Gearing Up for Baby #2
With Baby #2’s due date approaching, you’re probably starting to think about gear. If you saved your firstborn’s stuff, you may already have most of what you need. Depending on their age difference, you may need to double up on some items.
Here’s a little refresher on infant essentials (if you’re like me, you may have already forgotten half of what babies actually need – HA!). Go through the list, reuse what you can, and figure out what you need to buy new (e.g. pacifiers, diapers, wipes) or double up on (like nightlights or cribs, if your kids are closer in age).
Car Seat and Stroller
Your infant car seat from Baby #1 should do the trick unless it’s been more than 5 years (more or less) since their birth (specifically: 6 years from the date of manufacture). Please check the sticker on the bottom of the car seat, which should explicitly state the date of expiration.
What’s new in car seats?
The uber-lightweight Nuna Pipa Lite is the lightest of the bunch, weighing in around 5.6 lbs. Speaking of Nuna, they and UPPABaby now have car seats that are completely free of flame retardants (“FRs”). These include all Nuna infant car seats (2019 and on) and the UPPABaby Mesa Merino Wool fashions “Henry” and “Jordan.”
The Doona car seat/stroller combo is still a must for those who appreciate multi-tasking gear and would like a car seat that moonlights as a stroller (perfect for snoozing babes).
When kids are less than 3 years apart (more or less), many parents upgrade to a double stroller. Please see our full Double Stroller Guide for advice on how to choose the double stroller that’s right for you.
See also: Top 10 Double Strollers and Strollers for Three.
We recommend that you keep your single stroller for the day when your older child becomes too cool for the double (which usually happens around the age of 4, if not before then). See also: Best Single Strollers.
If big sib is already too cool for a double stroller, you can also opt for them to scoot around on a buggy board. This accessory attaches to the back of the stroller to create a tag-along tool for your tot. It feels like a hybrid between a scooter and a skateboard, so your big kid is sure to get excited about your long family walks (yep, you heard us, “excited!”). You can either choose a universal board that attaches to most strollers, or go with a brand-specific one.
What’s new in strollers?
Another “newish” thing that’s cropped up in the last couple of years is stroller-wagons. We affectionately call them “stragons.” Yes, Radio Flyers have been around forever, but these are the next generation. Read more about our Favorite Stroller Wagons. These work very well for 2 kids under 5, especially if your older one is already too cool for a stroller. See also: Favorite Urban Strollers.
If you didn’t have a baby carrier for your first kid, IMO you should definitely consider the benefits of hands-free babywearing with your second child. While you’re running around after your toddler/preschooler at the playground, you won’t have your hands free to hold your newborn. A baby carrier solves that problem! Here are our favorites, both newborn carriers and soft structured carriers.
What’s new in carriers?
Once upon a time, we needed newborn inserts to wear our little bundles in our structured carriers, but not anymore. Some carriers, like the Ergobaby Omni 360 and the new Nuna Cudl, allow you to carry your baby without the need to purchase an extra insert.
Carriers that are hybrids between soft and structured carriers have also made their entry on the market. Sakura Bloom’s Scout, Cybex’s Yema and Happy Baby’s carriers are all great (and fashionable) options.
Everyone has very different styles when it comes to swings and such. At the very least, you need somewhere safe to put your baby down so you can tend to your big kid or, you know, catch a break. Don’t overthink it. If you’re confused about where baby can hang out since the recall of the Rock N Play and such, you’re not alone, but there are many safe options, depending on your budget. See our favorite baby containment devices here.
Not much to say here. Just make sure you have the basics. You’ll definitely need an infant tub, which you may have kept after baby #1. You may want to get more washcloths and towels as well.
“Do I need to buy a second crib for the baby?”
This is a question we get very often.
It totally depends on your style and the age difference between your kids. Remember: infants don’t really need to be in a crib. They’re small enough that they can sleep comfortably in a variety of portable devices (see our favorite newborn sleeping spots here).
If you’re scrappy (and your kids are more than a year apart), you can use a play yard/bassinet for your second baby for the first 6-12 months (give or take), which should buy you enough time to get your older child out of the crib before your baby really needs it.
That said, if you feel strongly about each child having their own crib from Day 1, by all means, get a second crib. This is especially true if your kiddos are close in age and your oldest is still sleeping happily in a crib.
Example: my girls were 2.5 years apart. By the time Alice was born, I could tell Lucie’s days in her crib were numbered (she was constantly climbing out, etc.). Alice slept in a co-sleeper for about 5 months, then we decided it was time for both of them to upgrade. By this time, Lucie was 3, so we bought her a big bed (which was just a mattress on the floor), and moved Alice into Lucie’s crib. This plan prevented us from buying two cribs: score!
If your big kid is already 3+, you can transition her to a big kid bed before the new baby is born. Experts recommend you make the switch well before the baby’s arrival so she doesn’t feel displaced. This can be an exciting milestone that you involve her in as much as possible. For example, you can let her choose her bed and new bedding, which is sure to make this milestone an exciting one. See also: Transitioning from a Crib to a Toddler Bed.
What’s new in sleep?
