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1
CategoryItem NameEssential? Emma's CommentsEmma's
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Emma's Pick NameLocation of Emma's PickAlternative
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Alternative NameLocation of AlternativeSpendy OptionSpendy Option NameLocation of Spendy OptionEmma's Comments
2
Bathbaby bath washyes
We use Burt Bee's + Mustela (which is way expensive, so be careful of getting hooked on it!) and California Baby is supposed to be very pure. We just steered clear of anything with lots of chemical-sounding ingredients: baby will get plenty of that later! Most of these for infants, you can use it on body + hair - no need for separate products yet. Infant faces can be washed with just water or, late, a super-gentle face wash like Cetaphil. (I've also fallen in love with the scent of Babo Botanicals loveliness, especially the detangling shampoo, even though we don't need detangling but whatever: it smells like garden love and fairies. And costs about the going rate for a fairy too. A low-grade fairy, that is.) (PS There's been some not-nice news about the additives in the classic Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo - only here in the US versions, btw, which is super upsetting - so steer clear until they get their act together.)


Burt's Bee's Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash
Burt's Bee's Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash

Mustela
Mustelahttp://tinyurl.com/43lwyrlWe use Burt Bee's + Mustela (which is way expensive, so be careful of getting hooked on it!) and California Baby is supposed to be very pure. We just steered clear of anything with lots of chemical-sounding ingredients: baby will get plenty of that later! Most of these for infants, you can use it on body + hair - no need for separate products yet. Infant faces can be washed with just water or, late, a super-gentle face wash like Cetaphil. (I've also fallen in love with the scent of Babo Botanicals loveliness, especially the detangling shampoo, even though we don't need detangling but whatever: it smells like garden love and fairies. And costs about the going rate for a fairy too. A low-grade fairy, that is.) (PS There's been some not-nice news about the additives in the classic Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo - only here in the US versions, btw, which is super upsetting - so steer clear until they get their act together.)
3
Bathbaby comb and brushwait
If s/he's born with hair, sure, yes, you will need a brush and comb right away. If not, these will sit around as ours did for months and months. Any drugstore, grocery or Babies R Us sells a soft brush/comb set.

That said, I love the SkipHop one that's a bunny and a mirror. It's ridiculously cute. But it takes up a lot of room. And the mirror is kind of crap. But it's a bunny. Come on.




Skip Hop Hare Brush and Comb Set
Skip Hop Hare Brush and Comb Sethttp://tinyurl.com/23mynhqIf s/he's born with hair, sure, yes, you will need a brush and comb right away. If not, these will sit around as ours did for months and months. Any drugstore, grocery or Babies R Us sells a soft brush/comb set.

That said, I love the SkipHop one that's a bunny and a mirror. It's ridiculously cute. But it takes up a lot of room. And the mirror is kind of crap. But it's a bunny. Come on.
4
Bathbaby shampoono
See above: there's no need for separate bath wash and shampoo for a while yet.




See above: there's no need for separate bath wash and shampoo for a while yet.
5
Bathbaby washclothsyes
I got three sets of American Baby Company washcloths (9 total) from Amazon. The baby size does matter - regular washcloths would cover the entire baby! - and you'll be washing the baby's washcloths separately from yours in baby detergent, so spending a few dollars here makes sense. The American Baby ones are a little thin but functional. Swaddle Designs make lovely ones - but they're the same price ($7) for one as ABC charges for three, so you do the math...


ABC 3-Pack Cotton Terry Washcloth Set
ABC 3-Pack Cotton Terry Washcloth Sethttp://tinyurl.com/2axf5yt

SwaddleDesigns Organic Baby Washcloth Set
SwaddleDesigns Organic Baby Washcloth Sethttp://tinyurl.com/2fn6yfxI got three sets of American Baby Company washcloths (9 total) from Amazon. The baby size does matter - regular washcloths would cover the entire baby! - and you'll be washing the baby's washcloths separately from yours in baby detergent, so spending a few dollars here makes sense. The American Baby ones are a little thin but functional. Swaddle Designs make lovely ones - but they're the same price ($7) for one as ABC charges for three, so you do the math...
6
Bathhooded towelsyes
Two is plenty for now - as an infant, you won't bathe her that often and even when you make it part of her bedtime ritual at months 1 and 2, she's just not that dirty until she starts eating solid food and crawling, which is at about the six month mark. We have several now that we got as hand-me-downs in addition to the high-style new ones we received and, honestly, we really only use the new heavyweight ones: keeping a new baby warm is crucial and thin or worn towels just don't cut it in chilly San Francisco weather. But don't over-buy here: by the time s/he's a year or so old, she'll be too big for the baby ones and you'll have to go hunting again. (Side note: when kiddos get bigger, it's increasingly hard to find the hooded ones that work so well, but lots of places sell the hoods on their beach towels. So our kiddie bathroom looks a lot like we just came from Hawaii.)

We have a super-cute Mullins Square one that has a flower hood. Adorable. And discontinued. But the company makes other designs. PBKids also makes really cute ones, but the towels aren't as thick.


Mullins Square hooded towels
Mullins Square hooded towelshttp://tinyurl.com/3gxk5xy

Dwell Studio Hooded Towel
Dwell Studio Hooded Towelhttp://www.dwellstudio.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=hooded+towel&x=0&y=0Two is plenty for now - as an infant, you won't bathe her that often and even when you make it part of her bedtime ritual at months 1 and 2, she's just not that dirty until she starts eating solid food and crawling, which is at about the six month mark. We have several now that we got as hand-me-downs in addition to the high-style new ones we received and, honestly, we really only use the new heavyweight ones: keeping a new baby warm is crucial and thin or worn towels just don't cut it in chilly San Francisco weather. But don't over-buy here: by the time s/he's a year or so old, she'll be too big for the baby ones and you'll have to go hunting again. (Side note: when kiddos get bigger, it's increasingly hard to find the hooded ones that work so well, but lots of places sell the hoods on their beach towels. So our kiddie bathroom looks a lot like we just came from Hawaii.)

We have a super-cute Mullins Square one that has a flower hood. Adorable. And discontinued. But the company makes other designs. PBKids also makes really cute ones, but the towels aren't as thick.
7
Bathinfant tubyes
Bathing an infant is super stressful, no way around it. Wet babies are slippery and fragile and porcelain tubs are hard and cold. So yes, I'd get one. Most baby bathtubs designed to fit in your tub are big, giant plastic things that are unwieldy and difficult to store - way too big for apartment living.

We looked at the WashPOD - it's a sit-up type for infants before they can sit up themselves, a glorified bucket in soft plastic. If I had to decide again, I'd probably get that one. We settled on the Puj tub, which is made of a soft, flexible material and - key point - stores/hangs flat. We were pretty happy with it. It worked well except our sink was too big for the tub to settle into properly. We rigged it just fine (in a pasta pot!) but if you get the Puj, you might check it against your sink size (kitchen or bathroom) before using it. See it here: http://tinyurl.com/3q54hh5

Where we eventually ended up when our little one got too big for the infant tub (about four months) and moved to our bathtub: $10 baby-shaped sponge from Amazon. Not kidding. It lies in the bottom of your tub absorbing the warm water to keep her toasty and protecting her from the hard porcelain. Bonus: super easy to store. Worked perfectly until she started really moving around and didn't need it anymore (about 14 months).


Prince Lionheart WashPOD
Prince Lionheart WashPODhttp://tinyurl.com/3rt88hh
Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge
Summer Infant Comfy Bath Spongehttp://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-Comfy-Bath-Sponge/dp/B000H953Y2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372914598&sr=8-2&keywords=bath+sponge
Bathing an infant is super stressful, no way around it. Wet babies are slippery and fragile and porcelain tubs are hard and cold. So yes, I'd get one. Most baby bathtubs designed to fit in your tub are big, giant plastic things that are unwieldy and difficult to store - way too big for apartment living.

We looked at the WashPOD - it's a sit-up type for infants before they can sit up themselves, a glorified bucket in soft plastic. If I had to decide again, I'd probably get that one. We settled on the Puj tub, which is made of a soft, flexible material and - key point - stores/hangs flat. We were pretty happy with it. It worked well except our sink was too big for the tub to settle into properly. We rigged it just fine (in a pasta pot!) but if you get the Puj, you might check it against your sink size (kitchen or bathroom) before using it. See it here: http://tinyurl.com/3q54hh5

Where we eventually ended up when our little one got too big for the infant tub (about four months) and moved to our bathtub: $10 baby-shaped sponge from Amazon. Not kidding. It lies in the bottom of your tub absorbing the warm water to keep her toasty and protecting her from the hard porcelain. Bonus: super easy to store. Worked perfectly until she started really moving around and didn't need it anymore (about 14 months).
8
Bathtub thermometerno
Don't get it. Not needed. Your hands aren't made of asbestos, so use them - or, better, dip your elbow, which has more sensitive skin. Just make sure you always, always, always test the water before putting baby into the tub. And dip her toes first as a second fail safe - she'll pull them up if it's still a little too toasty for her comfort.

I always erred on the side of lukewarm for fear the water was too hot, but you get the hang of it. (Our childbirth instructor repeatedly said warmer is fine.) Also - the thermometers I've tried suck, so all the more reason to skip this one.




Don't get it. Not needed. Your hands aren't made of asbestos, so use them - or, better, dip your elbow, which has more sensitive skin. Just make sure you always, always, always test the water before putting baby into the tub. And dip her toes first as a second fail safe - she'll pull them up if it's still a little too toasty for her comfort.

I always erred on the side of lukewarm for fear the water was too hot, but you get the hang of it. (Our childbirth instructor repeatedly said warmer is fine.) Also - the thermometers I've tried suck, so all the more reason to skip this one.
9
Clothingbooties / socks / shoesyes
Get 4-8 pairs of socks. Infant shoes are a waste. Booties are…well, I didn't get any and she was fine. Socks are just easier. People love giving you baby shoes and booties though, so put 'em on your little one if you like. They won't care!

The ones I listed are fleecy on the inside and stay on the baby, which is key. Get two packs and you're done.

If you're dead set on getting some booties or you live somewhere cold where s/he might not be permanently and totally bundled, try the Zutano ones. They're basic and easy to put on (snaps). We got our daughter a pair when she was a little older and they're toasty and comfy.



Luvable Friends Newborn Socks
Luvable Friends Newborn Sockshttp://tinyurl.com/2czrymfZutano BootiesZutano bootieshttp://www.diapers.com/buy/Types=Booties?s=zutano
Get 4-8 pairs of socks. Infant shoes are a waste. Booties are…well, I didn't get any and she was fine. Socks are just easier. People love giving you baby shoes and booties though, so put 'em on your little one if you like. They won't care!

The ones I listed are fleecy on the inside and stay on the baby, which is key. Get two packs and you're done.

If you're dead set on getting some booties or you live somewhere cold where s/he might not be permanently and totally bundled, try the Zutano ones. They're basic and easy to put on (snaps). We got our daughter a pair when she was a little older and they're toasty and comfy.
10
Clothingcotton hatsyes
Two is plenty unless it's winter or you live somewhere cold. The hospital will give you a couple and the baby will sleep in them for a while, but she'll need bigger ones in not too long. Get cotton and stretchy and without seams as much as possible. Carters infant ones suck - too many interior seams. Gap Baby's knotted hats are soooo soft, you might consider one in addition to the one or two you bring from the hospital. Their picot cotton beanies are a smaller fit for sleeping. Inventory changes rapidly at Gap, but just look through the page linked to the left. (Assuming you're keeping your nursery/baby's space at the recommended 70 degrees, s/he shouldn't need to sleep in a hat much beyond two months, so no need to get a lot of these.)


Gap Baby knotted hat or picot cotton beanie
Gap Baby knotted hat or picot cotton beaniehttp://tinyurl.com/3zr5gv9

Two is plenty unless it's winter or you live somewhere cold. The hospital will give you a couple and the baby will sleep in them for a while, but she'll need bigger ones in not too long. Get cotton and stretchy and without seams as much as possible. Carters infant ones suck - too many interior seams. Gap Baby's knotted hats are soooo soft, you might consider one in addition to the one or two you bring from the hospital. Their picot cotton beanies are a smaller fit for sleeping. Inventory changes rapidly at Gap, but just look through the page linked to the left. (Assuming you're keeping your nursery/baby's space at the recommended 70 degrees, s/he shouldn't need to sleep in a hat much beyond two months, so no need to get a lot of these.)
11
Clothinginfant mittensno
Infants will scratch themselves, no doubt, what with their lack of motor coordination and razor-sharp tiny nails. And it's going to take you some time to get used to clipping their nails, so covering their hands at least at night is a good idea. However, the mittens are a waste in my opinion. A.) They come off, and b.) our daughter hated them. The baby shirts your infant comes home from the hospital in will be too long in the arms for a while anyway, so that'll cover their hands. Or you can get the little infant shirts that have cuffs that fold over their little paws - that's the most reliable solution and the one I liked. See my "shirts" listing for a link to shirts w/ built-in mittens.


infant shirt w/ mitten cuffs
infant shirt w/ mitten cuffshttp://www.amazon.com/Gerber-Unisex-Baby-Newborn-Sleeve-Mitten/dp/B007C2PZQ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372917456&sr=8-1&keywords=infant+shirt+mitten

Infants will scratch themselves, no doubt, what with their lack of motor coordination and razor-sharp tiny nails. And it's going to take you some time to get used to clipping their nails, so covering their hands at least at night is a good idea. However, the mittens are a waste in my opinion. A.) They come off, and b.) our daughter hated them. The baby shirts your infant comes home from the hospital in will be too long in the arms for a while anyway, so that'll cover their hands. Or you can get the little infant shirts that have cuffs that fold over their little paws - that's the most reliable solution and the one I liked. See my "shirts" listing for a link to shirts w/ built-in mittens.
12
Clothinginfant pants x2yes
This is one of my pet peeves: it's nearly impossible to find respectable infant pants, which leaves babies looking like Donald Duck. Remember that they can't wear full-body pjs until that umbilical cord stump falls off, so you need something for week 1-2 not to mention later on when you might want them not to look like a tiny Hugh Heffner. Baby Gap has them. Get at least one pair, maybe two. They're a nice alternative to the bodysuit look your little one will rock for a while. (If you have a girl, you can put these on under her dresses for added warmth instead of jumping to those tights which, lets face it, we all hated as soon as we knew better.)

PS I know putting babies in jeans is supposed to be ultra-adorable, but I couldn't get next to the idea of a denim waistband for a baby who can't sit up. It just sounded uncomfortable. Let him/her live in comfy jersey as long as s/he can! God knows they'll be begging you to spend a fortune on uncomfortable cool clothing soon enough!


Gap Baby leggings
Gap Baby leggingshttp://www.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=7191

This is one of my pet peeves: it's nearly impossible to find respectable infant pants, which leaves babies looking like Donald Duck. Remember that they can't wear full-body pjs until that umbilical cord stump falls off, so you need something for week 1-2 not to mention later on when you might want them not to look like a tiny Hugh Heffner. Baby Gap has them. Get at least one pair, maybe two. They're a nice alternative to the bodysuit look your little one will rock for a while. (If you have a girl, you can put these on under her dresses for added warmth instead of jumping to those tights which, lets face it, we all hated as soon as we knew better.)

PS I know putting babies in jeans is supposed to be ultra-adorable, but I couldn't get next to the idea of a denim waistband for a baby who can't sit up. It just sounded uncomfortable. Let him/her live in comfy jersey as long as s/he can! God knows they'll be begging you to spend a fortune on uncomfortable cool clothing soon enough!
13
Clothinginfant long-sleeved T-shirts (neck or side snaps) x4yes
The hospital will send your baby home in one + you can probably score one or two more from them if you're sneaky. I bought a pack of four, I think, and that was fine. Infants just aren't that dirty and she'll only wear them for a little while, so don't go overboard. (Technically, she only HAS to wear them until her umbilical cord stump falls off in week 1-2. After that, she can wear onesie/bodysuits/full-body pjs which are better anyway because they don't ride up and expose her tiny tummy.) Don't bother getting short-sleeved either unless you live in a superhot climate or it's 1000 degrees outside - infants get cold easily and you'll be scoping for teensy cardigans to cover him up if he's in short sleeves, either from the sun or because it got chilly.

The ones I listed to the left have the exciting mitten cuffs, which means you don't have to buy mittens to cover their little razor nails. Inventory in infant shirts with cuffs is weirdly variable and the cost also varies widely - if the link to the left doesn't work, just Google "infant shirt cuff" or search same on Amazon and you'll find them somewhere. Just get the best price - it's not a wide market and all the ones we have from three different brands are fine. Alterntively, if you're out and about, check Macy's baby department or Babies R Us. If you can't find any w/ cuffs, just get the regular ones. Carters and Gerbers make them. But then get them a little long in the sleeve to cover their hands so you don't have to buy mittens to cover their hands. (While I don't love Gerber's bodysuits, their infant shirts are fine, probably because your baby will be in them for less time, so quality is less of an issue.)


infant shirt w/ mitten cuffs
infant shirt w/ mitten cuffshttp://www.amazon.com/Gerber-Unisex-Baby-Newborn-Sleeve-Mitten/dp/B007C2PZQ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372917456&sr=8-1&keywords=infant+shirt+mitten

The hospital will send your baby home in one + you can probably score one or two more from them if you're sneaky. I bought a pack of four, I think, and that was fine. Infants just aren't that dirty and she'll only wear them for a little while, so don't go overboard. (Technically, she only HAS to wear them until her umbilical cord stump falls off in week 1-2. After that, she can wear onesie/bodysuits/full-body pjs which are better anyway because they don't ride up and expose her tiny tummy.) Don't bother getting short-sleeved either unless you live in a superhot climate or it's 1000 degrees outside - infants get cold easily and you'll be scoping for teensy cardigans to cover him up if he's in short sleeves, either from the sun or because it got chilly.

The ones I listed to the left have the exciting mitten cuffs, which means you don't have to buy mittens to cover their little razor nails. Inventory in infant shirts with cuffs is weirdly variable and the cost also varies widely - if the link to the left doesn't work, just Google "infant shirt cuff" or search same on Amazon and you'll find them somewhere. Just get the best price - it's not a wide market and all the ones we have from three different brands are fine. Alterntively, if you're out and about, check Macy's baby department or Babies R Us. If you can't find any w/ cuffs, just get the regular ones. Carters and Gerbers make them. But then get them a little long in the sleeve to cover their hands so you don't have to buy mittens to cover their hands. (While I don't love Gerber's bodysuits, their infant shirts are fine, probably because your baby will be in them for less time, so quality is less of an issue.)
14
Clothingkid hangerswait
I didn't get any, but once people start sending you cute dresses and her drawers overflow, buy a ten-pack from Target. Also helps for air drying the adorable sweaters people give you that - insanity! - cannot be put in the dryer.


Target stores
Target stores

I didn't get any, but once people start sending you cute dresses and her drawers overflow, buy a ten-pack from Target. Also helps for air drying the adorable sweaters people give you that - insanity! - cannot be put in the dryer.
15
Clothingonesies / bodysuits (short-sleeved) x4yes
See "bodysuit: long-sleeved" listing for general details on what these are and why you need them.

Honestly, I had trouble finding a use for the short-sleeved onesies I got for our daughter who was born in late March. Infants are prone to get cold, so putting her in a short-sleeved one meant finding a sweater for over it. You might save yourself that trouble unless you have a summer baby or live somewhere permanently warm. Or you have a ton of super-cute baby clothes with long-sleeves that could use some extra warmth underneath:)

When I did get around to putting her in short-sleeved bodysuits, I put her in the Carter's "Just One You" (often listed as "JOY") sub-brand which is good quality and has some cute patterns. A friend gave us an elephant-themed four-pack which I then bought ($10 for 4) in the next two sizes up because we liked them so much. Carters makes them in a gender-specific colors + some other patterns I think are godawful loud, but that might just be because I'm from the northeast and why are you talking so loud anyway? Diapers.com has a great selection of all combos, Target carries them online and (sometimes - what is up with their inventory systems??) in stores, and I hear Ross does too. Also, Amazon. (Carters JOY make pjs too, which I haven't tried, but I'd assume they're similarly good quality. They also make adorable swimsuits and tiny pants, but I found the pants to be too thin to be of much use besides as jamas.)

To find the line, go to Amazon or Target.com and search "Carters Just One You bodysuits" or on Diapers.com just "Carters bodysuits."


Carter's "Just One You" (JOY) 5-Pack Bodysuits
Carter's "Just One You" (JOY) 5-Pack Bodysuitshttp://www.diapers.com/p/carters-5-pack-s-s-bodysuits-831411

See "bodysuit: long-sleeved" listing for general details on what these are and why you need them.

Honestly, I had trouble finding a use for the short-sleeved onesies I got for our daughter who was born in late March. Infants are prone to get cold, so putting her in a short-sleeved one meant finding a sweater for over it. You might save yourself that trouble unless you have a summer baby or live somewhere permanently warm. Or you have a ton of super-cute baby clothes with long-sleeves that could use some extra warmth underneath:)

When I did get around to putting her in short-sleeved bodysuits, I put her in the Carter's "Just One You" (often listed as "JOY") sub-brand which is good quality and has some cute patterns. A friend gave us an elephant-themed four-pack which I then bought ($10 for 4) in the next two sizes up because we liked them so much. Carters makes them in a gender-specific colors + some other patterns I think are godawful loud, but that might just be because I'm from the northeast and why are you talking so loud anyway? Diapers.com has a great selection of all combos, Target carries them online and (sometimes - what is up with their inventory systems??) in stores, and I hear Ross does too. Also, Amazon. (Carters JOY make pjs too, which I haven't tried, but I'd assume they're similarly good quality. They also make adorable swimsuits and tiny pants, but I found the pants to be too thin to be of much use besides as jamas.)

To find the line, go to Amazon or Target.com and search "Carters Just One You bodysuits" or on Diapers.com just "Carters bodysuits."
16
Clothingonesies / bodysuits (long-sleeved) x4yes
Some places call them onesies, some bodysuits. These are sleeved bodysuits with snaps in the crotch for your baby to wear after the umbilical cord stump falls off. They're the basic essential item of baby clothing and they're great. I am the onesie mom - I still buy them for our 18 month old because she can go down the slide in them without her shirt coming up. And I put them on underneath just about everything she wears. (It's mildly chilly almost all the time where I live.)

Keep in mind that infants grow fast, so the recommendations I've read that say you need 10 onesies… well, that seems high. I think I had four each of long and short-sleeved and it was plenty. You'll probably buy the next size up at 3 months anyway. Also: you don't know how big your baby will be to start with, so buying quantities you might have to return is silly. Get 6-8 total across short and long-sleeved probably in 0-3 month size. If you have a small baby or deliver early, you can always use the 0-3 later and grab a pack of newborn size on the fly. (Keep in mind that onesies are less size-forgiving too: it has to fit arms, torso width AND torso length, so buying big is a good thing.)

Finding plain white bodysuits online can be oddly difficult and the quality can vary pretty widely too. I don't know why they make it so hard for expectant mamas! Macy's has a comprehensive selection of Carters' options (four for about $16 at this writing) if you can stomach a trip to a department store. (N/A online at Macys.com for some reason.) Babies 'R Us carries Carter's in-store but charges $20 for the same four-pack (or $18 + shipping online), so you can save a few dollars (enough for an extra onesie!) by stocking up at Macy's.

To make matters more complicated, some of the cheap ones you'll see in stores and online are cheaply made...but then sometimes they're the nicer ones at a low price. Infuriating. My experience has been that Gerber's are too light, not very nice fabric and feel cheap, whereas the four-pack from Carter's (that are usually displayed on a four-item single hanger) are your better bet.

