What You ACTUALLY Need For Baby

There are so many things that you need to buy when expecting a baby that it can be overwhelming. There are thousands of products and you seemingly need it all. Let’s just remember for a second though that most of that is due to great marketing and advertising. Sure you want most of it, but you don’t really need all of it. I remember going to Buy Buy Baby with my husband to complete our baby registry; we excitedly sat down with an associate who gives you one-on-one help, and she gave us a checklist of everything to put on the registry. The list was basically the entire store! I remember thinking that there was no way we would be able to afford all of it, and that we surely did not need it all either. But as a first time mom, how would I know if I needed it or not? Well, in an attempt to help some of you who are expecting, I have put together a comprehensive and realistic list of what I think is everything that you actually need for a new baby (and why).

  • Diapers and wipes: Of course this is a no-brainer, but I wanted to add a few tips though. Have a diaper raffle at your baby shower so you can stock up on diapers, and ask for them to be in a variety of sizes. You only need one or two boxes of size newborn diapers so don’t get too many. For a good deal on wipes I buy mine at Costco; I get the Huggies brand because they come with a free wipe box (not just refills). Because you can wait to stock up before the baby comes, see if you can get them on sale (they occasionally have them for $5 off). Costco is also great for diapers too, however, I like Pampers and Costco only sells Huggies as well as their own Kirkland brand. Trust me that certain diapers will retain their contents better than others, and every baby wears diapers differently so you may want to sample different brands to find the one that works best for you.
  • Burp Cloths: You will want A LOT of them, especially if you have a baby that spits up all the time. I constantly have a burp cloth or two (or three) at arm’s reach throughout my house! I would say that I have about 25 total.
  • Diaper Bag: You definitely want a bag to keep all of baby’s necessities in when you go out. This can either mean buying a diaper bag with specialized compartments, or re-purposing a bag that you already have! My husband asked that we get a backpack style bag because then he would feel comfortable wearing it, but I have also loved how it still allows me to be hands free as well.
  • Swaddle Blankets: This is one item that I suggest splurging on (and it seems that every other list I read thought the same thing). I think my favorite baby item was my Aiden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets. They are breathable so baby does not overheat, large enough to easily swaddle baby, and can double as a car seat cover and nursing cover.
  • Sleep Sack: R slept better when he was swaddled, and having a good sleep sack makes a huge difference. I got away with using my muslin swaddle blankets at first, but R quickly outgrew them and was able to escape like Houdini from a strait jacket. A good sleep sack will keep them more secure, and allow for easy diaper changes in the middle of the night. I loved my HALO sleep sack and chose it because it still kept his legs free; I had read that binding baby’s legs is bad for their hips but please don’t take this as medical advice.
  • White Noise Machine: Babies love white noise and I swear R sleeps better with it. I have a mybaby on-the-go sound spa which was only $10 at Buy Buy Baby. It is small and portable so we could take it with us everywhere (and I mean we took it EVERYWHERE when he was a newborn); it could clip onto his car seat or I would even hook it to my baby carrier to walk around. I still keep this on all night when he sleeps.
  • Medical/Grooming Supplies: A bulb aspirator is a must for a newborn to prevent them from choking on any spit up; the hospital gave us one it is that important so you may not even need to buy one. You need to have the basics like a thermometer, nail clippers, brush/comb. You will also want alcohol wipes/swabs (comes in very handy to tend to the umbilical cord if needed), baby Tylenol (you should have it in case you need it, you never know). Diaper rash cream, because you will inevitably need it. And lastly, you NEED a Nose Frida, trust me. I know it seems gross now but the first time your little one has a runny nose, it will be obvious why this is worth every penny. *I will also add that if you are circumcising a boy you will want boxes of gauze pads and a large tub of Vaseline*
  • Toys/Teethers: Toys can easily overrun your house so I am not saying to go crazy, but they are great for keeping baby occupied and giving them something to help them developmentally. You should have a few select toys, ones that serve multiple purposes to get the most use out of them. Also, after a few months your baby will start to teethe; it helps to have a teether for them to chew on so they don’t end up using your fingers all day.
  • Pacifier Clips: Pacifiers are subject to personal opinion, some people don’t even want to introduce one and that is fine. R stopped using one after a month on his own. The pacifier clip however will prevent you from losing your mind if you do use them. It also comes in very handy for small toys and teethers! I use one to keep a teether attached to the car seat strap at all times so he can’t chuck it while we are out.
  • Video Baby Monitor: Ok, so this may not be essential, but I love having one! Yes, I know that they are expensive and you can do without one. I told my husband there was no way I wanted to spend that much on one when we could get a normal monitor for cheap. However, he was right because it gives me so much peace of mind that I think it is worth it! Of course, you don’t need a monitor if you have baby in your room with you. We didn’t put R in his own room until he was 5 months and only bought the monitor then.
