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Monday, June 26, 2006

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I never used my pack-n-play (what our moms called a playpen) except as a toy corral. And it's the one thing I can't give up, one of my best friends bought it, it's an adorable Noah's Ark print, and well, it's still so brand new looking from lack of use!

I found the Baby Bargins book by Denise and Alan Fields to be *very* helpful in making choices - they update the book often(website at www.windsorspeak.com)

I shopped at a baby store for a friend recently. I was amazed and a little jealous at how much the gear has been "updated" since I got mine in late '98.

Arwen, I'm so glad everything is going well!

The book I wish I had read while still pregnant was "The Happiest Baby On The Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp. My Owen wasn't at all colicky, but the book gave us a lot of confidence. We had great luck with waffle-weave recieving blankets for swaddling, though I've heard good things about some of the more expensive swaddling blankets.

I get to give advice! Oh, goody.

There are millions of lists that you can look at and they have lots of items. But I will say that if God blessed me with another baby, I will get another sling. Because each baby gets a new sling. And I use those slings for a LONG time (used mine again today in fact, and he's 27 lbs and 28 months old!). Oh, mine is a Maya wrap and I adore it. Actually I have two Maya wraps. They come with an instructional video, plus I learned how to wear a sling at LLL group. Having someone who already knew how to put one on helped a lot.

Other advice - I loved my bouncy seat this last time, but hardly used it with my daughter so who knows.

Don't buy much in the newborn size - they outgrow it so quickly.

And carseats must face backward until the baby is at least a year old. When you pick a carseat, get one that you can adjust the straps in the front, instead of having to take it out to change the tightness of the straps. They grow so quickly, so it's a pain if it's not easy to tighten or loosen them.

I'll stop now - too much advice inside of me, and it's threatening to explode out of me!

As a member of the childless ranks, my only opinion on baby gear is that one must have a drop dead gorgeous diaper bag. Onesies? Car seats? Slings? I have to think the rest must all fall in place once you've got your hands on that one singular hip mama bag.

I second the baby bargains book. I found it to be very helpful. I hated the baby bjorn. It killed my back. It worked for my husband, though. I loved a sling like the Moby wrap. My son loved his bouncer and hated his swing. I didn't bother with cutsie outfits (mostly) for the first 3 months. He wore a sleeper, so I would suggest having plenty of those. But I also agree with Tracy, don't go overboard with newborn sizes. They outgrow it so fast.

One more thing! We have the best baby monitor ever. It's the angel care baby monitor and it monitors the baby's movement. If the baby doesn't move for 20 seconds it goes off (breathing counts as movement). I swear it's the only way we slept for the first few months. Their website is http://www.dynamic-living.com/wireless_baby_monitor.htm

I third the Baby Bargains book. They test everything for you. I have 3 more weeks to go so that's pretty much all the advice I have, as I am more freaked out than you are, worrying how there is not enough STUFF yet.

I would recommend very highly the Maclaren VOLO stroller, although you won't be able to use it until the baby is about 6 months (just in time for spring.) It is an upscale umbrella stroller that I got last summer for my second daughter. It pushes easily (no bending over) and has a great basket.
I also loved my boppy pillow with both daughters, more for when they are learning to sit up than for when nursing. I have rarely used a crib... both girls slept with us until over 1. I am considering trying harder though with Baby #3 -- due at Christmas time.
If you're thinking at all of home schooling, I would recommend the book Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready.
And also in the book category, The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

Hey! Funny you should ask. I just started putting together a little site where I review books and products I've used. I was the first of my friends to get pregnant and I got so many questions that I thought I'd just throw it all up online in case it's useful to anyone else. The site isn't finished but there's info about products and books I've used. Feel free to take a sneak peak: http://www.btdtmom.com/

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of baby "stuff" that is out there! It's fun to go shopping, but also easy to feel that you're somehow cheating baby by not getting every gadget & gizmo out there. :D
In the beginning, you really only need the basics--anything beyond that can be gotten as you go along. I found gowns preferable over sleepers when it came to diaper changes (all of mine have been winter babies). I second the sling--it takes a little practice to get the knack of it, but once you do, it's great.
The only big item I got for my 3rd that I wish I had for my other two was a co-sleeper (http://www.armsreach.com/). It's basically a bassinet that snugs right up against your bed and makes nighttime nursing so much easier! It can later be used as a standard "pack & play" crib that we now use for trips. (Honestly, I don't work for the company!)
Have fun!

