ESSENTIAL FOR THE NESPYS:
- Nursing Pillow--Yes, we fell victim and were convinced to buy a Boppy when Patrick was born. You know what? It was a life-saver! For the short time that he actually nursed (just one week due to problems he had latching on), it was great. However, from there on out when he was drinking from a bottle, the pillow was still the way to go. I used it, my husband used it, the nanny used it. It was great. Later it also served to help him sit up a little and for supervised tummy time. In fact, we plan on reusing it for our little girly on the way.
- Breast Pump--I used a Medela hospital grade pump the first time because I committed myself to full-time pumping. I wanted him to have the benefits of breastmilk, but due to his latching issues, I would have to dedicate time to pumping a lot. This meant that I needed a quick, effective pump that would quickly express all I needed in 10-15 minutes. It worked like a charm and once I returned to work, I was able to pump just twice a day for no more than 15 minutes and supply the child with 2-3 meals easily. This is a must for working moms who desire to supply breastmilk to their newborns or moms for children who can't/won't nurse properly.
- Milk Storage Bags--Related to Item #3 are these bags. We used the Gerber ones, as they worked fine for us. I stored them with the oldest bags/milk in the front of the freezer and was able to use them when baby hit a growth spurt and I needed to train my body to "catch up" with his new appetite or for the occasional middle-of-the-night-exhaustion-induced spillage of milk while preparing.
- Bottles--Everyone has their preferences, but we used the Playtex VentAire system. So many recommend higher end bottles, but these worked beautifully for us. They were easy to clean, did not require liners (which although inexpensive, add up price-wise over time), easy to find nipples for and we were quite successful with them. They do require that you put them together properly to avoid leaking, but due to their construction, they are SO easy to clean. Regardless of what kind you choose, make sure you find one that has a nipple that is agreeable with your child.
- Stationary Exercise Table (aka Exersaucer)--I know, I know. So many people say that these are non-essential. And truly...essential is not really the word I would use for this, but so very valuable a purpose ours served when our son was small. We used it to contain and entertain him while we ate dinner (as he ate earlier than we did and had playtime during our dinner sitting next to us in his saucer) or while we prepared meals.
- Boudreaux's Butt Paste: What?! You heard me. I don't know if this is a product that can be found nationally, but if it is, GO GET SOME for your little one's diaper rash needs. I hesitated buying anything called "butt paste" for our child, but after reading that it worked miracles, I bought a small tube to try. Wow...was I amazed! This stuff worked when "competing" products couldn't make any impact. It was a little more expensive, but so worth it since I didn't have to use nearly as much to solve rash problems!
- Gas Drops: So we had a gassy baby and these provided much needed rest for us. I would recommend having some on hand!
NON-ESSENTIAL FOR THE NESPYS:
- Hooded Towels/Tiny Washcloths: Yes, they are cute and we have some from the first baby and have received some cute ones for this second one. But seriously...a regular sized towel and wash cloth are just fine.
- High Chair: What?! How can this be? We truly did not spend $200 on a high chair for our child. Nope. Just a booster seat. It had a tray that could be used like a high chair or it could slide right up to the table when the child gets older. To prevent a messy chair underneath, I kept an old bath towel under the seat that could easily be removed and either shaken off or washed as needed. It worked beautifully for us and only cost around $20-$30. Hooray!
- Shopping Cart Covers: Maybe you have a child more prone to accidents than our first was. Or maybe your grocery store does not have wet wipes on the wall next to the cart storage area. Or maybe I'm more for "building their immunity" than you are. However, we were given one of these with our son and never...not once...used it. Maybe I'm reckless, but riding in the cart never killed me, so I didn't assume my son would get any dreadful disease from it. And he didn't. Therefore, I am not too concerned about having one for my daughter either.
- Wipe Warmer: This is a non-essential that we had and used frequently. But only because my mom was convinced that those nasty cold wipes were upsetting him (he got over it when we used the ones from the diaper bag, but hey...who am I to argue with Nana?). It was probably nicer than a cold wipe...especially in the winter when he was tiny, but completely unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.
- Bath Robe: They are terribly adorable. Our son wore his after his first bath. And then never again. It wasn't practical because we still needed to get him dressed. It made for some cute pictures. The same robe will probably be reused for the same purpose with this child. And then never again.
- Pacifiers: This is just for us with our firstborn, as we know different child have different needs and the girl we have on the way may be a pacifier-baby. They seemed great for our son when he was tiny (which some people don't recommend them before they are 3 months or so anyway), once he was about 6-8 weeks old and found his thumb, we never needed another one. Now we just have to get our 3-year old to stop sucking his thumb!
- Diaper Stacker: We had/have one with each of the nursery bedding sets we've had because it came with the set. And we used the one we had with our son (the baby on the way, we've yet to see if it gets used), but seriously...they work just as well out of a drawer or the box/package they come in. It's not as cute that way, but the cuteness of the diaper stacker is lost quickly in my opinion.
So that's my list. It's not a recommendation for you necessarily...it's just what we found to be true for us with our first child.
What about you? What items have been your life-savers or a complete waste of your money?