  • Waterproof Mattress Pad: Babies leak. You will want to prevent those leaks from getting on the expensive mattress you just bought for the crib. I have two so that if there is an accident in the middle of the night I have a backup.
  • Clothes/Linens: Of course, you already know you need to get clothes, but you don’t need to go overboard. And I am sure you already heard, but don’t get too many newborn clothes, they don’t wear then for that long! I didn’t really know how much I would need when registering for things so here is what I use:
    • Crib sheets- I would say don’t get more than 3 (I got 5 and it is way too much). You want to have more than one so if there are any accidents at night you have a clean one to replace it.
    • Onesies- I would say that I go through about 10-12 before it is time to do a load of laundry. Make sure you have a few long sleeves, but remember that you can always layer with a sweater if cold so I mostly get short sleeve.
    • Bottoms- You may not need an exact ratio of bottoms to tops; most days when we are just around the house I don’t even put pants on R. I am not sure if R just had long legs, but I always buy pants one size larger than his onesies. The pants don’t seem to be too much larger in the waist, but just slightly longer in the legs. This also helps because the fabric pants, not jeans, tend to shrink in the wash after a while too. I also LOVE footed pants because it still keeps their toes covered without having to worry about socks; the attached feet also prevent the legs from riding up constantly!
    • Footed pajamas– I would say to get about 6 of these. I prefer the snap up style for when they are really little; it seemed like the zipper kind were really bulky with the snap cover at the neck, and a few of the styles seemed like they were cutting into his throat. Again, I get a size bigger than his onesies.
    • Hats– I rarely used hats, I think I had way too many! I only used them when R was really little. He was also born with a lot of hair and they never stayed on. If you have a summer baby you may not even want hats, if a winter baby maybe just 2 or 3.
    • Mittens– Personally I think they are a joke. I learned quickly they never stayed on. What I found much more effective was using socks! Now hear me out, they are the same size as the mittens but fit more snugly on their hands so they don’t fall off, and they are thicker so they actually keep their hands warm. I will still do this with R, using the socks that he has outgrown.
    • Socks– They usually come 6 pair in a package. I would suggest buy two packs of the 0-3 month size (especially if you will use them as mittens too because this is the size I still use for R’s mittens so you will get a lot of use out of them). Once they need bigger socks I suggest only one pack, and don’t be afraid to buy them in a size or two larger than they need to get more use out of them.
    • Jackets– This depends on the time of year. I would say to always have one light weight sweater year round. In colder months you definitely need a jacket. I love buying sweaters/jackets with hoods because they help keep little heads warm without worrying about hats.
    • Blankets– As already mentioned I definitely recommend Aiden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets; you should only need one pack of 4. You also want one blanket that is a little thicker to use as a stroller/car seat blanket for colder months. This is not only an extra layer for warmth, it can be used to cover the car seat and protect baby from the cold and wind.
  • You will need someplace safe to keep baby when you need to put them down. This can be the crib, but you may also want some kind of swing or bouncy chair (when they are old enough to sit in it) to keep in the living room with you. The rock ‘n’ play is supposed to work wonders (especially helpful if your little one has bad reflux) and can double as a napper/bassinet so I am told. We had a pack ‘n’ play set up in the living room that we would put R in, when he would allow us to put him down that is. He hated his swing and only used it for a few weeks when he was older so to each his own.
  • You will need a designated place to change the baby. In my opinion, a changing table is pointless. If you really want this kind of set up I would say get a dresser changing table so you can still use it afterward. But honestly, once your baby is big enough to roll over and becomes a wiggle worm, you probably don’t want to change them on a high surface… I have always changed R on the floor and used a waterproof travel changing mat! It folds away when I don’t use it, can come with us in the diaper bag, and can be moved anywhere in the house that it is needed!
  • You will also need two pillows for feeding time. Yes, the Boppy is popular but not essential. But you definitely do want to designate a pillow (even one you already have) to help prop up baby at feeding time. You also want a smaller pillow for lumbar support to put behind your back; your back will be hurting enough as it is so make yourself extra comfy. You can even roll a bath towel to use instead of a pillow.
  • Last but not least, let us not forget the essentials which I am sure you know… But just in case… Definitely need a crib (the only case where this may be avoided is if you plan to cosleep until they are old enough for a bed and then put the mattress directly on the floor), and with the crib comes the crib mattress. You HAVE to have a car seat or you can’t leave the hospital so this is a non-negotiable item. Stroller is another typical must have, although I have heard some moms say that they exclusively use a baby carrier. The baby carrier is one of my favorite items! It is not essential because obviously you can get by without having one, but there are supposed to be so many benefits to baby wearing, and it is so convenient when we go out and don’t have to bring the stroller every time.

