3 Months: Whatcha Need?

Oh my goodness, my little peanut is 3 months old!  At 15lbs 6oz he’s also not so little anymore.  Some moms get weepy as their babies get bigger and bigger but I’m really excited that he’s more alert and able to interact more.  The most exciting thing of all is that Wesley is usually sleeping around 5 hours at night!!!

Our little chunker currently enjoys having his noises repeated, listening to Matt play guitar, watching TV and video games (yeah, yeah, we’re horrible parents), kicking wildly at his baby gym, and fake standing (we support him while he pushes against the ground with his legs). We’re getting cuter baby coos out of him as well as more and more smiles (although he mostly resorts to RBF–Resting Baby Face).  Wesley has also learned how to roll front to back (although he doesn’t do it with any regularity yet) and is getting a little grabbier with both toys and my hair.

He still does not like being hungry and hates having to burp.  He also does not like his crib much which we’ll be trying to deal with before he starts daycare in a month.  I’m officially done with my maternity leave, but my mom’s staying with us until November to ease the transition from starting work to starting Wesley in daycare.

Wesley has yet to show any interest in the cats, but Mort’s been acting like an older sibling with a new baby.  He’s figured out places where we pay extra attention to Wesley and will hang out there (look at me! I’m a baby too!).  He’ll play with the baby gym, lay on both our changing pads, play with Wesley’s toys, and, after watching us try and get Wesley used to his crib, has started jumping in there (although only when it’s unoccupied). Just last night I had to pull him out of the rock-n-play so I could get Wesley to bed. Schmutz on the other hand, fully recognizes when I have my hands full of baby and chooses those moments to misbehave and just stare me down if I scold her.

Whatcha Need

Hold on to your hats, this is a long one….

At 3 months in, we’ve had some time to evaluate our stash of baby gear so I have some suggestions for people looking to put together their baby registries.  Keep in mind that different life styles will mean different types of gear–there’s no one magic list for everyone.  Our biggest criteria was multi-functional pieces.  I (of course) also wanted things that looked good–why do so many baby things have to look like a clown exploded on them?

Before I get started on the long list, I do want to point out that there’s very little you really need for a baby, but there are a bunch of things that will make your life much easier If you’re looking for extreme minimalism you really just need a safe place for the baby to sleep, a safe way to transport the baby, a way to feed the baby, and things to dress the baby in. I will be the first to admit that I am not a minimalist, but I also did not want to be completely overrun with baby gear (plus they grow out of stuff SO fast).

PRINTABLE CHECKLIST

I’ve included links to the products for examples only.  I am not affiliated with the companies selling the products.

Gear

  • Travel System (or infant car seat + stroller)
  • Crib
  • Rocker/Glider (or comfy chair of your choice)
  • Bouncer/Swing/Rocker
  • Baby Carrier
  • High Chair (not essential immediately)

We opted for a travel system (car seat + base + stroller that all click together) and chose the Graco Comfy Cruiser.  It’s at a great price point, fairly compact, and the stroller has a nice sized basket.  I really like the Chicco Bravo Trio too, especially since you could break down the stroller so it would just be a car seat carrier.  For us that one bonus feature didn’t justify the price difference though. Now, you could just get a convertible car seat that will last much longer, but being able to pop a sleeping infant from car to stroller without unstrapping them is REALLY nice.

My mom questioned if we really wanted a 30″ car seat vs a 35″ but here’s my logic: 1) Matt and I both have small cars 2) Neither of us is especially tall so we weren’t anticipating a super long baby 3) By the time Wesley outgrows the 30″ car seat he’ll probably be too heavy for us to really use the car seat as a carrier too so we’ll just switch to a convertible car seat and pop him in and out of the stroller.

What to consider in a travel system:

  • 30 vs 35″ car seat (is your family especially tall in general? Will it fit in your car(s)?)
  • How easy is it to adjust the car seat harness? (you’ll be doing a lot of adjusting–this is the one area the Comfy Cruiser fell a bit short for us, but it’s not that much of hassle)
  • Stroller/wheel style (are you jogger? do you like off-roading it? purely city use?)
  • Ease of folding/compact-ness (where will you be storing it when not in use, will it fit in your car(s)?)
  • Weight
  • Height (comfy for both parents?)
  • Stroller storage space
  • Parent tray/cup holders
  • Baby tray (do you want it to be fully removable?)

Matt and I both had different opinions when it came to baby carriers so we ended up getting 2–a Baby Bjorn Carrier One and a Baby K’tan.  Men and women tend to naturally carry weight differently so this isn’t too surprising.  The Bjorn was a little pricey, but we really liked that this model could go from infant to small toddler without any extra pieces needed.  I liked the K’tan because it seemed less complicated than a Moby or Boba wrap and more versatile than a sling. It’s also much more compact than the Bjorn so I can fit it in my diaper bag.