You better believe I'm going to be revisiting this thread and taking notes! The only reason I have anything so far (onesies included) is because other people have bought them for us. Well, mostly. I do confess that I have spent a few lunch hours at the new Carters store that opened near my office. And a few hours at the Old Navy Outlet (little cute sweatsuits for $1.99!)

The only thing we bought that is truly a necessity for us is a crib and a mattress. And Dave just had to have this floor model backpack we saw when we were registering... so there's that. But otherwise? We're UCNP too. I feel your pain sister.

Oh boy oh boy, product advice! Here's a list of the stuff I really liked or found invaluable:

1) Shout Stain treatment w/brush on top of bottle. I'm sorry to say I use this at least every other day.
2) I loved our Graco infant carseat.
3) I'm very happy with the "stroller frame" we're borrowing from a friend. It's a minimalist stroller that you snap the infant carseat into. The downside with one of these is that you will eventually have to get a "real" stroller when the baby grows out of the infant carseat, but if you can get one for cheap they're simpler and lighter than most strollers.
4) Baby play gym/mat, the arches you can hang toys off of. This kept Eve amused for a long time, and probably helps develop hand/eye coordination.
5) We ended up putting Eve in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. I never got good at nursing in bed, but it was great to have her within reach!
6) I also recommend the Happiest Baby on the Block, but get the DVD! Among other things, it includes three soothing "sound tracks" to help soothe babies to sleep.
7) Get some thin (lightweight) large blankets to swaddle the baby with. The average receiving blanket isn't quite big enough to do a proper swaddle.
8) Some kind of baby swing/rocker. We had a rocker that could vibrate, and Eve would fall asleep in that in a trice.
9) If you want to have bottles on hand (and I do recommend having at least a few), Dr. Brown's have held true to their promise re: less gassiness, as far as Eve is concerned.
10) I've been quite pleased with my Medela Harmony manual breastpump, which I use roughly once a day. Caveat: it didn't work well for me during the crucial first two weeks, but once my milk flow was well established and once my plugged ducts cleared up, it worked great, and has held up very well.

As far as clothes, my guess is that your sister will have so much newborn stuff her baby will have outgrown by then, that you don't need to buy too much ahead of time in terms of teeny tiny clothes. It's more fun to shop when you know your baby's personality a little anyway. Plus gifts, you will get a ton of gifts.

Things you have to have- car seat, burp rags, baby bath tub, blankets, diapers, sleepers, rocking chair (comfortable place to nurse)

Things you will probably get and most people use- somewhere to sleep (be it crib, co-sleeper, bassinet) we used a Moses basket we picked up at a garage sale, stroller, breast pump, swing (made it so I could brush my teeth and pee), bouncy seat (makes it so you can actually make dinner), baby monitor.

The last time I had a baby was 8 years ago, so I am probably rusty. Clean, dry, fed and warm and that baby will be happy.

HEE, I have to snicker (in the best possible way) at the comments, because while they're useful, you'll soon discover that one mom's treasure is another mom's dust-catcher. ;) Heck, things even change from one child to the next. Swing? One kid hated it with a passion, the other slept nowhere else for months. Boppy? No use for it the first time around, the second I had two. And so on.

That said, I agree that Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Sleep Solution is fabulous, and I recommend it often. Almost everyone says they wish they read it before their baby was born, instead of months into various sleep issues.

Also, we never bought a highchair -- family members were aghast -- we got one of those plastic seats that straps onto a dining room chair instead. It's definitely in my top five of items I wouldn't have wanted to be without. Pop it in the dishwasher, take it with you, it's so versatile and doesn't take up any floor space.

If you think you'll be a babywearer, check out www.mamatoto.org...full of great resources.

I could go on (lol, couldn't we all?) but those are the things that immediately come to mind! Have fun, don't get overwhelmed...in the very beginning there are onyl a few things you can't live without. ;)

My son loved his swing and his bouncy chairs. He would fall asleep every time he was in them.

