My girlfriend Amanda shared the news recently that she is expecting. A child. Just in case that wasn’t clear. This is super news. Though it makes me laugh to think of how far we’ve come in the last 7 years. Literally. We met while working in NYC as event planners. I’ve since moved up and down the Eastern Seaboard and Amanda has travelled the world over, many times over.
Amanda was my first friend when I moved into the city. We were co-workers, but working in a 6×6 closet that someone deemed large enough to act as an office, at the same desk with 12 inches to part you will make fast friends. Or horrible enemies. We chose friendship. We had enough problems. One of which was our boss. But those are stories for another day.
Which is all to say, Amanda’s got dirt on me. Lots of it. So I need to tread lightly. Kidding. But I do love her, and I’m excited for her. Because as much as I bemoan having a holy terror as a child, having a little boy is lots of fun. And Amanda is joining the club.
I sent her the following list. I know lots of bloggers do the whole “The Stuff You Need to Buy to Raise a Human.” Well, here’s mine:
(anything highlighted is hyperlinked to a specific item)
So you’re having a baby. Good luck. Now go buy this.
Make sure to have both long and short sleeve up until 12 months. Also, for NB-3 months, make sure to have the kind with fold-over sleeves. Babies cut themselves up like Bloods going after Crips.
Zip up Onesies for sleeping.
You don’t want to be snapping up a million snaps in the middle of the night. Times 8. Sorry, but it’s happening. Deal with it. Move on.
For the first couple of weeks, baby will be soaking up the spotlight. But baby needs to keep his belly button out of the spotlight. This means keep that sucker away from snaps, zippers, what have you. Cuz it’s gonna fall off. But until it does, keep it cozy. Don’t traumatize the belly button.
Grab your husband. Grab a handy man. Just make someone install a dimmer switch in the nursery.
We cheaped out because we didn’t think it was necessary. And for the first 6 months, it’s not. In my opinion. But when they start to throw things out of the crib and pull themselves up and you are thinking about when is it okay to start crying it out? You’ll wish you knew if they were in real distress or just threw their soothe and glow seahorse overboard. And to be able to avoid entering the nursery with that knowledge is priceless.
You will think you want those cute Aden and Anais blankets. You don’t. Well, you can buy them if you want something light to drape over your carseat and shield the baby from Paparazzi. But to actually swaddle the baby? This is it. Get a couple. Seriously, I think we stopped swaddling at like 5 or 6 months. Babies wake themselves up without it. You don’t want that once they start sleeping through the night. Ish.
Here’s the deal. All the baby books tell you, “Keep the baby’s room around 68 degrees!” And you think to yourself, “My sweet defenseless baby will be freezing!” Mostly because all the family visiting you will be walking around in their winter parkas and lamenting on why you keep the house so darn cold. And you will challenge them and say things like “Do you want the baby to DIE?!”. And then they will walk on eggshells around you, stage whispering about “hormones” and “post partum depression” until they leave. And then you’ll be sad because visitors help a lot with babies. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Keeping the house at a nice 68 degrees. And cold babies. And he may be. That could be true. But at first, he’ll be swaddled and in a onesie. He’ll be fine. And then he’ll grow out of being swaddled. And you will freak out. You will actually consult your pediatrician about how to wean your child from swaddling since you are afraid he will never sleep again without being swaddled and what with it being an ice palace in your house, your baby needs a blanket. But blankets are forbidden. So you go and buy this. And you wish you had registered for it, because at this point in the game you find yourself saying things like, “it’s just another drop in the bucket” and ”put it on my tab.” So even though you may not use this at first, register for it. Because 6 months in? Ain’t nobody buying baby pressies. And that’s sad. For your wallet.
This is where your baby will live for the first five months of life. He will sleep here. He will nap here. He will watch you as you try and cook dinner for the first time again here. Don’t learn the hard way and purchase it one month into parenthood, after trying sleep incliners and padding the mattress and finally after reading on TheBump.com about this mysterious “FP RnP.” You can go with the basic model, though I see they now offer a plush version. Either way, babies don’t care. You might though, when you realize all your pics of your baby have an ugly yellow polka dot background. See also: all of Colin’s pictures from October 2010 through April 2011.
“I am the ugliest product known to man. And I will lull your fussy baby to sleep every night, SO DON’T QUESTION ME LADY. Now, toss the sleep sheep.”
Extra fitted crib sheets.
Have about three for whatever crib you get. Pair them with mattress protectors.
At one year, we phased out the Soothe and Glow Seahorse and phased in this guy. He loves to turn it on before he hops into bed which for the cuteness factor alone makes it worth it.
Use the old cloth diapers for burp cloths. They are super absorbent and you can use them later on for cleaning rags. They do an excellent job on windows.
Not much to say on that one. Oh, it stands up on its own. Super.
I prefer Green to Grow. They are all the BPA free crap, but more importantly, they hold up really well. Can’t say the same for Medela and some other brands. Also stay away from Nuk. Those suck balls. But keep in mind you may have to shop around for bottles that work for your baby. All nipples are different, some are faster flow than others, and that may or may not work for your kid.
It doesn’t scream, “LOOK! I have a baby!” Though all the breast pump parts and nipples might. Plus, the baby is probably screaming, “Look! You have a baby!” Re: the drying rack, you can just shove whatever, wherever. The only downside is the size. I found it a little small. You may want two.
Didn’t even know we needed this. We were gifted it. And then we bought another one. You need this. Two of em.
Small footprint. You will likely buy a booster later on as well when your child sits at the table with you, so keep costs down where you can. This is easy to clean, easy to dissemble. You can pack it in the car if need be.
