Things New Parents Can Use - UPDATED 2021
by Skyla Beranich
Baby Shower Lists and Tips!
(Previously published on a different blog under a pseudonym in 2017. Updated 2021 here)
Hey everyone out there reading... Welcome back, and yes, it has been a while, I know this. But I went and had a baby, so you know things have been busy. It is quite interesting. When you have a baby, there's suddenly more hours in a day, but less time to do anything. How does this work, you ask? You don't sleep.
Ever. Seriously. Never. Unless you're a magical fairy. I'm not.
Here's a list of useful items for your upcoming parenthood, or for that baby shower you've been procrastinating on purchasing something for. First is the list itself so you can easier copy the items onto a printable page, followed by a more detailed explanation for some of the items and why I chose to put them on the list.
As always, for lists like this, some items may have alternative options that work better for you but serve a similar purpose. Parenthood is a large bucket of trial and error being spewed on you. And if you're shopping for someone else, my biggest suggestions are at the bottom of the page. Go forth, and know parenthood better, man.
- White Flour Sack Dish Cloth Dish Cloth (4 Pack) - Room Essentials�
- Delta Baby Clothing Hangers (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: fuck it, leave these off, they're just never going to get used beyond the baby haze of 6 months)
- Munchkin 2pk Baby Bottle & Nipple Brush (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: just get a cheap dollar bottle brush scrubber and thin stick brush)
- Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes - 576 Count (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: Parent's Choice, Walmart Brand Fragrance-free baby wipes can be purchased in larger bulk and also much cheaper, and they work much better for poop diapers...)
- Home Logic Black Laundry Hamper (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: JFC, why did I add this? Was I just padding the list? What was 2017 me thinking? Just get a f-king cheap laundry hamper to store your washed laundry because you're not going to fold it for the first few months at minimum.)
- Medela 6pk BPA-Free Breastmilk Collection & Storage Bottles
- Medela 3pk 8oz Breastmilk Bottle Set
- Enfamil Non-GMO Infant Baby Formula 6pk - 2oz (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: YESSSSSS. These little 2oz bottles after 2 babies, I can tell you flat out this was the best freaking investment ever. You keep 2-3 beside your bed, and boom, middle of the night snack with little investment in waking yourself or baby.)
- Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit - Various Colors
- Bumbo Play Tray - Ivory
- Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Giant Pack (Select Size) (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: For generic pampers, get Up&Up Target brand diapers. For generic huggies, get Parent's Choice walmart brand diapers. They're the SAME THING. For much cheaper.)
- Munchkin High Capacity Bottle Drying Rack
- Fisher-Price My Little Snugapuppy Cradle 'n Swing
- Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Change 'n Carry - Manor
- Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Carrier
- Dr. Brown's Newborn BPA-Free Feeding Gift Set
- Munchkin Formula Dispenser
- Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water for Babies with Gas, Colic or Stomach Discomfort - 4oz (*2021 Skyberfire Advice says: there are plenty of gripe water options. At some point, I think some of them were recalled so DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST to ensure you're getting a safe product)
- Munchkin Nursery Essentials Organizer
- Medela Contact Nipple Shield (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: This one is good for those whose breasts just need a little extra shielding from those baby chompers)
- SwaddleMe® Original Swaddle 2pk
- Summer Infant® My Size Potty (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: has its uses, but also can be useless... makes a good gift for the new parents so they don't have to think about getting one later, but also takes up space until they need it.)
- Medela Breastmilk Feeding Gift Set
- Summer Infant SwaddleMe® By Your Side® Sleeper - Gray Stripe
- Summer Infant® Clear Sight� Digital Color Video Baby Monitor
- Summer Infant® Lil’ Luxuries® Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Shower (Blue)
- Philips Avent Pink/Purple Soothie
- Arm & Hammer Waste Bags 180ct (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: don't get the diaper trash can. Get these poop bags from the pet aisle.)
- OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover Free 65 Loads (3 lb)
- Enfamil Premium Newborn Formula Powder Tub - 22.2 oz (*2021 Skyberfire advice says: UP&UP target brand and Parent's Choice Walmart brand formulas are basically the same thing as Enfamil. SAVE MONEY. SERIOUSLY. You're gonna need that later.)
