Everytime a friend gets pregnant I find myself emailing her a list of practical suggestions, things I've learned after having three kids, etc. because EVERY SINGLE KID is different, so what can you do to embrace the things that you hope will be consistent, things you will likely need and reuse later, and avoid the fluff and material advertising guile of the baby world out there?! Below is the list I normally send to my friends, the ones who know me, my disregard for nonsensical expensive baby crap, and the ones who know my experience of becoming a first time mom was SUPER difficult. I was and still am definitely not a baby person, in fact I can't wait until my babies are over a year old, despite looking back and thinking they grow up so fast! This list is dedicated to Wendy, a dear friend who is pregnant with her first! I'm so excited for her and all the fun information overload she's about to get by reading this post. WOO for Wendy!!!
|Aden+Anais swaddles 4 pack from Amazon|
|Fisher Price Booster Seat from Amazon|
|Insignia fast table chair from Amazon|
3. BABY BOTTLE STEAMER
|dishwasher basket for bottle accessories from Amazon|
4. BOTTLE STEAMER
|bottle steamer from Amazon|
5. BABY BOTTLES
My only advice is to pick one YOU like. This means style, number of parts, etc., because all the mumbo jumbo about this reduces reflux or colic is all a bunch of marketing crap. There is no nipple that accurately mimics the breast, there is no nipple that any baby is more likely to like and there is absolutely no magic bottle that will make your baby's colic go away (that's why they all say reduce on the labels). There is just the nipple you give it, whether it's yours or an artificial one. Trust me, I've bought all the bottles available at one point in an effort to get my son to take a bottle, but he would not! He refused until the nipple he was drinking from dried out and he had to eventually switch over to an expensive pre-made formula (the only one he would take).
|Any bottle you pick will be good, but stick to one system so you can mix and match parts easily|
6. BABY BOTTLE DRYER RACK FOR COUNTERTOP
|Cute grass drying rack from Amazon|
7. DIAPER TRASH
Here's my advice on a diaper trash. DON'T get one. Whether you live in an apartment or house, get used to taking the diaper trash out frequently. Oddly, your babies' poops will be about 3 times a day in the beginning if you're as lucky as me, but they are small and normally don't even smell that bad. This is the only time the diaper trash will conceal the smell. Once they start eating solids, the smell is so putrid, it doesn't matter how often you change or sanitize your diaper pail, poop is sitting in there, it's going to stink. Getting rid of our diaper pail was the best decision we ever made. We threw it away when our second born was about a month old. I enjoy the walk to the trash outside of the house everytime a child poops, even now with two little ones in diapers. Pee diapers can go in any trash, except for the morning one, which is normally a lot heavier and can be stinkier. Do yourself a favor and ditch the diaper trash, just take the diapers out. Better yet, go with cloth diapers and flush the poop down the toilet as soon as it's out.
8. DIAPER BAGS
If there's one thing about being a mom that I love, it's that I got to learn about diaper bags because boy, do I love diaper bags. Real diaper bags, of course, ones made intentionally for use with a baby, have so many friggin pockets in them, they are just fantastic! My only recommendation is to get one you like, one that is soft but has an exterior that is easily wiped down (Storsak, Petunia Pickle Bottom, etc.) and one that comes with an amazing amount of pockets, zippers, etc. Premium name brand diaper bags like Storksak come with a lot of accessories also, like diaper changing pads, clips to attach to your stroller, etc. but any bag with pockets will do. You can always buy a changing pad (one that can be wiped down). You will need all those pockets if you want to be prepared. This is what I carry in my normal diaper bag: thermos for each child, band-aids, neosporin, dishwashing liquid, diaper cream, baby powder, diapers, wipes, snacks, pen, wallet, chapstick, sunblock, lipstick, hand sanitizer, phone, checkbook. Obviously, I could go with less, but I'd rather be over prepared than under prepared. If we're going out of town, I also always carry a thermometer and Baby Tylenol. I've pretty much been using the same two or three diaper bags for the last five years. It does get a little dull, but to change it up, I sometimes wear a side body bag with my phone and wallet only, and leave the diaper bag on the stroller when it's parked during outings.
9. BABY POWDER - please, for the sake of your baby's wet tush, get some baby powder. Also, stash some in your bag for beach days cuz it helps remove sand easily!
