By Guest Blogger Julie Fritz

I was 4 months pregnant with my first child when I stood in the aisles of Babies-R-Us crying my eyes out.  I was supposed to be enjoying a fun afternoon with my husband registering for our baby shower. Instead, I got so overwhelmed with the ridiculously long list of things you “need” for your new baby that a quarter of the way through the the store, I just lost it.  If I couldn’t decide what kind of things my baby would need, how would I ever make the really important decisions about this baby down the road?  

After talking to a lot of friends that were already moms, I realized I wasn’t alone.  There are so many products out there and on top of deciding what you will need, you have to pick a brand and style and color.  I mean, this stuff gets complicated! So in order to help prevent future breakdowns in Triad area baby stores, I have complied my Top Ten list of things you need for a baby.  These are all things that made our life easier with both our children. If I can keep just one woman from crying with a registry gun in her hand, my job is complete.

1) Nursery Furniture

I’m sure you know you are going to need a crib, but some of the other stuff is debatable.  I love having a rocker.  Make sure you get a comfortable one because you will probably spend more than one night sleeping in it.  We also have a dresser with a changing pad on it instead of a separate changing table. It just makes more sense and is more functional.  

2) Pack ‘n Play with Changing Area

This was a must for us, especially since the baby’s room is upstairs.  You can set it up in living area so you have a diaper changing station and napping area in another place in the house. We also used it for traveling till our son was over 2 years old.

3) Car Seat

This is one of those items that you will need more than one of.  When you have an infant, it is so nice to have a car seat that is a carrier.  However, I’m not sure you need a whole travel system.  The stroller that comes with that is so big and bulky.  It really isn’t practical.  Get a carrier car seat, a few extra bases and a lightweight stroller it will snap into.  Keep in mind you will only use this for the first year, so you will still need another set of of car seats for when your baby gets a little bigger.  It doesn’t hurt to register for these now too.  

4) Stroller

Once your baby outgrows the carrier car seat and stroller, you will need a new stroller to get around with.  Pick something lightweight you can open quickly, maybe even with one hand.

5) Bottles

So this is the section of the store I lost it in.  So. Many. Choices.  Don’t panic.  Do a little research, or talk to your friends about what they like and just pick one.  If you don’t end up liking it or your baby doesn’t do well with it, return it and get something else.   

6) Diaper Bag

Diaper bags are great for all the things you will need to be carrying with you now that you have a baby.  Pick one with lots of space and compartments for organizing so it doesn’t end up a bottomless pit. And pick one you like since it will essentially be your purse for the next year or so.

7) Bathtub

It really is nice to have a small tub you can out on the counter or sink to bathe your baby in.  Get one with a newborn sling to make it easier and safer to wash your baby.  You don’t use it for that long so a cheaper one is a great choice.

8) Zipper Jammies

Have you ever tried to put clothes on a chicken?  Well that is what it is like to dress a baby once they start rolling over.  I highly recommend pajamas with a zipper instead of trying to snap 15 snaps while you wrestle a screaming baby.

9) NoseFrida and Saline   

When you see this product you will instantly think, I do not want to suck the snot out of my baby’s nose with a straw.  But I am here to tell you, yes you do.  A few drops of saline and you can clear that stuffy nose out in an instant.  

10) All The Bells and Whistles

Here is where you can really go crazy.  There are a million swings, bouncers, exersaucers, sound machines, and toys you can get.  Your baby will love some and hate others.  There is no way to know till you give it a try.  For this reason, I recommend that you borrow things from friends and family or purchase them at consignment sales.  That way it’s not a waste if you don’t use it.  

The best gift I received when I was pregnant was a DVD of the movie Babies.  It’s a documentary about 4 babies in different parts of the world, from big cities to rural villages.  A note came with this gift that said the point of this gift was to help me realize that all babies really need is LOVE!  And that is the absolute truth.  We are lucky to have all the modern conveniences to help raise our children, but love is the only thing that really matters.

So don’t stress, and have fun.  Remember that most things can be returned and if not you can sell them on craigslist or in a consignment sale.  Do your best to prepare the things you will need, but most importantly, enjoy your pregnancy and prepare your heart for the greatest joy of your life.