The often-seen list of what new parents will need for a child- I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time, but for some reason or another, I kept getting sidetracked. This has turned out for the better though, as now that Dylan is 16 weeks old, I feel like I have a better sense of what has truly been useful...
Swing: we have used this in our living room every day since Dylan was born and it serves as a nice place to keep her when we need our hands for cooking or cleaning. She loves the mobile, mirror, toys attached... it keeps her entertained, but she hates the actual swinging... which suits us fine as the motor for the swing can be quite loud. [grade: B]
Pack n Play with bassinet and changing table: this has been some of the best money we've spent for baby. Located in a corner of our room next to me, it has been so functional for middle-of-the-night wake ups. It's convenient with the attached changing table, and Dylan slept comfortably in the infant bassinet until weeks ago when she finally got too long for it. It allows for vibration and music, none of which baby seemed interested in... but as she outgrows the napper and changing table, we're still left with the general playard area to safely contain her napping and fun. The only drawback is that assembly is not as convenient as one would hope for traveling. [grade: A-]
Swaddle: we used this simple, zip up swaddle that was light material. It kept Dylan tight and cool like she liked, and was convenient as the swaddles we attempted with blankets was never as tight as the nurses at the hospital could do. We attribute many sleep-full nights to this product. [grade: A+]
Pacifiers with clip: our child has an oral fixation; she always has to have something in there, and if allowed she would nurse all day and night just for the comfort. We use these pacifiers and have no complaints. [grade: A+]
Baby Bouncer: this has been useful when I try to get ready in the mornings and need something to entertain baby in the room with me. When I shower, I place her in this close by and she enjoys exercising her legs with it. She was more than 6 weeks before she really began enjoying it, but the only downfall is that she tends to get overstimulated in it within 20 minutes. We have one similar to this. [grade: B]
Glider: since Dylan isn't sleeping in her crib yet, we haven't used this much except when Dylan gets really overstimulated and we sit with her there, in the dark and quiet room. [grade: N/A... yet]
Boppy: we use this every single day, several times a day. Not only does it make it more comfortable while nursing, but it helps her to sit up, and tummy time. I couldn't live without it. [grade: A+]
Bumbo: Dylan has just started using this and is still working on her center of balance with it. This has been most beneficial in the kitchen while we're cooking, and when we're eating at the dinner table as she does not have a highchair yet, but likes to be in the center of the action. [grade: A]
Travel system: all-in-one car seat and stroller. It's convenient, and this one that we have is easy to maneuver, even with one hand... which is many times all you have to spare at the moment. Points off for the amount of trunk space it takes, but points back for the cute unisex pattern. [grade: A]
Sling and Carrier: I'm a big believer in baby wearing as a method of bonding with your child, along with the convenience it provides. I tried two slings and this one is a winner as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to be able to safely use it, it comes in a variety of fabrics and colors, and is easily adjustable for maximum comfort (extra points that I got one during a much-reduced price sample sale!). Originally I got this sling, but found that the directions were too confusing, and the fabric did not lend itself to comfortably adjust to baby and I. We got this carrier as a gift and it's been a god sent for when Dylan wants to be held at an inopportune time. I use the carrier for when she's awake and alert and the sling for when she's in a cuddly, sleepy mood. Both help with the hassle of having a stroller in a high traffic area, especially during shopping! [original sling: D, new sling: A+, carrier: A- ]
Diaper bag: while there are many trendy and expensive options, I chose a simple, but cute Carter's bag to start off with as it would break my heart to get many of the messes that come with babies (ahem... poop, milk, spit up, throw up, pee, more poop) on something so nice. Plus, when G has the baby I didn't think he'd appreciate the opportunity to carry something high end and fashionable with his outfit. The changing pad included is also the best for families on the run. If I could choose any one to have though, it would be this beautiful one (maybe for Christmas??). G wants a "manly" backpack though. [grade: A-]
Diaper genie: very dirty diapers in this thing next to my bed... yet I smell none of the goods. [grade: A]
Bottles: we were recommended these by many and have had no problems with additional baby gas problems, spit up, or nipple confusion. So far they're lasting well. [grade: A]
Diapers: we were lucky enough to be gifted months' worth of diapers. With experience we grew to prefer Pampers over Huggies, but when it came time to buy our own, Target brand has served us well. No leaks and very cost efficient. [Pampers: A, Huggies: C, Target: A].
Playmat: at four months old, this is turning into Dylan's favorite. She enjoys reaching for the toys and trying to roll over, but before she would just lay there for a few minutes and then cry. We have this one. [grade: still tbd, but for now a B+].
Obviously this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface on what you feel you need/want as a parent, but it's a starting point. We've been lucky that nothing purchased has been a complete bust. The good thing is that these are just that... things. None of these are required for a healthy and happy baby; being a caring parent will be a stronger contributor to that.