So Owen just turned 4. Lilly is almost 2.5. And Evan will be 3 months in a couple of weeks. I think I kind of have this baby stuff figured out. LOL. Maybe just a little...and still each kid is different as I'm discovering with Evan. He is definitely more cranky and not an easy going baby like the other two. But as I've now been through the newborn phase three times I have a decent handle on what stuff is really important versus rather useless. (Insert the typical disclaimer here - this is what worked for me and these are my opinions before anyone gets butthurt).
With Owen, being my first, we went crazy on the baby stuff. Had a ton of gadgets and clothes that we never even made use of. With Lilly we knew what we hadn't used so we made sure to play it a little smarter. And with Evan. Well Evan was a bit different. After Lilly we said we were done having kids. Imagine my surprise when I got pregnant with him while having an IUD.
As Lilly outgrew toys and clothes I sold/donated/gave to other friends and family so that by the time I found out I was pregnant with Evan - we had pared down our baby stuff to just a few outfits that I didn't want to give away or toys that we just never got around to re-homing. But even though we had to re-buy some things - we knew what we needed and didn't buy any of the useless stuff.
Some of the overrated items we got/purchased before we got "smart" were those cute little coordinated outfits of the button down shirts and matching corduroy pants. Or those dress outfits. But to be honest - I'm not a girl who wears a lot of pink or dresses/skirts - you will rarely ever see me in a dress...hell freezes over when I wear a dress. So it's only typical that Lilly wouldn't be wearing pink or dresses either. Trying to get a squirmy newborn into those outfits is just a pain. And changing those frequent dirty diapers and getting them out of those outfits is also a pain. So even though I had purchased some - most were rehomed and when Evan arrived - I did not rebuy. The only outfits were the ones with the pants and onsies and I think we got maybe a couple of them. And even those were too many (which I'll go into more later).
The other type of clothing piece I don't like was the footless one piece romper/jammies. All my kids are winter babies so here in Michigan it is effing cold. So cold that many of us wonder why we live where the air hurts our face cold. And itty bitty newborn to 3 month socks are a pain. They never stay on their feet. So put together footless jammies and socks that don't stay on = no. Just no.
Another baby item that was a pain (and we actually exchanged it) was the big baby bathtubs. At the time - our house was only a 1100 sq ft 3 bedroom 1 bath house. And that bathroom was on the small side with practically zero storage. So having this big baby tub that would fit nicely into my tub was cool. But there was no where to store it when they weren't having a bath.
Random stuffed animals. My dogs thought they were for them....so it's a miracle that any have survived. LOL.
Something else we had a ton of -was way too much newborn items with Owen. Owen outgrew newborn clothes within a couple of weeks. So when getting clothes - get a good mix of newborn and 3 month. All three of my kids were in 3 month clothes within a few weeks of being born.
But onto the baby/toddler stuff that I found to be amazing and a good buy.
So I mentioned above that we exchanged the baby tub for something that would work a little better in our tiny bathroom. The Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather was what we purchased instead. It folded up and had a pretty tiny footprint that I was able to put on the shelf above the toilet when not in use. Owen was a very easy baby and didn't try and fling himself anywhere and would sit. However, Lilly when she could sit on her own she did not want to stay in it. So we couldn't use it for as long as we did with Owen. So an economical baby seat for her was just a laundry basket. (And bonus - when she was done needing it for bath time I had another laundry basket to use)! So I had sold this after Lilly had outgrown it so when Mr. Evan arrived I did have to repurchase another bath seat. This time I did something a little different. I got the Anglecare Baby Bath Support. It doesn't fold - but it was small enough to fit on the shelf in the closet. (Having kid number three necessitated us selling our 3 bedroom house and buying a bigger one....so now we're in a 4 bedroom 2 bath 1800 sq ft house). So my bathroom upstairs has a good sized closet but the Angelcare Baby Bath Support is still pretty small and fits nicely on the shelf.
One of the holy grail items of our household has not been without is the Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother. It has several different modes - from playing classical music to just white noise and lights up or the lights can stay off - it is the night time essential for us. Only pain is that having 3 of them....you go through a lot of C batteries as each one takes 4 batteries. I should buy Duracell stock at this point. Chris and I had made it a point that none of the kids would ever sleep in our bed (no room anyway with the two dogs with us) so having this hanging in their cribs was amazing. If they were a tad fussy with bedtime this kept them distracted/entertained enough that they would fall asleep. The light and music mode is our favorite. I hear it over the baby monitor and even I enjoy the classical music that is plays.
There are loads of different pacifiers out there. And one of the biggest pains is losing them. Behold - the Wubbanub! Pacifier plus toy = win. These are much harder to lose. Bonus points that they are adorable and there are many different animals to choose from. Between all of them - I think I've purchased most of the animals available. Brown puppy, red puppy, duckies, frogs, penguins, cows, and dinosaurs. And it's easy adding one of the clips to them to attach to a bib if needed. And I find that they rather get attached to the toy so it's made getting them off the pacifier a tad easier. Owen still has his puppies that he carries around. Lilly we are currently working on getting her off the pacifier. (She kept breaking the pacifier part and at almost $14 a pop...it was getting too expensive). And Evan has the cutest fox and hippo one right now.