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It’s pretty crazy that my last post was 38 weeks ago, but it’s even crazier that on that day I was 31 weeks pregnant. Even crazier still, as of today my baby girl is 7 months old. What is happening?! How is time flying by so quickly?! It’s a whirlwind of emotions, new experiences, challenges and growth. Having a baby is life changing and I feel more blessed with each day that I spend with my beautiful little girl.

Emma Ruth Reid, 7 months {Wearing HM Sweater, Headband & Socks | Circo Pants}

That said, prepping for baby Emma was a challenge as she was our first. We had no clue what to register for, what brands were best, etc. We only wanted the essentials to start, and had no desire for loads of unnecessary baby gear and toys cluttering our home. Also, if you are on a budget it’s best to register for the necessities first so you aren’t stuck being stressed out and having to make all of the large ticket purchases yourself. I can honestly say that I couldn’t have done it without my dear friend, Kate Harris. She helped guide me along the way as I asked her questions about everything. She was also pregnant with a baby girl, but this was her second so she had great advice, tips & tricks. I remember her sharing her top 13 list of must have baby items on her blog and I immediately registered for almost all of them. {Make sure to check out her blog, curiouschase.com. She also has an amazing pregnancy training course called Bebe Steps, launching soon, that you’ll want to check out!} It was so helpful and I would now love to share my list in hopes of helping others. But before I get to the list, I must say this: There is an overwhelming amount of parenting books, parenting styles, must have baby lists, etc. The best advice I can give any expecting new mama is to find one friend {maybe two} that already has a child, that you admire and respect {their parenting style}, to be your go to for questions. Of course you can Google anything, and that can be helpful at times, but it can also be insanely overwhelming when you are in a pinch or are already feeling overwhelmed as a first time mom. I found it extremely comforting to know I could text my one friend with a question about anything and she would give me a straight up answer followed by advice/her experience with the issue. She would also encourage me and tell me that I was doing a great job and not to second guess myself all the time. Obviously, none of us know everything or have all the perfect answers. Parenting is a learning experience and we were all given our own parental instinct to deal with our babies, so don’t expect your friend to be the know all-end all, but it will be so helpful. I say all of this because personally, I did not want the advice of everyone I knew, especially if I wasn’t on the same page with their parenting style/lifestyle. This is why I never ask parenting questions on social media. Information and opinion overload, no thank you! So I hope this piece of advice helps you or someone you know. Now, on to the goody list. ūüôā

I am going to give you a longer list of items, only because I think it will help you fully prepare. If you are on a budget like I was, make a spreadsheet in order of importance from the largest items down to smallest with the item name, price and link for where to purchase. We planned out what we were going to purchase each paycheck up until our baby was born. Highlight or delete items as you receive them for gifts to help keep track of what you still need. Also, use gift cards wisely as sites/stores have promos and you will also receive coupons. Do a bit of research and strategic planning before making bigger purchases. I promise it pays off. You will also receive a one time discount on anything from your registry that does not get purchased for you. Take all of these things in to consideration when planning out your purchases.

LARGE ITEMS:

1. TINY LOVE 3 IN 1 ROCKER/NAPPER:¬†The Tiny Love is amazing! Emma slept in this by our bed for the first month or so. I also let her lay/play in this by me in the kitchen while I made dinner, etc. It has a few different positions, vibrates, and has a detachable mobile that lights up and plays music. A bassinet isn’t a necessity. Save the $$ and get something like this that works for sleeping and playing. {Plus it’s light and easy to move from room to room, very important!}

2.¬†CHICCO KEYFIT 30 CARSEAT¬†,¬†CADDY STROLLER¬†and BASE:¬†There are many car seats and strollers to pick from, and there is probably a handful that people like better, but this one was recommended to me and I have loved it so this is what I will recommend as well. You can choose from different colors and style variations of the Keyfit 30 car seat, this is just the one I personally chose to stay simple and neutral {it wipes down easily as well}. The caddy base is awesome. It is so lightweight, compact and easy to open/close/put in the car. Yes, you will need to buy another stroller later on as this only works with your car seat. I chose this option because I planned to wear my daughter as much as possible, which has worked out great. I am now ready to get a jogging stroller for walks in the park, etc. but this combination was perfect for a newborn and didn’t take up a lot of space. Very easy to bring in to stores, restaurants, etc. This car seat also has an excellent safety rating and the base is super easy to install in your vehicle. **The infant insert/secure design makes it a favorite by NICU nurses for premature infants as well.

