The Registry: Cribs and Sleepgear

registry-cribsWelcome to installment two of our registry for working moms: the best cribs and other sleepgear. What should new moms register for baby gear and more? Which are your favorite pieces of baby gear — and have they changed through the months and years with kids? We’ve already talked about carseats and strollers, and now we’re going to talk about sleeping gear — from cribs to swaddles. As I mentioned last time, I envision the entire series going through these categories (stay tuned!):

  1. Carseat — necessary from coming home from the hospital!
  2. Stroller — how many have you tried? How many do you keep? (e.g., big stroller, umbrella stroller, jogging stroller)
  3. Sleeping gear — crib and bassinet rocker, if necessary
  4. Clothes — daytime clothes, baby socks
  5. Babywearing carrier — infant and 15-lb.+
  6. Baby toys — swings, seats, and other Big Things to register for (Exersaucers, etc)
  7. Essential books
  8. Diaper bag
  9. Nursing clothes
  10. Breastfeeding pillow
  11. And one final category: The Biggest Flops (stuff you hated).

Without further ado, here is my own $.02 on baby sleep:

First, a quick note on what NOT to buy: anything for the crib other than a mattress and a fitted sheet.  It really amazed me when I was pregnant with Jack that I had read so many things about crib bumpers and crib blankets not being safe — and yet every major company displayed them proudly as part of the nursery decor.  Here’s a great Consumer Reports piece about it.

rock n play swaddledIf you’re worried about your cold baby (because there is no blanket), here are some other thoughts:

  • Swaddles. I’ll admit it: I’m a failure at blanket swaddling.  The baby burrito just escapes me! Not only would Jack break free, he invariably wound up sleeping with the blanket on his face, which really freaked me out. We tried a lot of different swaddle products (a pre-made swaddle for you) and really liked SwaddleMe — we kept my second son, Harry, in it almost exclusively until he started rolling over. I also really liked the Aden and Anais Easy Swaddle, but my husband didn’t like it; the Woombie Air was also great for the hotter days and nights before we hacked our thermostat (below). We probably had about 8 SwaddleMes that we rotated for Harry plus a few extras. (Pictured: Harry, 6 days old and napping with a swaddle and our Rock n Play (see below).)
  • Sleepsacks.  When you stop swaddling, you can go for a sleepsack, which is a wearable blanket. We particularly love the Halo Sleepsacks, which come in fleece and jersey — if you want a lighter layer, the muslin Aden and Anais sleepsack is great. You need at least 2 in case of a blowout or other, er, incident. We usually layer them with a onesie or stretchie beneath. Jack slept in his Halo Sleepsacks until he was about 2 (the bigger sizes have feet).
  • Thermostat.  Another thing they suggest to lower your SIDS risk is to keep the infant’s room at an optimal temperature. If you’re living, say, in an apartment where the radiator is either ON and blasting at 95 degrees or OFF, making the room feel like it’s 60 degrees, and you want to get really fancy, you can hack your radiator to include a thermostat — we’ve done this now to two of the three radiators in our apartment. We’ve used this Honeywell Suitepro thermostat (model #TB6575B1000, specifically) and this 20K temperature sensor wall module. (They make various products to monitor the temperature — eggs that glow colors if it’s too hot in the room, for example — but we haven’t had any success with those.) My dad is super helpful at this kind of home maintenance-plus-tech stuff, but here’s a video on it from This Old House that may be helpful (although our radiators look a bit different/more modern(?), with a “low/medium/high” switch at the top).

graco lauren cribAs far as where the boys actually sleep, we’ve had three main sleep situations for the boys. Note that one of the AAP recommendations for preventing SIDS includes room-sharing with the parents — I’ve always heard until the baby is at least 6 months old. Most parents I know have a smaller bassinet (or for us the PnP or RnP) for the parents’ bedroom during this time period, and use the crib for napping. (Pictured: Jack in his crib, around 10 months old.)

