Monday, August 8, 2011

Registering for Baby #1

Target, Babies-R-Us, Wal-Mart, etc. all have helpful lists to guide you into registering for all the items you'll need for your first baby.  Except, they include EVERYTHING you could ever need and with the economy like it is, we can get by with the bare minimal and not miss a thing.
What I registered for and what I got were not even close, but, it did give family and friends an idea of the type of items I needed. Bear in mind, this list is the ultimate bare necessities. :)

Nursery & Gear
  • Something for newborn to sleep in. (we used a wicker basket in a stroller for quite a while); bassinet, playyard, cradle
  • If you don't plan to co-sleep and even if you are, you'll probably need a crib. but not right away. There are deals to be found online but they tend to take a long time to deliver. A convertible crib is money well spent. Our boys didn't like the crib at all, weren't too fond of the toddler bed but absolutely loved the full size bed we turned it into with an additional purchase of bed rails.
  • Carseat. the travel systems are great but if you know you're going to have a big baby you may want to look at borrowing a carrier and opting for a bigger seat. Most weight limits on baby carrier seats are around 20 lbs. Just a reminder, these things expire after 6 years (or manufacturers recommendations, whichever come first) and HAVE to be replaced after an accident in which the vehicle is now longer drivable. Please have your carseat inspected for appropriate installation. To find a provider near you. Vehicles and seats vary. The incline of a seat may affect the way a carseat installs. Car Seats for the Littles is a national group with great information and a FB group as well. Please note pretty car seat accessories like shoulder straps and covers could affect the way a carseat is designed to work and therefore are not recommended, ever.
  • Mirror for back of seat so you can see baby while you're driving. 
  • High Chair. Totally up to you as to whether you get a full stand alone or one that sits in a chair. We didn't use it until our first born was too active to sit in a swing or stroller. I even opted for one with cheap padding and he used it without to make clean up easier on me.
  • Shopping Cart Cover. Keep all the cooties under wraps when baby is big enough to sit in buggy/cart/basket. It also gives some cushioning and warmth for sleepy babes and nippy weather.
  • Stroller. Again, the travel system is great, but it can be bulky. A simple umbrella stroller works well too once baby can sit supported. Unless you're an avid walker/runner, I don't recommend shelling out big bucks for a jogging stroller. Strollers are best for hands free activities and carrying baggage.
  • Baby carrier/Sling. Makes shopping and socializing with infants easier than dragging a stroller around. Most are breastfeeding friendly and washable.
  •  Diaper bag. Any washable bag with a comfortable strap and lots of pockets. You'll want to store things like pacifiers, meds, and other small items somewhere you can find them in a pinch. 
  • Baby Bathtub.  It's just easier to bathe a new baby in a reclining seat meant for a bathtub that to hold a slippery baby in a large space. Sinks are an okay size but I don't like washing my dishes in a place exposed to feces.
  • Swing. A lifesaver for naps, laundry, and showers. Doesn't have to be fancy but needs to have head support, automatic swing, and seatbelt. My boys liked the side sway the best but as long as they're moving, I don't really think it matters to babies.
  • crib sheets and mattress pad cover. I recommend minimum of 2 of each for times when diapers leak or baby gets sick.  
  • breathable bumper for crib.  Don't get the cute padded ones.  They increase the risk of SIDS and then when baby can stand they act as an enabler for crawling out of the crib. The breathable ones will keep arms and legs in, drastically reduce the risk of suffocating, and hardly help assist out of a crib.    
  • onesies and footed onesies. I recommend at least 5 of each but you'll probably have tons more. Have a few sizes on hand, babies tend to magically grow overnight into the next size.  In the footed onesies, snaps are most common but zippers are a lot easier when you get into 3-6 month.
  • gowns. Great for newborns, easy to change diapers and acts as a blanket until they're too tall for them.
  • shorts/pants. I don't recommend these for newborns unless home environment is cool, but more towards 6 months when baby can sit supported. Otherwise it's another layer to remove to change a diaper.
  • mittens. just a few pair for newborns to keep them from scratching their faces. Many gowns and footed onesies come with optional mittens. Nails will need to be trimmed frequently.
  • hats. Heads grow fast but as a newborn they need to stay warm. If you aren't planning a nurse-in the first few weeks of life, you'll want to keep a hat on until baby is old enough to maintain temperature.
  • socks if you don't plan on keeping baby in footed onesies. keep head and feet warm to maintain temperature. Those with tighter elastic will stay on longer that stretchier ones. I like Trumpette.
  • shoes. are totally optional. My firstborn had a ton of shoes and he learned to walk in them at 12 months but they're not at all necessary unless the weather is cold or you need help keeping socks on baby's toes.
Diapers. I was encouraged to stock up on diapers while I was pregnant. I did, and a year later I still have some that my kids may never wear. My first born was so small in the rear that he wore preemie diapers for several months. I had a ton of newborn diapers and he stayed in those for a good while too. At a year he was still only in a size 2. That being said, gauge your child's size on you and your partner. Stock up on newborns and size 1 mostly. You can always exchange unopened diapers. Most places have no problem taking back diapers without receipts but make sure the quantity you have is sold at that particular store. Try out several brands and types. Not all brands fit the same and each child and size is different. For example, my firstborn fit into Pampers newborns a lot longer than Huggies but he wore Huggies size 2 with a better fit than Luvs. Also note that there are Pampers swaddlers vs. baby dry, Huggies snugglers vs. snug & dry. The swaddlers and snugglers were my favorites because I felt they were softer and well, snugglier. The baby dry, snug & dry, and Luvs are all very similar in make and material.
For cloth diapers, there are so many options now. What fits as a NB may not be the right style for a crawler. There are also specifics for washing, drying, and ointments that can be used.