Some of the best baby shopping advice I got was from my sister-in-law–don’t buy all the fancy gear. Pick a swing OR bouncer OR rocker… or skip it all until you know what sort of motion your kid likes.  We got a Rock-n-Play which is seriously the only baby item that the internet agrees on.  It’s worked out great for us so far! I also ended up borrowing a swing from a friend for him to try out, but his rocker is still his favorite.

Not (exactly) on the checklist is some sort of bassinet type thing.  It’s highly recommended that babies share your room for a stupid long time, so you may need a sleeping space that fits in your room.  I don’t think it’s worth buying a fancy bassinet, but you could see if you can borrow one from a friend or find one cheap/free on Craig’s List.  You could also use a pack-n-play (some even come with an infant bassinet attachment), a rock-n-play, or a box.  Yes, a box.  The Twin Cities did a free baby box program this year so we have our very own European-style baby box. Wesley ended up preferring the rock-n-play though.

Although a high chair won’t be necessary for a bit, we still registered for one, but also chose one that could be reclined quite a bit for smaller babies (Safety First Dine and Recline).  This way we could have a nearby, eye-level spot for Wesley at dinner if he’s awake and interested in the goings on. This particular high chair also works as a booster for kids who are ready to sit at the table properly so we should get some good use out of it. The one downside is that this particular high chair does not fold down.  We have enough space in our dining room that this isn’t a problem for us, but it may be a deal-breaker for some people. There are also booster seats (with trays) that attach to regular chairs, and seats that hook onto the table itself.

Optional Items

  • Pack-n-Play–if you travel or want a baby “docking station” on a second floor, different room, or plan to travel
  • Play Mat/Baby Gym–you can also just use a blanket/carpet and some toys (We picked out this baby gym because it was bright and cheery, but didn’t look like a clown exploded on it. I also really liked this Jonathan Adler one #designSnobMom).
  • Second car seat base–if you frequently use multiple cars

Arguably Useless

  • Changing table–you can turn pretty much any surface into a changing table, heck downstairs we just change diapers on the floor! If you’re buying furniture think about multi-functional pieces–you can put a changing pad on a dresser or deep, short shelves and save yourself some space.

Sleeping

  • Swaddles/Sleepsacks (2-3)
  • Crib sheets (3)
  • Mattress Protectors (2)
  • Receiving blankets (4)
  • Muslin blankets (4)

I registered for a few different types of swaddle/sleepsacks since I didn’t know what would work for us and Wesley.  Don’t go too crazy with the advance stock-piling though because some babies hate being swaddled. Personally I’d suggest starting off with 2-3 different ones in newborn/small sizes.  So far my favorite has been the Halo sleepsacks–they have a lightweight muslin option that has been great for summer and they’re pretty flexible so you can do a full burrito, hands out, or arms out swaddle depending on what your baby likes. Now that he’s bigger and it’s colder we have one fleece sleepsack and one 100% cotton one (plus and extra cotton one o keep at daycare) I’ve also heard people highly recommend the Miracle Blanket and Woombie.

You probably will want to somewhat stock up on blankets since you can use them for everything!  Keeping baby warm, spill guard, sun shade, nursing cover…the possibilities are endless! I’d start out with at least 3-4 muslin blankets and 3-4 flannel receiving blankets (both seem to frequently come in packages of 4).  I’d probably only register for 4 of each because people may (very likely) gift you even more.

Optional Items

  • White Noise Machine–baby might not care or be fine with just a fan
  • Nightlight–useful for late night changings/feedings

Feeding

  • Bottles
  • Bibs
  • Bottle brush
  • Burp cloths (10+)
  • Milk storage (if pumping)
  • Baby spoons
  • Small bowls

Bottles are another thing you may not want to stock pile right away because babies can be picky. I’d suggest 2-4 different types of bottles (and only 1-2 of each type depending on how they’re packaged).  Think of it as creating a sampler pack until you know what your baby actually likes (this is another good time to try and borrow from friends to do a test run before stockpiling your own.) .  We’ve had good luck with the Comotomo bottles (which is good because I totally did not follow my own advice here). We’re combo feeding breast milk and formula and we really only use 2-3 bottles at home with another bottle stashed in each diaper bag. We hand wash them between uses and I’ll toss them into the dishwasher if we’re already set to run it.  If you’re only breast feeding or only bottle feeding (or your daycare wants you to provide a certain amount) you may need more or less. FYI: If you’ll be putting your baby in childcare, many places won’t take glass bottles.

