Five Favorite Baby Essentials

I guess you could call us minimalists when it comes to raising babies. Our list of baby items that we didn't have could possibly outnumber what we actually use. We don't have any kind of agenda to prove. It really just kind of happened! Pretty much, if we weren't gifted something for Ryan or didn't buy it with gift cards, we just did without.

Items we haven't used:

- a crib (we use a gifted co-sleeper, than a hand-me-down pack and play given to Chris by his mother seven years ago so he would have one when the family visited, and then a floor bed).
- a baby monitor ... not even a good old fashioned one with no video and no breathing sensor
- a baby bouncer
- a baby swing
- a bottle warmer (Chris just said, "I think a bottle warmer is called, 'Hot water.'")
- a wipes warmer
- baby gates
- baby water
- baby laundry detergent (I do just use a scent-free detergent for all of our laundry)
- swaddle blankets (our kids just aren't really swaddlers)
- pacifiers (not from lack of trying!)
- any kind of nursing pillow
- baby food
- an infant stroller. (I still just use the hand-me-down umbrella stroller my mother-in-law gave us to cart Ryan around and wear Conor in a carrier. I definitely have my eye out on Craigslist for a double jogging stroller thought. Ha, no, not for jogging ... for trekking the snow packed sidewalks on the way to campus. I think all of the cars must have been laughing at me that last time we walked to campus. Ryan exclaimed, "You did it!" every time I managed to drag the stroller over the Himalayas of sidewalk snow).
- a special diaper trash can
- sleep sacks
- a changing table
- a changing pad
- cupboard/drawer latches (Someone did find my blog the other day by searching, "Parents who let their kids get into everything," so ...)
- car mirror

Since lovely pregnant ladies (and Meg, you need a blog!)  have recently mentioned getting ready for their respective babies and, I thought I would post my five favorite baby essentials ... so, here we go.

1. Breasts (or a good bottle). Have to feed the wee one somehow! Breastfeeding was haaaaaaaaaard for me for the first three months of Ryan's life. I'm sure it was a walk in the park compared to many other experiences that women who struggle to nurse have had, but it was hard. Once it was a smooth sail, it was amazing. Easy food and comfort on the go! Luckily, it has mostly been a breeze for Conor although we have had our fair share of hiccups, er, massive spit-ups.

This time around I will be using bottles more, and I am so thankful for my readers! Conor was super fussy and gassy every time he took a bottle.Thanks to my very helpful Facebook plea asking for bottle recommendations, my childhood crush's big sister, Danielle, sent me a huge box full of so many different kinds of bottles! Seriously so sweet. I love my blog readers, and Conor loved the Dr. Brown's bottle when I took Ryan to the mall the other day.

Oh! If you do nurse and foresee pumping a lot, a double electric breast pump is worth its weight in gold. I found a new-in-box Medela Freestyle on eBay, and I love it even though I am absolutely not pumping's biggest fan. That baby helped me pump enough for our trip and got me through twelve days of being away from Ryan efficiently and without my hand feeling like it was going to fall off. 

2. A baby carrier. Baby carrying is a hand saver and a life saver. I have really liked the Baby K'tan because there is no tying. I purchased an X-Small, and I'm 5'6". They have very helpful videos on YouTube for the confused mother who just needs access to both hands ha. Once Ryan was older, I purchased a Baby Ergo, and that thing has come in handy so much! When Chris' mom watched Ryan, she mentioned that it was the most comfortable baby carrier she had ever used. I even purchased one for her when Ciaran was born. Tip: buy them off of eBay where they are much cheaper than Amazon and regular retailers. 
Even Uncle Brad liked the Ergo

3. White noise. We had no clue about this until we were frantically googling how to help a baby sleep more than twenty minutes at a time. The one we have is not the strongest, but it works and now the music settings serve as a distraction for Ryan when I'm nursing Conor. There are also lots of white noise apps that are great and f-r-e-e. We went on many a road trip with my iPhone plugged into the car blaring "Extreme Rain Pouring," to keep Ryan's car-hating cries at bay. 

4. A place to sleep. Lots of different ways to go with this one! We were gifted the Arm's Reach co-sleeper, and it has been a good place for our babies to start the night. They always end up with me in bed, but I have found that if I can get at least 30 minutes sleep in bed without a baby, my attitude during the night is much improved. 

5. Love ... and patience ... and prayers. The rest will fall into place as it's meant to be.

So what are your essential baby items? Anyone unintentional minimalists like we are? 

Linking up with Hallie for Five Favorites.