Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shopping for Babies

I've got a snuggly boy on my lap while I am waiting to hear from the doctor. I just read Nancy's blog in which she went through the Babies R Us registry list and instructed a friend, and other new moms, about what to register for. We don't do baby showers in the Jewish tradition, so the first time around I used my registry as a shopping list. I did think about what I'd need but we didn't run out and get everything months before The Boy was born.

So, go read Nancy's list. She has 3 kids--2 girls close in age and a baby boy.

This is the actual list:

Here's my take.

Car seats:
For an infant car seat, the Graco Snugride works just great. I haven't used anything else. It is one of those that snaps and goes in a base in the car. Get a base for any car in which your baby will travel regularly. You can install the infant seat without the base, but it's so easy to use the base and the extra ones are not expensive.

You can start out with a convertible car seat and skip the infant seat altogether, but then you miss the convenience of not having to wake the sleeping baby. The Boy outgrew his infant seat by torso height at about 5 months. He was really too heavy to lug around in the infant seat anyway at that point. We have the Evenflo Triumph Advance carseat, still rear-facing (babies must be rear-facing to 1 year old and 20 pounds but it is safest to keep them rear-facing for much longer). The weight limit rear-facing is 35 pounds in this seat and front-facing it's 50 pounds. The height limit, a greater concern, is very tall. I do not recommend the Graco ComfortSport or Cosco Scenera if you have tall kids. However, those seats are very inexpensive and if you're in a situation where your kid is 1 or 2 and you need an extra seat for an airplane or something like that, they're good.

Get something that fits your infant car seat, travel system or not. We have the Graco Glider Stroller, and the infant seat snaps onto it. Once your baby is a little bigger, you won't use the seat in the stroller as much. You can get one of those frames instead, like the SnugRider that just pushes the infant seat around, but then you won't be able to use it after your child outgrows the infant seat. That said, if you're a jogging stroller person (which you can't use until baby is a little bigger) you can use that once you're done pushing around the infant seat. Think carefully about your style.

A little umbrella stroller, which also can't be used until baby is a bit older, is good to have around. You can usually keep it stored in your car. You can't keep much stuff in it, and it isn't good for off-roading, but it is better than no stroller if you don't have a bunch of room.

Toys and accessories for the stroller are fun to have but not necessary. If your child never gets used to having a plastic thing parked in front of him, he doesn't expect it when it isn't there for whatever reason.

Baby Carriers:

We loved the Jeep Kolcraft front-pack carrier. We used it from the time that The Boy was tiny (8 pounds is the lower limit). Sometimes it was helpful in walking him around the house when he was fussy or when we were trying to do things. It is fantastic for sporting events and other places where a stroller or infant seat is a pain. It was always comfortable for both of us to wear. I never tried the Baby Bjorn, but Nancy likes hers.

We also have a NoJo ring sling, which was a hand-me-down. We didn't use it when The Boy was little-tiny. We instead used it when he was old enough to hold his head up. He would sit in it, front-facing, from 3 or 4 months old. He would sit on our hip in the sling until he was almost a year old. Sometimes I used it at the grocery store instead of putting him in the cart. I may try, with Baby Bear, to use it when he is a newborn, now that I know how to use it more easily.

Play Yards/Playpen:

We have a Pack N Play. The Boy never slept in it (much to the babysitter's chagrin, when he was there). When he was younger, he would play in it while Musical Daddy exercised. I remember that time when The Boy was at home with Musical Daddy. When that time ended, the cancer saga began. How blissfully ignorant we were... anyhow...

If you do want to use the Pack N Play as a place for napping (and some of them come with little bassinets on top), make sure that baby is used to it.

Other options for baby containment are the fence-things, like the SuperYard. It allows for a wider play space. We never had one and never needed one. It might not be the worst idea for putting around the TV.

