Monday, October 10, 2016

10 Nice to Have Baby Items

We’ve already run through the most important items your newborn needs for sleeping and bathing, feeding and changing, soothing, and travel. We’ve even discussed what NOT to get.

Now it’s time to move on to the “nice to have” items. Perhaps these aren’t true necessities, but they’ll make your life easier, stimulate your baby more, and may be worth the added expense. If you like these, you may want to check out our list of 10 Luxury items for your newborn. OK, luxury is a bit of an exaggeration - but there are likely some things on that list that you’ll want as well!

Top 10 Nice-to-Have Items for Your Baby


  1. Glider (gliding chair). This may cost a few hundred dollars, but it was well worth it to my wife and I!  You need a place to feed your baby, so it might as well be comfortable and soothing for you and baby. We spent countless hours soothing our children on our glider - we had a Dutailier brand with a matching ottoman, and were very happy with it. It was comfortable for us, and the babies loved it. If you have a Baby's R Us or similar store nearby, I'd recommend a visit to help pick one out. You'll find some are more comfortable, some are more adjustable, and will have pockets and other nice features. Make sure both chair and ottoman lock into place to avoid a pinching hazard!
  2. Humidifier. Babies have very sensitive skin, and many end up with eczema. A humidifier really helps with this - and is also a nice to have when your baby catches a cold. Keep in mind that you will need to clean it frequently, and replace the filters. My experience has been that the smaller humidifiers for single rooms seem to have planned obsolescence, so after a couple years you may not be able to cheaply find the filters. Keep this in mind - you might want to stock up on a few extras. You might want a vaporizer or mister, which put out more humidity - but beware - these can put out too much water and be bad for the furniture and walls.
  3. Baby monitor. These days you can go WAY overboard with baby monitors. We kept a simple audio-only monitor, but you can also get video monitors, or even use internet-enabled services like the Nest Dropcam.
  4. Bath Toys. These may not be useful for a newborn, but will add lots of enjoyment to baths as they age. Most bath toys have educational elements - you can teach colors, numbers, and help them with different sensations and textures. Babies love toys that squirt water (though beware - they get mold inside them pretty easily). And you can never go wrong with toy boats!
  5. Sunshades for your car. Keep that bright sun out of their eyes and help them sleep. Just be careful not to obstruct your own view! And keep your car cool with custom-fit sunshades for the windshield. I've bought mine from AutoAnything, and while they do cost a bit more they are great for hot climates.
  6. Portable play yard, such as the Pack-n-play brand. This is a lifesaver when visiting family and friends who do not have cribs. I’d even use it on our shaded back patio to give our baby some outdoor time with me. You can get a basic Pack-n-play model for $50 or less. Or, you can spend an extra $30 or $40 and get a deluxe pack-n-play that has a changing station and 'napper' that lets you save your back by having the floor of the crib raised up.
  7. Rattles. Babies learn all the time, and rattles that make different noises or have different textures are the cornerstones of baby toys. You might also try soft blocks and links. These rattles have crinkly sides too - babies love that!
  8. Cloth and tactile books. Get them used to the idea of books early. Some books even have chewy corners, crinkley edges, and other fun parts that make reading optional! Jellycat books are great options.
  9. Baby swing. There are many options - good ones play different songs and have different speeds. Some even convert to seats, but our experience was that the swing was really what was most important.
  10. Sleep Sack Swaddle. Babies love the comfort of being swaddled, and the sleep sack swaddle is a safe way to give them comfort and warmth.

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