Tuesday, November 8, 2011

baby essentials

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To follow up on my post reflecting on my lessons and revelations as a new mom, I thought I might take note of the things that I have found most helpful in these first few months.  There must be something like 5,000,000 baby items out there, tempting or confusing new moms and moms-to-be everywhere. It's increasingly a challenge to sift through them to figure out what really might be necessary or provide comfort and support.  Just like any other new mom, I had a giant baby registry, even though I really made an effort to keep my list practical and devoid of space-consuming or frivolous items.  I'm quite glad that I registered at Amazon-had I actually physically been in a baby store (it would have been Buy Buy Baby, btw, that place is a baby wonderland!), there is no telling what would have made it on my list.  I took stock of the things I feel I couldn't live without and have recorded them here.  In a few more months, perhaps I'll create a "nice to have" and "totally unnecessary" list.

muslin swaddle blankets.  I have a solid collection of these, and though they're not the cheapest items to purchase, they are completely wonderful, and exceptionally multi-purpose.  I use them to cover the stroller or car seat when we're out, as burp cloths, as a playmat of sorts on the lawn, and of course, for swaddling.   Aden + Anais and Luna Lullaby are my mainstays.

Gerber cloth diapers.  I know not every baby is a monumental spitter like my precious little baby A, but most will still muss up their clothes from time to time after eating.  Forget about buying lovely burp cloths with cute designs, because these are all you will need!  Side note: if I were to go the cloth diaper route in the future, I would certainly be more inclined to try the hip, efficient all-in-ones or pocket diapers.  No prefolds (which these Gerber cloth diapers are) for me!

multiple changing pad covers.  I was blissfully ignorant when I included a single changing pad cover on my registry.  After only a few days at home, and multiple poop explosions and/or pee fountains which my inexperienced hands failed to catch with a clean diaper or washcloth, I realized it would be a whole lot easier if I had a few spares.  Of course, it's not really necessary, if you stay on top of your laundry or are not averse to throwing a regular towel down on the changing pad if you've forgotten about your laundry and your lone pad is swirling around in a whirlpool of eco-friendly detergent.  A towel will suffice, but because they're not actually fixed to the pad, baby will be quite a bit more wiggly and slippery.  I currently have three covers, which is just about the right number.

bouncer.  Of all the soothing/entertaining baby gear we acquired, the bouncer has by far been the most useful.  I know every baby is different, and some will respond more positively to certain items than others, so this item might not be as essential for you as it is for us.  The swing, for example, was something most moms encouraged purchasing, but baby A never warmed to it at all.  The bouncer, on the other hand, has been wonderful!  I keep it in the kitchen all the time, where it props up little A while I'm eating breakfast and lunch or cooking dinner.  He likes it mostly for his vantage point right now, though as he becomes more mobile I'm sure he'll appreciate the movement factor.

iPhone. Last on my list, but certainly not least. I admit that it's a bit snobby for me to include such an expensive device as an iPhone, but I am getting every single penny's worth. There is seemingly no limit to the usefulness of this device.  In fact, I don't believe I ever truly appreciated it until I had a baby.  It was cool to be able to surf the web in such a clean, flawless, fashion, and I loved having the dual function of the iPod feature, of course, but I never really used my phone to its full potential. Now, I entertain myself while nursing with the Netflix and Kindle apps.  In fact, I've read more books in baby A's first three months of life than I did during my entire pregnancy (full disclosure: when it comes to books, I will always be a three-dimensional, classic, words on the physical page kind of person-I just make an exception for the up-all-night stage of babyhood).  I've added a Raffi station to my Pandora app, and it's a cinch to thrust the phone into the iHome in the nursery, though the phone's speakers are just the right volume to use anywhere.  I tried multiple new baby apps before landing on my favorite, Baby Connect.  It's excellent, keeping track not only of nursing, diapering, and sleeping, but also milestones, moods, medicines, and doctor's appointments.  In the anxiety-inducing first days of new-motherhood, it's hugely helpful to have an easy way to keep track of everything, rather than having to find pen and paper all the time to write down each pee and poop.  The camera is, of course, of exceptional quality, and it's wonderful to be able to email or text videos and pictures instantly.  What I would NOT suggest is using your phone to engage with that devil, Dr. Google.  STAY AWAY FROM GOOGLE, NEW PARENTS!  Too long there, and you'll be diagnosing your precious newborn with all number of horrific, and probably obsolete or nonsensical illnesses.

There you have it!  My can't-live-without-'em list!  Excuse me now while I ensure one of my three changing pad covers is clean...

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