Stationary Entertainers--this is something that you can put a baby in, a slightly older baby, where they can "stand" and play, or jump and play. We have the Rainforest Jumperoo, and The Boy LOVED it!!! We didn't have an Exersaucer. You really only need one such thing and not right away.

Bouncers--this is the bouncy seat or rocking chair. This is nice to have as well, and babies can use this from the beginning. We bought this one (or something like it) from friends at a yard sale. It doesn't rock itself but it's fun when baby figures out how to make it move and reaches the toys. We used this quite a lot.

Walkers--the type of walker that the child stands in and walks around with is rarely a good idea and isn't all that helpful. Don't worry about this for right away anyway. To encourage walking, push toys that the child can walk behind are a better idea. Strollers, shopping carts, and the like.

Swings--we don't have one and didn't use one. Some moms swear by them. It's up to you. Pretty much, you do want to have a place to put baby if you need to do something. Some also use the swing for calming baby. It really depends on your preference.

Gyms and Playsets--we have a playmat with the arches over it where thing hang down and baby bats at it. We have another toy where baby can lie underneath on tummy or back, sit at, or stand at. It's nice to have such a thing. What we didn't get, and maybe will have this time, is a mat specifically designed for tummy time. Many babies hate tummy time.

Door Jumpers--we had one and The Boy used it for awhile. He preferred his stationary jumper. This isn't necessary unless you can think of a specific situation in your house where you'd need it.

Infant positioner--didn't have this either. Some use the Boppy pillow to sit baby up. Other such things are the Bumbo baby-sitter. This puts the baby in a sitting position. Some say it helps in teaching baby how to sit up on his own. It is also another place to put a baby.

Feeding Accessories:

They are attached to the front of my body. No, seriously, there are plenty of things that you "might" need and might not need. If you buy too much stuff to help you with breastfeeding, it becomes a major production, which is the opposite of what you want. You want breastfeeding to be easy.

For burp cloths, a package of prefold cloth diapers works fine. We didn't use them too often as burp cloths (and got spit up on from time to time). No need to buy anything fancy. Bibs, at the newborn stage, are not really necessary either although some prefer to use the bib to wipe off drool or little spits.

A breast pump is something that most breastfeeding moms will use. If mom isn't going back to work during the first year or so, however, it may not be necessary, or at least it won't be necessary to buy a fancy electric one. I did go back to work, and I used the Medela Pump in Style. It worked wonderfully. I have another one, the Pump In Style Advance, which I haven't used yet. Along with the pump, you'll need bottles and nipples and such. You don't need a sterilizer if you have a dishwasher. Containers are unnecessary if the bottles fit the pump (most do), but bags are helpful for milk storage, especially if you just keep a package in your pump case for when you forget bottles.

A nursing pillow is helpful during the first few weeks but you'll need to "wean" yourself off of it so that you are comfortable nursing in various situations. I have the My Brest Friend pillow.

A nursing wrap/cover falls under the category of "major production." Here's what you do (this is what Nancy does and what I do too): wear a tank top under everything. Pull your tank top under your breast and unhook your bra. Then lift the shirt and latch on the baby. Minimum exposure and no need to hide or annoy the baby. If you do need something to cover up (I don't have a problem with anyone seeing my breasts but my post-baby belly is another story), a blanket around the waist works.

Do get breast pads to combat leakage during the first month or so. Nipple cream (lanolin) is also really helpful. Spend lots of time topless during the first few weeks, as much as you can, because you'll feel better.

Solid Feeding:
We are big fans of baby-led weaning, in case you haven't heard. Ask us for more info. It's the way to go. Basically, you start food by offering steamed veggies and soft fruits, in finger-food form. Easy to pick up. Here's what you need to do this:

High chair, waterproof bibs (ones with pockets that can be washed in the sink; we like the Bumkins bibs the best), cup of water (sippy cups, although some daring parents start with a 1/4 full regular cup).

For travel, I recommend a portable feeding chair. This is good because you can strap it on any chair. For restaurants, this works as well. Another option is the TinyDiner placemat.

