Baby Gear Essentials (or not)

27 Feb
  • Fisher-Price papasan swing

Walk into any baby specialty store and no doubt within 5 minutes you will be overwhelmed with the crazy amount of things experts say you must have for your baby.  Thankfully having grown up as the oldest of six children and having babysat/nannyed regularly for 13 years before I had Elijah I knew that not everything was essential.  Still I often found myself tempted by different gadgets wondering if they would in fact “make life easier.”  On the other side I wondered if I really wanted to raise a child who always needed to be entertained with different gadgets.  Wouldn’t it be great if a child could learn to entertain himself from time to time?  We also wanted to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us and quite frankly I didn’t want a house over flowing with baby gear. 🙂

Since many of my friends are expecting this year (and my sweet sister in law) I thought it might be fun to share some recommendations. The following is a list of what gear we found to be great during Eli’s first year. (You can easily not purchase all of these.  All a baby really needs is lots of love, a few clothes, some diapers, and food.)  Remember each family is different and will have different needs and priorities. Since we travel a lot to visit family and friends gear that travels easily was important for us. 

Emerson Family Recommendations:

  • Baby Swing: We first purchased the Fisher-Price Nature Papasan Swing and found it to be very helpful especially during the first couple of weeks.  It’s a nice gender neutral swing with different speeds and direction.  It also has nice relaxing nature sounds which didn’t drive me crazy.  🙂 If you are looking for a regular sized swing I highly recommend this one.   
  • Product Image Fisher-Price Take Along Swing- Woodlands


    Travel Swing: Last year we were in a season of our lives where we traveled a lot.  Besides visiting family, attending conferences, and youth trips we attended 7 weddings. 🙂  This swing folds up very small and worked great for us while traveling and at home.  We attended a conference when Eli was just a few months old and found it very nice to have this with us in our hotel room.  After holding or wearing Eli most of the day it was a nice break to let him swing for a little while back at the hotel.  I also kept the regular swing in our kitchen and the travel swing in our living room.  I have fond memories of sitting right on the floor next to Eli folding clothes and writing papers while he watched.  🙂  This could also easily take the place of a bouncer seat as they really provide the same function. 

  • Car Seats: We love our Graco Snugride Infant Seat and also have 2 bases for each car.  (The bases are optional but incredibly handy.) This can only be used for about the first year (we actually used our less than that).  You can skip the infant car seat and use a convertible car seat instead.  Now that Eli is bigger we have a Britax Marathon car seat that we love.  They are incredibly safe, very adjustable, and look comfy. 
  • Carriers and Strollers: If I had to choose between owning a stroller and a baby carrier I would choose a baby carrier.  They are wonderful!  My two favorites are the Ergo and the Moby (best for little babies).  Check out my post here about baby carriers. We also own a regular Graco Snugride stroller that came with our car seat which we like a lot and an older Baby Trend jogging stroller that we keep out for our strolls around the neighborhood.  One stroller is fine.  Since my car is so little the jogging stroller won’t fit in it! 
  • Johnny Jump Up: Eli absolutely loved this!  He would jump up and down while I cleaned the house or cooked dinner.  It is also nice and portable and doesn’t take up much room. 
  • Pack-N-Play: We have a very snazzy one: the Nature’s Comfort with a bassinnett and changing table attachments.  Ours includes a changing table (not really necessary) and a bassinett option (very nice when recovering from having a c-section).  I think a pack and play is pretty much a necessity. If you are limited on space your baby could sleep in it as his crib.  We have taken ours everywhere!  I also keep ours set up at our house.  Eli has an alone time each day where he plays and reads books in his. 
  • The Bumbo

  • Bumbo: one of our favorite baby gear items.  We also took this everywhere with us.  We often took it with us to restaurants before Eli was able to sit in a high chair.  Babies can use the bumbo at 4 months.  We loved the optional tray and used it to feed Eli and attach toys.  
  • Baby Bath Tub: you don’t actually need one and can easily bath your baby in the sink.  However I like to have one as it saves water and I also think it is hard to bath a newborn.
  • Other items that we wouldn’t purchase again or never did purchase include: a Jumperoo, exersaucer, toy play mat, large high chair, and walker. 

4 Responses to “Baby Gear Essentials (or not)”

  1. Rachel March 6, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Amanda, this is great! One question, though. What do you not like about the Jumperoo? Our house isn’t necessarily functional for the Johnny jump up, so we were considering the Jumperoo instead.

    • emersonfamily March 7, 2011 at 3:57 am #

      I haven’t actually purchased a Jumperoo since we ended up purchasing a Johnny Jump Up which does the same thing. The main thing I didn’t care for about them was how much space they took up but one might work out great for you! Everyone is different. We just try not to own every baby gear item in the world. 🙂 I spent a lot of time wearing Eli his first year (and stil do) rather than using lots of baby entertainment so we spent a lot of money on a great baby carrier instead. It worked great for us. Hope this helps.

  2. heckme August 13, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    When you say “wearing him” what do you mean? I know there are quite a few things you can strap to yourself to hold a baby…

    • emersonfamily August 15, 2011 at 2:41 am #

      When I say “wear him” I mean using some sort of “baby carrier”. There are all sorts of carriers out there. My favorites include: Ergo Baby Carrier, Moby Wrap, and Ellaroo Mei Tai. There are also backpack type carriers that we use for serious hiking. Wearing Eli is awesome! I get so much done, stay close to Eli and he loves it!

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