Things I Can’t Live Without

Yesterday I posted about the things I’m probably not going to use again when I have my second baby in April.  Today I thought I’d post about the baby things that I can’t live without.  So, let’s get to it…

Playtex Drop-In Bottles and Liners – I was a little nervous about using bottles with liners when I had Bean.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to use a bottle with no liner?  Maybe.  But I’d heard that the bottles with liners helped with gas.  Good thing, too, because Bean was a gassy little dude from Day One.  What I love about the Playtex bottles and liners are how easy they are to assemble, fix, and use.  I could put them together with one hand, which is convenient when you’re toting a hungry baby around.  And I loved that they had several parts that were all replaceable.  There’s the nipple that you can change out with flow speeds depending on how old your baby is, the ring at the top, the bottle itself, and the liner.  While that might seem like a lot of parts, it was actually really helpful because if one part needed to be replaced, I didn’t have to replace the entire bottle.  And Playtex was so durable!  I used about 12 bottles with Bean (some 4oz. and some 8 oz.) and I’m happy to report that I don’t even have to replace the bottles with Gracie.  We just bought new nipples and rings and we’re good to go.  Saved us a lot of money!

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A pretty clothes hamper – Originally when we had Bean, I didn’t not intend to get one of these.  I thought it was ridiculous to spend $20.00 on a clothes hamper when I had perfectly good plastic hampers I could use.  But here’s the thing about newborns – they go through a LOT of clothes and linens.  And as they get older, they go through even more.  The nice thing about a pretty, sturdy clothes hamper is that you can sit it out in the room and it still looks good, but it serves a really practical purpose – keeping you from piling dirty burp cloths all over.  If you’re going to splurge, this might be a good splurge to make.  It’s really convenient while still looking good in the room.

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A Diaper Genie Elite – Just do it.  Don’t skim on this one.  Your nose will thank you.  And every time you bring someone in to show them your beautiful new nursery and your beautiful new baby, you won’t have to worry about how the room smells.  We have used this one since Bean was born and it’s been great.  It’s easy to use, uncomplicated to load and unload, and keeps the smells under control.  The only down side is that the refill packs are so darn expensive!  We buy them in bulk at BJ’s Wholesale and that helps the cost a little.  Another tip?  Stick one of those car air fresheners down in the bottom of your Diaper Genie to help eliminate the odors even more!

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Chicco Cortina Travel System – This was the most expensive item on our registry and it was worth every single penny.  I loved this set and it has held us so well that we’ll be using it again for Gracie, too.  The car seat is so snug, cozy, and safe.  It looks like you’re tucking your little one into a very soft harness – which a car seat should be, I guess.  And it snaps into the stroller perfectly.  The stroller is my favorite part though.  I can pop that sucker up and down in one motion, in one second, with one hand.  It is awesome.  What I really like about it is that its so streamlined.  It has all the features of a big stroller, but it’s compact enough to fit through clothing racks at the mall or festivals packed with people.  And it has really grown well with Bean, too.  He’s bigger now, but the seat has adjusted and grown with him.  Lastly, I love the fabric it is made out of.  It is so easy to wipe clean.  There’s not a stain on ours and I’m sure that’s because it’s so easy to just wipe things off of it on the spot.  No time for a stain to set in.  I highly recommend this set.

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Onesies – Buy these.  Buy many of these.  And then buy more.  With Bean, I wanted him to be in outfits all the time, but what he really lived in day-to-day when he was little were onesies.  So easy to throw on him and so comfortable for him (especially during the summer).  And the nice thing about them is that they are cheap, so you can buy a lot of them and won’t run out of the clothes if you end up changing him into five onesies in one day (which happens – trust me!).  I knocked the onesies at first, but I quickly saw the error of my ways.  For Miss Gracie, I’ve been buying little bloomers in all different colors to throw on over her onesies.  A lady does have her modesty to protect…

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Fisher Price My Little Lamb Swing – Not all babies like swings, so we’ll have to see how Gracie feels about one.  But Bean was addicted to this swing.  He chilled in it, napped in it, played in it.  He loved his swing.  I like this particular one because it swiveled so it could swing front to back or side to side.  This was really convenient in our house because we’d move the swing around and sometimes there wasn’t room for it to swing front to back, so we could turn it in the direction where there was more room.  Bean liked the change of pace and scenery.  I also liked this one because it was SUPER soft.  And the cover came off the swing so you could throw it in the wash for a quick clean.  The tray on the front of this one was helpful, too.  We’d clasp all kinds of toys to it and Bean would sit for hours and play.  We used this swing every day and I bet we only replaced the batteries two or three times in a year.  It was really efficient.  I hope Gracie likes it, too.

