And you WILL.
So, before Penny got here, when I was really dragging my feet about shopping, I made a post asking what you, the Internet, thought I would need for a new baby.
Now, everyone is different and someone’s need will absolutely been someone else’s “TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY OMG DON’T BOTHER,” especially because there is a small cadre of women swooping around the Internet who are VERY HARDCORE about “all baby needs is boobs and diapers!” and want you to know that if you buy ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL, you are a silly first time parent who doesn’t know anything about anything.
I’m not going to tell you what you don’t need, because honestly, you just can’t know what you don’t need until it’s sitting in your house and you’re sitting there as well, not needing it. And I don’t think that anything I’m listing is an absolute necessity, because it’s true, I guess – all your baby needs is a boob and diapers, assuming your baby breastfeeds and has a butt. Which are both big assumptions, you know. But look, it’s 2011, we have Amazon.com, and the ability to resell unneeded things on Craigslist, so seriously, “BOOB AND DIAPER!!!” shriekers? Shush.
Anyway, after almost SIX ENTIRE WEEKS as a parent, four and half of which the baby has actually lived in this house, I feel I am now in a position of great experience, and I shall speak to you from on [this] high [stack of pillows] about what stuff we have absolutely used the shit out of.
Also, I will be linking to Amazon for these items, but not a single one of the links is an affiliate link – not because I’m opposed to earning fractions of cents off of your backs, Internet, but because I am too lazy to sort it all out – so if you’re the type who is opposed to me having any amount of money as a result of your clicking actions, you can let down your guard for this blog entry. This is a safe zone for you.
(Oh my god, I just realized I’m about to write a list post of BABY ITEM SUGGESTIONS. I don’t even know me anymore, you guys. But I’m pretty sure only the part about the pack and play is SUPER boring. Skip that part. The rest is okay.)
Here’s the stuff:
The Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: Those first couple of nights with Penny at home, when we truly believed that her survival was conditional upon our eyeballs being on her at ALL TIMES, this thing saved my butt. It keeps her RIGHT THERE, right near my face, but still in her own containment bin. As someone who was interested in co-sleeping but had NO PLANS to EVER bring her into the actual bed (aaahhh HAHAHAHAHA), it was perfect. And now it is basically the most deluxe nightstand I have ever had. You can fit a ton of shit in there! Also, it’s extremely well made, the sheets are soft and fit very snugly, and the resale value on Craigslist is really quite high, even after a full child’s-worth of use. For what it’s used for, I’m glad we went with the Mini. It’s not too small, if you’re concerned about the Mini vs. the standard Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. I think I’d only consider a full size, now that I’ve used the Mini, if I was expecting twins or a warthog, maybe.
Also, if you don’t care about color, these things usually go on sale or clearance at BRU or Wal Mart if you keep an eye out.
My Brest Friend nursing pillow: I know there’s a few different nursing pillow options out there, and I went over them all so indecisively that I didn’t actually end up having a nursing pillow at all until Phil went out and bought one for me while I was in the hospital. I had planned to try nursing her for a while and then figure out which pillow worked best for me, but I had trouble holding her up because get this – babies are wiggly and breastfeeding is hard. I know the Boppy is popular and can be used as a baby prop and what not, but I love the Brest Friend because it straps around me and I can get all set up and THEN go grab the baby, with a little baby table right at my waist. She doesn’t roll around on it because it’s flat, and Phil uses it to play video games and give bottles.
It’s kind of a bitch to have to strap it on in the middle of the night so sometimes I don’t, but I always regret it. Probably because I have enormous boobs. Highly recommended if you have enormous boobs. THE LADIES KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.
The NoseFrida: Look, I know some of you swear by the blue bulb and that’s fine. I just want to point out that the NoseFrida does not go INSIDE the nostril like the blue bulb does, making me much more confident as a new parent when it comes to the risk of brain stabbing. And I know some of you are like, “Ok, I’ll click on this and reading… reading… WAIT, you want me to do WHAT? With my MOUTH?” and to you I say, well, get over it. Yes, the concept is gross, but it’s not gross in practice.
Except, it is gross in practice, not because of the mouth-snot thing, but because an ENTIRE BABY NOGGIN’S-WORTH OF BOOGERS is going to spring out of your kid’s face the first time you try it, and you will be like, “Oh, shit, I had no idea that was even THERE, I am the WORST PARENT EVER, and what if I hadn’t gotten the NoseFrida and my kid went to preschool with a head COMPLETELY FILLED WITH SNOT and couldn’t learn shapes or colors because there was no space in the head?”
Seriously. It sounds gross, but it’s not, and there’s way more snot in your kid’s head than you know. Help a baby out.
A bouncy seat: A bouncy seat was one of those things I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy, because like swings, everyone says their kid either LOVED it or HATED it. But we realized that we needed a place to set the baby down on the regular, so we picked one up. We got ours at a consignment store (Once Upon a Child) and if you’re comfortable with used baby gear (we are, to some extent – bouncy seat yes, car seat no), I suggest doing that. I’m glad we went ahead and got it because we use it ALL the TIME. On the floor in the kitchen when we’re eating dinner, on the couch when we’re watching TV or playing games, on the floor near the computer so we can rock it with our foot, on the bed when I’m awake but not ready to get out of bed yet. Also, it solves a major dilemma – what the hell am I supposed to DO with a newborn when she’s awake? I felt guilty putting her back in her bed to just lay there. BAM. SEAT. Excellent parenting, self.