Here's some further information on some of the products listed and why to get them if you use these on your baby shower registry.
Ask for white flour sack dish clothes instead of burp rags. They can buy ten packs at walmart for half the price of baby burp rags.
Baby bottle and nipple brush, omg, why didn't we have this before she was born? In fact, I felt this way about many things on the list, but we're new parents and we're still really taking it all in, figuring out what works and what doesn't.
Walmart and Target have giant pack boxes of wipes. Walmart brand "parents choice" has a fragrance free large box of wipes for affordable pricing if you're concerned about your newborn having an allergy to fragrances. This was a concern in our household because I have sensitive skin and skin allergies and all that jazz. However, most of the brands of baby wipes are good for most kids.
A hamper for baby's clothes only. This is so useful because you can wash them separately and just keep those tiny clothes separate from the rest, in a giant pile of their own, boom, no more digging through the big pile only to find ALL YOUR BABY CLOTHES ARE IN DADAS SHIRT... Yeah, we haven't folded anything in months. Face it. Your house needs magical cleaning fairies, and you need another 8 hours in the day to get a few naps in.
Medela bottles are perfect. They have standard nipple ring threads. Similac and Enfamil formula brands give you standard nipples sometimes in their to-go ready-made boxes. They claim single use, but they're fully washable. The hospital probably will give you those nipples and nipple rings too. Save them, wash them, reuse them. Those rings/nipples work on Medela bottles. Then if you're breastfeeding at all, the medela bottles work on most pumps. The bottles come in various sizes, 2 oz, 5 oz, 8 oz. They're great.
Enfamil or Similac to-go 2oz bottles. Perfect for newborn midnight feedings especially if your milk doesn't come in and/or you have trouble breastfeeding. I recommend having 4 or 5 of these boxes on hand BEFORE baby comes because this will make life so much easier for you during that infamous first two weeks home. You will cry, you will question your sanity, but you will have the food on hand. Most hospitals use Similac or Enfamil anyway, and you will know if your baby can handle it before you leave the hospital. At the latest, you can swing by the store on the way home with the baby to pick up several of these boxes. Walmart, Baby's R Us, and Target carry them for sure.
Pampers swaddlers are what I like to use, but Jarred likes Luvs or Huggies. Whatever DG brand is didn't work for us. But Luvs, Huggies, and Pampers Swaddlers worked for mostly minimizing blowout poops. Better still if you can get em free during your baby shower, because you're going to go through thousands of diapers and they'll be a major investment.
Bottle drying rack.. I'd say this is one of those things you'd like to go without but it made our lives so much easier... why don't parents tell you about these?! You're not likely to have time to put the bottles away, or rather, you might have time but you'd rather sleep. A bottle drying rack gives these items a place to be neatly.
Pack n play of some sort. Usually comes with bassinet. I liked Graco brand, but Baby Trend is pretty popular and has great ratings too.
Infantino flip carrier...don't get any other brand on this one, all mummas I talked to hated all other brands due to comfort issues. I love mine and can wear it for hours literally until she has to eat or be changed, and its easy to use once you've got the thing set up.
Dr Browns bottles for when baby is having a bad tummy day. Nipples are similar to medela nipples so its easy for baby to use both interchangeably. I don't recommend any bottle without a standard nipple ring thread. The only bottles that worked for our newborn were the Medela and Dr Browns and the generic standard nipples from similac/enfamil.
Formula dispenser for on the go. Looks like a little bowl with three or four slots. Just put the powder in it premeasured at the ounces you want. Two of these are ideal for a day of travel. You can also purchase premeasured packets of formula from the brand you use instead. If you're going to be out for more than a day, you might as well just put the entire baby formula can in a big bag and take it all with you, like if grandma or grandpa take baby for the weekend or if you have to use an overnight babysitter.
Talk to your pediatrician before using gripe water but it helped us a lot. It comes in different brands, Little Remedies and Mommy's Bliss are pretty popular.
