I won't pretend I have the end-all list here, but these products make MY TOP 10 LIST for stuff that's absolutely essential for a summer baby.
1. Super cute onesies. Six days out of the week, my summer baby lives in onesies. Onesies are relatively inexpensive and are SO much easier than full outfits to change out when baby makes a mess all over it. And whoever decided that onesies should come in white are crazy. White stains WAAAAY too easily. I'm totally a fan of colored, stylish onesies.
2. An AWESOME, muslin swaddling blanket.
One of my favorite parts of having a baby is bundling her. Look at that cute little bundle! Plus, my sister-in-law gave me this magical, muslin swaddling blanket. I am in love. The lightweight fabric seriously keeps wrapping and wrapping forever. Plus, it's thin material, which is just TOO PERFECT for a summer baby! (Click HERE for a link. You get 4 in a pack, so it's totally kosher to buy one and share with a friend...I did). With my first baby, I thought I could do without frills like this, but (a) he was a winter baby and (b) this ain't no frill. After having this gauzy, wonderful, muslin blanket for my second child, I'll HAVE to get another pack o'these if I have another summer baby. Love.
3. Hand sanitizer. Especially because we spend so much time outside AND I have a toddler that touches EVERYTHING AND THE BABY, hand sanitizer is god-send so I don't have to run and wash his and my hands every time I've been out and about and need to pick up my baby. And for my toddler, well, at least it makes the dirt on his hands sanitary, right?
4. Sunblock = good. I don't need to lecture y'all on it. Especially during the peak sun-times of the day, (around 2-4) sunblock is great to protect that baby skin! Any baby-safe brand will probably do. I use WaterBabies, because Walmart always has those readily accessible in their aisle-bins.
5. Bug repellant. Those bugs better believe they're staying away from my baby. My favorite brand is Burt's Bees. Their all-natural insect repellant is safe to put on those chubby little baby hands and smells good to boot! The only kiiiiiiinda down side is that the bottle pumps out a stream of repellant like a lotion bottle (not like an aerosol spray can), so it takes a little longer to apply, but that can also be a good thing. You don't have wasted product flying into the air or breathed in by your baby. I still love this stuff and so does my husband. Sometimes he sneaks a little of this instead of the repellant we have for adults because it smells so good!
6. A portable bed. Because we go places in the summer, a portable bed is an absolute must. Most parents go with a pack-n-play, but if you haven't bought one already, I'd recommend a Peapod Travel Bed (pictured below). It's a fold-up travel-tent-type bed, which has the benefit of keeping your baby shaded but still well ventilated, CONTAINED (the Peapod Plus is good for toddlers), and in an enclosed space (my baby always liked the sense of security that an enclosed space offered him. Plus, it folds up into a 14"x14" circle and weighs only 2.5 POUNDS. Awesome. The Peapod saved my life last summer when we flew to Japan with my 18-month old boy.
7. A Bath Ring. You know those little blue, plastic pools that parents set up in the backyard and fill with water? Great for toddlers, but with a Bath Ring, baby can have fun too! There's hard, plastic ones or a softer, floatable version. Either way, if your baby can sit up but is still slightly wobbly or can topple over easily (too much for you to want to let go of him), a bath ring is perfect for summer water fun! (NOTE: At best this is a helpful TOOL. Obviously, never leave your baby unattended in a bath ring in the water. We're all smart enough to know that.)
8. A baby carrier...or sling...or wrap...or something. Just something to carry your baby so your arms don't get yucky sweaty and your elbow joints aren't throbbing from holding your baby at the end of a long day out. We've already had ample discussion on this on the Village blog, so I won't go too much into it. Click HERE to refer back to our reader's great comments.
I have a babybjorn carrier like the one shown above. No, the pic isn't OF me...or my baby...or my husband. There's not near enough spit up for this to be my child. Plus, I'm not blonde. Anyway, I love this product. So comfortable to wear. My boy loved it too. Unfortunately, my daughter hates it. So, the moral of this story is that different baby carriers/wraps/slings work for different moms and babies. If at all possible, ALWAYS borrow one from a friend and try it out with your baby before buying one.
9. Cloth diapers. Besides obviously diapering, cloth diapers are good for absolutely everything. They're soft, lightweight, and perfect to throw into my diaper bag when I might need to mop of spit up, toddler messses, whatever. I prefer them to burp cloths. Because they're so lightweight, they dry quickly and are perfect for summer. I like prefolded diapers, because they've got that thicker bit in the middle.
10. Disposable changing pads. I never had a need for these with my first, winter baby. I have a reusable changing pad, and I reused it...a lot, but summer babies are a whole different issue. Summer babies wear less clothes, so when there's a diaper blow out...well, you can imagine. It's not contained by clothing and goes EVERYWHERE. Ugh. Gross. Especially when I'm out and about. I just slap down a disposable pad to do all the disgusting clean up on top of, wad it all up at the end, and toss it in the trash. Don't have to clean the reusable pad, or the floor, or anything else besides the baby and her clothes (which is a big enough chore in and of itself). Love. I never thought I needed disposable pads til' now.
So, wha-d' ya think, dear readers? Is this list up to par with yours? What other summer essentials do you have up your sleeve?