Calling all Moms!

Or anyone who knows a thing or two about babies.

Side rant: I just remembered I had a dream last night that I gave birth to a kitten. Yes. A completely-covered-in-fur-and-meowing kitten. And I breastfed. ::blink blink:: It was a strange dream to say the least. Probably one that a normal person would be embarrassed to share on a public forum. YOU’RE WELCOME. And that is my Friday present to you. I welcome you to try to not visualize that scenario.

Ok, I’m going to try really hard to not make every post on this blog entitled The Harpster HOME ( Not: The Harpster Baby or The Harpster Family…) about babies. But I just spilled the beans and I have a lot to share, okay? So if you don’t have kiddos and you’re tired of my baby ramblings JUST HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTIES, ok?

I have a very serious question to ask you people out there:

What baby items do I really need vs. what items are completely a waste of money?

Photo Credit:

In the comments of this post I would love to hear what my readers have to say. Maybe give me one or two things you couldn’t live without, and one or two or three things that people say you HAVE TO BUY that I have permission to roll my eyes at.

I can’t wait to see the feedback. And after all, you guys kinda owe me now that I’ve given you that awesome dream story.



23 thoughts on “Calling all Moms!

  1. Mother of 2u2 (babies 11m3d apart). I can tell you no baby is the same my eldest loved things that my second hated and vice versa.

    The bouncy seat was a dream when I needed to take a shower before 3 or 4 months of age – at that point them both werent interested and started to flip themselves out of it.

    A swing was fantastic for both children.

    The rock and play sleeper was great for my second and he slept bedside in that for 3 weeks until he transitioned to the crib.

    Products – triple paste!! The best diaper rash cream I’ve came across. I used disposable diapers but numerous friends used cloth diapers – and I sometimes wish I had gone that route. (I know a great company that sells them if you’re interested in the future)

    I also had a crazy dream like that with my first – however I delivered a chimpanzee…

  2. I’m not a mommy yet, but my sister in law is and I just asked her this question not too long ago. She told me that it’s not really necessary to have a glider or a baby changing table. This is your first baby right? She said when it’s your first (like it was her first 8 months ago), it’s more of a “comfort” to you to know that you have those things, but when it gets down to it, you’re not always going to sit in your rocker when you feed, you’re going to sit wherever you are at the moment. And you’re not always going to go to the baby changing table when it’s time to change, you’re just gonna sit right where you are (couch, floor, bed) when it’s time – so having those two things really isn’t necessary. Oh! And if you have two vehicles, it’s a good idea to get two car seat bases for the cars so that you don’t have to switch them all the time. It can be a pain especially if your car has “anchors”. If you can get bases for each car (I really don’t think they are THAT expensive) then you’ll save yourself some time and worry (of making sure the anchors are in right, tight, etc.).
    Hope this helps!

  3. Okay, I have two boys, and here is my take on the necessary:

    Boppy or breastfriend, will make your late night feedings much more comfortable.
    A light weight, yet sturdy, travel system is fabulous. Those click and go stroller frames do nothing but cart around your 20lb carseat and baby that gets chunkier by the day.
    Definitely get a bouncer!!! They all love that.
    Get a stereo and sleep train your child from the moment s/he comes home. S/he dealt with all the noise while in the womb, and TRUST ME, your sanity levels will be much better if you are not ending your life every time the baby goes down. Give them some light and noise, and VOILA, other mom’s will be jealous that your little one goes to sleep so easily.
    A video monitor-so you can you can check before the dash. Not every nighttime noise is going to need you, and it’s best to not wake them, if you can help it!

    I did both disposable and cloth diapers. The start up cost for cloth is expensive, but they really are so much better, and with the cloth diapers, not ONCE did my youngest have “diaper rash” so there was no need for butt cream.

    If you do get cloth diapers, get the toilet sprayer. Makes life much easier.

    A moby wrap or some sort of wrap carrier. Hands free baby holding is fabulous. Plus, this one grows with the baby, from newborn to 35lbs, and it’s warm. And you can nurse while doing the dishes or vacuuming. Seriously, fabulous little thing…. though, you can craftily make your own probably.

    You can never have too many receiving blankets. Babies are goo-producing machines. Have lots of large goo wipers. Receiving blankets are very versatile.

    Arms reach co-sleeper-will save your sanity. Butts up right next to your bed, with a little lip, so there is no crushing of the baby by your over tired self. You also don’t need to break your face trying to get to the baby like a zombie… and it makes an easy pass off to Dad. πŸ™‚

    As far as unnecessary, that will depend on your child: swing, jumperoo, walker: some mom’s swear by them, and a good chunk of kids, hate them. Try to get these second hand to save money, or save receipts in case.

