MamaLA: What to Really Buy for Baby

Itsy-bitsy outfits are adorable, but they won’t help you in an hour of need

Yasmine and Soraya recently sent a baby gift to a new mom. Always excited about an infant, they picked out a darling little outfit, and along with the cute gift came a practical one: baby nail scissors. Yasmine and Soraya love wee ensembles as much as anyone, but they’ve also learned that those fancy nail clippers sold at baby stores don’t hold a candle to Tweezerman. Read on!

Lots of essential items never make it onto the baby registry because first-time moms and their friends might not know what they’ll be truly grateful for, which is why we wanted to share a little of what we’ve learned. So much of being a new parent is trial and error, but in the rush to accumulate everything you think you’re going need, you can end up with a lot of things that are just OK. Sophie the (ubiquitous) Giraffe still gets the thumbs up—babies love her. But as for the Sleep Sheep, another popular item, or any other white noise machine, there’s some fine print: Both Yasmine and Soraya swore by them, and still do, but recent studies suggest that white noise can cause hearing issues when the volume is too high or the contraption is too close to the baby. Yikes! And one thing to skip all together: baby shoes. Kids don’t need them until they start walking, and then only soft-soled ones.

With seven children between them, Soraya and Yasmine have cultivated and narrowed this list over the past decade. In other words, newer, more-innovative items bumped some things, and others have remained great standbys. Here are their six saviors!

  • Most mamas experience heartburn during their pregnancies, and for some (like Yasmine), it can be a dreaded daily occurrence. Rather than popping your typical drugstore antacids, which actually interrupt digestion, she swears by Axia3 antacids, which are all-natural. You can buy them at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Erewhon, and most health food stores.
  • When choosing a glider, definitely get an ottoman, but definitely do not get one that also glides. Soraya made this expensive mistake and ended up replacing her ottoman with a stationary footrest. You need that stability for traction when rocking your baby. If the ottoman moves along with you, you simply cannot rock. If you want to go inexpensive and reliable, The Pump Station carries the My Brest Friend Adjustable Nursing Stool. If you’ve got a Nate Berkus designing your nursery, go for a Serena and Lily Glider, with a stationary ottoman. And  fab news: This will save you $100.
  • Skip all of the baby nail clippers with magnifying features and tiny lights and get yourself the aforementioned Tweezerman Baby Nail Scissors. They’re designed with dull tips to avoid nipping baby’s tiny fingers and toes. Any new mom knows clipping nails is one of the scariest things to do. Yasmine was gnawing on Maverick’s tiny nails because she was so freaked out about accidentally cutting him. Then she found these nail scissors, and they are the ideal solution for infants over two months. She’d go so far as to say this is her number-one gift for new moms.
  • Scandinavians are geniuses with design, and boy did they corner the market on snot sucking. The NoseFrida is one of those things that will completely disgust a non-mama, but is a must-have for every parent. Yes, you will be sucking your kid’s snot through a tube, but thanks to the innovative design, you and the snot will never come in contact. NoseFridas are everywhere from The Pump Station to Target.
  • Let’s talk pump parts. They are a pain to clean, so save yourself a headache and splurge on an extra set or two to cycle through. And while we are talking breast pumps and all the accouterment that comes with pumping, invest in a milk-storage system for your fridge or freezer. The Kiinde Keeper is fantastic and comes with adaptors that work with all of the major pump brands. You can find pump parts and the Kiinde Keeper at both The Pump Station and Right Start.
  • Yasmine must’ve bought eight versions of baby carriers to “wear” baby, when one day, Soraya reminded her of the Serene Sling she had included with some other hand-me-downs. All three of Soraya’s kids had practically lived in that baby sling and Yasmine’s two little ones followed suit. It is one piece, simple to put on, easy to wash, keeps its gentle stretch, and is a lifesaver when traveling. Not only is it easy, it provides just enough coverage to keep out bright, overhead lights, keeping baby asleep longer.

Baby gear is not cheap. It’s a big business, and every year moms are told of something new that they MUST have. Before you buy anything, talk to parents. They will tell you what you actually need, and help you save some of those dollars. And one final piece of advice: Before the baby comes, if you haven’t done this already, get your wedding pictures—all your pictures—squared away! Make albums, order photos, frame them beautifully. You are about to create thousands of new memories, and the old ones don’t stand a chance after baby’s arrival.

With seven children ranging in age from one to seventeen years between them, sisters and bloggers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.