Ok guys, I know that was a lot and thanks for hanging in there with me. Hopefully you have a better idea of what we actually ended up using and loving with our baby (and why)! What about you other moms, was there something that you would put on this list that you loved?

10 Things To Do Before Bringing Baby Home

There are so many things to accomplish and prepare for when you are expecting a baby. Most of them are common sense, or so well known that you read about it everywhere and hear it from 10 different people. However, there were some things that I wish I had thought of before I brought our son home, and also a few things that I did and want to share. Even though I was very organized and prepared (as any good nesting mama is), there are some things that could have made life just a little bit easier. Here are the 10 things to know before bringing baby home that you probably have not heard yet:

  1. Strengthen your arms and back
    • Everyone tells you it is important to stay in shape while pregnant but they should tell you to specifically focus your workout on your arms and back. Carrying a baby all day is hard work; they are cute and little at first, but they quickly grow. Lugging around a 10 pound baby all day is quite the workout. Just try carrying around a sack of potatoes for the whole day and see what I mean.
  2. Practice holding your breath
    • I did not take a birthing or breathing technique class (I definitely don’t recommend this) and thought that I could teach myself. What I did not read anywhere was that while you push you have to hold your breath for 10 seconds at a time, three times in a row. Now this may not seem like a big deal (and maybe it won’t be for you), but trying to push after hours of exhausting labor is tough to say the least. Trying to push while not breathing was not as easy as it sounds, and those 10 seconds seemed like an eternity.
  3. Start a baby book
    • I actually did this while I was pregnant and definitely recommend it. I love to have a craft project to work on and so this was a great way to occupy my time while simultaneously getting ready for the baby. I used Shutterfly to start the baby book. (I LOVE this site, if you have never used it they are awesome! You get free prints just for creating an account and they always have great sales throughout the year. I always wait until they have a 50% off promotion to buy my photobooks after I have finish them.) Of course you don’t have any photos yet, but you can set up all the pages and customize it how you want. As you take pictures you can now simply drag and drop them onto the pages and you are ready to go!
  4. Draft a group text message
    • When you are on your way to the hospital you are going to want to let people know! Of course there are some calls you will want to make, but trust me you won’t want to make very many. What you can do is create a draft of a group text message; select everyone that you will want to tell and even write a simple message. This way as you are caught up in the moment of trying to get to the hospital you won’t have to worry about telling everyone or worry if you left someone out.
  5. Try on the baby carrier in-store BEFORE you get a belly
    • I knew that I definitely wanted a baby carrier. As I was excitedly going through Buy Buy Baby doing a registry with my husband, I realized that there were many to choose from. How to decide? Well, you could TRY THEM ON! I had no idea you could do this in the store. But there was one problem… I had a pregnant tummy and they would not fit properly like they should after the baby is here. This means that you have to hope for the best, or have your husband model them for you (because he will use it too!). We chose this one and LOVE it!
  6. Program favorite channels on your TV remote
    • We all know that there is the “favorites” button on our TV remote, but we never think to use it. Well, it is there for a reason… It must have been designed for a nursing mama who has a hungry baby with no time to channel surf. Preprogram your favorite channels so you can easily find something to watch. This is especially helpful at night when you are half asleep. May I also suggest finding a few channels that you know will have something decent to watch in the middle of the night and not just infomercials.
  7. Load up your Netflix list
    • This does along with my previous point. You do not want to waste time trying to find something to entertain yourself during feedings. And if you have Netflix you know that finding something to watch can be time consuming. Take the time before the baby comes to load up your list of things to watch so you have a bountiful selection when you need it.
  8. Download an audio book
    • If you love to read, you know that it is an activity that can be very calm and peaceful. You could get lost for hours in a good story. Well if you have not guessed already, you won’t be reading any good novels for a while but it doesn’t mean you can’t listen to one! Getting an audio book is a great thing to keep handy; you can listen to it in the hospital, during feedings, or while you attempt to accomplish tasks around the house with baby in your arms. It will allow you to multitask which is the name of the game with a baby.
  9. Set up your bills on autopay
    • You will have enough to worry about when you bring your baby home, so don’t add the stress of trying to pay all of your bills on time. Trust me, those first two weeks are a blur and you may not know the day of the week let alone remember that your phone bill is due. This is a simple thing to do but will give you so much peace of mind.
  10. Put a waterproof mattress cover on your bed
    • Most people only think that this is useful on a child’s bed, but trust me, you will want one. It will not only protect your mattress if your water breaks in the middle of the night, but it will also protect it from leaky boobs. If you did not know already, you will leak milk A LOT at first, but may also leak a little bit before the baby comes. Lastly, it will also protect against leaky diapers. Our son did not sleep in our bed, but we did play in our bed or cuddle. This trick saved us from a “poopsplosion” the first week home.

