Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Things to buy

This is my advice on things to get for a new baby...

*new* 3/19/08
Baby soaps and lotions. Here's some stuff you should know courtesy of my friend MP. "Did you know that the government has no regulations on what can be put into the products we use, like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.? The worst part is that some of the worst chemicals are in our baby products!!! There is a non-profit group that tests the chemicals that go into our products and publishes them in a database. I highly recommend that you check it out! Go to http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. " She ended up choosing Burt's Bees (carried at Target). The Burt's Bees website has a lot of good info. I use it now and the scent is really pretty. It's $8 a bottle, but seriously, it will last a year because we only use soap twice a week (even past Caroline's 2nd birthday).

*new* 07/23/07
Also make sure you have baby medicines... Mylicon and Tylenol at least. You'll eventually want to have teething tabs on hand (better than orajel). The brand I like is Hylands and is in a pink, white and blue box in the baby isle. They disolve in your baby's mouth and sooth the symptoms with chamomile without making their mouth numb (which can be a choking hazard according to some sources).


Baby Monitor - We have the Graco Ultraclear Monitor. I think it's on the cheaper side, and I have no complaints about it. We actually took it downstairs and out into our street to listen for Caroline on the 4th of July and we heard her when the fireworks eventually woke her up. I have a friend that has a handheld video monitor. It was really cool to be able to watch the baby and not have to go all the way upstairs to peek in. But honestly, if we didn't have a two story house, I wouldn't need a monitor at all. In our old house, we just slept with our door open and Caroline easily woke me up for those middle of the night feedings and after naps.

Pack 'N Play/Bassinet - We opted for the pack 'n play instead of a bassinet. Ours (Graco Pack N Play - Oakwood) has a bassinet insert, so we were able to let Caroline sleep in that for the first few weeks that we had her in our bedroom. It's nice b/c you don't have to bend down very far. The one we got is a Graco and it has an attachment that has a 3 setting light (easy to check the baby in the middle of the night), sounds, and a vibrator. We actually kept using the vibrator by shoving it under the regular crib mattress since it seems to help Caroline sleep in those early days. Ours also has a changing station part - also good for when the baby is in your bedroom. I've never used it for "play."

Diapers - I really liked the Pampers Swaddlers when Caroline was in size newborn and 1. But now I like Huggies. I guess it's b/c they swell up in the front when she's wet, so I feel like they are more absorbant and easier to know that she needs a change.

Diaper creams - People rave about the Butt Paste, but I really think Balmex works better. And don't let anyone give you jars of diaper cream, return them for tubes of cream - I hate sticking my finger down in the stuff and getting it all under my nail. A bath with corn starch also really helps diaper rash (2 tablespoons for a baby bathtub or 1/3 cup for a real bathtub).

Bumpo - A cool new chair that babies can sit in, but I could have lived without it. I have used it on occasion as a portable feeding chair. Some babies take to it better, but it made Caroline spit up.

Highchair - We have the Fisher Price Space Saver highchair. It straps to your regular dining room chair. I have been really pleased with it. Even at 5 months old, Caroline was supported well in it. My only complaint is that my dining room chairs are heavy so I can't drag it easily into the kitchen so she can watch me work. I later also got a Fisher Price Healthy Care booster seat like my friend has. The back folds down and it has a carry strap. We used this at restaurants because it has a tray that was easier to feed Caroline off of. We've also been able to use it at relative's houses. And now that she's two, we've been using it at our dinner table instead of a booster.

WARNING: Carefully weigh your options if you decide to get an Eddie Bauer piece of baby furniture (swing, high chair, bassinet) - the small items are okay. I had a friend that didn't like her stuff and I've seen lots of bad reviews. It's why I didn't get any of it, even though it's tempting b/c it is so stylish. Function over fashion, people.

See UPDATE in Stroller section.

Munchkin Diaper Change Organizer - We have our changing table on the top of a dresser and I have this attached at the end of the dresser (we ended up screwing in the velcoro that it is supposed to attach with). I love it. I really do fill it up with the diapers. I use the side compartments for burp cloths and lap pads (waterproof pads).

