Top 10 Mommy-Musts: Necessities for the first year

When I was pregnant, I asked my friends who had kids, what items they couldn’t have lived without. Surprisingly, most seemed to forget. Hence my list. With the holiday season upon us, I thought this might be a good time to reveal my Top 10 Mommy-Musts. I hope this helps someone somewhere as I would have loved a good list of mommy musts for the first year. Keep in mind my list bypasses the obvious musts like a crib, car seat, diapers, stroller, etc… And yes, these are in order.

#10: Baby Monitors: This is on my list because I don’t feel like it’s an obvious purchase and I don’t think you really need one. However, our monitors have allowed us to go to the pool while the babies nap. And for those brief half hours of relaxation, baby monitors are a must! I felt like a new woman on the days when I could get away and sit by the pool. These moments to myself were a tremendous benefit to me, my husband, and my babies.

Here’s my two cents on monitors: Monitors are great for getting your babies out of bed earlier than they need to be taken out. If you’re the type to hold your baby the second they make a noise, monitors are for you. But, if you want your baby to get good consistent sleep–and if you have any plans on sleeping yourself–don’t bother buying one. Think about it. If your baby is making noise they are safe and fine. The monitors don’t go off when horrible things happen i.e. SIDS. And when your little one is ready to get up, you’ll hear their cry without a monitor. I slept so much better once I learned to turn the monitor OFF–and so did my babies. Keep in mind, I live in a condo and can hear them from any part of our house, so for those of you with huge homes, I understand the need for a monitor on.

Of course, I’m not condoning you ignore your child’s cries. I’m just saying that there have been very few times that monitors have really come in handy for me. Yes, they fall and bang their heads on their cribs. Yes, their legs and arms can get stuck in the bars. Yes, they want their mommy. But they can usually console themselves or get out of these situations on their own if given a minute. Plus, I have let mine cry 5-10 minutes after a 30 minute nap and they’ve gone back to sleep for another hour. I’d much rather they sleep an hour longer than get them up as soon as they start to whine. Sleep is so important.

#9: IKEA high chairs: I love these chairs. For one, they are fairly small, light weight, cheap and plastic so you can hose the entire thing down when need be. And let me tell you, I’ve had to do that when Hudson pooped all over the back of his chair. Gross! Throwing it in the shower is super easy. The straps aren’t the best at adjusting to the baby’s size, but I simply add a knot on the end. Also, the straps tend to get filthy but I’m not sure you can avoid this problem with any high chair.

#8: Footed Coveralls: I say footed because I believe in keeping babies warm when they sleep. If their feet are exposed, they get pretty cold, and once they begin to move in their cribs, forget about swaddling or blankets for warmth. Plus, socks are stupid. They take them off faster than you can put them on. Honestly, you really don’t need any baby clothes other than these. Ideally, I would only buy footed coveralls with hand covers and a zipper for their first 6 months, but those are hard to find. I’m so sick of snaps!

Before 6 months you change them so much, and they ruin their clothes so easily, that all you really need are white onesies (don’t bother with socks and shoes people!). After 6 months, they get so messy when eating, it’s too much hassle to undress and dress them between every meal. Plus, I think they learn to move around better with their skin exposed touching everything around them. Mine were pretty much naked during the day and then footed coveralls for bed from 6-12+ months. Okay, I guess you should clothe them if they’re in daycare. Just thought of that one.

#7: Big Swaddle Blankets: So here’s the thing. My babies slept so much better swaddled tightly. I mean really tight (one useful thing I learned in NICU). However, those receiving/swaddle blankets everyone has don’t last long as your baby typically doubles in weight within the first three months. We had a ton of receiving blankets and I think they were too small from the beginning. And I had tiny premies! I ended up using oversized blankets until they squirmed out of those around 6 months old. The material doesn’t really matter. The blankets used in NICU are not stretchy and they work great. I had the best luck with plain tightly woven cotton blankets. The key is the swaddle, not the blanket. Forgo traditional swaddle blankets and get bigger ones (40″ plus).

#6: Bowls with lids: My twins would finish their full meal 2 out of 3 meals a day. I hate throwing good food out so I would throw a lid on, and put it in the fridge for the next meal. A must have for those who do not like to waste food. I picked up some cheap ones from HEB. Love them!

