17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lil Sis Needs Help

Ok. Midwives, giving birth, breastfeeding I can talk about ad nauseam...but when it comes to most first-time mother baby stuff...I am bored. Baby carriers, cool. But even high chairs, strollers and carseats I am just O-V-E-R. So when my lil sis emailed me to ask what she should register for, I was at a loss. I am actually going to a Babies R Us store today with my first-time mom friend to help her register. That will be fun b/c it is real shopping and it's my friend. I told lil sis to just check out her registry once we are done to get ideas...but I thought she could use some extra special help from ya'lls.

So, if you had to recommend 1 (or a few) can't-live-without baby items for that newborn, what would it be?

PS Try to make a suggestion that hasn't been covered yet. I don't want someone to recommend the Bopppy Breastfeeding pillow, then someone else disagree and state reasons why the Viva Breastfeeding Pillow is better, and then someone else brag about how they didn't even need a breastfeeding pillow. Just take a second to recommend an item that you personally couldn't live without. Make sense?


  • I'll go first.

    Lansinoh Breastfeeding Pads.
    They hold gallons and gallons of milk. They are more pricey then other brands, but you can wear one pair all day (if you wanted to).
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/20/2006 05:05:00 AM  

  • Cloth diapers. I never used them as actual poop receptacles, but rather as burb rags, spit up/ barf absorbers. I always had one or two of them in my diaper bag, and they were just so much more effective than anything else as a burp rag. Also, now that we are past diapers, I use them as dish rags, because they are still in pretty good shape. I suppose they are made to endure lots of abuse!

    I guess you could always use them on a child's bum, but I'm not going to go there. Talk to FMHLisa about that.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 4/20/2006 05:26:00 AM  

  • Ditto on the cloth diapers as burp rags. The My Brest Friend nursing pillow.

    I guess I'm not good at this, anymore. When registering for our 1st baby I thought (and was told) I needed *everything*! And so I bought or was given just about everything. And soon I learned just how little you need to keep a baby satisfied and happy. Food source? Check. Diapers? Check. Source of warmth? Check. All done. :) Wait, wait, wait...with child #1 a swing was invaluable.
    posted by Blogger Julie at 4/20/2006 05:45:00 AM  

  • This is probably a given, but depending on where she lives, the travel system was wonderful...car seat pops in, car seat pops out, and when they outgrow the car seat, the stroller is still useful (I still have mine to use with #3 and #1 turns 5 tomorrow!)

    Binkies. Hooded towels. Night Lights. Monitors. Pajamas with feet. Good-fitting nursing bras. LARGE thin receiving blankets for when nursing in public. Sturdy diaper bag. And yes! My boppy!

    Heck! I couldn't have lived without any of that stuff...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 4/20/2006 06:56:00 AM  

  • This is little stuff, but very useful:

    +pacifier thermometer (availeable at drug stores and superstores, too)
    +baby motrin--I think it lasts longer and is dye-free, so no purple splotches on cute clothes!

    -Most worthless baby item: baby bath robe. Stick to hooded towels, as mentioned.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 4/20/2006 07:13:00 AM  

  • I second the Lasinoh breastfeeding pads, they were the best! Also, a tube of Lasinoh cream stuff for the sore nipples that are sure to result from that freakishly strong baby's suckle!

    I think a good idea is to have some baby medication on hand just in case - mylecon (sp?) for gas, baby tylenol, diaper cream, etc.

    Also, with my dd, I LOVED putting her in those kimono-type shirts, they were so much easier for me to put on her than trying to pull a onesie over her big floppy head.

    Finally, if your baby likes to be swaddled, the $4 thin fleece blankets at Target are the best, they have enough stretch to make a nice baby burrito (though I don't know if swaddling is too comfy for a spring/summer baby)
    posted by Anonymous Mary at 4/20/2006 07:34:00 AM  

  • Second most worthless baby item: newborn size swim suit.

    Can't live without my simple bouncy seat--make sure the one you pick has a deep seat so a newborn doesn't roll off. May cost a little more, but SO worth it. Make sure it actually bounces too--some can be stiff. Try it out.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 4/20/2006 07:37:00 AM  

  • Oh yeah, we debated over getting a port-a-crib/playpen thingy with our first. We already had a real crib. We got it and we use it ALL the time (our kids, friend's kids). Cheapo one has lasted us 3 kids so far.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 4/20/2006 07:40:00 AM  

  • In general, my advice is to get as little stuff as possible until you actually need it once the baby arrives.

    I got a Graco portable crib for a gift, and it has been awesome.
    posted by Blogger Gina at 4/20/2006 07:41:00 AM  

  • Mylicon- a God-send in our house of colicy, reflux babies.

    Bouncy seat- ditto above.

