02 February 2013

Crap You Need for a Baby

It's hard to mire through the insane amount of baby shit that's out there, and one of the things I've realized this last year is that most of the baby crap that I obsessed about needing while I was pregnant was stuff that we only used for, like, a day.  This post is about the items that we found to be useful in the long-term.

So in the same vein of the "crap you need while pregnant" post, I wanted to do a quick "crap you might need or want for a baby" post.  Again, everyone is different and every baby is different and we all have different preferences and all, but here are the things that have been crucial for us these last ten months or so.

1.  Nursing tank tops.  These certainly made it much easier for me to be somewhat modest when whipping out my boob seven hundred times a day (what is this, college?).  I wore one pretty much constantly for the first six months of Charlie's life, and while I was pretty happy to pack them away afterward (see: please, oh, please can I wear clothes that aren't contraptions?), I really loved them and they worked really well.  Mine were from Target, but you could certainly buy fancier ones.

2.  Nursing pillow.  We used a Boppy and then I got one of the My Brest Friend pillows.  Honestly, we use the Boppy way more (and it was also helpful when Charlie was first learning how to sit up--and Matt still uses it when he gives Charlie a bottle) and it's much more versatile than the MBF (can we abbreviate so we don't have to keep saying My Brest Friend?).  There was a time, though, that I was obsessed with the MBF and its awesome storage pocket and the way it saved my arms and lower back.  Had it not been for an effed up latch and weird positioning requirements and a host of other breastfeeding issues, I probably would have used it longer.

3.  Aden and Anais blankets.  These are the greatest and there's a reason you see them on basically every list of crap you should get for a baby.  They're especially great for warmer climates.  They're warm enough to keep warm, and they breathe enough to keep baby cool.  They're big enough to use as a nursing cover, they're great for swaddling, they're absorbent, and they're, oh yeah, like insanely cute.  You'll want at least 4.

4.  Medela pump (or a good breast pump).  Make sure you have the right size cone-shaped-part-thing that you'll be hooking up to your ladies to keep you from being a bellowing cow (phalanges?  what are those things called?  okay, according to Amazon they're called breastshields, but I swear the lactation consultant called them phalanges).  This is totally one of those things that you don't want to be skimping on, since you will be spending way more time with the pump than you ever wanted.  Mooooooooooooo!  (Also, any amount of time you spend with a breast pump is way more than you ever wanted.)  I have a manual one, too, and I wouldn't really recommend it because it's just not powerful enough, and whenever I used it I would get clogged ducts (the opposite of fun).

5.  The grass.  I originally registered for this because I thought it was really cute, and I certainly didn't expect it to be as useful as it has been for us.  We use the Dr. Brown's bottles and they have lots of parts, so it's really great to have a spot for them.  We haven't yet lost a single part, and I think it's because of the grass.

6.  Awesome stroller.  This depends on what your needs will be, but it's one of the purchases that you're actually going to use for a long time, so it's great to have a nice one.  We have a snap-n-go that we used when Charlie was still in the infant seat, and it was really convenient for quick trips to the mall and such.  But for longer day trips, for the beach, for going downtown and to the park, we've been in love with our BOB.  I got it from Craigslist for $100, too, so it's not even like you have to drop a small fortune on the stroller if you don't want to.  Also, as much as I hate to admit it, if I had a cheap or ugly stroller, I would totally have stroller envy every time I went out.  For baby #2, we're upgrading to a different type (have heard the double BOBs can be pretty giant and cumbersome), but I think we'll actually hold onto the single BOB because we love it so much.

7.  Cloth diapers.  You don't have to be a cloth diaperer, of course, but we love the crap out of them. (See what I did there?)  Our favorites are the Bumgenius, and we have been using them since Charles was a month old.  For the last couple of months, we've been putting him in a disposable when he's sleeping, but we still love using the cloth diapers.  I will spare you the entire cloth diapering post because there are like a bajillion of them out there on the world wide web, but we love them and plan to use them with #2 (haha) and love not having to spend a small fortune on disposable diapers.

8.  Plain white baby socks.  As much as I love the little tiny socks that look like tennis shoes or mary janes (why so cute, seriously?), mother eff is it easy to lose those things!  We have a big pack of the plain white Osh Kosh grippy bottom socks, and they're pretty much the only ones we use.

9.  Angel Dear lovey.  Truth?  I thought these things were stupid until Charlie taught me that they are comforting, super soft, super cute, would keep him from screaming, and would help him to sleep longer.  We love this particular brand because they are supes cute, have a ton of animal options (baby girl gets a racoon!), and get softer and more lovely with every wash.  Also, the heads on these are pretty small so they're easier for tiny babies to cuddle.

10.  ipod touch/iphone.  If you know me you know that I am like the most easily distracted person on the planet.  And when I had to plant my ass down for 27 hours a day nursing, it was imperative that I had something to entertain me.  Now, I don't have a smartphone because of the ADD-ness and because when I did have a smartphone I was constantly looking at it and messing with it and I didn't feel like it was prudent for me to pay $30/month to be more annoying and to be on Facebook more often.  BUT!  While nursing, the old iphone that a friend gave us was a godsend.  Later, we used the white noise app to play for Charlie while he slept.  Sadly, it recently broke (GASP!--also, do not let your baby suck on the phone), but I'm planning on getting another before our girl joins us because otherwise I'll go mad.

11.  High chair you love.  Ours is the cheap IKEA one, and I love it because it has a small footprint and is super easy to clean (also easy to take to someone else's house when we're on a trip).  There are lots of cool options out there.  Just make sure you like it and it's easy to clean.  I'd avoid anything with fabric on it because babies have like the worst manners ever and they make a huge mess when they eat.

12.  Amazon prime.  Here's the thing about having a baby that everyone tells you but that you don't believe: shit's hard to do with a baby.  So that Target trip for one thing that you used to take just because you could? I mean, you can still do that, but it's going to be a huge production and you'll have to time it just right so that your little sweet baby spawn doesn't have a meltdown in the middle of the store because he's tired or hungry (thereby making you a person that your former self would have rolled your former self's eyes at).  And driving to ten different stores in town to find the perfect one of something?  Yeah, have fun with that.  Amazon prime is $80/year (free if you have an edu email address!) and gets you free 2-day shipping on most items.  It also gives you free streaming on a bunch of stuff, and a free borrowed Kindle book each month.  I mean, it's like $7/month.  Get it, and then you'll never believe you ever didn't have it.

What did I forget?  Was there anything you couldn't live without when you had a tiny baby?

Okay, look at pictures of my babies now.  They're pretty cute.

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