There are certain things you need for a baby: boobs/bottles, blankets, something warm to wear. A crib would be nice too, but then again your baby might end up like mine and prefer sleeping anywhere but there.
And there are certain things you don’t need: some you wouldn’t buy again (looking at you, peepee teepee) and some you most definitely would.
Here’s my list of 10 things you don’t necessarily need (at least not these specific brands) but are worth the splurge (IMO). No buyer’s remorse here. All items are linked below, some of which are affiliate links.
One. UPPAbaby VISTA stroller. If I had an hour of sleep now for every hour we spent pushing strollers around Buy Buy Baby during my pregnancy . . . Half-kidding, but in all seriousness, this is the one baby item we researched the most because the number of options is high and the price range is wide. In the end, we decided the UPPAbaby VISTA justified the $839 price tag (or $879, depending on color), and after four months of almost daily use, we have never once regretted our decision (I could write an entire post about this stroller).
Major sellers for us included: (a) it feels sturdy and well-made (we noticed a big enough difference when pushing it versus less-costly strollers); (b) you can turn it into a double stroller by purchasing the adapters for $20; (c) it comes with a regular stroller seat and a bassinet and also works seamlessly with the UPPAbaby MESA car seat discussed below; and (d) it’s pretty (appearance mattered to us for something we were going to shell out several hundred dollars for and use almost every day for the next few years).
Additional perks I have come to appreciate after near-daily use: (a) it is easy to fold-up and put in/take out of the car (I’ve had people stop me in the parking lot to comment on this); (b) the storage basket is larger than most (possibly all) others I’ve seen—I don’t need a cart when I grocery shop; everything fits in the stroller basket; (c) you can push it easily with one hand; and (d) I can move my baby in his car seat from the car to the stroller (and vise versa) without having to mess with car seat adapters, which leads us to #2 on the list.
Two. UPPAbaby MESA car seat. The UPPAbaby MESA car seat was almost a no-brainer once we decided on the VISTA stroller, but we did additional research to make sure it was safe—and it checked out with excellent safety ratings and reviews. This, combined with its usability with the stroller and its design and overall look, made it an easy decision (even at the $299 price point). Would I buy this if I was using a different stroller? I don’t know, but if you’re looking for a good stroller/car seat combo, I think this one is hard to beat.
Three. A super soft and precious take-home outfit. If taking your baby home from the hospital for the first time isn’t cause for a special outfit, then I don’t know what is. I came across this three-piece newborn outfit from Barefoot Dreams before I was pregnant and returned to buy it soon after we learned the gender of our first-born. It currently comes in light blue, light pink, and cream, and is made of the softest material (like clouds or something, assuming clouds are soft). It’s the nicest outfit Jack owns, as it should be to justify the $60+ price tag. To make the most of it, we also used it in his newborn photos. It is now on display in his nursery, and I can hardly believe he ever fit in it. We’ll (at least I’ll) cherish it forever.
Four. Fisher Price Newborn Auto Rock ‘n’ Play Sleeper (the one that rocks on its own—this is key!). For the first several weeks of his life, this was the only place Jack would sleep besides my chest for longer than 30 minutes, which made this worth its weight in gold at times. Several moms have said the same. Fisher Price makes one that rocks automatically (the one linked above) and one you have to rock by hand (linked here, if you’re curious)—for obvious reasons, buy the automatic one. Even though it costs a bit more, it’s worth it, and it’s still reasonably priced compared to some other swings and sleepers.
Five. DockATot. In full disclosure, the DockATot didn’t earn it’s worth in our household till just before the three-month mark, but since then it too has become a much-treasured item. The magic is in the design: it supposedly recreates the snugness of the womb and is made out of breathable material, so mom and dad can rest peacefully knowing baby is safe. I’ve read many reviews of babies who, having never slept longer than three hours before, slept five hours the first night in the DockATot. I was hoping for that out-the-gate (I bought it when Jack was two weeks old and I was desperate for sleep), but it took a few weeks for Jack to settle in. Now, he regularly sleeps in it at night for six or more hours at a time, and he also naps in it wherever we put it down—our bed, his crib, the big chair in the living room. Jack can’t roll over yet, so we still feel safe using it in his crib and in the big chair, but we’ll stop doing so once he gets close to rolling. We’ve also traveled with it, which is great because it provides a portable, familiar sleeping surface for baby even when your surroundings change.