Note: If you can find bodysuits that snap at the side kimono-style instead of the pullovers, it's less trouble to get them on the baby although they expose more skin when you're doing diaper changes. Kate Quinn Organics makes such nice kimono ones - for $26 each. Aargh. (Definitely don't invest in the ones that TIE on the side though - ties are a pain.)


Carter's 4-Pack L/S Bodysuit
Carter's 4-Pack L/S Bodysuithttp://www.diapers.com/p/carters-4-pack-l-s-bodysuits-831429

Petit Bateau Long-Sleeved Bodysuits w/ Motif
Petit Bateau Long-Sleeved Bodysuits w/ Motifhttp://tinyurl.com/3s7ctuxSome places call them onesies, some bodysuits. These are sleeved bodysuits with snaps in the crotch for your baby to wear after the umbilical cord stump falls off. They're the basic essential item of baby clothing and they're great. I am the onesie mom - I still buy them for our 18 month old because she can go down the slide in them without her shirt coming up. And I put them on underneath just about everything she wears. (It's mildly chilly almost all the time where I live.)

Keep in mind that infants grow fast, so the recommendations I've read that say you need 10 onesies… well, that seems high. I think I had four each of long and short-sleeved and it was plenty. You'll probably buy the next size up at 3 months anyway. Also: you don't know how big your baby will be to start with, so buying quantities you might have to return is silly. Get 6-8 total across short and long-sleeved probably in 0-3 month size. If you have a small baby or deliver early, you can always use the 0-3 later and grab a pack of newborn size on the fly. (Keep in mind that onesies are less size-forgiving too: it has to fit arms, torso width AND torso length, so buying big is a good thing.)

Finding plain white bodysuits online can be oddly difficult and the quality can vary pretty widely too. I don't know why they make it so hard for expectant mamas! Macy's has a comprehensive selection of Carters' options (four for about $16 at this writing) if you can stomach a trip to a department store. (N/A online at Macys.com for some reason.) Babies 'R Us carries Carter's in-store but charges $20 for the same four-pack (or $18 + shipping online), so you can save a few dollars (enough for an extra onesie!) by stocking up at Macy's.

To make matters more complicated, some of the cheap ones you'll see in stores and online are cheaply made...but then sometimes they're the nicer ones at a low price. Infuriating. My experience has been that Gerber's are too light, not very nice fabric and feel cheap, whereas the four-pack from Carter's (that are usually displayed on a four-item single hanger) are your better bet.

Note: If you can find bodysuits that snap at the side kimono-style instead of the pullovers, it's less trouble to get them on the baby although they expose more skin when you're doing diaper changes. Kate Quinn Organics makes such nice kimono ones - for $26 each. Aargh. (Definitely don't invest in the ones that TIE on the side though - ties are a pain.)
17
Clothingsleep: "nightgown"no
I don't understand these - they're like adult nightgowns but with an elasticized bottom edge. Nightgowns ride up on me for Pete's sake - they're going to ride up on a squirming baby. Skip these.




I don't understand these - they're like adult nightgowns but with an elasticized bottom edge. Nightgowns ride up on me for Pete's sake - they're going to ride up on a squirming baby. Skip these.
18
Clothingsleep: pajamas x3yes
These are great. What you wore when you were six. Snaps are best. Buttons will kill you at 3AM. Keeps baby warm, available in all weights of fabric, cute. Bloomingdales stores carry a whole section of them for $10 each if you don't like Old Navy's loud colors. (No idea why Bloomingdales has such cheap babywear but don't look a gift horse in the mouth!) Get 3 or 4. Some places say 6 but you don't need that many unless your baby turns out to be unusually prone to diaper accidents. You'll have to re-buy at 3 months for next size + can't wear them until the umbilical cord is off, so just back away from getting a whole bunch.




Dwell Studio for Target kimono pajamas
Dwell Studio for Target kimono pajamashttp://tinyurl.com/24fwz64

These are great. What you wore when you were six. Snaps are best. Buttons will kill you at 3AM. Keeps baby warm, available in all weights of fabric, cute. Bloomingdales stores carry a whole section of them for $10 each if you don't like Old Navy's loud colors. (No idea why Bloomingdales has such cheap babywear but don't look a gift horse in the mouth!) Get 3 or 4. Some places say 6 but you don't need that many unless your baby turns out to be unusually prone to diaper accidents. You'll have to re-buy at 3 months for next size + can't wear them until the umbilical cord is off, so just back away from getting a whole bunch.

19
Clothingsleep: sleep sackwait
You'll likely swaddle your little one for the first couple of months, so you can wait on these. They're the answer to the "no blankets in the crib so how the hell do I keep my baby warm?" question. With these.

Sleep sacks are zip-up blankets with arm holes. S/he'll wear pajamas under them - sleep sacks aren't a clothing substitute, they're a blanket substitute. And they're not a swaddle substitute either, so if your baby's happier swaddled, you may not need these for a while. (Although, in cold weather, you can put the baby in pjs, then swaddle him, AND put him in one of these - you just won't use the armholes, but they'll zip up fine anyway.) I only bought one and didn't have to get more until she was three months old. Dwell Studio for Target makes super-cute, double-layer jersey ones (but only in 0-6 month size) instead of the Halo fleece or cotton ones. Aden and Anais has also entered the market with lightweight muslin ones in adorable patterns. Great for hot nights or mild weather.



Newborn Girls' DwellStudio for Target Pink Striped Wearable Blanket (0-6M)
Newborn Girls' DwellStudio for Target Pink Striped Wearable Blanket (0-6M)
http://tinyurl.com/3zwcpte

Aden and Anais sleeping bags
Aden and Anais sleeping bagshttp://www.adenandanais.com/shop/sleepingbags.aspxYou'll likely swaddle your little one for the first couple of months, so you can wait on these. They're the answer to the "no blankets in the crib so how the hell do I keep my baby warm?" question. With these.

Sleep sacks are zip-up blankets with arm holes. S/he'll wear pajamas under them - sleep sacks aren't a clothing substitute, they're a blanket substitute. And they're not a swaddle substitute either, so if your baby's happier swaddled, you may not need these for a while. (Although, in cold weather, you can put the baby in pjs, then swaddle him, AND put him in one of these - you just won't use the armholes, but they'll zip up fine anyway.) I only bought one and didn't have to get more until she was three months old. Dwell Studio for Target makes super-cute, double-layer jersey ones (but only in 0-6 month size) instead of the Halo fleece or cotton ones. Aden and Anais has also entered the market with lightweight muslin ones in adorable patterns. Great for hot nights or mild weather.
20
Clothingsleep: swaddle blankets (big blankets, Velcro, Miracle blanket, etc.)yes
You'll get these as gifts, all types. Don't over-commit out of the gate - you'll have to see what and which works with your child, so just get a few to cover your options. Or better yet, borrow them from friends whose babies have grown out of them.

Everyone has an opinion about what works best, but you'll have to see what your baby likes. Or just start with a couple blankets - the hospital will likely use light flannel blankets and you can take one or two home. Large ones will last you longest although they might swamp the baby for a little while:) Flannel is fine at the start but you'll like jersey later - it's stretchier and will swaddle tighter when your baby starts moving around. Aden and Anais make muslin, which I think are giant but they're lightweight for warm weather and stretch nicely (linked under "blankets" entry.)

If you're not into blanket swaddling or your kiddo has mastered breaking out of them, there are other options. We cut over to the Miracle Blanket at about two months. It looks more complicated than the Velcro swaddles (see below) since it actually requires that you read the directions. But it works like...well, a miracle. Really. If I had to go back, I'd get two large jersey blankets and two Miracle Blankets and skip the rest.

Kiddopotamus, Summer Infant, and Halo make Velcro swaddle blankets/sacks that don't require you to demo your swaddling skills in the middle of the night. They're basically a bag (in cotton or various weights of microfleece) with Velcro tabs across the body. Baby's legs are freer to move than in a true swaddle though, so your little one might wake himself up with his own kicking. (To be fair, the Miracle Blanket has some play in the leg area too, but you can always tighten that up.) Our daughter was much happier and slept better in the Miracle Blanket than she was in the Velcro swaddles, but she was a mighty struggler, so maybe if your baby is a calmer sleeper, the Velcro swaddles will work for you.

Oh - we also tried the new Woombie (zipper instead of Velcro) which, along with the Kiddopotamus, is one answer to the "I can't swaddle!" dilemma. First, you can too swaddle - just practice. And second, the Woombie didn't work for us at all. She looked super alien in it and it just didn't do the job keeping her tight and cuddly. But if your child doesn't need a tight swaddle or you're all thumbs with anything but a zipper, the Woombie's zipper-only design might be for you.



Miracle Blanket
Miracle Blankethttp://www.miracleblanket.com/index.htm

You'll get these as gifts, all types. Don't over-commit out of the gate - you'll have to see what and which works with your child, so just get a few to cover your options. Or better yet, borrow them from friends whose babies have grown out of them.

Everyone has an opinion about what works best, but you'll have to see what your baby likes. Or just start with a couple blankets - the hospital will likely use light flannel blankets and you can take one or two home. Large ones will last you longest although they might swamp the baby for a little while:) Flannel is fine at the start but you'll like jersey later - it's stretchier and will swaddle tighter when your baby starts moving around. Aden and Anais make muslin, which I think are giant but they're lightweight for warm weather and stretch nicely (linked under "blankets" entry.)

If you're not into blanket swaddling or your kiddo has mastered breaking out of them, there are other options. We cut over to the Miracle Blanket at about two months. It looks more complicated than the Velcro swaddles (see below) since it actually requires that you read the directions. But it works like...well, a miracle. Really. If I had to go back, I'd get two large jersey blankets and two Miracle Blankets and skip the rest.

Kiddopotamus, Summer Infant, and Halo make Velcro swaddle blankets/sacks that don't require you to demo your swaddling skills in the middle of the night. They're basically a bag (in cotton or various weights of microfleece) with Velcro tabs across the body. Baby's legs are freer to move than in a true swaddle though, so your little one might wake himself up with his own kicking. (To be fair, the Miracle Blanket has some play in the leg area too, but you can always tighten that up.) Our daughter was much happier and slept better in the Miracle Blanket than she was in the Velcro swaddles, but she was a mighty struggler, so maybe if your baby is a calmer sleeper, the Velcro swaddles will work for you.

Oh - we also tried the new Woombie (zipper instead of Velcro) which, along with the Kiddopotamus, is one answer to the "I can't swaddle!" dilemma. First, you can too swaddle - just practice. And second, the Woombie didn't work for us at all. She looked super alien in it and it just didn't do the job keeping her tight and cuddly. But if your child doesn't need a tight swaddle or you're all thumbs with anything but a zipper, the Woombie's zipper-only design might be for you.
21
Clothingsun hat wait
If you feel you have to get a sun hat, do. But you'll keep the baby out of the sun most of the time until she's a little older, right? RIGHT??? Wait until she's 4-6 months and get the size she needs then. Unless you live in SoCal or hot weather, in which case, yes, get one. Or use a super light blanket to cover up your tiny one.

Brace yourself: sun hats don't look good on anyone except bronzed Italian women and that includes your adorable new child. Anything that provides adequate shade on the neck and face is going to be floppy and weird-looking and be unpopular with the kiddo to boot. It's an all-around pain until they get older and a.) will keep it on, and b.) you have more hat options as a result. Like ones that aren't surgically attached to their tiny heads. Buy sunscreen and don't plan on any cute photos when s/he's wearing it. (And by "cute" I mean "cute," not, "She will hate us for this later but we're totally laughing right now.")




If you feel you have to get a sun hat, do. But you'll keep the baby out of the sun most of the time until she's a little older, right? RIGHT??? Wait until she's 4-6 months and get the size she needs then. Unless you live in SoCal or hot weather, in which case, yes, get one. Or use a super light blanket to cover up your tiny one.

Brace yourself: sun hats don't look good on anyone except bronzed Italian women and that includes your adorable new child. Anything that provides adequate shade on the neck and face is going to be floppy and weird-looking and be unpopular with the kiddo to boot. It's an all-around pain until they get older and a.) will keep it on, and b.) you have more hat options as a result. Like ones that aren't surgically attached to their tiny heads. Buy sunscreen and don't plan on any cute photos when s/he's wearing it. (And by "cute" I mean "cute," not, "She will hate us for this later but we're totally laughing right now.")
22
Clothingsweaters (x3)yes
You need something for him/her to wear as an extra layer. I got the Baby Gap wrap sweaters and they were ADORABLE. Along with the baby pants I got, these were my best buy. But overpriced, I'm sorry to say, so maybe keep your eye out for a sale if you're going my route. Whatever you get, cardigan or wrap around are easier than pullovers.

Kissy Kissy, a premier baby brand, makes the most #%#(*&! adorable cardigans, but holy crap are they expensive: $85 usually, some less. If you don't want to spend the money, don't even look at them because my Lord - they have a gravitational pull for expectant moms. Really. (Granny Made on the Upper West Side in New York sells lots of different ones, in addition to their collection of handmade sweaters that cost even more. If you're in Manhattan, go have a look. And don't take your wallet. Seriously. Or take your aunt who knits - or your uncle who owns a manufacturing plant -and have them make you copies!) Saks and Diapers.com have a decent selection on-line, as will your local high-end baby store. (In San Francisco, Day One carries them.


Baby Gap sweaters
Baby Gap sweatershttp://www.gap.com/products/baby-boy-sweaters.jsp

Kissy Kissy cardigans at Granny Made
Kissy Kissy cardigans at Granny Madehttp://www.grannymade.com/handmade-sweaters.htmlYou need something for him/her to wear as an extra layer. I got the Baby Gap wrap sweaters and they were ADORABLE. Along with the baby pants I got, these were my best buy. But overpriced, I'm sorry to say, so maybe keep your eye out for a sale if you're going my route. Whatever you get, cardigan or wrap around are easier than pullovers.

Kissy Kissy, a premier baby brand, makes the most #%#(*&! adorable cardigans, but holy crap are they expensive: $85 usually, some less. If you don't want to spend the money, don't even look at them because my Lord - they have a gravitational pull for expectant moms. Really. (Granny Made on the Upper West Side in New York sells lots of different ones, in addition to their collection of handmade sweaters that cost even more. If you're in Manhattan, go have a look. And don't take your wallet. Seriously. Or take your aunt who knits - or your uncle who owns a manufacturing plant -and have them make you copies!) Saks and Diapers.com have a decent selection on-line, as will your local high-end baby store. (In San Francisco, Day One carries them.
23
Clothing, AdultBelly Banditno
This is basically a corset to help your abs get back in shape post-birth. I was super-worried about that, so I got one…and then didn't wear it because it was hot + our daughter liked to climb up my torso and the smooth surface of the Bandit beneath my shirt wouldn't let her get a toehold, poor thing. Turns out my abs are OK anyway, so no harm, no foul. If you do go for it, the place I looked at them recommends waiting to buy post-partum - you won't know what size you'll need until then. Also said if you want a softer/gauzier feel, go with Gabriella ones.


Belly Bandit
Belly Bandithttps://www.bellybandit.com/

This is basically a corset to help your abs get back in shape post-birth. I was super-worried about that, so I got one…and then didn't wear it because it was hot + our daughter liked to climb up my torso and the smooth surface of the Bandit beneath my shirt wouldn't let her get a toehold, poor thing. Turns out my abs are OK anyway, so no harm, no foul. If you do go for it, the place I looked at them recommends waiting to buy post-partum - you won't know what size you'll need until then. Also said if you want a softer/gauzier feel, go with Gabriella ones.
24
Clothing, Adultundies for postpartum (and during pregnancy!)no
OK, so maybe you don't need these but I did. Not to get too personal, but I wear a lot of thongs and you can't for a while after you have a baby - you'll need some comfy undies and maybe not ones that make you feel dowdy since you'll already feel beat up and not yourself. Plus, people will see you in them:) I bought three sets of the Medela Maternity Underwear (yes, Medela, like the breastpump manufacturer) while I was pregnant and LOVE them. They're soft, they stay in place like they're glued there and they're low in the front despite full coverage in the back. Perfect for being pregnant or wearing low jeans later. A bit pricey but one of the things I'm glad I paid for. I still wear them - that "Maternity" thing is whatever.

Note: the hospital will probably have you in these weird, gauzy disposable underwear during your stay. They can literally cut them off you and do. They might even send you home with some but my advice is to stop wearing them ASAP. I thought they were super convenient post-surgery until I started itching and a mild rash showed up around my C-section incision a few days after I got home. When I called my OB's office to make sure it wasn't a surgery thing or some other issue, it turned out they know that the disposable undies can cause rashes - one friend even got an infection, for Pete's sake - but they use them anyway. *sigh* So wear 'em if they want you to while you're in-hospital and get yourself back into cotton as soon as you can.


Medela Bikini 3-Pack
Medela Bikini 3-Packhttp://tinyurl.com/3wegb6r

OK, so maybe you don't need these but I did. Not to get too personal, but I wear a lot of thongs and you can't for a while after you have a baby - you'll need some comfy undies and maybe not ones that make you feel dowdy since you'll already feel beat up and not yourself. Plus, people will see you in them:) I bought three sets of the Medela Maternity Underwear (yes, Medela, like the breastpump manufacturer) while I was pregnant and LOVE them. They're soft, they stay in place like they're glued there and they're low in the front despite full coverage in the back. Perfect for being pregnant or wearing low jeans later. A bit pricey but one of the things I'm glad I paid for. I still wear them - that "Maternity" thing is whatever.

Note: the hospital will probably have you in these weird, gauzy disposable underwear during your stay. They can literally cut them off you and do. They might even send you home with some but my advice is to stop wearing them ASAP. I thought they were super convenient post-surgery until I started itching and a mild rash showed up around my C-section incision a few days after I got home. When I called my OB's office to make sure it wasn't a surgery thing or some other issue, it turned out they know that the disposable undies can cause rashes - one friend even got an infection, for Pete's sake - but they use them anyway. *sigh* So wear 'em if they want you to while you're in-hospital and get yourself back into cotton as soon as you can.
25
Feedingbottle drying rackno
I almost didn't get one - our regular dish rack seemed fine. But I'm glad I registered for and got one in the end - all the breast pump parts + the bottles + the breast milk storage bottles were a lot to manage among the dishes + I washed all those bottles and parts separately and a lot more often than our dishes, so it was nice to have a dedicated place where I could see what was clean and dry. The SkipHop one is design-y and unobtrusive. I thought the "grass" drying mat also looked cool (2nd bookmark to the left) but I haven't used it personally.


SkipHop Splash
SkipHop Splashhttp://tinyurl.com/29jn9p7

I almost didn't get one - our regular dish rack seemed fine. But I'm glad I registered for and got one in the end - all the breast pump parts + the bottles + the breast milk storage bottles were a lot to manage among the dishes + I washed all those bottles and parts separately and a lot more often than our dishes, so it was nice to have a dedicated place where I could see what was clean and dry. The SkipHop one is design-y and unobtrusive. I thought the "grass" drying mat also looked cool (2nd bookmark to the left) but I haven't used it personally.
26
Feedingbottle sterilizerno
Certainly don't get it out the gate. I borrowed one and never used it: they take up a lot of space we don't have. If you're a clean freak and also don't have space, get the microwave sterilizing bags and use those instead. I boiled all her bottles to sterilize them when they were new and periodically do it again. The hospital had me washing out the breast milk bottles with super hot tap water, so it can't be essential that I sterilize every bottle every day. I'm just saying.




Certainly don't get it out the gate. I borrowed one and never used it: they take up a lot of space we don't have. If you're a clean freak and also don't have space, get the microwave sterilizing bags and use those instead. I boiled all her bottles to sterilize them when they were new and periodically do it again. The hospital had me washing out the breast milk bottles with super hot tap water, so it can't be essential that I sterilize every bottle every day. I'm just saying.
27
Feedingbottle warmerno
They're smaller than the sterilizers but still an extra thing plugged in on the counter. Again, we borrowed one and didn't use it. Try that: if you find it's helpful, great. If not, don't worry. We warm her milk in a mug of hot water from the tap and that brings the milk to room temperature in a few minutes, especially if you warm it in the breast milk storage bottle which is thinner plastic than her actual drinking bottle, which is heavier plastic.

I'm sure you know this, but never microwave breast milk or put it in boiling water on the stove. Baby won't drink it hot + it kills nice things in the milk.




They're smaller than the sterilizers but still an extra thing plugged in on the counter. Again, we borrowed one and didn't use it. Try that: if you find it's helpful, great. If not, don't worry. We warm her milk in a mug of hot water from the tap and that brings the milk to room temperature in a few minutes, especially if you warm it in the breast milk storage bottle which is thinner plastic than her actual drinking bottle, which is heavier plastic.

I'm sure you know this, but never microwave breast milk or put it in boiling water on the stove. Baby won't drink it hot + it kills nice things in the milk.
28
Feedingbottles (x4) for babyyes
Everyone has a favorite. Be warned: your baby will likely pick for herself, so don't buy a whole fleet of them, wash them, throw away the packaging, etc. before trying one with the baby.

Our infant care class instructor recommended Adiri bottles, which is what we used for the first few months and really liked mainly because, unlike Born Free and some others, there are only three pieces: the bottle, the screw-off bottom and a cover. Other bottles have 47 tiny pieces you have to separate and wash every time. Which is fine if it's the only bottle your baby will take, but three pieces is definitely easier. I heard Adiri went out of business, but you can still very easily find the bottles on the web - we picked up ours from Amazon. The nipples are natural-looking and she took the Adiri pretty easily at 3 weeks old.

When our little baby got a little older and started drinking faster and needed better flow control, the Adiris weren't cutting it. We switched over to Born Free at about six months old and are still using them at 16 months. Dr. Brown's is another similar favorite.

If you want to start simple and inexpensive and got a Medela breast pump, you can buy nipples and collars for the breast milk storage bottles that came with your pump.

Glass is another option, but it always seemed really heavy to me. Your call.

Note: most bottle brands offer Stage, 1, 2 and 3 nipples and the bottles come with Stage 1. Basically, it's a matter of the opening size: stage 1 is small as your baby learns to drink, stage 3 is big because your child is older and a faster drinker. Here's the deal though: it's kind of a racket. Your baby can stay on stage 2 nipples for as long as s/he takes a bottle. It doesn't matter. As long as Junior is getting enough milk and isn't frustrated. (We tried to move Astrid up from 2 to 3 a few times and the milk just poured down her face, poor thing. You will likely have to graduate to at least 2 though - 1 is pretty small.)


Adiri BPA-free Natural Nurser
Adiri BPA-free Natural Nurserhttp://tinyurl.com/25gaueh

Everyone has a favorite. Be warned: your baby will likely pick for herself, so don't buy a whole fleet of them, wash them, throw away the packaging, etc. before trying one with the baby.

Our infant care class instructor recommended Adiri bottles, which is what we used for the first few months and really liked mainly because, unlike Born Free and some others, there are only three pieces: the bottle, the screw-off bottom and a cover. Other bottles have 47 tiny pieces you have to separate and wash every time. Which is fine if it's the only bottle your baby will take, but three pieces is definitely easier. I heard Adiri went out of business, but you can still very easily find the bottles on the web - we picked up ours from Amazon. The nipples are natural-looking and she took the Adiri pretty easily at 3 weeks old.

When our little baby got a little older and started drinking faster and needed better flow control, the Adiris weren't cutting it. We switched over to Born Free at about six months old and are still using them at 16 months. Dr. Brown's is another similar favorite.

If you want to start simple and inexpensive and got a Medela breast pump, you can buy nipples and collars for the breast milk storage bottles that came with your pump.

Glass is another option, but it always seemed really heavy to me. Your call.

