Monday, July 27, 2009

Some May Call Me An Expert

My friend and cousin, LeeAnn, is having a baby in October and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the registry process, she solicited the advice of some of her dear friends.

And, since I am in the thick of raising four babies in five years and still have three in diapers, some may call me an expert.

And some may call me nuts.

Either way, for all you soon to be mamas out there, here is my unsolicited advice on what I needed, what I didn't and how you can follow in my merry footsteps.

Furniture- Essentials
The Pack & Play with the add-on bassinet and changing table is a great investment b/c when she is sleeping in your room with you, you don't want to change her diaper on your bed. Trust me. Speaking of which, with Avery, I changed her diaper every time I nursed her at night, and I spent so much time trying to get her to burp. With Audrey and Reece, I gave them a good slab of butt paste before bed and only changed them if they pooped. I also skipped the burping thing and just put them back to bed after nursing unless they were grunting or cross.
Crib (I really like my Jenny Lind). I think convertible cribs are not necessary. I also think that bassinets are a waste unless you get a spare as a gift.
Crib Mattress- don't get anything fancy, it's not like their 8-20 pounds is going to break it in super fast.
3-4 Crib sheets, I like the Amy Coe and the WalMart brand. I don't like Circo, they are hard to fit on your mattress.
Mattress liner
Hamper or laundry basket
I love Dreft detergent. I think every mom who doesn't get gagged out by smells should experience washing all her baby's clothes before the little one comes and smell them and carefully place them in the dresser. Buy one bottle, after the thrill is gone and you are washing 4 outfits a day because of the horrendous amounts of poop and puke, go with the All Free and Clear for every consecutive load and child.
A good chair for you to nurse in, you may want to find a comfy recliner to sleep in your last trimester and then sleep in while you nurse.
Either a high chair or a booster chair that goes on your chair with a tray.

a changing table. I begged Caleb to get me one, and since it wasn't in our budget, he built one. I don't use it. I have a shallow basket with diapers, wipes, a changing pad, and butt paste in each room, hiding in some inconspicuous place. I agree with Leigh on the Zinc Oxide, it is much more effective than other diaper rash cream, cheaper and better for baby's bottom. As far as diapers go, I like Huggies or Luvs until the bitter end. The generic diapers sag and chap their hides and Pampers smell weird and are expensive.

To Keep Baby Entertained-
A swing. Must Have. I would register for the one that plugs into the wall or register for 40 D batteries.
I also think that you should register for a really cool crib mobile. I love my Tiny Love one and all of my kids have too.
A play mat/Jungle mat/activity mat.
Toys and rattles- Sassy makes some really cute ones, make sure they can grab them (those cubes by Baby Einstein are lame b/c the baby can't grab them until she isn't interested anymore.)
Bouncy chairs and baby papazans are not really necessary, babies think they are boring. Bumbos are cool b/c they can sit up and check things out, they are also a good place to do first feedings.
Exersaucer and Johnny Jump-Ups are awesome, but kind of pricey. If you don't get one, I would try to find a used one and disinfect it.

Baby Gear:
Pack and Play (see above)
Baby Bjorn (way better than a cute, fashionable sling)
Infant carrier/carseat- I think Graco has better safety ratings than evenflo, choose a gender neutral color in case the next one is a boy
Convertible Carseat for after 1
Snap and Go stroller (the generic one that fits graco) with the cup holders
Fashionable bag for diaper bag and a portable changing pad to stash in there, b/c God knows that you don't want your baby's head on one of those public changing tables where some other kid's diarrhea spilled over.

Health and Safety-
Monitor- the cheapest one is sufficient (don't be lured by the video monitors- you really won't use them)
Outlet covers
cabinet latches
ear thermometer
infant tylenol
infant motrin
gripe water (available at health food stores and way more effective than mylecon gas drops)alcohol swabs for umbilical care
baby fingernail clippers (don't get the health pack with the digital thermometer, bulb aspirator and clippers- they all suck, except the bulb aspirator, which is supposed to suck, but doesn't.)
saline nasal spray (Lil' noses) and the bulb aspirator that they give you at the hospital
night light (this is really for you)
2 travel size Germ X and one big bottle

For you-
Lansinoh nipple cream
Lansinoh nursing pads (2 big boxes)
3 good nursing bras (I would buy a cheap, comfortable underwire one at Target for when you are at the hospital and to sleep in at night, and then after your milk comes in, go to Motherhood and buy a couple good ones that fit and look good under your clothes)
Granny panties
Dermasol (spray cooling antiseptic)-you will learn quickly where you need this.
Pillow sized Maxi pads and panty liners
Red Wine
Not combined

