Saturday, May 22, 2010

What to register for...

A soon-to-be mom asked my advice on what to register for for her pending arrival. Turns out I have a lot of opinions on the subject so here they are...

What to register for that you will actually use…
*Consider how you will clean spit up and diaper leaks off of everything you register for.
*If you plan to reuse it for subsequent children, take unisex colors into consideration.

Car Seats
· Infant Car Seat – Graco Snug Ride is nice to have because you can have baby fall asleep in the car and move him in and out fairly easily, but it only goes up to about 22 lbs so you’ll have to upgrade at that point.
· Toddler Car Seat – we got the Sunshine Kid’s Radian 80 – it can go from infant all the way to 65 lbs or your kid is done using it. But it stays in the car. It has great safety ratings, is easy to use, and it is the only folding car seat on the market in case you fly and want to take it with. Some car seats only work up to 45 lbs so you’d need to then get a booster seat at that point. This one might be expensive, but it saves you from having to buy other ones. If you start at the infant weight, you need an insert of some sort.
· Bundle Me/Fat Suit – In winter, it’s nice to have a fuzzy warmer either designed for the car seat and stroller or a “fat suit” as I call them, to keep the baby warm.

· Travel System – snap and go system…could be handy going to and from car with a bunch of stuff. Your Graco Snugride would snap to it. Be sure that if you go this route, the stroller and car seat are compatible.
· Full-size stroller-that’s personal preference. If you are having more kids, I recommend the Phil and Ted’s – it’s the one we are getting this time since you can attach a 2nd seat to it for #2. Side by sides are a pain to maneuver. For as much as you’ll use it in the city, SPLURGE on a NICE stroller with good wheels. Used can save a ton of money. Consider the cargo space when shopping for a stroller as you’ll always need a diaper, wipes, change of clothes, burp cloths, snacks, and a drink with you, not to mention a toy or two.
· Stroller accessories –Rain cover, skip the cup holder unless you find one well designed and can’t live without a latte. A fuzzy stroller liner is nice for winter months, but a few blankets can achieve the same effect.
· Lightweight stroller - $20 at target comes in handy – called an umbrella stroller. just beat it up. Can get the McClaren version for maybe $120 but it is just a nicer version
· Stroller toys – just toys with a loop so you can use those plastic chains to keep them attached
· Stroller diaper bag – our “skip hop” brand has clasps that hook onto the stroller handlebars and is super handy. We got a manly messenger bag looking one for Rick but he never used it—or he did use it, but never for diapers…
· Sling & Wrap Carriers -I have an Ergo that I like, the Moby wrap is very popular. I borrowed a Baby Bjorn with Ada and that worked really well too. I also had a hot sling that I didn’t really care for, maybe it was too small or just not my thing. I like the Ergo since you can wear the baby front, back or on your hip. There is an infant insert you can get, and it works for bigger kids.

Activity Things
· Pack and Play – SO handy. We use the basinet portion for the first month or so. Then Rick kicked Ada out of our room because we would wake up at every peep she made when she really didn’t need us that much. She’d let us know when she needed us. That was clear. Without the bassinet, it’s great for having friends over to take naps and is just a great must have.
· ExerSaucer – Adjustable height is nice, one with a lot of playful do-dads is good, and something that they can chew on is nice too. Consider how well spit up will clean off of it and watch for small creases and crevices.
· Bouncy Seat – Vibrations, Music, what more can you ask for?
· Swing – Some kids love them, some don’t. If it folds up when not in use, you’ll be happier that it isn’t taking up half of your living room.
· NoWalkers – They aren’t recommended for safety– especially if you have stairs since they can roll right down them.
· Activity Mat with arches above and toys hanging from it. Hours of entertainment for the newborns.

