Sunday, November 08, 2015

My Favorite Things (Baby Edition)

Prepping for Baby #4, and it's so fun to pull out baby items and clothes and remember using them with our previous kids, and anticipating using them again with this new little one :-). It reminds me of some of the things I've loved using the most over the years. And it reminds me of some of the things I used to love, but don't find as essential anymore. Or things I didn't used to own, that I'm glad I do now! My preferences change a bit with each baby.

I find it fun to find out what other moms use the most, what they don't use at all, and which things they consider optional. The point in this post is NOT to draw a line in the sand, act like someone is crazy for purchasing "unnecessary items," or is a bad mom if they use x, y, or z, or if they DON'T own and use t, u, or v. Good grief, we can be more mature, I think. This is purely for informational and interest purposes. No name calling, no "camps" that we need to place ourselves into, k? I just find the subject interesting :-).

So anyway, here are a few lists that I made, and I'm curious what you would put in each list. Feel free to share in comments.

My "If I Was Re-Acquiring All My Baby Stuff, This Is What I'd Get Again" List
  • onesies, 2 dozen in the newborn size and 1 dozen in bigger sizes. All other clothes are optional, seriously. Fun, but optional. 
  • burp rags, 1-2 dozen. Two of my babies did a lot of spitting up. 
  • drool bibs, 2+ dozen. Because one of my babies was prolific in drooling, and one could go through up to a dozen bibs in a few hours from her spit-up. 
  • a baby bath tub or baby bath holder. Because, yes, I can use the sink or larger tub, but babies are slippery and I don't have a good grip ;-D. Also 1-2 small baby towels, because newborns become engulfed in a full-size towel!  
  • a carrier like an Ergo. We use ours many hours daily from about 5 months onward. LOVE. This is my #1 essential after onesies and diapers, seriously. 
  • a newborn wrap, for the pre-Ergo stage. (Not a huge fan of the Ergo infant insert.) We own a Boba Wrap
  • a stroller. We currently own a Sit 'n Stand. I prefer to hold/wear my babies, but it's also nice to have a stroller option, especially as they get older. 
  • a baby bed. We co-sleep for the most part, but find that something like a co-sleeper or pack 'n play is still really nice to have, and gets used as well - currently we plan to use a pack 'n play for a back-up option with this baby. 
  • a baby holder like a bouncer. I don't use it much, but it's nice to have one on hand :-). 
  • cloth diapers. It's kind of an obsession; I like a mix of prefolds with covers, fitteds with covers, and a few pocket diapers for outings. Most of my stash is homemade, so I don't have particular brand recommendations, though I've tried a few "store-bought" types. 
  • disposable diapers. Because I'm just not hard-core enough to care if I use some newborn diapers to help ease the transition with a new baby, for those nasty meconium poops, or when my baby gets a yeast rash, and also sometimes for outings. And for vacations. 
  • large waterproof pads that work for diaper changes, crib liners, bed pads, and all manner of things. I have about 10 hospital-grade ones that a nursing home was getting rid of as they switched brands. These are in great condition after constant use by us for over 5 years! 
  • a few warm blankets, and also a few thin woven cotton blankets for swaddling 
  • nasal aspirator. Invaluable for one of my kids who cried a lot as a baby and was constantly stuffing up his nose! I get a new one with each baby, use for a few months and then TOSS. They do not get saved indefinitely. ICK. And people think the Nose Frida is unhygienic - ha! 
  • a decent thermometer. I let low-grade fevers run their course, and my favorite thermometer is a kiss on the forehead, but it's really nice to know an exact temp sometimes, to gauge if intervention is needed! 
  • a diaper cream. Because although I've found most rashes are prevented with frequent changes, sometimes it happens. I mainly use Butt Paste because it seriously works and it's easy to find and is relatively cheap. Sometimes I make my own salve with herbs. 
  • basic mild baby soap. We use Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild for both body wash and shampoo. 
  • nursing pads. I leak a lot the first 6 months or so. I have about 1 dozen pairs, most of which I made, A layer of waterproof fabric, a layer or two of absorbent, and a layer of suede or micro-fleece. 
  • a carseat. We're using a convertible this time. But as long as it's rear-facing, properly installed, and your baby is over the minimum weight and under the maximum height, there are lots of safe options :-). 
  • chocolate, always chocolate. And other food. Because I laugh when people say Mommy's Milk is "free." They've never seen the increase in my grocery budget because my metabolism doubles while nursing! 

