Monday, January 23, 2012

Good Question: Baby Must-Haves, Etc. (0-3 Months)

Elaina writes: "I'm 25 weeks pregnant with our first child. Time is running out with being able to register for things. I don't know what we need compared to what the stores say we need. What have you used most and what have you not needed?"

Well, Elaina. You asked. And I've tried my best to answer with this MONSTER post. Keep in mind that what works and doesn't work for us may not be the same for you or anyone else. I'd love for other readers to chime in and add their must haves and things they happily did without!


GLAD WE BOUGHT:

a.) Exercise Ball
b.) Wall Mural
c.) Crib with Storage
d.) Sanitizing Bags
e.) Fake candles
f.) Wet/Dry Bag

a.) I used our exercise ball nightly during pregnancy -- and during labor -- to bounce away aches and pains. But now, it's a sure-thing to get Ada to stop crying. Just hold her, sit, and bounce. Works every time. b.) We have a very simple black tree wall mural from Target. The contrast catches Ada's attention whenever I nurse her in her nursery. She loves it. It was easy to put up and cheap! Only $19.99. c.) We picked our crib because we liked it from what we saw on Young House Love. Now, all that extra storage space is really earning our love because we can fit all Ada's sheets, towels, and blankets in its drawer. Fantastic! d.) I spent a good amount of time sanitizing Ada's bottles and my breast pump each morning. My friend Lindsey told me about the reusable sanitizing bags you can use in the microwave, and now I'm hooked. e.) We purchased those fake flickering candles for my "birth experience" -- but we all know how that went. Now I use them nightly when Stephen brings Ada into bed to nurse. They allow me to see her without switching on all the lights. And Ada gets a candlelit meal out of the deal. f.) As you may have already seen, we had a bit of a makeshift diapering center set up on our dining room table. We use our wet/dry bag several times a day to eliminate trips up the stairs to her more permanent diaper setup.


THANKFUL TO HAVE BORROWED/ACQUIRED:

a.) Swaddlers
b.) Bumbo Seat
c.) Rocker Seat
d.) Manual Breastpump
e.) Maternity Clothes
f.) Car Seat Cover/Snuggler

a.) Some babies like 'em. Some babies don't. My friend Lindsey let us borrow her son's swaddlers, and Ada's enjoyed them immensely. But now that she's growing out of them, I'm happy we were able to borrow. b.) Ada's just starting to use my friend April's daughters' Bumbo seat. She looks adorable in the thing AND is working out those muscles needed for sitting. c.) April also let us borrow a rocker seat. It's actually what Ada sleeps inside at night to keep her head elevated/help with the reflux issues. d.) My friend Erin gave me her new, but never used Harmony Medela breastpump. I use it daily. I might be one of the most valuable of all items we have on hand. e.) Several friends let me borrow maternity clothes at different stages of my pregnancy. I had some of my own, too, that I hope to return the favor with. But it was great having so many options and sizes as my body changed and grew. f.) April also let us borrow her car seat snuggler. It's really chilly where we live, so we'll be getting good use out of it these first several months. That's for sure!


HAVE, BUT HAVEN'T USED:

a.) Wipe Warmer
b.) A gazillion 0-3 month clothes
c.) Electric Breast Pump
d.) Several bottles
e.) Nursing Wear
f.) Fancy Thermometer

a.) We do intend to use our wipe warmer, as you'll see below, but I don't see the device as a necessity. Even in a colder climate. b.) We love all the little outfits that were gifted to us. But most of them were in the 0-3 month size. While we love dressing Ada up, at this age is simply isn't practical to have lots of dresses and hoodies. She's most often dressed in sleepers and -- with all her spitting up -- bibs. c.) Erin also let me have an electric breastpump she didn't use. I'll be home for 7 months, and I'm not building a huge freezer supply. So, I don't necessarily see myself using it. And for moms who plan to spend a long while home, an expensive electric breastpump may not be necessary. d.) The same goes with bottles. We have five total. Breastfeeding is working out well for us, but even if it hadn't -- I am glad we waited and didn't buy tons of bottles. Out of the five, we use two on a regular basis. e.) I have 3 nursing camisoles, a bra, and two nursing shirts. Otherwise, I wear regular t-shirts to bed and have repurposed several low-cut shirts/etc. instead of buying dedicated nursing wear. That stuff is expensive and not particularly cute! f.) Our doctor told us that rectal temperature readings are most accurate. (Sorry, Ada!) So, we have a $7 thermometer we bought at our local drug store.


