Baby Stuff You Gotta Have

I’d love to have some of your favorite “must-haves” for newborns and for toddlers. SHARE THE WEALTH!

Rickety swing

There’s no need to spend more than $50 on a swing for your kiddo. OK, OK, if you live in more than 800 square feet outside of New York City, you might have the room for something grander. But my $42 swing from Target was perfect. It was just rickety enough that we wondered if it could hold our kids’ weight. But when we pulled it out for the second kiddo, Ellison plopped his 2 ½ year-old, 30-pound frame into the chair, and it held. It clicked, it tilted, it bowed, and it put our kids right to sleep. On the flipside, three other families had luxurious gliders that didn’t rattle their babies to sleep. Use this test: if your swing looks like it’s gonna break, might fling your baby into the air, and seems to bump more than a 1957 Chevy truck on a potholed road in rural Tennessee, then your baby’s gonna sleep like a grandfather in front of the evening news. The only thing better is putting them in a cheap stroller and pushing them over the horrendous bumpy sidewalks of New York. Go cheap. You’ll thank me.

Bringing Up Bebe

Whereas we Americans are obsessed with the latest trends, studies and techniques, the French raise their kids in the fashion of their great-great-great grandmothers. They parent guilt-free, their 6-week-olds sleep through the night, their 9-month olds eat trout, and their 2 ½ year-olds don’t throw temper tantrums. (They also say children should be seen and not heard and are generally considered a nuisance until they’re able to analyze Sartre in the context of Russian political crises of the 1960’s.) But combine American nurturing with French intolerance, and you’ve got a recipe for a much easier parenthood. This book explains what they do better than us, without saying they’re better, cuz, duh: They’re not.

Nose Frida

Forget the ball/cone booger sucker used at hospitals and contained in every baby first aid kit. They don’t work. The Nose Frida works. It’s kinda gross that you’re sucking snot with your own inhalation. But there’s no quicker way to clear the nasal passage of your 6-month-old (or 2-year-old) so you can go back to bed (to binge-watch GAME OF THRONES).

Toothbrush & nail file

For my kids’ first years of life, we had “spa time” during the second morning diaper change. (The first change was generally done with my eyes closed, praying all the while that he’d go back to sleep. HE NEVER DID.) Spa time included nail filing, butt massage, leg-stretches, and toothbrushing.

I found filing nails to be the easiest way to temper the razor-sharp baby nails. I’d sing a silly song. He rarely fought me.

I’d sing a sillier song as I massaged his chunky butt and stretched his legs. (I’ll record the song to better my reputation when necessary.)

Finally, I brushed his gums every morning. A wise mother told me brushing his gums toughened them for teething. I can honestly say teething was never an issue for either of my kids. Maybe we were lucky. But aside from runny noses and general irritation, there were no sleepless nights or uncontrollable screaming during the teething year.

Plus, it was part of our cute quality spa time.

Corn Starch

The best diaper rash remedy I every used. It was better than the half dozen diaper creams we tried. Of course sometimes his rashes were just worse and the corn starch globbed up and looked nasty. But still…natural and cheap. Give it a try.


  1. HAHAHA!!! i love spa time and am absolutely adding it to our routine. I was just looking in (self) disdain at my sons scratched up face. Those things are lethal!


  2. #1 Pigeon Nail Scissor (bought it on Amazon). Fast, precise and designed in such away that I never had an accident with them (no unfortunate cut). I have used them since the day my daughter was born. #2 Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment (bought it on Amazon). This ointment is normally not available in the USA (it usually ships from the UK) and is the only one that has provided spectacular relief. And my daughter never had a nappy rash again since I started using it sparingly for prevention. Here you go: those were my two cents… 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s