  • Fisher Price Rock n Play.  This will probably be controversial, but if I had to say one thing that was absolutely essential for all first- and second-time moms, this is it. There is a lot of stuff in the Amazon comments about how their kids get a flat head in it — with Harry we noticed that he would turn his head towards our bed every night, so we reversed the direction the RnP pointed every day; I was also pretty vigilant about checking his head daily for flat spots. He slept in it until he started trying to roll over in it, but we kept it around as a regular seat until he was about 7 months old — it was great because he could see his brother, it was easily movable/collapsible, and you could give him a few toys on his lap to play with. (That said: Jack slept in this thing from month 4 through month 7, when we finally moved him to his crib because he was about to outgrow it.) Note that ours is a bit older — the newer models on the market have a vibrating component and are easier to wash, I believe.
  • Newborn NapperGraco Pack n Play. This comes with various attachments, such as the “Newborn Napper.” Jack LOVED the Newborn Napper (pictured in it, at right — note that this is when we thought we shouldn’t swaddle Jack because “Jack hates being swaddled.” I think most babies hate it, at least at first — we persevered with Harry and he slept wonderfully.) I suspect there are cribs that are better for travel, so you may want a lighter weight one if you plan to fly — I’ve always heard good things about the Bjørn travel crib, but haven’t tried it myself. With Harry, however, he’s been sleeping in the PnP at night since he outgrew the RnP.
  • Graco Lauren Crib.  This has been an OK crib — if I had it to do over I would make two changes.  First, I’d buy a plain wood crib with no paint, perhaps like this one — while Jack was teething he totally ate the crib; it looks like wild animals attacked. I tried a few products (including a gummy strip you put along the edge of the crib) but nothing really worked well with the Lauren crib. (There are a TON of thoughts on nontoxic cribs out there — note that most of them are very pricey, which may only make sense to you if you know you want to try for several children.) We have no complaints about the crib mattress, though — Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Dual Firmness All Foam Crib Mattress, which I still remember that my grandmother (RIP) got off the registry for us because, she said, “sleep is very important!”
  • Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper.  We borrowed this from a friend when we were having peak sleeping problems with Jack (he outgrew the Newborn Napper, but hated the crib, and we hadn’t yet found the RnP). My $.02: it was safe and cozy for the baby, but it really depends on your child. Jack has never been a snuggler and hated it, so we returned it to my friend. (I also think Jack needed a bit of an incline, like he got from the RnP.) Harry has always been more of a snuggler, so I suspect he would have loved it.
  • Swinging Cribs.  I’m not necessarily proud of this fact, but I will say that our Fisher-Price Snugabunny Cradle n’ Swing was a godsend with both of the boys — they both took a lot of (supervised!) naps, usually as a last resort when they couldn’t be soothed otherwise.

baby cameraOther sleep gear:

  • Baby monitors.  We bought these with Jack, but considering our apartment is very small (1000 square feet), they seemed silly, so they’ve been collecting dust.
  • Baby cameras.  There are fancy baby cameras out there — we’ve always just bought these Foscam cameras, and used them with the CamViewer app. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that baby cameras are a big concern in general — people can see inside your house! — but for some reason this has never bothered me; it’s pretty boring inside our house. (You can also just unplug them if you leave on vacation or whatnot.) (Ladies — have you been bothered by security concerns with your baby camera?) The baby camera, IMHO, is much more useful than a baby monitor — you can see if/when the baby is sleeping, and if there’s prolonged crying in the middle of the night you can visually check the baby — after a while you start to recognize signs of when the kiddo is not going back to sleep on his own and needs intervention. (For our guys, if they were still lying down but crying, we let them cry. Once they were sitting or standing up, though, some parental intervention was usually needed, if only to check their diaper, etc.) Am I the only weirdo who takes screencaps and then puts them in the family photo albums? Pictured: Jack around 9 months, sleeping in the Pack n Play (probably at Grandma’s house).
  • White noise. You don’t have to get fancy with this. Harry sleeps with an old, loud fan turned on for white noise, while Jack slept with an iPod mix of white noise — iTunes has a million options. It does help, though, particularly if there’s a lot of outside noise.
  • Pacifiers.  Pacifiers supposedly lower the SIDS risk, so I encouraged them with both boys for sleep — Jack preferred the NUK brand; with Harry we had to try a few before we decided he liked the MAM brand.
  • Humidifier. I hate humidifiers. They’re a PITA to clean, and they gross me out after one day of use. Still: sometimes your kiddo needs them. We just use this non-baby humidifier (bought based on Consumer Reports recommendations from several years ago), but there are others that are far more attractive for a nursery.
  • Baby Vapo Rub. Nothing is worse than a sick baby, and nothing interrupts their sleep more. I’ve always noticed a big improvement on sleeping-while-sick if I put some Vapo Rub on their chest — it really helps with their breathing. There are organic versions of this as well. (Note that there are also vapor bubble baths for babies, which we also love for a bath before bed.)
  • Nighttime diapers and boosters.  Both of our guys could not make it through the night with a single diaper. In order to maximize sleep for both we’ve used Huggies Overnites Diapers; with Jack for a long time we also bought boosters for the nighttime diapers.
  • Introducing a stuffed animal/security blanket.  Opinions vary on when to introduce a stuffed animal or security blanket to be in your baby’s crib — we just gave Harry a little Aden and Anais Issie blanket when he turned 9 months recently, since I read somewhere that separation anxiety starts around now. He, of course, likes to sleep with it on his face, but considering that it’s a 16×16 square of muslin, I’m not overly worried…

Finally, a note on books. There are a MILLION OF THEM out there for baby sleep. We’ve always followed Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, but I’m the first to admit that something about the way the book is structured is less than helpful for a sleep-deprived parent — chapters are peppered with real stories from parents (which may or may not be 100% relevant to the other stuff in the chapter), and a lot of it is a bit scientific (I seem to remember things like, “40% of babies like to nap for X hours, while 35% nap for X.5 hours, while the …”)  I thought the Lucie’s List newsletter on daytime sleep (“respect thy intervals” — so true!) was really helpful, even as a second-time mom. Which were your favorite sources of advice?

Readers, what crib, bassinet, sleepsacks other sleep-related products do you love? What was your biggest splurge — and what’s your biggest regret (i.e. waste of money)? 

(L-all)

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Comments

  1. Stefanie says:

    Totally agree with Kat on the RnP (which we only used for the first month before transitioning to crib — but it was so worth it), the Swaddle Me, the Woombie, the Halo Sleepsacks and the same Moonlight Slumber mattress (GO FOAM — it’s easy to lift when you need to change the sheets in that awkward little space).

    Here are our other nighttime musts:

    * CRIB: Babyletto Hudson. It has a low profile, which is especially good for short people who need to pick up a baby from the lowest setting.

    * CRIB SHEETS: Living Textiles Jersey Knit. They’re soft, thick and inexpensive. I wish they made them in queen size for my bed.

    * BREATHING MONITOR: Oma+. It’s totally a paranoia item that allows me to sleep at night. It clips onto the baby’s diaper. If the baby stops breathing in the middle of the night, it vibrates first to remind the baby to breathe and then goes off with a really loud alarm if the baby does not. There have been false alarms when she’s kicked it off at 2 a.m., but this is one of my favorite purchases. (http://goo.gl/d8lLfc)

    * WHITE NOISE: MARPAC Dohm-DS Dual Speed Electro-Mechanical White Noise Machine. Love it. We’d been using it pre-baby and will buy her one of her very own when she has her own room. (http://goo.gl/CKxrvW)

    * VIDEO MONITOR: VTech VM321 Safe & Sound. Inexpensive, reliable and great video/audio quality. We also have a Dropcam, but that’s reserved for watching the dog because alerts are not necessarily in real-time if eyes are not on the device. (http://goo.gl/gEkpuj)

  2. Most of this stuff falls into the category of personal preference. A few specific recommendations from a mom of 3:

    1. Foam mattress. Love our foam mattresses. So light and easy to change the sheets. I think we ordered ours from Amazon, and I can’t even recall the brand, but love it.

