I sent a version of this to some dear first-time expectant mamas today and just thought I would make a random post of it.
Not that anyone has been clamouring for advice, but I thought I would just throw out my two cents on all the stuff about welcoming a new baby into your family. I remember as an expectant mom lots of decisions about what to buy and register for were a little overwhelming, so if anyone can benefit from our experience, that's great. If not, no problem. This list is also for me, should the Lord bless us with a fourth child.
Baby Stuff We Have Really Appreciated:
- Graco Pack N Play with bassinet - Ours also came with a changing station, but we honestly didn't use that part that much. The bassinet, though, lasted through 6 months for each of our first two children. We also took it to the homes of friends frequently with our firstborn so he could go to bed while we visited. Now Smiley uses it for naptime. Well worth the $80 or so we paid for it. Also handy to have around when children are not babies anymore for when little guests visit.
- The Fisher Price Healthy Chair Booster has dishwasher safe trays and folds up compactly to take to restaurants or on road trips and is SO much less bulky that a full size high chair in your kitchen at home. Your baby needs full head control and be mostly able to sit up before using it, around 6 months. We have also had the First Years Four Stage Feeding Seat and like that, though it doesn't fold up. Both of these options are cheaper than a full size highchair, too.
- Baby Bjorn or some kind of carrier or wrap - These are great in public, for shopping, and for fussy times of the day when you still want to get some housework done. They keep baby close and discourage strangers from poking and prodding your baby so much since they are attached to you which may help your baby not pick up so many germs from random folks.
- A small diaper bag has saved us from lugging tons of stuff around the grocery, store or to church. We have mostly just used a small bag for all outings packed with one outfit, a few diapers and a pouch of wipes, with more supplies in the car if you really need them. Depending on the size of your purse, we have also just used a fabric pouch big enough for two diapers and some wipes. With a caribiner clip, a small bag easily clips to the handle of the stroller, too.
- NOT having a Diaper Genie - We didn't get one because I was too cheap to buy the refills, but I am glad I never had to take out the stinky sausage of diapers out to the trash, either. We just used a small trash can and took it out whenever there was a poo, or bagged the poopy diapers in newspaper or grocery bags which contain the smell as much as a Diaper Genie does.
- For nursing a Boppy pillow (preferably with at least 2 slipcovers), a glider rocker with ottoman, and a good pump were essentials. I've liked the Medela Pump in Style and the Medela hand pump..I think it is called the Harmony. An MP3 player with speakers was a bonus the last time around since you're sitting down for feeding so many hours of the day. Oh, and of course if nursing does not get off to a great start, seek help from a lactation consultant or experienced friend early and often.
- A dresser with a changing pad instead of an open shelf changing table will last long beyond the diapering season when you remove the pad.
- When we have cloth-diapered, our favorite was the MotherEase brand. The covers never leaked, they have snaps for no-pins, adjustable sizing for 8-35 lb babies and are soft. (I'd like to get back to that while potty training Smiley, but it doesn't seem to be a great time to have stinky diapers in the bathroom when we are trying to sell our house. :) Cut up pieces of fleece or old t-shirts work well as wipes when you have a spray bottle of super mild baby soap or plain water at hand. An inexpensive 5 gallon pail with a lid from Walmart or a hardware store has been a our bucket for cloth diapers and the handle makes it easy to bring to the laundry. We prefer the dry method.
What we might have done differently, knowing what we know now:
- Started out with a jogger stroller from the beginning, or one that folds up like an umbrella stroller but has more features. Bulky strollers that are not all-terrain haven't worked that well for us, especially since they take up so much space in the back of the car and leave not much room for the groceries. I would have paid more, looking back, for one all purpose stroller rather than ending up with a fleet of them that all work well in different situations.
- Bought a travel swing or baby papasan instead of full size one, since you gotta store the stuff somewhere after that phase is over.
-See about borrowing and lending equipment that is stage specific. You don't need to have it all and store it all when you aren't using it. We were the first of our friends to have babies so this wasn't as much of an option for us.
- Skipped the full bedding set. Some cute sheets and a bed skirt are all you need. I found the bumpers, while cute, tend to be a pain to work around when changing sheets and were just one more thing to launder when messes happened. I also wonder about how safe they are for newborns and have no doubt if ours weren't removed when our babies could stand would have become a step to help them climb out of the crib.
- Skipped the expensive Dreft detergent with our firstborn and just used All Free & Clear or other dye free, fragrance free detergent which works well for everyone's clothes. Do have OxiClean on hand for those blowouts and spit up accidents.
- Have had more of "Less is More" approach. Laundry will need to be done daily anyway, so no need to have so much in the way of clothes and blankets. Though I do recommend 3 crib sheets and 2 waterproof mattress pads, since leaks and spit-up seem to happen a lot in the night and you don't want to keep the baby up because you are waiting for laundry to cycle through. They grow so quickly so then you have the storage issue to deal with again. We could have also used more gender neutral pieces of clothing for home use and just had a few cute outfits which were gender specific to simplify dressing, laundry and storage.
- Skipped baby food and made more of our own and started them on finger or food suitable for babies. There are some great books out there on making your baby great healthful baby food.
- Been more eco-consious when we began,. Lots of time the "greener" options are also the most frugal, too.
- I would have loved to have had one of those cool nursing covers that are widely available now, though I guess I got by with a receiving blanket. Sometimes a clothespin comes in handy to keep the blanket attached to your shirt, instead of falling down for the world to see your chest.
Well, that is all I can think of today. Happy Weekend! And remember, this is just my two cents. Do what works for your situation.