What we’ve used (and a few things we haven’t)…

by Ashley on November 3, 2011

Many of you have asked about our registry, and the items we have found most valuable thus far. So with the giant caveat that we’re only a few months in on this whole “Oh my goodness, we have a son!” bit, here’s my list…

Crib: Remember the closet that became the nursery? Only this crib would fit. So we were so grateful to get one used, with lots of the accessories (you need a mattress, 1-2 mattress pads, and 2-3 fitted sheets), at a bargain. That said, we only started using it recently. After a few nights home, we rushed out to buy the Summer Infant Sleeper; he slept in it, between us, for a couple of months. We also used the co-sleeper on trips in lieu of a travel crib (though this Nest Bedwas what we had originally planned to get for that purpose).

Swaddle Blankets: We chose Aden+Anais (these beautiful ones) and have loved using them… for most things besides swaddling. For that we use the Miracle Blanket. Hudson was like Houdini with everything else and slept twice as long as usual on the first night we tried it. We bought a second one immediately.

Stroller: Bugaboo Bee (along with the Maxi Cosi car seat adapter, infant cocoon, and Cup Holder). I feel like coming to a decision on a stroller is a post in itself. More to come.

Car Seat: We borrowed a Maxi-Cosi
infant car seat from friends. I especially like how easily the Maxi Cosi car seat adapters attach to (and detach from) the Bugaboo Bee Base. That said, some friends have mentioned that other car seats have easier buckle mechanisms. I can’t say we tried any others after learning we could borrow this one. (Also for the car: Sunshades and a rear view mirror; and for the car seat on the stroller: UppaBaby cabana )

Carriers: Ergo Baby Carrier (with infant insert), and Sakura Bloom Ring Sling in Linen. Hudson was born in July and it was was over 100 degrees in the shade on the day of his first pediatrician appointment, so we were really happy to have the linen sling those first few weeks. I would alternate between the stroller and the sling, but often found wearing Hudson to be easier than pushing him on crowded New York sidewalks (and you can nurse discreetly in the sling–even while walking!). Once he got heavier and the days grew cooler, I found myself using the Ergo more often. It keeps the weight on my hips and can be used on the front or back once he’s older (though he can’t face out). I especially appreciate that it has zipper pockets for me and a little hood for shading him.

Bouncy Chair: We borrowed the Oeuf Bouncy chair. I think the Bjorn Balance or the Maclaren would also be good options. At first, I wasn’t sure this would be very useful (he couldn’t make it bounce and it was too upright for him)–but now he uses it all the time. He loves to sit in the center of the action and look around from his chair and I love knowing that he’s safely strapped in.

Swing: This is a gray area. We thought we were firmly in the no-swing camp (especially since we have no space). But a few nights of Aron swinging the car seat back and forth to calm Hudson down sent us scurrying to the store for a small, slightly hideous swing. It had none of the calming effects of the dad’s car seat swing, but it did distract him for a while. Still, we ditched it last week after only a handful of uses. Who knows if a larger swing would have been the answer or whether a rocking chair would have been a great addition–I did inflate the birthing ball for some bouncing on occasion–but we just don’t have the space (and have luckily moved out of the need-to-be-bounced-to-sleep stage).

First Aid: We registered for the Safety 1st Healthcare and Grooming Kit. I use the nail clippers all the time, always while he’s eating. It takes forever to clip his nails because he flexes his hand constantly, but I love holding his fingers around my thumb and being his salon. We have Infant Tylenol on hand for vaccinations and Vitamin D supplements (as recommended by our pediatrician). We also have a humidifier and a Nosefrida–both yet to be used.

Bath: We borrowed the Puj Tub from a friend. I can see why people love this easy-to-fold, easy-to-store tub, but the truth is–Hudson didn’t love it. We think he got too cold being so out of the water. Instead, I get in the tub with him and we have bathtime together. I also don’t bathe him that often and I think his skin looks great. We have two super-cute robes and some great Mustela bath products, but sometimes I just use Cetaphil and a bath towel. And one day, when he’s in the bath on his own, I’d like this kneeling pad.

Diapers: We were glad we had a box of Newborn diapers waiting for us at home, even though we still needed to place an order with diapers.com almost immediately (you fly through these). We use free & clear wipes and Aquaphor.

Breast Pump: I have the Simplisse Double Electric Pump, but find that I generally prefer to use my small, Medela Manual Breast Pump on occasions when I want to express. I’m sure I would feel differently if I needed to be apart from Hudson more often.

