What Do You REALLY Need For A Baby?

One of the most stressful things about preparing for a baby so far has been trying to figure out what we really need for our little bundle… and what we don’t.

Diapers. Wipes. Formula. A place to sleep. Those are obvious. Then you get to places like Babies R’ Us and find out there’s a great big world of baby items out there that retailers insist are “essentials.” When I first saw our registry guide, I admit I was totally overwhelmed!

That feeling of frustration has only grown after talking with co-workers and friends. I’ve been asking the same questions: “Which of your registry items were the most helpful?” “Which were totally a waste of money?”

Everyone has a different response. So what’s a new momma to do?

Here are my thoughts on a couple of items that seem to be most controversial – falling into the REALLY need or NO WAY lists of just about everyone I talked with.

South Shore Savannah Changing Table

Changing Table – We have decided to register for/buy one of these as a home base for our cloth diapering. I have heard from several cloth advocates who say having an organized, designated spot to store and manage your diapers is a must if you expect to keep going with the project. Still, at $100 or more a pop I can see where people see this as a waste.

Wipes Warmer – Found one for about $25 at Babies R’ Us but am on the fence about whether to register for it or not. I’ve read that wipes left inside for too long get a little yucky. I also read that baby will scream bloody murder if you are always wiping her little bum with warm, snuggly wipes then have to switch to cold!

Graco Pack ‘N Play Travel Play Yard

Pack N’ Play – We have not registered for this. My co-worker tells me I am INSANE for not doing so. He says it’s the only way to keep baby contained when you’re rushing around the house trying to manage other errands. He also pointed out how helpful it is when traveling to see family. I feel like they are awfully expensive and our home environment is such that I could keep a pretty good watch over a young one. Maybe not. lol.

Hooded Towels – I admit, I was suckered in by an especially cute whale design with fish too and registered for some of these. Many parents I know say they are totally unhelpful though and that a nice, warm, fluffy towel for a baby works better at keeping them warm. On the plus side a nice, warm, fluffy towel could cost a few bucks and the hooded towels $15.00+.

So parents, what do you think of my observations above? What items did you find were “must haves” for a new baby? What items did you register for you that you wished you had skipped?

Share your thoughts below!

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15 thoughts on “What Do You REALLY Need For A Baby?

  1. i would buy the pack n play. i actually used mine more than i thought i would. and if you are going to do cloth diapering i would do the changing table. as for the rest don’t waste the money.

    from mom of 6

    • forgot to add don’t invest in the most expensive pack n play there is though. i bought mine for around $60 at babies r us it was a Graco

  2. Aquatopia Deluxe Safety Easy Bath Kneeler. Knee and elbow saver for Mom! My sister gave this to my stepdaughter, and it was such a blessing to have when her two boys graduated from the sink to the tub. Especially if you have sliding shower doors, this pads the track where you lean over the tub edge.

  3. Wipe warmer for me was a waste.. The wipex cooled off as soon as it hit air so it was kinda pointless. Also the wipes can dry out if you don’t keep moisture in the warmer. Another waste, the diaper genie. Get you some of those little blue bags that are scented for travelling and take the out to the trash immediately when you are home and problem solved. We had the cosleeper that was also a playpen and I can tell you, it did not get used other than for the co sleeping part. I’ve never used a changing table. I’m trying to think up some must haves, but I am blanking. With my son I had pretty much all the products you can think of..we waited on having our second so by the time we had her 7 years later, I didn’t have any of them and didn’t feel the need to have them.

  4. As for the Pack N’ Play my granddaughter was pushing her toes into the netting and climbing out before she was even a year old. In my opinion this can be dangerous for babies because they are top heavy and she almost fell out on her head! Her mother put it away before she had even used it for a month!

  5. The wipes warmer is a waste of money. We used ours for about 3 months. It developed a short in the power cord and became more of a hassle than anything else.

    You absolutely will want a pack-n-play. Our daughter is just over a year old and we use it quite often when traveling, or when using a babysitter outside of our home, etc.

