As we prepare for baby number two, we’ve pulled out all our baby gear and reviewed all the registry recommendation lists to make sure we have everything we will need. In the process, we’ve reminded ourselves of what was the most useful to us and what we thought we’d need, but didn’t really use. So, I’ve put together this guide to share our knowledge with all the parents-to-be out there. I’ve split it into several categories of baby items and within each I’m sharing the “Must Haves,” “Nice to Haves,” and items that you can “Skip.” I hope you find this useful in prepping for your new baby!
Nursing Pillow – I have a Boppy and I used it all the time with Eleanor. I always found it a little physically awkward to cradle her while nursing. It was so much easier and more comfortable to have her lying on a pillow with my hands free. The Boppy also doubles as a lounger once baby is a little bigger which is a little extra benefit.
Burp Cloths – You’ll need a bunch of these. They are great for capturing spit-up when burping baby, laying under baby’s chin to catch dribbling while nursing, cleaning up other little spills, and sticking in your bra when you’re leaking on one side while nursing on the other (it happens all the time!).
Nursing Lanolin – This stuff is fantastic for healing, soothing, and protecting sore nipples when you start breastfeeding and it won’t hurt baby at all so it doesn’t need to be washed off before feeding.
Nursing Pads – In the beginning, you’re going to leak. A lot. And later when you’re away from baby or your pump for too long you’ll also leak. Disposable breast pads are convenient while out and about, but hating to be wasteful, I always just stuck with reusable, machine-washable cotton ones. They are cheaper and more absorbent. I loved the Philips Avent brand nursing pads, they were the very best fitting ones that I could find, the only ones that stayed in place and didn’t look lumpy in my bra.
Bottles – There are so many different bottles on the market, and like with Pacifiers some babies can be picky about what type of bottle they’ll take. I recommend getting a couple different types to see what your baby prefers. We were lucky with Eleanor, we only bought one type and Eleanor was fine with it. We like the Playtex BPA Free VentAir Bottles. Most bottles come with, or have available for purchase separately, different nipples you can use depending on how old your baby is. In the beginning you’ll want to want to use a slow flow nipple, which is supposed to be similar to the rate of milk flow from the breast.
Bottle Drying Rack – Most bottles can’t go in the dishwasher so you’ll be hand-washing your bottles and will need a place to dry them. As mentioned in my New Baby Favorites post, we just got the Boon Grass Drying Rack. So far we love it. It’s super cute and functional.
Bottle brushes – A must if you are using a standard or angled baby bottle. Bottles are tough to clean without them.
Books on Breast Feeding – I loved The Nursing Mother’s Companion and Nursing Mother, Working Mother for preparing for nursing, troubleshooting problems that arose, and getting me prepared to be working while continuing to nurse. I also found that meeting with a lactation consultant during the baby’s first few weeks was a lifesaver, as we had some difficulties getting Eleanor to nurse at first. There is a lactation clinic at our hospital and we found it so helpful.
NICE TO HAVE
Nipple Shields – These were recommended by the lactation consultants that we saw. Eleanor was having trouble latching at first and these gave her something more pointy and solid to latch onto. Once she got used to latching with these on I was able to take them off and nurse without them. They were also helpful when I had any cracking or soreness. I could put them on as protection so that I could heal while Eleanor continued to nurse.
Nursing Covers – These can be great for when you’re out and about and don’t want to show off your goods to everyone in sight. I had one, but almost never used it. I actually preferred to pump and bring a bottle when we went out. Not that I was shy about nursing in public, but because I found it awkward and inconvenient to have to nurse without my boppy in a chair that wasn’t all that comfortable.
Breast Pump – Partly because of the cost and partly because people feel weird about it, you will not be gifted with a breast pump. But I urge you to get one, and to get the most expensive one you can afford. The stronger the pump, the easier pumping will be. I have the Madela Pump in Style Advanced. I found it easy to use and to take with me to work to pump, and I was always happy with it’s performance. You can save money by purchasing a used one or getting a hand-me-down from a friend. Just be sure to buy all new pump parts and tubing to keep things sanitary.
Breast Milk Freezer Bags – If you are going to be working out of the home, or plan to be away from the baby often, Freezer bags for storing your milk are a must. Milk can only be kept fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days, but can be kept frozen for 3-6 months. So if you need to pump a lot of milk, you don’t want to have your fridge and freezer full of bottles of milk. Instead you can store it in bags to take up much less space.
Bottle Warmers – A lot of babies can be very particular about the temperature of milk they drink. Eleanor would just spit right out milk that was not as warm as the milk that comes out of mama. So a warmer was a must to warm up a bottle for her in just a few minutes, although you can definitely do the same thing by running a bottle under hot water for several minutes. We liked the First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer. Despite it’s super cheap price tag it was easy to use and worked really well for as long as we needed it.
Bottle Sterilizer – I’m sure these make cleaning bottles faster and easier, but hot water will kill germs just as well, so I don’t see the point of spending a lot of money on a bottle sterilizer.
Bibs – You can hold off on these until baby is eating solids (around 6 months). Sure, they work for catching milk dribble, but it’s so much easier just to put a burp cloth under baby’s chin.
High Chair – This is another item you can wait on. Baby won’t need it until they can sit up independently and are eating solids. You have so much else to buy right now, this is one thing that can wait.
In case you missed it…
UP NEXT…Part Four: Clean Your Baby