    Bumbo- not really something you need. It doesn’t help them learn to sit any earlier, they’ve had a lot of recalls, and kids tend to get hurt in them because the parent lets their guard down…

    I know there are others… but I am only on coffee cup number one, and have already been interrupted 836 times by the 2 year old.

    The crazy dreams have just begun. πŸ™‚ They get stranger. Enjoy the ride!!!

  4. I have a soon to be ONE year old, it goes SO quickly… I don’t care how cliche it sounds. (: Incidentally, her name is Olive. (: She loved the floor mat, the bouncer for sure, and slept in her pack and play for the first six months in our room for easy nighttime feeding. I loved the bumpo, making many delicious meals together with sitting on the counter (in the corner, where there was a wall behind her.) If you breast feed, having a little stool to put your feet up on is magic. Hands down one of my favorite things were muslin blankets…. like these
    My goodness they were amazing for breast feeding, swaddling, covering car seats, you name it…they are amazing. I could go on and on and on…. truth be told…do what you feel is right and after a couple of weeks you will know what your little one needs. With that… I found a bunch of Totswaps and consignment stores all around our Baltimore area, and have gotten a majority if not all our toys, clothes, and baby gadgets from there. OH!! And in the beginning when you are sleep deprived and zombie-like… this little guy was a life saver for the first couple of months… I didn’t think I would use it (it was a gift) but my goodness… it was amazing.

    Thanks for listening… I hope you are feeling great!

  5. I remember feeling overwhelmed with all that. Take a new mom with you to register. I had T and Carrie to help me. I’d be more than happy to come with you if we are every in the same town together.

    It really depends on what kind of mom you want to be. You know me and I was all, only the REALLY necessary things. After she was born, we did go to the used baby store to get a bouncy seat. She like that more than the swing.

    Everyone told me to get a pack and play so we did. Only used once so far….BUT Meg loved it as a second changing table downstairs.

    It’s a long time before you need toys and they develop so fast that some toys only last a couple months.

    Call me – we could talk for hours about this.

    • OH and did I ever tell you about the dream where I ATE a kitten? It was purring and I broke of its leg to munch on it. It was SOOOO DISTURBING. Hormones cause crazy dreams. Either that or I am just really messed up in the head.

  6. I second the cloth diapers. My 2 were in them for most of the time (only used disposables when we travelled) and they were great, cost-effective, and, as above, with no diaper rash. They also make it easier to potty train.

  7. I’m just glad I’m not the only who had the birthing and nursing of a kitten dream. But the cat in my dream was more like a half human half cat hybrid of some sort…

    I haven’t had my baby yet (6 weeks or less to go!), but I’ve been talking to other moms, and it seems that cloth diapers are definitely the way to go. One mom says she started with disposable for the first few weeks, since the newborns are so tiny, and started using the cloth. Check out or And when you go out, you can always use the disposable.

    Another tip- don’t buy tons of newborn clothes! You never know how big baby will be or how fast s/he will grow!

  8. I’m currently pregnant with number three, so i of course feel like an ultimate authority on all things baby. Being pregnant also makes me feel like I’m right about everything. Feel free to disregard my opinions πŸ™‚

    I believe that you need ONE item in which to place your baby OUT of your arms. Be it a swing OR a bouncer OR something else, you just need only one. We have a swing. A small one that can be placed on a table or counter if need be, but mostly it’s on the floor.
    You also need one thing so that when your baby needs tummy time, and when they get older and WANT to be on the floor without you, they can be entertained. The play gym is great, we have one.

    I also loved having a carrier. I have tried several different ones and have yet to find one that is comfortable, but maybe that’s just me. I hear the Ergo carriers are pretty comfy. But it’s so nice for walking in the park, going grocery shopping, etc to have the option of just strapping that sucker onto you when they’re feeling needy and you don’t want to push a stroller.

    Obviously you need a crib. We also have a pack n play, which is wonderful. Ours has a bassinet feature, which our kids slept in in our room for the first few months of their lives.

    When we lived in Ohio i found that i LOVED having a wipe warmer. Just the cheap walmart one. Some people say it’s a waste, but i don’t care how warm you keep your thermostat in the winter the wipes will ALWAYS be cold.