If you’re breastfeeding and pumping you may want to think about milk storage options too.  I really liked the Tomee Tippee storage bags because they can connect to most pumps with some inexpensive adapters, and are nice and compact for storage.  Tomee Tippee also has a bottle line that’s compatible with them if you don’t want to be pouring them into a separate bottle… but personally I’d stick that in the “Arguably Useless” category.

A word on burp cloths: you can probably never have too many! I keep one stashed everywhere we might be feeding so we never have to go hunting. They make some cute patterned ones, but I like the basic, cloth diaper option. If you’re crafty you can cute them up on your own too. I didn’t bother because “spit-up” is really just a euphemism for baby puke.

If you’re looking towards the future you may also want to consider some baby spoons and small bowls.  Most babies start solids between 4-6 months and the time will go fast! How many you need will depend on how willing you are to hand wash or how often you run your dishwasher.

Optional Items

  • Nursing pillow–you can use a regular pillow for extra support, or just hold the baby (I do love my Boppy though)
  • Nursing cover–you may not care/only use bottles when you’re out or you can use a muslin blanket
  • Baby food storage–if you’re making your own baby food you can just freeze it in an ice cube tray and defrost as needed (I’ll still probably be picking up some of these Oxo Blocks for on-the-go usage though)
  • Bottle drying rack–we just use our regular drying rack
  • Bottle warmer–we used an electric kettle and glass measuring cup to make a water bath (never use the microwave). If you want a bottle warmer, just make sure it fits your chosen bottles.
  • Sectioned formula dispenser–if you’re using formula, you can portion out a few bottles worth for your diaper bag so you don’t have to measure on the go.

Arguably Useless

  • Formula mixer–powdered formula dissolves SO easily, just dump it in the bottle with water and shake.
  • Baby food maker–if you want to make your own baby food there’s no need to pay a premium for a baby-specific food processor.  If you already have a food processor or blender you’re good to go, other just pick up any mini food processor.*
  • Fancy sterilizer–unless your baby has some crazy immune system issues, a good soap-and-water scrubbing should clean everything just fine.  You can also periodically toss things in a pot of boiling water (double check that the material can take it, but most baby things can)

Bathing

  • Baby bathtub
  • Hooded towels (2)
  • Washcloths
  • Baby shampoo + wash

A baby bathtub is probably the only thing that’s isn’t really straight forward in this category.  I wanted a tub that would fit in my sink/on the counter so baby would be at a comfy (for me!) height during bath time.  I liked how compact the Puj tub (or the Puj Flyte)was, but it seemed too big for our bathroom sink and too small for our kitchen sink.  The Angelcare bath support jumped out at me too, but it was also the wrong size for our sinks.  We ended up going with the Boon Soak bath tub.  I thought it would fit in our kitchen sink, but I was wrong because our sink is set up oddly.  Luckily, because it’s a tub and not just a support it works just fine on our counter too.

Optional Items

You may want to wait to pick these up until you find you need them.

  • Soft brush–if your baby has a lot of hair
  • Cradle cap brush/comb–if your baby develops cradle cap (flaky dead skin gunk on the scalp). Wesley had a very minor case of it and we cleaned it up just with olive oil and gentle massaging with a washcloth, but some babies get it way worse.  Google it if you want to be kind of grossed out (don’t worry, it’s not dangerous at all, just icky-looking).

Diapering

  • Diaper Pail
  • Changing pad
  • Changing pad covers (2-3)
  • Diaper bag

Obviously you’ll need diapers/wipes/diaper cream too.  Don’t get too many newborn sized diapers though–your kid will either outgrow them quickly or be born a monster (8+ lbs) and never fit them.  For reference, Wesley was 7lbs 12oz when he was born and we switched to size 1 diapers around 3 weeks.

Because we have a 2 story house, we have changing stations on both floors.  Wesley’s nursery has a full changing pad + cover, and downstairs we have a basket stocked with diapers/wipes/cream and a simple folding changing mat. Quite frankly you can change your baby on pretty much anything, but it’s useful to have something easily washable/wipe-able underneath in case they decide join in the moment.

A diaper pail isn’t exactly necessary, but something to contain dirty diapers is definitely very useful.  I’m a fan of the Ubbi pail, largely because it doesn’t require specific bags.  It’s also mostly steel so less likely to absorb odors than a plastic pail.  Price-wise it’s not much different than a steel trash can, but seals better.

Diaper bags will be another pretty personal choice.  Are you a travel minimalist? Do you like being prepared for every possible situation?  I went with the Skip Hop Duo bag because it seemed like a nice mid-size option and was very well reviewed.  One of my friends swears by the Ju Ju Be bags.  I got Matt a Diaper Dude Sport (unfortunately I think this style is discontinued and there are limited color options available currently) bag for Father’s Day because every bag I liked he thought was too purse-like. I like our 2 diaper bag system because I always know that mine is properly stocked, it’s hardly necessary to have separate bags though.

