Well, Brian and I said to ourselves-- hey, wait a minute! Our parents didn't have all this crap...I mean, useful stuff when we were babies and we manage to a) not die, b) be reasonably intelligent, and c) learn independence anyway. I don't think those retailers are telling the truth! (Or maybe we didn't think that and I just made it up right now.) So we decided to buy a minimal amount of stuff before Kalena was born and then just buy stuff as we decided we needed it.
Anyway, now that I have a 4 month old and am an expert (HA. Right.) I thought I'd tell you what we thought of stuff.
Some of the favorites:
This baby bjorn diaper bag.
I love this diaper bag. It stands up on its own and is very organized. It's a little bulky because of the hard outer casing, but since I tend to fill up whatever bag space I have, I'd rather have the hard shell than the overstuffed bag look. Also, it's not too girly for Brian. I don't think you could pay him to carry something like this.
The sling. I really like this sling; it's adjustable so Brian and I could both use it and Kalena loved being in it. She's a little big for it now, so we're thinking about getting a structured carrier. I've heard good things about the Ergo baby carrier and the Baby Bjorn carrier.
An Ameda Purely Yours pump. Everything I read said if you are going to pump after you go back to work you need a good electric double pump. There are really only two pumps out there that fit this definition, the Ameda Purely Yours and the Medela Pump in Style. The reviews I read were about the same for both but the Ameda retailed for $50 to $100 less than the Medela (depending on where I looked) so that's what I went with. I like it, as much as you can really like a breast pump. It works well, both plugged in or on batteries, and it's easy to use. But, I've never used a Medela so I can't tell you how they compare.
Lily Padz. These are reusable silicon nursing pads (click the link if you want to read more about them.) I am a big fan. I'll definitely buy these again next time around.
The boppy. I used this pretty much every time I nursed her for the first 6 weeks. That made things easier for me, but did have the unfortunate side effect of causing Kalena to not want to nurse unless she was laying on a pillow. Made it hard to nurse anywhere outside the house, but we managed. Now we use it to prop her up for tummy time, so all in all it's been very useful.
A play mat. We got the baby Einstein one, but I'm sure she would have enjoyed any of them. We've used this daily from about 8 weeks on. Definitely worth it.
A bumbo seat. It allows her to sit up on her own which she loves. Plus, look how cute she is in it!
Some of the not-so-favorite:
We got a vibrating chair, and at first she wasn't a big fan. It didn't calm her down or put her to sleep and as a newborn she would only tolerate it for a few minutes at a time. She likes it a lot more now, but it's still not really a favorite.
We got a dishwasher basket which I thought we would use all the time, but not so much, as it turned out. I like the idea, but it didn't work for us. We weren't making enough dishes to run the dishwasher as often as we needed to so most of the time I ended up pulling stuff out of the dishwasher to wash it by hand. Even when we did get to run it through the dishwasher, fabulous Midland water tended to leave a residue that I got rid of by-- you guessed it!-- washing everything by hand. So now I skip the dishwasher and do all the bottle stuff by hand.
I heard lots of good things about sleepers with elastic in the bottoms, (like this) so we got a couple of those, but they also didn't work for us. When Kalena was a newborn, she would pull her arms out of the sleeves and get them stuck in the sleeper and once she got big enough that that didn't happen, she was so long that she would get her feet out the bottom and end up with the whole thing around her waist. That sort of defeated the whole point of wearing a sleeper instead of just a onesie, so we didn't use those very much. Maybe next time.
Things we still don't have:
A changing table. I'm glad we didn't get one; I don't think I would ever use it.
A baby bathtub. We used the sink at first and now the bathtub with a towel in the bottom. We're not planning on getting one of these.
A stroller. We're still sort of up in the air about this, but we figure we'll get one sometime. Any recommendations?
A structured carrier. We want to get one. Any that you love? Or any opinions on the two I mentioned earlier?
A jumper or activity center thing. We also want one of these. Any favorites?
Are there any products that you CANNOT BELIEVE I don't have? I want to hear about it! Also, if you have anything that people told you that you HAD TO HAVE and now you never use I would like to hear about it.