3. MEDELA BREAST PUMP: I chose the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump With On The Go Tote. You can plug it in, or use batteries for long trips in the car. If you plan to go back to work this would be a great pump as the tote is discreet and holds everything you need. A good breast pump is an investment, but well worth it.

4. MOTOROLA BABY MONITOR: There are many to choose from and I’m sure there are even better options, but this is the one we chose and it has been great!

5. Baby Carriers. Everyone has a preference, but here are my favorites:

BABY BJORN:¬†I personally love the Bjorn. I know it’s harder on your back but I found it to be very easy to put on and get Emma in and out of. It’s lightweight, not bulky and folds up nicely for storage. It worked great until she got to about 5 months and outgrew it in size and weight. For me it was well worth it for the first 5 months.

ERGO 360:¬†This carrier has amazing support for your back and can be worn 4 ways. Most people carry their babies facing their chest, but Emma always wanted to be facing out so she could see everything and kick her legs. This carrier is perfect for when they outgrow the Bjorn as you can carry them in it until like 3 years of age. It’s also best for outward facing. I personally have never used a wrap like the Moby. It’s way too much material for me, too hot, and when I did try it Emma freaked out {but every baby is different}.

I also love the WILDBIRD carriers. I never got one as I discovered them a little later on but I will for sure be getting one for my next little one. I’ve heard rave reviews from friends.

6. Diaper Bag. A great diaper bag is important since it basically becomes your purse for a good amount of time. I went with¬†this¬†style by TIMI & LESLIE. There are options that are more purse like, but I loved the material of this one and all the goodies it came with. I use the changing pad, zipper sac for soiled clothes, insulated bottle tote and clutch purse constantly. It has been the best diaper bag and is super easy to wipe down. This style does not zip, but it has never been a problem. My friend told me something that made so much sense when I asked her about it not zipping…she said “with how often you will be getting things out & putting things in the bag you’ll never zip it anyways.” Truth. Make sure to choose a diaper bag that isn’t overly feminine so your poor significant other isn’t stuck carrying around some crazy girlish print.¬†Backpacks are a great option too, JEEP makes a good one.

*Side note: You can look for the carriers and strollers at Consignment stores or on sites like eBay, Varage Sale and Craig’s List, but you want a new carseat. There is no way to guarantee that a used carseat has never been in an accident and you do not want to risk your child’s safety.¬†

SMALLER ITEMS:

1.¬†CLOUD B ON THE GO SLEEP SHEEP:¬†This little Sheep has been the best. The velcro piece wraps around two of the crib bars and we turn in on low volume so that when it shuts off it doesn’t startle/wake her. I also didn’t want her to end up needing noise in order to sleep. It worked great when she was first born in the hospital as well. Battery operated, take it anywhere!

2. ADEN + ANAIS SWADDLE BLANKETS:¬†You only need 2-4 swaddle blankets as you will wash them often. I kept one in the car at all times just in case I needed it to block sun, for her to lay on at people’s homes, etc. The Aden + Anais swaddles are the best because of their size, the soft muslin cotton and the stretch so you get the best finished swaddle. Well, after enough practice anyways. ūüėČ But these make it much easier! I am also in love with the swaddle designs from MODERN BURLAP.

