Mommy Must-Haves

Two of my friends have recently become expectant mommies like me: a former co-teacher and my cousin's wife. It made me remember the joy I felt when I found out that I was expecting our first child, and I remembered along with the joy was the excitement to start purchasing items for my little one.

First time mommies tend to go a bit overboard with buying things for their babies. At least I did. When I went shopping, it kind of felt like my baby will need everything in the store and I ended up buying a lot of things that we didn't get to use. I have now resorted to selling J's unused stuff. Some of the items are unused because he didn't like them, while others are unused because they weren't really needed. For instance, when J was born, I was ready with about four or five adorable baby hats to keep his head warm. Little did I know that my rugrat would be born with a full head of hair, and that any kind of head covering would be unnecessary, not to mention unwanted. At less than a day old, he'd find a way to remove anything I placed on his head. After that, it was frogsuits that he grew out of in less than a week, sippy cups that he didn't like, spoons that were only used for banging on furniture and a host of other "necessary" goodies that I bought that J virtually ignored. 

Now, when I shop for C, I do it with a lot more restraint, and I like to think a lot more wisdom. Clothes are chosen because of durability and practicality. (Although I have allowed myself one indulgent purchase for C. Translation: something he doesn't really need, but is irresistibly adorable. I have yet to make that purchase, though.) All the clothes I bought so far are to supplement what we already have, or to replace the ones that were torn or too worn out to be used again. No new toys yet, because I'm waiting to see what he likes. Besides, J has a buttload of toys for his little brother to choose from. If he's anything like J, C will ignore all the educational toys we got for him and instead will be contented with plastic cups and empty mineral water bottles.

However, I do realize that there are some things that made my life as a mommy much easier and to expectant moms, you may want to consider adding these things to your list when you start buying baby things. These are my Mommy Must-Haves and the pictures I've included below are the actual ones that I have here at home.

1. Booster seat - While vacationing in Canada, I got to spend some time with a cousin's wife who had an eleven month old baby. They had one of these and they brought it everywhere with them. We decided to get one for J as well, and this is one of my favorite products. It takes the place of a much more expensive and bulky high chair, so it's perfect for those who live in condos and have very little space to waste. Plus, because it's portable, we take it whenever we know we'll be eating out with J, whether it be to his grandparents' house or to restaurants. We've trained J to sit on this seat ever since he was four months old so whenever he sits in it, he knows he has to behave and stay still because it's eating time. 

2. Baby Sling or Carrier - I actually have two carriers: one backpack type and this Saya baby sling. The backpack type didn't last very long, although I used it a lot when taking J for walks to his grandmother's house when he was about four months old. Babies grow pretty quickly though, and even though the backpack carrier was adjustable, it just didn't have enough room for him. The Saya is made of a flexible fabric that stretches really well, so it kind of grew with J and I used it up until he was more than a year old. We only stopped using it because he doesn't like to be carried as much since he learned how to walk, so now it's just waiting for C to arrive. I got it from one of my favorite online stores, Mama.Baby.Love, and for its price, which is approximately P950 to P1200 (depending on what kind you get), it's a good buy. Case in point: last New Year's eve, I had to carry J in my arms for about 4 hours straight to help him sleep through the fireworks. Take note, J is no lightweight (at the time, he weighed almost 25 lbs.) and I was already 16 weeks pregnant with C, so you have no idea how grateful I was for my Saya sling.

3. Breast Pump - Ask any breastfeeding mommy and they'll tell you that a good breast pump will be one of your best investments. I started with a Medela Swing single electric pump, but in an effort to squeeze out as much milk as possible for J, I switched to a Medela Pump In Style Advanced double electric pump. Because J self-weaned from nursing at 4 months, I think mostly due to nipple confusion, I had to rely on my breast pump to provide what little there was of my precious breastmilk for him. 

4. Baby bouncer or jumper - These things are really expensive and I was lucky to get mine at a really good price at a baby fair. The retail price is around P3,500 each, but I got this for P1,500 and believe me it was worth every centavo. It gave C and I much needed time to sit together and we loved watching J jump and spin around and learn how to play with the toys. The day we saw him spin the froggy by himself was a proud moment for both of us.

5. Playpen - Last, but certainly not the least, I would recommend that you get a playpen instead of a crib. Most playpens these days come with a bassinet, a changing tray and a handy rack for bottles, diapers and other essentials, so your baby can use it from birth. In our case, we had a crib that was handed down through all the kids in the family, so it was already 14 years old by the time J used it. It was lovingly repainted by Daddy and it was still in pretty good condition but J outgrew it too quickly. He literally ran out of space to move around (he's a wriggly baby), so at a little over 2 months old, I switched him to a playpen. No need to get expensive brands like Graco though. A tip from a fellow mommy led me to the Disney/Aprova-branded playpens from Baby Company. Despite the cheaper price, the quality's pretty good. J still uses it up to now and it's waiting for Baby C to arrive. This is another great buy for families who live in condos since it's a major space saver: no need for a separate crib!

These are the things that I would tell all my expectant friends to buy, but since parenting is a unique experience that differs from family to family, other mommies might have different suggestions. So for all expectant mommies, before going shopping for baby, I recommend asking your friends who have kids about the things that they found essential as parents, to help you save space and money. Happy shopping!

For a list of the things that I am selling to make room for C, click here!


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