My "I Really Like Having This, But Wouldn't Prioritize a Re-Purchase if I Had Limited Resources" List
  • Baby Legs. I admit this was something I thought was SO silly with my first baby. But they've grown on me and I really love how easy they are to warm legs but not have to take off for diaper changes. I especially love them for little baby girls, but even used them for my younger boy. (They are WAY over-priced, though, and I'd never pay full price. They're actually easy to make from adult knee socks!) 
  • A few headbands for a baby girl. Totally unnecessary, but adorable. 
  • Aden + Anais blankets. The feel of these is just superior, they are breathable, lightweight, large, and great for so many things, from swaddling to a quick nursing cover. 
  • Nose Frida. It's nice to have an alternative option to the bulb, but I wouldn't rate it up with super-important. 
  • a few extra babywearing options. We currently own a mei tai and a woven ring sling, and both get some use, but not as much as our other options. 

My "I Can't Decide If I Like Or Hate This Item" List 
  • nursing cover. Controversy aside, my babies kick, they flash me, and they're active. And depending on the stage they're in, the nursing cover can be more or less helpful. My aim is to nurse as discreetly as reasonable, and sometimes that means using a cover. But I don't nurse in bathrooms, and have been known to find a quiet room or hallway, or nurse in a worship service, depending on what works that day. I usually use this more for the itty bitty stage and use it less and less as they get older. Nursing a toddler with a cover has NEVER worked for me. 
  • infant carrier seat. We've used one for our first 3, but are not for our fourth, for various reasons. They've gotten less convenient with each baby, as each has gotten fatter more quickly than the previous ones, and there are just more and more safety precautions (by the manufacturers and by the AAP) coming out that restrict many of the versatile ways we've used them in the past. They CAN be used safely, but there are a lot of unsafe ways to use them too! They are also an incredible expense for something that is only used for a few months and then expires after 6 years. And bulky to store for 2+ years between babies. 
  • infant safety gates. We've owned them at times and not at others; they seem like they simultaneously create and solve safety issues - ha! 
  • baby monitor. Basic sound-only option. Useful, and I've owned them for one baby and not two others, and we currently have one someone handed-us-down for this baby - but it's a not-oft-used item here, and just one more thing we own that takes up room. My babies often sleep in a wrap or the Ergo, so it's not even always helpful. But when we're in a multi-level house and they're napping on a bed/crib, it is sometimes nice to have. 
  • breast pump. My babies have never taken bottles and it seems like a total waste of space to own a breast pump, but it's also been handy a handful of times to have a manual one around to help clear a really bad clog. So I keep it. *shrugs* 
  • sippy cup. We've owned ONE sippy cup over the years and it's gotten very little use, but it's also nice to have for the rare occasion like a car trip. *shrugs* 
  • nursing bras. Helpful, but kind of superfluous and regular ones adapt just fine ;-). 
  • baby hats. My babies rarely need them, and they tend to fall off, but there are rare occasions when they're helpful. I'd honestly rather keep them warm by snuggling and kissing their head ;-). 
  • I have similar sentiments regarding baby socks, and prefer baby booties (which are more likely to stay on) or footed onesies. 
  • baby swing. Sort of useful, especially for babies who like motion, and those times when Mommy really does need some extra hands, but SUCH a short-lived use before baby outgrows, and takes up a lot of space on the floor. 