    2. Sleep sacks are fabulous, wonderful things. Pre-9 months, Carters sells these sleep sack sleepers (basically a fleece sleeper that doesn’t have legs–is just a sack at the bottom) that the baby wears alone, so you don’t even have to layer a sleep sack on top of pajamas (if you are super lazy or, like us, had twins).

    3. My sanity saver was the Fisher Price Cradle Swing. All three of my kids slept in that thing for a several month chunk of their babyhood. My mantra was always, “It doesn’t matter where they sleep (as long as safe), just that they sleep.” It meant we got solid sleep for months that would have been nightmarish otherwise, and it was super easy to wean them off the swing when they were old enough for sleep training (7 months usually for us). And no, they weren’t supervised, and no, I don’t feel bad about that.

    4. Yes to white noise. Yes to pacifiers.

    5. We swore by Huggies overnights with my twins, but my third never has any issue with just regular old Pampers Baby Dry overnight.

    I have yet to find a monitor that doesn’t suck, break quickly, etc. Our best one was a foscam/dropcam one that is still working (but was a pain to set up).

    • Lorelai Gilmore says:

      The Fisher Price Cradle Swing is MAGIC. I had the exact same experience as RR did and I swear it saved me during the fractious periods of maternity leave. Both my children used it and we never had a problem weaning them off the swing. We generally didn’t use it as a soothing technique – we used it as a napping place. And no, we did not always supervise the use of the swing. It was all fine.

    • pockets says:

      Swing saved me. Baby would swing for two hours every morning while I napped. I *think* she probably napped too but really I have no idea – I was in the other room sleeping. You’re supposed to supervise them in that thing?

      • pockets says:

        Also we had no problems weaning off the swing at about 4 months.

        • Stefanie says:

          I wish my daughter had any interest in the swing. Instead it just sat and took up space until we gave it away.

  3. I buy everyone a rock n’ play whether they’ve registered for it or not, because that thing is such a life-saver. If you’re using it appropriately, I don’t think you’ll have an issue with flat spots or the mold in the liner.

    We used the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit or whatever it’s called to transition out of the swaddle. I didn’t love it because it was hard to put on and I think he was a bit warm in it, but it worked.

    • Katala says:

      Is there a reason to have swing + rock n play + bouncer? Isn’t the swing if not turned on basically a rock n play?
      I laughed at Kat’s “very small” 1000 square foot apt. I would love 1000 square feet! There’s no way to fit more than one baby seat (and where is the car seat going to go, since I don’t have a car…), but since rock n play is foldable I guess we could make it fit in addition to a swing – are the compact/space saver ones sufficient? We’re also thinking of a pack nplay with the newborn napper since we will probably move within a year or so and don’t really want to invest in nursery furniture. It’s so hard to know what’s actually multipurpose vs. sufficiently different functions to make it worth stepping over to get to the bathroom…

      • Anonymous says:

        I actually asked this question in yesterday’s thread…and got some great answers, you should check it out.

        Please post and let us know what you end up buying/needing for your small space. I’m in the same boat, and the list of “necessities” seems to be SO long!

      • Oh, good luck! I don’t think you need the newborn napper thing if you get a rock n’ play. We had both, and I think I put the napper up in the attic almost immediately because I just used the rock n’ play. It is foldable so you could store it under a bed or a couch if you need to.

        On the bouncer, we had the baby bjorn one and we used it forever, but we didn’t really start with it until he was a little older, like 3-4mo. He mostly used it to have his bottles. I think you could probably hold off on getting a bouncer until your baby is too old for the rock n’ play.

        We got a swing, but almost never used it. Our guy was happier in his rock n’play / the bouncer, or just on a blanket. But some babies love them.

        Have you thought about a bumbo? We didn’t have one, but they’re pretty small and I know people love them.

        I think my biggest space-saving tip is to hold off on buying things as long as possible.

      • Oh, I just remembered that the new rock n plays (I just bought one for a co-worker last week!) have a self-rocking feature. So, that might even do you for the swing!