· Breastmilk storage bags/bottles – If you’re nursing and plan to pump and freeze milk so others can feed the baby when you aren’t around, you’ll need bottles or bags. I’m a fan of the bottles since they are reusable and better for the environment.
· Cooler/Insulated Tote – If you’ll be transporting breastmilk in bottles or bags, you’ll need a small (tiny2-6 bottle capacity) cooler with ice packs to haul it in.
· Boppy and 2 covers – The U-shaped pillow. One cover will typically be in the wash. The Boppy is great for nursing or just setting the baby down if you don’t want them to roll. The U-shape gives you a lot of positions to prop up the baby when nursing and comes in very handy.
· A wrap or cover for nursing – or just a lightweight blanket. Hooter hiders is a popular cover that comes in trendy patterns and works well to provide discretion when feeding around others.
· Nursing Bras- Wait a week or two for your breasts to settle on a size, and then go to a specialty store and try on nursing bras. SPLURGE on a nude and black version that is comfortable and supportive. Bravado and Nummies are two brands I recommend. Look for comfort, ease of releasing the clasps for easy access (you may be sleep deprived and don’t want to mess with clasps that are counter-intuitive), and padding in case you leak a bit.
· Nursing Bra Pads- If you leak a lot, they make re-usable cotton pads that you can wash or disposable ones with a sticker on the back that you use and toss. Maybe have a couple on hand but wait to buy the jumbo box until you know if you leak. Some women do, others don’t.
· Lanolin cream – get a tube or a few and keep them handy. Nursing can be super painful the first two weeks and this cream is a lifesaver. Ask for it in the hospital and use it often. Just like you’d use chapstick for sore lips. It won’t hurt the baby so lay it on thick.
· The nursing consultant at the hospital can help you with shields or other nursing gear if you have difficulty nursing. No need to get any of that beforehand.
· Wait on a pump. Wait until you know you can nurse before investing in or renting a pump. Then weigh the options of renting versus buying. The Medela Pump in Style is $300 and one of the most popular pumps on the market, but still lacks what I consider “good design” as it is heavy and bulky, but it gets the job done. Some women prefer hand pumps. You’ll just have to try a few options to see what works best for you.

· Bottle warmers are dumb in my opinion. I always tried to give milk to Ada that was room temperature or had been run under hot water/set in a bowl of hot water to defrost so that she wouldn’t get used to warmed bottles and demand them when we couldn’t warm them for her – in the car or on the road for instance.
· Sterilizers are silly too. There are steam sterilizer bags that can be microwaved 20 or 30 times to sterilize the bottles. I think the dishwasher sterilizes them plenty but if you have nursing pump tubes and accessories, the sterilizer bags are handy.
· Bibs – you can never have enough. For bibs, I recommend those that can be rinsed and hung dry once they start eating solids at 5 months. Before then, get the most absorbent bibs you can since they are for catching drool and spit up, not food. They will need to be washed often so look for durable fabrics.
· Burp Cloths – again, get as many as possible. Cloth diapers are super absorbent and cheap. Baby wash cloths work well too. All sizes, shapes and absorbencies are good to keep on hand everywhere.
· Bumbo and tray – great for when you start feeding solids and the baby can’t quite sit up on his own.
· Bottles – don’t go crazy buying a million bottles and nipples and such just yet. You can get one or two of a couple different versions but baby might not like them so don’t invest too much until you know what he likes. Some look like a boob to avoid nipple confusion (which some say doesn’t even exist), others have plastic inserts, some are glass, BPA free, plastic with special technology to vent air through the bottom. Try a few out and see what you like and what baby will drink from when the time comes. I prefer Dr. Brown’s Bottles that have a straw-like thing in the middle because they are suppose to reduce baby’s gassiness – but a lot of bottles will make that claim. It comes down to trial and error. If you get glass bottles, be sure to get the rubber safety covers for them in case they get dropped. When you do find one that works, you’ll want to have 10-12 on hand, with extras at grandmas/daycare/the car/etc.
· Bottle drying racks – you wash bottles everyday unless you are strictly nursing. But assume that you pump and someone else will feed the baby at some point, or you switch to formula or whole milk at age 1.
· Bottle brushes – one to travel with, one for home. There are little wire ones with tiny bristles for hard to reach parts that come in handy too.
· High chair or booster seat or both – Whatever you prefer. Just make sure the cover comes off and can withstand many wash machine cycles. Consider a design that doesn’t allow food to slip under the cover easily—one that has the cover extend over the sides is best. Ours collected crumbs under the seat and drove Rick nuts having to pull out mashed peas after every meal.
· Infant spoons – Get a bunch. Keep them handy everywhere.
· Sippy Cups and Silverware – These come later on, but can be nice to have. Sippy cups, small plastic cups, plastic plates, bowls, Bowls with lids are great for when your child doesn’t finish a meal and you want to save it for later, or for traveling.
· Grocery store cart cover – I have one. Used it half-a-dozen times. Usually forget to take it inside and gave up. That’s a personal preference. It can make baby’s ride more comfy and contain toys, keep cooties at bay.

