As I am rounding the corner, entering the last two weeks of my second pregnancy, I have started to think about our final preparations for when baby arrives. You would think that since I have done this already, I would be a professional and have everything ready to go. Well, not so much; even seasoned pros need a refresher course on must-haves for a newborn! Here is a list I have compiled, checking off things while I go, ensuring I have them on hand and ready to go for when it’s baby time (which is so soon! Ahhhhh…).
Receiving/Swaddling blankets – Trust me when I tell you this: when you think you have too many of them? Add a few more to the pile. You will be shocked at all the uses you find for these lovely inventions. From swaddling, to cleaning up spit up, to using one as a nursing cover, the possibilities are endless. Trust me on this one, you can never have too many receiving/swaddle blankets! My pick: I am in love love love with the Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. They are 100% muslin (also available in bamboo), which is both warm, and breathable, making them super versatile. They are 47″ x 47″, which is PERFECT for swaddling. They get softer as they are washed, and even more cuddly.
Feeding Supplies – Regardless which you are planning on doing; breastfeeding, or formula feeding, there are some supplies you will want to have on hand to make your life easier. For breastfeeding mamas, a few items to consider: Nipple cream, nursing pads, breast feeding pillow, nursing cover, nursing bras, electric breast pump. For formula feeding mamas, a few items for you to consider: Bottle system, extra bottle nipples, formula dispenser, bottle drying rack, bottle brush, bottle sterilizer. My Pick: Breastfeeding mothers will love the Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter – it’s like magic! Formula feeding mothers will find ease with the Avent Natural Bottle.
Diapers – If you have read my posts before, you know that I am a cloth diaper fanatic, but more than that, I am an Eco-friendly advocate. I urge all expectant mothers to look into more responsible diaper options, whether it be cloth or an environmentally conscious brand of disposable diapers. Your baby will go through between 5,000 to 7,000 diaper changes before he/she is potty trained and our landfill has over 7.6 billion pounds of diaper garbage a year. I think it’s incredibly important to make an educated and informed decision, that works for your family, in regards to diapering your child(ren). My Pick: I am a huge, massive fan of AppleCheeks cloth diapers: They are Canadian made and Canadian owned, and fantastically made. For a disposable option, I have heard great things about Naty Diapers, which are made of natural and renewable material, 100% chlorine free and 100% GMO free. THAT is pretty fantastic.
Home Safety – Keeping an eye on our little ones, being able to see and hear what they are up to when sleeping is a priceless tool that we are lucky to have. Whether you are the kind of parent who loves the option to have a video monitor to physically see your child, or if you only require an audio aid to hear if/when they are upset, there are many many options out there for you. Hours upon hours can be spent looking at the different models, brands and features. My suggestion is to look for one with a long range, rechargeable batteries, a wireless option and digital audio for less/no static. My Pick: For a video monitor, the Motorola 3.5″ Digital Video Baby Monitor is a great option. For an audio-only monitor, I suggest the Avent DECT Monitor for a crystal clear reception.
Car Seat – I can’t stress enough how important it is to educate yourself on car seat safety prior to your baby’s arrival. A lot has changed in regards to regulations, rules and guidelines in the last 2 years, and it continues to do so. Car seat safety is so incredibly important, and something I think most parents should take more time to research. There are some very reputable, amazing companies out there who dedicate a lot of time and research to make sure our children are safe. One of the most common questions I am asked, is if there is really a difference between a $300 car seat, and a $100 one. YES THERE IS. A good car seat will protect your child better than the one below it, and should be looked at as an investment, not just a regular baby purchase. My Picks: For an infant seat, I personally love the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP. It is the one we have, and the one I tell all my friends and family to purchase. Their history is fantastic, and the extra safety features make a world of a difference. It is the best selling infant car seat on the market in Canada. For a convertible seat, I own and love the Britax Boulevard G3. Britax is one of those companies who strive to always make ground breaking improvements and find new technology to keep your child safe, and make your life easier.
Stroller – The 5 things I ask people when looking for a stroller is the following: 1) Know your budget and be realistic about your expectations. 2) Know your lifestyle and needs for a stroller. Do you jog/run, walk a lot, what kind of terrain are you going to be in? 3) Think long term, will you need the ability to have more than one child in/on the stroller at a time? 4) What extras do you need in a stroller? Do you require a bassinet/wheeled board/second seat? 5) how often will you be using your stroller? Is this something that you will use daily, or only a couple times a week? Once you know these basics, you can start to narrow down the tremendous choices that are out there. Stroller shopping can be very overwhelming, but knowing some of these key pieces of info will help you make a decision. I have been through four strollers myself, and I know better than most that finding the perfect stroller can be a daunting a hard task. My Picks: I use my stroller a ton, and expect quite a bit from it, therefor my number one, absolute favorite stroller is the Bugaboo C3 (formerly the Cameleon). I love the versatility, ease of use, handling and the sleek look of it. I will cry real honest tears when our Bugaboo days are over and my kids no longer need the stroller. My next favorite is a tie between the Britax B-Ready (for design, affordability, ease and versatility) and the Baby Jogger City Mini (for ease, lightweight, travel, and design.).
Carrier – In the last 5 years or so there has been an incredible boom of mothers who are more interested than ever in babywearing. Wearing your baby is beneficial for both Mom/Dad and baby, keeping them close and feeling secure, and giving Mom/Dad free hands and bonding time. With a plethora of different types of carriers and manufacturers, it can be hard to figure out what will work best for you and your baby. I usually suggest that unless you have tried out a specific brand/type with a baby already, you wait until your baby is born and come into our store and try the different carriers with your new baby. Not every carrier is the same, and not every baby is the same. My Picks: I really loved my Sling Sisters Organic Wrap for the first 8 months or so, it offered a lot of versatility and was comfortable for both of us. My next go-to was the Ergo carrier, which is more of a structured carrier that is so comfortable and (you guessed it!) ergonomically correct, keeping both you and baby super comfortable and safe.
Diaper Bag – As a Mom, your diaper bag tends to replace your purse, so you want something that is not only functional, but stylish as well. I wanted to make sure I had something that I liked the look of, that my husband wouldn’t feel silly carrying if he had to, and would hold all the things I needed. Look for something that is constructed well, washes easily, has all the right compartments, enough space for diapers, bottles, toys, a change of clothes and all the extras that come along with a baby. My Pick: I have and love the Oioi Hobo bag. It’s use of space is fantastic, outside pockets for bottles or extras, and the beautiful look of it can not be beat. Once my daughter was out of the needing-a-diaper-bag stage, I even used it as a purse/carry-on a few times. It really is great.
And there you have it! My top 8 must-haves for the expectant mom. What would you add to the list? Leave me a comment below!