When I was expecting my first baby figuring out what to register for –or what to buy with all the baby shower gift cards I received—was one of the top perks of pregnancy. Seriously, my joys in life at the time were chicken strips, foot rubs and scouring the internet for everything I’d need for my son.
I think like most first-time moms I probably went overboard. I got way too much of things I never really used (hello nine thousand cute onesies) and not nearly enough of the things I actually totally needed. And now, over a decade later we just welcomed our fourth baby (finally got my girl!) and I found myself once again filling the nursery with essentials. What I find so interesting is that most of my list is tried and true. The things that worked for my oldest son are the same, or just an updated version, of what I recently bought for my daughter. So I thought I’d share that wisdom with you… my real must-haves after a decade of parenting and caring for ALL the babies with the help of Walmart. Walmart carries everything you will need from diapers to strollers and best part they also offer great prices. Check out the registry lists for tons more ideas but here are my favorites in no particular order along with pictures of my daughter Noah who we recently welcomed through adoption… I think we can all agree that she’s the greatest onesie model ever.
Pack n’ Play – Every baby list I know of will suggest you get a bassinet and we almost did with our oldest. Bassinets are prettier and they look like every fairytale you ever read about what a newborn sleeps in. Event still, I am diehard about a Pack n’ Play for new parents. This one Noah’s currently lounging in on a recent family vacation… that was Jacksons, as in, we got it at the baby shower for our first child over ten years ago and it’s still going strong. It has an adjustable height setting and a changing table attachment, which is KEY for a new baby (remember to always take out the swaddle after unwrapping your baby to keep them safe). It has wheels so we literally would drive it to a new location in our house and let the baby hang out in the room with us. Lastly, it folds up into a shockingly small space making it easy to store and take as check in baggage on a flight. No, it doesn’t look like a cradle from a Mother Goose book, but dang it, it’s way more functional than that.
A Wipes Warmer – This was a random thing I registered for when I was pregnant for the first time and I remember everyone at my shower teasing me about it. “Oh the baby needs his wipes warmed? Does he also need gold-plated bottles??” I’d put it on my registry because it seemed like a good idea to me and the years have proven me right. A wipes warmer isn’t super necessary at all times but there’s one instance that makes it all worth it. When it’s 2AM and you’ve got to change the baby’s diaper believe me you want something warm and soothing touching their booty. A cold wipe is a shock to the system and while of course they’ll be fine, my experience is that it wakes them up further rather than helping them stay calm and settled.
Automatic Bouncer – This is a great example of something that was awesome when my older kids were born – a bouncy chair that moved along with the babies movements—that has been upgraded with technology to legend status. You guys, this Smartbounce Automatic Bouncer bounces on it’s own. OK, maybe not alone… it’s not possessed or anything. But there’s some kind of magical technology that gently bounces it while your baby hangs out inside. Back in the day I used to have to bounce it myself, often with my foot as I tried to read a book to my toddler but now you just press a button and your baby is so happy and chill.
Video Monitor – Video monitors aren’t inexpensive and so the instinct might be to go with the audio version only. I promise you, the peace of mind you get with a video screen is worth every extra penny. I really like the ones that have an app to go on your phone so you can access the baby camera from anywhere. There is a wide variety of video monitors so you look for one that’s in your budget.
Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller – Oh how I wish I had known about this stroller sooner! It’s so light. It’s so easy to fold! It’s perfect for a running mama like me (don’t worry even with these headphones I can still hear everything) because it also functions as a jogger.
A few inexpensive trendy things – I want to be thoughtful about how I spend my money. At the same time, this is your baby and it’s so excited to buy fun things for them. I don’t go crazy but I do indulge in a few currently trendy baby items and I have with each on of my kids. With Jackson it was fancy leather shoes. With Sawyer it was an ultra luxurious baby blanket. Ford had a hand made old man sweater before he was a year old. And Noah? She’s got the moccasins, the bows and she’s totally rocking the bandana bibs like a proper hipster. Be smart with your money but have a little fun too.
Wabanub Pacifier – These weren’t popular when my boys were little but I’ve noticed them over the last few years and as silly as it sounds I was super excited to buy one for Noah. Legend has it they were invented by a mom who was tired of losing pacifiers (aint that the truth) so she attached a little stuffed animal to keep them from being lost. Noah loves her Wabanub Pacifer and I love that we always know exactly where it is.
Baby lotions and washes – The newest trend in babies is that now they say not to put lotion on them until they’re three months old. What?! I am a child of the 80’s. I am a mama who lived for that clean baby Johnson & Johnson smell and so when they told me this at the hospital I asked them if it would hurt the baby. “Well no, it’s just, they probably don’t need it” Well sister, they also don’t really need a wipes warmer or fancy shoes but sometimes you just have to mama the way you want to mama. So I used lotion from birth on every one of my babies and their skin is great.
Basic burp cloths – Not the fancy ones, not the ones with patterns or stitching or the ones made out of wool from sheep raised by angels on a hillside in heaven… just straight up, old-school burp cloths. Here’s why, you will go through approximately nine thousand of these in the first six months and if your kids are pukers like mine we will go ahead and double that number. These are lightweight, soft on baby skin and easy to wash.
So to all my new mamas out there here is one piece of advice you just need to take of yourself and your beautiful baby! Don’t worry about getting all the things all at once just get what you need. And no matter what at least there will always be Walmart so you can conveniently go and get something you just don’t have. Best part you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg just to buy it.