The more kids you have, the more chill you become. It’s almost counter intuitive, but once you’ve been through the rodeo once, each subsequent ride becomes a little easier to take.
As rookies we worry about all the things, we gather all the things, we make all the plans. As you become more experienced, you’re more relaxed, you don’t gather as much gear, you have a tendency to wing it.
When it comes to gear shopping for babies, hindsight really is 20/20, so if you’ve got a new one on the way take the advice of these parenting veterans. They’re going to run down some items you should skip, and items you should absolutely grab.
The Best Buy Baby Event is on now through Sept 28, 2017 and it is a great place to source out all the must haves (see below).
BUT, as with everything, there is an exception to the rule. There are some places that need all the things. With some help from Best Buy putting together this list, I was able to send a huge care package to the Children’s Cottage in Calgary. It’s a place where families can find safe haven and where children can take a break from stressful situations, and are given nurturing care while their parents receive the help they need.
It’s the kind of place that is always in need of all the things. So while you plan your new nursery, or you clean out as the kids grow up, please seek out a place like this in your community to support.
Do Need and Don’t Need Gear Guide For New Parents!
Make sure you read the whole list and enter the contest at the bottom to win a $200 gift card for Best Buy to get all the things you need (and none of the things you don’t)!
There’s going to be a common theme on this list: for big items, you want them to be able to have multi purposes, or be able to grow with your kids. Cribs should flip into toddler beds, strollers that can work on vacation and home are great, car seats that can be used in different configurations are awesome.
It goes right to decorating the nursery. If you get to cute, you’re going to have to do some big redecorating in just a few years as your child demands a “big kid room.” So going with something soft, but stylish (like this distressed wood peel and stick wallpaper from NuWallpaper) can get you ahead of the game before you even start.
A good crib should get you through 4 years and could last as many 7 or more. They grow so quickly you want one that can convert easily with the bottom lowering as your newborn gets bigger, and then the side dropping down when they’re toddling, and eventually turning the crib into a “big kid bed.”
The Kidiway Moon 4-in-1 crib (on sale for $259.99 – save $240) is a solid pine bed that can transform all the way out to a double.
If you can get away with one stroller to handle all the things, go for it. For us, we had two strollers. One for everyday use, and another for more adventurous weekend things.
A lighter umbrella stroller is great for short trips and for traveling. Finding one that will recline and lay flat is great for on-the-go naps so you’re not tied to their bedroom. The guzzie+Guss Serien Lightweight Stroller (on sale for $99.99 – save $50) is perfect for these needs and the bright aqua is a neutral colour to last through many additions to the family 😉
Justin (Justin and Sarah) agrees. “Absolute must need is a high quality umbrella stroller. It lasted us through 4 air travel trips to Disney and 2 kids with heavy use. Worth every penny to have a quick fold up option.”
Then there’s the “bigger stroller.” We had a mountain buggy because we could stuff a days’ worth of clothes and diapers and gear underneath plus it had big soft wheels that we could take on trails or out for a run. Having the ability to take your baby out for a run is so awesome, embrace it. Chris (Family Optimized) says his jogging stroller was “always used because it was just easier/better on any terrain.”
The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Terrain Stroller (on sale for $479.99 – save $250) is EXACTLY what you need. It’s big, and rugged, and does all the things, while still folding flat to fit in your trunk or hatch.
The Evenflo Victory Travel System Jogging Stroller with Embrace Infant Car Seat (on sale for $299.99 – save $100) is a complete package pulling in a jogging stroller (see above, you need one) with an infant car seat that can easily clip on for your run. This stroller also has a snack tray (so important)!
Kids grow up fast. Like super quick. One day they’re tiny, the next day they’re running around breaking all the things. Those first few years are rapid growth, so finding things that adjust with them are important. Just like strollers, just like beds, having a convertible car seat is a lifesaver.
Things to know: Make sure you can take it apart to wash it, check the appropriate weights to make sure it’s big enough or small enough, and really really really pay attention to the installation.
OTHER THINGS YOU “NEED”
When I canvassed my dad blogging friends for this list, many other random items made the list:
Tyler (A Dad’s Adventures) says “having a wifi based security cam in the kids room helped to stop us from checking on them so often.” The Motorola 2.4″ Screen Digital Video Baby Monitor with Wi-Fi is on sale for $89.99 – save $160!
Jayson (In The Moment) says they used a “white noise machine a lot. Once we got one it allowed us to act like normal humans after the baby was in bed, and not have to tiptoe unnecessarily around the house during bed or nap time.”
Zach (8 Bit Dad) gets all practical when he says a good multitool is important. “I always say this whenever someone asks. The screwdriver opens battery compartments, the blade cuts open childproof containers, and pliers are for threatening to take your baby’s nose in a more grand fashion.”
That’s doing it dad style! 🙂
There’s A LOT of things that new parents don’t need. In fact, Jason (Laid Back Dad) probably under estimates when he says “we did not need 70% of the crap we though we would.”
Do you think you need an bottle warmer for the car? Listen to Rob (Digital Dad) who will explain that he “did NOT need an automobile bottle warmer. Waste!” Yes, he said a bottle warmer for the car. Apparently it’s a thing.
If you’re a new parent and you’ve made it down this list you need to listen to us. We know. We’ve wasted the money. We’ve bought the things. The ridiculous things. So so so many ridiculous things! We still have the ridiculous things that we’ve bought and have tried to re-sell but other people know they’re ridiculous too.
Some things work for people while not for others. We liked bottle warmers (not the car kind), other dads in my group swore against them. But the things on this list are universally loathed.
Matt (And So It Has Come To This .. ) will tell you straight up that your baby doesn’t need “cool baby shoes.” They can’t walk, they can’t even sit up. They just need warm socks – not shoes!
Justin (Justin and Sarah) preaches when he says you don’t need a diaper genie. “People swear by them but we hated ours,” he says.
“Same,” offers Scott (Father Nerds Best). “It became the “diaper container that is going to stink to high heaven because we waited too long to empty it out and we should really think about just trashing the whole thing instead of changing it” genie.”
Seriously, these things are just a litter box for kids – nobody needs that! Just roll the stuff into the toilet, toss the diaper in the trash, and then change your trash often and you’re fine.
You can add wipe warmers and diaper bags to the list too. Seriously, do you use warm toilet paper? No. It’s a nice idea, but it’s a frivolous one you don’t really need. And diaper bags? My wife got a fancy one from her girlfriends and it just sat in the closet. We found a comfortable backpack was much easier to tote around a change of clothes, a comfy change mat, and some spare diapers.
And that’s the lesson you should take from this: be practical. You don’t need super specific, one-dimensional gadgets to look after your kid. Just love, feed, and change them and you’ll be fine!
Now .. who wants to go shopping?
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
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