Making Baby Food?
· Food Processor
· Steamer
· Food Containers – small tupperwear like containers that seal tightly
· Freezable food containers – like covered ice cube trays.
· Baby recipe book

· Wipe warmers are unnecessary. Just hold the wipes for a few seconds if they are cold and they will work just fine.
· Small wipe travel containers – It’s great to have thin wipe containers that hold about 30 wipes each. Tuck them in the car, your purse, diaper bag, the stroller, etc.
· Changing pads – Again, great to tuck into various places for when you need them. Look for lightweight, washable, with a little padding to keep baby comfy.
· No diaper genie or other diaper odor eating/disposal machine. Just take the funky diapers straight out to the trash, and the less funky ones to the garbage, which you need to take out often. These take up space, are an investment for the constant refills, and most people who I know that have had them, don’t really like them.
· Have some tiny diapers on hand, but don’t buy a lot since baby grows fast in the beginning and you’ll get stuck with too many extras. Try to buy as you go.
· Diaper rash cream. White or clear. Whatever brand you prefer.

Cloth Diapers
· Covers- 6-10 of each size – can be reused if not soiled.
· Cloth Diapers -about 30 of each size, one use and wash
· Doublers for overnight – an insert that doubles the absorbency. 5 or 6 should be enough since you should be washing them every 3 days or so.
· All-in-one diapers – You’d probably need 12-20 of them and wash them constantly since they are one use, then wash.

· Charlie’s Soap to wash them since it doesn’t leave residue and helps keep them absorbent.
· A sprayer for the toilet if you prefer (we haven’t had one and have survived just fine.)
· A medium size (5 gallon) garbage can, washable, that can hold water and has a pop up lid that stays closed. Bigger and it’s hard to pickup or dump and the smell gets so bad you don’t want the ability to procrastinate washing them beyond every three days.

For the Bathroom
· Shampoo and body wash all in one. Consider a large pump bottle for convenience.
· Baby lotion – avoid fragrance. Stick to the basics. Aquaphor is nice to have on hand for eczema or heat rash.
· Baby Towels – 2-5 is plenty. Adult bath towels can be too big.
· Baby Washcloths –3-5 is fine. They are lighter weight and more delicate. Nice to have.
· Baby Bath Tub – One with the mesh sling inside is nice.
· Bath toys – just a few, and maybe something to contain them all in. No need to have the bathroom overrun with bath stuff. There are rubber duckies that tell you if the temperature is too hot. The ones that spit are neat but tend to grow mold or some mysterious black stuff in them and then spit it out when they are squeezed. It’s gross so maybe avoid those or make sure anything that spits can be opened and washed thoroughly.
· Step stool – Wait. When baby is big enough to wash his own hands, he’ll need a stool to help him get to the sink. But that can wait a year.
· Potty – Wait. You won’t need this until he is 2 or 3 or even 4. Then you can shop around and see what you like.