Note: most bottle brands offer Stage, 1, 2 and 3 nipples and the bottles come with Stage 1. Basically, it's a matter of the opening size: stage 1 is small as your baby learns to drink, stage 3 is big because your child is older and a faster drinker. Here's the deal though: it's kind of a racket. Your baby can stay on stage 2 nipples for as long as s/he takes a bottle. It doesn't matter. As long as Junior is getting enough milk and isn't frustrated. (We tried to move Astrid up from 2 to 3 a few times and the milk just poured down her face, poor thing. You will likely have to graduate to at least 2 though - 1 is pretty small.)
29
Feedingburp clothesyes
I skipped the pretty cloths from Dwell that I loved and opted for cloth diapers to start with - but I stand corrected: someone sent us a dozen Martex washcloths that are softer, more absorbent and smaller (which makes them easier to carry along). Since we got 'em as gifts, I'm not sure which exact ones we have, but the ones linked here look like a match. (Costco has them for $12.99 for 24 if you have a membership.)

Don't go overboard with how many you buy - you might only need a dozen (which I leave strategically on the arms of chairs and the couch). If your baby spits up a lot, you can always order more. And remember you'll only be burping your baby for six months or so, so you might save some money here for the smartphone they'll be wanting by the time they're three!


Martex washcloths
Martex washclothshttp://tinyurl.com/3tokcba

Dwell Studio Bib/Burp Set
Dwell Studio Bib/Burp Sethttp://tinyurl.com/3tttkvxI skipped the pretty cloths from Dwell that I loved and opted for cloth diapers to start with - but I stand corrected: someone sent us a dozen Martex washcloths that are softer, more absorbent and smaller (which makes them easier to carry along). Since we got 'em as gifts, I'm not sure which exact ones we have, but the ones linked here look like a match. (Costco has them for $12.99 for 24 if you have a membership.)

Don't go overboard with how many you buy - you might only need a dozen (which I leave strategically on the arms of chairs and the couch). If your baby spits up a lot, you can always order more. And remember you'll only be burping your baby for six months or so, so you might save some money here for the smartphone they'll be wanting by the time they're three!
30
Feedingdishwasher basket for bottle piecesno
It's a plastic container that sits in/on the rack of your dishwasher and keeps all the pieces of bottles (nipples, cuffs, covers) and breast pump parts from falling through the grids. Handy - even a must-have - if you run the dishwasher a lot and have a lot of bottles that can wait for the next time you run it.

I decided not to invest in a ton of bottles I'd only use for 12-18 months, so I need them washed more often than I run the dishwasher (who has time to eat and generate real dishes with a new baby??) We do the bottles by hand and our dishwasher basket has ended up as a bath toy for the baby though, so my advice is to skip it. But it's only $6, so it won't be a big mistake if you get one and don't use it!


Munchkin dishwasher basket
Munchkin dishwasher baskethttp://tinyurl.com/3qhhmbd

It's a plastic container that sits in/on the rack of your dishwasher and keeps all the pieces of bottles (nipples, cuffs, covers) and breast pump parts from falling through the grids. Handy - even a must-have - if you run the dishwasher a lot and have a lot of bottles that can wait for the next time you run it.

I decided not to invest in a ton of bottles I'd only use for 12-18 months, so I need them washed more often than I run the dishwasher (who has time to eat and generate real dishes with a new baby??) We do the bottles by hand and our dishwasher basket has ended up as a bath toy for the baby though, so my advice is to skip it. But it's only $6, so it won't be a big mistake if you get one and don't use it!
31
Feedingformula
(for emergencies if you're b'feeding)
wait
Unless, of course, you're formula feeding your baby!

I thought I needed some on-hand for when we brought Astrid home from the hospital, but I really didn't: the hospital sent me home with some and we didn't use it for months and months. I'd see where you end up with the breastfeeding thing in the hospital and buy formula as needed when you get home.

If you're really jacked up about breastfeeding not working (or aren't going to try it), OK, yes, get some before baby's arrival. Similac and Enfamil are the big brands and there are seemingly infinite varieties: nightime formula, sensitive formula, sensitive for gas formula and on and on. And most can be bought in powder form (you have to mix it with water, which slows you down with a hungry baby, but is by far the cheapest), liquid that needs to be diluted with water, or just straight up containers of formula all mixed and ready (the most convenient but definitely the most expensive option). There are organic formulas also available at some stores as well as specially made formulas for specific baby health issues.

When our little one quit breastfeeding, she got hooked on Similac Sensitive even though she seems to have a pretty cast iron stomach - it's kind of up to them. If you're trying to decide, I'd start with the basic powder version of whatever is easiest for you to get (supermarkets and drugstores carry the mainstream versions) and see how your baby does with it. If you need to adjust from there because s/he doesn't like it or gets gas or whatever, do. Or ask your pediatrician what s/he recommends and get that. Unless your little one has a health issue, this is really a question of his/her preference and what seems to work well for low gassiness and long sleep!

Note: Formula will stay in your little one's system longer than breastmilk, so there are some who say that formula-fed babies sleep a little longer. It didn't prove true AT ALL with our baby, but who knows? Also, formula = smelly poo, whereas breastmilk = smell-less poo, so don't get too excited about cutting over!!


Similac or Enfamil
Similac or Enfamilhttp://tinyurl.com/3dbpmcn

Unless, of course, you're formula feeding your baby!

I thought I needed some on-hand for when we brought Astrid home from the hospital, but I really didn't: the hospital sent me home with some and we didn't use it for months and months. I'd see where you end up with the breastfeeding thing in the hospital and buy formula as needed when you get home.

If you're really jacked up about breastfeeding not working (or aren't going to try it), OK, yes, get some before baby's arrival. Similac and Enfamil are the big brands and there are seemingly infinite varieties: nightime formula, sensitive formula, sensitive for gas formula and on and on. And most can be bought in powder form (you have to mix it with water, which slows you down with a hungry baby, but is by far the cheapest), liquid that needs to be diluted with water, or just straight up containers of formula all mixed and ready (the most convenient but definitely the most expensive option). There are organic formulas also available at some stores as well as specially made formulas for specific baby health issues.

When our little one quit breastfeeding, she got hooked on Similac Sensitive even though she seems to have a pretty cast iron stomach - it's kind of up to them. If you're trying to decide, I'd start with the basic powder version of whatever is easiest for you to get (supermarkets and drugstores carry the mainstream versions) and see how your baby does with it. If you need to adjust from there because s/he doesn't like it or gets gas or whatever, do. Or ask your pediatrician what s/he recommends and get that. Unless your little one has a health issue, this is really a question of his/her preference and what seems to work well for low gassiness and long sleep!

Note: Formula will stay in your little one's system longer than breastmilk, so there are some who say that formula-fed babies sleep a little longer. It didn't prove true AT ALL with our baby, but who knows? Also, formula = smelly poo, whereas breastmilk = smell-less poo, so don't get too excited about cutting over!!
32
Feedinginsulated bottle carrierno
I love the Dwell ones but it's not really necessary. Infants prefer milk and formula at room temperature and both can survive for 6 hours at room temp. You likely won't be out that long anyway without taking an ice pack with the milk, right? (Like when you're traveling.) Most diapers bags have insulated pockets anyway - check yours.




Dwell Studio bottle holder
Dwell Studio bottle holderhttp://www.unicahome.com/catalog/item.asp?id=43997&PartnerID=SLII love the Dwell ones but it's not really necessary. Infants prefer milk and formula at room temperature and both can survive for 6 hours at room temp. You likely won't be out that long anyway without taking an ice pack with the milk, right? (Like when you're traveling.) Most diapers bags have insulated pockets anyway - check yours.
33
Feedingnipple shieldsno
It wasn't clear to me if I needed these or not or how I'd know. You don't need them unless your doctor or lactation consultant tells you you do - you should only use them if you're having a problem breastfeeding and someone official recommends them. So don't worry about buying them just yet.




It wasn't clear to me if I needed these or not or how I'd know. You don't need them unless your doctor or lactation consultant tells you you do - you should only use them if you're having a problem breastfeeding and someone official recommends them. So don't worry about buying them just yet.
34
Feedingpacifier clipswait
If s/he takes a pacifier (which a lot of babies won't), you'll need a leash eventually or you'll spend your day washing pacifiers - or going without one when she drops all four on the floor of the airplane! But it'll be a month or so before she takes a pacifier at all, so you might wait and see how that goes before doubling down on a leash for it.


Booginhead PaciGrip
Booginhead PaciGriphttp://tinyurl.com/3z2ssvn

If s/he takes a pacifier (which a lot of babies won't), you'll need a leash eventually or you'll spend your day washing pacifiers - or going without one when she drops all four on the floor of the airplane! But it'll be a month or so before she takes a pacifier at all, so you might wait and see how that goes before doubling down on a leash for it.
35
Feedingpacifiersyes
We like the Soothies. Recommended by hospitals. They come in two densities. You want the 0-3 month soft ones. They make harder ones called "Super Soothies" for teething babies (4 months and up). Look closely at the package to make sure you got the 0-3 month ones: I've accidentally bought the Super Soothies THREE times. Yeah, I'm bright like that.

And our baby never graduated to the Super Soothies, so yeah, I've got some hanging around.

In reality, if your baby wants a pacifier, use whichever one looks the least silly and passes muster with your pediatrician. I'm sure all of them are fine. (We didn't hesitate on giving her a pacifier to help her self-soothe. Whatever works. And getting her off a pacifier will be easier than figuring out a way to get her to stop sucking her own thumb. Not that she does that. Apparently, if a baby doesn't start sucking her thumb by four months, she's not going to do it ever. I had no idea.)


Avent Soothies
Avent Soothieshttp://tinyurl.com/3tsepzo

We like the Soothies. Recommended by hospitals. They come in two densities. You want the 0-3 month soft ones. They make harder ones called "Super Soothies" for teething babies (4 months and up). Look closely at the package to make sure you got the 0-3 month ones: I've accidentally bought the Super Soothies THREE times. Yeah, I'm bright like that.

And our baby never graduated to the Super Soothies, so yeah, I've got some hanging around.

In reality, if your baby wants a pacifier, use whichever one looks the least silly and passes muster with your pediatrician. I'm sure all of them are fine. (We didn't hesitate on giving her a pacifier to help her self-soothe. Whatever works. And getting her off a pacifier will be easier than figuring out a way to get her to stop sucking her own thumb. Not that she does that. Apparently, if a baby doesn't start sucking her thumb by four months, she's not going to do it ever. I had no idea.)
36
Feedingtravel sterilizer bags for bottlesno
These are for sterilizing your bottle or breast pump parts when you're on the road and can't boil them - and you have a microwave available. Or you feel you need to sterilize often and don't want to boil the parts or use a stand-alone sterilizer. Just add a little water to this bag and put in the microwave. I tried them once and feh - I mean, maybe if I were stuck in a foreign land. It was a much more annoying process than putting them in boiling water on the stove. But I guess it depends on how often you want to sterilize your goods... (I admit that I didn't do it often and our daughter was fine, but you need to feel comfortable so do whatchoo gotta do.) (I do boil her pacifiers regularly now rather than just washing them - but she's dropping them places her bottle never went!)


http://tinyurl.com/279ozj2

These are for sterilizing your bottle or breast pump parts when you're on the road and can't boil them - and you have a microwave available. Or you feel you need to sterilize often and don't want to boil the parts or use a stand-alone sterilizer. Just add a little water to this bag and put in the microwave. I tried them once and feh - I mean, maybe if I were stuck in a foreign land. It was a much more annoying process than putting them in boiling water on the stove. But I guess it depends on how often you want to sterilize your goods... (I admit that I didn't do it often and our daughter was fine, but you need to feel comfortable so do whatchoo gotta do.) (I do boil her pacifiers regularly now rather than just washing them - but she's dropping them places her bottle never went!)
37
Feedingbottle brushyes
These often come with the bottle drying rack you get, so check that out. And if you'll be traveling, take one. Seriously: it seems extraneous, but I had to buy one on the road. How else can you clean a bottle???

If your drying rack doesn't have one or you need to replace it, for at home, the Oxo one stands on its own, which is handy. And even though I hate the Born Free bottle brush (made of sponge not bristles - shot in a week), I still use the little nipple sponge that came with it to clean the inside of the bottle nipples and the pacifiers. It just seems to work well. http://tinyurl.com/3tshyq5

For on the road, the Munchkin one is fine - light and smaller than the Oxo. Even though the sponge top gives out sooner than a brush brush, the nipple brush in the handle is a nice-to-have.



Oxo Tot Bottle Brush
Oxo Tot Bottle Brushhttp://tinyurl.com/3gadxzh

These often come with the bottle drying rack you get, so check that out. And if you'll be traveling, take one. Seriously: it seems extraneous, but I had to buy one on the road. How else can you clean a bottle???

If your drying rack doesn't have one or you need to replace it, for at home, the Oxo one stands on its own, which is handy. And even though I hate the Born Free bottle brush (made of sponge not bristles - shot in a week), I still use the little nipple sponge that came with it to clean the inside of the bottle nipples and the pacifiers. It just seems to work well. http://tinyurl.com/3tshyq5

For on the road, the Munchkin one is fine - light and smaller than the Oxo. Even though the sponge top gives out sooner than a brush brush, the nipple brush in the handle is a nice-to-have.
38
Feedingutensils, cups, plateswait
The general rule is that babies will drink breast milk or formula exclusively until they are six months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently OK'd starting solids as early as four months and your pediatrician might recommend an early start for a variety of health reasons, but generally speaking you won't need anything but bottles until you're nearly half a year along, so don't stress about getting utensils and sippy cups and cute bowls just yet. Or that Beaba baby food mill you want either. Unless you KNOW you'll be making your own food and someone's dying to get you one for your shower.




The general rule is that babies will drink breast milk or formula exclusively until they are six months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently OK'd starting solids as early as four months and your pediatrician might recommend an early start for a variety of health reasons, but generally speaking you won't need anything but bottles until you're nearly half a year along, so don't stress about getting utensils and sippy cups and cute bowls just yet. Or that Beaba baby food mill you want either. Unless you KNOW you'll be making your own food and someone's dying to get you one for your shower.
39
Feeding, Breastbottles for storing breast milkyes
My breast pump (see entry below) came with four high-quality 5-oz bottles and the hospital gave us a few more. If you're getting a pump, don't hunt these down separately. If you need extras (of anything for the pump really), it's hard to find just the bottles - like, separate from buying a whole new "accessory pack." Try AnB Baby (anbbaby.com) - they seem to sell all the bits and pieces one off.


Medela breastmilk bottle
Medela breastmilk bottlehttp://tinyurl.com/yc9bbf8

My breast pump (see entry below) came with four high-quality 5-oz bottles and the hospital gave us a few more. If you're getting a pump, don't hunt these down separately. If you need extras (of anything for the pump really), it's hard to find just the bottles - like, separate from buying a whole new "accessory pack." Try AnB Baby (anbbaby.com) - they seem to sell all the bits and pieces one off.
40
Feeding, Breastbreast milk storage bagsyes
You'll need these for freezing breast milk. If you're only pumping and feeding baby the milk right away, you won't need them - you can just store the milk in the breast milk bottles that came with your pump. I'd have a pack of these on hand, just in case. (Have a look at my notes on the breast pump below for the whole breastmilk pump/store/use thing.)

Note: some pumps will let you pump directly into specially constructed bags (instead of bottles) but the bags are a lot more expensive, so I recommend pumping into bottles and transfering to these cheaper bags for freezing.


Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags
Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bagshttp://tinyurl.com/45ye8kp

You'll need these for freezing breast milk. If you're only pumping and feeding baby the milk right away, you won't need them - you can just store the milk in the breast milk bottles that came with your pump. I'd have a pack of these on hand, just in case. (Have a look at my notes on the breast pump below for the whole breastmilk pump/store/use thing.)

Note: some pumps will let you pump directly into specially constructed bags (instead of bottles) but the bags are a lot more expensive, so I recommend pumping into bottles and transfering to these cheaper bags for freezing.
41
Feeding, Breastbreast pumpyes
The breast pump is the weirdest thing you'll have to buy before your baby arrives. It's a machine that will pump out your breastmilk in the event that a.) you are going to go back to work and still want your baby to have your milk and not formula, or b.) you ever, ever want anyone but yourself to feed your baby breastmilk. Which you will be desperate for them to do by the time you've not slept for more than three hours between feedings for three weeks. So get one. (Unless you won't be breastfeeding.)

Every official guide says you can't buy a used breast pump. You can. My doctor said it was fine and almost everyone I know did and we're all still standing. I don't want to get sued though, so yes, if you're paranoid, get a new one. Or if you're not sure of the provenance of the used pump you're considering, yes, get new. Yes, they can technically harbor bacteria. But I'd say, be careful and just make sure to buy a new "accessories" set, which is the tubing and the trumpets, which are the parts that will physically touch your body and your milk. That's my two cents anyway. And my doctor's:)

I got the high-powered Medela and was really glad I did since I had a milk oversupply and spent a lot of time pumping in the first few months. I didn't know that would happen going in though - I just decided since the whole pumping thing seemed foreign and weird, I wanted to get something that would be as fast as possible. The smaller the pump, the less powerful (read: slower) it will be, so it's a trade-off of size vs. speed. I would never get a hand pump - that would take forever, I'd think, to pump anything...but that's just my thought.

If you're really not sure about what you'll need and aren't sure you'll be pumping if you're going back to work in a few months, just rent one from your hospital or your local newborn center. (La Leche League is pretty national if you need a resource to find a newborn or breastfeeding center that will rent a pump. Or ask your OB. In San Francisco, you can rent from Day One in Laurel Heights if your hospital doesn't have one.) The "never buy a used pump" edict doesn't apply to the industrial ones hospitals rent out because theirs are built differently to protect the uptake of bacteria.

A word on breast pumps. I had no idea how to use one even though I bought one. Take a breastfeeding class if you can - it's a good way to get the lowdown specifics of stuff like this that your infant care/childbirth class won't cover.

Basic basic: Your pump will usually come with a few breast milk bottles, which are small 6-8 oz. durable plastic bottles that are built to screw onto the breast pump trumpets and store your milk as you pump it. (You can also use them for transporting breast milk when you go out or your partner or a grandparent takes your little one for an outing.) These are NOT the same bottles you will use for feeding your baby - those have nipples, etc. These are just sturdy, small and designed to fit your pump.

If you're going to use the milk right away, just unscrew the bottle from your pump, put the lid on and put it in the fridge. When you're ready to feed the baby, pour it into a baby bottle and voila. If you're not going to use the milk within a few days, freeze it. If you're doing that, you'll transfer the pumped milk to a breast milk storage bag, seal it and freeze it. When you're ready to use the frozen milk, defrost it and pour it from the breast milk storage bag into a baby bottle. Done.

Rule of thumb (there's some variation on this depending on who you ask): breast milk can be left out and unrefrigerated for 6 hours and still be drinkable. Refrigerated breast milk will keep for 6-7 days.Breast milk can be frozen for up to six months, but to last that long it's recommended that it be in a proper closed freezer, not, say, in the door of a freezer you're opening and closing several times a day. In a daily-use freezer like that, generally the rule is four months. (If you're freezing milk for a while, take care with the Lansinoh breast milk storage bags. They sometimes leak when you defrost them after a couple of months, so just keep an eye on that.)

Couple other random notes:

When packing for your first trip, remember that you have to take your breast pump and it takes up a HUGE chunk of space!

I swore up and down I'd never get one of those corsets that hold the breast pump trumpets in place and free up your hands while you're pumping + make you look like a Fembot. Well, I stand corrected: after a month of pumping day and night and not even being able to scroll through email because neither hand was free, I sucked it up and got one. If you pump a lot, bite down hard and get a corset. It actually makes the pumping experience less dehumanizing, not more, because you can distract yourself by writing emails or surfing the web or whatever. http://tinyurl.com/3zn2o52

And finally, a sidebar on breastmilk and formula: there is a legend out there that babies won't switch back and forth between formula and breastmilk. Say, if you want to breastfeed exclusively but have trouble pumping enough milk to cover your absences at work or whatever. In my opinion and experience, this is total hogwash. Maybe if you were swapping formula in a lot when your baby was a brand-new infant and hadn't gotten the hang of breastfeeding yet MAYBE. But beyond that, really, I think buying into this will just make you feel bad. Your baby will switch fine. And if she doesn't, you can always back up and try something else. I feel the same way about the "nipple confusion" argument - that you can't switch the baby between the breast and the bottle. You can too. Really. We held off for three weeks just to be sure our daughter had the hang of breastfeeding and then we gave her a bottle regularly and a pacifier often and we had no issues. You won't either. Calm down.




Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Totehttp://tinyurl.com/3t8jse8

The breast pump is the weirdest thing you'll have to buy before your baby arrives. It's a machine that will pump out your breastmilk in the event that a.) you are going to go back to work and still want your baby to have your milk and not formula, or b.) you ever, ever want anyone but yourself to feed your baby breastmilk. Which you will be desperate for them to do by the time you've not slept for more than three hours between feedings for three weeks. So get one. (Unless you won't be breastfeeding.)

Every official guide says you can't buy a used breast pump. You can. My doctor said it was fine and almost everyone I know did and we're all still standing. I don't want to get sued though, so yes, if you're paranoid, get a new one. Or if you're not sure of the provenance of the used pump you're considering, yes, get new. Yes, they can technically harbor bacteria. But I'd say, be careful and just make sure to buy a new "accessories" set, which is the tubing and the trumpets, which are the parts that will physically touch your body and your milk. That's my two cents anyway. And my doctor's:)

I got the high-powered Medela and was really glad I did since I had a milk oversupply and spent a lot of time pumping in the first few months. I didn't know that would happen going in though - I just decided since the whole pumping thing seemed foreign and weird, I wanted to get something that would be as fast as possible. The smaller the pump, the less powerful (read: slower) it will be, so it's a trade-off of size vs. speed. I would never get a hand pump - that would take forever, I'd think, to pump anything...but that's just my thought.

If you're really not sure about what you'll need and aren't sure you'll be pumping if you're going back to work in a few months, just rent one from your hospital or your local newborn center. (La Leche League is pretty national if you need a resource to find a newborn or breastfeeding center that will rent a pump. Or ask your OB. In San Francisco, you can rent from Day One in Laurel Heights if your hospital doesn't have one.) The "never buy a used pump" edict doesn't apply to the industrial ones hospitals rent out because theirs are built differently to protect the uptake of bacteria.

A word on breast pumps. I had no idea how to use one even though I bought one. Take a breastfeeding class if you can - it's a good way to get the lowdown specifics of stuff like this that your infant care/childbirth class won't cover.

Basic basic: Your pump will usually come with a few breast milk bottles, which are small 6-8 oz. durable plastic bottles that are built to screw onto the breast pump trumpets and store your milk as you pump it. (You can also use them for transporting breast milk when you go out or your partner or a grandparent takes your little one for an outing.) These are NOT the same bottles you will use for feeding your baby - those have nipples, etc. These are just sturdy, small and designed to fit your pump.

If you're going to use the milk right away, just unscrew the bottle from your pump, put the lid on and put it in the fridge. When you're ready to feed the baby, pour it into a baby bottle and voila. If you're not going to use the milk within a few days, freeze it. If you're doing that, you'll transfer the pumped milk to a breast milk storage bag, seal it and freeze it. When you're ready to use the frozen milk, defrost it and pour it from the breast milk storage bag into a baby bottle. Done.

Rule of thumb (there's some variation on this depending on who you ask): breast milk can be left out and unrefrigerated for 6 hours and still be drinkable. Refrigerated breast milk will keep for 6-7 days.Breast milk can be frozen for up to six months, but to last that long it's recommended that it be in a proper closed freezer, not, say, in the door of a freezer you're opening and closing several times a day. In a daily-use freezer like that, generally the rule is four months. (If you're freezing milk for a while, take care with the Lansinoh breast milk storage bags. They sometimes leak when you defrost them after a couple of months, so just keep an eye on that.)

Couple other random notes:

When packing for your first trip, remember that you have to take your breast pump and it takes up a HUGE chunk of space!