Bottles: We have the Born Free bottles with air vents for gas. I’d love to get some of the glass ones.

Pacifiers: Not all babies like pacifiers, but Hudson used to need them to get to sleep (and still likes them when napping on-the-go); we have liked GumDrop Newborn. Confession–we tried Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water to see if they’d ease his gassy tummy and found them to mostly useful for causing him to suck harder on his pacifier (very soothing). The combination of a few drops of Gripe water and a pacifier was a lifesaver on our road trip, helping him to fall asleep in the dreaded car seat.

White Noise: Joanna recommended the Marpac SleepMate . I like that it stays on all night and makes us feel more comfortable moving around the apartment after he’s asleep.

Fan: We didn’t move Hudson into his crib until we had one. Good circulation reduces the risk of SIDS.

Baby Timer: There’s the Itzbeen , or–if you have a smartphone–there are half a dozen apps. We use BabyTimer on the iphone and I’m hooked. I no longer need to keep so close an eye on his feedings or diaper changes, but I am obsessed with tracking his sleep patterns. It’s great to have something like this for when the pediatrician asks you about details.

Toys: Skip Hop Activity Mat, Activity Mirror, and Sophie the Giraffe. He loves his activity mat (even the crazy, ugly squirrel), and I’ve loved watching him bat at, then grab for the little dangling “friends” above. He has some other toys (we put him to sleep with Mr. Scrapopulous, and of course there’s Mr. Elephant), but we have tried to keep toys at a minimum–especially since he doesn’t take much interest in the ones he has yet, and we have zero space left in our apartment. In theory, I would love for him to have only beautiful knit and wood toys, but we found ourselves in Babies R Us buying the most hideous butterfly with dayglow and rings and black and white stripes and mirrors and… all kinds of stimulating devices… not too long ago.

Books for Hudson: We didn’t register for any books, but I was still surprised that Hudson didn’t get very many. I wish he’d gotten more books and fewer clothes, but I’m not sure how one influences such things. I went out and got him The Very Hungry Caterpillar board book recently and he seems to really like it–especially because he can turn the thick pages. Our neighbor got us Goodnight Moon and we read it before bed every night. I can’t imagine our bedtime routine without it. So far the baby books we have are my favorite toys.

Books for us: Like most new parents these days, we are big fans of The Happiest Baby on the Block. We also have about half-a-dozen books on sleep that we read/skimmed trying to figure out where we stood on the whole parent-led/baby-led sleep issue (Ferber’s descriptions of sleep associations were most helpful in getting our bedtime routine down). We’ve also like Jo Frost’s book and the What to Expect the First Year (both gifts), and I would recommend a book on breastfeeding if that’s your plan. I’m often skimming books at Barnes & Noble or looking at AAP or Mayo Clinic or Baby Center online regarding milestones and care guidelines.

Burp Cloths: It seems we can never have too many of these. Cloth diapers work great, but we also have these super-soft ones from Giggle and a set from Aden + Anais that can become bibs when he’s older. They are my favorite–big and very absorbent–but the cloth diapers are more cost efficient.

Clothes: We didn’t register for any and still got a ton of clothes–far more than we needed for the summer. Most folks can’t resist picking out cute outfits for babies, and who can blame them? The only thing I might do differently? I might keep the sex of the baby a secret until after the shower. You might feel totally differently, but I’m not big on extra-gendered clothes (and actually love it most when babies wear white onesies). Hudson got a lot of shirts declaring him a “little slugger.”  I was especially happy to have some kimono-style shirts on hand for times I didn’t want to tug something over his head (like these Giggle Better Basics short sleeve onesies).

Diaper Bag: See here.

Breastfeeding pillow: I can’t imagine doing without the My Brest Friend pillow, lent to me by a friend. It made things so much easier. Now Hudson sits on my lap or lays beside me, but I used that pillow non-stop in the first few months.

Memory keeping: We have been enjoying using this box. I also bought myself the 5 Year Diary which has small boxes for daily entries; I figured the limited lines would take some of the pressure off and make it easy to jot down simple notes like “Found toes!”

Tech: A really good camera and an IPad. I couldn’t do without our camera. And I was the very lucky recipient of an IPad when Hudson was born. I love being able to access the internet and read the newspaper with one hand. It’s better for consuming content then creating it, but I love it. I’m also incredibly grateful for AppleTV and streaming Netflix.

