Since Jane’s arrival was a little earlier than expected, I never got to share with you one of the things Jake & I were most grateful during my pregnancy … our baby shower. That gratitude has grown exponentially from the day we brought Jane home.
Seven of the most incredible women I know threw Jake & I the most PERFECT baby shower. Our family and friends showered us with SO much for sweet Jane’s anticipated arrival. The gifts we received were so practical and exactly what we needed for our day to day of loving and raising our sweet girl. We cannot thank you all enough for EVERYTHING - thank you, thank you!
All of my explanations and experiences (& REALLY cute pictures) are written below!
While planning for the shower, Jake & I had to create a baby registry for a source of reference for our friends and family to go off of … and here we were faced with the question: WHAT DO WE REGISTER FOR?! I feel like a wedding registry is fairly simple: you need plates, a vacuum, towels, and some kitchen appliances. But with a BABY registry - you need stuff to help RAISE A CHILD.
I reached out to two or three Moms that I knew wouldn’t mind sharing and they were SO HELPFUL with sharing what they needed the first few months. It was such a blessing to have something to go off of … so, I’d like to provide the same to YOU. YOU being any new Momma who has NO IDEA what you’ll need to survive the first few months of having your little bundle … I was just there and I feel ya.
(Before I begin, I want to tell you that NOT ALL Mommas and not ALL babies are the same. So take these all as suggestions, nothing is definite. These items are what I used the most.)
Where did we register?
Well, Jake & I are online people (really, we’re Amazon Prime people) and we figured a majority of the world is, too. So … we (really, it was all Jake) first created a baby registry on Amazon. That was WONDERFUL - maybe a little difficult for any returns - but for the most part, fantastic. Sidenote: It was REALLY easy to convert this Baby registry to a "Wishlist" on Amazon for the family to access when wanting to get her a little something. We're able to easily keep it current with anticipated needs for Jane's growth.
Here we go .. I've linked everything in hopes that it's easier for you!
Around the House
Jake & I really tried to not accumulate too many things too fast, so we kept the “around the house” items limited until she needs more age appropriate things - you’ve probably seen them all over social media because they’re great photo props when they’re so little. :)
I have recommended this Boppy Newborn Lounger to EVERYONE that asks what I love most. I knew about the traditional Boppy, but I hadn’t heard of the lounger until walking through Target one day. When she was her little 6 pound self, this was PERFECT. She's now too big for it and we've passed it on to sweet Lucas, but this is hands down my favorite registry item for the first months. Get yourself one!
There are seriously SO many swing options - we received 3 different options at our shower. THANK YOU! Each swing has it's pros and cons, but we decided on this one. I love that I can move it to any room I'm in. She didn't like it until about 6 weeks, then we were obsessed with it and I could sit here and blog while she just chills. I also like that it's battery operated - I couldn't imagine having to plug one in after having this.
Choosing a rocking chair was rough for me because I really wanted three things:
- I wanted it to be light and easy to move.
- I wanted Jake to be comfortable in it - him being so tall was rough to accommodate.
- I wanted it to go with our living room furniture. I knew we would be rocking her more in the living room than her nursery for the first months.
After a lot of searching around, a Pinterest "sponsored" Pin is what won my vote. I could not be more grateful for this beautiful gift - this rocking chair has been perfect for us. We have sung many songs to Jane (some of them made up) while trying to calm her to sleep in this rocker so far and I know many are to come. It is also wonderful to have for guests when they come over!
Okay, I know Pottery Barn is a bit much for an infant, but HOW CUTE IS THIS ACTIVITY GYM?! I love that it's black and white. As her sight had developed, her eyes have focused in on the black letters and the black & white stripes more and more. It's been so fun to watch. Pottery Barn has a few neutral toned activity gyms, but this one was by far my favorite. You're going to want to start tummy time ASAP, so this is a must!
*Insert tears from these adorable pictures in her bassinet when we first brought her home!*
Zip-front sleep n play
We literally couldn't have had enough of these zip-up PJs. Jane HATED being swaddled with her arms tied down - she has slept like a starfish since the day we brought her home and wouldn't sleep in a full swaddle ... the sleep sacks DID NOT work for us. So, we put one of these on her and she slept a solid two hours. I liked the Burts Bees options best because the feet have elastic around them, but there aren't as many options, so we piled up on the Gerber packs from Target.
