Baby Items You Can’t Do Without

September 22, 2007 at 2:10 pm 4 comments

Getting ready for a child is a challenge that I’m excited to be taking. For me the question is, “Where do I begin?” There is so much “out there” that the information on the necessities for child rearing is overwhelming. I really want to take a practical approach to being a parent. There are so many gadgets and accessories that are helpful, but not really necessary that instead of spending endless hours researching and reading about (well, actually, I AM reading) the items that I REALLY need to start out with, I’ve decided to consult the experts: my friends with young children.

I recently sent an email asking a few of my girlfriends, “What were/are the baby items that you can’t do without?” and got some great responses of which I’ve included below. I’m posting them here so that I don’t lose their valuable advice and so that I can share their knowledge with others.

What I loved about the responses to my email was the fact that everyone suggested something different! (Well, the Kelty baby carrier did come up twice.)

NOTE: I’m a big proponent of reusing items that have seen a little use but are still perfectly good and, yes, pass all safety criteria. I just bought a great crib and mattress at a yard sale for $25 that retails for around $425. A grandmother had it for babysitting purposes and no longer needed it. Barely used, this item is in great shape.

We’ve already been offered a baby jogger, gliding rocker, and changing table. I really feel that there is no need for new and expensive purchases when, many times, hand-me-downs and consignment stores have gently used items that are in perfect condition. Of course, there may be a few new things that we’ll want to buy but there is no need to go crazy and spend, spend, spend.

Anyway…here are the suggestions in the words of the senders:

  • A “Baby Bjorn” infant carrier…I loved mine, as opposed to a sling, as I could never figure out the sling thing and my girls absolutely LOVED the Bjorn…It allowed me to have my hands free to do other things, including cooking, while they pleasantly slept or just hung out in the front pack…And it is surprising how big they can be and still fit in those things…I think the “baby Bjorn” brand is the best of the front packs…Kolcraft 36504-RH - Tour Sport Red and Black Reclining Umbrella Stroller - Kolcraft 36504-RH
  • A higher end, light weight “umbrella” stroller to be used when the baby was a bit bigger for all kinds of outings…easy to carry by a strap over your shoulder and easy to assemble in seconds, easy to fold up in seconds for the car, etc…I like the “McLaren” line of strollers…
  • Any type of second hand stroller (I got one at “Lots for Tots”) that the baby could recline in, OR sit up, with a sun covering, for times when they are on a more regular nap schedule and you need to be somewhere…They can sleep right in this type of stroller and be very comfy…mine did not cost much at all…..
  • A baby jogger type stroller with the thick tires for outings outside in all the seasons…needs to have the sun shade. My father in-law got ours for x-mas on the baby jogger website in the “seconds” category..It was brand new but had been discontinued or something and has been great. Summer or winter, these things are essential for getting you out of the house for fresh air! They are good on the beach too if the sand is sort of hard packed (like Higgins at low tide). Will be great for walking the dog….
  • All purpose stain remover called “Totally Toddler“. This stuff is like GOLD and will get any stain out. I use it all the time and have from the very beginning with spit up, poop, you name it. Now I use it for food stains, dirt stains, etc. It has saved me many times! Can be purchased on-line (in bulk) or at Babies R Us.
  • Once the baby can keep head steady and can be in a back pack, the second hand stores sell great packs from L.L.Bean etc..and they are great for longer hikes. The line I like best is the Kelty brand. My girls still love theirs and I think they go to 40 pounds.
  • A silky “lovey” for baby to bond with in crib, car seat, etc. My girls each have one (and many back-ups) and with that thing, they can go anywhere! I love the “Little Giraffe” line. They are a bit pricey ($29.00) for a “travel blankey” (14 by 14) but I think well worth it. Can be bought on line or
  • A little tiny baby Cuisinart for grinding up baby’s food and/or a hand grinder. You can get at or in their catalog. Also, you can freeze food you have mashed up and prepared in ice cube trays for later use.
  • One of those vibrating, bouncy-seat things. They can come with toy bars, music, etc…but to me the best one is the most simple. We had a very compact one that simply vibrated at 3 different speeds and it was great when I put the babies in it to fold laundry, make dinner, etc. I could even put it on the table or counter because of it’s size. It also helped with crying! Fisher Price
  • Oh, and the one thing both of my kids couldn’t have done without is the Fisher Price crib aquarium. My daughter’s was loved and used so much it actually stopped working when she was about 3. We got another one for my son and he still loves to watch his “fishies” when he goes to bed at night.
  • Another great thing was something that looks like a sleeping bag that has openings to hook onto a car seat. It zips open so you can put the baby in that as opposed to fumbling with a tiny, but bulky winter coat. We would just put on a hat and then tuck them right into that and they seemed to love how cozy it was. This was best when they were real little though.
  • I’m sure you have already heard how handy a baby carrier is. The Kelty one you gave us was fantastic. It was very sturdy and comfortable. We loved the backpack style carrier once they were older too. That is a must for walks around town!
  • Robeez shoes (or others like them). You’ve probably seen them…little leather slip-ons in adorable styles. They are easy to put on, they STAY on, and are very pliable so it’s best for little ones learning to walk.
  • The first thing in my mind are baby gates, especially with a doggie in the house and stairs.
  • You will need a highchair, the one we used had wheels on it so it was very mobile in the house which is cool……remember we have a LL Bean baby jogger for you. (THANK YOU!)
  • As far as stuff goes, the first thing that came to mind was a It was essential for both boys. F loved the doorway jumper too, but not so much with O.
  • The play-yard/Pack n’ Play was very useful too. (Ours still is to some degree – especially if we go somewhere overnight.)

Gals..thanks for the valuable advice. I’m on the lookout for some of the items mentions. If anything else comes to mind…let me know. As I wrote to many of you, I am an open book and am looking for thoughts, ideas, and the items that are helpful with a little one.


Entry filed under: Baby, Kazakhstan Adoption. Tags: , .

Neckdown V Neck Cardigan One Sleeve and a Neck to Go

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  September 26, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Hello – I have no idea how, but I just found your blog!

    My husband and I are adopting from Kazakhstan as well! We just received our referral (a baby girl!) 2 weeks ago and are excited beyond belief. Now we are waiting for our Letter of Invitation. I am sorry about the amount of time you had to wait for China – how painful and difficult. We certainly understand the waiting – it is so hard. Anyways, we have found that our Kazakh adoption process has moved along at quite a healthy pace, so be reassured – at least at this point in time, Kazakhstan is a wonderful place to adopt. Anyways, we have a password-proteced blog – let me know if you’d like access. Happy to email an invite. Email me at if you are interested. My very best to you on this journey – may it end sweetly and soon with a precious baby in your arms, enjoying the springtime in Maine! (that is where you live, right?)
    PS That list of critical items is GREAT. I asked my friends the same question and basically received the exact same answers!

  • 2. Kerri  |  September 30, 2007 at 4:53 am

    I’m still going to buy you that cool baby chair so don’t buy one…I’m just waiting a bit…


  • 3. newsbuddies » Baby Items You Can’t Do Without  |  November 2, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    […] full story here […]

  • 4. Jan  |  November 1, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Having a baby is ineed a real challange, so many things to do and to get. You have given lots of good advice here.


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