3. MUNCHKIN WARM GLOW WIPE WARMER: No infant responds well to a cold wipe on their butt in the middle of the night. Enough said. {Extra amazing in the winter.}

4. HONEST NIPPLE BALM: If you are planning to nurse, buy two of these before your baby arrives. Keep one in the diaper bag and one near where you plan to feed him or her. With as often as you will be nursing, you will want to apply this after each feeding. A good friend told me about it and said I must do it religiously…I haven’t stopped thanking her. You can also use it as a lip balm, my baby loved it when I put it on her lips. It’s all organic and you don’t have to worry about washing your nipples before the next feeding.

5. BOPPY NURSING PILLOW: I still keep my arm under my babies head while nursing, but the boppy provides relief and helps you be much more comfortable. It also works great to put around your baby when they first start sitting up. You’ll want some sort of cover to protect the pillow. I went with a simple white waterproof cover. This was mainly because I hated all the ugly designs out there, but I’ve since discovered a fun company called Mod Fox that makes really cute covers if you want something unique.

6.¬†WUBBANUB PACI:¬†Not all parents offer pacifiers to their babies and not all babies take them when offered. However, it is nice to have one on hand at the hospital in case your baby does take a paci. We never gave Emma any of the “traditional” style pacifiers as we did not want her to have nipple confusion {the shape is important}. Someone gave us the WubbaNub as a gift and she has loved it from day 1. It is very helpful for naps, car rides and fussy times since it has the plush toy attached.

7. LIFE FACTORY BOTTLES:¬†I wish I would have known about these sooner. I knew I wanted to use glass bottles and I went with Avent since I was clueless. They weren’t bad, but they were really fat and heavy. My friend told me about Life Factory when I was ready to buy the 9oz size. They are an investment, but worth every penny. They have an amazing silicone sleeve so they can be extremely hot {can be boiled to heat} or cold and protects the bottle from breakage. It also makes feeding easier. The whole thing can go in the dishwasher as well. The best thing about them is you are basically getting all the cups you need in one. As your child grows you can purchase the sippy cup tops for them, and there are also regular caps so it can be used as a regular water bottle. The link I provided above is for a starter kit which is the best bang for your buck.

8. NEST, BY NATIVE WILDS: I discovered this gem on Instagram and wanted one for months. My mom got me one for Christmas and it has been awesome, but would have been so helpful when Emma was a newborn. As you’ll read on the website, the Nest is¬†a¬†multi-use, ultra-stylish scarf that functions as a nursing cover, car seat cover, shopping cart cover, and baby blanket made from silky soft, hypoallergenic bamboo. Genius!

9. ADEN + ANAIS HOODED BATH TOWEL: A good quality bath towel is so important. Do not bother with the cheap ones. They feel awful, pill and do not absorb water, at all. 1-2 towels is plenty.

10. BURT’S BEES WASH CLOTHS: These wash cloths are ultra soft and the perfect weight/size for babies. A set of 3 is plenty.

11. HONEST BABY ARRIVAL GIFT SET: Do yourself a favor and register for this. Someone gave it to us as a gift and it was awesome. It was everything I needed to stock my diaper bag for the hospital. I give Emma a full body rub with lotion every night and we are just now finishing our first bottle at 7 months. It has a light scent and she loves it. The body wash/shampoo combo is amazing. I also keep the butterfly teether in the diaper bag and she loves it when I pull it out at restaurants, etc. since it’s not in her regular toy basket.

11. SOPHIE THE GIRAFFE TEETHER: This is my favorite toy that Emma received {and not just because I love all things Parisian}. Babies like Sophie when they are newborns and even more when they start teething. We keep Sophie in the diaper bag so Emma has it everywhere we go, and she has another style for the house.

12. LITTLE REMEDIES GAS RELIEF DROPS: Our little one has a very sensitive tummy and had some acid reflux. These drops are great to have on hand when an upset tummy comes along or if you have a sensitive babe like we do. I keep a bottle in the diaper bag, in her nursery and in the kitchen. They are all natural and work almost instantly! She loves the berry taste and gets excited when she sees the bottle.

13. LITTLE REMEDIES GRIPE WATER FOR COLIC & HICCUPS: Our little one got hiccups all the time as an infant and this all natural gripe water worked almost instantly.

