a hot topic with my expecting moms. What I had on my registry, what we actually used, and what I recommend.
As a Chiropractor who treats pediatric patients I curated my baby registry carefully taking into account what was best for development and what was going to be realistic with our lifestyle.
I always promote floor is best when I can and strongly recommend parents limit container usage. However I know with multiple kids or animals sometimes a container is necessary to keep baby safe when you need to put them down. In these cases I strongly recommend to limit usage to 15 minutes at a time and be aware of positional placement of the child. I am here to tell you though that as a new parent you do not need ALL of the things for baby. Save your money. It sounds like craziness to not have all of the things but I promise its not impossible, because we did it!
Here are some of the MUST HAVES we used the first year of our daughters life and some of the things we did NOT register for or use the first years.
You may be surprised at the items we did NOT register for, buy, or use for our daughter
crib: We had planned from the start to co-sleep or at-least have a side car bassinet in our room for the first 6 months or so. So right from the start we figured we would wait on buying a crib anyway. Then the more we thought and read about how we wanted to parent we decided we would to incorporate more montessori principles and eventually transition Oaklee to a floor bed when/if she ever left our room. We bought a Newton crib size mattress for her nursery but skipped the crib itself. Oaklee ended up in our bed from day 1 and hated sleeping in the bassinet (go figure). There are actually a lot of benefits to bed-sharing so I urge you to do the research and do what works best for your family. The bassinet was nice to have in the first story of the house for naps when she decided she wanted to sleep not on me the first couple of months. Oaklee has since upgraded to a full size floor bed and that's where her and I sleep most nights when she isn't in our bed.
swings, chairs, other containers: We did not register for many of these items. I would consider the snuggle me organic a container and we did register for one of those but never used it much. I get it baby trinkets and seats and swings all look appealing and it may sound insane to just put the baby on the floor with a blanket. But that's what I wanted and that's exactly what we did and Oaklee loved being there and able to move freely. And guess what? we didn't spend thousands of dollars on baby items and avoided a ton of clutter in our house. A lot of the containers and swings out there prohibit the baby to move in their full range of motion (arms, legs, hips, and head) which is not ideal for development.
I will say in the thick of the first 0-3 months there was a week I broke down and got a baby bjorn bouncer because I needed some space from her when she would not let me put her down. I get it. It hit me the emotions newborn parents go through with new babies and how the baby market wins. So I found the best option that wouldn't inhibit her development. She actually hated the baby bjorn so she got very little use of it but I will go into why the baby bjorn bouncer is one of the better containers out there. If we had to put her down we simply put her on her back or belly on a blanket on the floor or baby wore her.
If you feel like you MUST need a container if you have pets, other kids etc and need to keep baby safe I highly encourage the baby bjorn bouncer and limit container usage to 15 minutes at a time with plenty of belly/back floor time.
snuggle me organic: this is also considered a container however when the babies are fresh and new they do prefer this to being laid flat on the floor if you need to put baby down to do something. Not ideal for range of motion but its a decent option. I would limit time in here as well. Oaklee ended up hating it so we didn't use it much but for "monthly" pictures.
Bath containers: We waited a solid month before bathing Oaklee for the first time. When we did give her a bath either Dalton or I would join her and place her on our laps to bath. When she got older we simply laid her on her back in the tub with an inch or so of water to let her explore and free play.
No I was never afraid of water getting in her ears and causing ear infections. Otitis media ( middle ear infection has nothing to do with water). Otitis externa or swimmers ear is an infection in the outter ear. Swimmers ear happens when water gets trapped in the ear canal and changes the pH balance making it a good place for bacteria and fungi to grow. Lake water which has bacteria in it and chlorine in pools kill off good bacteria can both cause bacterial or fungal overgrowth with exposure. Too much water from baths and showers can also cause this disturbance. I say this to share perspective. We chose to let Oaklee move freely in her baths because we bathed her maybe once a month and it did not seem like a lot of exposure or risk. If you bath your child daily or more frequently you may not want them exposed to that much water and thats fine.
