Saturday, August 2, 2014

First 10 items to put on your baby registry #newmommyweek

So for some reason friends keep asking me my opinion on baby stuff. You'd think I was some kind of self-professed baby expert or something?! So I promised them some registry advice, even though it has been 6 years since I have registered, and all the sh** has changed, cuz guess what: it hasn't changed that much...thus begat #newmommyweek.

As I've said many many times before... mama's always got an opinion, and here it is! The ten most important categories on which to focus, and the "VIP" (Very Important Product) and their links in each...

QUICK & DIRTY (the absolute must-haves)
  • Bottles
  • Breast Pump
  • Baby Monitor
  • Diapers, wipes, cream & pail
  • Diaper Bag
  • Infant tub, bath seat, washcloths
  • Swaddlers & Receiving Blankets & like, clothes?
  • Boppy, other entertainment/seats
  • Pack n Play
  • Car Seat
  • Stroller

SLOW & PAINFUL (my more-than-two-cents about it all)

1. BOTTLE SYSTEM (aka feeding baby)
OMG everyone's going to tell you which one you must pick. Low air flow, less burps, chill-infused, microwave ready, etc, etc...just pick one and then change your mind later. But register for a 'system' now, meaning: at least 8 bottles/inserts/nipples (perhaps of different flow options), drying rack, cleaning brush
"But twynmawrmom, which one did you pick!?! There are so many!! JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!"
Slow your roll. It's gonna be ok. Once you make a decision about bottles, brands, formula, political parties, you can still change your mind. Baby stores are open like, all the time. And babies adapt to new nipples, etc...

Worst case scenario you can have a shower after baby is born. Although we didn't plan on it! Babies do come early...
Back to bottles. We breastfed, first off; stole some 2-ouncers from the NICU, stole a sh**load of nipples from the NICU, and utilized these for 'in-between' meals and top-offs. Then I used the two Medela bottles that came with my pump and bought several different Medela nipples to try with them. Then my mom bitched that I was crazy for not having more than 2 bottles that held more than 2 oz at a time, so as the babies got bigger we used the Advent system with the bags for easier travel with formula just because that's what I used when I nannied 8 years earlier (told ya! lazy). I also bought a lot of pre-made Similac bottles for travel and 'about town'. I was not one of those organized mommies with the pre-measured formula powder tupperware and the water bottle...just. wasn't. And then there's the glass bottle gotta figure out what your priorities are and express those ideals to your guests through your registry.

The other feeding systems for 'baby food' and crap - forget it. You have no idea where your head will be in six months.

Highchairs - eh. We had travel seats we hooked to the counter in our kitchen. I'm just not that formal about it all, I guess. Don't get crazy about the highchair. If you have a small house or apartment, get a travel one! It gets just as dirty as the fancy ones, I promise.

From this section, allow me to suggest the VIP (Very Important Product) I personally used the most:

2. PUMP (aka efficiently feeding baby)
Again, go ahead and register for one, unless there is a reason you already know for which you will not be breastfeeding. If you intend to give it a try, (and I intend on blogging about that later this week), you will most likely also want to give pumping a try. Even though we breastfed once the twyns were home, I still used at least one bottle of formula every day (usually the bedtime feeding), at which point I pumped at the end of the day, and stored that for the next 24-48 hours. I pumped with a hospital-grade pump the first few months that I rented from the hospital for $75/month. Most pumps on the market are more portable than those, and can easily run $300. If you can get someone to purchase that for you on your registry, it will be great to have in your arsenal of weapons in this battle to conquer mommyhood.
VIP: The Freestyle was powerful enough for me after the first two months of hospital rentals.

3. BABY MONITOR (aka getting away from baby)
Again, things have changed a lot (they had just come out with video monitors when our babies were in utero) (annnnnnnd there weren't any smartphones yet!) So I don't know what kind of apps are preferable, but I really liked having the separate monitor system. We had a dual monitor that toggled between the two kids' rooms every 30 seconds. This was actually a good thing when trying to 'cry it out.' I still use it in our house when we have babies visiting!

I just have to say, that, not having the the video was actually a good thing! Let them cry for real before you head in there. Again, just my $.02.
VIP (ours was a Graco although I can't seem to find the dual base monitor system right now)

4. DIAPER SYSTEM/PAIL/WIPES (aka poop matters)
Again, this is your opportunity to express to people who may be purchasing gifts for you, what your preferences and priorities are. If you have decided to cloth diaper, you may want to register for those and the accessories; if you prefer wipes that are biodegradable, make sure you register for those, too. If you want a cute diaper pail that matches baby's room, register for that. I personally loved the Diaper Dekor as I did feel it kept out as much smell as possible, and I could use normal garbage bags in a pinch (although the system refills were best.) Diaper cream (I loved Balmex, and the babies did too...) And if you are going disposable all the way, go ahead and register for those! It doesn't hurt to fill your house with diapers. Clean ones, that is. As they will be dirty ones very very VERY soon...

VIP: Diaper Dekor

That reminds me...

5. DIAPER BAG (aka portable full service baby salon)
Diaper Bags have gotten super sophisticated! Annnnnd expensive. You better put one on the registry. You may even want to put a small one on for quick trips, and the large one for the all-day affair. I loved the Petunia PickleBottom one I had, but now they have even more options that look like real purses. OMG and don't even get me started on the cute stuff on etsy...
VIP: Look at this cutie I found on a quick search! I want this thing NOW!