    Having a February baby (I had a Jan 29 baby) you will need some receiving blankets (which you will most likely get from showers, people LOVE to give those) but ALSO at least one good warm baby-sized blanket. I took my fleece one for my babies and sewed ribbon and velcro straps on it so that it tented over the car seat (lots of pinterest tutorial, i promise) to keep them snuggly warm on those windy-sleety-yucky trots from the car into the store. Tuck the ends under them (while they are wrapped in an other blankie) and they are perfectly war and ventilated. It also works well because if they fall asleep, when you get to where you’re going they STAY asleep because they have no visual stimulation. I don’t think you need the full, fancy (ie: expensive) zip-around, sherpa lined car seat cover. It’s a lot of work and honestly the kid is often TOO hot in them.

    But have fun! You only have your first once, this is the most exciting one πŸ™‚

  9. I should also add that we got almost ALL of our things from Once Upon a Child or Craig’s List. Baby junk is SO overpriced! Even the used stuff! But at least it’s a little bit of a discount when it’s used,and it’s usually clean and still nice. Of course i always bleached everything down before allowing it into my house πŸ˜‰

  10. Hi! Local lurker here. My son is 2.5 and here are the things we love:

    + Cloth Diapers all the way!
    + A baby carrier of some sort (different styles for different people) – You can probably check some out in person at Sprout Soup.
    + A bouncer
    + A Boppy
    + A Swing
    + A nursing cover
    + Good car seat that you can pull out and carry around into restaurants and stuff.
    + Investing in a GOOD pump is worth the money. I had a cheap one and since i was already having problems in this area, it was hard to get any out and I thought it was my fault.
    + Cosleepers that come right up to the bed will save your sanity and your sleep. We tried to use one but my baby learned to roll over when he was a week old so that he could roll all the way to me, asleep, and latch on! The doctor couldn’t believe it, it takes babies a lot longer to learn to roll usually, haha.
    + I hear good things about swaddlers but my kid would have NONE of that!
    + Everyone also loves Sophie/a the Giraffe to chew on. Little Allouette in Columbus makes wooden teethers though, if you’re into buying local you might want to check out their super cute stuff. πŸ™‚

    Those are really the only things we used for the first six months.

  11. I’m a mother of 3 beautiful children (7,5,1) I can tell u that the swinger will help u a lot so you can Do stuff around the house, and the boppy is a must have! But don’t waste your money on a changing table. There are a lot of baby toys you might be tempted to buy but honestly one or two would do the trick because after 6 months you might want new educational toys.

  12. I have an 18 month old and one on the way too! Thinking back the things I’m so happy we had were the Boppy for feedings, our glider that we still use and love, and The swaddleme sack. I got one for a gift and meant to take it back, but at 3 weeks old our baby kept waking up when his arms came out of the swaddle. I put him in it one night and he slept for hours. I went out the next day and bought 2 more!

    Good luck and I love all the new baby news! Keep it coming!

  13. My two babies are now teenagers, but I remember a few things quite well. Plus, I’ve been through many nieces since my kids were born. I never, ever, ever used a changing table. It was so much easier to change them on the floor. I would lay them on a receiving blanket (I also used small receiving blankets as spit rags). No worrying that they’d roll of if I had to reach for something. I agree with a previous response, they’re all so different. With my first I would not have been able to live without the swing. My youngest hated the swing. But I did get a solid 3 months or more out of the bouncing seat. I could put it on the bathroom floor while I showered, and when they started eating solid food it kept them at a perfect angle. It was also great for the older boy to feed his baby brother without me worrying he’d let him fall off his lap. And don’t feel bad if you can’t do cloth diapers. It would be great if you can, but my oldest had very acidic urine (great subject, right?) and got terrible rashes since the cloth didn’t wick the moisture away. The doc actually told me to stop using them. The youngest was fine with them. As you were told above…get used to the dreams. They’ve only just begun! Congrats and good luck.

  14. Eleanor must have’s include Halo Sleepsack/Swaddle, Swing, Medela Breast Pump (for me, but so worth it), video baby monitor (again for my sanity), my breast friend nursing pillow (I like this much better than the Boppy), pack and play (for diaper changes without going upstairs, to sleep in at night the first few months, portable and cheaper than the Arms Reach co sleepers I saw), socks (baby toes get so cold), floor activity mat, rocking chair, baby book to capture Baby Harpster milestones…. I have more lists/info for you too. It can be very overwhelming but I found talking with Moms helped and then once the baby is here, you will inevitably find some things so worth it and others a waste. Sometimes challenging for us Type A’s πŸ˜‰ Things we don’t use much: vibrating rocker seat, Moby wrap (mostly due to my lack of dedication to get over the learning curve), pacifier wipes (I just sterilize or rinse off), any fancy newborn to 3 month old clothes (they really live in onesies or pajamas or whatever is easiest the first few months – zip up always easier than buttons). Address and stamp all your announcements BEFORE baby comes so all you have to do is insert and mail πŸ™‚ Take backup pillow cases to hospital along with your pillows since you’ll be there a few days and who knows what may end up on them!

