Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Baby Gear List - Comprehensive

There is so much GEAR that seems to be needed to have a baby. Well, it's true and it isn't. I did a post when I had one baby about what an EC'd baby needs -- just the bare essentials.  Now that I am on baby #2 I want to revise and re-do a new baby list. This one is a bit more exhaustive, and consumeristic.  Take it or leave it, but these items have been useful for us.
  1. Car Seat with extra base/s for all cars (with extra bases, you can just clip the car seat in.  They do slide in with a seat belt, but it just takes longer). The infant car seat (which goes in and out of the car easily) fits baby for about a year.  After that, you will need a front-facing car seat. Some then covert to a booster seat so you would only need two car seats ever. We found it nice to have two of the bigger ones, so we can keep one in each car.
  2. Mirror for car seat so you can see the baby (they ride backwards, you know, at the beginning).
  3. White noise machine for naps if your house is loud (i.e. if you have another child) - or humidifier or fan or dehydrator (sounds silly, a dehydrator in there, but we put ours in the bedroom because it is so loud and it works great when it's running to block out the other household noises). It has been said that having a fan move air in the room where a baby sleeps also reduces the risk of SIDS.
  4. Swaddle blankets. Get more than one so you can do laundry.
  5. Sleep sacks for as they get older (fleece or cotton).  These help with the pajama means time for sleep mentality, as well as keeping them warm and reducing SIDS risk if they are sleeping alone.
  6. Nursing pillow (or couch cushions). With both babies, I used My Breast Friend at the beginning when they were tiny tiny.  I switched to the Boppy with #1 and the crook of my arm with #2 because I hardly had a chance to sit down and nurse with the first child also needing attention at the same time.  When I do sit down, I use the couch cushion because I no longer have a dedicated nursing station like I did with #1.
  7. Nursing bras and re-usable nipple pads for leaking milk. I like Bravado brand bras, and I especially like their tank tops.  These let you just pull up any shirt you are wearing, and the tank top covers your belly, and the shirt covers the top of your breast.  Their bra tank tops (as opposed to other brands) are a full bra inside for those who have a larger cup.  Also, soft cups are recommended, at least when you are establishing your milk supply.  This is so you won't have a wire on a milk duct and clog it or cause inflammation of the breast.
  8. You could also use a nursing cover.  These have boning at the top of an apron-type piece of fabric so you can see baby but nobody can see you nurse.  I prefer not to use these, thinking I am giving girls an image of what a nursing mother looks like, and helping someone else think it's not taboo to nurse.  But if you don't feel like a lactivitst, and it would help you feel more comfortable to nurse your baby, they are available.
  9. A glider is a fancy rocking chair that is nice with a moving ottoman or nursing stool.  If you start using it early enough, baby gets used to the motion and it helps get him back to sleep.  With my first, I didn't use it for this, but we used it later to read books.  I have been using it for #2 and he finds it soothing.  They make narrower and wider ones of these.  The wider ones would be useful for a toddler to sit and a baby and mama.  Some recline, which a friend of mine found useful for middle of night bottle-feedings, and he and baby would both pass out together. Dutalier brand is sturdy and well-known.
  10. Many parents use a crib, either in their room or in a different room.  If you use a crib, many then convert to a toddler bed and single bed later on.  You will also need a crib mattress and mattress protector and sheets.   "They" say not to use crib bumpers or blankets in the crib (SIDS risk), so you will only need a fitted sheet.  I recommend an organic mattress, or a used mattress.  SIDS can be connected to off-gassing, and when little babies sleep on a new or non-organic mattress, they can have lots of fumes and they could possibly overwhelm their little systems.  However, I think that if you are undecided on having a crib, you should wait until the baby comes.  Many cribs sit unused in bedrooms, like ours did for our 1st (he slept in the bed).  Our 2nd uses his for naps, and I am now a crib convert. Although I do like having a single bed in the room where the crib is, so I can lay down to nurse him when need be.