I swore up and down I'd never get one of those corsets that hold the breast pump trumpets in place and free up your hands while you're pumping + make you look like a Fembot. Well, I stand corrected: after a month of pumping day and night and not even being able to scroll through email because neither hand was free, I sucked it up and got one. If you pump a lot, bite down hard and get a corset. It actually makes the pumping experience less dehumanizing, not more, because you can distract yourself by writing emails or surfing the web or whatever. http://tinyurl.com/3zn2o52

And finally, a sidebar on breastmilk and formula: there is a legend out there that babies won't switch back and forth between formula and breastmilk. Say, if you want to breastfeed exclusively but have trouble pumping enough milk to cover your absences at work or whatever. In my opinion and experience, this is total hogwash. Maybe if you were swapping formula in a lot when your baby was a brand-new infant and hadn't gotten the hang of breastfeeding yet MAYBE. But beyond that, really, I think buying into this will just make you feel bad. Your baby will switch fine. And if she doesn't, you can always back up and try something else. I feel the same way about the "nipple confusion" argument - that you can't switch the baby between the breast and the bottle. You can too. Really. We held off for three weeks just to be sure our daughter had the hang of breastfeeding and then we gave her a bottle regularly and a pacifier often and we had no issues. You won't either. Calm down.

42
Feeding, Breastnursing brasyes
Get at least two + it's recommended you don't get underwire since they can cause plugged milk ducts. If you can get more than two, it saves having to wash them as often, but keep in mind that your breasts will be a different size by month six, so don't overinvest now. Even if you want to get more than two, maybe try out a couple for a week or two and then get more - I bought four of one I thought I liked only to discover the wide band was giving me plugged ducts (Bravado Original Nursing Bra $35: http://tinyurl.com/2fnobro) so I ended up not using them much after month one and having to buy others anyway.

A lot of the available styles are kind of athletic/grandma - lots of material, no cleavage. Comfortable but they don't make you feel like the hot mama you now are:) The one I ended up loving the look and fit of is Elle McPherson's Momamia. (You can get the navy version at FigLeaves.com http://tinyurl.com/24j88rz)

Also, get one that's comfy to sleep in - or at least a supportive tank top. For sleeping, I've heard good things about the Majamas Easy Bra http://tinyurl.com/28kwy7o and I have the Medela Sleep Bra that's very comfy (but not enough support for wearing out in the daytime): http://tinyurl.com/2cnfpa7

While we're on the subject, the Bloomingdales bra lady talked me into this one while I was pregnant - said pregnant women love it - it looks like a loser bra but it is astonishingly comfortable. I slept in it all the time when I was pregnant that it wasn't in the laundry + wore it after she was born whenever I had a plugged duct and needed something supportive and soft:
http://tinyurl.com/2485f8c


Elle McPherson's Momamia
Elle McPherson's Momamiahttp://tinyurl.com/2dm4xsp

Amoralia Nougatine Nursing Bra
Amoralia Nougatine Nursing Brahttp://tinyurl.com/29fyvndGet at least two + it's recommended you don't get underwire since they can cause plugged milk ducts. If you can get more than two, it saves having to wash them as often, but keep in mind that your breasts will be a different size by month six, so don't overinvest now. Even if you want to get more than two, maybe try out a couple for a week or two and then get more - I bought four of one I thought I liked only to discover the wide band was giving me plugged ducts (Bravado Original Nursing Bra $35: http://tinyurl.com/2fnobro) so I ended up not using them much after month one and having to buy others anyway.

A lot of the available styles are kind of athletic/grandma - lots of material, no cleavage. Comfortable but they don't make you feel like the hot mama you now are:) The one I ended up loving the look and fit of is Elle McPherson's Momamia. (You can get the navy version at FigLeaves.com http://tinyurl.com/24j88rz)

Also, get one that's comfy to sleep in - or at least a supportive tank top. For sleeping, I've heard good things about the Majamas Easy Bra http://tinyurl.com/28kwy7o and I have the Medela Sleep Bra that's very comfy (but not enough support for wearing out in the daytime): http://tinyurl.com/2cnfpa7

While we're on the subject, the Bloomingdales bra lady talked me into this one while I was pregnant - said pregnant women love it - it looks like a loser bra but it is astonishingly comfortable. I slept in it all the time when I was pregnant that it wasn't in the laundry + wore it after she was born whenever I had a plugged duct and needed something supportive and soft:
http://tinyurl.com/2485f8c
43
Feeding, Breastnursing cover / hooter hideryes
For nursing in public - this goes loosely around your neck and provides a kind of tent for the baby to lie under. If your baby will tolerate it. Which mine didn't. But whatever. I'd still get one. Most kids are fine with it and most moms are shy about exposing themselves to people at lunch - understandably! There are a number of places to get these - don't overspend because they're very basic construction and you'll likely get at least one at your shower because the fabrics are fun to buy. (If you don't, you can always borrow one: who knows how long you'll breastfeed?)

You can nurse baby in a sling if she'll have it or, if you can sort it out, in some packs, like the Ergo. So if you want to eliminate an item, you could try those options first.


Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover
Bebe au Lait Nursing Coverhttp://www.bebeaulait.com/

For nursing in public - this goes loosely around your neck and provides a kind of tent for the baby to lie under. If your baby will tolerate it. Which mine didn't. But whatever. I'd still get one. Most kids are fine with it and most moms are shy about exposing themselves to people at lunch - understandably! There are a number of places to get these - don't overspend because they're very basic construction and you'll likely get at least one at your shower because the fabrics are fun to buy. (If you don't, you can always borrow one: who knows how long you'll breastfeed?)

You can nurse baby in a sling if she'll have it or, if you can sort it out, in some packs, like the Ergo. So if you want to eliminate an item, you could try those options first.
44
Feeding, Breastnursing padsyes
Circular pads that fit inside your bra for when your milk comes in at inconvenient times. The disposable ones are made of synthetics and, for me at least, hot - I used them only in emergencies. I found some organic cotton ones that were soft and absorbent and washable and used them daily. They were more visible through thin shirts though, so have a look in the mirror before going out!


Organic Washable Nursing Pads (6 ct)
Organic Washable Nursing Pads (6 ct)http://tinyurl.com/2feyfg2

Circular pads that fit inside your bra for when your milk comes in at inconvenient times. The disposable ones are made of synthetics and, for me at least, hot - I used them only in emergencies. I found some organic cotton ones that were soft and absorbent and washable and used them daily. They were more visible through thin shirts though, so have a look in the mirror before going out!
45
Feeding, Breastnursing pillowyes
These are pillows that fit around your waist and let you rest the baby on them while you breastfeed. Yes you need one - your arms and back and shoulders will thank you - babies are small and you need to get them up to your breasts:) The Boppy pillows are excellent, but I prefer the My Brest Friend that clips closed rather than the Boppy that just fits around you. I think the one with the clip is superior because you can walk to the changing table holding the baby on it after nursing instead of reorganizing yourself and your little one and then heading to the diaper change.


My Brest Friend Pillow
My Brest Friend Pillowhttp://tinyurl.com/2e8fzsc

These are pillows that fit around your waist and let you rest the baby on them while you breastfeed. Yes you need one - your arms and back and shoulders will thank you - babies are small and you need to get them up to your breasts:) The Boppy pillows are excellent, but I prefer the My Brest Friend that clips closed rather than the Boppy that just fits around you. I think the one with the clip is superior because you can walk to the changing table holding the baby on it after nursing instead of reorganizing yourself and your little one and then heading to the diaper change.
46
Feeding, Breastnursing tops/tanksno
As long as you have nursing bras, you're fine. I wore just normal stretchy spaghetti-strap tanks and they pull down easily to breastfeed without the $50 price tag of a nursing tank. Some moms prefer the tanks to the bras - take your pick - but don't buy tons of either until you actually have the baby and can see what works for your new self.

If you are going the tank route, remember that you'll probably run hot (or I did) when you're still on the hormone roller coaster so the all-synthetic, sexy black tanks you wore out at night before the baby might be, literally, too hot to repurpose for breastfeeding. Try Be Maternity tanks from Target or buy Hanes cotton ones (sometimes available from Costco).

Note to self: wear button down shirts to make it easier to nurse vs. having to pull up your shirt!




As long as you have nursing bras, you're fine. I wore just normal stretchy spaghetti-strap tanks and they pull down easily to breastfeed without the $50 price tag of a nursing tank. Some moms prefer the tanks to the bras - take your pick - but don't buy tons of either until you actually have the baby and can see what works for your new self.

If you are going the tank route, remember that you'll probably run hot (or I did) when you're still on the hormone roller coaster so the all-synthetic, sexy black tanks you wore out at night before the baby might be, literally, too hot to repurpose for breastfeeding. Try Be Maternity tanks from Target or buy Hanes cotton ones (sometimes available from Costco).

Note to self: wear button down shirts to make it easier to nurse vs. having to pull up your shirt!
47
Gearbaby monitor (video or audio)wait
You need one if your nursery is separated from where you'll be sleeping. But if you're co-sleeping or keeping her in your room for a while, you can wait.

When you first bring baby home, it's not just practical (feedings) and anxiety-reducing (is he still breathing?!) to have your baby in your room, it's also how they learn regular sleep breathing patterns - by hearing yours. When s/he moves to her own room because you're waking each other up with all those breathing patterns, yeah, you'll probably need a monitor:)

If you want to see the baby, Summer Infant makes the primary line of video ones which are a little difficult to tell apart. Some have talk-back (which I thought was creepy!), some have pan/zoom, etc. We got the Best View and it's been great. A couple of friends got the video monitor but it stressed them out after a while: they got addicted to watching the baby on the tiny TV instead of getting on with their lives during naps! We didn't have that issue and have found it's easier for us to check on her to see if she's actually up (rather than just moving around and resettling) with the video option.

We also have an audio one we got for traveling: Sony Baby Call 900mhz. There's a lot out there about digital or multi-channel to prevent interference. 900 mhz has been more than enough for the suburbs + a long distance in a house in the mountains. Maybe in an apt complex it'd be an issue, but you can always try and return it if it doesn't work. Advantage: less than $50 for the just-audio one.


Summer Infant Best View Digital Color Video Monitor
Summer Infant Best View Digital Color Video Monitorhttp://tinyurl.com/4xycy2p

You need one if your nursery is separated from where you'll be sleeping. But if you're co-sleeping or keeping her in your room for a while, you can wait.

When you first bring baby home, it's not just practical (feedings) and anxiety-reducing (is he still breathing?!) to have your baby in your room, it's also how they learn regular sleep breathing patterns - by hearing yours. When s/he moves to her own room because you're waking each other up with all those breathing patterns, yeah, you'll probably need a monitor:)

If you want to see the baby, Summer Infant makes the primary line of video ones which are a little difficult to tell apart. Some have talk-back (which I thought was creepy!), some have pan/zoom, etc. We got the Best View and it's been great. A couple of friends got the video monitor but it stressed them out after a while: they got addicted to watching the baby on the tiny TV instead of getting on with their lives during naps! We didn't have that issue and have found it's easier for us to check on her to see if she's actually up (rather than just moving around and resettling) with the video option.

We also have an audio one we got for traveling: Sony Baby Call 900mhz. There's a lot out there about digital or multi-channel to prevent interference. 900 mhz has been more than enough for the suburbs + a long distance in a house in the mountains. Maybe in an apt complex it'd be an issue, but you can always try and return it if it doesn't work. Advantage: less than $50 for the just-audio one.
48
Gearbouncy seatyes
Bottom line: you need somewhere to put the baby while you shower and this is it. You can clip toys to her or the seat with pacifier clips and she'll be fine for 15 minutes. You really will need this, no kidding. Get the least offensive, smallest profile one you can find so you can move it around your apt/house as needed. The mobile attachments on the arch are OK, but we mostly took ours off because she likes to see what we're up to with an unobstructed view. (So you might want to confirm that the one you get has a removable arch.) Most will offer a vibrate feature, which our baby didn't enjoy but many do, and a lot will offer some kind of music, which is usually tinny and you can do better with an old iPod.

I also had a hang-up that the bouncer actually, well, bounce. A lot of the options now are infant seats that vibrate or play music. Call me old-fashioned but I wanted to be able to bounce our daughter in her bouncing seat. Truth be told, bouncing isn't all it's cracked up to be - you probably won't keep it going for long - but it did provide some sleep-inducing motion a few times and that's enough justification for me.

The Bright Starts ones look OK online, but they're huge and sort of cheap looking in person. The Fisher Price ones (except the Zen one) were too garish for my taste but they are inexpensive, lightweight and have a small profile, so if you can tolerate the explosive colors for up to eight months, this might be a good choice.

There are some out there with lower key fabrics if you look around - the one we got from the Dwell line for Target is no longer available (you can see the photo at the link to the left - it even had an iPod slot!) but there are still some super-streamlined ones that are great for apartments. The most low-key looking ones I found are really expensive - like the Peg Peregos or Bjorn - but have things like surround sound if you're into that. I'd keep it basic here and save your money for a swing if you really want a dynamic place to put baby. Really, the swing will do more for you for longer.

When we traveled when our daughter was still little, this was the only thing we rented when we were on vacation - it's pretty indispensible for keeping an infant engaged since they object to being flat on their backs when there's stuff going on in the room.






Dwell Studio for Target Bouncer (discontinued)
Dwell Studio for Target Bouncer (discontinued)http://tinyurl.com/44pml4l

Bottom line: you need somewhere to put the baby while you shower and this is it. You can clip toys to her or the seat with pacifier clips and she'll be fine for 15 minutes. You really will need this, no kidding. Get the least offensive, smallest profile one you can find so you can move it around your apt/house as needed. The mobile attachments on the arch are OK, but we mostly took ours off because she likes to see what we're up to with an unobstructed view. (So you might want to confirm that the one you get has a removable arch.) Most will offer a vibrate feature, which our baby didn't enjoy but many do, and a lot will offer some kind of music, which is usually tinny and you can do better with an old iPod.

I also had a hang-up that the bouncer actually, well, bounce. A lot of the options now are infant seats that vibrate or play music. Call me old-fashioned but I wanted to be able to bounce our daughter in her bouncing seat. Truth be told, bouncing isn't all it's cracked up to be - you probably won't keep it going for long - but it did provide some sleep-inducing motion a few times and that's enough justification for me.

The Bright Starts ones look OK online, but they're huge and sort of cheap looking in person. The Fisher Price ones (except the Zen one) were too garish for my taste but they are inexpensive, lightweight and have a small profile, so if you can tolerate the explosive colors for up to eight months, this might be a good choice.

There are some out there with lower key fabrics if you look around - the one we got from the Dwell line for Target is no longer available (you can see the photo at the link to the left - it even had an iPod slot!) but there are still some super-streamlined ones that are great for apartments. The most low-key looking ones I found are really expensive - like the Peg Peregos or Bjorn - but have things like surround sound if you're into that. I'd keep it basic here and save your money for a swing if you really want a dynamic place to put baby. Really, the swing will do more for you for longer.

When we traveled when our daughter was still little, this was the only thing we rented when we were on vacation - it's pretty indispensible for keeping an infant engaged since they object to being flat on their backs when there's stuff going on in the room.



49
GearBumbo infant seatno
We borrowed one and only used this when she was able to sit up but wasn't able to reliably stay up. It seems mean to put a non-sitting infant in it - he'll just slump and look miserable. Not sure if it's helping her get to sitting faster but yeah, occasionally, it's nice to be able to put her in it for 10 minutes with some toys on her tray. But absolutely not necessary. Just borrow one.

Once s/he starts eating, it is a handy wipe-down-able pre-highchair or highchair substitute. But that's in the 4-6 month range too, along with sitting up, so you can wait and see what works for you.


Bumbo Baby Seat
Bumbo Baby Seathttp://tinyurl.com/3hft8od

We borrowed one and only used this when she was able to sit up but wasn't able to reliably stay up. It seems mean to put a non-sitting infant in it - he'll just slump and look miserable. Not sure if it's helping her get to sitting faster but yeah, occasionally, it's nice to be able to put her in it for 10 minutes with some toys on her tray. But absolutely not necessary. Just borrow one.

Once s/he starts eating, it is a handy wipe-down-able pre-highchair or highchair substitute. But that's in the 4-6 month range too, along with sitting up, so you can wait and see what works for you.
50
Gearcar seat "snugglies" (fleece + jersey)wait
These are basically sleeping bags with holes for all the car seat hardware, so you can "install" them in your seat or stroller and your little one can be warm while en route. JJCole is the big brand in this market and makes them in various weights.

We didn't use the one we were lent and I returned the one we were given: it's just not that cold where we live and I dressed her warmly when we went out. Lots of people love them though - they're very soft, and it does take the pressure off having to dress for the outdoors. You can just tuck him into his snuggly car seat in his indoor clothes and he'll be warm without a jacket until you take him out when you get where you're going.


JJCole Bundle Me
JJCole Bundle Mehttp://tinyurl.com/3pzp9m7

These are basically sleeping bags with holes for all the car seat hardware, so you can "install" them in your seat or stroller and your little one can be warm while en route. JJCole is the big brand in this market and makes them in various weights.

We didn't use the one we were lent and I returned the one we were given: it's just not that cold where we live and I dressed her warmly when we went out. Lots of people love them though - they're very soft, and it does take the pressure off having to dress for the outdoors. You can just tuck him into his snuggly car seat in his indoor clothes and he'll be warm without a jacket until you take him out when you get where you're going.
51
Gearcar seat - extra basewait
See entry on "car seat w/ base" for an overview.

Wait on getting an extra base - you will only need it if you're very regularly using a second car - other parent, regular nanny, grandparent, whatever. Remember that the base is for convenience only, not safety: all modern infant seats can be strapped into any car by threading the seat belt through the car seat's "hooks." (See your instruction book.) So if dad occasionally collects Junior from daycare, he doesn't necessarily need a base for his car - he can just do the threading thing with his backseat seatbelt. It's a pain in the ass though if you're doing it every day or getting in and out of the car to get coffee, groceries, drycleaning, etc. so if that's your deal, yeah, invest in the second base.




See entry on "car seat w/ base" for an overview.

Wait on getting an extra base - you will only need it if you're very regularly using a second car - other parent, regular nanny, grandparent, whatever. Remember that the base is for convenience only, not safety: all modern infant seats can be strapped into any car by threading the seat belt through the car seat's "hooks." (See your instruction book.) So if dad occasionally collects Junior from daycare, he doesn't necessarily need a base for his car - he can just do the threading thing with his backseat seatbelt. It's a pain in the ass though if you're doing it every day or getting in and out of the car to get coffee, groceries, drycleaning, etc. so if that's your deal, yeah, invest in the second base.
52
Gearcar seat carrier bag (for checking car seat at airport)wait
OK, so traveling with an infant is confusing on the gear front. Let's start with the car seat. You need one (see "car seat w/ base" entry). But when you're traveling, you can rent one with your car from rental car places...if you're renting a car. Or you can rent one from a baby gear rental place at your destination even if you're not renting a car. Or you can take yours.

If you decide to take your car seat with you AND you're taking your Snap n Go stroller frame as your stroller (see "stroller" entry), you can check both the seat and the Snap n Go frame at your gate (or just the frame and take the seat on with you for baby to sit in). Or you can check both with your luggage and carry your baby to the gate. Checking or gate checking strollers and car seats are free on all US airlines as far as I know.

I debated and debated about getting a protective luggage bag for the car seat and, since we decided to take our car seat with us on the trip and check it in as luggage, we got this padded backpack bag. It's been great and worth all of the $35 it cost. There was no way we were checking the seat without putting it in a bag. Airlines beat the crap out of bags, so imagine what they can do to the fabric, padding and straps of a car seat that your baby will be sitting in later and need for safety purposes. Plus, the backpack bag means you can carry it from your car or shuttle or cab on your back. The bag is very bulky but very light, easy to put on, and it will fit pretty much any seat up to a booster seat for your eight year old. While you're only taking an infant seat, you can pack the rest of the space in the bag full of diapers and a small duffel of her clothes without upping your checked baggage count. Hooray efficiency!

Note: unless you're going for a long trip, you probably won't take your infant carseat base with you along with the seat itself - it's heavy and big and no improvement in safety - although it is a big convenience improvement if you're taking the baby in and out of the car a lot.


http://tinyurl.com/25gx42k

OK, so traveling with an infant is confusing on the gear front. Let's start with the car seat. You need one (see "car seat w/ base" entry). But when you're traveling, you can rent one with your car from rental car places...if you're renting a car. Or you can rent one from a baby gear rental place at your destination even if you're not renting a car. Or you can take yours.

If you decide to take your car seat with you AND you're taking your Snap n Go stroller frame as your stroller (see "stroller" entry), you can check both the seat and the Snap n Go frame at your gate (or just the frame and take the seat on with you for baby to sit in). Or you can check both with your luggage and carry your baby to the gate. Checking or gate checking strollers and car seats are free on all US airlines as far as I know.

I debated and debated about getting a protective luggage bag for the car seat and, since we decided to take our car seat with us on the trip and check it in as luggage, we got this padded backpack bag. It's been great and worth all of the $35 it cost. There was no way we were checking the seat without putting it in a bag. Airlines beat the crap out of bags, so imagine what they can do to the fabric, padding and straps of a car seat that your baby will be sitting in later and need for safety purposes. Plus, the backpack bag means you can carry it from your car or shuttle or cab on your back. The bag is very bulky but very light, easy to put on, and it will fit pretty much any seat up to a booster seat for your eight year old. While you're only taking an infant seat, you can pack the rest of the space in the bag full of diapers and a small duffel of her clothes without upping your checked baggage count. Hooray efficiency!

Note: unless you're going for a long trip, you probably won't take your infant carseat base with you along with the seat itself - it's heavy and big and no improvement in safety - although it is a big convenience improvement if you're taking the baby in and out of the car a lot.
53
Gearcar seat rain coverno
You don't need this. It was one of the things I obsessed about, got and never used. Unless you live in monsoon country (or Seattle), you won't be carrying your infant around in a rainstorm and a heavy blanket will suffice for the trips to and from the car. (You WILL need a rain cover for your stroller, which is a different piece of equipment.)




You don't need this. It was one of the things I obsessed about, got and never used. Unless you live in monsoon country (or Seattle), you won't be carrying your infant around in a rainstorm and a heavy blanket will suffice for the trips to and from the car. (You WILL need a rain cover for your stroller, which is a different piece of equipment.)
54
Gearcar seat w/ base (infant)yes
You need this. It's how your baby will travel in the car at all times. Ignore your Aunt Martha who said she drove around with her kids in cardboard boxes. That's illegal and, in California, the fine for not having your babe in a seat is $600+. I could not personally get next to buying one used because of the stakes, but you can if you are 100% sure that it has never, ever, not once been in an accident and that it meets current safety standards.

If you're unfamiliar with infant car seats, you install a big square "base" in the backseat of your car and the actual infant seat clips into and lifts out of that. It's really easy and very convenient. If you want to drive with your baby in a car without a car seat base, you can just thread a normal seatbelt through the seat itself, which is less convenient but just as safe, as long as you do it right.

All infant car seats come with a base - no need to buy separately. And, at least in California, you should have the CHP help you install it/confirm your base is installed correctly. Which is sound advice since apparently the stats on infant injury/death because of wrongly installed car seat bases are alarmingly high. You'll know why when you take on the installation task. Getting the CHP to help you can be a big challenge though. For the city of San Francisco, there's one guy on the force to help everyone in the city. I'm not kidding. And the myth that any fire station will help you, is, well, a myth. Outside cities though, just call your local police department and they can send you to the right place. (In SF, try calling Citikids - they have a guy on-staff who does a great job for $20.)

When selecting a seat, check Consumer Reports for best safety ratings and definitely go to Babies R Us or somewhere that carries a range of them and try out carrying the one you like. Some of them are heavy, which you should avoid, and some are very wide, so carrying it down by your side is a strain.