  • Bottles. You'll want a few 4 oz bottles for newborns and and then 8 oz bottles for infants. My personal opinion is that most bottles are the same as long as they don't leak. I didn't like the drop ins but they're not hard to use. I preferred Phillips Avent bottles based on size (I found them on clearance and fell in love, I never paid full price). They fit in the diaper bag better, are short and fat, and easier to hold. For breastmilk I used Gerber 4 oz glass bottles. I had the Medela glass bottles too but they always seemed to leak. I've got cheap bottles from the dollar store that work just as well as the expensive ones. The claims against colic and gas did not affect my choice. My child was gassy because of what he ate not how he ate it. What I'm telling you is don't break your budget buying the most expensive bottles because of their claims. Pick the ones that fit your child likes or you find on sale! Some babies are particular about nipples, so try out a few different ones. Also with nipples, as a newborn they really need a slow flow but after 6 months it doesn't quite matter unless they're extremely thirsty and you've given them a slow flow.
  • Cups. We started out sippy cups around 8 months with different styles of spouts and handles. As he got better dexterity my firstborn changed his preferred cups. Start with 2 or 3 and as baby grows, expand your cup collection as you minimize your bottle collection.
  • You'll want a bottle brush to hand wash but don't worry with sterilizing bottles unless your pediatrician tells you too. Dishwashers just don't get all the milk scum out of nipples or bottles so prepare to hand wash and get some kind of rack to dry them on. I use a round candle holder I found for $1 at a thrift store. Anything that they can hand on to dry works just fine.
  • Steam bags are helpful for sanitizing hand soap washed bottles while traveling, at work or school, or for the new mom's sanitizing sanity.
  • If you plan to work or spend time away from baby, you'll definitely need a good breast pump. I've had several and my best advice is find one that travels well and has fewer parts. Medela Pump n' Style has been my most used electric but I hands down get better output from my manual Phillips Avent. I also have a Spectra 2 I keep set up at home, if I ever get the chance to use it around baby.
  • A good nipple cream is a MUST for new moms. The first few weeks of breastfeeding are challenging. Nipples get sore and dry as they adjust to baby's immature latch. We're born with an instinct to nurse but not with the mastery. Mom and baby will have rough patches as you learn each other. Using a moisturizing cream before, after, and in between nursing sessions will help keep nipples from cracking and soothe those that do. I also use it on my nipples every time I pump to prevent blisters if I'm in a rush and don't position correctly. It only takes once to learn prevention there!
  • You'll need a few comfortable bras or nursing tanks. No wires, easily accessible for baby, especially in public. If you're modest, there are a few nursing cover options to chose from including blankets, scarves, and slings. Just know that once baby becomes mobile these covers rarely stay in place and are always warm underneath.
  • Also invest in nursing pads if you have an abundant supply, it may resolve after you establish a bond with baby. Not everyone leaks.
Meds, you'll want to keep these on hand at all times to prevent frantic trips to a store in the middle of the night
  • acetaminophen, doesn't have to be Tylenol brand (I no longer keep this in my household since learning more about our genetics and I would never give prior to or after vaccines)
  • INFANT ibuprofen (again, doesn't have to be Motrin or Advil) 6+
  • Gas relief drops, brand name: Mylicon
  • probiotic drops for gut flora after antibiotics
  • Vitamin D drops. Breastfeeding mama's can take 6400 IU daily 
  • Gripe Water, it's great for hiccups, gas, and tummy aches you can't figure out  
  • Benadryl or Zyrtec for allergies and allergic reactions
  • Neosporin/Bacitracin/Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Saline spray/drops for stuffy noses  
  • Diaper rash ointment, just beware of sensitive skin. It can be extremely sensitive to zinc oxide. Try samples first or check my blog for a recipe
  • I prefer to use homeopathic remedies so I use Tiny Cold Tablets, Calm Forte, and Rescue remedy for restful sleep, especially when sick.
Misc Baby care Items
  • Wipes of course
  • nasal aspirator bulb, or "suckers" like the Nose Frieda
  • nail clippers
  • oral/axillary thermometer because temporal and ear thermometers are not as accurate if not used exactly right  
  • receiving blankets, 3-5 for snuggling, swaddling, and diaper changes
  • wash cloths, you'll want several for faces, bottoms, and baths
  • towel, just 1 or 2 for after baths (I like hooded solely to keep baby snuggled while wet)
  • baby wash or gentle castile soap but babies don't need baths but once a week if that often
  • baby lotion (if you so choose, I didn't)
  • pacifiers if you want. I like the First Year soothies because they have no hard parts
  • simple toys, rattles, blocks
This should get you started. Email me with questions. I'm sure I can think of more later. This is completely from my head, no books or lists required. :)

8/8/11, updated 2/23/18