    Cloth diapers- ditto everything already said. While they may seem expensive to start, they pay for themselves ten times over in the long run.

    Thin receiving blankets-even for a fall or winter baby, these are so nice for so many things, including nursing and the baby burrito. My kids loved being swaddled.

    Lots of cotton 'sleep n' play' outfits: one piece, snaps, easy on and off, feet covered without the perenially lost sock.

    SKIP: the wipe warmer- it's a nice idea when you're a newbie, the first few times you change baby, but seriously, it's throwing money away!
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 4/20/2006 08:07:00 AM  

  • My mom recommends a special pad (hers was like a giant sponge) that you can rest the newborn on in the tub or sink as you try to give the floppy, quirmy little thing a bath! :)
    posted by Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve at 4/20/2006 08:15:00 AM  

  • Lansinoh pads, the best thing ever.

    Mylicon drops - best thing ever.

    Cloth diapers - best things ever.

    Huggies wipes - best brand of wipes ever. (Costco brand is weak)

    Avent bottles - best bottles ever.

    Breat pump - I like the huge expensive one, but to each his own. Best thing ever.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 4/20/2006 08:28:00 AM  

  • Robeez are a must for my babies and are comfortable and so much easier than trying to keep socks or little shoes on constantly kicking feet (I tried other brands and Robeez are the best).

    Boppy Noggin Nest is a great find as well because you can use the insert in your swing, bouncer, or car seat to support the baby’s head.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 4/20/2006 08:33:00 AM  

  • Anything with feet attached!

    Not just pajama's with feeties, but pants too. They just don't keep socks or shoes on as newborns.

    The Lansinoh Breast Cream was the best! I would recommend to start using it 3-4 months before the baby is born. It prevents you from having cracking/bleeding issues after the baby is born.

    An electric breast pump. This saved me more than once. My little girl didn't like to nurse though, so if you've got one who loves to nurse, it probably wouldn't be worth it.

    Binki's, lots of different types (a good thing to register for because it's a little thing people can add to their gift). You never know which type your baby will end up liking.
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 4/20/2006 09:41:00 AM  

  • Can I ask a silly question? I am pg with my 2nd baby and with my first, I didn't start using the Lasinoh cream until after I started breastfeeding and was so sore! Someone mentioned starting to use it a few months before the baby is born. So, the cream kind of left marks on the inside of my nursing pads. If you use it before you have the baby, do you recommend wearing something to keep it from marking up your bras/garments? Thanks, our next baby is due in June and I've got to get to work on toughening up!
    posted by Anonymous Mary at 4/20/2006 10:51:00 AM  

  • Mary, My first and second breastfeeding experiences were so different. With the first, I was in a lot pain for the first 2 months, had mastitis, and blisters. It was awful. Nothing like that happened with the second. It was so much easier. My take is that the first baby toughens you up (breasts never the same again!) and that makes it easy with other babies.
    posted by Blogger Michelle at 4/20/2006 11:06:00 AM  

  • Love the Lansinoh pads - they really are the best and worth the extra money.

    Second the cloth diapers - we went through reams of them with DS who spit up a lot.

    A good bouncy seat is a sound investment.

    Find a friend who isn't using a baby swing and BORROW it - babies don't use them for too long (mayb 2-3 months) and its not worth the investment - better to borrow.

    A good infant carrier, like a Baby Bjorn. Invaluable even if you're not an urban dweller - you can keep your baby close while making dinner or vacumming.

    And I know I'm a stroller whore but get a good stroller. Can't say enough good things about Maclarens.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 4/20/2006 11:24:00 AM  

  • I agree with Gina above about buying LESS rather than more, especially when it comes to baby receptacles like swings, bouncy seats, travel systems (need the carseat, of course) and the like. Borrow them from a friend when the baby comes to see if she'll sit in it, and if it turns out to be useful then it's not hard to order your own online. All of the above items have turned out to be entirely useless for all three of my babies, for example. (They did eventually tolerate the bouncy seat, but would have done just as well on the floor. And eventually they LOVE the exersaucer, but again, wait on that one.)

    Here are my only three must-haves for infants:

    ---Maya wrap sling
    ---white noise machine
    ---swaddling blankets

    That's it. That's literally all I use, except for clothing and diapers and boobs, for my three-week-old.
    posted by Anonymous Rosalynde at 4/20/2006 12:00:00 PM  

  • I was just gonna say, "I can't believe no one has mentioned the BABY BJORN!!!" Lifesaver! And such a huge difference from any other baby carrier. It's worth the extra money to buy BJORN.

    Hooter Hider... that's the brand name- but I am making them now since they're the best INVENTION ever, and for a lot less!! (call me! :) It makes it so that you can nurse without doing the chin hold on the receiving blanket and so that baby can still see you. THE BEST!!!!!!!

