In the two years that I have been a mother I have not just learned how to be a parent, I have also learned which tools are really necessary as well as the luxuries that are worth adding into your home. One of the first overwhelming experiences you can have as a parent is deciding what to add to the baby registry. You haven’t even held this tiny person yet and you are supposed to know every single thing you need to buy in preparation. That’s a lot of foresight to ask from a person.
Navigated the world of baby accoutrements can be pretty tricky. I was at Toys R Us the other day picking up some baby proofing materials (because James is now opening all the doors constantly) and I saw a mom-to-be and grandma-to-be checking out a $100 bottle sterilizer. I wanted to jump in between them and the display yelling “don’t do it!” But no one wanted my unsolicited advice so I kept moving. Luckily I watched them walk away from the display sans overpriced sterilizing machine. Crisis adverted.
So instead of walking through the aisles, yelling out suggestions, I’ll be sharing with you all the basics I’ve deemed necessary based on my two years with twins. These are the items that were absolute essentials for me. Things that I would buy over and over again if they broke or I had another little one on the way. You may have had eight kids and found these items to be completely unnecessarily. That is definitely your right as a momma. But you might also see some items that you’re like “that’s BRILLIANT and will save me so much trouble”. Oh, you’re welcome, imaginary momma friend 😉
convertible crib – Any style, color, design you prefer. Just something that starts as a high crib, lowers for bigger babies once they start standing, and also converts to a toddler bed they can climb in and out of. Bonus points if there is an in-between stage that creates a barrier preventing them from rolling out while they learn to sleep in the toddler bed.
2 sets of sheets and waterproof mattress cover – Layer them so late night diaper blowouts don’t turn into a whole thing. Just take off the top crib sheet and mattress cover and throw in the wash. Pro tip – you don’t always have time for a waterproof mattress cover to air dry so I throw mine in the dry on cold and it doesn’t mess with the lining.
black out curtains – Getting the twins on a sleep schedule was essential to our survival as parents. Bedtime and nap time always involved drawing the curtains so the room was completely dark. To this day, a dark room pretty much equals sleep for my littles, regardless of the time of day.
baby monitor – If think having a video monitor will ease some of stress while leaving your baby behind a closed door, go for it. But the essential baby monitor really just needs an audio component and a temperature reader. A temperature alarm to be exact. When you’re fast asleep, bundled under layers of covers, you may not notice that the temperature in your home is creeping into the low 60’s. Or summer heat could send the temperature in the baby’s room into the high 80’s. Hypothermia/hyperthermia are scary stuff for parents so having a temperature alarm can give you a ton of piece of mind. We also opted for a movement sensor during the early months.
diaper, wipe, and formula shipments – After going through the miscellaneous diaper brands we received early on, I immediately set up monthly diaper & wipe shipments from The Honest Company. To this day, I still look forward to the twice/month shipments we receive. For us, this was the absolute best brand. Blow outs are rare as these diapers are so sturdy. We also didn’t experience a ton of diaper rash until they started eating real food. I also immediately jumped on the formula bundle when The Honest Company started offering it. The twins were on formula pretty much from the beginning so this was another lifesaver that helped eliminate random runs to the grocery store for more formula. You can set up auto shipments through Amazon and Target for any brands, but I prefered The Honest Company because of the flexibility in shipping dates and ability to control sizes and prints very easily
wipe dispenser – It may seem unnecessary, but when you’re struggling with a wiggly baby and a nasty diaper, you don’t have time to wrestle out some extra baby wipes with both hands. I use the OXO wipe dispenser at the changing station and the Honest Co travel wipe dispenser in the diaper bag.
bottom wash – hell hath no fury like the smell of a baby’s bottom after a particularly gross diaper. You can baby wipe til the cows come home, but sometimes the smell just won’t go away without a bathe. Luckily, that’s where bottom wash steps in. I have used this version from The Honest Company since we brought home the babies.
baby bathtub – We’ve never been lucky enough to live in a home with any large sinks. Even the kitchen sinks have been super small, definitely not big enough for an infant or a toddler. So a baby tub was a necessity for us until the kiddos could sit up on their own. It’s also a fantastic way to conserve water during bath time.
bandana bibs – If you’ve ever seen my kids in a photo on social media, they’re mostly likely wearing some sort of bandana bib. Normally around a couple of months ago, they start drooling a lot as teeth start coming in. And then the drool stops around…..never. Two years ago and James’ mouth still drips like a faucet. We used magnetic bibs for a bit, but then they learned to pull those off. So anything with snaps will do. There are a ton of Easy stores online so take your pick!
prefold cloth diapers – If fancy burp rags are on your registry, delete them now and replace with a pack of these bad boys. We bought a pack of five in the beginning to use a burp rags, and I immediately ran out to buy another 10 after a couple of days.
Bonus item just for mom – postpatrum girdle – Natural and c-section mommas can both benefit from using one of these after your baby is born. And it’s not all about the aesthetics. Having a girdle for support after giving birth makes moving around so much more comfortable.
And if you decide boiling bottles is too much work, the Munchkin SteamGuard Microwave Baby Bottle Sterilizer is inexpensive and easy to use 😉
As I enter into my 2nd year with kids, I would love to get your suggestions for essentials during the toddler age. There are so many new things that it feels like we might need as we enter into this new stage. Any must-haves for the 2-5 year old range? Thanks for reading!