Saturday, December 27, 2008

Baby Stuff: Love, Hate, Want

Now that we are new parents, we are starting to get a feel for what we like and what we don't like in regards to baby supplies and strategies. Here is the beginning of a list of what has/hasn't worked for us:

-- Newborn diapers with an indicator stripe that changes from yellow to green when moisture hits it. Makes diaper checking so much easier, because you don't have to open the diaper or stick your finger in to check for wetness! Huggies "Gentle Care" Newborn diapers are what we've been using; found them at Target.
-- Stroller Frame that fits infant carseats: Several manufacturers make these (Graco Snugrider, Kolcraft Universal, etc.), and they are awesome-- very lightweight, easily fold up and store (only a few inches tall when folded), and the perfect item for a mom who is dealing with post-surgery pains and has a hard time lifting those giant seat & stroller systems.
-- Kimono-style onesies: These are great because they don't need to be pulled over baby's head, they just snap around him. Pulling shirts/onesies on over a newborn's floppy neck is a heart attack waiting to happen, because the whole time you're convinced you're going to paralyze him, so these help you avoid that problem. Ours also had the folding "mittens" at the end of each sleeve to help baby avoid scratching his face.
-- Zippered footie sleepers: Again, zippers help avoid the whole snap on/snap off deal. Very convenient, and the fleecey ones are perfect for winter babies.
-- Cucumber-green tea baby wipes, by Huggies. Our absolute fave! They smell delicious, stay nice and moist, and come in an awesome "pop-up" box. Our sister & brother-in-law just brought us a giant pack from Costco, and it's a lifesaver because we go through them like there's no tomorrow. (PS-- Also very useful for the bathroom, kitchen, car, etc.)
-- For winter babies, long-sleeved/long-legged outfits that convert from "pants" style to "sack" style. For this outfit, you can either button the legs separately and then put socks on baby, or button the legs together in front and back to make a sack-style outfit. The sack is nice for diaper changes, because you just slide it up his body when the time comes, no snapping/unsnapping necessary.
-- Boppy pillow for feeding: This thing is a lifesaver. Sure, you could use a couch or bed pillow, but the Boppy is contoured to fit around your body better, and is a bit firmer to help keep baby propped up correctly for feeding.
-- Footstool for feeding: Again, your knees need to be lifted up a bit higher to prop up baby closer for feeding. A short footstool is perfect.
-- Nuk bottles. We tried several bottles, but for these first few weeks, the Nuk works best for us. Later we may go over to the Playtex bottles with liners, but the Nuk is the only one he can drink from right now without spilling out milk everywhere or losing his latch on the nipple. (Bought from Wal-mart, the only place we could find them.)
-- The small-size diaper bag. Perfect for short visits to the store or mall, when you don't need to carry around a million items. Save the big bags for day-trips or weekend visits, they're way too bulky to deal with on a daily basis.
-- Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker: There’s a foldout kickstand that allows you to stabilize the seat for feeding or sleeping, and then you can tuck it back underneath to use as a rocker. It has a vibration mode and a detachable toy ring with musical pull toy included. Later, when he's a toddler, it can be used as a rocking chair. Pretty cool-- we are using it a lot lately when we need some hands-free time.

-- Onesies or shirts that have to slip over his head. As a newborn, at least; dealing with that floppy neck is a nightmare, so we avoid it as much as possible.
-- Bibs with cute designs, but no absorbency: Better to use a terry-cloth type bib, or a small hand-towel/washcloth tucked around his neck. Those will have much better absorbency and won't let the milk (or spit-up) slide right off the surface and down across you and baby.
-- Socks for newborns: They just don't stay on! The best kind have a significant amount of elastic, but even those aren't staying on our boy's little ankles.

-- Our own Medela electric double-sided breast pump: We are renting one from the hospital for now, and love it. Wish we could afford our own, but those buggers are expensive! I hadn't planned on having to pump so much, but since Ethan is having a tough time latching on and breastfeeding, we are pumping 8 times a day and feeding him that milk. That much pumping means you really need a top-quality pump at home. Best idea is to rent one from the hospital and then see if you're going to need it; ours is $20/week to rent it from Memorial, which is better than spending $280 for your own pump before you know if you'll need it that much or that often.
-- Baby Bjorn or other infant carrier: We love to keep him next to us, but want to be able to do some hands-on activities at the same time. A carrier would be nice, especially because that carseat gets pretty darn heavy after awhile. I'm glad we waited until after he was born, though, because I think it's important to be able to "try out" the carrier first, with baby inside, before making such a purchase. We plan on going to the second-hand children's stores to check out which type we like best before buying.
-- More sleep! The most difficult part of all of this has been lack of sleep. The most helpful gift someone could give new parents is to come over and help out during the day sometime to give them a break-- do some dishes, help with laundry, clean up a bit, maybe take on one bottle feeding (with mom's milk, if possible) during the day to give mom a break and a chance to sleep for at least 3-4 hours straight through... Sleep is the most precious commodity during those first few weeks, and any way you could help give new parents a couple of hours at a time, you would be doing them the biggest favor possible!
-- Massage for mom or dad. The upper back/neck gets sooo sore from feeding baby and bending over so much. We think this would be an awesome baby shower gift for a new parent!

That's all I could think of so far. I'm sure I'll come up with more things as we go along, and I'll add it as we go.

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