    Cloth diapers make really cute burp clothes, especially if you just get a scrap of fabric, some cute ribbon or decorative edging, and sew it to one end. Cheap and cute- and they absorb a ton.

    That's all for now... baby # 4 is SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!!! ear plugs anyone? j/k
    posted by Blogger BJHBHB at 4/20/2006 12:18:00 PM  

  • I second the burp rags, the Mycolin drops (get the generic kind, it's just as great), and the little flannel receiving blankets.

    I also love the little, super-soft baby washcloths--even the thick terry-cloth ones always feel too scratchy to rub my poor newborn with.

    And one of those plastic changing pads that roll up--I don't have a changing table, so I'm always changing the baby wherever. Once they are about two months old I don't use the changing pad anymore, but I use it all the time for the first little while.

    And I'd skip the diaper bag until later. You'll probably get at least one from the hospital, and I used that one until I decided how much stuff I wanted to carry around. THEN I bought the right size for me.
    posted by Blogger Keryn at 4/20/2006 12:45:00 PM  

  • The book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth.

    It rescued me from the pit of despair. (new mom sleep deprivation)

    You can get it on Amazon used
    for less than 8 bucks.
    posted by Blogger Abby at 4/20/2006 01:03:00 PM  

  • I think the best thing to toughen up nipples is to let them blister. It will be painful for about a week and then no pain. I used tons of cream for #1 and none for #2. I hate the stains too.

    tracy m-you still preggers?

    thanks for all this guys...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/20/2006 01:03:00 PM  

  • The thing I wasn't going to buy, but am very glad I did was this bathtub. It comes with a hammock to use with very young babies that holds them above the water. It has a drain on the bottom that also acts as a water temperature warning. I used it over our kitchen sink for awhile then as my baby got bigger, I just set it in the bottom of the bathtub. I could put him in this tub on the bathroom floor with some toys while I showered (it doesn't work now cause he can climb out of it. I'm very pleased with it, and will still get plenty of use out of it. Here are some action shots.
    infant side
    toddler side
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 4/20/2006 01:05:00 PM  

  • yup
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 4/20/2006 02:44:00 PM  

  • Mary,

    As far as using the Lansinoh cream before birth, you do need something to protect your underclothing from stains. I just got some small washable nursing pads. They didn't hardly show through the bra. But you coud just use a thin piece for pillow-case-material, and it would work as well. Really the cream will save you! I never got one blister or crack and I used it for four months before I had my little girl. It was recommended to me by my sister in law who just had her thrid and blistered no matter what unless she used the cream religously morning and night. She was an extreme case.
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 4/20/2006 04:54:00 PM  

  • If she's going to use pacifiers, then a binkie leash is going to be pretty important.

    Also, there's a nice, fat, free book from the American Academy of Pediatrics called Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to AGe 5 that you can get through State Farm thusly: Go to this website, enter "good" for the username and "neighbor" as the password. Click "order online" (just after the phone number about halfway down the page). Fill in the information, and you should get a baby book in about a month or so.

    A friend told me about this and it's a great (and free) reference.
    posted by Blogger a. nonny spouse at 4/20/2006 04:56:00 PM  

  • Cloth diapers for burp rags (these actually became my kids "blankies", at least I had 12 others that were exactly the same)

    Mylicon drops

    boppy pillow--great for night-time sleepy arms, great for older siblings to hold the baby, but for us it was fabulous to have the baby sleep in. As soon as you lay them out flat on their backs they would wake up. Sleeping kind of packed into the bobby made it so much better. Ours fit great into our bassinet--this wasn't a necessity but we have a family one that gets passed around that we all slept in. Also boppies are great when they are learning to sit and play.

    pack-n-play crib--for traveling it's great, also for visitors to your home. We had our outside a lot for a safe place for the baby to play while we worked in the yard, etc.

    Aquaphor cream--fab for diaper rash and also for those little dry feet and hands the first few weeks. I use it myself when I get dry elbows and with a bad cold for a dry nose.
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 4/20/2006 08:15:00 PM  

  • I'll give a shout-out to Desitin Creamy. It goes on really easily and smells pretty nice (you don't have the funky odor that bottom balms with shark oil have).

    I also am a fan of the Sleep Sacks. If you can get the ones where the zippers starts at the bottom, nightime changes are even easier. (The only problem I had with the sacks at first is that my twins were small enough that the neck-opening slipped down to their waists. It was pretty cute, though).

    Another thing I depend upon are the waterproof pads. They work great over the crib sheet (for spit-up or diaper blowouts) or in our bed (for those middle-of-the-night nurse-till-I-conk-out-and-wow-there's
    -a-baby-next-to-me-when-I-wake-up feedings.