One of the main questions I've been asked is which monitor we chose for piece of mind that Jane is ... um ... breathing. There are literally SO many out there - we went with the Angelcare monitor (this is the newer model of ours). The little pad goes under the mattress and monitors breathing. If at any point the pad does not sense breathing/movement, the siren will alarm. Thankfully, this has only happened to us when we forget to turn it off when picking Jane up - however, it was much easier closing our eyes and getting some sleep knowing this was hooked up.
We also have this baby monitoring system - I know, we have two monitors on our child, ha. Our neighbor was selling this one, so we couldn't pass it up. If I could do it again, I would still get the Angel Care, but without the monitor, and still have this Samsung system - it's such good quality. We've taken it to Jake's parent's house, the VRBO houses we've rented, etc.
Aaahh - my FAVORITE thing. Look at this precious angel sleeping. I know some parents use a pack-n-play for the first months, but we went with a bassinet. I couldn't be happier with the Bassinet we chose! I love this one because of several reasons:
- It seems to take up less space than other bassinets we looked at.
- It's SO easy to maneuver - it securely swivels in any direction you could imagine.
- It has "vibrate" and "music" options that I swear have helped her sleep better.
- You can unlock the front rim of it to bend down to get a good peek from your bed ... which I may or may not have done A LOT.
Jake & I were blessed with a hand-me-down crib from my beautiful cousin, Courtney. Jane is actually the 4th baby to be raised in this crib and it's just as sturdy as if it was new. We could not be more grateful! Because of this, Jake and I never had to worry or research cribs - praise God! But if you are going to search and get a new one, PLEASE remember to RELAX. A crib is a crib is a crib.
So, here's the thing - when it comes to crib bedding ... all you need is a mattress cover and a crib sheet. Everything else is just stuff to maintain and move around when you put them down to sleep. Make sure you have TWO CRIB SHEETS at least - don't cut yourself short on that, trust me.
Diaper Changing Station
FYI: Despite what Pinterest tells you, you don't have to have a diaper changing table. It's whatever YOU want. We decided to go with a long dresser as her changing station. Mimi & Grandpa got Jane this dresser from IKEA and it has been perfect - this is the part where Jake mentions the 6 hours it took to assemble it, ha.
I fell in love with gDiapers when Jake's parents raised Jackson in them. I remember how stinkin' cute Jackson was with his gPants on and knew that if Jake and I had our own baby - they'd be in the same! Yes, it's extra laundry and pre-stuffing them takes about 10 minutes of your day ... but we're going on 4.5 months with only one diaper rash of any kind and if you don't decide to flush them, these diapers don't last in a landfill. You can read about them here. I thought about doing cloth for about ... 5 seconds ... and decided to stick with the disposable inserts.
- Mom Tip: BuyBuy Baby will let you exchange diapers for full store credit without proof of purchase. Praise!
wipes on wipes on wipes
Maybe it's because I wasn't thinking at all, but I did not realize just how many wipes we would be using. People told us about the amount of diapers we'd go through (totally true), but I guess I didn't coordinate that with wipes. Once we went through our first 400 wipes, I went ahead and filled up a whole drawer in her dresser with refills (and then signed up for automatic re-order every 4 months). Once I got this little wipe holder, we were set and good to go!
Don't forget to also register for the travel size. You don't need to walk around with 60 ct. wipe package in your diaper bag.
Diaper Changing Pad
Obviously, you'll need a diaper changing pad. Regardless of what you might think, I actually use the clip on the changing pad. It attaches to the wall as well - not that I leave Jane alone on the dresser, but I'm always down for some extra precautionary measures. You'll need AT LEAST TWO pad changing covers.
Most diaper bags come with changing pad in them, but you might want to consider registering for another one. We've done SEVERAL diaper changes in the back of the car, restaurant bathrooms, etc - and you probably will to. It's nice to have an extra if you don't get around to washing your diaper bag's changing pad.
A thermometer is something we did not have at first, but when Jane got her first upper respiratory infection - you better believe we went and got one to make sure we knew if she ever spiked a fever. We have been really happy with this one. Now, be warned - the most accurate temperature reading on a newborn is in their oh so tiny butthole. Yep, we had to do it - and you want something that will be comfortable for them. Jane never even flinched when we checked her. I found this article while googling one day - feel free to add it to your Pinterest board!