        • Katala says:

          Thanks everyone! Your responses here and in the previous thread are super helpful. I think we’ll start with the PnP with changer/napper (mostly for the changer) and the self-rocking RnP which sounds awesome.
          Seems like we’ll have our bases covered for the first couple of months with that combo (we’re thinking of using a co-sleeper, maybe an in-bed one, at first but between these two I think we can try different arrangements for naps and nighttime before committing).

  4. Philanthropy Girl says:

    1. Swaddles! We’re swaddle weaning now because LO can both escape from his SwaddleMe and roll over. I love the SwaddleMes, but our hospital gave away the Halo Sleep Sack/Swaddle combos. Wrap the arms in when tiny, leave the arms out when no longer needing to swaddle. If (when) I do this again, I’ll get the sleep sack, swaddle combo in larger sizes. The combo didn’t make sense for our swaddle-loving newborn, but now that he’s in that 6-9 month, please-unswaddle-me stage, it would have been a good transition piece. We tried the blanket swaddle, which really only worked until LO was about 4 weeks old. He eventually became too squirmy to be successfully blanket swaddled. We also tried a swaddle similar to the SwaddleMe, but that zipped at the bottom. I thought it might help with night time diaper changes to not have to unswaddle his arms. But my little guy is long and skinny, and the sack ended up too short and the wings too long to be of use.

    2. Sleep Sheep! My LO loves his sleep sheep -a white noise machine disguised as a cuddly sheep. It can be hung from the side of a crib and has four sounds that play for a given period of time. Ocean seems to be his preference, and the whale sounds are a bit odd – but it works like a charm. I have even caught LO wake up in the middle of a nap, bat at the sheep until he turns it on again, and go back to sleep. We also keep a fan running, but that’s because this is the first I’ve heard about thermostat hijacks, and the nursery gets so hot!

    3. Bassinet. I’m a huge mover when I’m sleeping, so I didn’t feel comfortable when one of those lovely little “sidecar” style co-sleepers. We used a plain jane, old-school bassinet, which lived in our room until LO was able to make it rattle by kicking – thus keeping us up all night – probably around 8-10 weeks.

    4. Pack ‘n’ Play – with the bassinet feature. We use this only when we’re traveling, but since all of our family lives out of town, it’s had some use. The bassinet feature is great for traveling with a newborn.

    Our little guy is a pretty good sleeper, so we’ve been lucky in that arena. We also use the Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, my main takeaway being about the sleep intervals, and drowsy signs. It has been very useful for us.

    • I’d totally forgotten about my daughter’s sleep sheep. I loved that thing! We never used it in the crib (no idea why), but it was a beautiful thing as like a traveling white noise machine to get her to sleep in her car seat. I’d forgotten all about that little guy. He was awesome.

  5. Stefanie says:

    Forgot one biggie:

    TRAVEL CRIB: Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard. It’s small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment, there’s no weight limit (most PnPs only go up to 35 pounds), and the side zips down for easy access to put in a sleeping baby. We love this thing, and the baby sleeps as well in there as she does in her crib. (http://goo.gl/bt7rB)

    • Watermelon says:

      +1 on the Guava Family Lotus. The side zip is a really, really useful feature. My son sleeps in it every night instead of his crib.

      Also, Baby DeeDee sleep sacks are great for little ones–the snaps make it much easier to put it on. I like Schlummersacks (spelling? A Brtitish-German brand) for when it’s cold.

  6. All of this stuff is useful, but the time for most of it goes by so quickly. I’d say borrow whatever you can from family and friends so that you don’t spend a fortune and have to find a place to store everything if it is not necessary!

