You Already Have the Basics
My mentor used to say moms already have all they need. Arms to hold the baby, breasts to feed her and a heart to lover her. True, true, but there are a few more things I would add.
Can’t Do without #1 Diapers:
It’s a dirty job and it’s now yours. The first thing a little one get’s donned with beside the baby blanket is a diaper. Whether you decide to go with cloth diapers or ecologically friendly disposable ones, you’ll need something to catch number one and his evil brother, number two – even if you’re doing elimination communication you are going to need the occasional diaper or 24.
I recommend Nature Baby Care Diapersif you are going the eco friendly route. I used (use them) because you wont find any of the chemicals you find in the other brand name diapers.
According to them:”
When it comes to your baby’s wellbeing you have a choice. A choice between environmentally friendly diapers based on natural materials that provide superior performance and are gentle on your baby, or your everyday run-of-the-mill diaper so often based on petrochemicals.
That’s why our diapers are:
- 100% chlorine free
- Based on biodegradable materials with a biodegradable back sheet and high loft
- 100% GM free
They also make nursing pads and sanitary pads!
If you are going the cloth Diaper Route Bum Geniusis an easy way to get started. There is no consensus on which cloth diapers are the best, in my experience (I used to own a maternity store) many of my clients used and raved about this diaper. I found them easy to use. Of course if we are going to talk about cloth diapers then you Must talk about soap to wash them with. You should not use your regular detergent to wash cloth diapers. The hands down winner for me is Rockin’ Green.
Here’s what they say about themselves: “Rockin’ Green is an award-winning manufacturer of eco-friendly cleaning products designed to make cleaning easier and greener. Most well-known for their clean-rinsing laundry detergent formulated for use on all fabrics and especially useful on cloth diapers, Rockin’ Green produces detergents for hard, soft and normal water conditions (known as Hard, Soft and Classic Rock varieties).Rockin’ Green also carries Funk Rock, a first-of-its kind natural ammonia bouncer, and Melody, an odor-neutralizer and air freshener home spray.”
I love their story, their customer service and their sense of humor:
Babes in arms #2 Baby Carriers
Okay, baby is now in a diaper. Great, now what? Well, you are going to want to hold your baby. “Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry and fuss.”* I can hear you say, but Gena, I have laundry to do and dinner to cook and phones to answer, how can I possibly hold my baby?” Simple, do what our ancestors did. Wear your baby. A wrap sling is great for newborns, it keeps them snug and safe.
Their body is close to you, and you can even position the wrap to hold their head (see photo).
A Ring Sling is a great carrier if you only plan on buying one carrier. I personally adore Sakura Bloom. They make their slings out of linen. On their site they describe why this is an important factor: “Linen is naturally antibacterial with a built-in wicking property to it, so is fantastic for hot climates where baby might be sweating. It will wick moisture away from the baby and then dry quickly on it own keeping you both comfortable. Linen is made from Flax which is one of the world’s strongest natural fibers. Flax is 5 times stronger than cotton! Sakura Bloom linen slings breathe beautifully, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.” I have had the pleasure of using their slings over the last 6 years.
For more reasons on why you should hold your baby often see the Natural Child Project’s post on the 10 Reasons to Wear Your Baby.
Getting Around, Safely #3 Car Seat
If you drive a car, then you’ll need a good car seat. Check the following sites for information on car seat safety ratings, and be sure to have your seat installed properly and learn how to position your baby in it correctly: NHTSA Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings,NHTSA Child Safety, Car-Seat.org. Most parents have their car seats installed incorrectly. Make the investment, keep your baby safe. When I can afford one I want the Recaro seat. Yes, Recaro the same folks that make car seats for race car drivers.
Pump it Up #4 Brestfeeding Gear: For mamas returning to work, invest in a good pump and quality bottles or cups. You may need nursing pads while your baby establishes a good milk supply – try cloth ones instead of disposable to lessen the amount of packaging and waste, plus the disposables can stick to sore nipples (ouch!).
First Aid #5 A Trusty Thermometer: It’s best to be sure and not guess when it comes to your babies health. Preferences vary on what kind of thermometer is “best,” but many parents like temporal read thermometers because they are easy to use and accurate.
Manicured Baby #6 Baby nail clippers: Baby finger nails are tiny. You need specialized equipment. Even at 5 my Uma’s nails are too tiny for big people clippers.
