When you become a mother (and even before you’re a mother), everyone tells you about all the “stuff” you need. But the truth is, a lot of the things that are recommended for new babies aren’t even really useful!
If you practice attachment parenting for your baby, you can really cut down on many of the items you buy for your little one. Since you plan to be right there with her, you don’t need lots of extra gizmos to watch her or entertain her.
How do you know what baby products really are “must-have” and which ones you can take a pass on if you want to do a minimalist parenting style?
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After three kids (and working on a fourth!), I’ve finally figured out what all I need (and what I don’t). I’m so glad, because we got rid of a lot of our baby stuff about a year ago (whoops). It’s nice to know I don’t have to rebuy every single item I had before.
Read on to learn what the best baby products are for 2019, and what you can save on!
If you’re practicing attachment parenting, you can save a ton of money because there’s no need for a separate nursery!
Trust me, I know that there are so many precious sets of nursery decor out there. There’s nothing that can put you in buying mode like looking at sweet crib linen sets.
My oldest daughter had a nursery. You know what?
She never slept in it.
After her, we never went through the expense and hassle of decorating a baby’s bedroom again.
Besides, the prettiest parts of a crib bedding set, like the bumper and the blankets, are actually unsafe for babies. Both of these have tragically led to suffocation for some babies.
Best co sleeper bassinet / crib
The American Academy of Pediatrics still suggests that baby sleeps in your room until at least six months (preferably the whole first year).
So instead of ponying up for an expensive crib, consider a bed-side bassinet. You can fix this style of crib to be a co sleeper by bringing it up to the height of your bed. And the best part is that if you’re breastfeeding, it will be much easier to roll over, feed your baby, then roll back to bed for sleep!
RELATED: Bed sharing with baby: How to do so safely
Wearable blankets / Sleepsacks
I know, everyone tells you how great it is to swaddle your baby. But if you choose to co sleep, swaddling isn’t safe. Your baby isn’t able to use his little arms and legs to make you more aware of his presence.
Plus, no matter where your baby sleeps, if he’s swaddled so that his legs can’t move, he’s at greater risk of hip dysplasia or hip dislocation.
And current recommendations say never to put your baby to sleep with a loose blanket.
Instead, I recommend a wearable blanket! These little zip-up sacks allow free movement for your little one’s arms and legs. The style does not allow the blanket to come up to cover your baby’s face.
Also, they’re adorable. Make sure you check sizing before ordering. You’ll need a few in each size as your baby gets older.
One of the (many) great things about breastfeeding is that you don’t have to worry about buying a bunch of stuff! You’ll have no formula costs and you only need a few bottles for pumped milk. Plus, breast pumps are often covered by insurance, so the most expensive item becomes free for you!
RELATED: Newborn breastfeeding: 12 tips
Best breastfeeding supplies
For the first few weeks, you’ll probably want some gel soothies for your nipples. You shouldn’t be in major pain, but I’d be lying if I told you there might be some tenderness (like getting used to a new pair of shoes, but on your nipples).
Once your milk comes in, you’ll also *likely* need some breast pads for leakage. While I used disposable ones in the past, I think this next time I’m going to go with these reusable breast pads.
This pack has enough to last you a week, so you don’t have to worry about constantly washing them (trust me, you’ll be doing at least weekly laundry with a new baby). Plus, these are much better for the environment (and cheaper in the long run!) than the disposables.
Nursing bras and tops
Nursing bras make things much easier! I remember there was a learning curve for me to figure out those pesky cup snaps, but once I did it became much easier to feed my baby.
Ideally, you should choose bras with no underwire (as they can trap milk and cause plugged ducts or even mastitis). I like this style as they offer support even without the underwire and are nice and smooth under clothes.
Even better? Get a few nursing camis in neutral, layerable colors! When I have a new baby, I wear a nursing cami pretty much every day.
You can wear a nursing cami (with or without a bra, depending on how much support you need) and put a shirt over that. When it’s time for baby to eat, just pull up the shirt, pull down the snap for access, and your baby will be nursing without any of your middle showing.
And the nursing covers? Skip ’em. Are you a big fan of eating under a blanket? Your baby likely won’t be either. Instead of being modest, you’ll be more exposed than ever when your baby flings the cover away from his head. Just get the nursing cami and move on.
Oh, and once you’ve given birth you’ll need a nighttime bra too, at least for a few weeks. A nighttime nursing bra will give you gentle support (don’t you love that phrase?), but more importantly, it will give you somewhere to put those breast pads for when you suddenly leak a huge amount of breastmilk at night (ask me how I know). As in, if you’re not wearing a night nursing bra with pads in it, you should probably sleep on top of a towel. It was bad, ya’ll.
Day-to-day and baby safety items
Your routine changes when there’s a new baby! While you don’t need a ton of new stuff inside your home, there are a few things you can get to make your life easier.