  15. I had a c section and a change table was a must, it so hurt to sorta hunch over to change baby, and you do change often when they are new!!! The brestfeeding pillow thing, was fantastic as well….love your blog by the way….

  16. I never bought a bouncer and ended up not missing it at all, but my son LIVED in a swing for the first 3 months. Slept in it and everything, to the point that I was worried he would never sleep in his crib!! Of course, he transitioned fine, but the first few months he just loved being snuggled in the swing.

    I got a ton of washcloths as gifts and thought I would return them, but we ended up needing them. I swear I have dozens of them — stashed in each bathroom, the changing area, the kitchen drawer.

    Did not need a changing table. We used a dresser with a changing pad on top. My only advice if you do this is that when the baby gets big enough to not need the buckle on the changing pad anymore, DO NOT just tuck the buckle underneath. I did that and it mauled the top of my beautiful dresser. Just one more thing to take care of now …

    Someone else mentioned not needing the Boppy, but I loved it. I used it for feeding solid foods when we first started at 6 months. Could have gotten by without it, I guess.

    You absolutely need a front carrier or sling. My goodness was that handy! Mine loved to be held when he was little and I was on maternity leave. So much so that I couldn’t even go to the bathroom because he would cry and then I would cry because he was crying and I had to pee!! I put him in the front carrier and he was happy and then I had two hands to assist with the whole pants & peeing thing. Miracle!

    Good luck! Love your blog!

  17. I haven’t been a baby mommy for about 16 years now. So actually, that gives me a good perspective on what new things are available, what I would both love to have had and could definitely live without.
    Would have loved: Infant car seat that fits right into a stroller that has all sorts of storage.
    Always needed: swing, lots of quilts for the floor, and a square of egg crate foam to put under them, wicker “Moses basket,” again with egg crate foam as a mattress with a quilt or baby blanket to cushion, burp cloths, baby wipes, a carrier (sling never worked for me), a walker, oversized flannel and fleece blankets, pacifier clips, tons of Onesies, sippy cups with collapsible lids, dishcloth bibs, inflatable water wings, and a lot of hair scrunchies and reuseable water bottle for me.
    Never needed: changing table, Diaper Genie, bottle drying rack, most of the fancy toys, bottle warmer, diaper bag, frozen “owie” packs or teethers, cabinet and door locks

    I had 5 daughters in 5 years (first 2 were twins). So I always had a baby in tow, usually one that I was breastfeeding, and always toddlers to corral. I tried to streamline as much as possible. A Moses Basket with a couple of diapers and wipes were an easy way to tote an infant who might need a nap, even if you had to move them sleeping from a car seat. I kept things like snacks, diapers, and wipes in my purse and the car. Bibs made from dishtowels enabled me to wipe their faces as I took it off (over the head like a t-shirt).

    Babies are messy and easily cleaned up and/or made happy. When I have babysat a friend’s toddler, the best toys I have offered have been wooden spoons and the plastic containers in a lower cabinet. Shirt/pants/dress gets wet? Just let them run around in a diaper. They are happy as clams.

  18. I’m pregnant with our first — due in November, so I love everyone’s comments (and sadly have no recommendations for you so far)…My weirdest pregnancy dream so far actually came from my hubs, he dreamt we went in for our ultrasound and discovered I was pregnant with cookie monster. πŸ™‚ Congrats!!!

  19. We were quite poor when my son was a baby 23 years ago so I can tell you that it’s amazing what you can live without. But, things I really missed; … Hmm… that’s right, we did just fine with what we required.

    What’s required? Car seat, bottles & the best formula you can buy (although my son never used them (and I mean he patently rejected sucking from them)), diapers, receiving blankets, pacifiers (my son was a thumb sucker but I think pacifiers are better for their teeth and easier to get them to quit), clothes, bathing supplies (shampoo & soap. I did just fine with my son in the sink with a towel on the bottom of the basin) and last but not least baby or hypo-allergenic laundry supplies. Really I had the best success with Dreft.

    I’m sure I’m missing something here but really it’s just about the basics. Other things are nice to have and do make things easier. But you’ll do great with whatever. Cave people raised babies with none of these things so…

    So happy for you!

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