First thing to say - test strollers for ease of closing, opening and manuevering. The ligher, the better - although this also generally means more expensive. (Or, that is, the lightest ones tend to be the most expensive.) Think about having to open it in a parking lot in the driving snow when you look at the speed. ;) You want to find one that you can use one-handed (trust me, it comes to that), that turns well, and that has a basket you can fit your diaper bag and coat into, at the very least. And ideally a cup holder. Baby Bargains is great for individual model recommendations - my stuff is only three years old but even so sort of out of date.

Let's see - just remember that people on amazon tend to rate things either when they love or hate something, so the results tend to skew high.

Baby swing - best thing ever. Gym matt is also great (although we could barely use it for our daughter because our older child kept knocking it over),

Besides ease of closing, opening, and maneuvering, you also want to test strollers for fit into your vehicles, if the store will let you. Of the three strollers we've purchased, only one will fit in my husband's vehicle--and that one is the least useful of the three in other aspects.

Oh, there's plenty of stuff to get - and most of it will be bought for you by people who love you and are so so happy for you.
I would advise you to start hunting out mom friends.
You can get by without just about anything but mom friends. Although...I'm not sure that will even make sense to you for another five months or so. I wish you lived next door, because I would TOTALLY be your mom friend and get my baby fix off holding your little one. Totally.

Really, really try to hold of on purchases until after your baby shower. Of course you will see a few things you can't resist, but it will be much easier to make decisions once your loved ones have filled in many of the blanks.

My favorite gadget during the newborn stage was my Boppy pillow, with a couple extra slipcovers. I found it made breastfeeding much more comfortable for both of us. The best gift, however, was having my husband home from work and my mother nearby. Perhaps you could plan ahead for Bryan to take some sort of leave/vacation?

Best wishes and prayers for you and your growing family!

Exersaucer! Baby N will actually play in it for 30 min to an hour. That gives me time to mix formula. Get a good one too. It's worth the extra money.

DOn't buy a lot of stuff!!! You WILL get hand me downs, and then, if your baby hates it, like ours did the swing, you give it back with no regrets. One of hte smartest things we did was not buy a high chair.They are so big a clunky and the baby sits down so low; we used adn still do for our three eyar old a Booster seat that has a snap on tray. Sits right on a regular chair, can take it anywhere, etc etc. And we have a Kelty backpack. Put her in it at 5 months, and still use it to exercise walk every day, even though now that she weighs 31 pounds it is pretty heavy. We have gone to Maui with it twice, Niagar Falls once, in and out of airports, malls, mountian hikes, beaches, I love it. Tons easier to deal with than a stroller, she can see a lot more, and sporty enough for the man to wear with pride. Skip the high chair!! You won't be sorry!!

Arwen, I am also due October 21, and all we have done in preparation is move the desk out of the nursery. I just received 3 onesies as a gift, so combined with the t-shirt and pajamas we also received as a gift, we can dress the child for maybe a day. And we also decided that *now* is the ideal time to remodel the bathroom, so our apartment currently has no running water. This makes it difficult to stay there and strip wallpaper from the nursery walls. So I sure hope you're not UCNP, because if you're doomed, I'm doomed.

Arwen,
I only have a moment (as I have a two year-old running around the house) so I will be brief. No matter what get the Diaper Genie and not the Diaper Champ. We got the Champ b/c it uses regular trash bags and thought that it would save us some money. However, it does not contain the smell as well as the Genie. In fact, I have now started to take the smelly diapers out to the trash can outside. However, where you live this would not work well in the winter months. Just my two cents.

Best wishes!

Charlotte

Essential equipment:

*car seat (I prefer the ones you can lift out of the base for the early months -- worth the investment if planning on more than one child)

*baby sling (I prefer the ones at www.askdrsears.com)

*place for baby to sleep in early months, like an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper or bassinet (mine sleep with me after month 3)

*stroller with wheels and cover that suit your location's environment (don't skimp on this, you'll use it forver if you buy a good one)

*sleepers and onesies in size 3-6 months (size Newborn fit for like a week -- and keep in mind everyone will buy clothes or lend them to you!)

*cloth or disposible diapers (www.mother-ease.com for great cloth!)

Other fun stuff:

*baby swing by 6 weeks (soothes the colic monster!)

*bouncy seat by 2 weeks (allows you to shower while alone with baby -- but never put it on a counter, only the floor)

*a baby front pack, and eventually a baby back pack, in colours dad will use (save up and buy the best you can afford. Bryan's back and shoulders will thank you.)