  7. 1. I second the Halo swaddle sacks.
    2. The Baby Bjorn travel crib is awesome. A must if you fly frequently with a crib. It’s super light (13 lbs compared to 22 lbs for the Pack n Play) and easy to set up – no loose parts to connect. It’s pricy new but I bought mine on Craigslist for $60!
    3. Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper was a must for me as an exhausted, working, nursing mom. Baby cries. You pull baby into your bed. Nurse. Put baby back. You don’t even need to sit up, much less get out of bed! It gave me many of the benefits of co-sleeping with less risk. Used it for 5 months. We used the mini because we have a small apartment.
    4. White noise – never tried it. Our apartment is tiny, with thin walls, so I imagine he just got used to the ‘white noise’ of our home, but he is a good sleeper by nature. I’d hold off on any fancy white noise machines until you feel you need it!

  8. CPA Lady says:

    This is one of those “best laid plans” things– you think something is going to work great, but it just depends on the baby and your individual situation. We have a tall bed, and I couldn’t get into it after my C-section, so I planned to sleep on the couch and put the baby in the pack n play in the living room with me when she was a newborn. Didn’t work– the P&P made rustling noises anytime she moved, the cats were too interested in it, she was a very loud sleeper and I would wake up the second she made a noise, etc. So within a couple of days of coming home from the hospital, she started sleeping in her crib with the door to the nursery open, and me on the couch right down the hall. I know the SIDS people say to put the baby in your room for 6 months, but I was not willing to do that in general for my own sanity, but especially since it would have meant neither of us slept.

    1. Crib- Davinci Kalani– I love it. The crib is very solidly constructed, only complaint is that the wood is kinda soft, like I can scratch it with my fingernail. But hey, it was $200. It turns into a toddler bed (comes with the rail), then a full sized bed.

    2. Mattress- Safety 1st – nice and lightweight

    3. Sheets- Aden and Anais & Carter’s woven cotton (the kind that’s not jersey) sheets are both great. I got the A&A one because of the hype. It’s nice and all, but I wouldn’t get a bunch of them.

    4. Swaddles/Sleepsacks- I got a ton of these as gifts, and she hated them and freeeeaaaked out screaming when I’d try to swaddle her or put her in a sleepsack. I think that may have had something to do with the fact that she was breech, and how her legs were at first? Anyway, she never used either, we just keep the house warm. She still prefers to sleep spread out like a starfish in long sleeved footy pjs.

    5. Pack n Play- basically useless so far, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy if we travel with her.

    6. Snuggabunny bouncer- super useful, especially with the vibrating feature when she was a newborn. I was terrified she would die of SIDS if I let her sleep in it, but sometimes it was the only place she’d sleep. She still naps in it.

    7. White-noise- at first the sleep sheep, and then, after sleep training, the myBaby SoundSpa. The drawback to the sleep sheep is that it only goes for 45 minutes before shutting off. When we sleep trained her, I didn’t want anything to suddenly change in her environment, so I got the soundspa one, because it plays until you turn it off.

    8. Pacifiers- Nuk all the way. When we sleep trained her, we stopped giving her a pacifier at night, but she still uses a Nuk during the day.

    9. Breathable Baby Mesh crib bumper– got this when my daughter started sticking her legs and feet through the slats and then turning over. I got a dark brown one that matches the color of the wood on the crib and like it way more than I thought I would. Even though it’s mesh, it’s somehow still sort of padded, too, which I was not expecting.

  9. EB0220 says:

    Beyond a crib & mattress, we have loved:

    1) Aden + Anais muslin swaddle: We’ve used these from day my first came home through today, and not just for sleeping! We got the bamboo swaddles with my second but I like the muslin better.

    2) Miracle Blanket: thing but makes a very cozy baby burrito!

    3) Halo Sleepsack: Used this when my first (winter baby) was too small for the Miracle Blanket, but never really used it with my 2nd (summer baby) because it was too hot – even the cotton.

    4) A+A Muslin Easy Swaddle: Used this in place of the Halo Sleepsack because it was cooler but not impressed with the quality.

    5) Sheets: I have some organic cotton from Babies R Us I like and some flannel for winter. Also have some A+A muslin sheets that are nice and cool.

    6) Rock N Play: LOVED with our first, but our second hated it.

    7) Pack N Play: I’ve never liked the thing but useful for travel.

