May I direct your attention to the little French outfit; we bought it for our baby in Nice, France at Galleries Lafayette, the day we found out I was pregnant. We were on our last European vacation before we moved to Boston.
As I mentioned with my pregnancy post, by all means do not take this list as the gospel of things to buy or avoid for your baby. In my experience, this is a summary of the things I've found that worked well for us (or DIDN'T work well). Who knows? T4 could have a completely different set of preferences, and then we'll really be screwed. Feel free to laugh at me if that happens. So, I'm going to begin this post with a list of:
Things We Absolutely Could Not Have Lived Without
1. The infant travel system. The Graco and Chicco systems seem to be the most popular; we bought the Graco because Babies 'R Us was having a sale (and we had an extra coupon). Both have good safety ratings and customer reviews, and the number one thing I've heard parents say is that yes, you can buy a convertible car seat and use it from infancy onward, but the absolute last thing you want to do is wake a sleeping newborn up by taking them out of the car seat when you reach your destination. I concurred. Will and I were blessed with a baby who would pass out the second we turned on our car's engine, and there wasn't anything on God's green earth that would have convinced us to wake our sleeping baby by taking him out of his car seat. Not to mention (and I realize that this was sheer luck), Tony really enjoyed his car seat, and he never had a problem sitting in it in restaurants, or walking around the mall or the city, etc. The nice thing about the travel systems is that you take the stroller out of your car, lock it into place, remove the car seat with the-hopefully-sleeping baby from your car, and the car seat locks right into the stroller. It was pretty cool, and it saved us a lot of unnecessary fussing.
3. The bouncy seat.
4. The swing.
5. The baby gym.
6. The changing table
Things That Were Nice to Have, but Not 100% Necessary
1. The wipes warmer. Again, this is something that a lot of parents get worked up about. Now, I wouldn't recommend getting one if you live in Florida and the temperature rarely drops below 50 degrees. Spend your $30 elsewhere. However, Tony was born in January in Boston, and our apartment could get very cold very quickly. Tony screamed bloody murder whenever we put a cool wipe on his butt, but he was never really bothered by the diaper changes when we took a wipe out of the wipe warmer. Hey, if it made the changing experience even slightly less painful, I was all for it.
2. The shopping cart cover.
3. The glider.
Things That I Regret Getting
1. The Baby Bjorn.
2. The super fancy schmancy baby bath tub.
3. Plastic toys that flash a million lights and play the most annoying songs in the world.
Honestly, it's hard to escape this one, for a couple of reasons. One, if you're a new parent, you don't realize just yet that your baby wants to play with your cell phone, TV remote, and car keys more than they will ever want to play with their baby toys. Two, well-meaning friends and relatives will have a lot of fun picking out toys that initially look really promising (I mean, a little piano that plays classical music and says phrases in Spanish and French? Why on earth wouldn't your baby enjoy that??). Three, like most parents I know (myself included), I want my children to grow up with an appreciation for music, culture, literature, etc. Baby toys seem like a great place to start!
Except those toys will drive you insane. You will be trying to sleep at night, only to have a bastardized version of "Old McDonald" playing in your head. Your baby will most likely become overstimulated by all the flashing lights and random songs, and throw a fit. And those toys have a mind of their own. They WILL go off at random times, even if you think you turned the switch to "off" and there is no one around. I am unable to describe the sheer terror of jumping out of bed in the middle of the night-naturally, when my husband wasn't home-because one of Tony's talking stuffed animals decided to start talking in the living room. At 3am. All I could hear was a creepy voice saying "you're my friend!" In my exhausted, middle-of-the-night state, I was convinced I was in the middle of a horror movie, and a toy was going to climb up the stairs and stab me with my chef's knife.
Well, that's my list so far. Veteran moms, please feel free to comment with your own favorites (or not favorites!). I'm always interested in hearing other opinions, and hearing what other babies liked and didn't like.