How to survive

Clearly I haven’t written a blog entry in a long time. I’ve been busy with Elliot [who is almost 11 weeks old!], and I would rather spend time with her than hang around the interwebs.

Anyway, this is a post by request. We have lots of friends who are preg or planning to have a baby in the foreseeable future. Having a baby means one thing : you need a lot of stuff. I hate lots of stuff. So, this is my take on what you really need for the first few months. Feel free to comment with additions or other recommendations.

Babies don’t do a lot. One thing they do is sleep. For sleeping:

  • A co-sleeper. We have the Arm’s Reach original co-sleeper and really like it. Co-sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS and makes it easier to feed the baby during the night [read: you don’t have to get out of bed. #winning]. I’m also a big fan of the Arm’s Reach because it functions the same as a Pack ‘n Play, grows with the baby, and looks a hell of a lot better, in my opinion.
  • Halo sleep sack swaddle. Probably 2. We really only use one, but it’s nice to have a spare in case one gets dirty. Having a winter baby, we use the fleece kind, which keeps Elliot warm in the co-sleeper without the worry of a blanket. We didn’t swaddle Elliot’s arms at first at the advice of the lactation consultant who led our breastfeeding class. The baby needs to be able to cue that she is hungry and wake up to eat. Something to consider… we do swaddle her now.

Babies also eat… a lot. Luckily not much is required for this. I have a boppy, but don’t use it to feed Elliot. I also don’t use our glider. So, yeah, I don’t actually need anything for this one. I do like these Undercover Mama tank tops though. [Elliot will not use a bottle, so I have no recommendations on that front.] Oh, and I use a Hooter Hider nursing cover when we have guests or we are out of the house. Depending on personal preference that may not be necessary, but I haven’t really ventured into feeding Elliot without one in public even though it can get really hot under there.

Around the house we use…

  • Cloud B Sleep Sheep Snug Rug. We used this a LOT when Elliot was tiny. She loves to lay on it, it isn’t ugly, and I can see her snuggling with it for a long time. It’s also super easy to carry around the house. I just lay it in the floor wherever I am.
  • Burp clothes. 10 is probably a good number. We have 10 of the Gerber Newborn Gauze prefolded diapers plus 4 more that are monogrammed and cuter, but otherwise exactly the same. Make sure to get the gauze ones because they are supposedly more absorbent although I haven’t personally tested it. We try to always lay one under Elliot in case she spits up, but I have a spit up spot on the bed right now due to failure to follow my own advice.
  • Mittens. Seriously one pair is probably fine and we don’t use these anymore. We did need them in the first few days – Elliot would constantly scratch herself. Now we cut her nails [or use a nail file], but I didn’t really feel like doing that in the first few days, so the mittens were a help.
  • Clothes. 10 outfits is enough at any given time. I know people are going to say that babies need lots of clothes, however, it is rare that I change Elliot’s clothes more than once per day. Plus, I do laundry frequently. The complicated part of clothing is that it is impossible to predict the size of the baby before birth. We didn’t have many newborn outfits and most [though not all] of the 0-3 months stuff was too big at first. However, a few newborn outfits was enough because Elliot has outgrown those… plus she could make the 0-3 months things work after just a couple of weeks. The other factor here is that we didn’t use much clothing at first for skin to skin contact and to help the umbilical cord stump fall off. We put her in little kimono shirts, but we got them for free at the hospital [well, free aside from the $18,000 cost of my surgery]. I am a big fan of one piece outfits. I think they are easy and Elliot wears them to sleep as well… Dustin likes the baby gowns [because he changes diapers at night] but I kind of hate them because Elliot can’t go in the carseat, the swing, the bouncy seat, etc with one on. I say skip the gown if you are strapped for cash, but get a couple if not.
  • Baby socks. I don’t really have any that I like or that stay on that great. We have some Etiquette and some from Old Navy, but I’m not really a sock fan anyway. Get one piece outfits that cover the baby’s feet! 😉
  • Blankets. We basically use one and not even that often [mostly when we go out of the house]. We have several aden + anais that we like and may use more in summer, but right now we use this one from their cozy collection. We have gotten TONS of compliments on it because of the weight.
  • Diapers and wipes. I could write a whole book on this. We use cloth diapers and cloth wipes. We LOVE BumGenius All in Ones – they don’t leak, they fit well, and there is no stuffing or maintenance for these [we use the snaps, not the velcro]. We just throw them right in the washer. We used some Charlie Banana newborns and they were terrible [they have a tag sewn in the back, which led to leaking]. We have Under the Nile wipes and a spray that we just spray right on Elliot.  [I am going to start making spray – I just got a recipe, so we’ll see how that goes]. We used two packs of Seventh Generation disposables when Elliot was first born [meconium could stain the cloth diapers and she had to be 8 lbs to fit in the BumGenius].
  • Changing pad. We leave our changing pad in the bedroom and don’t have an official “changing table”. We just throw the changing pad right on the bed and it works great for us. We also have a changing pad for on the go [the Pronto by Skip Hop]… we keep some disposable wipes in it, and it’s been particularly great for changing Elliot in the car when there’s not another option.
  • Wet bags. We use these to store the dirty diapers and wipes. We have two large and one medium, which we use when we are out of the house. I think this is the right number. We have really cute ones by SmittenBaby, which I can’t find for sale anymore. Maybe try Planet Wise?
  • Hooded towel. Just get 2.
  • Shampoo / body wash. We use Burt’s Bees.
  • Wash clothes. Get a pack from Target or something. We only really need 2, but I think they come in a pack of 5 for cheap, so just go with it.
  • Bath tub. We have the Puj and love it. I don’t care that we are going to need to get another baby bathtub eventually. It is so convenient right now… it works great and hangs flat on our refrigerator.