DON'T HAVE, BUT HAVEN'T NEEDED:

a.) Changing Table
b.) Crib Mobile
c.) Parenting Books
d.) Organic Everything
e.) Video Monitor (image credit)
f.) Coordinated Bedding/Room Decor

a.) We either change Ada on the dining room table or the floor. OK. We realize that she'll eventually be in her nursery. Still, we were able to repurpose our media console and use it as a dresser and changer in one. Saves space, too. b.) Ada's a very visual baby. And she likes to take in lots of stimulating prints in a few decorative items near her crib. (I promise I'll post a full nursery tour soon!) We haven't needed a mobile for this reason. c.) I read way too many pregnancy books. Information overload. In the end, I didn't need a lot of the advice I read. And I learned way more from my real life and online friends (and family/doctors/etc.) anyway! We've approached parenting -- so far -- in much the same way. d.) Of course it's always nice to splurge on organic toys, clothing, soaps, and other materials. But we haven't been stuck on buying only organic this or that. We don't have the budget for it. Ada is still a happy, healthy baby. e.) We have one of the most basic baby monitors on the market. Our house is tiny. While I'd love to watch her sleep and see exactly what she's doing at all times, it's not worth the extra money for us. Plus, I can imagine this type of surveillance might drive me crazy. We'll see how I feel about this item once Ada is sleeping in her crib full time. f.) I made the curtains, crib skirt, and other decorative textiles for Ada's room. Her crib sheets are basic and off-white. We love the look, and it cost us very little.


WISH WE INVESTED IN:

a.) Glider/Rocker
b.) Cosleeper (image credit)
c.) Cloth Wipes
d.) Socks
e.) Additional Car Seat Adapter
f.) Birth Announcements/Newborn Photo Session

a.) We inherited the rocker Stephen's mom used with him when he was a baby. It's worked out well and the sentimental value is off the charts. Still, I've REALLY enjoyed my time at friends' houses feeding Ada on their gliders. b.) The Pack 'n Play has served its purpose. Those first weeks, though, were difficult. And we still don't know when we'll transition Ada to her crib at night. I've since learned about bedside cosleepers from a few readers. I should have done my research! I think it would have worked out well for us. c.) I feel like we go through 2 boxes of wipes a day. So, we're going to start using cloth wipes. But I wish we had sooner. Also, we're making our own out of flannel and store them in our wipe warmer. I'll be sure to post about that soon. d.) For some odd reason, I only bought three pairs of socks for Ada in her current size. I can't find one pair . . . and I always seem to be missing one from the other two pairs. I finally bought some more this weekend. e.) We don't take many car trips, but without a car seat adapter, we don't have much flexibility with what car we're taking where. It's definitely not a necessity, but sometimes I feel like it'd be nice to have options. f.) I take lots of photos. However, I sincerely wish we had invested in getting REAL newborn photos taken of Ada at her smallest. Photos of the three of us as a family, too. I guess it's never too late. I feel like we missed out, though!


HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, REPURPOSED:

a.) Hair Dyer
b.) Dining Room Table
c.) Aerobic Stepper
d.) Media Console
e.) Ceiling Fan
f.) Towels

a.) Yeah. Ada will probably be on that My Strange Addiction show someday. But she truly loves my little hair dryer when it's on low. b.) I've mentioned it multiple times. No eating goes on atop our dining room table right now. Just lots of diaper changes. We'll reclaim the table someday soon, I hope! c.) We have a stepper that we used as a step to allow me to get in and out of our relatively high-off-the-ground bed. It was a lifesaver in the postpartum period. I even used it as a sort of nursing stool for a while, too. d.) As I wrote above, we didn't buy a nursery set. Nor did we buy a dresser or changing table. We took our TV stand and used it for BOTH purposes. It is working out beautifully and have lots of room for storage. e.) This one is sort of silly, but it seems our ceiling fan in the bedroom is now an entertainment device. On its own, Ada enjoys it . . . but I sometimes attach/hang her toys from it if I'm folding laundry and want to give her something fun to look at. f.) We use our bath towels for everything. Underneath the changing pad on the dining room table, as heavy duty burp cloths, as makeshift blankets, as props, etc.


REGISTRY FAVORITES:

a.) Cloth Diapers
b.) Nursing Cover
c.) Swing/Bouncer Combo
d.) Moby Wrap
e.) Night Light
f.) Links

a.) The cloth diapers my mother-in-law bought us have had quite a workout. Now that we're fully into cloth diapering, I can't see going back to disposables. I know some people consider cloth diapers a fad, but they make sense (and cents!) financially. They are also really easy to use. Why not? b.) I haven't breastfed in public yet. However, Ada was born over the holidays. We were around tons of family and friends -- and I didn't want to miss the festivities. My nursing cover is great! c.) The swing we chose actually is a 2-in-1 device where the seat comes out and is also a bouncer. In the early weeks, Ada slept in the bouncer. Now, if she's enjoying the swing and I want to take a shower or do some chores, I just pick her up and take her with me. d.) My friend Lindsey gave me my Moby wrap. I gave her the one she uses with her son. We both agree that that long piece of fabric is a wonder. It was an instant-calmer when Ada was first born. And now she loves to ride in it facing out if she's fussy. e.) My friend Jesslynn bought us our turtle night light. It shines stars in different colors on the ceiling. We like the soft light. I can see that Ada will love it for many years to come. She often stares up at the ceiling as she's falling asleep. f.) We got links from several people. They're a fun toy on their own, but I use them for everything, including hanging toys lower in Ada's activity gym, tethering things to her stroller, and hanging things from the ceiling fan.


GREAT GIFTS WE'VE RECEIVED:

a.) Activity Gym
b.) Hand Puppets
c.) Zippered Sleepers
d.) Diaper Burp Cloths
e.) Teething Necklace
f.) Clothes in Larger Sizes

a.)We initially resisted an activity gym for some odd reason. We just didn't want lots of stuff cluttering our space. But then my parents gifted us with a space-saving version. Ada loves it. And it twists and folds away wonderfully. b.) When we received some hand puppets in the mail from Stephen's Aunt Sandy, I thought it'd be a while before she could enjoy them. Wrong. Her favorite thing in this world is the bee puppet. It gets her to smile for hours. c.) Two words: Zippered sleepers! So much easier than snaps. d.) Our former neighbors Shelby and Leslie sent us these awesome woven, pre-fold cloth diapers with colorful patches on them. They are wonderful burp cloths. So absorbent. e.) My in-laws got me a teething necklace for Christmas. Even though Ada isn't at the stage where she can use it to the fullest, she loves tugging on it while she eats. f.) We are fully stocked with clothing in the 3-6 and 6-12 month sizes. So, we are super enthusiastic when we get clothes that are bigger than that. Money is tight, so knowing Ada will be clothed even next year is a comfort :)


So, there you have it. Probably more than you ever wanted to read about the stuff we use for baby Ada in her first three months. I'm sure our list will change and adapt to her age and our needs. Honestly, the NEEDS versus WANTS is difficult to distinguish. There are a lot of things we've just learned to not live without. But if I had to choose only one item off this list, I think I couldn't live without the cloth diapers.

Hope this helps!

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