#5: Colored bottles and cups: This is really for moms with multiples, but I couldn’t have lived without color-coded bottles/cups/nipples/rings/sleeves. With each baby on a different formula, calorie intake, and medicine, it would have been impossible to track. Yes, there are a ton of other ways to do it like grab a Sharpie and put their names on their bottle or put a blue/pink ribbon around one, but grabbing a blue or pink bottle is way easier and faster. Plus, if others are feeding them, and you have boy-girl twins, it’s obvious who’s bottle is who’s: blue for boy and pink for girl. Although, I still got questioned on that one.

#4: Cradle: I wish I would have gotten this sooner! Hudson loved the motion and it helped him to sleep during his first 6 months. Believe me–especially Charles–it’s worth the money to get one vs carrying your baby around the house for an hour, only for them to wake up once you put them down. I’m sure it doesn’t work for all babies but both Hudson and Ellisa spent many hours napping in these. Plus, it is one of the only places I could feed Ellisa. Without it, feeding issues would have been way worse. I recommend getting one with a chrome mirror above the babies face as they spend time looking at themselves in it.

FYI: We never used the bar that goes across. It’s impossible to put them in unless you take the bar on and off and it’s just too much hassle. I don’t think my kiddos even played with it. Be sure to ALWAYS strap them in. Even though you think they’re little and can’t get out, one quick arch of the back and they’ve rolled out. I didn’t happen to me but it almost did. We caught Ellisa before she fell out.

#3: Play Yard: A total life saver. We call it the “cage” as it feels like the twins are animals at the zoo, but there’s no safer place to put your precious little ones while you run to the bathroom, grab a drink, or brush your teeth. Because we’ve got twins, we have two that make one huge play yard. I love hanging out in the cage with them too. It feels like such a safe environment. You can somewhat relax and enjoy your little ones while in it. It’s ironic how we look at the cats from inside out. I think the cats like us on the inside.

#2: Flip Camera: This little gadget is so worth the money. It’s quick and super easy to catch your baby on video. Plus, it’s small enough to fit in your back pocket when running around the house. I’ve captured so many moments with this video camera and uploading them to YouTube and Facebook couldn’t be easier. I can see myself using this for years to come.

#1: ipad: I know this is a big expense but my ipad was my best friend the first year of my babies lives. While I nursed or pumped I would check my email, read, order things on Amazon, facebook, watch Netflix streaming, play games, etc… You can even download apps for tracking your baby’s food intake, sleeping patterns, and dirty diapers. Plus, we used it to entertain Ellisa while bottle feeding her in her crib. She loves some of the baby apps and I’ll do anything to get her to take her bottle. I think this purchase is well worth the money, especially since we are still using it for music (check out the third video down), books, flashcards, games, shows, etc.  I expect we’ll be using it for a long long time. Sorry, My Brest Friend but the ipad wins this one.

What mommy-musts could you not live without?

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Comments
4 Responses to “Top 10 Mommy-Musts: Necessities for the first year”
  1. mary seltzer boomer says:

    The Wombie. A handy swaddler that zips up. It’s super tight and secure. My newest little gal liked to break out of regular swaddle blankets, and thus, wake up. The Wombie kept her all snug and snoozy.

  2. Andrea says:

    This is a great list! I second the need for footed PJs, swaddle blankets, and the play yard. We don’t use the play yard at home since our entire house is super baby proofed, but the play yard is a lifesaver when visiting grandparents. I also loved our boppy pillows and used them constantly. Not just for nursing, but for laying babies propped up on their tummy after eating (my reflux babies loved this), or on their backs. They were also great for cradling babies when I had to feed two or even three at once. Then then were great for babies learning to sit up on their own. I also love our rubber tommee tippee bibs that I can just rinse off on the sink instead of putting a million cloth bibs in the laundry.

  3. Joseph says:

    Quite the list! This does not even cover the cost of diapers, etc. I don’t think I could ever afford a kid. I am glad I get to see yours on the website!

  4. tracey says:

    For us, the Nose Frida! We found the bulb from the hospital to be pretty worthless. We have a pretty tiny kitchen so we decided to forgo the highchair and went with the First Years adjustable seat you can attach to the dining chair. But before we put him that we fed Benjamin in his Bumbo or his bouncy seat. Great list!

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