Friday, September 29, 2006

My Essential Baby Stuff List

Even though I'm cheap, I mean frugal, it doesn't mean I won't spend money on "nonessentials". When I found I was pregnant with Baby, I took a trip down memory lane and thought of all the stuff that I would have really used with Kiddo but couldn't afford or discovered too late. This list skips obvious things like car seats and high chairs.

A Co-Sleeper
Kiddo had colic, so he didn't sleep in his crib much. He had me up a lot; I don't think I got more than two hours of sleep in a row for months. Before I went back to work he and I would sleep down on the futon so Daddy could get some sleep for work. When Kiddo did sleep in the crib I slept with one ear open, listening for him, and didn't really get much rest. With Baby my thought was a bassinet that I could put next to our bed, but Nana found us this Co-Sleeper. This is the mini version, which is bassinet sized, and Baby will probably outgrow it soon; if we had a bigger place I would have loved the full sized one. It secures to the bed so it can't be knocked over or shoved away in the night. With this, when baby fusses I don't have to actually wake all the way up to check him or feed him (I let him nurse in the side position and doze while he feeds). I also am not straining, even in my sleep, to hear him, because he's right there. It's not just lack of colic helping me sleep better with Baby, it's having him right there so I can relax, too.

A Boppy
This is a nursing pillow. It goes around your waist while you're feeding baby and gives you someplace to rest your arms and the weight of the baby. This is an absolute back saver, and I recommend them to everyone. There's other brands out there, but I tend to call them all "Boppys". I'm still using the one I had with Kiddo, although it has flattened out a little. This pillow has a long life - you can use it as a sitting support when your baby is starting to sit. I used it as a knee support in bed when I was pregnant with Baby, and Kiddo likes to sit "in" it when watching TV. You don't have to be breastfeeding to get the benefits, it works equally well when bottle feeding. These now come "plain" and you can purchase covers for them, but they wash well if you're careful drying them.

A Baby Monitor
I didn't really need a monitor at first, because Baby was rarely out of eyesight. But now that he's not nursing every two hours I'll put him to sleep in the other room. Thanks to SIDS, there is a huge emphasis on never, ever, ever leaving your baby alone. This can place a tremendous amount of stress on a new mom, especially if her baby has delicate health (with Kiddo I was afraid to leave him alone long enough to take a shower), so spend the money and gain some peace of mind. Baby monitors run from simple listening devices to super-duper infra-red video surveillance systems. My recommendations are: 1) get one with a wireless remote monitor so you feel free to move about, 2) check the frequency of your cordless phone and make sure the monitor is not on the same frequency, as they will interfere with each other, and 3) it is well worth your while to check websites like Amazon that allow customer reviews to see if there are any performance issues. While many of the inexpensive ones aren't designed to last for years, you can get a lot of mileage out of them. Before Baby was born I used Kiddo's monitor to listen in on him when he was playing upstairs in his room. Some of the video monitors allow you to use them as a mini television when you don't need a monitor any more.

A Diaper Genie
Anyone who remembers diaper-pail odor will adore this. This or one of the several systems like it takes each dirty disposable diaper and wraps it individually to seal in the smell. You can achieve the same effect by tying each diaper into a used plastic grocery bag, but let me tell you, that's a lot of grocery bags. The liner inserts for them cost around $6 and last about 3 weeks in our house, with an infant and a 3 year old who's completely disinterested in potty training. Unless you take out the trash every single day, I'd really recommend one of these. Note: be sure that the refills for your exact system are regularly available in your area.

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