So I'm packing for another trip home to visit my long distance family and am going over the things I will need for my 4 year old and 6 month old to remain occupied in houses with next to no toys...aka Grandpa's farm. My sister in law is expecting her first baby in the fall and I'm looking around my kid clutter wondering what she needs so I thought I'd share my Must Have Baby list after the second child...Note: this is very different from a mom's first baby must have list, which, due to the paranoid society in which we live, new mom's are conditioned to believe that the socilogical development of thier child will be EXTREMELY enhanced by some gadget or gizmo...I am not a follower of this school of thought so my list is simple.
1. A door hanging jolly jumper. Not a jumparoo. The jolly jumper allows baby from about 3.5 months or head holding time, to rocket themselves thru space in a most enjoyable manner and is easily packable in any suitcase or diaper bag. Both my boys love the door hanging Jolly Jumper and can easily spend more than an hour jumping with glee, and have been known to completely wear themselves out in it and fall asleep with their little heads lolling cutely. I had a jumparoo and it sucked. Big, bulky, any didn't allow baby to do 360's to explore the world around. And the real Jolly Jumper is less than 1/2 the $$.
2. Dingly Dangly noise making toys with chewing gadgets. These come in about 1 trillion different forms and every one is enjoyable to baby. Favorite is the book like plush animals that have different stimulation formats on each page. Disney also has a winnie the pooh animals "flower" and this too is well loved among the babies in my life.
3. Play mat - find one with good stimulating colors and lots of hooks for cool toys. For my first I borrowed a friends and bought aforementioned dingly dangly noise making toys. For the second I bought the Precious Planet mat secondhand for $25 and it is a sweet playmat. Make sure the bottom disconnets so you can wash the mat as spit and slobber will collect in mass amounts during a good play session.
4. An exersaucer - this is only good for a short term, between head holding and crawling so don't break the bank. and if you've got a jolly jumper, the exersaucer may be duplication.
5. You. There is nothing that will bring your child more pleasure than your attention, your smile, a good story read by you, or a snuggle on baby's tickle points.
That is it for my must have list, assuming you've got a crib and boobs for milk. Breast pumps are good is your exclusively breastfeeding but not used as much as you think they'll be. Grobags are ok, but not worth the $$, cheaper versions work great. And I've already posted on cloth diapers so that's all I've got for today.