By: Jessica Tomes
Wow. Who would have guessed that preparing for a new baby was going to be so much work? And she’s not even here yet. The real fun begins August 17. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I are ecstatic to welcome our sweet little baby girl into this world, but not unlike most first-time parents, it is fair to say the excitement is tangibly laced with a bit of anxiety.
These past few months have been spent reading any and every pregnancy and/or baby preparation book I could get my hands on, talking obsessively to friends and family members (especially those with little tykes of their own), and scouring the Internet for customer reviews and “Sales of the Century” on top-notch baby gear. Luckily, my hours and hours of research proved more than fruitful when it recently came time to create my all-important Baby Registry. And now you, too, can reap the benefits! So grab a bottle of Tums, prop up your giant, swollen feet, and read on to find out my Top 10 Registry Essentials!
A Great (Convertible) Car Seat
A lot of new mommies and daddies tend to first select an infant car seat (usually one that coordinates with their chosen stroller), and then later upgrade to a toddler car seat. Another option—the option we chose—is to go with a convertible car seat from the start: rear facing for our infant, and then forward facing for our toddler. It all comes down to personal preference, and we just didn’t see the point in purchasing two car seats at this time.
Disclaimer: the car seat we selected is one of the most expensive items on our Registry. But we weren’t going to nickel and dime with our baby’s safety. (Now diapers are an entirely different story.) This Italian made beauty is one of the very best car seats on the market today. Click here to read more.
Baby Tomes Pick: The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP Convertible in Crystal Beige. $329.99 at www.albeebaby.com.
A Super Sweet Stroller
When it came to choosing a stroller, we knew we wanted something modern, compact, and durable. My husband wanted to make sure it had “big wheels.” (Yes, our new stroller has big, “all-terrain,” wheels.) I wanted it to be lightweight (as I would more often than not be the one loading and unloading the stroller to and from the trunk of my SUV), and easy to use (my degree is in journalism, not engineering). We weren’t in the market for one of those $1000+ strollers, but we wanted something that looked nice. This model—babble.com’s pick for Best Stroller of 2011—really had everything that we were looking for, at an amazing price. I actually have already purchased our stroller (and the Peanut Carrycot Bundle) from Gilt Groupe for $100 off the price listed on the Phil and Teds website (one of the aforementioned “Sales of the Century”). The Smart Cushy Ride Liner in bright blue (my hubby is a huge University of Kentucky fan) is still on our Registry list.
Baby Tomes Pick: The Smart Stroller + Peanut Carrycot. $359.99 at www.philandteds.com.
A Soft Baby Carrier
Many researchers today advocate “babywearing” because of its many benefits for both mom (or dad) and baby in the early child rearing process. These researchers say infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met (the caregiver can be seen, smelled, touched, and tasted). While this idea is far from new, many of the new designs—specifically the ergonomic soft baby carriers—are a fantastic modern option. These carriers are also a great baby transportation option, both around the house and out-and-about around Billings; just strap on your little one and go! With all of these proposed benefits, we figured why not give it a try: after all, a calm baby means happy parents, and who wouldn’t want that? And to find that ErgoBaby had teamed up with acclaimed diaper bag designer Petunia Picklebottom to create this beautiful carrier was simply icing on the cake.
Baby Tomes Pick: The ErgoBaby Organic Carrier in Peaceful Portofino. $160 from www.zukababy.com.
A Playard and Baby Bouncer
Playards, and bouncers, and swings…oh my! Honestly, most of the “must have” baby gear in the big box stores today seems like a big hoax. Who really needs a wipe warmer, much less a travel wipe warmer? However, all of my friends with young infants swear by their Port-a-Cribs, baby bouncers, and swings. Why, you may ask? Apparently, it’s a great way to distract, I mean entertain, baby while you take your allotted 5 minute shower, or manage to vacuum half your living room, before your next feeding or diaper changing. According to my trusty cohorts, if it vibrates, has a colorful mobile, and plays music, you are golden. Here are the items we selected for our own Registry, based purely on aesthetics. (The playard coordinates with my Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag and baby carrier! The bunny is just adorable.)
Pick One: Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat in Winslet. $199.99 from www.toysrus.com.
