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If you missed Part 1 of this post, please follow the link here.
Otherwise, without further ado, let’s begin Part 2 of “What to Buy for a New Baby”!
6) Activity Mat
Tummy time is essential to newborn development – and, of course, must always be closely supervised. A proper activity mat helps further this particular exercise. We loved this rainforest activity mat from Fisher Price; it includes music, hanging stuffed animals, as well as a large crinkled leaf for sensory development. You’ll be amazed how your newborn will learn to bat the hanging animals and respond to the new sounds when lying on his or her back on the activity mat. Our babies loved this!
7) Large Play Pen
As your child grows in the first year, containment will be key, especially as he or she becomes more active. A large playpen, large enough to give them room to crawl and move but large enough to contain them, is essential, especially if you need to do chores (keeping a close eye on them all the while, of course!). We used this large deluxe play pen from Fortella. It is foldable and transportable as well!
Likewise, a bouncer or jumper serves a dual purpose, both for containment and to help strengthen the legs in preparation for walking. Our favorites are from Baby Einstein. The nice thing about this one is that it has numerous toys on the tabletop of the bouncer to entertain the baby and foster development.
Perhaps this is a no-brainer, but it’s a no-brainer for a reason. A good walker, such as this one from Baby Einstein, helps cultivate balance and strengthen the legs during early walking. Like the bouncer above, this walker contains numerous toys on the tabletop of the walker to keep the child entertained.
10) First Year Photo Frame
This is a sentimental purchase, but still essential in my mind! This wonderful first year photo frame, which we completed for both our boys, documents the child’s growth month by month with a picture from each month. It is a wonderful keepsake for years to come, a poignant reminder of how fast they grew during that critical first year!
a) Mama Cheetah Swaddles
Our second child had great difficulty going to sleep without a swaddle during the newborn phase (our first did not). Our pediatrician recommended these Mama Cheetah Swaddles. They worked very well. The velcro is strong and was able to keep our baby from moving his arms, thus easing him into a restful sleep. He was only able to sleep 3 hours a night total; after we began using these swaddles, he slept a full 7 hours the first night.
b) Drying Rack
This drying rack was tremendously helpful. Although it is tempting to air dry your pump parts and bottle accessories on a simple paper towel, I’d highly recommend a drying rack such as this. It helps keeps these items cleaner and separated from your kitchen appliances and items.
c) Newborn Photo Session
Although some would argue this is not an essential item, I would beg to differ. We purchased a newborn photo session with our first son; we did not with our second (he was born during the COVID delta wave, and we were isolating). The photos of our firstborn, taken by a professional photographer, were priceless. It is so difficult to obtain good pictures of older babies and toddlers since they are so active. The sweetness and stillness of the newborn photos cannot be overestimated, and, since they are often asleep, the photographer can place them into an assortment of adorable poses. You will treasure these photos for years to come — I would highly recommend!