To leave the house

  • A carseat and carrier. We have the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30 in Pois Grey and love it. It snaps into our BOB stroller, which is necessary with whatever car seat you get. Definitely get an infant seat rather than a convertible. According to our midwife, the infant seat it MUCH safer. Plus you can’t carry the convertible seats, which is a must have feature, in my opinion.
  • Stroller. We have the BOB Revolution SE. We wanted to have only one stroller… didn’t want a jogging stroller AND a mall stroller and an infant stroller and a bigger stroller… too much. The BOB is good for everything. Our car seat fits in (you also need this adapter).
  • A diaper bag. We don’t really have a true diaper bag – I use a leather bag I got for my birthday and I love it. It works fine, and I don’t look ridiculous with some baby patterned bag.

I think that’s really it in the way of must haves. There are a few things that we use to entertain Elliot… I don’t know that you need all of them, but it’s good to have a mix. We didn’t really use any of these for the first few weeks although we should have used the swing.

  • Rattle. Doesn’t matter what kind – we have several. We have used a rattle with Elliot since she was tiny although now she is entertained by it more than she was at first. In the beginning it was good to help her hear noises and turn to face them, etc. I carry one in the diaper bag.
  • Mirror. Elliot loves looking in the mirror, so I carry one in the diaper bag in case of emergency.
  • Brightly colored links. Elliot loves colors and holding things that fit in her tiny hands. These are good for that. Plus I can shake them and she becomes fascinated. They stay in the diaper bag.
  • Board books. She still doesn’t really care about books, but I occasionally read to her anyway.
  • Play mat. I bought this Fisher-Price play mat used [it looks brand new] from Craigslist. The person I bought it from said her baby hated it. Elliot LOVES it. I highly recommend the used route on this one since it’s kind of impossible to predict the outcome… plus they are really ugly [ours is bright, awful colors but Elliot loves them, soooo ?]. This Fisher-Price mat has flashing lights the baby can look at… these make Elliot laugh and squeal, so definitely get that feature. She also likes looking in the mirror, so a mirror attachment is really handy. 
  • Swing. I also bought this Fisher-Price Lil’ Lamb Dream Swing used from Craigslist. Elliot never looks happy in it, but it usually makes her pretty content and sometimes she falls asleep in it even if she looks angry. She used to always fall asleep in it, so it works awesome for a short time. This particular swing has a mirror and mobile above it… Elliot only occasionally notices them, but when she does, she is fascinated.
  • Bouncy seat. Skippy bought this one for Elliot recently… mostly as a kind of portable swing… it’s something easy to put her in that moves and makes her content without me dragging a gigantic swing around every room of our house [upstairs, downstairs, kitchen, bathroom, ugh]. Elliot hated it at first, but she is good with it now. It doesn’t really bounce on it’s own, which stinks… but it does vibrate, which typically is enough to make Elliot happy.

Dustin and I discussed ditching the swing and the bouncy seat after Elliot and getting something fancy like this mamaRoo that supposedly bounces and sways for our next baby. I’m thinking it kind of combines the function of both the swing and the bouncy seat and is still relatively portable. Anyone try one?

So, I think that’s basically it in the way of must haves or should haves. If I think of other things, I’ll come back and add to the post…

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1 Comment

Filed under Baby, [Personal]

One response to “How to survive

  1. Shannon Hawley

    Phoenix had the mamaroo. We got it new- waste of money. If she likes the bouncy seat the mamaroo isn’t going to do it for her. It moves really slow and Phoenix always looked at me like -‘Really mom, where is the jumper.’ We had the lamb swing too. Phoenix use to take naps in it. I loved that thing! Sad when he got to big for it.

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