I visited my hometown, Tallahassee, last year for the first time in many years. I was visiting for an old friend from high school’s baby shower. While I was there I took photos of another friend and her new baby...
May 5, 2023
When you find out you’re having a baby, you can become overwhelmed by the amount of baby items out there. How do you know what you should get? What will you need? It seems like everyone has something different to say! After having 3 kids of my own and working with hundreds of new parents, here is my list of the 5 best post-baby purchases.
I’m a bit of a minimalist- mostly because we’ve typically lived in very small spaces (at least since having kids) and have had to be super intentional about the stuff we bring into our house.
I could go on forever about how much I love this high chair. First of all- the BEST thing about this chair is its versatility. You can use this chair at every age. Seriously. I could sit in this chair if I wanted. It adjusts to your kids age. Have you thought about how your 2 year old (or 1.5 year old if your kids are like mine) won’t want to sit in a high chair anymore? But will also be too little to sit in a regular chair? Then what? This chair can transform from high chair into toddler chair, into little kid chair.
The other thing that makes this high chair the best is its “Normal sized chair” footprint. You will notice as you purchase baby items, they take up a lot of room. Not only do they take up a lot of room because they exist and theres a lot of them, but many of them take up more room then you feel they should. And this is because the legs stick out really far in every direction. I think the baby product creators do this in the name of safety. However… It takes up an abnormal amount of space and is not fun to have around a dining room table. Let’s just look at these photos for comparison….
Notice the legs. How often do you think you’ll end up tripping over those legs? Take it from me. Get the Tripp Trapp. Its so worth it. You’ll have to get another one when you have a second child because your first born will love it so much you won’t be able to hand it down (and they’ll still be using it… can’t say that for the fancy crib or bouncer.)
It is easy to clean (which you will be cleaning food out of every crevice of your high chairs multiple times a day). It looks great. You can alternate between sitting at a table or with a tray.
Babies love to be swaddled. Some of you won’t believe me. But you will when you come to your newborn session and see how nice and snug we swaddle your little one and how they drift happily off to sleep.
There are a couple reasons why… First of all, they’re used to being snug in the womb, so they like being snug outside of it. I’m sure you’ve noticed how much soundly your baby sleeps when they’re in your arms. Part of this is they are snug.
Secondly, baby’s have a strong startle reflex. They aren’t like us. Nothing external needs to swaddle them. They just jump and their arms and legs all fling out suddenly in different directions. They could be completely soundly asleep and just boom, their limbs jerk everywhere. Then that jerk startles them awake. Which is very unfortunate because they were just completely asleep. The swaddle completely muffles and contains this. That way their startles can’t wake them up.
Finally, it helps calm them down. Babies do not have any control of their arms and legs. So their arms and legs just move around haphazardly without their control. Imagine if you were trying to fall asleep but your arms and legs kept wiggling. You’d have to get EXTREMELY exhausted to manage that. And it would probably mean a lot of frustration and tears before you got to that point. A swaddle keeps that contained. Sometimes babies wiggle and break out of their swaddles. Parents interpret that as the baby doesn’t like the swaddle, so they got out. Remember- the baby doesn’t control their arms or legs. What it means is the parents didn’t make the swaddle tight enough to counteract their wiggles.
Here’s the thing. Swaddling properly is a skill. It’s difficult and takes practice. There are some great options out there for parents who aren’t interested in learning. The Woombie is my favorite. The problem is the baby outgrows it very quickly. So- best to go ahead and learn how to swaddle. And for that- I recommend Copper Pearl. The thing is the swaddles are large and stretchy. I’m a professional swaddler and even I couldn’t swaddle a baby in the popular muslin swaddles. You need something very long and stretchy. Make sure their arms are super tight. The legs are free to move around.
Bonus: When a baby starts rolling over, you can’t swaddle them anymore. At this point, buy the Zip a Dee Zip. It helps muffle the reflex and the wiggling but is safe from belly sleeping and rolling. Trust me.
This one feels a bit redundant but my husband emphatically insisted its in the top 5. And I must agree. We’ve had 3 kids, and we love our Bumbo. Babies really love being able to look around, but they can’t until they’re 6-9 months. The Bumbo allows them to sit up! They can watch you cook. They can watch their older siblings ride bikes in the driveway. They can sit in a the bath and splash. They can have a snack. It is easy to clean. Waterproof. Small. Easy to store. Easy to take with you. It helps the baby participate in family life better. I will also say, our kids sit in the long after they know how to sit on their own.
Ok so there are tons of options for various swings, bassinets, bouncers, etc. Again, my instinct is to be minimal with items. So for my first born, we had a rock n play. These were recalled by my second’s birth and I found it difficult to live without. The things that made the rock n play great were a slight incline (helps with gas), a wedge shape (helps keep the baby cozy), the ability to rock, not an abnormally large footprint (see my rampage up on the high chair version), and it was very portable. Here’s what I was looking for- something small for the baby to sleep in our room that could also be moved easily to other parts of the house or even outside. I wanted something that could rock and ideally be inclined.
For my third we used a Moses basket and a rocker/stand. This is the stand we purchased. It was very well made and had little casters on it so we could stop the rocking. I also would just put one side of the casters up and stick a book under it to incline it a bit. I loved this solution because it was so portable. I could move the baby easily from room to room in the basket. I had the ability to rock or keep it still and it didn’t take up a ton of unnecessary space (which also meant I could easily carry the stand itself from room to room because it was slim enough to carry through doorways. We just had a flat little mattress in our bassinet but Snuggle Me Loungers if you wanted. I’ve heard great things, but we’ve never used one.
Finally newborn photography. Bet you didn’t see that one coming from a newborn photographer did you? But in all seriousness, keep reading. Your baby goes through a growth spurt after just 2 weeks. They just keep changing after that. This is the reason your friends post a photo every month of their baby with how old they are. Because every month they look so different. Your baby also quickly learns how to hold up their head, roll over, sit up, crawl, stand, walk. And it just never ends.
Those first two weeks with your infant are precious. You’ve just met your child and you’re growing used to what it means to be parents. It’s kind of like your wedding day. It goes by in a blur and before you know it its over and your life is changed forever.
This is why second time parents are more likely to splurge on their favorite newborn photographer. They’ve done it before and they know it is going to go by so fast. Their baby will change so fast and the only way you can stop it is with a printed photograph.
This is likely going to be your first outing with your new child. It’s a time to relax and enjoy making memories with your baby. It’s a time to be pampered after 9 months of pregnancy and a birth. And it’s the only chance you get to preserve your memories of the beginning of life with your child.
Its important for me to take photos before the 2 week mark, so I only take a limited number of due dates a month to ensure that with early babies and late babies, I’m always able to get everyone in within 2 weeks. So make sure to reach out well before your last trimester to be sure we can get you on the calendar.