If you ever drive, a car seat is a necessity. I live in the country, so I have to have a car seat. I can't even walk to Dollar General, let alone the grocery store or anywhere else.
If you live in a big city with public transportation and don't even own a car, then no, you wouldn't need one I guess... though if you use a hospital, I think they usually make you have one.
Infant vs. convertible... One thing I wanted to point out is that many convertible car seats don't fit newborns very well. For example, Britax convertibles are highly rated, but my kids usually didn't fit in our Roundabout until 4 months of age! Now Britax may have changed in the last 5 years since I used one with a newborn, but it's something to be aware of. You can research your car seat choice on car-seat.org forums and see if the convertible you want to use will actually fit a newborn (don't just go by the lower weight limit - Britax had 5 lbs as their lower weight limit on that Roundabout, and there was NO WAY a 5 lb baby was going to fit properly in that seat I had). Infant seats are designed to fit newborns. It's also handy during winter to be able to bundle baby in the car seat in the house, then run out and click the seat into the car, then run seat back to the next building you're entering, then remove baby. Of course, if you don't live in a place that has "winter", this might not be an issue.
I'm in Alabama, and I appreciate being able to do all the harnessing and such in the house. Remember that baby can't wear thick clothing or a coat in the car seat. They need to have normal clothing layers, then after buckling, you can place a blanket over them.
- Stroller (and all the various car seat/stroller combo options)
This again depends on where you live and how much you would actually use it. I had a cheap ($40) stroller from Target that I got for #1
. I hardly ever used it. It was good to have one for the times I did need it, but I mostly wore my babies. Mine did not hold an infant, however, and there were times I would have appreciated being able to put an infant in a stroller - the biggie being trying on clothes postpartum when NOTHING FITS and you're going insane.
Of course, if you have someone with you when trying on clothes, you can just have them hold the baby while you try things on. So a friend or family member can replace the stroller in that instance.
I have a two-story house, so a monitor was a necessity for us. We actually used an intercom system rather than baby monitors, but it's the same basic thing. We had intercoms all over, so if baby was napping in my room and I was in my den (which was supposed to be a garage in the house plans, and thus it has brick walls and doesn't pass on sound from the rest of the house very well), I could still hear if baby woke up. Or later on when baby was upstairs in his own bedroom, I could hear him during the night from my downstairs bedroom and feed him as necessary. I usually didn't move my babies up there until they were sleeping most of the night (around 2 months old for all 3 of my kids), but they then have a wakeup period around 4-6 months when some major milestones are hit and there are growth spurts and such, that they start waking at night again for a little while.
I don't think you need a video monitor. A cheap audio is fine. And again, that is only if your house is large/multi-story, etc. If you're co-sleeping and baby naps only one room away during the day, you won't need a monitor. You can hear babies one or two rooms away usually.
I don't bathe babies very often. They really don't get dirty (I spot cleaned necks from pukies and butts during diaper changes). But you can use your clean kitchen sink if you need to.
- Seats/rockers/swings etc.
I really appreciated having multiple bouncy chairs. I NEVER used the vibration settings or anything. I prefer non-electronic toys for my kids at young ages. I've been known to take batteries out before handing a child a new toy.
The bouncy chairs were just a place to put baby. One had no toy bar. The other had a toy bar that my kids did enjoy playing with. I used bouncy chair to take a shower, cook, etc. I have large dogs and young boys, so having a safe place to put baby down is a must in my house. The floor isn't safe here.
I had a swing for my oldest, and I used it some, but I didn't find it necessary. I never even pulled it out for #2
, and I sold it while pregnant with #3
, knowing I wouldn't use it. Never missed it! It took up a lot of room, and as others have mentioned, I didn't want baby to require movement in order to sleep.
- Co-sleepers or life-hacked cribs (there's one using an Ikea crib that seems appealing)
I'm a co-sleeping dropout. I tried it with #1
, but a) he had spent 4 weeks in the NICU and was used to sleeping alone, b) when I did have him sleeping with me, I couldn't turn over as much as I like to (I switch left and right sides several times during the night), so I was in much pain, and c) DH didn't feel comfortable with him being on his side because he would roll over on baby (he's rolled over on cats in the middle of the night, and baby really is no different for him when he's dead asleep). Point b was my main reason for not even trying again. Too much pain for me. I need to be able to flip and flop at will, without worrying about squishing something (my cats will move out of the way if I start to roll on them).
Instead, I use a pack-n-play in our room for the first couple months. There is usually a period of time for about a few weeks (around weeks 3-6ish) that I end up sleeping in the recliner in the den with baby on my chest. My kids all had reflux, and I realized on baby #3
that it was overactive letdown/oversupply on my part, so I was basically drowning the kids.
Block feeding helped a lot, and #3
had less problems with the reflux issue and thus less time sleeping in the recliner on my chest.
I also had a crib upstairs in the baby's room, and I used it for naps fairly early on, just so baby would be used to the crib. No sense putting baby upstairs while we're still in waking 3 times per night phase, but once it's down to once or twice, I go ahead and use the crib at night also. But since they've napped there from the beginning, it's no big deal to move them there at night also. I also like that the pack-n-play is wide like a crib, so the transition between the two is not so bad (not like a narrow bassinet to a crib).
- Framed backpacks (for hiking when babe get's bigger)
I don't hike, so I've never needed this. I use a soft structured carrier for walks, and love that. I usually have many baby carriers, but this time I plan to have my SSC (which I kept from the last kid) and some woven wraps in a few different sizes.
- A rocking chair/glider (do we need it?)
I liked having a glider in baby's room for nursing. I'm tall, so the arms didn't get in the way for me. I had a $100 set from Walmart, and at 10 years old, it's still going. I use it for bedtime read aloud with my older kids now. I'll probably buy another one for baby's room, because I can't lose my chair for reading time in the boys' room.
When baby gets mobile, I quickly teach them not to get in the way of the glider (and sometimes bumping their head teaches them for me). I don't use the stool (it's hidden away somewhere).
I highly, highly, highly recommend having a comfortable recliner you can sleep in though. We bought a nice, wide recliner when I was pregnant with #1
, and that chair has been much loved over the years. Daddy could nap with baby in it. Mommy could watch TV while baby naps in it. An adult and a young child can sit side-by-side in it. Actually, we used to sometimes have all 3 kids on top of DH in that chair during movie time. Though they're a bit big for that now. My 5 year old will still cuddle with us in that chair. And if baby needs to sleep more upright, that chair is wonderful. Not quite as comfortable as laying down in a bed, but it's not too bad for the short time that we have to sleep like that. That chair was worth whatever we paid for it 10+ years ago.