When our son was first born, we-like most new parents-had no idea just how much stuff a baby would need, or more importantly, which items would be most needed. Some were extremely useful, while others were tried once or twice then left to gather dust. Out of all the baby accoutrements we own, there are a few that surprised us as being most necessary.
The HALO Sleep Sack
Any new parent knows the value of getting a good night’s sleep-Sleep? What is that?-but when our little one was born, we were either not very adept at the whole swaddling thing or our son was super strong…maybe both. Every night, we would swaddle him, and every night our little Houdini would escape our efforts and wake up crying. Finally, at wit’s end, my husband drove to Target and picked up one of those sleep sacks we had heard about from a coworker of mine. There are a few brands to choose from, such as HALO and SwaddleMe, and they come in a variety of color and pattern choices. The sleep sack is designed to help baby not only sleep safer but sleep better, too. The adjustable wings offer a snug fit to hug the baby, and the spacious sack offers plenty of room for baby to kick. The sleep sack is great for ages newborn up to twelve months, and the average cost is $19.99.
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Travel Bottle and Food Warmer Set
When our son was five months old, we flew out of state to a family wedding. From early on, our son had had trouble latching on during breastfeeding, but I still pumped so that he would receive the benefits of breast milk. The only problem is that breastmilk should, ideally, be served somewhat warm. The problem for our trip was how to heat up his breastmilk bottles while we were traveling. I researched many different portable bottle warmers, and what I decided on was the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Travel Bottle and Food Warmer Set. Essentially the Tommee Tippee is a “super” thermos. You fill the “thermal flask” with hot water, which stays hot (steamy hot!) all day, and then warm up bottles or food jars in the warming carafe or use the warm water to mix with formula. The set is BPA free, so it is safe to use and won’t contaminate baby’s food. The great thing about this set is that no electricity is needed, so it can be used anywhere. It’s also compact enough to fit in a diaper bag. This set ended up being one of my favorite and most-used baby essentials. We purchased our set at Babies ‘R Us, but they are also available at Target. The price ranges from $15.99-19.99.
When the time came that I found myself pregnant and registering for baby shower items, I remembered something my mom told me. We had been shopping for a friend’s baby shower, and my mom picked up the practical medical kit, making sure it included an aspirator. She told me that one of the most important items needed for a baby was a good aspirator. As usual, my mom was absolutely correct! Our son is now two years old, and even now we still use his baby aspirator, like when he’s having difficulty blowing his nose, or when he gets a chunk of apple stuck up it. Whatever the reason, sometimes he just needs a little assistance. The aspirator has been one of the most surprising baby essentials we never knew we’d need so much…or for so long.
When it comes to parenting, there is a huge learning curve, and the training never ends. One thing parents learn quickly, though, is what works and what doesn’t, what to spend money on and what can wait. Though there are many items a baby needs, these are just a few that easily became our essentials.