Basically, it lets me feel like I’m doing things and engaging the baby, but when it comes down to it, these first few weeks are basically moving her from one containment unit to another.
Also, you can put it on the floor while you’re in the shower, something I should have figured out way sooner, having taken several 3 minute showers fraught with paranoia about the dogs learning how to work a doorknob and finding a way to LICK the BABY.
(She’s since been licked.)
Waterproof pad thingies: We have a couple of different kinds, and I bought them with the intention of putting them under the sheets in the co-sleeper and pack and play, like a responsible parent, but you know what, the truth is, they mainly come into play in the middle of the night. We spread one out on the bed because even in our extremely tiny house that is the same size as a decent two bedroom apartment, with two established changing stations within 15 feet or less, we change her in the bed at night.
Ask me how many times she has to pee off the pad and onto the sheets before we wise up and start making the very short journey to an actual changing station to do diapers in the night.
Answer: I don’t know. It’s happened a lot and it’s going to need to happen a LOT MORE TIMES before getting out of bed to change her is an attractive option.
Pack and Play: Honestly? Another place to put the baby. I’ve come to the conclusion that you really need a lot of places to put the baby. There needs to always be a baby containment unit nearby, no matter how small your place is. I’m sure eventually you get comfortable with putting the baby in another room and shutting the door, but for now, while she’s sleeping and waking up all at random and sometimes will allow herself to be put down and sometimes won’t, a place to set the baby as soon as an opportunity presents itself is vital.
Plus? Changing station. I don’t know how, in such a small house, we have three places to change the baby (two official, one my side of the bed), but we do and we use them all. You need lots of places to put the baby and lots of places to change the baby. I’m not sure exactly what would happen if we had less places for putting and changing, but I can tell you I’m positive that I don’t want to know.
A swing: We also have one of these. I don’t know if we need it, but my mom bought it for us when we were still up in the air on whether or not we’d get one. Penny isn’t totally sure how she feels about it yet, but in general, she does like motion (the stroller, the car, etc) and seems to be warming up to it. Also, it’s pretty damn swanky and I like to look at it. Sue me. She also looks adorable and tiny in it. Also ALSO, it’s a place to put the baby when you feel like you’ve been putting her in the bouncy seat too much, and I know you’re wondering why the hell where you put the baby even MATTERS, but you just wait until that point where even though your kid is still sleeping a lot, they’re spending a larger portion of time with their eyeballs looking all around and you feel like you need to put on some kind of small, homegrown three ring circus affair for her entertainment.
OR? You can put her in the swanky swing with the dangly spinny doo dads and pat yourself on the back.
Seriously. You wait until the baby is awake with the looking around eyeballs and see how long you try to make awkward conversation before you’re looking around for a variety of stimulating places to PUT her.
Dear self, try an ACTUAL CAMERA once in a while lest Penny grow up believing that 2011 was just a very grainy, cellphoney-esque year.
I’ve looked over this list again and will say, IN SUMMATION: We have found that a variety of places and things to put the baby IN or ON is extremely helpful. The wider the variety, the less time you will spend trying to figure out how to entertain a newborn, even though you logically know that all she wants to do is LOOK at stuff. Logic has no place here, people.
There are also a whole rack (HA!) of feeding and nursing items, but those are for another day because as you know, that’s been a whole ISSUE in this house.
OH and ALSO? A frivolous thing that I kind of laughed at when I saw it and did not buy, but we totally could have used: The Itzbeen timer. Even now, it seems kind of over the top to me, but for those first couple of days at home – even before Penny came home – I was fucking LOST. We had to get a white board so that I could write down when I had taken my medications and when I would need to take more. Once she came home, I wrote down feeding times and amounts and when the next feeding was due.
Even WITH the white board, I forgot to take pills and one time, woke in a panic, convinced that I had slept through the entire night and had not fed Penny at all between 8pm and 9am. (I had.)
Even NOW, almost 6 weeks out, King Expert and all, my short term memory seems to be on vacation. I can’t count the times I’ve asked Phil, “Where did I put that down? What’s going on? Am I having a stroke? Seriously, is this a stroke? Look at my face. Is it even? Am I having a stroke? I’m having a stroke, aren’t I?”
(Have also accused both Penny and the dogs of “activating my brain tumor,” but that’s a different thing.)
The timer may seem kind of ridiculous and I don’t think I’d buy it myself, but that and the NoseFrida may be my go to baby shower gifts in the future, for efficient snot sucking and non-stroke reassurance – both extremely important in these early days.
As for having stuff and not using it? Honestly, we aren’t totally prone to over-buying and did try to keep our purchases reasonable and limit them to only what Penny would need in the first couple of months, but I can’t really say we own anything that has proven to be absolutely useless. There’s stuff that I’m sure we could go without, but really, we’ve used just about everything.
I think the only surprising thing that went completely unused are some onesies – see, some onesies are long and skinny and some are short and wide. Have you met me? Well, if you have, you’ll be as surprised as I am to know I have a long skinny instead of a short widey. (You should know that as of right now, I’ve decided to refer to babies as “long skinnies” or “short wideys,” as if those two phrases were nouns and also acceptable ways to refer to infants.) I mean, not that everyone’s kid looks just like them, but looking at Phil (almost 5’10”, averagey) and me (5’2″, widey), if there was ever a case for the production of a short widey, we’d be it.
If you happen to have a short widey, let me know right away, because I’ve got some adorable short pink widey onesies for your widey’s early days.