Bonus: It’s so awesome when friends and family help feed you in those first weeks. Our good friends sent us grocery delivery and we were so grateful.


What we haven’t missed (so far):

Diaper pail: We registered for (and were given) a Diaper Dekor, but ended up returning it when we saw how huge it looked in our apartment. Also, Hudson’s diapers don’t smell too bad yet and there’s a trash shoot in the hall, just a few doors down. We haven’t missed it (again with the caveat: yet).

Changing table: We first got a changing pad, but again found that it overtook our apartment. Instead, we brought home some of those waterproof pads from the hospital (we’re lucky that Aron can exchange them) and use the bed or floor as a changing station. We also use these for an easy-to-wash addition on many surfaces. Sometimes I wish I weren’t always bending down, but this has worked out just fine. I’m glad we decided to exchange the changing pad.

Baby monitor: We live in a studio apartment, so no need. But I do wish we had one for traveling.


We still plan to get:

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib
(and fitted sheet)

A high chair or maybe just the phil&teds Lobster Highchair to clip onto the table

A larger apartment


P.S. Many of you also had great suggestions in the comments on this post. Check it out for an additional reference.

[Images from giggle: ERGObaby Carrier, Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light, My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow, Puj Infant Sink Tub, Aden+Anais Swaddle Blankets via Baby Mine]


Michelle J. November 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm

We use the Born Free bottles and I had both the glass and plastic. I wouldn’t buy the glass ones again because once my daughter was able to hold her own bottle the glass one was too heavy and I was afraid she would drop it. The plastic is also easier for them to hold.

I love that highchair!

Ashley November 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Great tip–thanks!

Jennifer November 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Yes! I have been telling people for years not to tell the sex til AFTER the shower (or not at all). That way you get all the stuff you need and not a ton of blue/pink clothes. Plus you will get a ton of clothes as gifts once the baby is born.

Great list!

Ashley November 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

It didn’t even occur to me that clothes might then get skipped completely. Brilliant.

ivy November 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm

thanks, ashley! always love to hear your advice!

SmithRatliff November 4, 2011 at 10:37 am

The “little slugger” sentence made me laugh! I never would have thought of that, but it’s totally true. 🙂

Shelbie November 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Great list! We lived in a very small space when our first son was born and we got the Fisher Price Space Saver high chair and loved it. I loved it even more this past spring when we had baby #2 and I knew that I could put him in it from the start. t has 3 different positions and reclines pretty far. I love that we can all sit at the dinner table together. And it’s nice that it doesn’t take up any more real estate in the dining room since it just goes onto one of the chairs that we already have.

nicole November 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Great list! I’m bookmarking this and passing it along to friends. Thanks!

Oh, and, regarding bath-time, I noticed Bec (over at Girl’s Gone Child) recommends this bath flower thingie from Blooming Bath, see what you think: http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2011/10/bath-time-party-of-two.html

Car November 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

Great ideas– fyi, you can use the hip hold on the ergo for facing out– we started doing that at about 6 months when she wanted to see the world more and it works great.

Ashley November 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Going to go watch the You Tube how-to now! Thanks!

Rebecca November 6, 2011 at 4:13 am

Our list looks pretty similar to yours! We almost got a Maxi-Cosi to use with our stroller (Uppa Baby Vista) but it didn’t “snap” and I worried that I’d constantly be paranoid without an audio cue of some sort, so we have a Graco car seat.

We did an Amazon registry and added books there, if that helps anyone!

I know you said you returned the changing pad, but we got one of these and it is awesome. When I was getting to buy a pad, it occurred to me that I would likely be changing the covers multiple times a day, so I googled “wipeable changing pad” and I can’t imagine dealing with covers and such, particularly when I am half-awake.

Erin November 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Great list! Ours was pretty similar, too. We have been using a tummy tub for bathtime and while it took a little getting-used-to, it has been a lot of fun to watch him relax in there and more recently to see him splash around. I do wish that I had purchased nursing bras ahead of time, it wasn’t something I considered and they made a big difference in my comfort. For a carrier we’ve been using the new bjorn comfort which has a hip strap like the ergo. It has a forward-facing position that is nice, but no option to be worn on the back. Oh, and the treetop friends mat rules! Our little guy loves the rattling bird with the crinkly arms. PS – maybe you’ll consider a sleep post? We’re still trying to figure that part out 😉

13bees November 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm

skip the highchair and the phil and teds and get an inglesina fast table chair. cheap, well designed and space efficient. it’s one of our favorite baby purchases!

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