Swaddles: The Moro reflex (the startle reflex) is an important reflex and in order to help it integrate it must fire. So we let her sleep without swaddles or unnatural restraints. She would never wake up due to her startle reflex and we never had to transition her out of a swaddle during the 4 month sleep regression. As she got older and started taking some sleeps in her own room we did get some sleep sacks and especially now love the sleep sack walkers so she can still move around when she needs to. I do not want to restrict her motion.
Footed pajamas and hand mittens: I wanted Oaklee to be able to use all of her senses and explore. There are so many nerve endings in the feet and all she knows from the womb is her hands so they are comfort to her. Yes she would hit herself and scratch herself but we kept her nails trimmed and babies heal quickly if they scratch themselves. let them feel and explore the world.
Here are some must haves!
Play mats: We signed up for the lovevery play subscription from the start and I will say Oaklee LOVES these toys every single kit. We also got the lovevery play gym and it was her FAVORITE thing for at-least the first 8+ months. We honestly did not buy much else for toys or play things because it came with everything she needed.
Pop up tent for safe play and shade outside: we bought the California co pop up tent which provided her a squishy safe surface and shade when we went outside. We even brought it to the beach with us when she was 3 months and still use it to keep her safe outside when we are working.
Baby bjorn bouncer: If i'm going to promote any container it is this one. Even though Oaklee did not like it. It did allow her to move around much more than most. Some pros to this container is that
It does not restrict the hips
There is an adjustable incline
There is no noise or flashy lights (too much stimulation)
It is very lightweight and easy to fold up and move around
The cover is machine washable
Footless double zipper pajamas: Sign me up for all the bamboo pajamas with no feet or with fold over hands and feet with two way zippers. The only pajamas we use. Little Sleepies, Little Bum Bums, Gigi and Max, Kyte Baby are some of my favorite brands and being bamboo they last SO LONG. Last night in fact Oaklee wore a 3-6 months sleeper to bed (she's 11 months). I also love the bamboo fabric for when Oaklee is sick and is running a fever I can be confident she is not too hot with the breathable material.
nail file: We used a nail file trimmer to trim her nails instead of the old fashion clippers. So easy and quick and I don't have to be afraid of hurting her.
sound machine: We use the hatch machines in her room and ours for nightime because we can change the sound and color so easily. Portable sound machines are a must when they are little out and about.
Stroller fans: A must for summer. The bendy legs let you attach it to almost anything.
Baby Carriers: Technically these are also a container however they are a must. For the babies that need contact naps or if you ever want to get things done, strap them on. I always recommend baby facing you whenever possible and hips in a "M" Shape. We loved the boppy brand and ergo baby now that she is older. We still use these carriers now that she is older to wear on the back and forward facing. Always keep forward facing wearing to a minimum if at all possible.
Breastfeeding Pillow: If you plan to try and breastfeed skip the boppy, the snuggle me organic brand, and other breastfeeding pillows. This was hands down my favorite and I tried 3 different ones.
waterproof mats: This was great for outdoor naked play to let her little bum be diaper free and could be easily rinsed off. We also now use this to catch food under her high chair.
Trip trapp high chair: hands down the best and most versatile chair. We knew we were going to do BLW and its ideal when doing baby led weaning to have baby in 90/90 position with a foot rest. It's an investment but it turns into a chair she can sit at the table with so it will be with her a long time.
Nose frida: snot sucker. Works well for babies, or adults lol
This of course is only a short list of all of the things we used the most the first months of Oaklee girls life. I'm sure there are other small things here and there that I am forgetting but for the most part these are the items that I truly remember utilizing all the time. Like I said we ditched some of the traditional baby items and in return saved ourself lots of money and clutter in the house! I want to empower you to say no to the baby marketing because I promise you can make it without all the trinkets and swings just like we did.
If you have any questions please reach out or ask at your next appointment.