    8) Swings: We never really used one – mostly babywearing instead. Neither of my kids would tolerate the swing for long.

    9) White noise: if you have an old smartphone lying around, just download a white noise app and run on repeat.

    • EB0220 says:

      On books – Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child did a number on my new-mama psyche. After reading many sleep books, my favorite is The Sleep Lady’s Sleep Shuffle. Worked really well for us with my first – a terrible sleeper.

  10. Newly pregnant says:

    Kat, it might just be me but I don’t think the links are working in the post.

  11. Worried Anon says:

    This is not meant to make any Rock N Play fans feel bad, but mamas-to-be, I would encourage you to talk to your pediatrician before purchasing. It is my understanding that there are SIDS risks (in addition to the head-flattening thing) because it isn’t flat. I know many, many people who use them without issue, but as a new mom, I would at least want to talk to my doctor since the official AAP stance is that they aren’t for sleeping.

    Similar comment re: letting kids sleep in a swing. The point of supervision is that because it isn’t flat, it increase SIDS risk.

    I completely understand why people use these devices – so please don’t think I am judging. I just want new mothers to be educated.

  12. Nonny says:

    After reading everyone’s lists, I feel we did everything very bare-bones, even though it didn’t feel like it at the time.

    1. We started out with a bassinet that is a family heirloom, but we ended up co-sleeping for about 6 months. For naps, we used bassinet/our laps/car seat/crib. We never had a rock and play/pack and play/bouncy chair/infant napper. My daughter now sleeps in a crib, which was a hand-me-down from a friend and has the drop sides that are now illegal (we bought a new mattress). Works just fine.

    2. We got a second-hand (actually, probably about tenth-hand) swing for free. Baby never actually managed to sleep in it but liked to swing for short periods. It was one of the old Fisher Price ones, I think an ancient version of the Snugabunny. When we were done with it we put it out on our lawn and it was gone within minutes. Really.

    3. We never actually bought a special swaddle or sleep sack. We went old school, swaddled with a regular receiving blanket, and later used those same blankets in the bassinet/crib. We never freaked out that much about having one light blanket in the crib. We have a couple of different sheets – I like the Aden & Anais bamboo ones, which are very soft. We also have an ancient flannelette one that my mom used when I was a baby, and I’ve been using it during really cold weather.

    4. We did get a white noise machine, but not one that is specifically marketed to babies – I think we got ours from the drug store for $25. Has about 10 different sounds and works like a charm. Turns out our daycare has the same one and our little girl now knows how to turn it on and off, which is endlessly entertaining for her.

    5. We also have a video monitor – a necessity since our house is pretty big. We got a Panasonic and after over a year of use it has never broken, crapped out, or the like. I recommend it highly, especially after hearing about other people’s negative experiences with other brands.

    6. Diapers – we did cloth during the day for the first seven months (until starting daycare, which doesn’t support cloth), but used disposables at night. After some initial experimentation we settled on Kirkland, which we really, really like – very few problems.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Stuff that was invaluable:

    1) receiving blankets
    2) excellent crib mattress
    3) multiple crib sheets and changing pad covers
    4) pacifiers with pacifier holder clips
    5) bottle drying rack
    6) black and white books and playmat
    7) travel wipes, diaper clutch, diaper bag with shoulder strap

    Useless stuff
    1) any complex swaddling things
    2) bottle warmer
    3) most of the clothing we got
    4) burp cloths
    5) rattles

    • Sorry- repeat post….

    • This just goes to show how different everyone’s experience can be! We had a super spitter-upper so we used every last burp cloth we had, plus various cloth diaper inserts. We went through 4 to 6 per day!

  14. For white noise/sound machine, we are using the Ambiance app on one of our old phones (99 cents!), connected to a cheapo Bluetooth speaker. Seems to work well so far.