Baby Care & Grooming
· Nail Clippers – The First Years’ Deluxe nail clippers with magnifying glass are the best. Get 2. Ignore the magnifying glass part and be thankful they are big enough to hold on to.
· Grooming kit – Skip it. Get a baby brush or comb but this other stuff is just fluff. Ask the pharmacy for droppers or medicine spoons when you get a prescription if you need those items.
· Baby brush or comb
· Blue Ball Aspirator – Get one from the hospital and ask if they will give you an extra. The white ones in the grooming kits don’t suck well enough.
· Thermometer – I don’t think any of them are very accurate or good. Ear versions aren’t good until baby is 6 months old. Others tend to have the batteries die when you need them most. Good luck getting one you like that is accurate/decent.
· Teething rings – Get a variety. Each kid likes different styles. Some don’t like any. Some kids don’t mind teething.

· Audio monitor – In a small city condo, we don’t use a monitor. But if we have to run across the hall or downstairs or want to sit on the porch for dinner, it is nice to have one. We also take it with us when we travel to the grandparents’ larger homes.
· Outlet covers
· Video monitor – Nice, but not necessary. You’ll spend a lot of time just starring at the baby and saying “ah, so cute.” Good if you freak out about SIDS. Could be nice if you tend to want to go in at every sound.
· Corner guards
· Cabinet/drawer latches
· Edge guards
· Safety gates
· Smoke & carbon monoxide alarm

Nursery Furniture
· Crib, mattress, waterproof mattress pad cover
· Dresser
· Changing table with as much storage as possible
· Changing table pad and waterproof cover
· Glider or upholstered rocker and Ottoman – We splurged and are glad we did. Watch for a smooth, quiet ride and washable fabric. High enough you can fall asleep in if need be. You’ll spend a lot of time in it so make sure it is comfy. We only use the ottoman for the first few months since it takes up a lot of valuable play space on the floor. But the ottoman rocks too.
· Bassinet or the pack and play – if you want baby in your room for the first few weeks/months

· Fitted Crib Sheets – 4-6 just in case you have a bad night with a sick child. Be sure to get ones that are tight, but not so tight you can’t get them on at 3am when you are covered in puke and have a baby screaming at you. There are some that are designed to go on really easy or zip on and off.
· Pack and Play sheets – 2-3 should be enough
· Crib bedding set – Honestly, just get sheets. You’ll have baby blankets. If you want the bed skirt, fine. The bumper only gets used for a few months and even then there is a suffocation hazard so you’re encouraged not to use it.
· Swaddlers – 3-5 each of the small and medium versions unless you do laundry really frequently – Kiddopotamus brand is great. They keep baby tucked in, warm and recreate the womb for a great sleep experience.
· Receiving blankets – Skip. Just use blankets and swaddlers.
· Blankets- 4-6 is good. All different weights, and sizes.
· Changing table pad covers - 2-4 should do it.

· Hamper – you need some system for managing large quantities of dirty baby laundry.
· Window treatments – make the room as dark as possible for optimal sleep
· Waste basket – Skip. I avoid having one in her room so that it wouldn’t smell and she wouldn’t get into it.
· Crib mobile – A fancy one with music that Ada could turn on and off herself was awesome. Ours has a remote that we never really used.
· Diaper stacker- Skip it. Wait until you figure out how everything fits into the nursery and then get a system that works for you if needed.
· Lamp
· Rug
· Toy storage, book storage

· Clothing hangers - 12-24 to start, you can always get more. Consider those with clips for matching bottoms – more for little girls than boys.
· Onsies in each size. Maybe 6-10 of each size to start.
· Seasonal outfits – hats/gloves/fat suit for winter, sun hat, sunglasses, swimsuit for summer.
· Baby socks – 2 or 3 packs. They disappear in the wash so having 12-16 isn’t bad.
· Hand mitts for the first few weeks to prevent them from scratching themselves.
· Cute hats to keep their heads warm the first few weeks and help regulate body temperature.

· No need to register for them unless you find things you really like. You’ll get plenty of toys.

Books, Music and DVDs
· Baby Einstein DVDs
· Baby Einstein Music
· Raffi Music – He’s a kids popular song guy.
· Books on nursery rhyme lyrics unless you know them all already.

· This is a personal preference. You’ll have cards, notes, photos, etc. to store so a small fancy box might be a good start. Or a nice album.

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