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Fisher Price My Little Lamb Bouncer – This one was crucial in our house.  Bean didn’t really like the bouncing or the vibrating, but it was nice to have a place to sit him while I was cooking dinner or something.  It angled him upright so he could see what was going on, instead of laying him down like the pack-n-play did.  And it was really comfy.  Or, at least it LOOKED really comfy.  We moved this thing all over our house and Bean used it for a long time.  The only downside with this one is that its not very entertaining when your baby gets a little older and needs more stimulation.  That one lamb hanging there isn’t too exciting.  So, I’m not sure it’s a great entertainment item, but it is very helpful if you just want a place to put you bambino when you can’t hold him.

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Tiny Love Stroller Arch – I stumbled on this when Bean was about 6 months old and was going through a phase where he hated being in the car.  I’d give him hand toys to play with, but he’d just throw them accidentally and then get mad.  This arch attaches to your car seat or stroller (or swing or bouncer or whatever else you can find to attach it to!) and instantly turns anything into a toy.  Bean loved it!  The parts spin and the colors are so bright and happy that it kept his attention for a long time.  It saved us numerous times in restaurant when Bean was getting restless in his seat while we ate.  It is expandable so it fits just about anything and the clamps are easy to use and gentle on whatever you attach it to.  I can’t recommend this one enough!

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Okay, that’s all I can think of right now.  But I’ll keep posting these periodically as I remember more things we used.  Hope it’s helpful to all you preggos out there!!

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28 thoughts on “Things I Can’t Live Without

  1. I will definitely keep these tips in mind when T and I decided to have chillun’ of our own 🙂

  2. Ooh, I am going to get one of those toy arches! That is perfect because he is getting tired of the same old car toy, thanks for posting!!

  3. I am bookmarking this since I have a little while before I need to buy these things, but I don’t want to forget about them! Cabin Fever in Vermont

  4. That toy arch looks awesome! We had the diaper genie when Sweet Pea was a baby (she’s 8 now) and it was a different model back then, but still used those inserts. We didn’t use it for long because the inserts got expensive to replace. After that we got the Diaper Champ which I loved because you can use any kind of plastic bag inside it. The only downside to the Champ is it doesn’t quite contain the smells quite as well as the Genie.. but it did work really well.

  5. Erin R.

    Great list! We also loved the Playtex Drop-In’s. Soooo convenient. And we look forward to using them 2nd time around like you are. Also, my son LOVED the Fisher Price Little Lamb Swing. It looked so comfy, I sometimes wanted to crawl in it and take a nap 😉

  6. Those are excellent reminders of necessities 🙂

  7. A quick piece of advice about the infant car seat. I read in a baby book that it’s not safe to use the same infant seat for your second child because the plastic foam that protects your baby in case of an accident starts to break down after so many months of use (also why you should never buy a used or second-hand car seat). Every brand of car seats is different, so I would recommend looking up yours to be sure. We really did not want to spend $100 to replace what I thought was a perfectly good car seat for our second child, but after finding that out we bought one anyway. It was worth it to know that our baby would be safer if we ever got into an accident with him in the car.

  8. If BF isn’t successful I plan on using the drop in system as well. It is easier and you don’t have to try and clean inside the bottles. We are skipping the diaper thing though as I don’t want to have to spend money to replace the liners. I take the trash out everyday anyways so I figure it shouldn’t be too big of a deal. We got the Chicco Key Fit and love it (given she isn’t here yet) and I figure with the price tag it should hold up and be safe for number two when that time comes along! We plan on getting the same stroller as you mentioned.

  9. Geez, Katie, you take some of the nerves off of pregnancy and motherhood, that’s for sure!

  10. We have a Diaper Genie, too–based on one of your recommendations from a post last year–but also found that the refills are expensive. As a solution, we keep a small garbage pail next to the DG for diapers with #1 and only diapers with #2 go in the DG, to save space and cost. Also, that arch looks great for restaurants. I’ll keep it in mind for the future. Thanks!

  11. Rachel

    I have to disagree on the diaper genie… we had one when our oldest was born and didn’t like it (at all!). She’s 14 now, so maybe they’ve improved. Thought they were an expensive waste of money. We bagged the #2s in plastic grocery sacks & then threw them in our regular trash. Didn’t seem to be a problem with odors. Just my two cents for those who may be considering the purchase.

  12. I second this list – especially the onesies. In warmer climates/seasons they’re all you need. When it’s cold,they are a valuable second layer.