DockATot makes two sizes: the Deluxe (for 0 to 8 months) and the Grand (for 9 to 36 months). As of now, Jack is a large four-month-old (95th+ percentile for weight and height) and he still has room to grow in the Deluxe. We may upgrade to the Grand when we hit that point depending on Jack’s sleep needs (i.e., preferences).
Six. 4moms Infant Tub. I went back and forth on baby tubs longer than I care to admit. The frugal side of me kept adding this $16 plastic tub to our baby registry, while the oh-that’s-flashy side of me kept removing and replacing it with the $50 4moms infant tub. Ultimately, we went with the 4moms tub, and I’m so glad we did. The key closing point was the water thermometer built into the tub. The screen lights up blue if the water is too cold, green if the water is just right, and red if the water is too hot—plus, it beeps if the water is too hot, doubly ensuring baby is safe. I used to think I could gauge water temperature pretty good on my own. Turns out, I’m wrong, and without the 4moms, I would be routinely bathing my baby in water too warm for his new skin. It also has a clean water reservoir and allows you to drain dirty water while allowing fresh water to flow in. This comes in handy because turns out babies (or at least mine) like to take care of business in the tub. #multitasking
Seven. aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets. Read any mom blog or visit any baby store and you’ll quickly learn that these blankets are all the rage, particularly when it comes to swaddling baby. A four-pack on Amazon will run you around $50, depending on the print, but trust me—if you’ve never swaddled a baby before, these will make your life so much easier (for a while, Jack had to be swaddled to sleep soundly or his startle reflex would wake him). Plus, they’re soft, durable, breathable, and cute. I bought two packs before Jack was born and ordered a third pack the first week postpartum. We have them in every room, car, bag, and so on. We no longer swaddle Jack, but we still use them like we would any regular blanket. They also make for great car seat and stroller blankets and nursing covers, since they’re lightweight and aren’t too warm like a thick cotton cover.
Eight. Honest Company Diaper Bundle. Yet another item I Googled for seemingly hours on end during my second trimester: does baby need to wear organic diapers? Are they worth the extra cost? Short answers: no, I personally don’t think Jack needs to wear organic diapers, and they probably aren’t worth the extra cost (they’re just diapers, after all), but Jessica Alba and her cute prints hooked me nonetheless. It’s an added bonus that they show up to our house each month without me having to lift a finger, except to change our print selection, which I enjoy. Click here to join me on the darkside and receive $10 off your first diaper bundle.
Nine. Letterfolk Board (or another cute way to capture milestone photos). Chances are, if you’re on Instagram, you’ve seen a Letterfolk board. At a minimum of $50 a pop, they aren’t cheap, but gosh, they are so cute and clever. We take Jack’s monthly photos with his board (see below) and we write out how many months old he is, his weight, and sometimes his height when I’m actually able to kind-of sort-of accurately measure it. We’ve also used it to denote his first Halloween, Election Day, Thanksgiving, and so on. The possibilities are endless. Letterfolk not catching your fancy? There are lots of other cute ways to capture your baby’s milestones, and I certainly recommend doing so because they pass by oh-so-quickly!
Ten. Kiehl’s Baby Gentle Hair & Body Wash. $17 for baby shampoo? Er, yes. Trust me. It smells delicious and goes on (and comes off) smoothly, leaving no residue behind. Also, Kiehl’s recently redesigned the formula to make it even safer for baby. Win.
Experienced moms (and dads) out there: What are your favorite baby items worth splurging on? Let me know what I’ve left off the list!