We opted for the Chicco Keyfit - highest safety rating from Consumer Reports + a couple pounds lighter than the competition + narrow, so easier to carry. The Keyfit also comes with great infant head padding (removable when she gets bigger), so there was no need to buy the infant head pads that are normally recommended. (With a lot of seats, the head area is too big and her little no-neck-control self will bounce around like crazy when you're walking.) The Keyfit weight capacity is also a couple lbs lower than other seats (30 lbs vs. 32, if memory serves) but honestly, your baby will be too long for the seat before s/he is too heavy for it anyway.

Idiot note for Keyfit buyers: there's a built-in sunshade that folds backwards under the hood. I kept trying to pull the hood (which folds back and forward so she can see/be shaded) further forward for more sun protection...and it turns out there's a shade underneath. So just remember that! Some car seats, the hood will come over the baby completely, which is fantastic when s/he falls asleep and you want to minimize light. I missed this feature on the Keyfit but draped a blanket over the carrying bar and that worked pretty well.

Remember that the car seat base is for convenience only, not safety: all modern infant seats can be strapped into any car by threading the seatbelt through the car seat's "hooks." (See your instruction book.) So if dad occasionally collects Junior from daycare, he doesn't necessarily need a base for his car - he can just do the threading thing with his backseat seatbelt. It's a pain in the ass though if you're getting in and out of the car to get coffee, groceries, drycleaning, etc. so if that's going to happen a lot, invest in the second base.

Remember that in a year or less, you will have to get a rear-facing, convertible toddler seat, so you might save your pennies on fully splurging or outfitting an infant seat.

Sidebar overview: the usual progression in seats for babies is 1.) infant seat w/ a base which usually lasts up to a year on height/weight ratings, to 2.) "convertible" toddler seat, "convertible" meaning you can have it rear-facing as required by law until s/he is one and then "convert" it to front-facing. These last up to 70 lbs in the case of the bigger seats, so you'll have it for several years, to 3.) booster seat, which could take your child up to the age of ten. Some people skip the cost and trouble of buying two seats in the first year and go straight to the convertible seat, many of which are rated OK for infants. You can definitely do this, but keep two things in mind: you will have to buy infant padding to fill in the extra space around a tiny infant in a large seat and, very inconvenient, you will have to take your infant in and out of the seat to go in and out of your house, the grocery store, etc. This means probably waking him/her up at each stop instead of carrying him/her with you in the detachable infant seat. I would not wish this on anyone. A sleeping baby is a godsend and I think the extra $$ for the infant seat are more than worth it. But if you're on a super-tight budget, you can always give it a shot!


Chicco KeyFit 30
Chicco KeyFit 30http://www.chiccousa.com/gear/car-seats/keyfit-30-midori.aspx

You need this. It's how your baby will travel in the car at all times. Ignore your Aunt Martha who said she drove around with her kids in cardboard boxes. That's illegal and, in California, the fine for not having your babe in a seat is $600+. I could not personally get next to buying one used because of the stakes, but you can if you are 100% sure that it has never, ever, not once been in an accident and that it meets current safety standards.

If you're unfamiliar with infant car seats, you install a big square "base" in the backseat of your car and the actual infant seat clips into and lifts out of that. It's really easy and very convenient. If you want to drive with your baby in a car without a car seat base, you can just thread a normal seatbelt through the seat itself, which is less convenient but just as safe, as long as you do it right.

All infant car seats come with a base - no need to buy separately. And, at least in California, you should have the CHP help you install it/confirm your base is installed correctly. Which is sound advice since apparently the stats on infant injury/death because of wrongly installed car seat bases are alarmingly high. You'll know why when you take on the installation task. Getting the CHP to help you can be a big challenge though. For the city of San Francisco, there's one guy on the force to help everyone in the city. I'm not kidding. And the myth that any fire station will help you, is, well, a myth. Outside cities though, just call your local police department and they can send you to the right place. (In SF, try calling Citikids - they have a guy on-staff who does a great job for $20.)

When selecting a seat, check Consumer Reports for best safety ratings and definitely go to Babies R Us or somewhere that carries a range of them and try out carrying the one you like. Some of them are heavy, which you should avoid, and some are very wide, so carrying it down by your side is a strain.

We opted for the Chicco Keyfit - highest safety rating from Consumer Reports + a couple pounds lighter than the competition + narrow, so easier to carry. The Keyfit also comes with great infant head padding (removable when she gets bigger), so there was no need to buy the infant head pads that are normally recommended. (With a lot of seats, the head area is too big and her little no-neck-control self will bounce around like crazy when you're walking.) The Keyfit weight capacity is also a couple lbs lower than other seats (30 lbs vs. 32, if memory serves) but honestly, your baby will be too long for the seat before s/he is too heavy for it anyway.

Idiot note for Keyfit buyers: there's a built-in sunshade that folds backwards under the hood. I kept trying to pull the hood (which folds back and forward so she can see/be shaded) further forward for more sun protection...and it turns out there's a shade underneath. So just remember that! Some car seats, the hood will come over the baby completely, which is fantastic when s/he falls asleep and you want to minimize light. I missed this feature on the Keyfit but draped a blanket over the carrying bar and that worked pretty well.

Remember that the car seat base is for convenience only, not safety: all modern infant seats can be strapped into any car by threading the seatbelt through the car seat's "hooks." (See your instruction book.) So if dad occasionally collects Junior from daycare, he doesn't necessarily need a base for his car - he can just do the threading thing with his backseat seatbelt. It's a pain in the ass though if you're getting in and out of the car to get coffee, groceries, drycleaning, etc. so if that's going to happen a lot, invest in the second base.

Remember that in a year or less, you will have to get a rear-facing, convertible toddler seat, so you might save your pennies on fully splurging or outfitting an infant seat.

Sidebar overview: the usual progression in seats for babies is 1.) infant seat w/ a base which usually lasts up to a year on height/weight ratings, to 2.) "convertible" toddler seat, "convertible" meaning you can have it rear-facing as required by law until s/he is one and then "convert" it to front-facing. These last up to 70 lbs in the case of the bigger seats, so you'll have it for several years, to 3.) booster seat, which could take your child up to the age of ten. Some people skip the cost and trouble of buying two seats in the first year and go straight to the convertible seat, many of which are rated OK for infants. You can definitely do this, but keep two things in mind: you will have to buy infant padding to fill in the extra space around a tiny infant in a large seat and, very inconvenient, you will have to take your infant in and out of the seat to go in and out of your house, the grocery store, etc. This means probably waking him/her up at each stop instead of carrying him/her with you in the detachable infant seat. I would not wish this on anyone. A sleeping baby is a godsend and I think the extra $$ for the infant seat are more than worth it. But if you're on a super-tight budget, you can always give it a shot!
55
Gearcarrier: frame or soft (Ergo, Bjorn, etc.)yes
Don't get me started. Packs are like swaddles: everyone has an opinion but the only one that matters is your baby's! You will want one. Babies like being snuggled against mom or dad and will sleep happily there. You will want it too - babies don't like just lying by themselves for long and you will have places to go and things to do that require your hands to be free, and a sling will let you take your little one with you sleeping or awake. They are also very easy to take along, so simpler than a stroller. So yes, get a sling. But you will have no idea which one your baby will like. You can go try on a few to see which ones fit you best and - key point - provide good back support, but baby will decide which one she'll enjoy (read: not freak out when you put her in it). And what she enjoys may be different on mom and on dad. So pick a few to borrow or buy that you and your partner like. When baby arrives, take her to try them out. Or buy a couple and keep your receipts for exchange after baby arrives.

There's a lot of chat online about front-facing or in-facing, meaning the baby faces the world or your chest. I personally agree with the argument that babies are easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by sights and sounds - their nerves are just developing - so definitely face her/him towards your chest for the first few months at least. Don't worry: they can see to the sides and nuzzle into you when the noises get to be too much. World-facing comes later - and maybe first at home in a familiar environment that's not as overwhelming as street life or the grocery store. Some slings will let you do both.

Here's what I'd recommend if you're buying and not borrowing: first, go online and check out the options. Bjorn is the big name but has a bad reputation re: back support for you unless you get the new $200 Synergy. Ergo is the one we have and love. It's pretty universal + has an add-on infant insert for when they're tiny, but the baby can't be turned to face out in it later. (We got a used Bjorn for that when she was four months old.) Becco is another well-reviewed model. Cybex - which converts from in- to out-facing - and Kokopax, which is a well-reviewed frame pack, are also top choices. Go somewhere (like Natural Resources or Sprout if you're in San Francisco) that will let you try them on. Make a short list. Go back a couple weeks after the baby arrives and try them on with her in them + get some help from the staff re: getting your new baby into them. Whichever one from your list of good ones that your baby also likes is the one you should get. Be aware too that the one your baby likes with you probably isn't going to be one she likes on your partner, so if he's going to be schlepping her too, make sure you go through the whole process of sizing, fit, baby happiness for him too.




Don't get me started. Packs are like swaddles: everyone has an opinion but the only one that matters is your baby's! You will want one. Babies like being snuggled against mom or dad and will sleep happily there. You will want it too - babies don't like just lying by themselves for long and you will have places to go and things to do that require your hands to be free, and a sling will let you take your little one with you sleeping or awake. They are also very easy to take along, so simpler than a stroller. So yes, get a sling. But you will have no idea which one your baby will like. You can go try on a few to see which ones fit you best and - key point - provide good back support, but baby will decide which one she'll enjoy (read: not freak out when you put her in it). And what she enjoys may be different on mom and on dad. So pick a few to borrow or buy that you and your partner like. When baby arrives, take her to try them out. Or buy a couple and keep your receipts for exchange after baby arrives.

There's a lot of chat online about front-facing or in-facing, meaning the baby faces the world or your chest. I personally agree with the argument that babies are easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by sights and sounds - their nerves are just developing - so definitely face her/him towards your chest for the first few months at least. Don't worry: they can see to the sides and nuzzle into you when the noises get to be too much. World-facing comes later - and maybe first at home in a familiar environment that's not as overwhelming as street life or the grocery store. Some slings will let you do both.

Here's what I'd recommend if you're buying and not borrowing: first, go online and check out the options. Bjorn is the big name but has a bad reputation re: back support for you unless you get the new $200 Synergy. Ergo is the one we have and love. It's pretty universal + has an add-on infant insert for when they're tiny, but the baby can't be turned to face out in it later. (We got a used Bjorn for that when she was four months old.) Becco is another well-reviewed model. Cybex - which converts from in- to out-facing - and Kokopax, which is a well-reviewed frame pack, are also top choices. Go somewhere (like Natural Resources or Sprout if you're in San Francisco) that will let you try them on. Make a short list. Go back a couple weeks after the baby arrives and try them on with her in them + get some help from the staff re: getting your new baby into them. Whichever one from your list of good ones that your baby also likes is the one you should get. Be aware too that the one your baby likes with you probably isn't going to be one she likes on your partner, so if he's going to be schlepping her too, make sure you go through the whole process of sizing, fit, baby happiness for him too.
56
Gearcarrier: slingwait
Slings are more forgiving than packs. And cheaper, so there's more room for error. I got a couple, so did my partner, she only liked one and now won't even use that one, so, in the end, I probably could have skipped the sling. Our Ergo pack with the infant insert was my and our daughter's favorite. But, when she was very tiny, a sling was the easiest way to nurse her in in public, so that's something.

Slings tend to have less support for your back, but they're easier to pack and take along in case you need one and I see people using them with toddlers, so maybe my bias towards carriers is just a comfort thing specific to me and my not-great back. There are also some gorgeous fabrics out there too and nice features like a pocket for keys and cash.

A note on the Moby Wrap: it's a carrier/sling crossover and people either love it or hate it. They're soft and allow for versatile positioning + they keep the baby right up against your chest/heart, so if you have a colicky baby, this mimics a swaddle to mom better than any other carrier or sling I've seen. The Moby is basically yards and yards of fabric that you can learn how to put on in various positions from You Tube videos or a nice salesperson. Some moms LOVE them and will defend them till sundown. I personally run kind of hot, so wrapping myself in tons of fabric was awful. Plus the Moby killed my back and our baby hated being in it with me. But our postpartum doula insisted I get one and it worked for her with our baby - straight to sleep. Just not with me. So I don't know what to recommend here. Definitely borrow and try it if you can before buying one - you'll love it or hate it.


Zolowear cotton sling
Zolowear cotton slinghttp://zolowear.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ColorID=644

Slings are more forgiving than packs. And cheaper, so there's more room for error. I got a couple, so did my partner, she only liked one and now won't even use that one, so, in the end, I probably could have skipped the sling. Our Ergo pack with the infant insert was my and our daughter's favorite. But, when she was very tiny, a sling was the easiest way to nurse her in in public, so that's something.

Slings tend to have less support for your back, but they're easier to pack and take along in case you need one and I see people using them with toddlers, so maybe my bias towards carriers is just a comfort thing specific to me and my not-great back. There are also some gorgeous fabrics out there too and nice features like a pocket for keys and cash.

A note on the Moby Wrap: it's a carrier/sling crossover and people either love it or hate it. They're soft and allow for versatile positioning + they keep the baby right up against your chest/heart, so if you have a colicky baby, this mimics a swaddle to mom better than any other carrier or sling I've seen. The Moby is basically yards and yards of fabric that you can learn how to put on in various positions from You Tube videos or a nice salesperson. Some moms LOVE them and will defend them till sundown. I personally run kind of hot, so wrapping myself in tons of fabric was awful. Plus the Moby killed my back and our baby hated being in it with me. But our postpartum doula insisted I get one and it worked for her with our baby - straight to sleep. Just not with me. So I don't know what to recommend here. Definitely borrow and try it if you can before buying one - you'll love it or hate it.
57
Geardiaper bagyes
Fleurville, Lassig, SkipHop, Petunia Pickle Bottom - there are a ton out there and you'll pick the one you like. A lot of places recommend backpack ones, esp. for traveling, but I have a hard time with wearing an Ergo carrier in front and a backpack too - harder to put down when you're carrying all that weight + you can't unclip your baby carrier easily when its straps are covered by a backpack.

Couple of things to look for that make a difference: insulated pocket for carrying bottles, stroller straps (clips separate from shoulder straps that let you clip it onto a stroller handlebar), easy-to-open pockets (SkipHop's are magnetized) so you can retrieve a pacifier without needing both hands to open a zipper or clip. And, above all, large capacity. You need a lot of basics for a baby even if you're a minimalist. It doesn't look very minimalist when you have blankets and toys spilling out the top of your bag. Keep in mind that you need some space for your wallet, make-up, water bottle and maybe even your laptop too in there.

I've written up some of my reviews at the link to the left. I started with the SkipHop, which I liked until the capacity limitations got to me. Then I moved to the larger (and very inexpensive) Land's End diaper bag, and now that I'm not carrying our daughter in the Ergo anymore, I use a backpack from Lululemon (not perfect but lots of pockets).


overview of options:
overview of options:http://minimalistmama.wordpress.com/category/products/gear/

Fleurville, Lassig, SkipHop, Petunia Pickle Bottom - there are a ton out there and you'll pick the one you like. A lot of places recommend backpack ones, esp. for traveling, but I have a hard time with wearing an Ergo carrier in front and a backpack too - harder to put down when you're carrying all that weight + you can't unclip your baby carrier easily when its straps are covered by a backpack.

Couple of things to look for that make a difference: insulated pocket for carrying bottles, stroller straps (clips separate from shoulder straps that let you clip it onto a stroller handlebar), easy-to-open pockets (SkipHop's are magnetized) so you can retrieve a pacifier without needing both hands to open a zipper or clip. And, above all, large capacity. You need a lot of basics for a baby even if you're a minimalist. It doesn't look very minimalist when you have blankets and toys spilling out the top of your bag. Keep in mind that you need some space for your wallet, make-up, water bottle and maybe even your laptop too in there.

I've written up some of my reviews at the link to the left. I started with the SkipHop, which I liked until the capacity limitations got to me. Then I moved to the larger (and very inexpensive) Land's End diaper bag, and now that I'm not carrying our daughter in the Ergo anymore, I use a backpack from Lululemon (not perfect but lots of pockets).
58
Gearinfant head padding for car seat (x2)no
This will cushion your infant's head while s/he has zero neck control and the car seat's padding is still too big. Unless you get the Chicco Keyfit like we did (see car seat entry). You can wait and see what you need if you want, but if you can borrow a set just in case, do it. You won't need them for long if you need them at all.


Summer Infant Snuzzler
Summer Infant Snuzzlerhttp://tinyurl.com/3eqm5u9

This will cushion your infant's head while s/he has zero neck control and the car seat's padding is still too big. Unless you get the Chicco Keyfit like we did (see car seat entry). You can wait and see what you need if you want, but if you can borrow a set just in case, do it. You won't need them for long if you need them at all.
59
GearPack n Play / playpen / folding cribwait
We got one as a gift and a lot of parents swear by them as travel beds but man are they big and heavy even though they do fold easily. If you're buying it for travel, I'd say car travel only and to nowhere with a lot of stairs!

I didn't keep the one we got…and then when she was about five months old, I went out and bought one because I felt like she needed, well, a playpen that wasn't her crib (which I want her to associate with sleeping, not playing). They can be moved around your place pretty easily (wheels) and give her a soft, contained space to roll around with her toys without being underfoot.

If you do get one, unless you're using it as the primary crib, I'd skip all the attachments you can get, like the bassinet or changing area (how do you get the kid into it with a changing thing on top for Pete's sake?) and stick with the $70 models. Also, the bed isn't very comfy - it's segmented wood, so I'm not sure how comfortable kiddo would be sleeping in there every night. Our baby's never slept in ours, even with a nice padded sheet. But it was a good playpen until she was seven months old. (And guest babies have slept quite happily in it. So maybe we have a picky baby!)


Graco Pack 'N Play - Pippin
Graco Pack 'N Play - Pippinhttp://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3687549

We got one as a gift and a lot of parents swear by them as travel beds but man are they big and heavy even though they do fold easily. If you're buying it for travel, I'd say car travel only and to nowhere with a lot of stairs!

I didn't keep the one we got…and then when she was about five months old, I went out and bought one because I felt like she needed, well, a playpen that wasn't her crib (which I want her to associate with sleeping, not playing). They can be moved around your place pretty easily (wheels) and give her a soft, contained space to roll around with her toys without being underfoot.

If you do get one, unless you're using it as the primary crib, I'd skip all the attachments you can get, like the bassinet or changing area (how do you get the kid into it with a changing thing on top for Pete's sake?) and stick with the $70 models. Also, the bed isn't very comfy - it's segmented wood, so I'm not sure how comfortable kiddo would be sleeping in there every night. Our baby's never slept in ours, even with a nice padded sheet. But it was a good playpen until she was seven months old. (And guest babies have slept quite happily in it. So maybe we have a picky baby!)
60
GearPack n Play mattress padwait
I'd skip the mattress pad and get the padded Eddie Bauer sheet instead (see "Pack n Play sheet" entry. You'll need something besides the sheet though - I can feel the bed's separated panels with my hand, so I'm sure the baby can feel them too when she's lying there.




I'd skip the mattress pad and get the padded Eddie Bauer sheet instead (see "Pack n Play sheet" entry. You'll need something besides the sheet though - I can feel the bed's separated panels with my hand, so I'm sure the baby can feel them too when she's lying there.
61
GearPack n Play sheetwait
The sheets from Pack n Play are cute but poor quality. I got the Eddie Bauer padded super-soft sheet and she likes it a lot better than the brand ones.


Eddie Bauer® Quilted Play Yard Sheet - Sage
Eddie Bauer® Quilted Play Yard Sheet - Sagehttp://tinyurl.com/2a5uwp9

The sheets from Pack n Play are cute but poor quality. I got the Eddie Bauer padded super-soft sheet and she likes it a lot better than the brand ones.
62
GearPack n Play waterproof mattress padno
I don't think this is necessary. I was all hung up on waterproof everything - for the car seat, the Pack n Play - but the only thing we've needed it for is the changing table pad and the crib. Babies wear diapers for Pete's sake and presumably you change them a lot!




I don't think this is necessary. I was all hung up on waterproof everything - for the car seat, the Pack n Play - but the only thing we've needed it for is the changing table pad and the crib. Babies wear diapers for Pete's sake and presumably you change them a lot!
63
Gearrear mirror to see the baby in the caryes
Get one. It's inexpensive and you'll want to be able to check on your infant while you're driving. There are a bunch on the market with over-cute borders that I couldn't imagine looking into every day. The one I picked is basic, easy to install, and not garish. You'll only need it until you move him to a front-facing seat, so don't overstress on this choice.


Easy View Back Seat Mirror
Easy View Back Seat Mirrorhttp://tinyurl.com/3ccoup

Get one. It's inexpensive and you'll want to be able to check on your infant while you're driving. There are a bunch on the market with over-cute borders that I couldn't imagine looking into every day. The one I picked is basic, easy to install, and not garish. You'll only need it until you move him to a front-facing seat, so don't overstress on this choice.
64
Gearstroller (primary)yes
You will want to decide on a car seat and a stroller (or stroller frame) at about the same time, or at least consider all the options together, even if you might not need a full-fledged stroller until your child can sit up.

First, along with the crib, these will probably be your most expensive baby items, so you'll want to register for them in the hopes that a grandparent or generous aunt will help you buy them or pay for them outright. Second, infant car seats will often fit into specific stroller frames or, if you go high end, you can buy a full stroller "system" that will allow you to clip specific car seats to the stroller you like and then convert to their regular stroller seat later.

Note: if possible, you will want to have the option to face the baby towards you OR towards the world in his new ride. While they're small, they should definitely face you so you know how they're doing and the view of the world isn't too overwhelming for their new senses. Later, baby will definitely want to face out.

You will want a decent stroller that has a smooth ride, will allow you to carry your baby bag (on the handle or underneath) and maybe some minor groceries without tipping over, and will be comfortable for your infant. The easiest choice for this at first will likely be a stroller frame (see that entry below) but do check out the ride on these in the context of your local terrain. We had terrible sidewalks where we lived when our daughter was born and the very easy, light and convenient Snap n Go stroller frame that fit our car seat was terrible on uneven pavement. The baby and I both felt like we were coming apart with each bump.

The range of available strollers is staggering and runs from $150 - $1500. Pick your poison. We got a used Bugaboo Cameleon that's nicer than our car and I love it for how smooth it is (suspension system + easily reversible and extendable push bar for facing baby in or out or for putting large vs. small wheels in front depending on your terrain) and for how much it can carry (baby + stuff + groceries). But it's big and you need two hands and a foot to set it up when you take it out of the trunk (chassis and seat are separate pieces), so it's not exactly a convenience stroller. That said though, the bassinet doubles as an actual bassinet (aerated mattress), so we took it on two long trips when our daughter was three months old and didn't have to concern ourselves with sorting out something for her to sleep in in addition to something for her to ride in, so that rocked. When she could sit up, the bassinet went into storage and we clipped on the stroller seat. Done. Stroller "systems" like the Bugaboos have "conversion kits" that allow you to snap your Maxi Cosi, Graco or Peg Perego car seat onto it as well if you prefer that to the bassinet option.

Quick-folding, lightweight umbrella strollers are inexpensive and nice to have, but your infant won't be able to sit up in them without head control, so, for now, you're in the market for an infant stroller in which s/he can recline pretty much all the way - or a stroller that comes with both a bassinet you can use while he's little and a seat that you can use longer term. (They'll clip onto the frame interchangeably.)