You do not need silverware. You do not need a food processor. You do not need to spoonfeed baby while your food gets cold. And you get to show off in restaurants when your child, as early as 6 or 7 months, sits at the table eating broccoli while the baby at the next table gets fed Chicken Surprise.

Bath & Potty

You do need some kind of infant tub or tub support. We still bathe The Boy in his infant tub sometimes (the rest of the time he showers with me). We have a wide countertop, and I don't have to bend down to the bath tub. Whatever else you choose to use in the tub is up to you. Bath toys are good things to add to your shopping list. You need washcloths, and the hooded towels work really well. Baby wash and lotion are important. A bathrobe is not.

Potty stuff you'll wait on unless you're doing Elimination Communication (infant potty training, starting when they are very young). We really missed the opportunity to train early due to The Boy's illness. His interest in the potty started shortly before his diagnosis. We bought him the Baby Bjorn Little Potty, which is great for ECing. He sits on it and uses it from time to time. You'll want to decide about a freestanding potty vs something that goes on the toilet at home.

(by the way...I can't believe I haven't gotten a phone call yet about The Boy's scan).

Diapering--ask me about cloth. It's the best. And so easy and saves so much money.


Knowing what we know now, we're getting a bassinet this time and Baby Bear will be in there, in our room. So much easier than the back-and-forth, where we put The Boy in the crib from day 1 and you all know how well that turned out.

You don't need fancy bedding sets, just crib sheets. And bassinet/playpen sheets if you use that.

Crib toys are up to you--mobiles are fun, soothers are nice, just don't overload yourself. We had the Aquarium Soother, which The Boy liked. We had this mobile with birds that my mother liked.

If you prefer to keep your baby in your bed most of the time, it is still helpful to have some of these things for a play space or nap space, at least.


Onesies. Sleepers. Little pants. That's about it in terms of things that you'll need a bunch of. Socks are a maybe because they don't stay on most of the time.

Let other people get you cute outfits, and pick out what you like as you figure out your needs.

Bunting--get a BundleMe or something else like that for the infant car seat. It is very helpful, and it is safe, whereas putting a baby in a snowsuit in the carseat is NOT safe.

Blankets are nice to have around, but everyone will give you blankets thinking that it's the perfect gift for a baby, so don't register for any.

(Finally got an answer about the scan--will post that next).

Any other questions about "do I need this?" feel free to ask.


Sarah R said...

LOL, I must have received 17 blankets as shower gifts. They are under Andrew's crib in the trundle drawer. A few of them still have tags on them.

Also, bibs. Jeez Louise--I have probably 30 bibs. What's up with the teeny baby ones? I never used them because we didn't start solids until 6 months; by then, I wanted to use the bigger bibs. Yeah, I have a Baby's 1st Christmas bib that was never used because he was only 4 months old! *eyeroll*

the mol said...

We sometimes used the little bibs for him to wear, because he drooled a lot when he was 4 and 5 months old. He'd soak through those in a hurry.

Caroline said...

This is the best list I've ever seen, honestly. I had forgotten about some of the small things!

Ariana goes through about 3 bibs a day, no matter how much I try to handwash and dry them.

And I would love to know more about your baby-led weaning. We have done a lot of baby-led parenting in terms of sleeping, naps, and starting solids... but I never thought of doing quite what you did with the steamed fruits and veggies! We pureed fruits and veggies and bought organic jarred foods to supplement.

If you get a chance, I'd love to hear more of what you did!

Also, glad to hear that the scan was good!

icoobaby1 said...

You did lot of research on baby needs, from feeding, clothings to strollers. I am looking forward to bring in new Mickey sport buggy for my kid. I have searched many strollers but I zeroed this one, as it is very trendy.

the mol said...

And there is a baby-led weaning group on facebook. Really, for some of you moms who did the purees the first time and want to do BLW this time around, I highly recommend it. Check out these sites and others.