Organizer might be nice for clothes, but you probably won't use it in the first two weeks. In fact, our baby spent the first two weeks mostly nakey because our neighbors like to keep the heat at five billion and we get all that heat. (Baby came home in October during a mid-fall Cold Spell)
If you're looking to breast-feeding and formula feeding and can't get baby to latch, try the medela contact nipple shield. Small (20mm) fit my tiny boobs and she pretty much latched immediately.
I only really recommend medela breast pumps which insurance normally gives free and some insurance allows you to get it 30 days in advance of birth. Edit* This being free is now up in the air if the Senate repeals Obamacare (AKA the ACA AKA the Affordable Care Act).
Swaddleme swaddles are great once you figure out how to use them.
If you have separation anxiety, the by your side sleeper would be nice. However, you need a big enough bed to use it, and we don't have that. It recommends a King size bed, with Queen size minimum.
The video monitor... I cannot live without this. Best shower gift ever. Set my mind to ease and made it convenient to check on her. I have separation anxiety though...
The bathtub I recommended is the only one I recommend. Comes in other colors than blue. I have the pink because it was all that was available at toysrus when I wanted a bathtub. Baby loves taking baths in it. But the lounge seat in it isn't so awesome so I use a 5 dollar bath tub sponge and a rolled up towel behind the sponge to make it more upright. Is it less safe? Definitely, but my hands are never out of the tub and one hand is always under her bum area of the sponge to make it more of a seat. The bath cradle thing is more better when the neck has zero strength. You can try what I do at 3 or 4 weeks if baby is like mine and motivated to have neck muscle but this is an AT YOUR RISK sort of thing. You ABSOLUTELY MUST ATTEND TO BABY EVERY SECOND when you do this. There is no looking away, or forgetting this or that item. Set up prior to use entirely, forget nothing, and never let baby out of your hands. You should really be attending to baby every second in the tub regardless, to avoid accidents.
Philips soothies are the only pacifier I use because it is all one piece. I am way too nervous to use the other kinds after so many stories of kids near choking on the 2 piece pacifiers. The soothies do come with the mouth piece being more curved to fit the face and not get knocked out as easily. Not all babies take to the pacifier/nuk though, either. I didn't want to use it to begin with, but caved to keep baby's thumb from her mouth. And she doesn't really want the pacifier either.
Arm & hammer waste bags... do your bank a favor. Don't buy these in the baby aisle and don't get the diaper genie. It's like 175% price increase just to tack baby on the product. You can find these waste bags in the pet aisles. In addition, if you really want to save money, just use grocery bags. Take the garbage out more often too, because the smell of pee adds up.
Oxiclean. For the blowouts that get on the clothes. Soak the clothes in a small tub of hot water and oxiclean (I get it without dyes fragrance and etc in the oxiclean "free" kind) for about 4 to 12 hours. Then wash normally.
Enfamil newborn formula. We go through a tub of this every five days to a week now but we were using it a tub every 2 weeks. Ask for formula because having it during those weeks of exhaustion would have helped us.
Sign up for similac and enfamil samples when you're 6 months along so it gets to you in time. They're huge and worth it, and they also send coupons regularly. We determined that enfamil newborn worked best to start and then went to enfamil gentilease.
TIPS FOR PURCHASING FOR A SHOWER -
- To-go baby formula bottles. The friend in your life won't know it, but they'll be blessing you repeatedly in those first weeks. It'll be like you personally handed them a bottle all ready to go every 2 to 3 hours in those first weeks.
- If you don't have any intention on having kids in the next year, sign yourself up for Similac and Enfamil samples. Say you're the aunt or uncle, or grandparent, in the spot where it asks, and then say you'll be caring for baby as well, if it asks (I can't remember what it asks for). This is the gift that gives... and gives... and gives... You get the stuff mailed to your house, and then you can take mumma and dada the nice boxes of samples as well as give them coupons for formula on a regular basis. Its FREE. And those 3 to 5 dollar coupons make a huge difference to mumma and dada.
- If you're going to a shower involving parents who already have children... ask those parents what sort of things their older children will be needing coming up. This way you can help them out by minimizing their expenses on the older child.
I hope all these help!! If you have questions or comments, let me know below.