You may not think of baby items as ‘equipment,’ but the items below will be just as important to you as a first time dad as a hard hat for a miner or a scalpel for a surgeon. There is a lot of junk out there in the world of baby stuff (baby holster?). For example, why on earth would anyone in their right mind buy a wipes warmer? It’s not like we are living in the ice age or something. I was raised with cold wipes and I turned out alright. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get to it.
This is an amazing invention. Diaper pails seal in the smell from rotten baby diapers. Instead of having to take each diaper outside to the dumpster or trash can (because just one will literally stink up your entire house), you just open the radiation leak-proof lid and pop it in. Once the sealed bag is full, remove and replace. There are a couple on the market, with the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail and the Diaper Genie Elite Diaper Disposal Pail leading the way. The Munchkin sprinkles some baking soda on each layer as you dump in the diapers. This is truly a game changer, and every home should have at least one if there is a poop factory (baby) living inside.
There will come a time when your wife or partner will need a break from her baby. This doesn’t mean she loves it less. She will just go nuts if she doesn’t get out and do something normal. So you will come home from work one day and she will hand you the baby and say “it’s your turn, I’m going out for a while.” You have never been alone with your baby and you won’t know what to do. This is where a good baby carrier comes in. You could either hold the baby the entire time while sitting on the couch (not a bad way to go), or you could put the baby in a carrier and free up your hands to multitask. You’re probably asking, “guys don’t multitask.” Well, a baby carrier allows you to do other things while your baby sleeps securely on your chest. Need a new beverage while watching the big game? No need to try to lay down the baby. Are you grilling up some burgers or some random meat? Flip away. Your buddies won’t have to skip your turn to shuffle when they come over for poker night (ok, that might be a little loud for a newborn).
While your baby is still small and new and immobile, play pens offer you a place to change diapers while on the go or in another room from your changing table. It is also a good place to store baby essentials, like lots and lots of diapers and wipes. But as your baby gets more mobile, the play pen becomes a lifesaver. If you are alright with watching your baby every second while they are awake, you might not need one. If you have other things to do (and don’t think this makes you a bad dad or anything), invest in a play pen, and particularly, a travel play pen. Just plop your baby in there, and it will play with toys for hours at a time. You know that everything inside is safe, so no need for constant watching. As your baby gets older, it might feel like it’s being put inside a prison, because that is essentially what play pens are – walled enclosures with soft, dull objects and finger food. But they have the potential to keep your baby entertained well past the 1 year mark.
Travel pens are great because they can double as a crib away from home. Set it up outside at the lake while you fish, or on the green while you work on your short game. Gracco’s Pack ‘n Play is a great option, but others from Joovy and Cosco are great as well. As your baby outgrows the pen, there are other options that expand the walls like the North States Super Yard or the Baby Kids Play Pen.
Some babies sleep well on their own. Some. Most hate bedtime even from a very early age. This is a time of the evening that you and your wife can get some serious things done, like cleaning up all the messes from the day, or not doing anything and just relaxing, or spending some alone time together (oh yeah!). Bedtime is sacred time. But it won’t be sacred if your baby doesn’t go to sleep and just screams bloody murder all night long. Sleep aids will keep your sanity, because without everyone (including your baby) getting a good nights sleep, you will go insane, hate life, and have a miserable existence (my experience anyway).
Download some white noise, rain sounds, or other soothing tunage to play for your baby all night. You can also buy those white noise devices, like the HoMedics sound relaxation machine. Lights are also great for babies to look up at. The Munchkin Nursery projector and sound system projects night lights and plays soothing sounds for your baby. There is also a toy that plays sounds and projects stars on the ceiling, which is my daughter’s favorite. To appease your wife, you will need some kind of baby monitor (video or just sound) so she doesn’t feel the need to check on your baby every 3 minutes during the night to make sure it’s still alive.
Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Cambria Bassinet, Toffee
Unless you want your newborn baby sleeping in bed with you every night, you will want a bed height bassinet. This item is a true lifesaver. Your wife will thank you for knowing the baby is right beside her, but not in bed with both of you. Enough said about that. The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet is a great option, but there are several others available as well.