To even get home with your baby, you’re going to have to have a properly installed carseat.
Our family has always been happy with Graco seats. With an infant, it’s nice to have one that is easy to carry around. After all, if you get somewhere and your baby is still asleep, it’s much nicer to be able to carry him in the carseat instead of waking him up (NOTE: Don’t set a carseat down on the floor or another flat surface for the baby to sleep for an extended period of time. The seat will be at the wrong angle, which could constrict baby’s air flow).
That’s one reason I love the Graco Click Connect. This carseat comes with a base that allows you to literally click the seat in without having to hassle with seatbelts every time you switch cars (although there is a seatbelt option for strapping the seat in).
Plus, you can save a lot of money by only buying one seat instead of one for every car the baby goes in. Just buy enough bases for each parent (and maybe the grandparents); the bases are much cheaper than the carseat. Then, you can simply pass around the carseat and be ready to go!
Baby carriers/ baby wraps
Once your little one is old enough (and your back/middle/everything is recovered from the immediate shock of birth), it becomes much easier to do life if you are carrying him in a wrap. Most babies love to be held all the time, particularly during the “fourth trimester.”
I have a whole post on all the different kinds of baby carriers (I’m a little addicted), but for now, I’ll focus on just two that are good for newborns and young infants.
RELATED: Best baby carriers 2019 – How baby wearing helps moms
When babies are very small, I love to use the Boba baby wrap. This stretchy wrap is cozy for small babies (and comfortable for parents). It’s the most comfortable wrap and perfect for walking around or even doing light housework (NOTE: don’t bend down while using a stretchy wrap unless you are securely holding onto your baby with a hand).
Why am I being so brand-specific here? The Boba is more lightweight and breathable than brands you usually see in big-box stores. When it’s warm outside, that makes a big difference!
If the idea of tying a wrap makes you nervous (although it’s really not hard once you learn!), or if you want a more supportive carrier for hiking or other slightly more strenuous activity, you should go with a soft structured carrier. My personal favorite is the Manduca. Yes, it’s pricier than some other structured carriers, but it’s worth it. It doesn’t give me a headache (like some poorly made carriers) and I know it supports my baby’s hip development (a big safety point for carriers). Plus, and it comes with a newborn insert, so this carrier will fit your baby even when he’s tiny. And when he’s older (like my little guy below), you can unzip the back to expand its length, allowing you to use the carrier from infancy to toddlerhood! Seriously, this baby carrier is a great investment and probably my favorite item on this whole list.
Play and floor time items
Despite what some people will tell you, you don’t need many toys for an infant. Before a couple months, a rattle will do nothing but stress out a baby, and even after, babies are very easily entertained by only one or two objects.
I like the Oball baby rattle because the ends are soft (babies accidentally bonk their own head with stuff due to their developing muscle control), and the shape is interesting.
Plus, this baby rattle doubles as a teether!
I also suggest having a play mat. When your baby is around 4 or 5 months old, she’ll enjoy some time on her mat to play with the little toys attached above her.
There is no need for electronics or flashing lights, just a few objects for her to bat at. It’s so fun to watch the pleasure your baby will get from the simple cause and effect of “kick bar, watch toys move.”
Okay, so pregnancy isn’t exactly time for attachment parenting yet, but I figured this info could really help. There’s a good chance you’re on this page because you’re expecting your first little one, so I wanted to make sure you knew what you actually need (and what you can skip)!
There’s really only two must-have (in my opinion) items for pregnancy: a pregnancy pillow and a support belt.
I’m typically a stomach sleeper, but that goes out the window during pregnancy! And after about 8-12 weeks (for first time moms, earlier if you’re a repeat mother), you can’t sleep on your back either. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association specifically recommends sleeping on your left side.
After a few months, you’ll be uncomfortable and it will become difficult to sleep. Your hip will start aching, and just putting a regular pillow between your knees won’t cut it.
That’s why you need a pregnancy pillow! I love the Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow. You can curl up with it, for knee, back, and even belly support (yes, you need “belly” support near the end of your pregnancy. Sorry).
The C-shape really lets you bring the pillow to right where you need support. I can’t emphasize enough how helpful a pregnancy pillow is!
Pregnancy support belts
Speaking of support, after four pregnancies, I can promise you that you need a pregnancy support belt. Honestly, I think a large part of the reason I had diastasis recti with the third is because I didn’t want to wear my belt.
I’ve tried several different brands of pregnancy belts, and I like this style best.The strap across the back really helps support your lower back, and having two straps (one above and below your belly) at the front really makes a difference in how well it holds up your growing belly.
A good support belt makes a huge difference with back pain and just the general discomfort of having your abdomen hanging down from your front all day.
Conclusions on products you need for attachment parenting
I hope you see how much less you really need for your baby compared to what society tells you. Is there something you think I forgot? Let me know in the comments!