Raising Richmond: 10 baby items you will actually use (and totally love)

Judging by my Facebook news feed, The Pregnant is definitely going around. And as we know, babies bring baby showers! So, if you’re a parent-to-be currently fretting over that registry, fret no more! I am here to help.

Perhaps it was all the snow we got this winter. Maybe Valentine’s Day was extra romantic in Richmond this year. Or it could be that a large percentage of my friends have deemed 2011 “The Year To Make It Happen.” I don’t know. But what I do know is The Pregnant seems to be going around these days, and my Facebook news feed is bumping with announcements that bundles of joy will be arriving in the next few months.

As we know, babies bring baby showers. So, if you’re a parent-to-be currently fretting over that registry (or a friend of several parents-to-be who will soon be spending many a Saturday nibbling on cucumber sandwiches and cooing over onesies), fret no more. Allow me to share my top 10, most favorite baby/kid-related items. Hopefully they’ll give you a little guidance when making preparations for your wee one’s arrival — and if I can’t help you out, our readers surely will.

1. Moby Wrap


We tried several different carriers but always had issues finding one that distributed my son’s weight (of which there was much) in a way that didn’t leave me gnashing my teeth in pain. Then Moby came into my life. I’m not one to write poetry, but my love for this baby carrier is so vast that I can’t help myself. So here’s a haiku:

Dearest strip of cloth/baby is close as I clean/Moby, my heart soars

Yes, you are paying $40 for what is essentially several feet of stretchy cotton. But it’s stretchy cotton that enables you to carry your baby in a variety of configurations from the time he’s born until he weighs 35 pounds. Major bonus: you kind of look like a Jedi when you wear it.

2. Long Sleeve Side Snap Shirts

$10.95 for two

I received a package of these at my baby shower and thought they were so fantastic that I now give them to every mama-to-be I know…whether she wants them or not. The side snap keeps you from having to pull the shirt over your baby’s head (they really, really don’t like that), and the shirt is short enough that it won’t irritate baby’s umbilical cord stub. Not only that, the tips of the sleeves can be folded over your baby’s hands, thus protecting his sweet little face from those razor sharp newborn talons.

3. Breast Therapy Packs

$12.95 for a two-pack

I had some major breastfeeding issues when my son was first born (and off and on during the entire time we nursed), and these were total life-savers. Because they can be warmed in the microwave or cooled down in the refrigerator, they can be used for a variety of breastfeeding ailments. You and your bubbies will not be sorry.

4. Gerber Cloth Diapers

$14.99 for 12

Before you are unnecessarily impressed with me, I must disclose something to you: I did not use these pre-folded cloth diapers as they were intended. We used them primarily for burp cloths (spitting up was my son’s most favorite pastime), but they also came in handy when he was teething and in need of something to chew on/drool all over. I still keep a stack in the kitchen because they clean up messes better than anything else I’ve come across. Buy them. Buy lots of them.

5. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

$20(ish) for 16 ounces

First: the name is fantastic. Second: it just works. Sure, the $20 price tag for the jar seems a bit steep, but this goop clears up any redness and irritation with ONE application. And more than likely, your kid will be almost out of diapers by the time you get through the first tub.

6. Aquaphor

$16-$18 for 14 ounces

While we’re on the subject of baby skin products available in giant tubs, let’s talk about Aquaphor. My son has mild eczema and incredibly dry skin, and this product has been a God-send for us. When his skin issues flare-up, we coat him in the stuff and notice a difference by the next day. It’s also great for moms and dads left with dry, cracked skin thanks to all those post-diaper-change hand washings. (Keep in mind that when you’re dealing with minor dry skin, just a dab will do ya.)

7. Ring-A-Links

$3.99 for a pack of eight

I’m still finding these tucked away in purse pockets and underneath couch cushions because we used them that much. Babies love the bright colors and fun textures, so you can use them on their own or to hang up other toys on car seats, strollers, and so on. Pro tip: Ring-A-Links can easily be slipped around overall straps or through button holes so you won’t spend months of your life picking toys up off of the floor.

8. Classic Flip-Flops for Baby

$3.50 per pair, but buy two or more and you get them for $2.50 each

Here’s my thing about little kids and shoes: they outgrow them in about 45 seconds. So, in the summertime, our son spends most of his days in Old Navy flip-flops. We buy two pairs at the beginning of the season (his current size, and one size up) and we’re set. All for $5. Total. And have you ever seen a chubby toddler foot tucked inside a flip-flop? I think “Squeeeee” is an appropriate word.

9. Spinbrush Kids Toothbrush

Under $7

When my son turned two, he decided that he no longer wanted my help with anything…especially when it came to brushing his teeth. While I appreciated his sense of independence, he and his regular, run-of-the-mill toothbrush just weren’t getting the job done. So, this Christmas I stuck a Thomas the Tank Engine Spinbrush in his stocking. Problem solved! His teeth are clean, he’s proud of himself, and I no longer have to pin him down to give his chompers a good scrub. They’re available in versions featuring everything from Pokemon to Iron Man, so you’re sure to find something to suit your wee one’s fancy.

10. Netflix

$7.99 a month for Watch Instantly only; $9.99-$19.99 a month if you actually want DVDs sent to your house

Ok, obviously this isn’t always baby/kid-related, but hear me out. Once the baby comes along, you just don’t get out as much. Netflix gave us cheap and easy access to entertainment, making those first few months home with our son so much easier. These days, Netflix Watch Instantly is basically my best friend; their offerings of Dora the Explorer and Spider-Man let me shower and even go to the bathroom by myself! (Friends of parents-to-be, Netflix lets you gift subscriptions from one month up to one year. If you’re looking for a gift that’s a little “out of the box”, this is it.)

Know of any must-have items for parents-to-be? Leave your favorites in the comments!

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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