  13. Victoria

    I work in a hospital with a car seat expert (the person whose whole job is to check to make sure the car seat is properly installed and the baby in it correctly before leaving) and I just asked about the car seat being used twice. She said as long as you had not being in an accident with it with Bean and as long as it wasn’t more than six years old (should be an expiration date on it) then you are good to go with using it for Gracie =) Hope that helps…

  14. Anna

    We have that hamper (in Ecru) and LOVE it! It’s so nice that the mesh insert comes out and you can just transport it to the washer! Also, I’m so with you on the Diaper Genie. We have the Elite II and love it as well.

  15. I thought I would never need the bouncer but after carrying my hefty 3 week old around ( he’s 10 lbs 8 oz and a great arm workout), i need some place to set him down sometimes. I’m getting one of these this week. I’m also going to pick up the arch. That is a great suggestion!!

  16. Leah

    I just updated my registry. Thanks!! 🙂

  17. Jenn

    Wowsers thats a lot of stuff!!! We could never afford to get that much paraphenalia but managed fine with the onesies, a 2nd hand stroller, and a 2nd hand bouncer. All the rest I didn’t have and didn’t miss. (just in case anyone reading is freaking out that they need all that stuff!) But good for you that you could have them and found them useful!

  18. we love our swing and bouncer – the bouncer is also really great when my 4 month old has a cold and needs to sleep elevated. we use the diaper champ because you can use regular trashbags with it and its perfect and we dont have ANY odor from it. i am totally getting one of those arch things! …and we have the same chicco carseat (a different stroller though) and the same hamper!! wahoooo!!!

  19. I love this. I joust bought that exact bouncer for a friend’s baby shower and I feel validated now.

  20. Tressa

    And onesies are so darn CUTE!! Lots and lots of adorable onesies, especially for girls! Love the idea of bloomers with them 🙂

  21. Oh, yay! Thanks, I will keep these in mind when I go to register!

  22. Leah

    This is so helpful! My husband and I are expecting our first in May (a little girl – we’re naming her Grace Carolyn) and we were so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of everything we thought we’d need. One question about the Chicco travel system – how long did it take for Bean to outgrow the car seat? We’re debating whether to get the Keyfit 22 or the Keyfit 30 travel system, and we’re just concerned she might outgrow the 22lb seat before she’s a year old. Any advice?

  23. Meghan

    @Leah (#22), 22 pounds of baby plus the infant car seat plus whatever else you have to carry makes for a LOT of weight. Our infant seat went to 20 pounds, and we moved both our boys out of it before that because they were so darn heavy! The infant seat is priceless in the beginning when they’re little, sleep a lot, and you don’t want to have to get them in/out at the car, but I can’t imagine lugging around a 30 pound kid in one. My advice would be to get the 22 pound seat and a convertible car seat that can face backwards and forwards; if she outgrows the infant carrier before 1 then you can use the new car seat and just turn it around when she’s big enough. Just one mom’s 2 cents!

  24. Lindsey

    I second the swing and bouncer! Both of those items SAVED me when my daughter was a newbie. The Diaper Genie didn’t last long at our house – I found it cheaper to just take the poopy diaper out to the trash, and pee diapers in the kitchen trash (which had a lid and got taken out each night anyway).

  25. Andrea M.

    With our twins we wound up buying a Diaper Genie and inheriting a Diaper Champ- which was great to have two, one for upstairs and one for downstairs diaper changes. Get the Diaper Champ- it uses regular kitchen garbage bags and never smells, it is much, much better!!

  26. Tara

    I had the lovely help from my mother to help me dwindle down our “needs” before our first!He is now 4 months and I like you know what I would use again.The wipes warmer never came out, when you really think about it bacteria would love that thing. We actually went old fashioned and use warm wash cloths and love it!! There are now arm and hammer dropins for your diaper genie and cheap too instead of a car deodorizer they are by munchkin. Our son could not suck so we didnt get to use the 15 playtex bottles we had ready to go but that was the only last minute replacement we had.We do like our bottle warmer but our son doesn’t care on the temp. Just know there are many areas in Orlando that have GREAT garage sales starting in Feb to April I hit baby heaven. Although I would not buy everything from them I did end up with a $3 diaper champ, $1 gap outfit with tags that was $60 and $5 bouncer that I broke the seal on and had to assemble! I know many people wont go garage sales for a baby but if you have the time you can find some treasures and just think you can have your own too and get money for all those tu tu’s!

  27. Becky

    I have a 13 month old girl. Since none of my friends have small kids anymore, no one had this kind of input for me. If you think of what you can’t live without for a toddler, post that! Congrats on your little one!

  28. Thank you so much for this post! You made me feel validated by the choices on my registry…and also made me rethink my decision about swing but no bouncer.

    I’m also glad that the second poster clarified the car seat issue…from all the research I’ve done, you can definitely use a car seat for a second baby unless it has been in a car accident. Thanks!

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