Thursday, August 1, 2013

for armistead

My friend Armistead is expecting a little boy in December and she’s been asking about the things that she really needs. When I was pregnant a few friends sent lists, all of which totally overwhelmed me, and so this is my attempt to massively streamline the list to the bare essentials, knowing that there are dozens of other things that are nice to have, but they’re also totally unnecessary. Needless to say, these are the things that worked for us, but I'm sure that every baby has his own preferences.

1. Swaddle blankets, or better yet, the miracle blanket. We started with the aden + anais ones and totally love those for other things, but they were a bit unwieldy for nightly swaddling, even after watching this video. So we switched to the miracle blanket and really loved that, at least until Augie got too big. Now we're on to these, but he's already straining at the seams. If only his arms spasms would calm down. I fear we may have to try these next.

2. A bath sponge. We found that it was too difficult to bathe Augie in a baby tub when he was super little. In fact, we just started using one at four months. Until recently, I'd get in the bath first, soak for 10 minutes (a blessed ten minutes alone), and then Josh would bring Augie in and I'd sit cross-legged and hold him on the sponge. We'd then both be able to wash him. Thankfully we have no photo of the sponge set-up, but here's the big boy arrangement (with the bath sponge now as a pillow).

3. A nursing pillow. We were gifted a Brest Friend, which I wanted to hate because of the name, and we borrowed a boppy. There was really no competition. The former is way better. With the boppy, Augie would sort of fall between it and me. But with the brest friend, god is that the worst name, he could lie on the flat surface and feel pretty secure. I never used the waist band. That thing freaked me out.

4. A bouncy seat. Strictly speaking, this isn't a necessity, but if you ever want to be able to take a shower or fix a bowl of oatmeal, you need a place to stash the little guy. We borrowed this from friends and we've loved it, used it every day, and return it when he can sit up on his own. But I'm getting that thing back if we ever have another baby. This is the one we had. It's pricey, but I have no complaints. He now loves this spinning thing. (Oh and the blue soft blanket seen below was his absolute favorite. I'll try to remember who makes it.)

5. Wraps. Back to that bowl of oatmeal. When you're ready to eat it and he's had enough of the bouncer, you need to be able to strap him to your body and chow down. We have the k'tan, which was perfect for the newborn stage and still super easy to use. Here it is in action.

Don't mind the head scarf. We also have and use an Ergo and I sewed a ring sling out of linen yardage. These days, I use the ring sling most often, but I still grab the k'tan for grocery runs. The ergo is good for hiking and more adventurous baby outings. If I had to get just one for the first six months, it would be the k'tan.

6. I've been saving the most essential for last: diapers. For the first two weeks, we used paper diapers. We figured that we'd sort out having a baby at home before we tried to keep up with diaper laundry. I'm not sure this was totally necessary, but it wasn't a big deal to buy one case of newborn dipes.

I spent about six months reading hundreds of reviews of diapers. I also talked to a bunch of friends who had tried all sorts of brands. I ended up buying all of ours on Black Friday, which seems to be the only day of the year when they're seriously discounted. We bought these, these, and these. Altogether, I think we have 32 diapers. That's enough to do laundry every other or every third day. They should last for several more children, mine or someone else's (the resale value is excellent). We end up using the 4.0s double stuffed at night and the flips during the day. I also bought a few dozen prefolds that we use as both spit-cloths, and trifolded, as inserts in the flips. I have absolutely no complaints about them. Oh, and we bought mostly snaps, but a few with velcro and we like them all. We also use cloth wipes because it's just as easy to throw them in the bag with the dipes and they work so much better than disposable ones. We keep them warm in here with water and a drop of tea-tree oil. We also use this miracle stick to prevent any sign of diaper rash. Oh and we wash with Charlie's (Maura's brilliant suggestion), which we use for everything now.

I think that about does it. Everything else is a bonus. I'll try to do another post on newborn and infant toys that Augie has loved. And you know the good books.


EAL said...

The motherlode! I am super grateful, and the little one will be, too. This is exactly what I needed.

EAL said...

Also, I'd like my own magic merlin sleep suit please.

Maura said...

loved reading your list. I bathed with Frank until he was about 7 months and it was one of my favorite memories of small babyness. Plus totally awesome to see them in the water like that, able to kick and float.

My baby must haves are the peri bottles they give you at the hospital (ask for a second one before you leave!), first for post-birth healing and then as a water bottle to soak the cloth wipes at your changing station... and lap pads (lots!) for the changing pad so you don't always have to be changing that pad. And prefolds (GOLD!!!!) but Armistead don't buy those because I'll send you mine... and the Bob revolution stroller!!! And a good camera and lens.