No, I don’t have another baby along the way. Actually, what prompted this post was thinking that I’ve been through baby-hood with five kids because my youngest is almost two-and-a-half years old. I was changing the sheets on the crib after another early-morning vomit-fest and being thankful that I had two sets of sheets and two sets of water-proof mattress pads on hand for just such eventualities. This got me thinking: What do I still have that has made it through all five kids? What would I recommend to those new moms looking to purchase layette items? What would I skip?
So, here are the things that I have an opinion on:
Diaper Bag – Ours is a leather, back-pack style that looks awesome on Dad. (He stayed home with #1 for the first 18 months.) While ours shows its wear, it is still holding up well. It has side pockets, front zipper compartments, a clasp, and expands to fill the need (extra changes of clothes when kids are sick or potty-training, two kids in diapers, etc.) yet looks good with only a few essentials included. I can’t find the exact one we own, but it is similar to this one or this one.
My recommendation: Get something that can hold a lot if needed, holds up well (high cleanability), and both of you can live with (color/style-wise).
Crib sheets - You definitely need two WATER-PROOF mattress pads. No more, no less. One to have on there, one to wash. I had three sets of cotton fitted sheets when I started. One came with the theme I’d picked (zoo animals). Two were extras. On child #3, I found the glory of flannel (or fleece) fitted sheets. I would transfer the sleeping baby into the crib and she’d wake up when she hit the cold sheet. My babies do NOT want to go down on a cold cotton sheet in the winter. I don’t blame them! I now have two of those. This makes my crib all-season.
My recommendation: You don’t need a huge number of fitted sheets. At most, I’d get TWO cotton and (if you live in a cold-weather-zone), two flannel or fleece ones as a splurge. Make sure you have the TWO water-proof mattress pads. No more are needed. If you live in an area that gets cold & you can only afford two sheets total, get flannel ones.
Baby monitor – We had one of these. Nothing fancy, it had one (corded or cordless) hand-set and one “listening” device for baby’s room. We used it a lot with Child #1 with the layout of our first house. We used it a few times with Child #2 when we moved to our current house. It stayed in the closet for Children #3, 4, & 5 until we recently gave it away. With our house layout, we just didn’t need it.
My recommendation: Think about your house layout and your pattern of behavior. If you will not be able to hear the baby from where you normally will hang-out during naptime or nighttime, get one. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just functional. If you can hear your spouse shout from inside the baby’s sleeping area (try this when the baby isn’t sleeping), you should be fine without one.
Crib mobile – We used this with Child #1. I think Child #2 broke it. I repaired it for Child #3, but then Child #1 snapped it off beyond repair. Children #4 & #5 never missed it.
My recommendation: Easily skippable.
Bassinet – We didn’t have one of these for Child #1. When Child #2 came only 19 1/2 months after Child #1, we invested in one. This bought us time for Child #2 to “outgrow” the crib rather than purchasing (or borrowing) another crib. It has turned out to be a great investment. We bought one that is a 3-in-1 combo: bassinet, changing table, & co-sleeper. It did duty as all three with the four babies who got to use it. Some of our babies stayed in it longer than the manufacturer recommended (by weight). It was absolutely essential in our house and with our baby spacings (17 months to 2 1/2 years). We kept our newborns-to-three months (-ish) at our bedside for easy/quick nighttime feedings & soothings. During the day, it served as a great changing table. It held up well and we got our money from it. I will overlook the technical fact that ours was recalled in 2008.
My recommendation: Makes complete sense if you want to keep your baby close to you at night or have closely-spaced babies & your older child is still in the crib. It definitely buys you some time until you need the crib.
Wipe Warmer – We bought one of these somewhere between Child #1 & Child #2. If you can find one that works well without drying out your wipes, I think they are great. We gave ours away before Child #3 came along for one main reason: We make our own baby wipes (that don’t fit into wipe warmers) and we don’t use enough of the standard baby wipes to make it worthwhile to keep one. (They would dry out & turn brown before they were used.) We only use the standard wipes for on-the-go (diaper bag or car) changes and neither of those uses fits well with an electric wipe-warmer.
My recommendation: If you are planning on using standard baby wipes & live in a cold environment, this could be a good investment. Nothing like cold wipes on a baby’s rear end to make ‘em scream & squirm during a critical middle-of-the-night poopy-diaper change.
Changing Table – Never bought a free-standing one of these. Used the playard-attachment for Child #1 & the bassinet for the rest. Once they were too big (weight/length) to safely use those, we just use the floor. No regrets.
My recommendation: Definitely skippable.
Playard – We refer to ours, specifically, as the “Pack-N-Play” because ours was of the Graco variety. We had the kind that had the changing table on half the top & the half-size bassinet on the other side. We used it all the features with Child #1. I know she napped frequently in the bassinet section. We never pulled out either the bassinet or the changing table attachments with Child #2 (see the section above about our 3-in-1 Bassinet) or any of the future children. We DID, however, use the playard section with almost all the kids as either a safe place to park the kid for a limited amount of time (say, when mowing the lawn) or more often, on road trips when you want a place for the baby to sleep at night. (Child #4 spent several months sleeping in the playard in the farthest-from-the-rest-of-us room of the house when he was in Baby-Sleep Boot Camp. He learned to “cry it out” and sleep peacefully through the night in it. He actually preferred sleeping in it for awhile.)
My recommendation: It could be a good/wise purchase. Evaluate your needs AFTER the baby is born & use those handy gift cards to purchase one if you believe you need it.
There you have them – my opinions. Feel free to ask in comments if you have a specific question about an item I didn’t mention. I’ll surely opine on it if I can.