    Hooded towels: waste of money. We got a couple but only used one time and that was for pictures because she looked absolutely adorable in it. Towels are just as practical.

    You’ll appreciate a good changing table. That is a must-get.

    I’m still not sold on the cloth diaper stuff. Much less of a hassle to use disposable. The convenience is worth the expense for disposable.

  6. The pack-n-play was great for us and we used it alot when traveling to relative’s homes. My changing table got used maybe 5 times with my oldest daughter and was converted to a bookshelf. I never had a wipe warmer, but wanted one.
    The only thing I can say we never used and took back to the store was the Diaper Genie.

  7. I feel that the pack and play is probably more handy for grandparents. They are a wonderful alternative to a crib for overnight stays. I have one for my adopted grand baby and we use it every weekend.

  8. I have all the items you discussed in your blog, and although they are not a necessity, I LOVE them and use them daily. My 4 month old has slept in his pack n play next to our bed since we came home from the hospital. It’s convenient for middle of the night feedings and diaper changes because everything I need is stored in the pack n play. I don’t even have to get out of bed. As for the wipes warmer, I wouldn’t want to wipe with a cold wipe so I don’t do that to my child. When we are out, of course I must use a cold wipe, but at home, the warmer makes diaper changes plesant. Changing a diaper is an important bonding time for you and baby. That’s why I love my changing table. He sees my face and I talk to him the whole time. Plus everything is organized and within reach. Good luck with finding all the must haves for baby!

  9. I got the wiper warmer as a gift, but it is just as practical to use your hands to warm the wipe, rather than the warmer. Also, you can make re-usable wipes, and use the warm water to make them, or use the wipe warmer to keep them fresh instead (I can send a link to the website where I learned how to make re-usable wipes if you like).

    The pack-n-play was a necessity! We went on a trip, and one out of four hotels we asked had a crib for my daughter to sleep in, so we decided to take the two hour drive home instead. We wound up getting one, and used it until recently when she outgrew it (she is a very tall child). We only paid $25 for it at Sears. We have family about 6 1/2 to 7 hours away, so we did take a lot of trips, but that purchase depends on how long your In-laws will have your child, how far away you go, how many trips you take, that kind of stuff.

    Highchair is a must! We used a highchair with two rolled towels to steady her when she moved to solids at 4 months (we made that move really early because of acid reflux and other problems).

    Cloth diapering can be cheap, you can (if you aren’t afraid of used ones) get them off Ebay, go to a consignment shop, or order the “non-brand” off of Ebay. I paid about $5/each for mine, and they shipped from China, but lasted from the time she was 3 months old until now. The all-in-ones will save you the most money, as they grow with the child. Oh! You will need a wet-bag and a diaper pail of some sort, they sell a bag you can put all of the cloth diapers into the bag, then wash the diapers and bag together (I am sure you know that already though).

    Our changing table is definitely still in use, but we have a crib-toddler bed with an attached changing table on it. She has her books on the shelves and we keep her supplies in the drawers.

    Hooded towels were good for us. We still use the $3-$8 packages of Gerber towels.

    We wound up with tons of baby bibs, washcloths, and all sorts of crazy things that we never even used. Baby bibs are a good idea, but it is so much easier to just strip the child down to a diaper.

    Embroidered and cutesy outfits that are dry-clean only. Well-meaning people sent all kinds of outfits to us, but our dismay was seeing that tag that said “Dry-Clean Only” “Lay Flat to Dry” “Wash only in cold water” or some other version of insanity that meant it was a pretty outfit for pictures.

  10. I’d rather have a Pack n Play than a changing table. You can put it in your family area and keep eye on baby while cleaning, cooking and doing loads ( and loads and loads) of laundry, etc. Sometimes it’s good to just let your baby move freely without being held all the time too. We have two boys and never had a changing table. I found it easier to keep an organized basket w/changing pad, diapers, wipes and extra onesies close by in the family room. I used disposable diapers so it might be different with cloth ones.

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