*baby monitor (not necessary in most apartments, though)

My last bit of advice: start making and freezing dinners now -- you will be so happy to throw a pre-made, nutritious dinner in the microwave when baby is having a growth spurt and all you can seem to do is sit on the couch and nurse!

Good luck -- as for me, five weeks to go!

PS. Someone else suggested bottles -- I highly suggest, with utmost respect to the other commenter, that you make a point of keeping both bottles and formula OUT of your house for the first six to eight weeks.

The last thing you need, if a breastfeeding problem arises, is that tempting bottle and formula. Dad may get particularily worried his baby will stave and may unknowingly undermine your BFing relationship -- the whole "just one won't hurt, he's hungry!" thing. One bottle can hurt in the early weeks -- it's all about supply and demand, after all.

Don't overlook the "gently used" baby store if your town has one. We have gotten everything from our local store and have saved a small fortune. The items we've purchased have been in new to barely used condition...everything from a crib to swing to playmat to clothing. Happy shopping!!

Dude-- aren't you having a shower? Cause that's where you get All That Stuff! LOL.

One thing we love in our whopping three weeks of experience-- the fleece swaddle blankets. Awesome!

Swaddling was a lifesaver for us. So, on that note, I HIGHLY recommend the Miracle Blanket. Really, you probably could use any swaddling blanket. As another poster said, the normal sized recieving blankets are a tad too small.

Another thing we loved was the Ocean Wonders Aquarium by Fisher Price. Very VERY soothing to babies!

It worked for me:

Avent bottles
Carter plush blankets (DD's lovey to this day)
Maclaren Volo stroller (great for the mall and travel in particular)
Sink side drying rack for handwash only bottles, pacis, sippies, toys, medicine droppers, etc.
Exersaucer
Baby swing
High chair--good for containing mobile toddlers with crayons while you cook (cuts back on graffiti, LOL!)
Contour changing pad for the floor or a bed
buying wipes in BULK, LOL! Age 4 and we still use them.
Lazy boy recliner over a glider (for maximum curling up)
Disposable bibs for when they start out on jarred foods; bibs with a pocket for catching chunks when they move up to those.
Books, books, books.

I don't recommend:

A convertible crib (too high off the ground for toddlers, no side rail and ones you can buy won't work, and you have to buy a special kit to convert them)
A changing table
Circular rack for jars of food (what a space hog!)

Mixed feelings:

Prima Papa high chair. Downside--the crevices on this thing! It's hard to keep it clean. Also pricey, but very durable. But oh is it the Cadillac in so many ways--folds up against the wall to save space, tilts backwards in case you want to use it prior to six months of age, has a height adjustment so you can wheel them up to the table with you later on...I loved it and am glad we had it, but it stressed me out to find it crusty even though I thought I had hit all the dirty places.

I know you said you had large feet--are you and or DH tall? Gymboree clothes run tall and Britax seats are the only ones that really accomodate baby giraffes like mine. The infant/bucket car seats have a HEIGHT restriction that my tall baby outgrew. I'm still glad we had the bucket, but we went with a Britax convertible after that and have upgraded to their next biggest size because she got too tall for THAT but was a year too young for a booster. If you end up needing Britax, the best price I ever found for it was online at the Albee site. Great prices and selection, and excellent service. I was leery but now I'm a convert. LOL


Delurking to say, yippee, I love giving baby product advice. I was a nanny for about 6 years and now have my own who is 1.

1)I agree with the comment about me about Britax car seat. My son is tall because we're tall and he needs the extra height. I bought the Peg Perego infant carrier and he grew out of it soon. I would go Graco or something with that if you are tall.

2. Baby Bjorn. Trust me. Get one.
3. ExcerSaucer
4. And per an earilier post... I love my wipe warmer. Especially when they are little it's nice not to put a really cold wipe on them, but I wouldn't call it a must.
5. Bouncy seat
6. Lots of burp clothes & receiving blankets. You will need more than you think you'll need. I live in FL so I didn't need very many thick blankets.
7. A video monitor.
8. I am one who thinks you should have bottles & pacis on hand even if you think you won't use either. I have never known of either to mess up a nurser so don't let others scare you.
9. I love those gowns for the early days. It's especially great at night for ease.

Let me know if you have any other questions really. I don't mind an e-mail or whatever, really. I can tell you different perspectives on different things. So feel free to send me a note anytime.

