OK. I feel that it’s time for a posting with a useful purpose. I don’t know about you, but I have so many pregnant friends right now. It seems that I have more pregnant friends than non-pregnant friends. And it’s wonderful. Preggo’s are adorable. They are glowing and happy and have strange bodily issues that are always fun to talk about. I can ask probing inappropriate questions and they will answer truthfully because they are just as puzzled and amazed by what their bodies are capable of. It’s fun.
But along the way, it seems that these fun preggos also have lots of questions that are good questions – mainly concerning the baby registry. The dreaded registry. And so, I thought that it might be fun and helpful to tip you off to things that someone may or may not tip you off about along the way. Odds are that most preggos have very helpful mothers or mother’s-in-law (yeah, right) or friends who are mommy’s – but if they have me as a mommy friend, I have mommy/drank way too much in my formative years brain. So I forget things along the way. And so here is my brain dump of the essentials. Take it or leave it kittens, but here is what I’ve learned along the way, in totally random order.
1. Bumper Pads. They look great. They’re almost as fun to pick out as your wedding china, but then comes the day when you start using the crib and you learn something horrible. You learn that you DESPISE the bumper pads because in order to change the crib sheet, you have to REMOVE the bumper pads, lift out the crib mattress, remove said soiled sheet and then replace with clean sheet, and it’s horrible. So first, gather round, NEVER do this job. Keep that a husband job. I, for one, have convinced my husband that I “don’t know how to do it” and it “hurts my back too much.” Take a page out of my book, make it his job. Trust me. Second, you need crib accessories. There are two kinds.
First – you need the lap pad. You also need this for over the changing pad on your changing table (or wherever it is that you change your child). Because you are pregnant, KT will assure you that your child will never piss all over the place or shit all over you and the changing pad because your baby will be perfect, but just in case it might happen, go get at least three lap pads. One goes in the crib under their adorable butts for when accidents occur while napping or otherwise lying there doing nothing. One goes on the changing pad. You need at least one extra on hand for just in case. Here is a link:
Second – you need this thing to tie on either side of your crib and it goes where your baby’s head goes. I have no idea what it’s official name is beyond NECESSARY. It’s for when your baby spits up. This way your precious child can spit up on these things and you can easily remove them yourself and put a fresh one on, rather than the dreaded sheet change because sometime these undesirable events happen during the day when said husband is at work. Again, three is always a good number:
2. Diapers. Lots of opinions on diaper brands, what works the best, whatever. Just experiment. I was very brand loyal to Pampers for most of my baby’s first year until I noticed red marks on her thighs. I could tell she wasn’t ready for the next size and had to switch to Huggies because they didn’t cut into her thighs. So keep your eye out for fit. Also just because the diaper is labeled a weight limit doesn’t mean it is a perfect science. Are you always a size 4? Sometimes you’re a 2 or 0, right?
Of course you are. So don’t be wed to the weight limit. And if your child’s diaper starts leaking a lot – might be time to try the next size up or again, try a different brand. And if none of that works, well then, that’s what emergency bath situations are for.
3. Pack’n’Play. A wonderful invention. A fabulous thing to have for as long as your child will stay in it. But changing your baby on the pack’n’play changing table can be a killer on your back, especially if you are tall. I highly recommend the pack’n’play with the changing table that rises up a bit higher – it’s a life saver. Graco makes one – I think the Madison Avenue edition. It’s worth the extra bucks if you like no back pain.
4. Mobile. You want a mobile that is interesting for your baby, not one that you personally think is pretty or matches the room. This is a very important distinction, kittens. This is the kind of device that serves a very real and legitimate purpose – it ENTERTAINS your baby. So just think of it like this – it’s 5am. You don’t want to be up. No one does. But your baby is up. If your mobile is interesting for your CHILD – then said mobile will keep said baby entertained in crib. Even if this buys you 20 more minutes of being able to lay in bed and just lay there. Trust me. It’s worth it. So what sorts of things are interesting for the baby, you ask? Patterns on the bottom of the little animals – usually they are geometric and in black and white. Obviously music and motion and a mirror. Parents and babies alike prefer mobiles play music for as long as possible. Mirrors are always a crowd pleaser for the under 1 set. For a while, we actually had 2 mirrors in our darling daughter’s crib. One came at the base of the mobile and another got added (by moi after an extravagent shopping spree to Target) on the opposite side of her crib. Of course, she never knew it was her – but it was very entertaining for her to gaze at herself and talk to herself until she lost all toy privileges in her crib because the distraction kept her up. But you have a while to go before then. With infants, you want to buy yourself as much time as possible in the crib so you can just lay in bed. So think of that when selecting your mobile, not what looks like it so nicely was pulled from the Pottery Barn Cataloge and locks-in your chances of winning the Home Decor award for best decorated nursery.