  11. I am now seeing the wisdom of some parents using a Moses Basket with a rocking stand or Bassinet/ rocking cradle for the first few months.  This would be a way to keep baby close while still having him get used to sleeping laying down.  They all have a rocking option, which would help keep baby asleep. Note we used the Moby instead, but it makes sense to do something like this.
  12. If you co-sleep, that technically means you sleep within arms-length or some even define it as room-sharing.  Note the American Association of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing for the first 6 months as babies learn to regulate their breathing.  Bed sharing is another option.  For bed sharing, you don't need anything.  You could also use a co-sleeping pad (Kapok) or bed rail or a sidecar arrangement like a crib with one side down or a dedicated co-sleeper.
  13. Burp cloths are great, especially since (some) babies spit up a lot.  It's nice to have something cute to wipe it up with.
  14. Receiving blankets (here, too) (or here) are nice when baby is young- to wrap baby in around the house or to tuck into the car seat to make it cozier.  When baby is a bit bigger, they make good cloths for wiping up.
  15. Tiny cloths are useful all the time.  We keep them stashed everywhere and they are constantly in use.  They are nice for smaller messes (hence they are smaller in the laundry).
  16. The benefits of using a Lovey, or Security blanket, are to help them sleep or to give some extra comfort at transition times.  I would get two, though, of either, since it is stressful when your toddler hides his and forgets he has hidden it and then you spend half a day looking for it.  Or, when they are younger, they may need it at laundry time.
  17. Babywearing is so essential.  To do this, try lots of carriers.  What works for one mom, or even one baby, may not work for another.  Try the Ergo  (Ergo infant insert), Moby, slingBoba 3G, or another option.  Keep trying them and returning them until you find one that works for you and your baby.
  18. Books. Childbirth (or this for a little perspective). Baby book. The Continuum Concept. Our Babies, Ourselves. Sleep book. EC book. Books for baby
  19. If you intend to Pump, you will need one.  I like an electric double sided one because its quicker.  Better yet is a hospital grade pump (you can rent these). You can store milk in Glass Bottles 4 oz or in storage bags (you can pump right into those, though you will need a bottle to feed baby from).  Try slow flow nipples at first so baby doesn't get lazy when nursing and expect the milk to flow as easily as it does when it comes from the bottle.  Be aware of milk storage rules, and know that whenever baby is getting a bottle, you should be pumping (hence it doesn't really give you "freedom," if that is what you are looking for-- I'd rather carry baby than a pump around!).  If you don't do this, your milk production cycle will be mismatched to your baby's... which is fine for working moms and hard for occasional pumpers.
  20. I suppose you also need clothing (Under the Nile organic clothing is nice). Hats (Zutano makes cute ones) keep baby's head warm, and socks are good for little feet (we loved Trumpette and Baby Gap or Old Navy triple roll). For clothing, if you do EC, we prefer shirts to onesies, and find items like Baby Legs useful for easy diaper area access.
  21. Robeez fit on little feet and don't fall off, though I don't think they need anything besides socks until they are really crawling and outside.  These are leather-soled and loose fitting, which I think is important for foot development (to have as little constricting the feet as possible).  As they get older, Pediped makes a nice shoe with a flexible sole and soft upper, as well as Shoo Shoes.
  22. Bouncer seat has its time and place if you must put the baby down somewhere and need a little soothing action.  A baby swing would also do this.  There is a cool one which fits the infant car seat, though I am loathe to recommend anything that encourages anyone to put their baby into the car seat for more time. I only mention it because I didn't know it existed and there have been times when the baby has needed a nap 15-30 minutes before it was time to go pick up the preschooler and it would have been easier to put him to sleep in the car seat than to transfer him later or wake him up after an incomplete nap.
  23. Changing table is useful, although we have felt it to be a lot less useful this time than last time.  Child #1 loved sitting on it and watching his Mobile (musical). Child #2 likes to sit on a changing Pad we have in the bathroom and eat his feet and look at the baby in the mirror.  We hardly if ever use the changing table and it was indispensable before.  Go figure.  Regardless, if you use one, you will need a couple of Covers- one or two to wash (depending on laundry frequency), and one to use.  You could always put baby down on a cloth diaper on top of the pad, though, to reduce this kind of clean-up (babies are known to pee and poop as soon as the diaper comes off-- that is one reason why EC works!)... or use pee-pee tee-pees for boys (a marketing gimmick for putting a tiny towel on his penis).
