Getting pregnant and becoming a family is a huge milestone in the life of a couple. As this situation is full of joy and positive emotions it can sometimes be a little intimidating when you think of the coming tasks. Because there are so many products, tips, commercials and offers all around future and new parents it is hard to maintain an overview of the things that are really important. Unlike our experience with products like cell phones, fridges or laptops, where discussion of their qualities often boils down to a comparison of refinements, with most of the baby products we find ourselves still dealing with the basics – is the product safe and does it effectively do the job it is supposed to do? This article is designed to help expectant parents and parents with babies or even families with older kids making better informed choices when it comes to buying certain products. We did a lot of research for you to get you an overview of what products are really essential, which are helpful and what products are absolutely cool and nice to have. Enjoy your time with this article and leave us a comment if you have any ideas for us.
10 essential baby supplies every family needs
One of the most essential nursery furniture is the baby cot bed. Babies need lots of sleep so they spend a lot of time in their beds. There are features of certain cots that provide a safer sleeping environment. You should definitely invest some time and take cot safety into consideration. It is well worth the time and effort choosing the right one for your baby. You can find some very helpful tips here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/New-Crib-Standards-What-Parents-Need-to-Know.aspx
2. Pram or stroller
Choosing the right pram or stroller for your baby can be a tough choice to make. Some of the obvious factors are size, price, comfort, seat load, capacity, weight and maybe brand. But there are some other factors involved that are well worth considering. Should your stroller suit your life or shall your life suit the stroller? Do you want to exercise with your baby? How big is your car? Is your child a newborn, an infant or a toddler? How often do you really need it? Does it need to travel with you? Do you travel by car or airplane? What about safety features? These are all questions you need to ask yourself in order to make the best decision. You can find a very good buying guide here: https://www.choice.com.au/babies-and-kids/baby-transport/strollers-and-tricycles/buying-guides/prams-and-strollers
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3. Car restraint
In some states it is a legal requirement for children to be safely fastened. You can find out what the law on your state requires here: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/childsafety_laws.html
No matter what the law says, there is no excuse for not using a very good car restraint to support the safety of your baby. Make a safe choice and find the best child car seat with this amazing website: https://www.childcarseats.com.au/
Since your baby is not yet ready for potty training from the beginning you´ll have to use diapers (and you´ll need a lot of them). Babies may have their diapers changed five or even more times a day. The choice of the right diaper can´t be made in advance as this needs testing of what kind and style of diaper your little one likes best. The decision you can make up front is if you´d like to use disposable diapers or ones made of cloth. But after that it comes down to personal preference. For disposable diapers you can find a great review here: http://www.babygearlab.com/Disposable-Diaper-Reviews
5. Diaper bucket with secure lid
A diaper bucket is simply a normal bucket with a fitted lid. You can buy one or get one designed for you. The purpose of this bucket is to save you a lot of money with diapers (especially cloth diapers) as you can clean and reuse them. You can either soak them or use a method called “dry pailing”. You can find some real valuable information here: https://www.thenappylady.co.uk/news/using-a-nappy-bucket.html
6. Singlets (6-8)
The first clothes your baby will usually wear are singlet suits. You need about 6-8 of them to start with. When it comes down to the quality you should select ones made of cotton as this is the material that is most comfortable for baby´s skin. Some beautiful and very comfortable ones are the ones from Ralph Lauren. Check them out here: http://www.ralphlauren.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=1988835&cp=2048081&ab=ln_baby_cs_polotops&bodysuits
7. All-in-ones (jumpsuits)
Onesies are the perfect choice for dressing up your baby. They are not only very cute but keep your baby warm, stop diaper and singlet from drifting apart and give you easy access to the diaper for changing. If the jumpsuit has feet you can extend its life by cutting them off when your baby gets bigger. You can find a real nice assortment here: http://www.carters.com/carters-baby-boy-one-pieces
8. Two long sleeves or jackets
There aren´t only warm and sunny days so you need to prepare for cold days with your baby. For a good start it is recommended to buy at least one long sleeve and one jacket. You can get some lovely ones here:
9. Bottles and teats
If you´re bottle feeding you need about six bottles. If you´re breastfeeding you´ll only need one or two bottles for water or expressed milk. In addition to the bottles you want to buy a bottle brush and sterilizing equipment to make your life a lot easier. Trust me, to have a clean bottle at hand can save your life. One of the best brands to buy bottles from is NUK. You can get them here: http://www.nuk-usa.com/all-bottles/
Last but not least you always have to check baby´s temperature. It can be difficult to measure the temperature the old fashioned way so there are other methods nowadays. I recommend either using an infrared thermometer or a pacifier thermometer as these are the easiest ways of keeping track of the temperature. You can get a good pacifier thermometer here: https://kidsbaron.com/product/baby-pacifier-thermometer/
Tips from experts
1. Safety comes first
Regardless of what products you´d like to buy there is always at least one safe model of everything you´ll need, so there´s no excuse for buying anything that could potentially harm your baby. If you opt for buying second hand stuff make sure it meets current safety standards. Use the tips provided for each product in What to look for when buying baby stuff find check yourself whether it is likely to be safe.
