Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Suggested Items for New Parents

I thought I'd make a list of specific items we have found extremely valuable in the first 7 weeks at home with Sidney. They have supplied welcome relief as we embark on the journey of parenthood. Not an exhaustive list by any means but my favorites.
  • Bibs: At first, I thought they were just cute accessories. But for a baby that gets fed from a bottle, it can help minimize the wet collar that inevitably happens as milk runs down their chin. And for both formula and breastfed baby, they are the first line of defense against spit-up and hence decrease the number of outfit changes.
  • White board: As a new parent, you're constantly keeping track of feedings, diaper changes, pumping schedule, dr. appts, medicine dosages (if app) and stuff like that. When one is majorly sleep deprived, your memory is questionable so write it down and if you want to relay something to the other caregivers in the house (but don't have them right in front of you) this is an invaluable communication tool.
  • DVDs to view: "Happiest Baby on the Block" & "Dunstan Baby Language" Both of these are extremely helpful in giving guidance about how to help your baby feel comforted and understood. "Happiest" gives 5 solid ways to soothe a baby and "Dunstan" interprets 5 distinct cries and what they mean. Rent or borrow first and then decide if you need to own a copy.
  • Books to own: "Baby 411" & "What to Expect in the First Year" My bible was "Baby 411" in the first days/weeks. I was constantly referring it. I love the way it is organized by topic and the layout is easy to read with lots of bullet points (my favorite way to intake information). In contrast, "What To Expect" is organized by months of age, so you can see everything that should be happening within the monthly intervals. It's nice to be able to cross reference by topic and time frame.
  • Drying rack If you bottle feed and/or use a breast pump, there are parts that constantly need washing. There are cages you can put certain parts in for the dishwasher but if you aren't running the dishwasher multiple times a day, you'll still need to hand wash a bunch of things. A rack will also be invaluable for storage and minimizing the impact to your counter space.
  • Kiddopotamus Swaddle Me Wraps (cotton or fleece depending on season) New babies like to be swaddled and while you can do this with a blanket, these wraps are better because they contain the arms and legs separately. That means you don't have to undo the entire swaddle to change a diaper--this is key.
  • Burp cloths shaped like a peanut, like THESE. For a spitty baby like ours, we use lots of burp cloths and these stay on your shoulder better.
  • VIPP Diaper Pail This is a totally indulgent item that most people could do without, but if you've ever smelled the diaper of a formula fed baby--oh yeah--we needed this. In the book "Baby Bargains," (one of the best resources for baby things) they actually gave the VIPP diaper pail an "F" because 1) it's expensive and 2) the reviewer had some trouble getting the bag of used diapers out of the can. But I don't agree with this. It's not that hard to pull it out and honestly for the foot petal, soft close top, minimal use of plastic and *no* odor--that's pretty much why we bought it. Feel free to get something cheaper or just use the kitchen trash but since we still use disposable diapers enough of the time, it was worth it to us.
  • Medela Symphony Breast Pump (as a rental): It's a hospital-grade unit and called the "Cadillac of Breastpumps." It's modulated by a computer that mimics the rhythms of a baby's suckle and it's quite powerful so you can spend half the time attached to it as compared to a consumer grade pump. Even though I owned my own home pump, I had to rent this one to increase my milk supply (when I was briefly trying to breast feed) and relieve engorgement that neither the baby nor my pump were able to. Regarding the rubber membranes that make this pump work--buy extra ones because they are fragile and use a teaball to wash them so they don't get lost down the drain.
  • Cloud and Stars Crib Zipper Sheets: Simply the fastest & best solution for changing crib sheets--ever.
  • Robe and slippers: Get some warm, comfortable ones. You'll be spending lots of time in them and need something wear as you shuffle into the baby's room for late night feedings. A robe can also act as a body-sized spit-up shield in a pinch.

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