Diaper rash ointment
There was about a week where we used the Pamper's and Seventh Generation newborn diapers. I hadn't done laundry in a while (hello sleep) and was behind on washing her gPants (hello sleep) - mixed with her upper respiratory infection, we had our first diaper rash. We immediately switched to gDiapers that next day, used this ointment and it was gone!
other over the counter
One of the sweetest gifts I received was from my neighbor. It was a bag of pharmacy items that were results of her own "emergency midnight runs" for various reasons of her newborn phases. She gave me a bag full of over the counter goodiess to get me through - I still have the hand written note she gave me. It was the best. In paying it forward - here is what I would DEFINITELY have before your sweet baby gets here:
- Saline Spray: Not if, but WHEN your baby gets their first upper respiratory infection, you'll need this to help break all that mucus up before you suck it all out.
- Nose Frida: Yes, I hear you. It sounds REALLY WEIRD. But I've done both the syringe and the Nose Frida - you gotta trust me. Get the Nose Frida. And don't forget the filter refills. I'll come over and help you with your first experience if you need me to!
- Infant Tylenol: Thankfully, we never had to use this until her 2-month vaccinations. I didn't know I would need it until we got home and she wouldn't let us touch her legs, hold her to feed her, anything without SCREAMING bad. I was SO thankful to have this at the house already. FYI: They make a dye-free tylenol - babies don't care what color their medicine is, ha.
- Gripe Water: I didn't know what this was either, don't worry. We learned quickly that babies don't come out knowing how to push poop out without straining their whole tiny body. This helped Jane so much - once we started seeing results (she pooped WAY easier), then Gripe Water became part of our daily routine.
- Moisturizing Coconut Care: For the first few weeks, Jane's scalp had these tiny flakes on them. It was nothing serious - our pediatrician said it was normal as their skins figures itself out. We used this little coconut oil remedy on her head after bath time to soothe it.
- Nail File: You'll understand why you need a nail file after you get scratched in the face the first time, ha. Their nails might be tiny, but they GROW like crazy. We went with these - it's nice to having multiple.
So, I know this is a stressful decision because safety is at the forefront of your mind when it comes to your sweet baby. We went with this carseat. The base is VERY easy to click into - Jake & I feel confident in it. I don't have the muscles Jake does and I find snapping it in and out of the base pretty easily ... Jane's only going to get heavier though, so I need to up my game.
We couldn't be happier with our stroller decision - the B.O.B. There is nothing we love more than our family walk time - and I am confident this stroller is going to last us forever. Initially, we had to get the carseat adapter for these carseat months, then once that is removed, it will be a stroller for a toddler.
Car Seat Carrier
Since the BOB stroller is quite large and complex, I wanted something that we could use when running errands around town. This car seat carrier is super light, I can fold it with one hand, and fits in the seat next to her car seat so that I never have to take my eyes off of Jane when unloading and loading. It also is small enough to roll up to a restaurant table. Would I recommend it? Eh. I'd see if you can find a better quality one - this one was super convenient, but did not hold strong after about 5 months of decent use.
Car Baby Monitor
This is probably controversial, so if you're against this - move on to the next item. I LOVE having this in the car with me for my own piece of mind. When Jake & I are together, I'll sit in the back with her while he drives. When it's just Jane and I, I love being able to see her face. It's the best. One of my girlfriends has it for her little boy and I knew I wanted one the second I saw it.
Like you'll hear 1,000 times - every mom is different. I breastfed for about the first 4 days and then started almost exclusively pumping and introduced Jane to a bottle. You'll figure out what you want to do quickly, so don't put too many expectations on yourself beforehand. (My mental game was not strong the weeks right after birth and having Jake be able to help with feeding was exactly what I needed.)
Learn from my procrastination and call your insurance BEFORE your little one gets here - your insurance plan will probably provide you with a pump. For example, my policy covers one pump every 3 years. My insurance sent me this one - I borrowed one of my girlfriend's up until mine came in and her's had a rechargeable BATTERY! So I could drop and pump ANYWHERE without needing a plug - get you one of those if you can!
