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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby Stuff - What does baby really need?

It is so easy to get overwhelmed when walking into a babies R us with a scanner to register for everything you need. You hear other moms say that X was a life saver and that every Mom needs one. You subconsciously feel like if you don't get your baby everything that the 20 page babies R us registry guide tells you to that you are a bad parent that is unwilling to provide the best for your child and are thus being neglectful. These feelings are even stronger when you are pregnant too.

Then you look at the picture above and look at history and realize that humanity has survived on FAR less.

I recently watched a video that I made to send to my grandma when we first moved into our 1,700 sq ft house and remembered thinking. WE NEED MORE STUFF. Our house looks so empty.
However, in the four years we have been there, we (mostly I) have managed to stuff it full. The addition of our son has added so much more that we are working to finish part of our basement just to keep the additional gifts we get from friends and family and the deals that I get. My major head ache now is attempting to not become the next episode of hoarders.

What does baby really need to survive and thrive?
Love, warmth and nourishment. The better question might be:

What do I need to help me keep up with my current life responsibilities and still raise my child?
Unfortunately, I cannot provide the ultimate list on what you need and don't need because every family and every child is different. A stay at home mom may have no use for a breast pump, but for a working mom who desires to breast feed, a pump would be essential in almost all cases.

Here is a list of things you may be able to wait and see on:
  • High Chair
    • When my high chair was not purchased off my registry right away, I started to panic. Where will my baby eat after they are born? Although I knew that newborns don't eat solid food until 4-6+ months, this didn't click for me. Our highchair sat in the box for the first 3 months of his life.
    • Don't get me wrong, we use it all the time, but it is also a large piece of furnature in our small dining space. As great as it looks with our decor, if I had to do it again, I would buy a high chair that straps in to a regular chair or just use the booster and strap that I got for $2 at a garage sale.
  • Changing Table
    • We use ours because it is there. When we are downstairs we use a mat on the floor or on a bed. This is just another large and expensive piece of furnature that you can avoid if you want.
    • My Dad had a changing table/dresser made for us, so it does serve a double funtion and I love the look. We had it made so that it will work for an extra dresser in our bedroom when we no longer need it for a changing table.
  • Cribs
    • Newborn babies do not roll around and thus do not need a crib on the day you bring them home. A blanket on floor (assuming they will not get stepped on or bothered by pets) may work just fine for your family.
    • Some of my friends kids have never slept in a crib even though they own one. The baby has been in bed with the parents. If you understand the "risks" and feel that it is a safe option for your family, a crib could be one of those items that you can wait and see on.
      • Note: One "risk" of co-sleeping may be your relationship with your spouse, so make sure everyone is on board.
  • Extra Car seat base
    • This is a huge money saver in my opinion! I have said this before and I will say it again. REGISTER FOR A CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT INSTEAD OF AN EXTRA BASE. You can get them that fit all the way down to 5lbs. Put the infant carrier (I call them baby buckets) in the car you use the most and the convertible car seat in the other car.
    • Technically you don't even need an infant carrier, but they are SOO nice to have so you don't need to disturb a sleeping baby especially if you are running errands and have multiple stops to make.
    • This also potentially avoids you having to pay for the convertible car seat when one is needed if you can get it purchased off your registry.
  • Baby Swing
    • Our son didn't really use the swing that our friends were kind enough to lend us. It was nice to have on occasion, but not essential for us. I do know many other parents who say they wouldn't have survived without one though.
  • Bumbo Seat
    • This is one of the first things that most people I know have purchased when they found out they were pregnant. It was really cute to use for pictures before he was too tall and the seat allowed for his head to be propped up. However once he was truly old enough to use it he was only able to use it for a short period of time that overlapped with the time he used his bouncer seat and excersaucer. So, yes we used it, but I didn't feel it was an essential baby thing.
Here are some things that I have and found useless:
Keep in mind that I know at least one other person that says they could not live without these items.
  • Wipe warmer
    • The wipe is usually cold again by the time you get it from the warmer to your babies butt.
    • The wipes dry out.
    • They day I found mold in my warmer is the day it was unplugged and moved to the basement in the "mom 2 mom" sale bin.
  • The Bundle Me
    • Our son hated to be covered up.
      • We  just used a blanket to cover the seat.
    • The day I arrived a location and realized that the baby bucket was not snapped into the base all the way because the fabric on the cover was in the way was the day it was banished to the sale bin.