At the other end of the big/small spectrum from the umbrella stroller is the jogging stroller, like the Bob. These are for, well, jogging, and have super-smooth rides and great steering. But like the Bugaboos and their ilk, they're large, so if most of the walks or jogs you'll be taking aren't right outside your door and require your stroller to go in the trunk, you might want to reconsider the giant footprint options. Those big strollers aren't public transportation-friendly nor are they good for navigating a lot of stairs or going into small shops or restaurants. If you're in the market for the smooth-ride, large-frame strollers, you might consider leaving it at home if you're close to long walks or in the trunk if you're driving to your outings, and invest in a stroller frame (or later, an umbrella stroller) for everyday errands.

For example, now that our little one can sit in a regular stroller, I leave our Bugaboo at home and use it for long local treks only. I store a comfortable, easy to unfold umbrella stroller in our trunk for when we're out and in a hurry. (And for when we take short, urban trips that are better with lighter luggage.) When she was tiny, I kept a Snap n Go stroller frame in the trunk for those same errands.

All that said, the most streamlined and lightest solution (and probably cheapest) is to get a stroller frame that will fit your infant car seat now and get an umbrella stroller later when your little one can sit up. Strollers are easily found used too and there's no real safety concerns with buying them secondhand as long as the straps and brakes work, so check craigslist.



Baby Trend Snap n Go - single
Baby Trend Snap n Go - singlehttp://tinyurl.com/3mdf9no

Bugaboo Cameleon
Bugaboo Cameleonhttp://www.bugaboo.com/product?name=bugaboo-cameleonYou will want to decide on a car seat and a stroller (or stroller frame) at about the same time, or at least consider all the options together, even if you might not need a full-fledged stroller until your child can sit up.

First, along with the crib, these will probably be your most expensive baby items, so you'll want to register for them in the hopes that a grandparent or generous aunt will help you buy them or pay for them outright. Second, infant car seats will often fit into specific stroller frames or, if you go high end, you can buy a full stroller "system" that will allow you to clip specific car seats to the stroller you like and then convert to their regular stroller seat later.

Note: if possible, you will want to have the option to face the baby towards you OR towards the world in his new ride. While they're small, they should definitely face you so you know how they're doing and the view of the world isn't too overwhelming for their new senses. Later, baby will definitely want to face out.

You will want a decent stroller that has a smooth ride, will allow you to carry your baby bag (on the handle or underneath) and maybe some minor groceries without tipping over, and will be comfortable for your infant. The easiest choice for this at first will likely be a stroller frame (see that entry below) but do check out the ride on these in the context of your local terrain. We had terrible sidewalks where we lived when our daughter was born and the very easy, light and convenient Snap n Go stroller frame that fit our car seat was terrible on uneven pavement. The baby and I both felt like we were coming apart with each bump.

The range of available strollers is staggering and runs from $150 - $1500. Pick your poison. We got a used Bugaboo Cameleon that's nicer than our car and I love it for how smooth it is (suspension system + easily reversible and extendable push bar for facing baby in or out or for putting large vs. small wheels in front depending on your terrain) and for how much it can carry (baby + stuff + groceries). But it's big and you need two hands and a foot to set it up when you take it out of the trunk (chassis and seat are separate pieces), so it's not exactly a convenience stroller. That said though, the bassinet doubles as an actual bassinet (aerated mattress), so we took it on two long trips when our daughter was three months old and didn't have to concern ourselves with sorting out something for her to sleep in in addition to something for her to ride in, so that rocked. When she could sit up, the bassinet went into storage and we clipped on the stroller seat. Done. Stroller "systems" like the Bugaboos have "conversion kits" that allow you to snap your Maxi Cosi, Graco or Peg Perego car seat onto it as well if you prefer that to the bassinet option.

Quick-folding, lightweight umbrella strollers are inexpensive and nice to have, but your infant won't be able to sit up in them without head control, so, for now, you're in the market for an infant stroller in which s/he can recline pretty much all the way - or a stroller that comes with both a bassinet you can use while he's little and a seat that you can use longer term. (They'll clip onto the frame interchangeably.)

At the other end of the big/small spectrum from the umbrella stroller is the jogging stroller, like the Bob. These are for, well, jogging, and have super-smooth rides and great steering. But like the Bugaboos and their ilk, they're large, so if most of the walks or jogs you'll be taking aren't right outside your door and require your stroller to go in the trunk, you might want to reconsider the giant footprint options. Those big strollers aren't public transportation-friendly nor are they good for navigating a lot of stairs or going into small shops or restaurants. If you're in the market for the smooth-ride, large-frame strollers, you might consider leaving it at home if you're close to long walks or in the trunk if you're driving to your outings, and invest in a stroller frame (or later, an umbrella stroller) for everyday errands.

For example, now that our little one can sit in a regular stroller, I leave our Bugaboo at home and use it for long local treks only. I store a comfortable, easy to unfold umbrella stroller in our trunk for when we're out and in a hurry. (And for when we take short, urban trips that are better with lighter luggage.) When she was tiny, I kept a Snap n Go stroller frame in the trunk for those same errands.

All that said, the most streamlined and lightest solution (and probably cheapest) is to get a stroller frame that will fit your infant car seat now and get an umbrella stroller later when your little one can sit up. Strollers are easily found used too and there's no real safety concerns with buying them secondhand as long as the straps and brakes work, so check craigslist.
65
Gearstroller (secondary: umbrella collapsible)wait
Most parents I know who do any kind of exercise (including moderate walking) with their kids spring for a primary stroller and an umbrella one. (Packs are great but kids get heavy!) The umbrella can be super cheap and lives in in your trunk and you don't care if it gets trashed in there or by the airline when you gate check it on trips where you won't take your smooth-riding primary stroller. Some people use it enough that they'll get a $200 Maclaren (the current brand of choice for urban moms), that's more comfortable for baby, sturdier if you're carrying anything (underneath it, that is: hanging a bag on the handles = tipping over) and generally more durable for the long run.

Note: you will absolutely not need this until you've graduated beyond the stroller frame/infant car seat combo or your bassinet stroller. If she's still comfy and sleepy in her infant seat (i.e. not sitting up, not much head control), she won't benefit from an umbrella stroller + there's no reason to get one of these yet.


Maclaren Triumph Stroller
Maclaren Triumph Strollerhttp://tinyurl.com/3doles6

Most parents I know who do any kind of exercise (including moderate walking) with their kids spring for a primary stroller and an umbrella one. (Packs are great but kids get heavy!) The umbrella can be super cheap and lives in in your trunk and you don't care if it gets trashed in there or by the airline when you gate check it on trips where you won't take your smooth-riding primary stroller. Some people use it enough that they'll get a $200 Maclaren (the current brand of choice for urban moms), that's more comfortable for baby, sturdier if you're carrying anything (underneath it, that is: hanging a bag on the handles = tipping over) and generally more durable for the long run.

Note: you will absolutely not need this until you've graduated beyond the stroller frame/infant car seat combo or your bassinet stroller. If she's still comfy and sleepy in her infant seat (i.e. not sitting up, not much head control), she won't benefit from an umbrella stroller + there's no reason to get one of these yet.
66
Gearstroller carrier bag (for checking stroller at airport)wait
See my notes on the car seat carrier bag. Same deal: you don't have to have this by any means but it will protect your stroller if you check it as luggage or gate check it. We got one for our Bugaboo and I was glad (expensive stroller = high anxiety about damage) and now have one for our umbrella stroller as well. As with the car seat bag, you can pack jackets or other items around the stroller at no extra charge from the airlines, so that's an extra bonus that might pay for the bag itself in one trip:) The light nylon ones seemed too flimsy to me and got mixed reviews, so, as with our car seat bag from the same brand, we went with the lightly padded model.


J.L. Childress Padded Umbrella Stroller Travel Bag
J.L. Childress Padded Umbrella Stroller Travel Baghttp://tinyurl.com/3sq88za

See my notes on the car seat carrier bag. Same deal: you don't have to have this by any means but it will protect your stroller if you check it as luggage or gate check it. We got one for our Bugaboo and I was glad (expensive stroller = high anxiety about damage) and now have one for our umbrella stroller as well. As with the car seat bag, you can pack jackets or other items around the stroller at no extra charge from the airlines, so that's an extra bonus that might pay for the bag itself in one trip:) The light nylon ones seemed too flimsy to me and got mixed reviews, so, as with our car seat bag from the same brand, we went with the lightly padded model.
67
Gearstroller frame for infant car seatyes
You need this right away. Until your baby is 2 months old, he will be able to sleep pretty much anywhere and that means he'll go down in his car seat a lot. You don't want to wake him transferring him from the car seat to a separate stroller + his weight plus the car seat's weight won't yet preclude you lifting them both out of the car and onto a clip-on stroller frame. Once he's older, able to sit up, wants to look around more, apt to feel confined in his car seat and less likely to conk out while you're driving, you'll move to a proper stroller. But that's later. For now, get the Snap n Go or something similar that just lets you snap or clip your car seat into the frame with wheels.

These frames fit almost any car seat brand but are inexpensive and feel like it. They're crap for long walks. The suspensions are rough, which means a lot of bouncing for you and the baby, and the features are minimal, so the handle probably won't adjust for your tall husband, the wheels will be hard non-shock-absorbent plastic, it's a pain in the ass to get up on sidewalks without little ramps and there are generally few bells and whistles. But they're just what you need for leaving in your trunk and yanking out for that short walk to the store or the pediatrician when carrying the car seat with baby is too much (or you're just postpartum and aren't supposed to carry anything). If you want to take long walks with baby right away, yes, get your expensive proper stroller now as well. (But remember: no major exercise until 6 weeks postpartum and that includes speed walking!)

Alternatively, if you think you'll be investing in a high end "stroller system" like the Bugaboo or the like, some of those companies make car seat adaptor kits, so you can put your off-brand car seat on their gold-plated chassis. See my entry on strollers above for a little more detail on this option.

If you settle on a Graco car seat, some of theirs can be bought as a package with their stroller frame. No idea if these are a smoother ride than the Snap n Go - let me know if they are!


Baby Trend Snap n Go - single
Baby Trend Snap n Go - singlehttp://tinyurl.com/25oghf2

You need this right away. Until your baby is 2 months old, he will be able to sleep pretty much anywhere and that means he'll go down in his car seat a lot. You don't want to wake him transferring him from the car seat to a separate stroller + his weight plus the car seat's weight won't yet preclude you lifting them both out of the car and onto a clip-on stroller frame. Once he's older, able to sit up, wants to look around more, apt to feel confined in his car seat and less likely to conk out while you're driving, you'll move to a proper stroller. But that's later. For now, get the Snap n Go or something similar that just lets you snap or clip your car seat into the frame with wheels.

These frames fit almost any car seat brand but are inexpensive and feel like it. They're crap for long walks. The suspensions are rough, which means a lot of bouncing for you and the baby, and the features are minimal, so the handle probably won't adjust for your tall husband, the wheels will be hard non-shock-absorbent plastic, it's a pain in the ass to get up on sidewalks without little ramps and there are generally few bells and whistles. But they're just what you need for leaving in your trunk and yanking out for that short walk to the store or the pediatrician when carrying the car seat with baby is too much (or you're just postpartum and aren't supposed to carry anything). If you want to take long walks with baby right away, yes, get your expensive proper stroller now as well. (But remember: no major exercise until 6 weeks postpartum and that includes speed walking!)

Alternatively, if you think you'll be investing in a high end "stroller system" like the Bugaboo or the like, some of those companies make car seat adaptor kits, so you can put your off-brand car seat on their gold-plated chassis. See my entry on strollers above for a little more detail on this option.

If you settle on a Graco car seat, some of theirs can be bought as a package with their stroller frame. No idea if these are a smoother ride than the Snap n Go - let me know if they are!
68
Gearstroller rain coverwait
We have one and I use it infrequently but definitely have needed it. Many strollers come with a rain cover specifically for that stroller included. Before you buy one separately, make sure the stroller you've chosen doesn't have one coming with it already.

If your stroller choice doesn't come with one and you're buying a generic rain cover that's not specifically made for your stroller, make sure it fits your stroller well before throwing away the packaging and receipt. Some of them are too loose to be effective on some strollers and some of them are difficult for your child to see through, so read the reviews on Babies R Us or Amazon before making your choice.


Check your stroller brand's web site for the right one.
Check your stroller brand's web site for the right one.

We have one and I use it infrequently but definitely have needed it. Many strollers come with a rain cover specifically for that stroller included. Before you buy one separately, make sure the stroller you've chosen doesn't have one coming with it already.

If your stroller choice doesn't come with one and you're buying a generic rain cover that's not specifically made for your stroller, make sure it fits your stroller well before throwing away the packaging and receipt. Some of them are too loose to be effective on some strollers and some of them are difficult for your child to see through, so read the reviews on Babies R Us or Amazon before making your choice.
69
Gearstroller sunshade (extra)wait
Our first stroller (the Bugaboo) had a pretty substantial hood, so we didn't need to get a separate sun shade. Also, if you're going with the car seat/stroller frame combo for a while and your car seat has a great hood, no need for an additional sun shade.

That said, some strollers don't have great hoods and babies don't like sun in their eyes any more than you do, so you can grab one of these pretty inexpensively if you're up that particular creek. This Rayshade fits most strollers and augments the one built into our umbrella stroller. Very handy, easily removable and adjustable.

Note: Bugaboo and, I think, some other stroller companies also sell sun umbrellas that clip onto the side of the stroller and I've heard good things about them. I'd imagine you have better angle control than with the Rayshade, but we're very happy with our choice.


Stroller Rayshade
Stroller Rayshadehttp://tinyurl.com/2d5gdr5

Our first stroller (the Bugaboo) had a pretty substantial hood, so we didn't need to get a separate sun shade. Also, if you're going with the car seat/stroller frame combo for a while and your car seat has a great hood, no need for an additional sun shade.

That said, some strollers don't have great hoods and babies don't like sun in their eyes any more than you do, so you can grab one of these pretty inexpensively if you're up that particular creek. This Rayshade fits most strollers and augments the one built into our umbrella stroller. Very handy, easily removable and adjustable.

Note: Bugaboo and, I think, some other stroller companies also sell sun umbrellas that clip onto the side of the stroller and I've heard good things about them. I'd imagine you have better angle control than with the Rayshade, but we're very happy with our choice.
70
Gearsunshades for car windowsyes
I thought these were kind of pointless but they're not. Babies will fuss if the sun's in their eyes and understandably so. The side window shades are pretty straightforward (and removable) but the back window is an ongoing challenge. We tried a suction cup mesh shade on our rear window that didn't really fit + blocked our rear view. Then we tried the static-adhesive film which was a disaster to put up and still didn't fit. I resorted to tossing a light blanket over her car seat (the handlebar keeps it off her, like a tent) when we had a stretch in the sun, so keep one handy. If you come up with a solution that works, let me know! You could always just have your windows tinted. And get some gold rims and flame decals while you're there.

And while you're stressing in the front seat, just keep in mind that s/he won't have to deal anymore when you turn the car seat around!

Lamaze recently came out with the Ride and Fun shade linked here - Astrid is too old for it, but she loved those rattles (see "rattles" entry) and, if your little one's seat is by a window (not in the middle), I'd definitely try it.



Dreambaby Adjustable Car Shade - 2 Pack
Dreambaby Adjustable Car Shade - 2 Packhttp://tinyurl.com/3j4x3zm

I thought these were kind of pointless but they're not. Babies will fuss if the sun's in their eyes and understandably so. The side window shades are pretty straightforward (and removable) but the back window is an ongoing challenge. We tried a suction cup mesh shade on our rear window that didn't really fit + blocked our rear view. Then we tried the static-adhesive film which was a disaster to put up and still didn't fit. I resorted to tossing a light blanket over her car seat (the handlebar keeps it off her, like a tent) when we had a stretch in the sun, so keep one handy. If you come up with a solution that works, let me know! You could always just have your windows tinted. And get some gold rims and flame decals while you're there.

And while you're stressing in the front seat, just keep in mind that s/he won't have to deal anymore when you turn the car seat around!

Lamaze recently came out with the Ride and Fun shade linked here - Astrid is too old for it, but she loved those rattles (see "rattles" entry) and, if your little one's seat is by a window (not in the middle), I'd definitely try it.
71
Geartravel crib / tent wait
You definitely don't need one if you won't be traveling! But if you will be, consider renting one at your destination instead of schlepping a heavy Pack n Play from baggage claim. That said, your baby may not like sleeping in a foreign, rented crib, in which case investing in one might be worth it. Bjorn makes a great one but it's $250, so you should use it a lot if you get it. As noted in the "stroller" entry above, we used the bassinet from our stroller as a travel bed which worked all right and was a convenient solution.

Once our daughter started sleeping well at home, she's been fine sleeping in hotel cribs as long as I bring along a fitted sheet from home (for her comfort - hotel linens aren't very soft - and my peace of mind - hotel linens have a bad cleanliness reputation) and her blanket (she's old enough now to have one).

The travel tent idea is great - and very lightweight - but is more for toddlers not infants. We got one and our daughter won't sleep in it: zipping her in freaks her out + makes it hard to get to her. We've put it away for when she's older and will find it fun.

Bottom line: if you will be traveling often and your baby isn't a good sleeper, yes, maybe you should get one and s/he will sleep better on the road in something familiar. But I wouldn't count on that solving the "not a good sleeper" issue! It might just improve the situation. Whatever will get you additional sleep is a good thing though, even if it's only an hour or two. Also, do factor in how much stuff you'll be carrying through the airport: I planned on taking the car seat, the stroller and a bed + our luggage and that is just too damn much, so you might consider renting a car seat at your destination if you really want to take the crib.




Baby BJÖRN Travel Crib Light
Baby BJÖRN Travel Crib Light
http://tinyurl.com/3ut6a8nYou definitely don't need one if you won't be traveling! But if you will be, consider renting one at your destination instead of schlepping a heavy Pack n Play from baggage claim. That said, your baby may not like sleeping in a foreign, rented crib, in which case investing in one might be worth it. Bjorn makes a great one but it's $250, so you should use it a lot if you get it. As noted in the "stroller" entry above, we used the bassinet from our stroller as a travel bed which worked all right and was a convenient solution.

Once our daughter started sleeping well at home, she's been fine sleeping in hotel cribs as long as I bring along a fitted sheet from home (for her comfort - hotel linens aren't very soft - and my peace of mind - hotel linens have a bad cleanliness reputation) and her blanket (she's old enough now to have one).

The travel tent idea is great - and very lightweight - but is more for toddlers not infants. We got one and our daughter won't sleep in it: zipping her in freaks her out + makes it hard to get to her. We've put it away for when she's older and will find it fun.

Bottom line: if you will be traveling often and your baby isn't a good sleeper, yes, maybe you should get one and s/he will sleep better on the road in something familiar. But I wouldn't count on that solving the "not a good sleeper" issue! It might just improve the situation. Whatever will get you additional sleep is a good thing though, even if it's only an hour or two. Also, do factor in how much stuff you'll be carrying through the airport: I planned on taking the car seat, the stroller and a bed + our luggage and that is just too damn much, so you might consider renting a car seat at your destination if you really want to take the crib.
72
Health, Adultcondomsyes
You can't take birth control pills if you're breastfeeding, so you need some, um, interference if you don't want to get pregnant again right away. Everyone will tell you this, but I'll say it again: just because you're breastfeeding and may not have started your period again, you ARE ovulating and CAN get pregnant. So get some condoms. Or some other form of birth control your OB says is OK.

Although, since you're advised against sex for six weeks post-partum, you could wait to buy these.


Any you like:)
Any you like:)

You can't take birth control pills if you're breastfeeding, so you need some, um, interference if you don't want to get pregnant again right away. Everyone will tell you this, but I'll say it again: just because you're breastfeeding and may not have started your period again, you ARE ovulating and CAN get pregnant. So get some condoms. Or some other form of birth control your OB says is OK.

Although, since you're advised against sex for six weeks post-partum, you could wait to buy these.
73
Health, Adultmaxipads w/ wingsyes
I don't know about you, but I haven't bought maxipads since high school. Now is the time though. Go get some. You can't use tampons post-birth. And you may also need pads when your water breaks, so get them a month ahead of your due date. And you will definitely need them when you get home.

Even if you have a C-section, you will need them for at least a week after your baby's birth. The pads the hospital will give you to take home are effective but they're from, like, 1952. Since Always makes about forty different kinds, I went bananas and bought about six different types. I wouldn't recommend that route:) Get a pack of the heavier ones and see how it goes. When you go out to the grocery store to pick up the right size diapers two days after you get home from the hospital, you can collect more of the right size of these too.


Always Maxipads
Always Maxipads http://tinyurl.com/42jy4zt

I don't know about you, but I haven't bought maxipads since high school. Now is the time though. Go get some. You can't use tampons post-birth. And you may also need pads when your water breaks, so get them a month ahead of your due date. And you will definitely need them when you get home.

Even if you have a C-section, you will need them for at least a week after your baby's birth. The pads the hospital will give you to take home are effective but they're from, like, 1952. Since Always makes about forty different kinds, I went bananas and bought about six different types. I wouldn't recommend that route:) Get a pack of the heavier ones and see how it goes. When you go out to the grocery store to pick up the right size diapers two days after you get home from the hospital, you can collect more of the right size of these too.
74
Health, Babyantiseptic creamno
If your baby gets a cut, you aren't supposed to use antiseptic cream on them until they're 6 months old unless your doctor says so, so let it lie until then. At which point, you'll use Neosporin like the rest of us, so no need to seek out a special kids version unless your pediatrician says so.

If your infant cuts himself, say with his nails, it will heal quickly on its own, or I've read that you can use A&D diaper ointment on it.




If your baby gets a cut, you aren't supposed to use antiseptic cream on them until they're 6 months old unless your doctor says so, so let it lie until then. At which point, you'll use Neosporin like the rest of us, so no need to seek out a special kids version unless your pediatrician says so.

If your infant cuts himself, say with his nails, it will heal quickly on its own, or I've read that you can use A&D diaper ointment on it.
75
Health, Babybaby acetaminophenwait
You can pre-buy infant fever drops if you like, but you won't dispense it until your pediatrician suggests you do (first illness or first vaccinations) and s/he will tell you what to get and how much to administer, so you may as well wait until then.




You can pre-buy infant fever drops if you like, but you won't dispense it until your pediatrician suggests you do (first illness or first vaccinations) and s/he will tell you what to get and how much to administer, so you may as well wait until then.
76
Health, Babybaby medical reference bookyes
I felt we needed one of these - and it was surprisingly hard to find. Maybe that was because I was looking for two different things: basic urgent first aid instructions for babies and toddlers (who have different requirements than adults) and some sort of non-urgent medical / health / developmental reference. For the first aid, I got and liked this one: First Aid for Babies and Kids Fast. It has big, color pictures, which is what I want when I have an emergency. For general health reference, we've LOVED Baby 411. It has answers to basic health questions + treatments + some sections on developmental milestones + daily advice. (There's a Toddler 411 for when your baby grows up a bit.)

We received the popular and well-reviewed Smart Medicine for a Healthy Child as a gift but I have to admit I've barely looked at it: the long prose style just isn't convenient enough for a.) when you have a baby and very little time to browse, and b.) when you need to look something up quickly. Other options I considered and thought looked solid: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5 and, the full monty, American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide.


First Aid for Babies & Children Fast
First Aid for Babies & Children Fasthttp://tinyurl.com/25lrouk

I felt we needed one of these - and it was surprisingly hard to find. Maybe that was because I was looking for two different things: basic urgent first aid instructions for babies and toddlers (who have different requirements than adults) and some sort of non-urgent medical / health / developmental reference. For the first aid, I got and liked this one: First Aid for Babies and Kids Fast. It has big, color pictures, which is what I want when I have an emergency. For general health reference, we've LOVED Baby 411. It has answers to basic health questions + treatments + some sections on developmental milestones + daily advice. (There's a Toddler 411 for when your baby grows up a bit.)