Lap pads - they are like a burp cloth but have a waterproof quality. I'm not sure what the stores call them since "lap pad" is my grandmother's term. Anyway, these are good for putting on top of the changing pad cover or on top of the crib sheet. In the first few months, it saved us from having to change the cover or sheet many times by catching the spit up or "other" accidents (lots of leaky diapers in those early days).

Bright Starts Around We Go - I recommend this instead of an Exersaucer b/c the kids can play with it longer. But it does take up a little bit more space. I think the current version is "Tropical Smiles."
Caroline is still playging with the table part at two years old and all my friends' kids play with it when they come over.

Fisher Price Music & Motion Barnyard Gym - there are sides that come up on this play mat/gym, which is good b/c the baby will tend to look to the side a lot. Other gyms just have a flat mat.

Static cling car window sun shade - get a static cling sun shade versus the roller kind. The roller kind could come off in an accident and hurt the baby.

Towels - You'll get tons of baby towels (and blankets) - people just like to buy them. There are baby towels that are nice and thick like grown up towels - I like these. The other baby towels are thinner (like baby wash clothes are) and I wish I'd returned those b/c I feel like I just end up getting wet through them. If you are really blessed to know someone that sows, have them make you baby towels out of regular bath towels.

Boppy - I'm sure you know to get a Boppy. I really like the velour cover rather than the cotton ones. It's so soft : ) I have the blue/green and pink/orange ones. You need a spare b/c she'll get spit up on it sometimes.

Mom stuff - I don't know if you plan on breastfeeding, but I really liked the disposable pads for the first few weeks and then I recommend switching to the washable/reusable pads (I have 24 that I rotate through before I have to do laundry). You’ll need some lanolin too. I bought this stuff with items I returned. Use return money to stock up on batteries too. I even bought a heating pad and ice packs for my recovery with stuff I returned.

Strollers - With strollers, you have two options. You can get a 'travel system' which has the regular stroller with a car seat that clicks into it. Or you can get a 'car seat carrier' which is just a frame that the car seat fits into, and then when the baby outgrows the car seat, you get another stroller like an umbrella stroller. We got a travel system by Evenflow called Aura. It got really good reviews on Target.com. I like it. The only bad thing is that when it folds down, the stroller still takes up a lot of space - that's the big pro to the car seat carrier - smaller. The wheels have really good shocks and it is easy to push and steer when we go for walks. It also has a compartment with a hinged lid by the handlebar that fits my wallet and keys, or keys and sunglasses. The basket underneath also fits an entire diaper bag. The stroller has a canopy and when you have the car seat on it and pull the car seat shade forward, the baby is totally enclosed from sun, elements, or other people (there is a clear plastic window with a flap you can still see the baby through from the pushing position). When you look at strollers, make sure you practice collapsing them. Kevin hoisted this one off the shelf at Target and we played around until we got the hang of it before we registered. UPDATE: Once Caroline was 6 or 7 months old, I started just using my cheap, free with Toys 'R Us purchase, umbrella stroller for outings. It takes up less space in the mini-van and I leave it in the trunk at all times. I only use the big stroller for walks in our neighborhood or big outings like the Houston Aquarium. UPDATE: We upgraded to a nicer umbrella stroller when Caroline was almost two. It was around $40 and has a canopy and small basket underneath. Also, looking back, as I'm preparing for baby 2, I wish we'd gotten the car seat frame stroller instead of the travel system.


irene said...

great suggestions margaret! irma was just asking me a ton of these questions so i sent it on to her! it's good to have the advice from someone with more recent experience.

mindy said...

Thanks for the suggestions!
What towels would you suggest from like Target or BabiesRUs?
Interesting to read about the Eddie Bauer high chair, too. It looks great but I was wondering how it stood up as far as usability. Love the new living room colors - I love chair molding. Looks classy. We have put it up in our home too.