from a friend (and it was a very useful gift!), but if we had to spend the money ourselves, I have to say we would have skipped this one. If you have a crib, it’s easy enough to assemble in your bedroom and re-assemble in the baby’s room a few weeks later.

Don’t Even Bother

These are things that were recommended to us that we stayed away from, or things we simply haven’t used at all:

  • Bottle Warmer: Originally “very useful” because we just didn’t know any better, we decided not to get a bottle warmer in the end and seemed to have done just fine. It takes a little bit of pre-planning during feeding time, but it’s not a big deal.
  • Rocker/glider. Yes, I know it can double as a rocker for your living room, but if I wanted one of those, that’s what I would have bought. Meanwhile, the one in our baby room got very little use over these months.

Baby Update

I just wanted to close by sharing with you some of the latest goings-on with our little guy. Many of you ask about how he’s doing regularly.

We feel like our last nine months have been completely blessed. Other than a few hiccups here and there, our boy has been a complete angel that refuses to wake up at night, cry needlessly, be loud at restaurants, or any of the other typical horror stories that you hear about kids.

Needless to say, we’re very thankful. He’s now starting to walk around the house while hanging onto furniture, and it feels like he’ll be riding a bike to school before we know it. Seriously. It’s that fast.

Thanks for all your questions through the months, and I hope I can learn as much from him (and share that with you) as he can learn from me.

Share your thoughts on the best baby gear you’ve come across!

Photo by tanakawho

4 thoughts on “Needs, Wants and Crap for Babies: Part 2

  1. We were also given a bassinet when our oldest child was born. It came from my in-laws and had been my husband’s when he was a baby. It was a well-intentioned gift but I don’t recommend buying one either for yourself or someone else. They are large and ungainly and useful for only a short time. Really, their main purpose is looking pretty in the nursery!

    Detergent-wise, I had good luck with dye-and-scent free versions of Arm & Hammer and Purex, which are relatively cheap, but ultimately that decision is up to your baby’s skin.

    To your needs and useful lists I’d add sturdy shoes (not the Robeez kind) as they begin to walk, and some kind of baby carrier, preferably the backpack type as they get heavier (we don’t have one but we borrowed one recently and I wish we’d invested in one three kids ago!).

    1. Agreed; our baby seems to be particularly sensitive to a lot of things, including “sensitive skin” wipes.🙂 It all depends on the little one.

      Haven’t thought about the shoes yet (not walking), but good suggestion! We haven’t made too much use of our carrier, but that might get more use as our boy gets older. As an infant, he definitely didn’t like getting tossed around in it.

  2. It goes ridiculously fast! My baby just started kindergarten! You hear how fast it goes but somehow it doesn’t sink in until it happens to you, haha.

    We found the booster chair invaluable. I used it for my 5 month old starting solids all the way through nearly 4 year old sitting at the table, and it took up no more space than the regular dining chair.

    I don’t need special detergent, but I make my own and it’s unscented. It’s worked well for the whole family.

    Unlike Sarah, we LOVED Robeez for new walkers! They’re designed to flex under the feet of new walkers, which helps them develop appropriately, whereas hard soles don’t help with that. My kids were in Robeez and knock offs until they were steady walkers, at least 18 months. The carrier was a must for me, too! Ergo is awesome, and my sling was great for nursing discretely.

    I posted a list of the top 5 worst and best baby shower gifts and there is an interesting discussion about what is genuinely useful and what is filler when it comes to babies.
    http://thesavedquarter.com/2010/09/24/top-5-worst-baby-shower-gifts/

    1. Good and timely link, thanks!🙂 We’re still a few months from considering shoes but everyone’s input will definitely be helpful.

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