Clearing a Path #7 Nasal Aspirator: In our house we call it the booger sucker. Using it is easy (if you are nursing substitute Breast milk for saline. Usually, just a tad of breast milk will clear away the mucus.) If saline or breastmilk don’t do the job use an aspirator. This one LOOKS crazy but it works;
Suit Up #8 Baby Clothes It’s tempting to go out and buy cute little outfits for your adorable baby. Bear in mind however, that you will be changing diapers all day long. Do yourself a solid (considering all the soft poo you have to deal with) and get baby gowns. They make diaper changing easier no pants to pull off and if baby is bigger than expected it’s o.k. Gowns are forgiving and last a while.
Where Will Baby Sleep? #9 The Decision: When my mother was born, the story goes, my grandparents put her in a cot near their cot, they were migrant farm workers. They didn’t have a house so a crib was out of the question. Turns out they were doing my mom a favor. Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone . This means baby sleeps physiologically safer. Read more about this at the Attachment Parenting International site. You don’t necessarily NEED a big fancy crib. Co-Sleepers like the Arms Reach sell for $150 and make life easy by keeping baby, well, at arms reach. If you chose to share your bed with your baby (if you are nursing) all you need are safety guidelines. If you are concerned about your S.O. rolling over here’s a wonderful product, the Humanity Family Bed! It prevents roll-offs and allows for relaxed sleep. It’s a large pad for Mom and baby handcrafted from soft pure organic cotton flannel fabric to absorb leaks and comfort baby. It even has a Detachable Sleeping Bean body pillow essential comfort for pregnant moms. The pad stays in place by body weight and it’s Doctor recommended and endorsed! Read more about bed-sharing here.
A Bag by Any Other Name #10 The Diaper Bag
With my first child I actually owned a diaper bag that cost over $100. We all do silly things in our youth. By the time I was 36 and gave birth to my third child what (little) I carried when we went on outings, fit in a backpack I already owned! No fancy bag needed. Plus I’m not a big purse person as I have practically no shoulders to speak of. Instead of dealing with a slipping bag strap I just slipped my backpack on and go.
The Necessary Evil #11 Strollers
Strollers are neither necessary nor are they evil. However, many folks live lifestyles that may call for the help a trusty stroller can lend. I know we have employed the help of one at Jazz concerts and fairs. Look, if you are going to be outside of your home for hours alone or with a partner, there is going to be a time when you both will crave a few minutes when you are NOT HOLDING THE BABY FOR FIVE MINUTES! So, if you are sure your life will be full of enough circumstances where you will be traversing many miles or are planning on having more than one child, here is my stroller suggestion: Stroller Prologue: Back when we used to own a Maternity/Baby store we sold strollers. I have heard tons of feedback from customers and between their experience and my own I always suggest when asked, the Quinny. It’s nice to look at, but more importantly it folds easily (seriously, this is important!) and for an AP mom like me I love that the seat can face you. If I am going to push my babe out in front of me I at least want eye contact. Not to be THAT mom, have you all seen the film Away We Go!? LOL! Please watch the trailer, the scene is at 1:34 sec into the trailer.
This is it for the traditional registry list. However there are things that I WISH mamas would register for…
Be Supported, #12 Get a Doula:
Register for a doula. Ask for help to pay for a birth doula AND a postpartum doula.
Don’t Clean or Feed Your New Family #13 Frozen Food and Clean Up
You just gave birth. You, your baby and your partner are spent. This is a time to settle in together and get to know each other in your new dynamic. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to cook and clean does it? You have by now heard from friends and family, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Yes. Yes there is. At my last shower I insisted on no gifts, instead when everyone showed up they saw that I had a huge poster board up as a giant sign up sheet. I asked folks to sign up to:
1) Bring over a Frozen dinner day one after I had given birth and so on for 2 weeks out.
2) Come over to either a] Vacuum, b]do laundry, c] wash dishes etc
3) watch our other kids.
I made sure that our first two weeks in this new dynamic was respected and treated with reverence. My close friends and family were more than happy to do it and they saved money. My busy pals that couldn’t do these things bought frozen food or sent us take out on them or just bought us gift certificates or paid for a maid service. Thinking outside the box paid off in rest and relaxation after the hard work of gestation and labor!
*Hunziker, U.A. and R.G. Barr (1986). “Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A randomized controlled trial”. Pediatrics. 7:641-648