14. Baby Books. I had no interest in reading the most common ones mainly because they are filled with far too much information, and also because I am not a huge fan of American parenting these days {this is a whole different post}. That said, there a few that are worth reading/having on hand. Even if you just reference a chapter or two from a couple of these books you will be glad you did.

One additional piece of advice for new parents, sign up for Amazon Prime! It will change your life. You don’t have to do all of the Target runs, end up spending extra money or bundle up the newborn to leave the house. {Although I do recommend getting out of the house, and often, but more for fun stuff like coffee dates and walks in the park}. Amazon Prime is $99/year, free shipping, and you get your orders within two days. Bonus: If you are in an area with a distribution center close by you also get Prime NOW with your membership and can get things within 2 hours! It’s also an amazing site to register on. It will prompt you to send thank you’s and even provide the address of the gift sender.

BONUS LIST РWHAT TO PACK FOR THE HOSPITAL {One of my good girlfriends sent this to me and it helped me pack my bags without feeling like a crazy person. Cynthia, I am forever grateful! xo}

FOR THE CAR: {leave in car}
  • Two bath towels – if your water breaks you’ll be super grateful you have these.
  • Setup baby car seat {and base} – your hospital will most likely have you bring in your car seat before you take your baby home
BABY HOSPITAL BAG:
  • Diapers {You never know how your baby will react to the hospital diapers and I wanted to use sensitive diapers from day 1}
  • Baby wipes
  • 3- 5 changes of clothes {in case your baby spits up/ poops/pees, etc. You don’t know how many days you will be at the hospital so you want to be prepared}
  • PJ’s
  • Burp cloths
  • Socks
  • Beanie
  • Swaddle Blanket and Receiving Blanket
  • Butt Balm {I used the Honest Healing Balm from the gift set}
  • Warm blanket {Depending on the season}
  • Pacifier
YOUR BAG:
  • Hair ties
  • Nipple Balm
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Hairbrush
  • Makeup
  • Pads and Nursing¬†Pads {5-10 pairs of nursing pads because you don’t know how much milk will be leaking if any}
  • PJ’s
  • Robe
  • Cotton Underwear {This style by Calvin Klein is super comfy but still stylish. Maternity underwear are the worst, they aren’t even comfortable!}
  • Slippers and/or flip flops
  • Socks
  • Normal clothes to go home in {You’ll want something loose fitting on top for sure}
  • Bra {I recommend this ultra comfy nursing bra. I have two of them that I rotate all the time.}
  • Nail File/Clippers
OTHER: {for you + significant other}
  • Pillow {You’ll be grateful to have your own, the hospital ones are pretty wimpy}
  • Blanket
  • Snacks + Protein Bars
  • Water bottles
  • Camera
  • Ipod {music can help you relax or pass the time while you labor}
  • Washcloth {Can help to have your significant other drench it with cool water to cool you down when in labor}
  • Phone Charger

*Typical¬†hospital stay with normal labor/delivery is about 2 days…but since you never know what your outcome will be it’s best to prep for 4-5 days worth. Or at least pack a separate suitcase and leave it in the trunk of the car. It’s better to be safe and over pack than to have to send someone to your house to try an get extra things for you.¬†

WHEW!!! I know that was a lot in one post, but I promise that if you are an expecting new mom or know someone who is, this will be helpful. I even printed out these lists and physically checked items off as I packed, etc. It is a lot of work before the baby is born, and more after, but totally worth it! ūüôā

X,

Erica

P.S. Don’t feel bad about returning items that your receive as gifts! If you hate it or are never going to use it don’t waste space trying to store it. Return it and put the money towards something your baby really needs or will use, even diapers. Most places do not need any sort of receipt. Just tell them it was a gift and get store credit. If you aren’t sure where it came from Google the brand. It’s usually pretty easy to tell what lines are specific to Target, etc. If returning isn’t an option, consign or donate.

 

 

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