I like Gerber bottles b/c they are bpa free and made in the USA and cheap. Use w/ MAM nipples (buy separately), b/c they are better for breast fed babies and they have good airflow. (I would get about 3 small bottles and 3 large bottles and about 2 infant nipples and 4-6 older baby nipples) Avent bottles are lame and leaky. Dr. Browns are a pain to wash.
Bottle brush
I like mam and Avent pacifiers (get 2 newborn and about 4 older baby pacis)
Pacifier clip
Gerber bowls with lids
no-spill snack bowls
plates, silverware
bibs (I love the wipe-off circo pocket bibs)
2 Nuby cups for early on
Take and toss cups for later (I would avoid cups with plastic or rubber spill proof valves b/c they get moldy and gross)
Medela has a good hand pump (which is probably all you need unless you are working full time)

I would recommend having several pairs of sleepers for the first few weeks. I like the Gerber brand that zip up, b/c at night, jacking with those snaps will make you crazy.
A newborn hat or two
Blankets- Really the hospital blankets are the best for swaddling. And if you don't know how to swaddle, ask your nurse to show Jeff how.
Burp clothes- I like the Birdseye diapers for that. Lots of them.
Skip the baby towels and robes.
I love baby wash clothes, they are great for cleaning faces after meals when they are toddlers.

How exhaustive is that list? Really if you have diapers, wipes, b00bs and your baby, you will be good to go.


Loukia said...

Oh man... great list! And I'm getting just reading it - thinking having a third child is being put on hold! ;) If that ever does happen... I've so yes and no and yes and no about it!
Yes, you absolutely need a pack a play! We had ours in our family room and both boys used it a lot, to nap in during the day, for us to change their diapers, etc.
I also loved the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, that went beside my bed - both boys slept there, beside me, in my room, until they were 6 months old. :)

Erica said...

I'm only one year out of having a newborn, but wow, this reminded me of how much changes in a year! :) I'm with you on the zip-up sleepers. Eli spent many a night with snaps that were snapped all wrong, just because his mother was going to have a nervous breakdown if she had to undo and redo those stupid snaps one more time! :) And we could not have lived without that doorway hanging jumparoo thing. Worth every penny.

Following Him said...

What a list. I think I may copy and paste this post and save it for a time when I need it.

LeeAnn said...

I loved this list! Great advice and humor too :)

Jamilyn said...

I have something I would like to add to your great list-Ergo Baby is even better than the Baby Bjorn! It is super comfy and doesn't pull on your shoulders. I know they are at boutiques, but can also be found online at

Rachel Wilson said...

That made me tired. :)

The Griffin Family said...

Great post! Great laugh too! I so remember thinking that I had to have all of the trendy stuff when I was pregnant with Alex. Don't tell anyone, but I even went so far overboard as to buy PeePee Tee Pee's! Shhhh, don't tell! Talk about a waste of moolah!

I did want to share one of my personal must haves for Mommy at the hospital: DEPENDS. Sounds crazy I know, but I was beyond annoyed at the mesh panties and pad that went from my belly button to the middle of my back. I had to find an alternative!! How in the heck is one supposed to pull the mesh things up and keep the pad in place all while being incredibly sore!?! Baffles me! The Depends worked great because it was all in one. I wouldn't recommend them for ladies who have C-sections though for obvious reasons. I loved using them so much that they are now a staple in all of my mothers gift bags that I take to the hospital. Sure, I get a few stange faces at first....but they come around quickly!

Hope you have a great day! I think I had a "Tyne" spotting in Walmart yesterday. I was one contact down though so I can't be 100% sure, hence why I didn't approach you! lol

Toodles, Kat

Jen said...

Love the list, and how true! My husband got me a really nice diaper bag as a surprise, and it really felt like a treat as I lugged all that stuff around in my sleep-deprived daze. I got a beautiful Skip Hop that got so many compliments. I know - how about a new diaper bag for each baby to make mom feel special, too (hint, hint)? I'll take that orange Zosephine I've been coveting!

McKay said...

Wow! I'll definitely be saving that list for later! Some of my friends here love Hooter Hiders and Hotslings.

Sweetpeas said...

And just to prove that every baby/family is different, all 3 of my kids have LOVED the bouncy seat (granted it's one w/ a toy bar over top, they like to bat at/grab the toys & watch the stars light up), pretty much are only happy in the portable swing if they're tired enough that it puts them to sleep (got TONS of use out of these for that purpose w/ my twins, put them in the bathroom & the shower noise plus swing motion = morning nap every day for months LOL), and the big girls didn't even like to sleep in the full size swing so I got rid of it, and don't have room for one in this house even if this baby liked it, so never tried it, but she likes the portable swing less than the big girls, so I'm thinking big swing would've been a no-go for her too.