    (One more thing) Gerber makes a Breast Therapy - Gentle Moisturizing Balm that I like better than the lanolin cream. It doesn't stain, smells okay, and you don't have to wash off before nursing (or if you forget, you don't have babies with greasy faces).

    And I totally, totally agree with the cloth diapers and Boppy. And the Lansinoh pads (I've tried three. Lansinoh are the best!)
    posted by Blogger Allanna at 4/21/2006 11:19:00 AM  

  • My list:

    - A friend gave us a plasitc tote filled with all DD's diaper changing needs (diapers, wipes, diaper cream, Purel, changing pad) to use downstairs - nice to not have to schlep up the stairs just to change a diaper.
    - Same friend gave us a sponge thing to bath a newborn on. Nice because the sponge is warm and a lot easier in those first few weeks.
    - Lots and lots of books. We have to buy books all the time because my daughter loves to read.
    - An activity gym. Great to help your baby grap and swat at things and entertaining when they can't really move about.
    - Instead of a sleep positioner, we used a rolled up cotton blanket and positioned it around her little head - works well for the first little bit and it is what they used with our daughter in the NICU.
    - Sleeping gowns/sacks. Much easier to change a diaper at 3am than trying to button up PJs.
    - Baby Bjorn is a must. Used mine all the time.
    - Lots of bibs for drool and spit up messes. Saves the baby's clothes from getting ruined too.
    - Last but not least...well, two things, the Tide Pen (great at spot cleaning on the go) and spray stain remover (will need this to save all your clothes and the baby's from spit up messes).
    posted by Blogger Elise at 4/21/2006 02:20:00 PM  

  • All of these ideas are great! I asked for a similar list of recommendations from the Tales girls when I registered. I second what Chloe says about the baby swing...definitely borrow one and see if your baby is into it. So much depends on your baby's personality (which surprised me), so if it's possible to borrow stuff before making the investment it's a great idea. No matter what you do, the baby may not like to sleep in their crib, or swing in their swing, or bounce in their bouncer. Especially when they are itty bitty newborns. Nothing is really "made" for a newborn... they are too small for it all.

    The bouncer has been a saviour to me as far as putting my little guy in it when I take a shower. Cloth diapers... TONS! And regular diapers so you don't have to run out and grab some that first week. Baby t-shirt or gowns for those first weeks when you're waiting for the umbilical chord to fall off and you don't want clothes that are too tight around it. I have a very cuddly baby and so the BJORN is awesome. I can't say enough though about how much the baby's personality effects what is useful to you in your home... once they're here you'll find out quickly what you really use all the time.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 4/21/2006 02:43:00 PM  

  • Oh, I wish this list had been around when I was registering!

    My big ol' Medela double-breasted pump came in a fairly stylish black bag that I could take to and from work. Also, a double-breasted pump was the only way to go for me; I'm not patient enough to do one boob at a time.

    I second (third?) Avent bottles (Gerber now makes nipples for Avent that are a lot cheaper!).

    Wal-Mart socks...I got some at my shower, and now, I give them to my new mom friends. They come in a pack of 8 pairs; the boys' have white and grey (sorry, don't know what the girls' look like). Those socks DO NOT come off!
    posted by Blogger EmilyCC at 4/21/2006 03:14:00 PM  

  • A few little things that might come in handy at some point during the first year:
    -formula dispenser for the diaper bag
    -feeding spoons
    -binky leash
    -moisturizing stick
    -baby sunscreen

    And I really like Dr. Browns bottles for a gassy, spit-up-prone baby.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 4/22/2006 09:48:00 AM  

  • I just thought of a couple more things... if you're gonna buy a diaper contraption we like the Diaper Champ because 1) it keeps smell out of the house and 2) you don't have to buy special trash bags for it, just regular kitchen trash bags fit. Also, depending on your lifestyle and what you want to do about strollers, I really love our Universal Car Seat Carrier 2 by Kolcraft. It is lightweight and compact and SO easy. It is also pretty inexpensive. Then we have a Maclaren Quest for when the baby gets a little older. I just never wanted anything big and bulky and heavy. This choice was awesome for us.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 4/22/2006 10:15:00 AM  

  • Five yards of fabric and a website.

    I also LOVED arnica montana (60cc) for post-partum pain.

    I just use a squirt bottle and little fleece squares I can wash and re-use for wipeys... I made them out of an old sheet.

    A nipple guard was a life-saver for us, but don't get one if you don't NEED one.

    Oil (regular olive is fine) to cover baby's bottom for the first few days. It helps in cleaning meconium.

    Finally, People! I know you can't buy this, but having a strong support system... and not just for the first few weeks... is invaluable.
    posted by Blogger Amber at 4/22/2006 11:05:00 PM  


    What a treat....for weeks to come.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/23/2006 08:18:00 AM  

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