5. The Jumperoo. I am a huge proponent of the Jumperoo. It is safe. It is self-standing, it has only mildly annoying music (versus the gut-wrenching, someone kill me now, music that comes in the star of the Baby Einstein activity mat), and it guarantees physical activity. And what comes after physical activity? NAPS! The Jumperoo is a no brainer and unlike the Exersaucer – again – it requires physical movement. It is a must-have in my book. As soon as your darling child can hold up his/her own head, put baby in the Jumperoo. Sure, we had to wrap blankets around my daughter to fill out the space in the seat and put phone books underneath because her feet didn’t touch the ground at first – but again – it didn’t harm her in the least and my main game – is nap time. I might be running baby boot camp but it works.
6. The stroller. I hate to even go here because it has churned out so many emails and debates but I feel I must because it keeps coming up. So first – this is just my opinion. Take it or leave it. I’m only going to tell you what worked for me and I largely based my decision on my mom’s help. She had 4 kids. I felt like she knew what she was talking about. I think the biggest problem is the dirth of good strollers we have to pick from in the States. But unfortunately, most of us can’t jet off to Europe to purchase our stroller, so we are stuck with our limited options. First – what I don’t understand is the idea of purchasing a stroller that you cannot put your child in from day one home from the hospital. Oddly enough, there are more strollers of that kind than I can believe. What is the point of a stroller if you can’t put your baby in it until they can hold up their head? I don’t know. Also – if you are having a child in extreme weather – such as hot summer or cold winter – why force your child to be shoved into the infant car seat in order to be in a stroller and pushed around? I think they get really hot in the summer in the car seats and well, how well can you bundle them up in the winter in the car seat? Which is why you want a stroller that allows them to stretch out and be comfy in from the beginning. In order for this to happen, your stroller needs to be able to go fully flat. Not a lot of them do but I think it’s definitely worth the extra money. You also want a stroller that is going to give your baby blockage from the cold winter wind and from the beating hot sun in the summer. In other words – the canopy of the stroller. Does it really cover them? Obviously you also want to consider how easily the stroller folds up, how much it weighs, and if the wheels turn smoothly and without trouble. Taking all of these things into account leaves you with very few options, sadly, but when your baby is fussy and you can prop them in the stroller and push it back and forth while sitting on your couch, wishing it would stop, it’s worth it. I have the Peg Perego A3 Pramette which unfortuantely is no longer sold in stores but you can still get it online. I’ve considered buying another one just to have – because that’s how much I love it – but I have better ways to spend $300.
7. Infant car seat. You can’t leave the hospital without one. And if you think you are walking home from the hospital, then allow me to say — that you’re not. So you need one. The infant car seat needs to be rear facing and the baby needs to remain rear facing until they are 20 pounds AND 1 year. Most are 20 pounds well before they are 1. Most babies also grow out of the infant car seat by around 6-7 months – and the convertible car seats can go rear facing. The real safety experts actually want you to keep your child rear facing until they are three but at least for me – that’s a pipe dream. But she was rear facing until she was 1. You should also get your car seat inspected because trust me, you and your husband don’t know how to install it properly. No one does. At the inspection, you will learn all about how to install it properly, how to strap baby in properly (yes, there’s a correct way) and why you shouldn’t have hanging toys or mirrors for the baby in the car. First – they will explain that they become torpedoes at the baby’s face in the event of an accident. Second – the mirrors in particular are distracting for the driver because you get caught up looking at your sweet cherub’s face and forget you are supposed to be paying attention to the road. My point – be sure to get your seat checked!
I think I’ve covered the big areas by now. Sure I didn’t get into swings or cribs but you already know you need those. And my final comment is this. While pregnant, we all go through this exercise of – is all of this really necessary? It’s going to take up so much space in my house? I don’t want all this in my house? Where’s it going to go? What about my beautiful X?
Look. Trust me. Your small tiny infant is going to take over your home. It’s not going to look the same for a long time and all the stuff is necessary because it helps you survive the day. And makes your baby happy. And so you are happy.