I hope that these tips help you prepare for the arrival of your precious angel!

40 Weeks of Fruit: oddities of pregnancy

Looking back on my pregnancy I realized that not only was it a magical time and a blessing to experience, it also entailed behavior that would be considered bizarre under normal circumstances. Growing a human being in your quickly expanding belly suddenly gives you permission for a whole slew of new emotions and behaviors that to an observer I am sure seems a bit strange.

The first thing that we do is to see which new fruit (or vegetable) we are this week. Now, if you have never been pregnant then I am sure you think this sounds crazy. On the other hand, for the ladies that have been pregnant before, am I right? One of the first things that I did after learning I was pregnant was download a pregnancy tracker app on my phone. The particular one I used was The Bump which gave me an update every week for how big my baby was by comparing him to a piece of fruit. It is an awesome tool for the excited mom-to-be, giving us all the details on what how our baby is developing, what new things they are capable of doing, explain symptoms we may be experiencing, answer common questions, and even connect us to other moms who are due at the same time. This is was an invaluable tool for me and gave me something to better understand what me and my baby were going through. It has even continued after his birth to tell me what he should be doing developmentally as he grows now.

Not only do we want to learn what is going on with us and baby, but we want to share it with the world. We constantly tell friends/family/coworkers (and maybe even the poor woman in front of you checking out at the grocery store) about every little update and each new symptom. At what point in our lives do we ever care to share our aches and pains with the world? Pregnancy is really the only time that one can get away with this kind of behavior because people do get excited about your baby news (as long as you don’t overshare). And we also want to know about the experiences of other women’s pregnancies so that we can learn more about what we might expect. This means that we will ask other women (sometimes women who we don’t even know well) all about what they went through, wanting all the hairy details. I can remember sharing stories with other moms or pregnant women who I would meet through work; it was like an unspoken understanding that we both wanted to share our experiences.

We also want to share the excitement of feeling the kicks and bumps of our growing bellies. After all, we do have a little person tap dancing, karate chopping, or even perhaps acrobatically flipping on our internal organs and of course our poor helpless bladder. There is nothing like being able to feel your baby move for the first time and there is no way to express in completely accurate words what that is like. The closest way that anyone else can experience what we are feeling is to touch our bellies. Now, I ask you, at what other point in our lives do we ever want people to be rubbing our bellies? None. But that is the mystery and wonder of pregnancy. Not only do we want them to touch our stomach, but they will want to too.

Lastly, we WANT to go to the doctor. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hated going to the doctor; I would get so anxious just sitting in the waiting room that by the time they called me back and took my vitals the nurse usually said “Hmm, your heart rate is a bit high…”. Not to mention, my fear of needles was completely irrational to the point that I would almost pass out if I had to come near one. But all of a sudden, I found myself getting excited to go to my doctor appointments. I even sucked it up while getting my blood drawn, managing to not have an anxiety attack (which trust me was quite a feat). It was because I knew that going to the doctor was not for me anymore, but to make sure my baby was healthy. Focusing on that thought alone will overpower any trepidations or fears you have about the doctor. Plus, going to the doctor means that you can have an ultrasound appointment and actually get a sneak-peek of your baby!

Was there anything that you experienced during your pregnancy that would be considered strange under normal circumstances?

 

Getting pregnant: There is no “perfect” time

How do you know if it’s time to have a baby? This seems to be the big question when you are planning a family and thinking of getting pregnant. There is so much to take into consideration and prepare for when you have a baby that you want to make sure you are ready, right?  Well… while this may be true, overthinking it could be your worst enemy.

My husband and I have been together for 8 years, and married for almost 3. We had always known that one day we wanted a family. After we got married, the question became when does “one day” become today? Waiting for the perfect time for getting pregnant may have you waiting forever. You try to tell yourself that you want to live in the perfect house, you want to have X amount of money saved, you want to accomplish certain goals, etc, etc, etc,… The list could go on and on.

I was especially guilty of having a long mental list of “ducks” to have in a row before we tried getting pregnant. I am the type of person who likes to plan, to be very organized, and do plenty of research. I don’t just blindly jump into something without knowing for certain it is what I want to do and that I am prepared to do it. I realized that my desire to start a family outgrew all of the little things to postpone it (otherwise we could have waited forever). I would have always wanted to save more money, taken one more trip just the two of us, move into a bigger apartment, or try to buy a house.

Life happens in the now, so you better start living it or you could be waiting for a future that may never happen. Yes, you do want to be prepared, but if you wait for all your stars to align perfectly you may be waiting too long. We realized that there was never going to be a “perfect” time. We wanted to start a family, and that was the only reason we needed. It also helped to remind myself that we had 40 weeks to accomplish any last minute goals. The baby’s due date was a countdown to an unrelenting deadline, and that helped motivate me to finish the few things I wanted.