2. Wait and see what you need
Yes, it is very tempting to buy a nursery full of baby gear before the baby is even born. But instead of spending a fortune right away it is wise to buy a few essentials and then spend carefully as the need arises. Never underestimate the willingness of giving from friends, relatives or enthusiastic acquaintances. You will be surprised of how much clothes, toys and other stuff they will show up with. More experienced parents can tell you stories of things they thought were very useful but ended up unused in the cellar or loft. Keep in mind that just because someone else swears by some certain product, that doesn´t necessarily mean you´ll need it in your situation. If you´re uncertain about a product it is more often than not better to wait until you know for sure that you need it before buying.
3. Make a wish list
Relatives and friends love to give presents for new babies. However, the nursery will soon be full of stuffed toys, teddies and noise creating toys when you would like something practical, like a highchair or car seat for the baby to sit in during meals or while travelling. Try to think ahead and make a wish list so you will know what you need when someone asks what to give you for a present.
4. Avoid expensive things your baby will soon outgrow
While it is easier to care for a very small baby, it will definitely get more difficult with sizes when your child gets bigger. Sometimes you´ll find yourself in situations where you bought some clothes only to find out that they fit perfectly for one week or two. So you´re well-advised to not spend too much money on things that will benefit you only for a short time.
5. The value of easy care
Certainly you´ll soon find out that some toys, bedding and clothing things are easier to wash and dry than others. The ideal would be to throw the item in the washing machine or the dryer. Some things that are “surface washable only” may not survive the cleaning required after a badly leaking nappy or a rainy walk through the park. And don´t even think about buying clothes that are “dry-clean only” (Yes, they truly exist). So the easier you make it for yourself up front the more time (and money) you´ll save when it counts.
6. Practicality is more important than appearance
Appearance is more likely to sway you away at the expense of practicality. Don´t fall into that trap whether it´s about cute little outfits or fancy looking equipment. Pretty dresses will become a real challenge when it comes to ironing and handling your baby at the same time. And the highchair that goes so well with your interior design but is almost impossible to clean will not do you a big favor. In our tips we take these factors into account so you can make a much more wise choice the next time.
Where to buy baby supplies
You can find stores like Walmart, Target and Sears almost everywhere throughout the country. The benefits are that you can combine buying baby supplies with your everyday shopping. You can often get a good price for common products and see them in reality before choosing to buy. However, you won´t get expert advice in such stores and are not able to compare similar products.
Amazon.com, Ebay.com etc.
The big online players are definitely a good alternative to the supermarkets. Beneficial are the larger product selection as well as the ratings other buyers and testers are leaving for you to decide. Most often you can also get a very good price for your desired product or at least a feeling for good prices. As a major negative point I have to admit that because of more and more 3rd party sellers on these marketplaces the quality of the products see significant drops.
