Temerity Jane
08. 06. 2011

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.

20 responses to “It’s been almost 6 weeks so I’m basically an expert. King Expert, if you will.”

  1. Calleah says:

    I just snuck the NoseFrida and the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer on to my registry. I already have the cosleeper mini convertible and a bounce chair. Still contemplating the swing, but have one coming from a friend anyway. Have a boppy but definitely need to get more water proof pads. No “official” changing station in my house. Thanks for the list. :)

  2. -R- says:

    Both my kids are long skinnies. Just FYI. We call them skinny minis though.

    My first baby never slept, so we had to keep records of feedings and pills and even diaper changes. I never had any idea whether it had been 10 minutes or 10 hours since the last feeding/pill/diaper change. Sounds ridiculous, but it is true (as you know).

  3. -R- says:

    Uh, in case it is not clear from my last comment, the reason the fact that my first baby never slept is relevant to why I never knew what time it was is that I never slept either. My baby did not care about recordkeeping or telling time.

  4. Mandapanda78 says:

    I’ve been panicking lately over figuring out what we’re going to need. This is perfectly timed, and helpful!

  5. ProudNerdMom says:

    If you have a bathroom with two sinks, the counter between them makes an excellent changing table. Otherwise, you can buy a pad that attaches to the top of a dresser you already have (of convenient height) or go for 2nd hand.

    Just remember the first rule of garage sailing: go the the more expensive neighborhoods. They have classier stuff for the same minimal prices. Don’t consider it being cheap, consider it being environmentally friendly. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

    cakeburnette Reply:

    Base housing doesn’t have double sinks. Or at least none I’ve been in during the last 20 years…

  6. Linnea says:

    “or a warthog, maybe.”–nearly spit water at my computer. Dribbled it all down my chin and shirt like a pro, so… go me!

    The case for a short widey is interesting. My hubby being 5’10 and skinny, and me being 5’10 and widey, I’ve no clue what to expect, other than the horror of his family’s HUGE noggins… seriously, they are a family of hard-to-buy-hats-for-large-melon people. I scare myself too much if I try to think too hard about birthing a big headed baby, so I’m going to stop right now before I freak out. go me!

    cakeburnette Reply:

    If you’re widey in the right place, you might not have any problems! Hubby has an especially large noggin, which he passed on to my firstborn. No problems birthin’ him because apparently I have “childbirth” hips. LOL

  7. Mary says:

    Re: the Itzbeen timer. You may (probably) have already considered this or it may not apply at all if you don’t have a smartphone, but I was looking at the reviews of the Itzbeen timer on Amazon and a couple of users mentioned phone apps (Sleepyhead and Total Baby) that work similarly. Might be something to look into, if you still think it would be useful. Unfortunately I cannot speak to the effectiveness of either of the apps, since I haven’t used them (useless, I know), but.. but.. I haven’t commented in awhile, but have still been an avid reader, and I wanted to say *something*. Yes, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! Anyways, links to the reviews, if you want to see them:



    P.S. Not saying I agree with the reviews or that the Itzbeen timer is bad or anything, coz, hey, I dunno, it looks kinda cool, you just seemed a little hesitant about it for yourself, and an app seems like it might be a good alternative..

  8. Carrie says:

    Damn you, TJ. The picture of her in her swing really brought out a big longing to have another one, something I thought I’d never have to deal with. Hubby has been like “we could adopt” for a couple of weeks now, and I’m like, no, I’m fine, really, we’ve had two, one boy, one girl, we’re done, that’s perfect. I could probably fit a few more commas in there, but I think there are plenty.

    But hell if I’m not sitting here getting weepy missing all the tiny-ness and the holding and the smiles and… man. Damn you Mother Nature and your mothering instincts and all that crap. Maybe I just need to find someone local who has a newborn that I can get all goopy over. That might work.

  9. Lynnette says:

    Hey, I had everything on your list but the Nosefrida and the pack and play. The first I didn’t know about then but wish I had, and the second I worked around by wheeling the co-sleeper through the apartment.

    Also, I cried the first time I figured out that I could put the girl in the bouncy seat while I showered. I couldn’t believe I had spent weeks waiting for my husband to get home from 15-16 hour days to shower. She sat in that thing until 8 months, when she learned to escape and I had to start showering during woefully short naps. We also called it the poop chair, because if it was on vibrate she would almost surely poop.

  10. Lynnette says:

    …and I am now certain that without the My Brest Friend pillow, nursing would not have been successful for us and I would have had serious back and shoulder problems.

  11. Peggy says:

    So, I went and checked out the NoseFrieda on Amazon (because really…how could I not?) and I almost died from the combo of laughing and gagging after reading some of the reviews.

    Should I ever be expecting again, and you know, actually HAVE a kid, that’s going on the list.

  12. cakeburnette says:

    So, I love your writing, I truly do. But I come here daily for pictures of that precious, precious baby. *sad face*

    But I truly understand you are quite busy these days. Just thought you might like to know Penny has fans. *smiling & waving*

  13. Elise says:

    My sister-in-law uses the NoseFrida (or something like it) and I am AMAZED by the amount of snot my niece produces. If you’re looking for another impractical gift that might end up being useful, but everyone has been able to live without for most of human history, check out the baby wipe warmer: http://www.amazon.com/DEX-Products-Baby-Wipes-Warmer/dp/B0006FHB92

  14. Nancy says:

    I am on my second time around. There are so many things I wish I hadn’t bothered with and many I wish I had. Co-sleeper is one. It is too much work to even reach into a bassinet or pack-n-play. They also make a Travel Light Pack-n-Play by Graco. Same concept, but smaller. This is my intended purchase.

    My original point was I am tired of hearing I won’t need this or that. A) This ain’t my first rodeo, partner B)Just cause your little dumpling didn’t use it doesn’t mean mine won’t. I highly agree with your list and will be acquiring all of those things for this baby myself.

  15. Danell says:

    “…expecting twins or a warthog”. Actually had to stop reading for a few minutes so I could collect myself at that one. Also, thanks for the ab workout.

    I’m not sure if it’s previously been mentioned/praised/shot down, but as far as Baby Parking Places go, we LOVED the Bumbo Seat around here. We sat our son in it from the instant he could hold his head up until we couldn’t fit his rear in it anymore. Our daughter figured out how to wriggle out of it a little sooner, but she still liked it, too.

    The Nose Frieda thing makes my mouth water in an unpleasant lose-my-lunch sort of way. Still remember Jonniker praising that thing, too. Eww…boogers. I’ll take the most horrific, leaking, blow-out diaper over boogers.

  16. […] – AN UPDATE! On my thing that broke? Well, it was my My Brest Friend pillow, which I have heartily recommended to many people. […]

  17. […] DIFFERENT items, so if you're into looking at what baby things OTHER people are using, then click here for Temerity Jane's list, click here for Amalah's list, and click here for And You Know What Else's […]