Back to say, I am a die-hard Britax carseat addict.
Ditto on not being afraid to have bottles and pacifiers on hand. Every baby is different, though I'll note both my kids were very into their pacifiers immediately after birth, yet I still breastfed them full-time, even with the occasional pumped bottle and sometimes (gasp) formula.
I had no bfing issues with my first. With my second, even though I was an old hand, she had a difficult delivery and there were latching issues. She actually injured one of my nipples very badly. If the hospital's "lactation consultant" isn't helpful (ours was useless) budget now for the fee to hire your own. I believe the consult was $125 (in 2001) here in Metro NY - and that one visit did the trick in helping us understand how to help her and getting my confidence back: I nursed her for a full year.

My advice is don't get too much stuff ahead of time. Some of what you use will depend on your baby's personality and your parenting style. You will probably have your baby in your arms more hours of the day than you'd have thought possible. Some babies like a sling-type carrier, but my son wanted to be vertical as much as possible, so we depended heavily on the baby bjorn. When my son was a small infant, I longed for a soft carrier I could wear on my back, but couldn't find one and couldn't find any info on how to make one of my own. I have now seen such things sported by other Moms. You might want to look into it, because it's impossible to do household chores with a baby in a front carrier. You'll need a basic set of clothes--warm ones because you're due in the autumn. You'll need a sleeping place for a newborn, which is not the same as a place for an older baby. That place could be your bed, a bassinet, a cosleeper, etc. It's unlikely to be a crib. Most new babies hate being alone in a big, scary crib. You must have a car seat. If you have a baby registry, don't put any blankets on it. Most moms get too many blankets as gifts. You can only use so many of them.

Personally, we never got much use out of any "baby storage" item such as swing, strollers, play pens, exersaucers, etc. because our baby wanted to be held all the time and hated these things. He did use a vibrating bouncie seat, though. If you get a swing, feel free to use it from the first day you come home. That stuff about waiting until 4 months or whatever is just a CYA on the part of the manufacturer. Just make sure you prop the baby securely on both sides with rolled up blankets and stay close by. (Newborns are very noodly.) You'll see newborns in swings at the hospital nursery. I am not a fan of diaper genies. I found it to be simpler just to put the dirty diapers in an outdoor trash can, on the occasion that we used a disposable diaper. Most of the time we used cloth diapers which I washed myself. (Just take them off, poop and all, and throw them in the washer. Run through a rinse cycle, then wash in hot water. Voila.) Breastfed baby poop is not smelly. In general, I see the whole baby product industry as a conspiracy to get you to buy junk you don't need. If you want some of that junk, let some other sucker pay retail for it while you pick it up in brand-new, barely used condition at a garage sale or a second-hand shop. :-) Have fun!

My four main ingredients for baby care are: Onsies, washcloths, diapers and wipes. You will use all of these items several times a day.

The best onesies should be 100% cotton and washed in Dreft or some other gentle baby detergent. Baby skin is so freaking sensitive and easily get rashes from perfumes, dyes and scratchy clothing.

Same thing with the washcloths- make sure they’re soft and washed in gentle detergent. Also, make sure they’re thin. You’ll need to have a cloth that can be small enough to wipe behind a tiny baby’s ear or remove a little schmutz from the corner of her eye.

You should start out with a good supply of newborn diapers but, don’t buy more than 3 packs. Babies grow so quickly. It’s a real waste when you move up a diaper size and haven’t finished off the 50-pack of the previous size. I found Pampers Swaddlers to be the best fit for my babies- they’re soft, flexible and hold a lot of shit... literally.

You can never have enough wipes. They have a gazillion uses- from wiping the poop out of baby’s crack to removing a milk stain on the couch or removing your own eye makeup. And do remember to get the “sensitive skin” ones so your baby doesn’t get a rash.

I tried the Dreft thing, and ended up getting rid of the Dreft and rewashing everything in Tide. Turns out my husband is very sensitive, and the Dreft gave HIM a rash. It made no difference to the baby.

Gowns. Loved them when my daughter was a newborn and we had to do the middle of the night diaper changes.

Sling. More usable for a longer time than the Baby Bjorn, etc. We got the Infantino knockoff of the Baby Bjorn and liked it, plus didn't feel bad about wasting a lot of money when she got too big for it by 5 months. I had a Hotsling, which I dug because they were fashionable and not so crunchy-looking.

