It’s so true what they say when you are preparing to bring a kid home: there is an overwhelming amount of stuff on the market, and if you’re new to the game, you have no clue what is REALLY a must-have and what is superfluous crap. Here are some random thoughts on things that we’ve had, used, not used, or wished we had:
1) Clothes: It’s really tempting to have a “my kid will only wear NEW stuff” mentality at first, but that really is dumb – at least as far as newborn and 0-3 month garments go. They really do outgrow this stuff ridiculously fast. We were lucky to get a bunch of hand-me-downs (and I mean a bunch), and quite honestly, there were more than a handful that were never worn. Furthermore, stuff that you buy/get just because it’s cute in a more novelty-type of context simply isn’t worth it; if you must, buy in a larger size. The kid (at least ours) got so pissed off during any given costume change that clothing changes for appearance’s sake were simply not done. What any parent needs? About 7-10 of the sleeper gowns (with the built-in mitts for their little hands), whether you have a boy or a girl (get over it, manly boy baby parents….at that age, who cares? They all end up looking like sperm cells in these things, anyway). That’s pretty much all Stella wore for the first 3 weeks or so. Even with footie sleepers/PJ’s, her feet are so big that to put them on her is to risk complications similar to Chinese foot-binding. This is surely frowned-upon by Child Protective Services.
2) Blankets: You need a lot, preferably in a 36” size. The little ones are cute but are useless for swaddling (something you need to know how to do). We had no luck with the swaddle suits, as at first it’s too big (and the Velcro would come close to scratching her face) and then it’s rapidly too small, setting off huge tantrums.
3) Diapers and Wipes: It was suggested to me to start stockpiling diapers ahead of time. We had 4 big boxes from Sam’s and I wish like hell we had bought even more. Particularly if you have a “clean” child (i.e., one who cannot tolerate being dirty at all), you will go through them like you simply cannot believe. As for wipes, cut them in half before setting them out. For some reason, men-folk use a ton more than is necessary. I think it’s because they get grossed out about potentially touching poo, so they create a disposable fabric barrier. Kind of like I do when I have to pick up a dead roach and use about 15 paper towels.
4) Boppy Pillow: This thing rocks. Seriously. For feeding (breast or bottle) or for those times when your kid falls asleep on you and you get pinned and you need the arm (or neck) support.
5) Rocking Chair: Every household with a baby needs one. Nothing fancy. Just a rocker with a high back.
6) Baby carriers: This has been a mixed bag so far. We have one of the Baby Bjorn models, where it is more like a back pack (or front pack, depending on how it’s worn and how old your kid is). I think it will be a bit more useful later. The problem I have now is that it puts Stella’s head about 5” from her food source; it’s like putting a crack ho in the DEA evidence locker. So, if she’s already agitated, she starts woodpeckering like mad (that head-banging/rooting she does when either really hungry or really angry) and then gets good and pissed when she’s not presented with a boob. I think a sling would be better for me now, but who wants to spend the money on something that may not work? I’m torn, and on days when she wants to be held ALL DAY, I come very close to saying to hell with it and ordering one.
7) Wall of pictures: This sounds goofy, but we have a wall with a bunch of pics framed in plain black frames. That’s her favorite thing to do so far: stare at that wall. I guess it’s the high-contrast between the frames and the wall.
8) Fisher Price Seahorse: This thing rocks. It’s a sweet little stuffed seahorse that has a light-up rubber emblem on its chest. When pressed, it lights up gently and plays sweet classical tunes along with sea/bubbling sounds. It’s not obnoxious at all. It has a ridiculously high rating at most websites I’ve seen, and I see why. If she’s wailing, the music is enough to “reset” her for quite a while.