10. BABY WASH - I'm not an organic crunchy gal, so I'm not going to suggest any all natural soaps, but the only thing that matters for me is that it's tear-free, so Johnson and Johnson is the natural brand I go with, there's all sorts of different scents that are fun to load up on. A head-to-toe wash is also great, two in one for the win!
11. DIAPER RASH CREAM - As for diaper cream, I like Desitin. Any cream will do though, just make sure you do not apply unless your baby's bum is DRY (enter baby powder).
12. BABY SUNBLOCK - Your baby isn't technically allowed to have sunblock on until about 3 months, that said, if you're going to be out and about in the sun, be safe and follow Daisy philosophy that a little bit of sunblock won't hurt.
13. BABY HATS - Just going out for a bit in the sun? Your baby's skin is VERY SENSITIVE, so please... put on a hat! Follow the Asian moms and PUT ON A HAT!
14. BABY WRAP/CARRIER - We have a Bjorn, but for us, it's between the Ergo and the Bjorn. The Ergo is praised by EVERY mom I know as super comfy and easy on the shoulders. The only downside is the baby can only front face you or lie on your back facing you (UPDATE: the Ergo 360 now lets baby face out, where have you been Ergo? My shoulders need you for my fourth!). The Bjorn is not bad, but my shoulders definitely feel my 30 pound babies after a while of wearing them. You can face the baby in or out but only in front of you (and not on your back). These are the structured carriers that you should get. There are also soft ones like the Moby or the Solly Baby but for me personally, they took too long to put on and I didn't like wearing my babies to do stuff, but I have friends who swear by them, so it's all a preferential thing. Either way, we're so lucky to have these options now because you can do so much while wearing your baby!
15. BATH TUB - If you have a big sink, this isn't really necessary, but having a tub to bathe baby in every 3-5 days after the umbilical cord has fallen off (so as to not dry them, my kids all had pretty bad eczema) will come in handy. This one comes with two options on the ends of a newborn (laying down at an angle) or a toddler (they can sit upright), so we always used it until baby was about 10 months, and then we transitioned to a bath tub.
|baby bath tub|
16. BATH SPOUT COVER
We love having a bath spout cover because we've personally been injured on it, so who knows what could happen to a baby who might stand up or bump into it whilst sitting, etc. Plus, it's super cute!
17. BABY MONITOR
There are so many new monitors out there now with video imaging, but in my humble opinion, if you have the cash to spring for a video monitor, save your money and get a normal monitor for sound only, and then put the rest of the money into an Owlet Baby monitor that will beep if your kid stops breathing, retail value currently $250 (and it literally JUST came out end of 2015 otherwise I'd already have it!). After all, that's the real fear right? There's no need to keep obsessing over what the baby's doing in the crib, get a regular monitor for sound and an Owlet Baby monitor for peace of mind and comfort.
|Owlet Baby monitor|
|Covered Goods nursing cover|
19. CARSEAT COVER - So depending on when your baby is born and where you live, you might want a casual carseat cover or something with a little more warmth and coverage. Like I mentioned above, the Covered Goods nursing cover can be a carseat cover as well...
20. NOSE FRIDA - Every hospital will send you off with a basic blue aspirator bulb syringe, you can google how to make your own at home saline solution (1 cup of water boiled with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, boil for 15 minutes, cool to room temperature), you put a few drops in baby's nose and then use the aspirator to suck out any extra boogers or stuffy noses. The Nose Frida is a more effective aspirator that uses your suction to get it out, it's a lot more powerful than the basic blue.
|the basic blue aspirator|
|Nose Frida on Amazon|
21. EAR THERMOMETER - Must have, especially since babies hate putting thermometers in their armpits and you'll hate putting it in their bums. This is a nice compromise because you can use the forehead and then later, when they're a bit older and willing to sit still, the ear. A little pricier than most thermometers but definitely a better option than a basic thermometer. Anytime temperature is over 100.3, you'll want some Tylenol around.
|ear and forehead thermometer on Amazon|
22. BABY TYLENOL - Just have some on hand, I like to stock up at Costco.
23. SIPPY CUPS/THERMOS - Something odd to load up on when preparing for a new baby, but if you put it on the registry, it's nice to have and not have to grab later when your kids are having sippy cups. My suggestion is a thermos because it keeps stuff cool for 10 hours, and then a sippy cup of a brand that's consistent so you can mix and match parts. This is our favorite Thermos, Dagny just got one for Christmas, and it comes with a little handle now (the boys don't have that on their Spiderman and Lightening McQueen ones).