Local specialist stores
Chances are that you will find a specialized store in your neighborhood where you can get expert advice and oftentimes a bunch of experience with the products being sold. Prices are almost always on the high side and the product selection is more limited compared to the online competitors. You can´t get reviews from other buyers and parents and have to rely on the advice the salesperson gives you.
Specialized online stores
These kind of stores are probably your best choice as they combine the best of both worlds. You can find a good product selection of proven products, ratings and advice from other buyers and a good price for your dollar. Just make sure that the description of the products is clear and extensive enough to make a choice. One of these specialized online stores for baby supplies can be found here: https://kidsbaron.com/
Categories of baby supplies
Food and feeding
The first choice when it comes to feeding a newborn is whether to breastfeed or use bottles. Breast milk is the ideal food for newborn babies. It is always available, has always the right temperature and is delivered even on Sundays. However, if you want to breastfeed successfully you have to diet healthy, get plenty of rest and support. Bottle-feeding requires more planning and, of course, more equipment, as you have to prepare the bottles, sterilize the equipment, store made-up formulas and so on. As time moves on you´ll need dishware and other eating utensils for your child, such as spill-proof bowls, heat measuring forks and spoons, sippy cups and many other things.
Some babies love bathing, making it a great joy for all involved. Others hate it and scream throughout the procedure, making it a hassle for everyone. When you start to bathe your little one you can use a plastic bowl, the bathroom basin or kitchen sink. Of course it is better to invest into a baby bath. You should look for a sturdy thick-sided model as baby baths become very heavy when filled with water. Have that in mind when deciding where to take the plunge. There are a variety of products that help you with your wet and slippery young baby you should think about. Bath mats, moulded bath seats are wire-framed toweling bath aids make it easier for baby and mother (or father). If you decide to use bath toys, bubble bath and other stuff, like faucet extenders, you can turn the hassle into a beautiful experience for your baby.
Changing and Clothing
You should always have a diaper bag at hand as a baby needs changing diapers and clothes more often than you will like. You can find a great article about packing a perfect diaper bag at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-davis-smith/in-the-bag-tips-for-packing-the-perfect-diaper-bag_b_6277278.html. As already mentioned earlier onesies and singlets are your number one choices for clothing. In cold weather (under 75 degrees Fahrenheit) your baby will need several layers of clothing to keep warm. When temperatures are over 75 degrees Fahrenheit you can reduce your baby´s clothing to a single layer. A rule of thumb is to dress the baby in one more layer than you are wearing to be comfortable in the same environment.
Highchairs and seating
Using a safe way to seat your baby properly in different situations is crucial when it comes to safety and convenience. When you start to feed solid foods, having a spot for your little one to nosh that is easy to clean becomes more and more important. You can either opt for a high chair, use your lap, use a portable baby pouch, use a stroller or any other piece of baby gear that has a seat. For your home, a high chair is highly recommended as otherwise you should prepare yourself for a big mess. What kind of high chair you should use depends highly on where you eat your meals, how much cleaning you are willing to do on a daily basis and how much space you have in your kitchen or dining room. A great check of high chairs can be found here: https://babyli.st/hello-baby/best-high-chairs. If you are travelling a lot you should consider buying a travel pouch for your baby as this is easily the best all-around solution and a great invention.
Carriers, strollers etc
Travelling with your baby raises the question which kind of accessory you should choose. There are several types of transportation aids nowadays which can be quite confusing. To make it simple we want to break it down to either strollers or other carriers. Strollers are what we most associate with mothers on the go. However, the baby carrier has many advantages. Babies love to feel snuggled in a warm environment. They can be carried very closely, hear and feel the heartbeat and are comforted by their mother´s smell. The hands free ability to sooth the baby is a definite plus and takes a load off of tired arms. You can find a very insightful article about strollers and carriers here: http://www.boba.com/Strollers-baby-carriers-and-infant-stress.
Playtime – Toys, Books etc.