Don’t want to put baby in a corner? Put him in a box. That’s right — a box for babies. Born from a tradition in Finland, baby boxes provide a safe sleep environment for newborns. Our favorite is the Pip & Grow Baby Box, which is economical, highly portable and recyclable, a big eco-friendly win in an area that usually generates a ton of waste.
“Smart sleepers” have also created a buzz in the last couple of years. The SNOO, which was created by no other than Dr. Harvey Karp, is basically a robot baby crib that uses high tech to help you soothe your baby back to sleep. Retailing for ~$1500, it comes at a pretty steep price. Many swear by it, but keep in mind that it can’t feed or change your baby, which is usually why babies cry in the first place (just sayin’)…
You’ve got two kids to keep an eye on now. For parents who use video monitors, those that support two or more cameras are a great option if you want the ability to simultaneously check on both kiddos. For more info, see also: Baby Monitors for Two.
If your littles are sharing a room, a monitor with a wide angle lens can do the trick as well. These lenses allow you to see the room in its entirety and make sure your older child isn’t helping bust his little brother out of his crib.
What’s new in monitors?
Are you a data enthusiast? If so, you will be pleased to know about all the “smart cams” that have entered the baby market. From the Nanit to the Miku, baby monitors now have the ability to track your baby’s sleep activities. They also share data analysis of your child’s sleep patterns and give you advice accordingly.
By the same token, baby wearable trackers, like the Owlet, have also been on the rise. These smart devices essentially replace the need for traditional baby monitors as they intent to give you a much closer and detailed look at your sleeping infant’s heart rate, breathing patterns and so much more.
If your firstborn’s swaddles are still in good shape, no need to buy new ones. If you’re looking for something new, here are our Favorite Swaddles.
What’s new in swaddles?
Innovations in fabrics have allowed a couple of companies to make swaddles with Velcro-like closures that are whisper quiet. One of these is the Swado, that we scooped at the 2019 JPMA Baby Show.
If your big kid is still in diapers (and will be for a while), you’ll be better off with a larger diaper trash pail or trash can. For disposables, check out the Munchkin Step or the Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail; for cloth diapering, you can use the SimpleHuman Step Trash Can and a cloth diaper pail liner.
If you’re considering potty training your first child before Baby #2 comes (if you’re like me, having two kids in diapers may be something you want to avoid), check out our guide about Potty Training for a description of effective methods, books, and our favorite potty gear. Similarly to transitioning your tot into a big kid bed, it’s best to get this done well before Baby #2 arrives so that your older kiddo isn’t dealing with too much upheaval all at once.
For those who are planning on nursing Baby #2, the great news is that breastfeeding can be a lot easier the second time around! If your older child is still nursing, you may even consider tandem feeding.
As you might remember, a key item to have when you’re nursing is a good breast pump. If you still have your old one and it works well, you’re in good shape. Note that some breast pumps are designed for a year or so of use. After that time, the motor loses power, which could affect your milk output. Check out our Favorite Pumps.
What’s new in pumps?
https://www.lucieslist.com/review/medela-sonata-review/Looking for a new pump? Lots had changed just in the past 2 years or so. Some new pumps on the scene include the Willow, the Baby Buddha and the Medela Sonata. The Babyation is purportedly coming soon, too. The newer pumps are smaller, quieter and more efficient. Some of them offer a hands-free pumping experience, while others also offer smart features to track milk production and inventory. This is all well and good, but as you might remember, your insurance plan will usually dictate which pumps it will cover. At any rate, here’s a refresher on Breast Pump Basics.
See also: Everything for Feeding Your Baby
As much as you’ll want to use your firstborn’s clothes for #2, this is harder if they aren’t born in the same season. Our seasons were a bit off— our first was born in the winter, whereas our second was born in the middle of summer. Needless to say, we needed to buy some seasonally appropriate newborn clothes.
On top of that, your babies might be different sizes at birth. If your second baby is born prematurely or is on the smaller side, you’ll need to add some smaller clothes to the mix. It’s worth putting some thought into this so you can be ready on day 1 of baby’s arrival. Here’s a basic list of what you may need for newborn clothing, plus our favorite brands for baby clothes.
There are a couple of things you may need since that you’ll have double the fun.
Larger Diaper Bag
Many parents will upgrade to a larger diaper bag with two, especially if #1 is still in diapers. Some larger favorites include TWELVElittle, Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack and Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy backpack.
If it’s been several years since the birth of #1, you may want to check your medicine cabinet for the basics. From Snotsuckers to baby nail files, check out our article on baby’s medicine cabinet.
New to Lucie’s List is our Grandparent’s Guide. Yeeeee! Since your first was born, we have published a 3-part series just for grandparents:
- Grandparent’s Guide to Baby Gear
- Older Infant and Toddler Gear Guide for Grandparents
- Babyproofing the Grandparent’s Home
Seems like a lot, but hopefully you can re-use most of your gear from Baby #1. You may also decide that some of the gear you had for #1 was overkill — totally normal! Most parents whittle their gear down to the most basic items with every child they add to the family, having more and more parenting experience under their belts.
Best of luck!