We received the popular and well-reviewed Smart Medicine for a Healthy Child as a gift but I have to admit I've barely looked at it: the long prose style just isn't convenient enough for a.) when you have a baby and very little time to browse, and b.) when you need to look something up quickly. Other options I considered and thought looked solid: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5 and, the full monty, American College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide.
77
Health, Babybaby medicine dispensers/spoon/dropperno
This is one of those things that, for some reason, I was concerned about having on-hand. Don't bother. Every baby medication we've had to get comes with its own dispenser. Problem solved.




This is one of those things that, for some reason, I was concerned about having on-hand. Don't bother. Every baby medication we've had to get comes with its own dispenser. Problem solved.
78
Health, Babybaby thermometeryes
You need to have one. "Does s/he have a fever?" is the first question the nurse on the phone at your doctor's office will ask you when you call in concerned if your infant is sick or not. A friend recommended this digital model that you swipe across your child's forehead and it's been great. Yes, the baby will reach for the beeping noise but it's much preferable to taking her temperature rectally, which is your other option when they're babies (up to age 3). And you can continue using this one when she gets older and graduates beyond the rectal one.

That said, I would also spend a few dollars and get a basic rectal one (which comes with disposable covers) for back-up. Rectal temperature tends to be more accurate and will give you peace of mind if you're right on the edge of being sure it's a problem fever or a normal one. Also, your doctor will want a rectal reading if there's some question about whether to bring the baby in or not.

(Another reason to have a rectal thermometer on-hand: if your baby is constipated, I've been advised that a little Vaseline on a rectal thermometer inserted and removed quickly will, er, "solve the problem." I'm grateful we didn't have this issue but, from what I've heard, if they're struggling with constipation, you'll want to help them if you can and this is the easiest first line of assault.)


Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer
Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometerhttp://tinyurl.com/24wgctz

You need to have one. "Does s/he have a fever?" is the first question the nurse on the phone at your doctor's office will ask you when you call in concerned if your infant is sick or not. A friend recommended this digital model that you swipe across your child's forehead and it's been great. Yes, the baby will reach for the beeping noise but it's much preferable to taking her temperature rectally, which is your other option when they're babies (up to age 3). And you can continue using this one when she gets older and graduates beyond the rectal one.

That said, I would also spend a few dollars and get a basic rectal one (which comes with disposable covers) for back-up. Rectal temperature tends to be more accurate and will give you peace of mind if you're right on the edge of being sure it's a problem fever or a normal one. Also, your doctor will want a rectal reading if there's some question about whether to bring the baby in or not.

(Another reason to have a rectal thermometer on-hand: if your baby is constipated, I've been advised that a little Vaseline on a rectal thermometer inserted and removed quickly will, er, "solve the problem." I'm grateful we didn't have this issue but, from what I've heard, if they're struggling with constipation, you'll want to help them if you can and this is the easiest first line of assault.)
79
Health, Babydiaper rash ointmentyes
You'll need it. And don't buy the tiny tubes: they're expensive. Invest in the tub. We've used Triple Paste for diaper rash from day one and it works like a charm.

If your little one is prone to rashes, try using A+D Ointment at diaper changes for prevention, even if a rash isn't present right then. It feels like petroleum jelly and protects their skin from the wet diaper. (A+D is also listed as a diaper rash treatment but we got hooked on Triple Paste, so we're sticking with what works! We have a tub of Triple Paste and a smaller tube of A+D at the ready.)


Triple Paste Antibiotic Ointment for Diaper Rash
Triple Paste Antibiotic Ointment for Diaper Rashhttp://tinyurl.com/3hof792

You'll need it. And don't buy the tiny tubes: they're expensive. Invest in the tub. We've used Triple Paste for diaper rash from day one and it works like a charm.

If your little one is prone to rashes, try using A+D Ointment at diaper changes for prevention, even if a rash isn't present right then. It feels like petroleum jelly and protects their skin from the wet diaper. (A+D is also listed as a diaper rash treatment but we got hooked on Triple Paste, so we're sticking with what works! We have a tub of Triple Paste and a smaller tube of A+D at the ready.)
80
Cleaningdiaper wipes yes
We went with the heavyweight Pampers sensitive wipes (the regular weight Pampers ones seem to stick together and dispense three at a time). First time out, order or buy a small quantity in the plastic dispenser box that most brands offer - we're still using the first one we got, so they're plenty durable. From then on, you can just get the refill packs.

Wipes work well unless your baby has an issue with skin sensitivity, in which case stick with cotton balls and water at the very beginning.

If you're into being super minimal, you can try using Viva paper towels (soft) + H20 but that won't cut it after they start solids and are really messy. I balked at that option partially because dealing with another multi-step process during diaper changes was beyond me but kudos to you if you can pull it off. It will certainly cost less!


Pampers Sensitive Thick Baby Wipes
Pampers Sensitive Thick Baby Wipeshttp://tinyurl.com/3hvm6p5

We went with the heavyweight Pampers sensitive wipes (the regular weight Pampers ones seem to stick together and dispense three at a time). First time out, order or buy a small quantity in the plastic dispenser box that most brands offer - we're still using the first one we got, so they're plenty durable. From then on, you can just get the refill packs.

Wipes work well unless your baby has an issue with skin sensitivity, in which case stick with cotton balls and water at the very beginning.

If you're into being super minimal, you can try using Viva paper towels (soft) + H20 but that won't cut it after they start solids and are really messy. I balked at that option partially because dealing with another multi-step process during diaper changes was beyond me but kudos to you if you can pull it off. It will certainly cost less!
81
Health, Babydiapers (6 doz)yes
Here's the thing: you don't know how much your baby will weigh at birth, AND you don't know which diaper brand will fit him/her. Huggies are reputedly better for boys, Pampers for girls - Huggies fell off our baby girl like they were defective. I've heard good things about Kirkland diapers from Costco too, and if you want to go green (as much as you can with disposables!), Seventh Generation is there for you.

Diapers are a big expense, so shop around locally for your cheapest bet if you're going with disposables. Target, Costco, WalMart, supermarkets and even your corner store will sell them - compare prices at all your local shops to see what your best bet is for stocking up or emergencies. Online, join Amazon Moms for discounts and expedited shipping and compare to Diapers.com's programs, which are a little scattered but can add up to decent savings. (Keeping tabs on the quantities per pack per size per brand per store is a mathematical feat - don't make yourself crazy. Just get a good idea and re-check in six months.) Like fast food, every box of diapers, even the smallest one, has words like "jumbo" on it - just look at the actual count in the lower right corner.

If you're eco-conscious and using cloth diapers, I'm impressed. You are a wonderful and patient person and should definitely get a diaper service - Google for ones in your area. Up side: the planet will love you more than me and your child will be easier to pottytrain later (because they dislike the wet feeling in cloth diapers). Be prepared that they're bulky for the baby to wear and require more vigilance to prevent diaper rash since, once wet, they stay wet.

We considered cloth diapers but hadn't made the decision when our daughter arrived a month early, so we took the easy way out since we were contending with so much un-done stuff already.

There are also compostable diapers available that you can swirl in your toilet to break up and send through the septice/sewer system. From what I hear, the technology isn't quite there yet and the swirling thing takes quite a bit of time. But try 'em if you want: it's a nice compromise between cloth and disposable. Just make sure your building's plumbing can handle any issues!

If you're going with disposable, I'd recommend doing what we did: buy a couple of small-quantity packs from two or three different brands you'll be able to restock easily, maybe in Newborn size, and bookmark Diapers.com for ordering the ones you like a couple days after you get home from the hospital and know what size your baby will be wearing for a few weeks. In urban areas, Diapers.com usually gets to you in 1-2 days with no express shipping required. Or make a quick trip (or send your partner) to the grocery store - no matter what people say about you never getting out of the house, it's not true: at the very least, you'll have to go to the pediatrician on day 2 or 3, so you can pick up the diapers your infant likes/fits on your way there.

For what it's worth, we love Pampers DryMax Swaddlers/Cruisers. The DryMax thing came out just as our baby was born so we had pre-DryMax and then DryMax and it makes a huge difference - they absorb EVERYTHING (well, almost) and do a good job keeping her skin dry. There are still accidents of course but for the most part, these were awesome.

*Sizing note: the adhesive tabs that hold the diapers in place in front have super pointy corners for some reason. If your baby kicks and the tabs are attached kind of to her sides and not right near the center of her tummy, those corners are going to bruise/abrade the skin on her thighs and tummy above and below the diaper. I couldn't figure it out - significant design flaw, right? Until I realized that we had her in a size too small. Here's the deal: the tabs should attach on the front of her tummy (most brands have a colored or illustrated band where the tabs are supposed to be attached), not off to the sides (like, in the middle of her thighs) where I was doing it. If she's chafing on the corners of the tabs, the tabs are attached in the wrong place or you need to bump up a size. Go me, right? Thanks, yeah, I'm super smart.

*Another sizing note: The sizing order, at least in Pampers, goes "P" for preemie, "N" for newborn, then 1, 2, 3, etc. This might seem obvious but I didn't know - how would I??? - that after our daughter grew out of "P", there was an "N" size and she didn't have to jump straight to size 1s, which were enormous. I was complaining about the huge size jump to our postpartum doula who set me straight.


Pampers Swaddlers Newborn diapers
Pampers Swaddlers Newborn diapershttp://tinyurl.com/43e9663

Here's the thing: you don't know how much your baby will weigh at birth, AND you don't know which diaper brand will fit him/her. Huggies are reputedly better for boys, Pampers for girls - Huggies fell off our baby girl like they were defective. I've heard good things about Kirkland diapers from Costco too, and if you want to go green (as much as you can with disposables!), Seventh Generation is there for you.

Diapers are a big expense, so shop around locally for your cheapest bet if you're going with disposables. Target, Costco, WalMart, supermarkets and even your corner store will sell them - compare prices at all your local shops to see what your best bet is for stocking up or emergencies. Online, join Amazon Moms for discounts and expedited shipping and compare to Diapers.com's programs, which are a little scattered but can add up to decent savings. (Keeping tabs on the quantities per pack per size per brand per store is a mathematical feat - don't make yourself crazy. Just get a good idea and re-check in six months.) Like fast food, every box of diapers, even the smallest one, has words like "jumbo" on it - just look at the actual count in the lower right corner.

If you're eco-conscious and using cloth diapers, I'm impressed. You are a wonderful and patient person and should definitely get a diaper service - Google for ones in your area. Up side: the planet will love you more than me and your child will be easier to pottytrain later (because they dislike the wet feeling in cloth diapers). Be prepared that they're bulky for the baby to wear and require more vigilance to prevent diaper rash since, once wet, they stay wet.

We considered cloth diapers but hadn't made the decision when our daughter arrived a month early, so we took the easy way out since we were contending with so much un-done stuff already.

There are also compostable diapers available that you can swirl in your toilet to break up and send through the septice/sewer system. From what I hear, the technology isn't quite there yet and the swirling thing takes quite a bit of time. But try 'em if you want: it's a nice compromise between cloth and disposable. Just make sure your building's plumbing can handle any issues!

If you're going with disposable, I'd recommend doing what we did: buy a couple of small-quantity packs from two or three different brands you'll be able to restock easily, maybe in Newborn size, and bookmark Diapers.com for ordering the ones you like a couple days after you get home from the hospital and know what size your baby will be wearing for a few weeks. In urban areas, Diapers.com usually gets to you in 1-2 days with no express shipping required. Or make a quick trip (or send your partner) to the grocery store - no matter what people say about you never getting out of the house, it's not true: at the very least, you'll have to go to the pediatrician on day 2 or 3, so you can pick up the diapers your infant likes/fits on your way there.

For what it's worth, we love Pampers DryMax Swaddlers/Cruisers. The DryMax thing came out just as our baby was born so we had pre-DryMax and then DryMax and it makes a huge difference - they absorb EVERYTHING (well, almost) and do a good job keeping her skin dry. There are still accidents of course but for the most part, these were awesome.

*Sizing note: the adhesive tabs that hold the diapers in place in front have super pointy corners for some reason. If your baby kicks and the tabs are attached kind of to her sides and not right near the center of her tummy, those corners are going to bruise/abrade the skin on her thighs and tummy above and below the diaper. I couldn't figure it out - significant design flaw, right? Until I realized that we had her in a size too small. Here's the deal: the tabs should attach on the front of her tummy (most brands have a colored or illustrated band where the tabs are supposed to be attached), not off to the sides (like, in the middle of her thighs) where I was doing it. If she's chafing on the corners of the tabs, the tabs are attached in the wrong place or you need to bump up a size. Go me, right? Thanks, yeah, I'm super smart.

*Another sizing note: The sizing order, at least in Pampers, goes "P" for preemie, "N" for newborn, then 1, 2, 3, etc. This might seem obvious but I didn't know - how would I??? - that after our daughter grew out of "P", there was an "N" size and she didn't have to jump straight to size 1s, which were enormous. I was complaining about the huge size jump to our postpartum doula who set me straight.
82
Cleaningdetergentyes
Yes, get baby detergent. It's free of dyes and fragrances and all the chemicals we adults are - sadly - used to. Before your baby arrives, wash all her new and hand-me-down clothes and bedding and anything that'll be next to her skin in this detergent before you put it on/near her. Same deal when you get new stuff. I think the general rule is up to 18 months. We use Dreft (which you can and should get in HE if you have a new washer that hates suds). Ivory Snow is still out there too.

I wash the baby clothes on the gentle cycle in cold water - it's easiest on them + it prevents any stains you might have missed with the stain spray from setting.


Dreft baby detergent
Dreft baby detergenthttp://www.dreft.com

Yes, get baby detergent. It's free of dyes and fragrances and all the chemicals we adults are - sadly - used to. Before your baby arrives, wash all her new and hand-me-down clothes and bedding and anything that'll be next to her skin in this detergent before you put it on/near her. Same deal when you get new stuff. I think the general rule is up to 18 months. We use Dreft (which you can and should get in HE if you have a new washer that hates suds). Ivory Snow is still out there too.

I wash the baby clothes on the gentle cycle in cold water - it's easiest on them + it prevents any stains you might have missed with the stain spray from setting.
83
Cleaningdetergent stain sprayyes
Without question, you'll need this. The baby will have an explosion of poo, it will go all over his little pajama, you will clean him up, put him in a clean diaper and pajama, get him back to sleep and then be facing a pajama suit wet with poo. Rinse it in cold water with some regular hand soap and then spray it with - my choice - Dreft stain spray. Generally as long as you get the Dreft to the stain before it sets, it should come out in the wash.


Dreft Spray Stain Remover
Dreft Spray Stain Removerhttp://tinyurl.com/3lezpfd

Without question, you'll need this. The baby will have an explosion of poo, it will go all over his little pajama, you will clean him up, put him in a clean diaper and pajama, get him back to sleep and then be facing a pajama suit wet with poo. Rinse it in cold water with some regular hand soap and then spray it with - my choice - Dreft stain spray. Generally as long as you get the Dreft to the stain before it sets, it should come out in the wash.
84
Health, Babydry skin remedywait
I'd wait to see if you need it: if your baby has dry scalp, cradle cap (flaking skin on his little head), etc. you will. If not, you won't use it and it'll just sit on your shelf with the weird stuff your great aunt sent from Wichita. Since you're treating a skin condition on brand new skin, I'd personally recommend going with something mild, without a lot of chemicals and ingredients. We got a little container of California Baby calendula cream - organic, safe, smells OK, works well.


California Baby Calendula Cream
California Baby Calendula Creamhttp://tinyurl.com/cc25jz

I'd wait to see if you need it: if your baby has dry scalp, cradle cap (flaking skin on his little head), etc. you will. If not, you won't use it and it'll just sit on your shelf with the weird stuff your great aunt sent from Wichita. Since you're treating a skin condition on brand new skin, I'd personally recommend going with something mild, without a lot of chemicals and ingredients. We got a little container of California Baby calendula cream - organic, safe, smells OK, works well.
85
Health, Babyear wax remover/softenerwait
Wait to get this until your doctor says your baby needs it. Ear issues are very common in babies and toddlers and you might need it, but then again you might not. If you do, your doctor will likely tell you exactly what to get. Certainly don't buy and use this without your pediatrician's advice.




Wait to get this until your doctor says your baby needs it. Ear issues are very common in babies and toddlers and you might need it, but then again you might not. If you do, your doctor will likely tell you exactly what to get. Certainly don't buy and use this without your pediatrician's advice.
86
Health, Babygas relief dropsyes
Babies have gas. Which is why you burp them after they eat and sometimes in a break from eating. They don't always burp though and sometimes have a hard time passing gas. That's where this product comes in.

Gripe water is the all-natural gas reliever that some moms swear by. You can pick up a little bottle (with a dropper in it) at drugstores or health food stores. Simethicone (name brand Mylicone - or just get a generic), which is the non-all-natural product for gas relief worked wonders for our baby when she had gas she couldn't naturally relieve. Apparently it works really well for some infants and not so well for others, so try this, try gripe water, or ask your pediatrician for other recommendations. (Figuring out why your baby is fussing is not an exact science but in the early months, gas was one of the top three culprits if she was already fed and dry.) I'm glad we had it on-hand - one of the only medications I was trying to figure out if we needed to buy pre-baby that we actually used pretty early.


Infants' Mylicon
Infants' Myliconhttp://www.mylicon.com/

Babies have gas. Which is why you burp them after they eat and sometimes in a break from eating. They don't always burp though and sometimes have a hard time passing gas. That's where this product comes in.

Gripe water is the all-natural gas reliever that some moms swear by. You can pick up a little bottle (with a dropper in it) at drugstores or health food stores. Simethicone (name brand Mylicone - or just get a generic), which is the non-all-natural product for gas relief worked wonders for our baby when she had gas she couldn't naturally relieve. Apparently it works really well for some infants and not so well for others, so try this, try gripe water, or ask your pediatrician for other recommendations. (Figuring out why your baby is fussing is not an exact science but in the early months, gas was one of the top three culprits if she was already fed and dry.) I'm glad we had it on-hand - one of the only medications I was trying to figure out if we needed to buy pre-baby that we actually used pretty early.
87
Health, Babyipecac syrupno
This was another one of those weird items that caught in my mind - did we need it on-hand or not??? It must have been on some list of baby products to buy that I saw somewhere. It used to be used if your child swallowed something potentially poisonous, which I was very concerned about for some reason. Every new mom has their thing. Mine is choking or ingesting dangerous stuff. Anyway, it turns out the answer to whether you need this on-hand is an emphatic no. You will probably never need it (since it is no longer recommended as a treatment for poisoning) and 100% certainly not unless you are at a hospital or doctor's office.




This was another one of those weird items that caught in my mind - did we need it on-hand or not??? It must have been on some list of baby products to buy that I saw somewhere. It used to be used if your child swallowed something potentially poisonous, which I was very concerned about for some reason. Every new mom has their thing. Mine is choking or ingesting dangerous stuff. Anyway, it turns out the answer to whether you need this on-hand is an emphatic no. You will probably never need it (since it is no longer recommended as a treatment for poisoning) and 100% certainly not unless you are at a hospital or doctor's office.
88
Health, Babynail clippersyes
Get nail clippers instead of scissors unless you're super brave. Cutting an infant's nails is very necessary since they're super sharp and he will definitely scratch himself (and you) and very nerve wracking since their fingers are so tiny. General advice says to cut them while s/he's sleeping and take your time, making sure not to cut too low.

These lighted clippers were one of the best things I bought, bar none. They have a tiny light at the tip - it makes all the difference, especially re: trying to cut them while she's sleeping. Which is in the dark. So good luck with that without the little light:) Inventory seems to go up and down, but often you can pick them up at Babies r Us or Target or order them from Amazon or, sometimes, Bed Bath & Beyond.

(The spendy alternative are vibrating nail files which get varied reviews. The gist is that they aren't great for older kids' harder nails and you have to catch the nails when they're still pretty short for the file to work, but the device can relieve nail-snipping nerves in parents of infants. Expect to pay $25 instead of $7.)


Safety 1st Sleepy Baby Nail Clipper
Safety 1st Sleepy Baby Nail Clipper
http://tinyurl.com/43hhocw

Zo-li Buzz B. Baby Nail Trimmer
Zo-li Buzz B. Baby Nail Trimmerhttp://tinyurl.com/3fqn6xqGet nail clippers instead of scissors unless you're super brave. Cutting an infant's nails is very necessary since they're super sharp and he will definitely scratch himself (and you) and very nerve wracking since their fingers are so tiny. General advice says to cut them while s/he's sleeping and take your time, making sure not to cut too low.

These lighted clippers were one of the best things I bought, bar none. They have a tiny light at the tip - it makes all the difference, especially re: trying to cut them while she's sleeping. Which is in the dark. So good luck with that without the little light:) Inventory seems to go up and down, but often you can pick them up at Babies r Us or Target or order them from Amazon or, sometimes, Bed Bath & Beyond.

(The spendy alternative are vibrating nail files which get varied reviews. The gist is that they aren't great for older kids' harder nails and you have to catch the nails when they're still pretty short for the file to work, but the device can relieve nail-snipping nerves in parents of infants. Expect to pay $25 instead of $7.)
89
Health, Babynasal aspiratoryes
If you don't need it before your baby's first cold, I'd be surprised. But you will definitely need it then, so get it now. Basically, this will suck the snotties out of your infant's nose until s/he is old enough to blow his/her own nose, which is generally around two years old. So brace yourself for a couple of snotty years. You won't mind most of the time: they're pretty cute:)

The squeezy bulb the hospital will give you and which is included in many baby first aid kits is just not very effective. The tip of the bulb, when you put it in your baby's nostril, has a tendency to push the little baby snotties deeper into her nose and you only have a small amount of suction to work with with each positioning effort, so the already-unpleasant process will last even longer. The Nose Frieda, on the other hand, is very, very effective - but also conceptually the grossest. It works on suction - your suction, which can be more sustained than with the bulb. You put the tip of the plastic bit at the front of her nostril and suck the snotties out of her nose. They get caught in the filter. But yes, you will think that they will get sucked straight into your mouth and that is disgusting. But they won't. Trust me. And it's much faster than the bulb. So just stiffen your spine and get one. (It also takes a little practice to position the Frieda in your baby's nostril, keep her from wiggling away AND get your breath to suck without hyperventilating, but you'll get the hang of it.)

They now make battery-operated nasal aspirators that are essentially battery-powered Nose Friedas. They relieve the grossness factor but they're not very well-reviewed. Maybe they'll get better. In the meantime, get the Frieda.


Nosefrida: The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator
Nosefrida: The Snotsucker Nasal Aspiratorhttp://www.nosefrida.com/

If you don't need it before your baby's first cold, I'd be surprised. But you will definitely need it then, so get it now. Basically, this will suck the snotties out of your infant's nose until s/he is old enough to blow his/her own nose, which is generally around two years old. So brace yourself for a couple of snotty years. You won't mind most of the time: they're pretty cute:)

The squeezy bulb the hospital will give you and which is included in many baby first aid kits is just not very effective. The tip of the bulb, when you put it in your baby's nostril, has a tendency to push the little baby snotties deeper into her nose and you only have a small amount of suction to work with with each positioning effort, so the already-unpleasant process will last even longer. The Nose Frieda, on the other hand, is very, very effective - but also conceptually the grossest. It works on suction - your suction, which can be more sustained than with the bulb. You put the tip of the plastic bit at the front of her nostril and suck the snotties out of her nose. They get caught in the filter. But yes, you will think that they will get sucked straight into your mouth and that is disgusting. But they won't. Trust me. And it's much faster than the bulb. So just stiffen your spine and get one. (It also takes a little practice to position the Frieda in your baby's nostril, keep her from wiggling away AND get your breath to suck without hyperventilating, but you'll get the hang of it.)

They now make battery-operated nasal aspirators that are essentially battery-powered Nose Friedas. They relieve the grossness factor but they're not very well-reviewed. Maybe they'll get better. In the meantime, get the Frieda.
90
Health, Babysunscreenwait
Babies can't wear sunscreen - or aren't supposed to - until they're six months old, so skip it.