6. BABY BATH SYSTEM (aka keeping baby clean)
We used our little plastic bath for about 5-6 months because the twyns were tiny preemies. You may only use this for 2-3 months, but you'll need one. Just a bath, but maybe tack on some little super soft washcloths and the best baby suds around. Once the baby can sit up on his/her own, I really like those seats that suction to the bottom of the tub so baby can't slip around. HIGHLY necessary when bathing twins!!
VIP (for after infant bathtub)

7. ONESIES/BLANKETS/SOCKS/SWADDLERS (aka keeping baby warm)
Why, oh why do they bombard you with so many newborn clothes when you hit the baby store? Why, oh why does every new parent feel the need to have 500 different types of onesies and sleep shirts for the first couple of months? Baby's gonna end up sleeping in a diaper half the time. Don't sweat the small stuff, seriously. Scan a couple of things and see what other people come up with. Receiving blankets are awesome, y'all. They can be bath towels, swaddlers, spit-up cloths, diapers, and yes, even blankets! Get like, 20 of these, please. Ok you can register for a real baby towel and real baby clothes but I'm just being honest with you. Baby's gonna be in a diaper, and maybe a superman shirt. For like, 10 minutes before he has a blow-out. Then back to diapers only.

VIP: Of all the swaddlers, the one was the most effective.

8. BABY GYM/BOPPY/BOUNCEY SEAT/SWING/BOOKS/TOYS (aka keeping baby entertained)
My boy works out so hard at the gym.
I'm lumping all this stuff together because, at the end of the day, they are not necessities. You will likely get some books and toys without registering for them, and you can be seduced by the luxuries of various places to sit your child and vibrate them. So, if you are so inclined, register for them, and have fun with it! But don't get crazy about them and all the different options and themes and titles. They are all a bonus and not necessary. Unless you have twins, then go ahead and get two swings please and you can bill me later for that priceless piece of advice ;)

VIP: My daughter ended up napping the most in her boppy above all else
(For breastfeeding I had two other pillows I preferred, 
more on that in the breastfeeding post later this week)

9. PACK n PLAY/CRIB BEDDING/FURNITURE (aka sleeping baby)
Think we had enough sleeping apparatuses?!
My mom made the bassinets. I come from a long line of scrappy sewists!
Baby's sleep habits are very important. You will want baby to be sleeping. So let's encourage this...with nice sheets and a couple of options. I really like the extra pack n play up in the house - on a different level or in a different room, or at Grandma's house! I napped my twins in different rooms after a few weeks so the pack n play was my son's nap place, and I think it had a different meaning for him. It was a good, restful meaning. My husband put both twins in the pack n play in the living room with him in the first couple of weeks when they were still waking up at 12-1 am and I was sleeping in the bedroom next to theirs so I could have a more restful sleep.
This is the "double bassinet" sized pack-n-play
Have fun with picking out your theme and expressing some creativity there in the sheets and bedding. That stuff does get pricey, so again, it's nice if someone else will be able to buy that for you. If you change your mind (or the baby's gender surprises you), don't sweat exchanging the sheet set you got. I sure did! I got two froggy sets because we didn't know the genders and when I got my girl I switched one for a purple-y buggy set. Sooooo happy about that.

VIP: Another sleeping necessity: I really really like the sleep sacks. And I really really like the ones that open on the side so you can change baby's diaper in the middle of the night without having to pull his legs all out and stuff. Check out these sweet ones here. I've been trying to sew the fancy quilted ones since I had babies and have not really gotten that together yet. Another project for another day!!

10. STROLLER/CAR SEATS (aka transporting baby)
Stop. Look. Listen. Do NOT get a 'system.' You need a good car seat, maybe even a convertible one, and you need a stroller. They do not necessarily need to be chosen together. Many, many of your favorite strollers have attachments for your favorite infant car seats. Before your baby can hold his head up, you'll want to keep him in the infant seat and transfer him straight from car to stroller to home, so the snap n go was a must for me. But once we were ready for a real stroller, I found that many could fit the infant seat in it anyway. You can get confused with jogging strollers and umbrella strollers and big wheels and air-filled wheels, etc. The first thing to think about is the immediate use you will have for your stroller. Have you been running marathons and intend to head back to them within six weeks of baby's birth? No? Then just get a freakin' normal stroller. Even with twins, half the time I ended up using a souped-up umbrella stroller (this one) and an Ergo carrier. I got hand-me-down Britax car seats after we grew out of our Graco infant seats and that was that until boosters. So, as for the registry, we registered for the two infant car seats and four bases, for my husband's car and/or grandma's car, and we never used the second two. And that's my $.02 about seats. We used the double snap n' go, and the Phil & Ted's tandem stroller, and I would recommend the City Mini double (or single) all day every day until the cows come home even though I only used it for my two trips to Disney. The Phil & Ted's did not suit the kids as they grew (just our experience.) I thought it would be great for running, too, and it wasn't great. And I could write all day about strollers. And you could shop for them all day, too. On the cheap end I'd say register for a souped-up umbrella (this one) and, for the high end, see if someone will actually get you one of those City Mini's. Mmm. And bake them a pie if they do. ;)
VIP: Easiest stroller for the money once you hit about 1 year and are done with the snap n go

So, shall I start to rent out my time with new parents, shopping and registering with them? Mama's available! ;)

And by the way, 
this list has prompted my husband to start his own, 
"For the Daddies" list! 
That's next to come!! 

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