We also have an Inglessina Fast Chair, but be careful of these- you can’t attach them to islands or drop leaf tables, and they are difficult to attach to tables with lips. The beauty of the booster, it works on any chair really. And when you want your child to start eating at the table, you can’t beat the price. I know some people who use this from the get go. Since we didn’t have a dining table in our Boston apartment, we chose to go the high chair route. The high chair now resides in the cottage in Maine for when grandkids visit.
This is similar to what they will give you in the hospital or so I’ve noticed with all my friends anyway. Colin never looked back. And all those cute pacis we bought before hand? In the trash. If we had disposable income, I would invest in stock in these. If you have disposable income now, you should do the same. You won’t after the baby comes. You’ll thank me later.
You know the feeling in the pit of your stomach when something bad has happened? That is the feeling you will get every time you can’t find a pacifier anywhere in the house. Or you’ve clearly lost it somewhere in the mall. You’re going to lose a lot of pacifiers. This helps you lose less. But you’ll still lose a lot.
We use this one on Colin. Never had a fever before the first year, though. But the pediatrician office approves of digital. However, they do warn there could be a degree of difference.
For Boys (ie. for Penises)
Vaseline and Gauze (2×2 pads) for circumcision wound.
We received this as a bow on a present. Great idea. But also, the first toy that Colin could actually hold. This was a big deal. And also about three months down the line. Don’t forget your baby will grow beyond three months. I did.
5 months in, the baby will finally appreciate this. His drool will tip you off.
I am not sure what hypnotic witchery they have going on there at Baby Einstein, but we never left home without this. Cue the zombie eyes.
Think beyond that squirmy-does-nothing-all-day-but-sleep-eat-and-poop-baby. One day, your baby will be upright on his own. And he’ll need something to do. Be a pal. Give him something to do.
Your child will spend lots of time on this thing. Find one you like and can stand to look at 18 hours a day. Oh, and it should be fun for him, too.
When your kid starts pushing himself up, you may want one, especially if you have hardwoods. This can be made as small or as large as you’d like. Rugs work too, though. Don’t get me wrong.
Bath and Cleaning.
In my humble opinion, which I finally molded after not one, not two, but three infant bath seats, this is all you need. Yup, it’s five dollars at Target. Get one. Use it. When you’re done, squeeze it out like a sponge. When it gets ratty, throw it out. Buy another. Trust me. Your baby does not need an “infant spa”. Nor do you want to trip over it every morning on your way to the shower. You get five minutes to shower. Don’t use two of them kicking a baby bathtub around and yelling at it. Also, babies don’t fit into every bathroom sink, regardless of what PUJ tub wants you to think.
As an aside, you also don’t really need a knee pad to bathe your child. Grab a towel. You’ll have enough junk in your bathroom following giving birth. Trust me. Hello ice packs.
I use them myself now cuz they smell oh so good. And apparently Johnson’s has some carcinogen. I don’t know. This smells better anyway.
You can shove the foam insert in here. Then when the baby gets some bath toys, you can shove them in here, too. Stays up great with suction. No adhesive strips, which means good for bathroom resale.
Sensitive skin wipes.
Whichever brand you choose.
Target brand diapers are great so unless you spot a problem, I say go with those. Don’t use Luvs. Just. Don’t. Or do. But invest in Clorox.
Yup, that’s what it’s called. And it’s called that because they have nothing to prove. No need to get all fancy. Best butt paste for rashes.
I know you won’t listen, because, well, I didn’t. Hello Bugaboo! But trust you me. For the first couple of months, you can get by with a Snap and Go. You’ll be grateful your first solo trip the doctor. Do this. Also, it affords you time to sort out what kind of stroller you really need. A placeholder, if you will. If you decide down the line, you really need a jogging stroller, then great. Go for it. Keep in mind, you also need an umbrella stroller, especially if you travel. You don’t want to be hitting up Babies R Us the night before Thanksgiving because you realize you are flying and can’t possibly bring your full size stroller with you. And they won’t let you through security with your Ergo strapped on. Which results in a panic attack because “WE ARE BROKE!!” That may or may not have happened to me. Maybe.
Your stroller will become your new mobile car trunk. You are now a sherpa. Invest.
My recommendation here would be to go with the lightest car seat you can find. Not the car seat that can hold a 35 pounder. You will not be carrying a 35 pound baby in a car seat. Colin is still not 35 pounds. I would never carry him in a carseat now. We went with the Maxi Cosi. Nice and light. Even 15 pound babies feel heavy in a carseat.
People are generally in two camps: The Baby Bjorn or the Ergo. I firmly planted my feet in both. Here’s why: we used the Bjorn when Colin was little little little. We felt like he was too tiny to go in the Ergo even with the infant insert. We used the Ergo when he got bigger because it was better on our backs. Either way you go, you have a baby strapped to you and you’re gonna sweat like a mofo.
Okey dokey. Things are about to get real. Real Uncomfortable. Sorry. But it’s true.
Get yourself some yoga pants. And some granny undies. And some really cute pj sets. Some tank tops and zip up hoodies. Cuz that’s your new uniform, mommy! Make sure to have hubby on hand to go out and buy nursing bras once your milk comes in (GAG!). And splurge on those. It makes a difference. Even though you can’t believe you are spending $60 on a flasher bra. Do it.
Can’t say I recommend the Belly Bandit. I still have a pooch. But maybe it helped. Who knows.
If you go natural, you’ll want these on hand as well. I’m sorry. I hate to be the one to break the news.
- Colace (just trust me on this one
- Tucks medicated wipes.
- Spray bottle (they will give you this in the hospital)
- Ice packs (they will send you home with these from the hospital)
- Always Ultra Thin Pads
So, did I cover it? Anyone else got any advice for Amanda? I wish someone had told me that babies grow up to be 6 months old. That would have been helpful. For my bank account.