When you're ready, the Aussies' Blue Lizard is bad ass although it can sometimes be hard to find in stock. We use California Baby and it works well. The stick is a lot easier than the cream (for obvious reasons) and our daughter tries to apply it herself with no ill effects. There are some handy sunscreen wipes available out there but the cost is ridiculous ($26 for 15 wipes). There's another $26 option that packs more uses in: a brush-on sunscreen that is certainly less annoying than cream. I just bought some to try - it's easy and seems to work, but it is a little pricey.

Stay away from spray-on sunscreens for little ones: there's still some question about inhaling it while applying, which is understandable, especially for kids who won't hold their breath when you ask them to!


California Baby SPF 30+ sunscreen stick
California Baby SPF 30+ sunscreen stickhttp://tinyurl.com/3lm79wf

GO!screen Natural BrushOn Powder Sunscreen for Kids and Adults, SPF30
GO!screen Natural BrushOn Powder Sunscreen for Kids and Adults, SPF30http://tinyurl.com/3pg76b9Babies can't wear sunscreen - or aren't supposed to - until they're six months old, so skip it.

When you're ready, the Aussies' Blue Lizard is bad ass although it can sometimes be hard to find in stock. We use California Baby and it works well. The stick is a lot easier than the cream (for obvious reasons) and our daughter tries to apply it herself with no ill effects. There are some handy sunscreen wipes available out there but the cost is ridiculous ($26 for 15 wipes). There's another $26 option that packs more uses in: a brush-on sunscreen that is certainly less annoying than cream. I just bought some to try - it's easy and seems to work, but it is a little pricey.

Stay away from spray-on sunscreens for little ones: there's still some question about inhaling it while applying, which is understandable, especially for kids who won't hold their breath when you ask them to!
91
nurserybaby swingyes
The swing is your at-home version of taking your baby for a walk or driving him around in the car to soothe him to sleep. But here's the deal: they're pricey, they're big, and even if your baby loves it, you'll only use it for six months or so: if you possibly can, borrow one. It's not a must-have.

That said, we had a baby who wouldn't sleep for love nor money, and the swing was our saving grace from months two to four, at which point we transitioned her back to the crib. But she napped and slept all night in that swing for two months. I know it was the lazy way out of addressing the sleep problems but man were we tired! I also don't know any baby who has rejected a swing outright.

When she was very small though, she didn't like it, so if you can get your hands on one and s/he doesn't find it soothing right away, try again in a week or two. It is a more entertaining alternative to the bouncy seat or just lying around in a crib or on a mat. Most have different speed settings, a lot play irritating music that many babies like. I thought, since we had a bouncy seat, we could skip the swing, but keep in mind that most bouncy seats don't bounce without your (wo)manpower so they're more for having somewhere semi-upright for the baby to sit and watch you cook or whatever, so you don't have to have her in a pack or sling and she won't start fussing in two minutes because she's lying flat on her back in a playpen or on a blanket. The swing runs on its own, so you're not fully on-duty to keep your little one moving or entertained.

So get your hands on one if you can. My advice, having been there, is not to get him/her really hooked on the swing for naps or nighttime because sooner or later you'll have to get him/her back into a crib! But you know what? When you have an infant, you do what you gotta do, right??!

The one we borrowed was a basic Graco Silhouette Swing that swung side to side (some swing front/back) and it worked fine, although changing the batteries in the dead of night was a giant pain and the fact that the attached mobile never moved was a design flaw. Despite my hesitancy to outright recommend buying one, I am #$(*&! loving the new Fisher Price Zen Cradle Swing. Not only does it not look like a circus threw up all over it, it has a plug as well as a battery pack, you can adjust it to swing front/back or side to side and it has a built in blanket. If I needed one now, I'll admit, I'd order this one tomorrow. If they made an adult size, I'd order that too. OK, fine, I'd order that first and then get the baby one.


Fisher Price Zen Collection Cradle Swing
Fisher Price Zen Collection Cradle Swinghttp://tinyurl.com/3q5myf5

The swing is your at-home version of taking your baby for a walk or driving him around in the car to soothe him to sleep. But here's the deal: they're pricey, they're big, and even if your baby loves it, you'll only use it for six months or so: if you possibly can, borrow one. It's not a must-have.

That said, we had a baby who wouldn't sleep for love nor money, and the swing was our saving grace from months two to four, at which point we transitioned her back to the crib. But she napped and slept all night in that swing for two months. I know it was the lazy way out of addressing the sleep problems but man were we tired! I also don't know any baby who has rejected a swing outright.

When she was very small though, she didn't like it, so if you can get your hands on one and s/he doesn't find it soothing right away, try again in a week or two. It is a more entertaining alternative to the bouncy seat or just lying around in a crib or on a mat. Most have different speed settings, a lot play irritating music that many babies like. I thought, since we had a bouncy seat, we could skip the swing, but keep in mind that most bouncy seats don't bounce without your (wo)manpower so they're more for having somewhere semi-upright for the baby to sit and watch you cook or whatever, so you don't have to have her in a pack or sling and she won't start fussing in two minutes because she's lying flat on her back in a playpen or on a blanket. The swing runs on its own, so you're not fully on-duty to keep your little one moving or entertained.

So get your hands on one if you can. My advice, having been there, is not to get him/her really hooked on the swing for naps or nighttime because sooner or later you'll have to get him/her back into a crib! But you know what? When you have an infant, you do what you gotta do, right??!

The one we borrowed was a basic Graco Silhouette Swing that swung side to side (some swing front/back) and it worked fine, although changing the batteries in the dead of night was a giant pain and the fact that the attached mobile never moved was a design flaw. Despite my hesitancy to outright recommend buying one, I am #$(*&! loving the new Fisher Price Zen Cradle Swing. Not only does it not look like a circus threw up all over it, it has a plug as well as a battery pack, you can adjust it to swing front/back or side to side and it has a built in blanket. If I needed one now, I'll admit, I'd order this one tomorrow. If they made an adult size, I'd order that too. OK, fine, I'd order that first and then get the baby one.
92
Nurseryblow dryer for changing tablewait
We heard from a bunch of sources that they're helpful on the changing table for their white noise calming effect + when on the cool setting can help dry damp bottoms (esp. useful for babies prone to diaper rash). Some babies don't have issues on the changing table though, so I'd wait and see and get one if you need it. Your changing area will already be crowded with wipes and diapers and sanitizer, so if you can avoid one additional item, do. We skipped it and kept a box of soft Kleenex nearby to do a quick pat dry after the wet wipes and it saved us running another cord, finding a place to put a hairdryer, etc.




We heard from a bunch of sources that they're helpful on the changing table for their white noise calming effect + when on the cool setting can help dry damp bottoms (esp. useful for babies prone to diaper rash). Some babies don't have issues on the changing table though, so I'd wait and see and get one if you need it. Your changing area will already be crowded with wipes and diapers and sanitizer, so if you can avoid one additional item, do. We skipped it and kept a box of soft Kleenex nearby to do a quick pat dry after the wet wipes and it saved us running another cord, finding a place to put a hairdryer, etc.
93
Nurserychanging pad: actual padyes
See my "changing table" entry for overview and details.

We went with just a pad on a kitchen island to save space and it was great. It also gave us a chance to see how things went without committing to a changing table right out of the gate (and before we moved to a bigger place). Changing pads are surprisingly difficult to find - most are sold as part of a changing table set-up, so 90% of them are configured for those dimensions + laterally oriented. That means you're reaching over her to get to her far side. We much preferred having her feet at the near edge and her head to the wall: it's easier to clean up a baby when the whole diaper is at your end of the baby rather than off to your left or right.

We started with a heavy duty travel changing mat with some cushioning I added. Then, when I bought a used Stokke table, I swapped in that mat until we set up the table itself. I love this mat and would recommend it if you're going with a no-changing-table set-up and just need the mat. It's big enough for a bigger kid, has a graceful shape, and doesn't have that crunchy plastic sound and feel that most mats do. (It also doesn't have the high curved sides that lateral mats do to prevent baby from rolling off the table. I think it's not an issue with the Stokke mat, since if your baby rolls to the side in a vertical orientation, it'll just be onto the table, if you see what I mean.)



Stokke Care Changing Table Mattress
Stokke Care Changing Table Mattresshttp://tinyurl.com/3prrvfd

See my "changing table" entry for overview and details.

We went with just a pad on a kitchen island to save space and it was great. It also gave us a chance to see how things went without committing to a changing table right out of the gate (and before we moved to a bigger place). Changing pads are surprisingly difficult to find - most are sold as part of a changing table set-up, so 90% of them are configured for those dimensions + laterally oriented. That means you're reaching over her to get to her far side. We much preferred having her feet at the near edge and her head to the wall: it's easier to clean up a baby when the whole diaper is at your end of the baby rather than off to your left or right.

We started with a heavy duty travel changing mat with some cushioning I added. Then, when I bought a used Stokke table, I swapped in that mat until we set up the table itself. I love this mat and would recommend it if you're going with a no-changing-table set-up and just need the mat. It's big enough for a bigger kid, has a graceful shape, and doesn't have that crunchy plastic sound and feel that most mats do. (It also doesn't have the high curved sides that lateral mats do to prevent baby from rolling off the table. I think it's not an issue with the Stokke mat, since if your baby rolls to the side in a vertical orientation, it'll just be onto the table, if you see what I mean.)
94
Nurserychanging pad: coveryes
Most changing pads come covered with a waterproof plastic or fabric, so yup, get a couple of cozy covers for yours so your little one is comfortable. Get at least two because there'll be accidents all the time. (I bought some waterproof pads and tried to pre-manage the accidents - and the resulting laundry - by laying them under the baby during diaper changes, but it was futile. Babies' poo has magical powers to spread just beyond the edges of everything you've put down to contain it + extra materials on the changing mat slide around. Just stick with the covers.)

The Stokke mat isn't plastic waterproof the way some are, but I think that's why it's more comfortable than most. But the fabric covering the mat is pretty repellant, so if something gets through the terry cover, it's OK.


Stokke Care Changing Mat Terry Cover
Stokke Care Changing Mat Terry Coverhttp://www.babyearth.com/stokke-care-changing-pad-terry-cover.html

Most changing pads come covered with a waterproof plastic or fabric, so yup, get a couple of cozy covers for yours so your little one is comfortable. Get at least two because there'll be accidents all the time. (I bought some waterproof pads and tried to pre-manage the accidents - and the resulting laundry - by laying them under the baby during diaper changes, but it was futile. Babies' poo has magical powers to spread just beyond the edges of everything you've put down to contain it + extra materials on the changing mat slide around. Just stick with the covers.)

The Stokke mat isn't plastic waterproof the way some are, but I think that's why it's more comfortable than most. But the fabric covering the mat is pretty repellant, so if something gets through the terry cover, it's OK.
95
Nurserychanging pad: waterproof lap pads/squares no
I don't know why I got snagged on getting waterproof pads, squares and cloths. I was afraid the car seat, the changing table and the crib would require constant cleaning up from accidents. I thought these pads would save having to wash the changing pad covers or the car seat padding or whatever got wet, but diapers actually work well, and I didn't end up using the ones I got after the first couple of weeks. You don't need 'em.

If you insist on having them, the ones I got will probably work for you though.


Snoozy Organic Flannel Cotton Waterproof Lap Pad (3-pack)
Snoozy Organic Flannel Cotton Waterproof Lap Pad (3-pack)http://tinyurl.com/43yrsa4

I don't know why I got snagged on getting waterproof pads, squares and cloths. I was afraid the car seat, the changing table and the crib would require constant cleaning up from accidents. I thought these pads would save having to wash the changing pad covers or the car seat padding or whatever got wet, but diapers actually work well, and I didn't end up using the ones I got after the first couple of weeks. You don't need 'em.

If you insist on having them, the ones I got will probably work for you though.
96
Nurserychanging tableno
We didn't have space for a changing table in our apartment + we didn't love the idea of purchasing a giant piece of furniture we'd only be using for a couple of years while she was still in diapers. Instead of spending that money and using that space, we converted our relatively unused kitchen island into Astrid's Place. A changing pad fit on top, linen bins of supplies and clothes below, bright and sunny and - very handy for baths and accidents - near the sink. We know a number of couples who took this route. It's just nicer to be able to pick your child's furniture based on your taste later rather than being restricted by the relatively narrow changing table options.

We knew she'd outgrow the kitchen island solution within a year so I found a Stokke Changing Table for a reasonable price used and we stored it until we moved to a bigger place. I love the Stokke. The shape is graceful and, brilliantly, it converts to a child's desk once we're done with the changing table function. They're not cheap but pop up occasionally used and are so well-made they should be in decent shape if you find one. Check craigstlist or your local parent's boards. Buying new? Check Baby Earth or Giggle.com.

If you're permanently space-restricted but have some money to spend, you might consider a fold-down changing table. There are some out there that don't look like the Koala Kare plastic ones in public restrooms. I haven't tried or seen one in person, so I don't know how they hold up, but I'd imagine you'd have to install it securely so you could sleep at night! If you get one, let me know how it works out! (Ikea makes a lightweight one for cheap that looks like it might collapse immediately, but who knows??)


Stokke Care Changing Table
Stokke Care Changing Tablehttp://www.stokke.com/nursery/stokke-care-changing-table.aspx

We didn't have space for a changing table in our apartment + we didn't love the idea of purchasing a giant piece of furniture we'd only be using for a couple of years while she was still in diapers. Instead of spending that money and using that space, we converted our relatively unused kitchen island into Astrid's Place. A changing pad fit on top, linen bins of supplies and clothes below, bright and sunny and - very handy for baths and accidents - near the sink. We know a number of couples who took this route. It's just nicer to be able to pick your child's furniture based on your taste later rather than being restricted by the relatively narrow changing table options.

We knew she'd outgrow the kitchen island solution within a year so I found a Stokke Changing Table for a reasonable price used and we stored it until we moved to a bigger place. I love the Stokke. The shape is graceful and, brilliantly, it converts to a child's desk once we're done with the changing table function. They're not cheap but pop up occasionally used and are so well-made they should be in decent shape if you find one. Check craigstlist or your local parent's boards. Buying new? Check Baby Earth or Giggle.com.

If you're permanently space-restricted but have some money to spend, you might consider a fold-down changing table. There are some out there that don't look like the Koala Kare plastic ones in public restrooms. I haven't tried or seen one in person, so I don't know how they hold up, but I'd imagine you'd have to install it securely so you could sleep at night! If you get one, let me know how it works out! (Ikea makes a lightweight one for cheap that looks like it might collapse immediately, but who knows??)
97
Nurserycrib: co-sleeper or bassinetno
The sleep container options for infants can be confusing. Any of these - the co-sleeper, the bassinet, the Moses basket, the mini crib (what we got, see "crib" entry) or even a Pack n Play portable crib - will take your new baby up until s/he is maybe 9-12 months maximum, maybe only six in the bassinet or basket. After that s/he'll be too big for them and will need to move to a full-sized crib. (Our mini crib said "up to 2 years" but she would have to have been super tiny to make it that long - we had to move her at nine months to larger accommodations.) A lot of cribs will then convert to toddler beds once your child can get up on his/her own to use the bathroom or come wake you up at 5AM to watch cartoons and eat Froot Loops.

Infants can sleep just fine in full-sized cribs although they look incredibly small on those big mattresses! Going straight to a full-sized crib that converts to a toddler bed is definitely your most long-term economical solution. But if you don't have space for one yet or want your baby sleeping in your bedroom for a while (where you might also be tight on space), any of these options are a good choice and aren't usually super-expensive unless you go with the handmade, lace-draped Victorian type (see the $1000+ Roses Bassinet linked here). The bassinet and Moses basket are the smallest of the choices. The former usually rolls, so you can move it around easily, and the latter is designed to be picked up by its handles, so you can take it with you and put the baby down to sleep in it at your dinner companions' apartment when you get there.

The co-sleeper is a small, light crib made of net and plastic that has a side that drops down so you can bump it up against the side of your bed. The advantage: the baby is essentially sleeping with you but has her own safe space. If your baby will nurse while you're lying down, the co-sleeper makes night feedings super easy. Arm's Reach seems to have the co-sleeper marketed sewed up and offers a lot of options.

If you're an attachment parenting couple, the co-sleeper is probably your best bet if you're not actually sleeping with the baby in your bed, which can mean sleeplessness for you or potential hazard for the baby. (Lots of people disagree with me on that but I just couldn't get past my fear of rolling over on our little one! Usually, actually, the danger is your spouse who tends to sleep more deeply through a baby's fussing than the birth mother.)



Arm's Reach co-sleeper
Arm's Reach co-sleeperhttp://tinyurl.com/3o93bed

Roses Bassinet with Linens
Roses Bassinet with Linenshttp://tinyurl.com/3nxcvjlThe sleep container options for infants can be confusing. Any of these - the co-sleeper, the bassinet, the Moses basket, the mini crib (what we got, see "crib" entry) or even a Pack n Play portable crib - will take your new baby up until s/he is maybe 9-12 months maximum, maybe only six in the bassinet or basket. After that s/he'll be too big for them and will need to move to a full-sized crib. (Our mini crib said "up to 2 years" but she would have to have been super tiny to make it that long - we had to move her at nine months to larger accommodations.) A lot of cribs will then convert to toddler beds once your child can get up on his/her own to use the bathroom or come wake you up at 5AM to watch cartoons and eat Froot Loops.

Infants can sleep just fine in full-sized cribs although they look incredibly small on those big mattresses! Going straight to a full-sized crib that converts to a toddler bed is definitely your most long-term economical solution. But if you don't have space for one yet or want your baby sleeping in your bedroom for a while (where you might also be tight on space), any of these options are a good choice and aren't usually super-expensive unless you go with the handmade, lace-draped Victorian type (see the $1000+ Roses Bassinet linked here). The bassinet and Moses basket are the smallest of the choices. The former usually rolls, so you can move it around easily, and the latter is designed to be picked up by its handles, so you can take it with you and put the baby down to sleep in it at your dinner companions' apartment when you get there.

The co-sleeper is a small, light crib made of net and plastic that has a side that drops down so you can bump it up against the side of your bed. The advantage: the baby is essentially sleeping with you but has her own safe space. If your baby will nurse while you're lying down, the co-sleeper makes night feedings super easy. Arm's Reach seems to have the co-sleeper marketed sewed up and offers a lot of options.

If you're an attachment parenting couple, the co-sleeper is probably your best bet if you're not actually sleeping with the baby in your bed, which can mean sleeplessness for you or potential hazard for the baby. (Lots of people disagree with me on that but I just couldn't get past my fear of rolling over on our little one! Usually, actually, the danger is your spouse who tends to sleep more deeply through a baby's fussing than the birth mother.)
98
Nurserycrib: mattressyes
Yes, you need a mattress! Most of the non-standard sleep containers (co-sleeper, travel crib, bassinet, etc.) come with a mattress, but with full-sized cribs, you'll often have to buy the mattress separately. This is because there a number of options: organic, heavier, lighter, coverings of different types. Make sure to check if the mattress you pick has a waterproof covering; if not, you'll absolutely need to get one separately.

For the record, I agree with the view that you should get your little one a new mattress even if you find a nice crib used. Mattresses can harbor all sorts of icky things, so this is one of the things I'd spring for straight from the store. We got one of the thicker, more padded and more comfortable mattresses - anything to help improve sleep! - and we've been really happy with it. She transitioned to the big crib relatively seamlessly and I attribute some of that to the comfy mattress we got for her. (Her mini crib mattress was a bit stiff.)

Whatever you get, remember to buy it early if you can (like, a month before baby's arrival): they come sheathed in plastic and smell a bit of industrial-ness. Take it out of the plastic and let it air out in the corner for a few weeks.


Sealy Baby Posturepedic Crown Jewel Mattress
Sealy Baby Posturepedic Crown Jewel Mattresshttp://tinyurl.com/3rpg8xu

Yes, you need a mattress! Most of the non-standard sleep containers (co-sleeper, travel crib, bassinet, etc.) come with a mattress, but with full-sized cribs, you'll often have to buy the mattress separately. This is because there a number of options: organic, heavier, lighter, coverings of different types. Make sure to check if the mattress you pick has a waterproof covering; if not, you'll absolutely need to get one separately.

For the record, I agree with the view that you should get your little one a new mattress even if you find a nice crib used. Mattresses can harbor all sorts of icky things, so this is one of the things I'd spring for straight from the store. We got one of the thicker, more padded and more comfortable mattresses - anything to help improve sleep! - and we've been really happy with it. She transitioned to the big crib relatively seamlessly and I attribute some of that to the comfy mattress we got for her. (Her mini crib mattress was a bit stiff.)

Whatever you get, remember to buy it early if you can (like, a month before baby's arrival): they come sheathed in plastic and smell a bit of industrial-ness. Take it out of the plastic and let it air out in the corner for a few weeks.
99
Nurserycrib: mattress pad x2wait
I almost skipped the mattress pad: our full-sized crib has a pretty soft mattress with a waterproof cover already and I've got soft flannel sheets on the bed. But a waterproof mattress is crinkly, there's no way around it: that plastic coating just seems hot and, well, plastic. So I got a mattress pad - ultimately a question of comfort, not necessity. This one is heavy, organic and completely damps the crinkling from the mattress. (It does make the super-tight baby sheets a little tough to get on the mattress but you can still do it.)

If I could have found one that fit our mini crib, I definitely would've gotten it: the mattress was a little hard. But there's so much caution out there about putting infants to bed on anything really soft (SIDS risk), that I dunno... If you're watching pennies, maybe skip this and see how it goes. There are some really nice soft sheets out there.


American Baby Company Organic Waterproof Quilted Crib and Toddler Pad Cover
American Baby Company Organic Waterproof Quilted Crib and Toddler Pad Coverhttp://tinyurl.com/3tvo4ld

I almost skipped the mattress pad: our full-sized crib has a pretty soft mattress with a waterproof cover already and I've got soft flannel sheets on the bed. But a waterproof mattress is crinkly, there's no way around it: that plastic coating just seems hot and, well, plastic. So I got a mattress pad - ultimately a question of comfort, not necessity. This one is heavy, organic and completely damps the crinkling from the mattress. (It does make the super-tight baby sheets a little tough to get on the mattress but you can still do it.)

If I could have found one that fit our mini crib, I definitely would've gotten it: the mattress was a little hard. But there's so much caution out there about putting infants to bed on anything really soft (SIDS risk), that I dunno... If you're watching pennies, maybe skip this and see how it goes. There are some really nice soft sheets out there.
100
Nurserycrib: sheets (fitted) x4yes
Four were recommended on most lists but two have been fine for us. You'll be doing a lot of laundry, so you should always have a clean one at hand.

Most cribs take a standard size sheet but if you go for the mini crib like we did or one of the cool, design-y cribs that are round or whatever, make sure you register for the corresponding size sheets. We had very limited options with our mini crib, which was a shame - I'd have liked to have gotten some toasty flannel sheets for our daughter when she was tiny, but no one made them in that specific crib size. (Link here is for the flannel sheets we like for our regular-sized crib.)


Tadpoles Organics Flannel Fitted Crib Sheets (x2)
Tadpoles Organics Flannel Fitted Crib Sheets (x2)http://tinyurl.com/3kewydq

Four were recommended on most lists but two have been fine for us. You'll be doing a lot of laundry, so you should always have a clean one at hand.

Most cribs take a standard size sheet but if you go for the mini crib like we did or one of the cool, design-y cribs that are round or whatever, make sure you register for the corresponding size sheets. We had very limited options with our mini crib, which was a shame - I'd have liked to have gotten some toasty flannel sheets for our daughter when she was tiny, but no one made them in that specific crib size. (Link here is for the flannel sheets we like for our regular-sized crib.)
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