  24. Toys? Not really.  Though we love wooden toys and all things Waldorf.
  25. You will need to potty train-- if you do EC or conventional training, you will need a Little potty and seat reducer, Baby legs (you can always use these as Baby Arms for a few years), and a  Portable potty like the Potette Plus is useful, depending on how squeamish you are in letting your little one pee in parking lots and bushes.  Some just carry a potty in the back of the car and sit the kid there-- it's all a matter of preference.  We have a seat reducer on every toilet, and chose one brand of little potty and bought multiples.
  26. Diapers and Cloth training pants (aka padded underwear) are also useful regardless of which potty training method you use.  G Diapers are a nice gateway diaper to cloth, since they have a re-usable component and fewer of the nasty chemicals found in disposable diapers.  The simplest route is to buy 2-4 light diaper covers in each size (Newborn, Small, and Medium, then later buy Large and XL if necessary), and 4 dozen Chinese or Indian Prefolds in size Regular (I like Indian), a diaper sprayer for the toilet, a wet bag for when you are out and about, and either cloth wipes or disposable wipes... or use those little cloths I keep telling you about... or cut up an old t-shirt... Then you wash it all yourself.  If you use cloth wipes, you can make wipe solution yourself or use water.
  27. Waterproof pads/ piddle pads are great for naked bottom time.
  28. Nightlights (nice to have sensors so they go on automatically) help because you are up and down all night long and it's nice to be able to see a little without being totally disrupted by the light.  It also helps at the beginning when you are doing night feeds because it is hard to even find baby's mouth at night in the dark at first!  Then baby and mom get used to it...
  29. Dye free baby tylenol or motrin are nice to have on hand, just in case, and even if you never use them.  The dye-free formulas have fewer nasty things added in, and are harder to find at the all-night stores.  A forehead thermometer is less invasive and quicker than other methods of measuring baby's temperature, although we always do it a few times because the readings always vary by a tenth or two tenths of a degree.
  30. Nail clippers (baby or regular).  I feel like I am constantly clipping nails.  If I skip this task, someone inadvertently ends up with scratches across their face... some use baby mittens, or shirts with the ends that fold over to cover baby's hands, but we prefer to clip nails.  
  31. Pediatrician
  32. Phone number for a local lactation consultant or the local La Leche League leader. They are always happy to answer your questions all the time and for free.  Also mark your calendar for their monthly meetings and go to one or two when your baby is young.  They are a great place to meet other moms with little ones and to hear stories about nursing.
  33. Cloth swim diapers are great. You only need one per size, and they work as well as the disposable ones (all they do is hold the poop in-- the pee goes out just like in the disposable ones). Plus, they are cute and don't go to the landfill.
  34. Everyone needs a camera with video (DSLR or point and shoot). Your kid is only a baby once- what better time to upgrade?!?
  35. Itzbeen is a baby timer that I was given as a gift with Baby #2. It has buttons for when baby has done various things, or you can set it to go off when a certain amount of time has passed. I find it immensely useful when my brain is tired and Baby #1 (I mean toddler) needs my attention and I forget how long since baby #2 has gone potty, or nursed, or slept.  It is easy to check the timer, and when baby fusses, I have learned that when a certain amount of time has passed since last nursing or sleeping, I can help him by heading in that direction instead of feeding a tired baby (I can just put him to sleep).  There are apps for this, too, but I like Itzbeen because its numbers are always on (so if both hands are full I can still see it), and it has a flashlight. Yes, so does a smartphone, but I like this device.
  36. A baby monitor - sound only- is nice if you have a larger house or multiple stories and will leave baby sleeping in one area and go to another.  This is another item we never used with Baby #1, and we rarely use it now, but when we use it, we really need it, and it gives us freedom of movement without baby getting too worked up and screeching for attention. Plus, it has a nightlight that plugs in.