My "I Used to Own This, But Choose Not to Anymore" List 
  • exersaucer. Someone passed me on a used one and I used it for a while, but it was SUCH a large footprint and didn't wow me, so I passed it on to someone else. 
  • nursing stool. Can you say "tripping hazard"? And once I had a toddler, the toddler thought it was his own personal-sized stool, so who ended up using it? ;-P 
  • nursing pillow. Invaluable for my first baby, and I'd recommend it for a first-time mom or a mom who had a baby with latch issues, multiples, etc. Virtually unused for my other two kids and just one more item to store. 
  • single stroller. Very helpful for a single child! Semi-useful for a second child. Not so much after that. 
  • velcro swaddle blanket. They never fit tightly enough (and isn't that the point of the swaddle?), and my first was our "Houdini" who always got out of them anyway. 
  • diaper bag. A backpack serves the purpose and is more versatile. It also fits my babywearing contraptions better ;-). 
  • crib. This never got much use and took up SO much room. 
  • scratch mitts. Socks are so versatile and can be used for the same purpose. And they are already hard enough to keep track of. Why do I need to keep track of TWO types of tiny objects that need matches?! 
  • plastic teether things. My first two babies never liked them, and I'd rather them not chew on plastic anyway ;-). They get enough plastic chewing with Duplos, without me encouraging the practice. Hehe. 
  • baby powder 
  • shopping cart cover. My oldest promptly pulled it aside and chewed on the cart handle, and I gave up. I just wear my babies while shopping until they're about 18 months old. They're happier (I get so many comments about my cheerful tag-alongs when they're worn!) and by 18 months, I figure their immune system can handle the cart germs. 
  • Hyland's teething tablets. Never worked for my kids AT ALL. 
  • an exercise ball. I actually really liked this and it was very helpful for my fussy first baby, and I'd kind of like another one. But I haven't replaced my old one (which had a good life), partially because I'm too cheap, and partly because it would just become a very large projectile toy with a 2, 5, and 7yo in the house. I try to pick my battles :-P. 

My "Popular Things I've Never Owned/Used" List 
  • changing table. They make me nervous, and are another piece of furniture, and a bed works just fine. The floor and couch also work in a pinch. 
  • pacifiers 
  • formula. Blessed with a good milk supply! 
  • baby food. My plate is available to them, and forks are handy mashers. 
  • wipes warmer  
  • crib mobile 
  • Bumbo 
  • baby shoes 
  • Johnny-jump-up. I try to avoid crotch danglers because of chiro cautions. 
  • Baby Bjorn, for the same reason :-). 
  • nursing-specific tops/dresses. Because I nurse all the time. I really don't want to re-vamp my entire wardrobe, but would rather just adapt what I have. That's what 2-piece outfits are for :-). 
  • amber teething necklace 
  • baby oil and baby lotion. My babies haven't been rashy, and I don't bathe them over-much, so their skin doesn't get dry. 
  • a nursery. Yeah, one of those special rooms for baby that is ADORABLE and has awesome decorations. My babies have all slept in our room for well over a year and they have yet to be in therapy for the general (non-baby) decor on the master bedroom walls ;-). My 2yo is actually my first toddler who has even had decorations on his wall. Oops. 

My "Trying Something New This Time" List 
  • a pack 'n play with a bassinet insert. This option replaces our basic pack 'n play and our co-sleeper; less to store, and will hopefully still fit our needs well :-). 
  • nursing camis 
  • a slightly different kind of baby bath holder 
  • maple teething ring. This was given to me by my chiropractor. Maple is supposed to be non-splintery. Any opinions or advice on using this? I haven't researched it yet. 

My "Items I Would Like to Try In The Future, But Don't Currently Own" List 
  • a stretchy lightweight wrap 
  • a good-quality strong-but-light woven wrap 
  • a post-partum belly wrap 
  • rubber teething toy like Sophie the Giraffe