24. SNACK PACKS - Lately, my older kids just take off the entire lid which makes my babies want to do the same, but if used correctly, these are amazing! There's just enough give so your itty bitty hands can reach in for the snack, but not a large enough opening that they can spill all those snacks out.
|best snack packs!|
If friends are going to gift larger clothes, try to load up with some 6-9 months, 9-12 months, and around 12 months, the baby sizing is all over the place. 12-18 months? That's a big gap, but it's a great time to have your kids walking around in too large clothing (Chinese style) until it fits and avoid having to continually stock up on items. Carter's runs small, Gap is pretty true to size but kind of short, Gymboree and Janie and Jack run big, that said most of my kids have been on the smaller side of the scale (Bubba definitely outgrows stuff faster than Jordan did).
26. SWING - Here's my advice on swings, if you can, BORROW one. It's so short term, you will use it for about 6 months, maybe a tad bit longer, and they are a lifesaver in the beginning, but for the price and for the real estate they take up, it's not necessarily worth it. Plus, each baby is different and some won't even want to fall asleep in a swing! Of three babies, only one fell asleep in the swing consistently enough for it to be worth it. We borrowed my sis-in-law's for the first baby and I think it's a bit of a win-win because you can offload your unused swing to someone who needs it if you have one, or borrow one and give it back when done. I'm willing to lend out my swing whenever, so if anyone nearby wants to borrow it, HOLLER!!! There are so many swings now, ones that actually swing, ones that move right and left, front and back, turn, etc. - anything will do to be honest. Personally, the sleeker new ones that only go left and right and front and back without swings might look better at home, but not sure if they feel the same. Not like your baby will know though so just pick one and cross your fingers that baby likes it.
27. CARSEAT/STROLLER SYSTEM - This is a tough one. I really like our Chico Keyfit 30, that said, we had to buy one that would fit a premie so our premies could pass the carseat test. We were surprised to learn that most carseats are too big for a four pound baby, and only a few on the market actually will be allowed to take the carseat test (a test every NICU does, they put the baby in the carseat, and monitor them for two hours to make sure they don't de-stat). That said, we never bought a stroller to fit our carseat. Depending on your budget and preference, there are so many out there. Here's my advice: visit your closest Buy Buy Baby (if you don't have one nearby, you might have to make multiple trips to baby stores, Burlington Baby Depot, Target, Walmart, etc.) and test them all out. When I say test them out, I mean bring along with you three different weights - a 10, 20, and 30 pound weight (yes, bring them all.. sounds ridiculous, but it'll help!) and PUT them in the stroller, stroll it around, and then, take it out, and try to collapse it and put it away... how's it feel? Bring a friend with you, a husband, a mom, whatever - get a second opinion. That's what you'll be doing a lot with your stroller, so figure it out - don't just look at it and push it around without anything in it! Reviews are important but at the end of the day, it's what YOU want and what YOU'RE comfortable with. I would say if you know you're going to have more children later on, think of a system that you can add to, or be prepared to sell and buy another one when you get number two. We do have an Urbo stroller from Mamas & Papas that we absolutely love which was gifted to us from friends in China, it's stayed with us despite having more kids now. It's also great to have some tiny crappy umbrella strollers for those times when you don't need to put extra clothes and diapers in your under carriage. Let's face it, you'll probably end up with 3-4 strollers if you're as insane as me. But it is fun to splurge on baby stuff every now and then. And if you're going to splurge, let it be on something you can use everyday!
28. PACK N PLAY - There are some pretty dope pack n plays these days. I keep seeing this nifty one that's low on the ground, like a tent, pop up in my Facebook feed. If I were a new mom, I might get a cool new one, but any one will do. These are great for traveling, you can't check it as a free item (like you can with strollers and carseats), but they are a necessity for traveling with baby so they can sleep in it. Although, if I'm truthful, I'd admit that with baby #3, we just find a corner, stack some footrests (if available) or big pillows around her, and clear the floor near her. She has managed great, but that's probably not a first time parent's preference, plus it was only for a few nights. We'll definitely be glad we have a pack'n'play when we go to Washington D.C. for two months and then Orlando for one. Here's a great site to get more input on pack'n'plays!
And there you go, that's my list, hence the title "Daisy's Practical Guide for New Moms" cuz I'm all about practicality. Good luck!