Pick Two: My Little Snug-a-Bunny Fisher Price Bouncer. $64.99 from www.toysrus.com.
A Baby Tub
For some this is of course an optional item, but for me, it is a must have. My hubby works about 50-60 hours a week, so I foresee there being a good chance that I will need to bathe our little darling all by myself on occasion. A baby tub like the one we have selected makes this a little more manageable. The Puj Tub replicates the feeling of being closely held in mommy or daddy’s arms, leaving baby to relax and enjoy the bath, which means you can, also! The tub supportively holds baby in an upright position, allowing you to bathe with both hands—no spousal help necessary! Which leaves dad free to photo document the endeavor. Perfection!
Baby Tomes Pick: The Puj Baby Bath Tub in Aqua. $39.99 from www.zukababy.com.
A no-brainer. Aren’t these beautiful, organic muslin swaddles just fabulous?
And they come in lots of colors and patterns to choose from (both boy and girl)!
Baby Tomes Pick: Aden+Anais Swaddle 4 Pack in Star Light. $49.95 from www.zukababy.com.
Bibs and Burps
With a baby in the house, newborn or otherwise, you can never have enough of these! These bibs and burps were my favorites for our baby girl. And yes, I realize they are going to be covered in baby gook, but that’s what a washing machine is for.
Pick One: Baby Jar Grace Bib and Burp Set. $14 and $35 respectively from www.laylagrayce.com.
Pick Two: Rikshaw Design Lali Burp and Bib Set. $39 from www.laylagrayce.com.
Pick Three: Bib ‘n Burp Set Orange Leaves. $29 from www.laylagrayce.com.
Baby and Stroller Blankets
Again, you can never have enough of these! (Think spit up and other unpleasant accidents.) A real Montana baby must have, here are two of my favorites. Of course there are tons of beautiful baby blankets at varying price points out there in cyberspace to choose from!
Pick One: Cuddle Plush Stroller Blanket in Ivory. $39 from www.rhbabyandchild.com.
Pick Two: OiOi Weegoamigo Pink Stampede Blanket. $80 from www.laylagrayce.com.
A Boppy Nursing Pillow
…And several slipcovers (again with the spit up). I chose these lovely blue and yellow damask, handmade slipcovers from Etsy. I tried to keep items like this one in a gender neutral color palette, as we are hoping to reuse as much as possible with any additional children we might have. (My husband is really hoping our next baby is a boy.) Babies R Us and Target also have a great selection of covers.
Baby Tomes Pick: Boppy Bare Naked Pillow. $20.99 from www.amazon.com.
Anything from Kate Quinn Organics or Splendid Baby
Soft, luxurious, and too adorable for words…I would register for and/or purchase every clothing item on these two companies websites if I could, but my husband might have to leave me, and file for bankruptcy if this were the case. Not exactly practical or cost efficient for everyday wear, any of these outfits make fantastic Baby Shower gifts, and look fabulous in those all-important new baby photo shoots! Here are a few choices from my own Registry.
Pick One: Stripe Onesie in Arctic Blue. $48 from www.splendid.com.
Pick Two: The Kaleidoscope Flutter Dress in Amber. $68 from www.splendid.com.
Pick Three: The Halter Sunsuit in Baroque. $41 from www.katequinnorganics.com.
Pick Four: Woven Dress Bodysuit in Sunrise. $45 from www.katequinnorganics.com.
One Additional Tip for all the Mommies-to-Be of the 21st Century:
Wondering how I got all these items from various online stores into one, all-inclusive list? Easy as pie, using Baby List (the universal registry). A simple bookmark tool (installed on your Internet browser) allows you to list items from various pages all in one place (a lot like Pinterest). You can even give specific instructions for each item, such as monogram, color, and size information. You simply enter all of your Registry and Shower information, and Baby List handles the rest for you! You will receive a special link to include on your Shower invitations, and you can even email your preferences to your guests!
I hope this blog entry has helped to qualm some of your baby preparation fears at least your Registry related ones. Good luck and have fun! Remember, this is supposed to be one of the most exciting times in your life. So don’t make it any more stressful than it has to be.