Monday, January 17, 2011

Simply Must: Baby Essentials

{via Martha}

I find the preparation for baby #2 to be much, much different than the first time around.  This time I'm stressing about when to move W from the crib to a big-boy-bed, whether I should keep him in his same "nursery" or to a new room, what kind of bedding to get for him and her, and...well, it's a long list.

The other day I was remembering when I was pregnant with W.  The hubs and I would walk through Babies R Us with our eyes wide open and jaws dropped.  So. Much. Stuff.  It was mind boggling.

The closer to the baby's arrival, the more trips we made to said store.  I was irrational and thinking I needed everything now.  More often than not, D advised me to wait until the baby came.  Who knew whether he'd prefer Huggies or Pampers?  Avent or Dr. Brown's?  Blue or green?  Swaddled tightly or free to move?  And those breast pads -- what?!

This baby prep anxiety changed once W arrived.  In the first couple of months we figured out what he liked, what we liked, what worked, what completely failed, what we couldn't live without.

In my following trips to the baby store, I would see other parents-to-be overwhelmed and clueless like we were.  I wanted to hold their hands, stroke their hair, then start removing crap from their carts.

You see,with baby items, I've learned three things:
  1. Less is more -- way more.  
  2. There's a real difference between baby essentials, and just stuff.  Steer clear of the "stuff" until it becomes an essential.
  3. You get what you pay for.
Truth is, you have to go through this whole having-a-baby experience before you would have any idea what half of these things are.  So, essentially, any woman who's done it is an expert.

And now that I am back in baby mode (and offering unsolicited advice), here are the essentials I would recommend:
  • White onesies:  available in every size.  Perfect for around the house, a hot day, and underneath everything.
  • Gown pajamas with front snaps:  a must!  Easy for nighttime changes, and the snaps mean you don't have to pull the gown over baby's head.
  • Simple, soft clothing:  I'm of the opinion, a baby should still look like a baby in whatever they are wearing.  They will inevitably grow up and wear jeans, boots, corduroy and bright stripes, but they can only wear soft colors and cozy fabrics for so long.  And clothing doesn't have to break the bank.  Don't be afraid of hand-me-downs.  
  • J&J baby lotion:  for me, off-brands don't cut it here.  This is the softest, best smelling stuff there is.
  • Snug hat:  This one is my favorite, and it looks oh so cute on the little one.  
  • Aden+Anais swaddlers:  all-time best swaddling blanket.  Can be used as a light blanket later on.  You can pick these up at Target, too.
  • Pack 'n Play:  most come with a bassinet feature, so it's perfect for the newest baby, all the way up to a toddler.  Take it on trips, outside, or as an alternative to a co-sleeper.  Stick with gender neutral. 
  • A&D Ointment and Butt Paste:  babies get diaper rash.  I've found A&D to be an every-day preventative, as well as treatment for a milder rash.  Got a rash?  Go with the Paste.
  • Electric breast pump:  If you're nursing, this should be top on your list.  Yes, they are pricey, but if you're working or even considering more than one child (or you would just like the option of providing your baby a bottle), you WILL get your money's worth. 
  • Burp cloths, burp cloths, burp cloths:  babies spit up..a lot.  Always have more than you think you need.  And you can save some money -- these are an easy thing to make. 
  • Books:  no one knows what toy your new baby is going to love; Instead of clearing out the store's toy section, opt for books.  You can never go wrong with the classics (Goodnight Moon, I Love You Stinky Face, or any Eric Carle or Sandra Boynton selections).  A favorite of ours is I Love You Through and Through.
  • An assortment of hygiene items:  try a few different brands of diapers (small pack) and breast pads.  My experience says Huggies work best for girls -- Pampers for boys.  Regardless, you will go through more of these than you ever thought possible, so don't feel like you have to commit immediately.  First, figure out which kinds work best for you and baby.

What am I forgetting?  What are your baby must-haves?  What do I  need for baby #2?  And what will the essentials be for baby #1 (who's not so much a baby anymore)?  

I suppose I should wait it out a bit.  The bases are covered.  W will eventually sleep in a real bed.  His room will evolve into something he and I can both be proud of.  And baby girl will have plenty of clean, white onesies to wear.  


Becca said...

Funny! I was thinking of writing a similar post! And seriously? A big "amen" to everything you said. My experience thus far has steered me toward the same things, including the Pampers for boys, Huggies for girls bit.

melissa said...

Nice thoughts, girl! Love how you think you need it all and then discover they really only need so much...
The only item I can think of as far as "essentials" goes is a binky. Of course, this is also something that you have to try out a few and see what works best.
I bought Abe a gift for Jane to give him when he comes to the hospital and wrapped it up and put it in my hospital bag, I'll let you know how that goes and if it's an essential for our "Baby #1's"

Ashley said...

I remember when Abbey was a babe and noticing the johnson and johnson label actually said something along the lines of, "We don't do generic!" They weren't kidding, I totally agree with ya. Did you discover the joy of the bumbo seat? Totally ridiculous looking, but it's nice for younger siblings to be able to sit and watch the older ones running in circles all day (seriously. abbey is running in circles right now...)

Glenn M said...

Hi all! I wanted to share with you a page where you can get "Free essentials for raising a baby!"
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The Shupaloops said...

I agree with everything you put down. I must say though, white onesie are a must, but for girls white sleeveless onesies are essential. Never needed them with Jack, but little girls have so many adorable sleeveless tops.

Audra said...

I have to say that I second the Huggies / Pampers Theory!

luna said...

Everything you put down in the post is something that I agree. I almost have all when I had my first baby!
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