  37. A doorway jumper is a nice toy for getting excess energy out on a rainy day.  Some argue against it, like they argue against the Bumbo seat, because of the posture it puts baby in before baby is ready. The Bumbo seat and tray, by the way, are great for eating-- we used to put Baby #1 in it on the table so he was at eye level and we could clean up afterwards more easily.
  38. You will eventually need a Toothbrush and we like Weleda Toothpaste because it is natural and tastes like toothpaste, not sugar or fruit. A Teething ring helps ease baby's growing pains, though I recall using a carrot or celery stick, and heard stories of friends using frozen bagels.
  39. For bathtime you can use a Hooded bath towel and washcloth. The washcloth helps direct the water away from eyes and face (rather than pouring it over baby with a cup).  A Baby bath tub (or tummy tub) fits baby and helps hold them up so you can bathe them in the sink (while standing instead of leaning over a full-sized tub and making your back ache) and use less water. Eventually you will use a Medium inflatable tub in the regular bath so you can still use less water and have it come up higher on their little body. Baby soap doesn't sting their sensitive eyes.  We like Dr. Bronner's BarsBath toys keep them occupied, although we find kitchen tools just as useful.
  40. In the pool, a Water floating ring can be useful, unless baby doesn't want to be apart from you.  Pool noodles after 18 mo can be used to float as well (they are supposedly the first flotation devices a toddler can learn to use independently).
  41. An Itty bitty book light is nice for laying next to a sleeping baby when you don't feel like sleeping (an iPad or Kindle Fire would do the same thing).
  42. You need a Diaper bag (definition) for outings... nothing fancy... or something fancy...
  43. We loved Baby Led Weaning for introducing solids... but if you do it or not, you will get much use out of a High chair. Portable high chairs are nice for on the go, and Little cutlery (or these) helps little ones imitate mom and dad safely.  Water gets introduced with food, and you should use Straw sippy cups or old school sippy cups where the liquid flows out (they don't need to suck to get it out).  These don't interfere with their developing mouths. Wood or plastic cups and bowls will help save your nicer dishes!  Though we ended up buying cheap Ikea glass bowls so baby #1 could get used to using the real thing (and so we didn't have to use plastic).  Now that he is 3 and using glasses, they do break occasionally (and it is often my fault): we are hoping to eventually upgrade to matching glasses-- once enough break! Metal or glass to-go containers help keep plastic a bit further away as well. Snack traps are useful for finger foods like steamed cauliflower and blueberries on the go. Bibs help save shirts because it is a messy endeavor. Bibs with sleeves are even better, especially when feeding your child yogurt or any soups or purees. Bibs with pockets at least catch food as it drops.
  44. Mother's milk tea and Raspberry leaf tea are nice at the beginning, when your body is getting used to milk production and the uterus is going back down in size (6 weeks, approximately).  The mother's milk tea is most useful if used five or six times daily, and each time with a new tea bag.  It really helps boost production.
  45. Soft cozy blankets are also nice to have around.  Baby can lay on them, or they can go around baby on cool days, or help tuck baby into the car seat...
  46. A bike seat (Topeak) and helmet are really fun and useful.  We started using ours at 20 pounds, which is when we turned the car seat around as well (I think the guidelines have changed since then).  We liked the Topeak because it slides into the rear rack.  The same rack is used for a Topeak bag.  So if dad and mom are riding together, one can carry the bag and the other can carry the baby, then it is super quick to switch jobs. We LOVED using the bike seat.
  47. You may also want a baby jogger.  You can't use these until baby is a bit older, which I think is great because little babies are meant to be carried!  If you buy one of these, the front wheel on a swivel (not fixed) makes them more mobile and so much easier to maneuver. 
Whew. What a list. And sorry it was in no particular order.  Hope you find it useful.  And I hope you use these tools to nurse for a long timecarry your baby, cloth diaper, and love that baby up! 

"The days are long but the years are short."

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