    • Car seat manufactures and cars seat safety advocates advise against using ANYTHING (extra head rests, toys, mirrors, etc) in the car seat as they could interfere with how the car seat protects your child or become projectiles in an accident. Dibs! also shared this great demonstration on why you should not put a winter coat on your child while they are in a car seat.
  • Bedding sets
    • Wow these are pricey!
    • As pictured in last weeks post. I still had the bedding set that my Mom made for me as an infant that I planned to use for my son. It looked great in pictures of the nursery too!
    • However, the pillow, blanket and bumpers are deemed not safe to use in cribs, so they were taken off as soon as our son came home.
    • The bed skirt looked nice until we lowered the crib to the lowest setting and the skirt was way to long. 
    • So, they only things from the bedding set still in the crib today? The fitted sheet.
    • My advice? Invest in 2 mattress pads and 3-4 crib sheets at a garage sale and call it good.
      • Why 4?? You will understand when your child get their first flu and you find them sleeping in their own vomit 3 times in one night. 
      • You many need even more if you use daycare and they do not provide the sheets.
  • Toys 
    • We have a ton of fun and cute toys for my son to play with. His favorites?
      • An old kleenex box that he can shove stuff in.... like his shoes (thanks Becky C.)
      • My baking drawer in the kitchen that he takes things in and out of. 
    • Basically, if you can resist the temptation to buy something because it is only $.25 and so cute and can get your family and friends to do the same... go for it. You have enough stuff around the house that is just as interesting!
Here are some things I needed more of.
  • Baby Gates
    • I bought two of the gates that you screw into the wall at a garage sale for the top of each set of stairs in our home. One of those gates was installed as soon as he was mobile, the other is sitting in our baby storage closet in the basement. After our son began crawling we went to babies r us in an act of desperation and purchased a 2 pack gate set for full price! These gate have been used in multiple locations and have been used and friends and parents houses. Mostly to contain him to one area of the house so we were not chasing him.
  • Newborn Clothes
    • I did not realize that "Newborn" and "0-3" months were two different sizes. I think I had 1 or 2 outfits that fit my 6ln 9oz baby when he was born. Plus I also did not factor in that infants may need 5+ outfits per day due to spit up....
  • Baskets/Storage
    • I had never been a basket person until after my son was born. 
      • We have a "diaper" basket with diapers and creams etc in:
        • His bedroom.
        • 2 in the downstairs changing area (one for cloth diapers and one for accessories and disposables).
      • We have toy baskets
        • In the upstairs bathroom
        • 2 in the living room, one for toys and one for books
      • and then we have the various book shelves and a toy organizer for everything else.
  • Bouncer Seat
    • I really wished I had an extra one of these for the upstairs. I had a rough recovery and it was all I could do to carry him up the stairs let alone a bouncy seat as well. He used it for quite awhile to, so if the price is right, I will probably get an additional one if we have another
  • Excersaucer
    • These are pricey. New and used. We actually didn't plan on getting one at all, but were given one as a gift after our son was born. I have to say this was one of my favorite baby items. It was the one thing that kept him happy and in one place if I was cooking and needed him to stay away from the stove. They had a huge room full of them at a mom2mom sale for $2!!!! and I kicked myself every day for a long time that I didn't buy more. They are so large that they are hard to transport, so it would have been great to have one at both grandparents houses and maybe even one for outdoor use. However, it was not worth $20+ to me to have more (which is how much the others I saw afterward were).
    • Multiples of this doesn't sound as appealing right now as storing just the one in our storage closet has been a pain since it is such an awkward shape. 
    • We also had a jumperoo lent to us that he LOVED. 
  • Swaddle Me (aka baby burrito wrap)
    • At first I didn't want to swaddle my son. It seemed mean to tie him up. However, after a few nights without sleep, we gave it a try and he loved it and slept. I was made aware of this wonderful product by ...and baby makes 3 who's son is about 4 months older than mine, so I had registered for one. Again with the spit up and such... I would recommend at least 2! (another babies r us full price purchase out of desperation)
  • Pack and Play mattress pads
    • This was an item I didn't even think about needing, but the sheets are thin and the mattress is not washable or waterproof, so they are essential if you use the pack and play a lot.
My recommendation for what you really need:
  • Clothes
  • 1 or 2 diaper changing stations (do not need to be actual changing tables, just a mat and a basket with diapers and creams etc.)
  • A place for baby to sleep (could be with you, in a crib, in a pack n play on a mattress on the floor (minute 2.45).
  • Bottles if you formula feed or pump (and a pump if you pump)
  • A place to feed baby. If you choose to feed solids before they can sit, you can have them eat in a bouncy seat. After they can sit, I booster on your chair, pulled up to the table will work.
  • A car seat if you drive.
  • A place to keep baby happy or safe if you need to cook or do something they cannot be too close to. (excersaucer, jumperoo, bouncy seat, bumbo, baby gates). Slings work well too, but not when I am over the stove.

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