  15. quailison says:

    Have the IKEA Gulliver crib – not that we’ve used it in his almost six weeks of life except as a spot to change his clothes. We are only planning on having one kid so price outweighed durability – the only downside of the Gulliver from my view. Currently, he sleeps in a rock’n’play next to our bed. In retrospect, I wish I had gotten a more formal bassinet or crib thing that attached to the bed – I’d like to get him used to sleeping on a flat surface rather than the RnP’s incline, but now it seems like we’d only use it for a few more weeks or months until we transition to him sleeping in the nursery. Our pediatrician said that there’s no problem with him sleeping in the RnP and if we transition before 2 months, he won’t “get used to” the RnP versus the crib…

    We do use a white noise machine but I’m not sure if it makes a difference. He will sleep through a loud party without it at this point, so we’ll see if he needs it later I guess.

    I love the Swaddlemes and the Halo sleep sacks. The fleece sleep sack is warm enough for use without other PJs which makes diaper changes much easier at night. But I think the swaddlemes give a tighter and more consistent swaddle. We gave up on swaddling blankets though in theory I’d like to learn to do a good blankie swaddle.

    No monitors yet – plan to get a basic audio monitor when we transition to him sleeping in the nursery. Our house is small enough and laid out such that we could hear him cry from anywhere in the house. This summer (should it ever arrive…) the monitor should be good for sitting/working outside while he naps.

  16. I don’t think a Rock n Play is essential at all. We never bought one and I don’t miss it. We have the Arms Reach Co Sleeper and it has been a lifesaver. I breastfeed and it makes things so much easier. I don’t have to get out of bed, baby doesn’t get upset because her needs are met so quickly, and we can both fall right back asleep. We got the Mamaroo, which was a splurge but we get so much use out of. I like the Halo Swaddle Sleepsacks. They are velcro so they are easy to do, but the bottom is open and floppy, which is better for baby’s hips. I know I am late on this, but we bought a big expensive stroller that we have used literally twice. It was such a waste of money. We wear baby instead, it is so much easier!

  17. Alexis says:

    I realize this thread is old but in case new moms come looking to the comments as a resource I have to add to the sleepsack recommendations: Vaenait sleepsacks, available on Amazon, are the BEST for toddlers and prewalkers and babies who don’t want things on their feet (sigh). They come in cotton: http://www.amazon.com/Vaenait-Toddler-Blanket-Sleepsack-Cotton/dp/B00O9W67C0/ and fleece: http://www.amazon.com/Vaenait-Toddler-Micro-Fleece-Sleepsack-Elephant/dp/B00RVG9ZRA/ and are awesome in every way. I wish I had discovered them before buying any of the Halo ones, in particular the Halo ones with feet…
    1) The footed/child Halo sleepsacks are CRAZILY sized. I have one that is supposedly 18-24 months that I can literally fit my four-year-old into. However, even though the sacks themselves are enormous, the armholes are really snug, which means even though my four-year-old fits the sack itself quite comfortably, his armpits are uncomfortable and so they don’t really work anymore.
    2) They’re cheaper than the Halo ones but are just as nice, just as durable, etc. We’ve had ours for over a year now and they’re wearing equally well as the Halo ones, if not better. The fleece is a little thicker than the Halo and the cotton is great too.
    3) Some of the Vaenait sacks have pockets, which is sort of a silly addition for a sleep sack… but back to the four-year-old: he is into the pockets. I don’t know why, but there it is. If you have a pocket-addicted child, here’s your answer.
    4) I think they’re way cuter. Granted, this is a personal preference thing. But that cotton owl sleep sack (http://www.amazon.com/Vaenait-Toddler-Blanket-Sleepsack-Cotton/dp/B00O9W67C0/) is, in my opinion, to die for adorable, and is therefore totally worth it.

    Anyway. Vaenait sleep sacks forever, is what I’m saying. I get them for friends with babies now, too, because I’m a total convert. They ship from Korea, so it takes a little longer for their arrival, but nowhere near the 4-6 weeks they provide. I think mine have all come within 7-10 days. Highly recommend.

  18. Laura says:

    The simple (light) stroller that you place your carseat on was a godsend after lugging my kiddo in his carseat around for 2 months. Mine is a BabyTrend I bought for $30 at a consignment store. Worth it!

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