Playtime for a baby is a full-time job. Children explore their world by playing. They acquire new skills, test their boundaries and try new challenges in play. Normally laughter and smiles are seen and heard along that way. As a parent you are your baby´s first playmate. For the first year, play won´t involve much toys as reading, singing and speaking are the ways you will play with your baby. When growing up there are different stages your child will pass, such as developing sensory skills, cognitive skills and social development. A very great article about early learning can be found here: http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/playtime-guide/index.html.
Bedtime – Bedding, cradles etc.
Sleep is so important for your little one´s health as it directly impacts both their mental and physical development. Knowing your baby is sleeping safely and securely will give you a peace of mind and some time to rest yourself. And trust me, you gonna be in need of a good rest in the early days of parenthood. You should think about what kind of bed you like the most and choose either to buy a crib, cot or a Moses basket. You can get some really good tips here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akhtnpHLQjo
Better safe than sorry – your Mom was right! Safety will be a challenge for every parent without proper experience because you will notice so many potentially dangerous situations you never thought of. You should always think ahead and create a safe environment at home as your child grows up. Sharp edges, stairs and electric sources are just a few hazards you have to deal with. You can find some really great safety products here: https://kidsbaron.com/product-category/safety-products/
Baby care products
When you enter the baby section of your local drugstore for the first time you will be overwhelmed by the sheer endless shelves with baby care products. What you need is a basic supply, as less is best when it comes to your baby´s grooming needs. Baby oil, cotton balls, baby shampoo, baby wipes, baby bath and skincare ointments are a good start. Additionally you should buy a few medical products, such as a nasal aspirator and a heating pad to support your baby. As time goes by you can always stack up your arsenal. A good source to buy baby care products online is Johnson´s. Follow the link here: http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/baby-products
Health and medicine products
With a well-stocked medicine cabinet, first aid kit or medicine bag, you can quickly react to rashes, fever and other common baby ailments. Some basic supplies you should always have at hand are a digital thermometer, pain reliever, calamine lotion for insect bites, antibacterial ointment, adhesive bandage strips, sharp scissors and a heating pad. You can download your personal checklist here: http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/Content/first-year-health-guide_medicine_chest.pdf
Checklist to start with for new parents
Here´s what you need:
5 funniest products for babies
1. Mustache Pacifier https://kidsbaron.com/product/funny-pacifiers/
These pacifiers are so funny that they catch the attention immediately. Inside they are normal pacifiers that babies like and from the outside they are looking amazingly funny.
2. Tuxedo Style Romper https://kidsbaron.com/product/suit-rompers/
Well printed rompers that look like suits or tuxedos are really nice and funny. Dress up your baby!
3. Baby Mop http://www.betterthanpants.com/baby-mop.html#
When your baby begins to crawl why not use it for cleaning the ground? This invention looks very funny but I highly doubt that this has an effect.
4. The Babykeeper http://www.mommysentials.com/item_10/The-BabyKeeper-Basic.htm
I guess there is no parent on that planet who didn´t think about simply tucking the child to the wall. Now you can.
5. Baby paper high chair https://designilike.wordpress.com/page/53/
This is a foldable solution for parents who want an ecological seating solution. I doubt that this chair will survive more than 2 meals but who knows.
What to look for when buying baby stuff
To put it short – quality should always be king. Whether buying online, in a super store or your local market you should always look for high quality material, good customer reviews and clear descriptions of the product you want to buy. These guidelines are especially important when buying products that will get in direct contact with the skin or even the mouth of your baby. Clothes are usually best when created of cotton, plastics should be BPA-free and care products should be as naturally as possible without any chemicals. Most parents are well advised to use their common sense. If in doubt you should give up on that product.
Being a parent is a lifetime adventure. You will never know which challenges and hurdles you will face along the way. But the good news is that you´re not the first person on that journey. You can use the expert advice of many thousand people who were in the same or similar situations and there are a lot of great tips and checklists out there that will support you. I hope I was able to give you some valuable information and some good product tips that will make your life as a parent a bit easier. If you like that article or specific products on our website please leave us a comment or some nice words.
Good luck on your way.