You'll also want one of these. Yes, they're as humiliating as you're thinking, but boy are they efficient. Jake and I spent many nights eating dinner together while being serenaded by my pump - oh the memories! It was also very helpful when I pumped at work the first few weeks - I was able to lock my office door and continue working while I pumped.
If you're blessed with a surplus supply of milk, you'll want to pump and store it. I tried several brands, but these storage bags worked the best. The true test isn't in the freeze, it's when it THAWS - and these bags always held it in while it thawed in the fridge. I've also heard grate things about the Lansinoh brand bags.
If you don't register for anything else, you NEED to register for these. And PACK THEM in your hospital bag just in case your milk comes in sooner than expected. (This starter pack is great.) The first few weeks, breastfeeding is NOT all rainbows and butterflies - it HURTS. Put these in the microwave for 16 seconds each, place them on your chest while they're nice and warm for a few minutes before you feed/pump. I wish I would have gotten them sooner - I sent Jake RUNNING to Target for me once my milk came in. I swear I had tripple G's when I woke up my 4th day.
Other Breastfeeding Goodies
I totally understand if you don't want to get these up front, maybe once you know if you're going to breastfeed or not ... but these are things I used on a daily basis while I was a pumping/breastfeeding Momma:
- Nipple Cream. Your poor nipples will thank you.
- Burts Bees Body Oil. Don't put this where the baby makes contact, but definitely rub it all over your breasts/chest at least once or twice a day. Your skin will thank you.
- Nipple Pads. Your going to least - at least the first couple weeks, these help not having to wash your shirt every time you wear it.
I would say start out with at least 8. We went with Avent, I have several friends on Dr. Brown, so search around, read the pros and cons. We had 8 small, 4 oz. bottles. Jane only ate 2 oz. at a time at first, so those were plenty big enough. We also have 8 of the 9 oz. bottles.
So, Jake and I didn't know this - but you'll need to graduate the bottle nipple as your baby gets older. You'll get a feel for when your baby is ready to graduate - there are also month suggestions on the packaging. You don't have to buy all new bottles for this, just the nipple part. (Don't judge us for not knowing this.)
All the parents that are telling you that you'll never have enough burp rags ... well, this COULD NOT BE MORE TRUE. If I had to put a number on it, I would say start out with about 8-12 burp rags and see how you do.
Bottle Organizer/drying rack
I didn't register for one of these, but once Jane was 75% bottle fed I realized the reason for them! Mom got us the grass bottle organizer .. it also has some cute accessories that act as organizers. I've seen the Dr. Brown one in action and it's super efficient, but I liked the grass the best.
Listen to me - you don't need one of these. It's just another thing to find space for. To sterilize bottles, here's what we do:
- Make some boiling water.
- Fill one side of your sink (or a large bowl) with all of your rinsed out bottle pieces.
- Add some warm, soapy water (we've used seventh generation dish soap forever and continue to with Jane here).
- Pour the boiling water over everything and let is sit for a few minutes until you can touch the water.
- Do a couple scrubs with your bottle brush, rinse, and let them dry!
So, we were really nervous about this whole bath thing. Even as comfortable as I am with water, my anxiety was still high putting Jane in the sink for the first time. Once we got through the first time, it started to get easier - you just have to get used to handling the babies when they're so, so little. We learned one thing really quick - super soft babies are REALLY slippery when wet, ha.
We loved this sunflower bath. When they're that young, they don't support themselves, so having these cushions in the corner of our sink bowl was awesome. We just set her up, nice and cozy, in the warm water! Can you tell she starting balding right after three months?! Ha!
This thermometer was recommended to me by another Mom! We LOVED it. There are three colors on it: Blue, Green, and Red to let you know how the temperature of the water is. It really gave us a piece of mind before dipping her in for the first time.
Since everything else was Burt's Bees, we went with Burt's Bees Washcloths, too. Highly recommend!
Whew! I hope that helped - even if just for a few things. Did I forget anything? Please comment below and ask! I am SO happy to share.
If I could give any advice to you, Mama or Mama to be reading this, it's go easy on yourself. Yes, I'm here sharing with you what worked best for Jake & me, but do what feels best for you! Take all advice that surrounds you for what it is - advice - and then create your own journey and make the most precious memories along the way!