Here are some cute-but-neutral ones:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

 

Arguably useless

  • Wipe warmer–I know some people who love their wipe warmers, but Wesley’s never complained.
  • Wipe container–Even though it is arguably useless, I still really like my Oxo weighted wipe dispenser.  It just makes all the diapering supplies in the nursery look a little more stream-lined. If you order Amazon brand wipes they also come with a simple dispenser.
  • Covers for your changing pad covers–this is why you have the first cover, just pull it off and wash it.  It’s fine.

Clothing

  • Onsies (6-10/size)
  • Sleepers (3-5/size)
  • Leggings/pants (2-5/size)
  • Hats
  • Socks

I don’t have great advice for how many clothes you should have since it will depend on how messy your kid is and how often you tend to do laundry. Onsies and zip-up sleepers will probably make up the bulk of your baby wardrobe since they’re easy and comfy for sleepy babies.  We lucked out and got a TON of hand-me-down clothes.  If you’re starting from scratch, my best guess would be to start off with 6-10 onsies and 3-5 sleepers in each size, and maybe 2-5 leggings/soft pants for cooler months.  If you’re gifted a ton of brand new clothes, don’t remove tags and wash everything all at once in case you need to exchange things for different sizes.

The zip-up style sleepers are especially nice because they’re really easy to deal with for diaper changes. Some people also really like the baby gowns because there are no snaps/zips, just elastic at the bottom. Neither Matt nor I was a fan though–the elastic was kind of a pain to pull up over wiggly baby legs for diaper changes and it just looked like Wesley was wearing a potato sack.

Baby socks are notoriously bad at staying on, but I will say that the Trumpette brand work pretty well (I just wish they sold some more neutral colored sets too).  The only downside is that Matt has started calling them “Little Trump socks.” I’m pretty sure he only continues to do it because I glare at him every time. We’ve had some other socks stay on really well too, but since they were hand-me-downs I don’t have a brand to share.

Health and Safety

  • Baby Monitor
  • Humidifier
  • Thermometer
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby-proofing supplies (outlet covers, corner guards, furniture restraints)
  • Car sun-shades

We considered using Nest for a video monitor, but haven’t actually bothered getting any sort of monitor yet.  If you do opt for a video monitor, just be warned you may catch a glimpse of a demon baby in the middle of the night. Once we move Wesley into his own room at night we may get a simple audio monitor, but honestly if you keep your baby close-ish (we keep him parked on the same floor, but don’t move him from room to room if he’s napping) to you during the day and their nursery is close to your bedroom (and you’re not a super heavy sleeper) you may not need a baby monitor at all.

I wanted the fancy infrared thermometer but both the baby care class we attended and our pediatrician both strongly recommended taking a baby’s temperature rectally for the most accurate reading.  Sorry kid. There are some fancy nail clippers out there too, but we stuck with the basic again. I did however opt for the fancy Frida Baby Snot Sucker nasal aspirator. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but cold and flu season is now upon us…

Other Stuff

  • Pacifiers
  • Pacifer holders/toy clips
  • A few toys
  • Teethers
  • Mobile

Babies can be picky about pacifiers too since there are a couple different styles.  You may also opt to just not use pacifiers. I originally got a Wubbanub since everyone seemed to love them, and they honestly work pretty well.  The only down side is that the pacifier they come with is permanently attached and Wesley ended up preferring a different style (thanks for being difficult kid, that zebra was frickin’ adorable!).

I ordered a Nookum Paci-Plushie later on and it will work with the “button” style pacifiers (MAM brand) that he likes. The Dr Brown’s Lovies are even more flexible (you can pick up an attachment to work with the button styles), but they don’t have as cute of options (yes, my priorities may be a bit skewed). We also have a few “universal” toy/paci holders that clip on to his shirt, but the lovies are nice because he can hold them in place and if he spits out the paci it doesn’t fall far so sometimes he can even find it again on his own.

We didn’t go nuts with toys/teethers since it’s a while before a baby will really care.  We picked out a couple brightly colored rattle-y toys, something to hang from his carseat, Sophie la Girafe, and I simply couldn’t resist this Batman teether (he also has a Batman onsies, hat, and shoes… and may even fit into all of them at the same time). Just remember when picking out toys that babies’ eyesight is really bad for while so focus on bright and high-contrast toys.

 

Ooof…. are you still with me? I know that was a long one. If you have any questions I’ll be happy to field them and if you have any favorite items feel free to chime in in the comments!

 

*I used to work in a kitchen at a nursing home; I am a goddamed pro at pureeing food. A cutesy face on a blender will not make it work any differently.

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