Spend your real money on a stroller; do not register for or buy a travel system because they come with crappy strollers. I probably would have used the frame thingie that the car seat snaps into, then moved on to a pricier stroller, if I had it to do again knowing what I know now.

Don't buy a lot; borrow or hand-me-down or Moms to Moms sale as much as you can. My daughter used, for example, her exersaucer for like four months. It was borrowed from my brother and SIL so we're all getting our money out of it instead!

Arwen, ok, I have three children and I can tell you without a doubt...I wish I had went ahead and gotton the double stroller with my first. It gives you room to put your stuff when you are out, and if when your little one is 6 months old and you discover you are pregnant again{BTW, BREAST FEEDING IS NOT, I repeat NOT birth control] YOU WILL BE PREPARED !!!!!

ALSO,I loved the what to expect books, they were very helpful. Be sure you have a booty thermometer and plenty of probe covers. always have your camera ready. a baby book is a must. and no matter what anyone says about the binky, IT IS YOUR FRIEND. Lucas and Kylie took it, and we threw it away, My Arwen on the other hand will be 7 August 20th and is STILL sucking her 2 middle fingers on her left hand. Love you girl. I am so excited for you and Bryan. I want to go buy you bunches of gifts, but wouldnt know where to send them. Maybe I can do one of those onling shopping cards and e mail it to you. Where do you like to shop best? Target, wal mart, babies r us? you tell me and Ill see what i can do.

I agree that the "Baby Bargains" book by Alan and Denise Fields was very helpful. Lay in a store of onesies and footed sleepers, of course. My friend Valerie had a Bumbo seat(www.bumbo.com) which allowed her son to sit up comfortably and safely long before he could do so on his own. I thought that was great; wish I'd had it for mine. I also recommend getting a vibrating bouncy seat; both my kids loved theirs.

If any of Arwen's sisters are reading this--please contact me about setting up an online shower for our girl!

How exciting!!!

I hope you will register, Arwen! And try to hold off on the big purchase items since people may go in on gifts together at your shower.

My kidlets here yet, but my girlfriends all tell me to invest in a really nice rocking chair. And lots of cloth diapers to use as burp rags or other things.

This is not appropos of stuff to purchase, but a comment above made me think of it. This is a piece of advice I got from my ped, a Catholic Mom with six kids of her own. We cloth diapered, but she recommended using one disposable a day. Put it on the baby at night, and don't bother changing diapers in the night unless there's poop. (Usually, they don't poop in the night after the first couple of weeks.) That will save you about five thousand hours of sleep in the first six months alone.

We bought so much stuff ahead of time that we really didn't need. I wish we'd waited until Noah was here to see if it really was something we could use. (Usually is was the stuff that other people told us they couldn't live without, like a white noise machine or forty frillion swaddling blankets.)

That said (haaa), here's the stuff we couldn't live without:

Swing
Bouncy seat
Exersaucer
Dr. Brown's bottles
Changing table (I know! Controversial!)
Extra crib sheets and changing pad covers
Cheap cloth diapers for spit-up
Graco car seat
Crib mobile
Mylicon drops
Pacifiers

Stuff we wish we knew better about:

I wish I'd gotten a sling earlier since Noah outgrew the Bjorn super quickly. I wish we'd just done a Snap n' Go and then a Maclaren umbrella stroller (we have the Triumph now -- everyone else loves the Volo but I wanted one that reclined) later on instead of a big stroller -- we just don't need it. I wish I hadn't bought a million Avent wideneck bottles because Noah hated them. And I wish I had more hand-me-downs, because seriously.

I totally agree with waiting and seeing what you get, plus what you can borrow. I do recommend getting lap pads. They work great to lay under the baby in the crib/whatever sleeping arrangement you have. Newborns especially are masters at peeing out of their diapers and these are 10 times easier to change than sheets. I could go on and on, but then again, one mom's advice might not work for the next! Congrats!

A few thoughts thoughts from a mother of three:

1. Don't spend a lot on a crib. They use them for two years and move on. Even w/ multiple children a crib doesn't really wear out, and if you buy an expensive one you then have to give it away/resell it. Our $99 Target model served admirably for all three girls, then we handed it down to a friend.
2. Avoid the impulse to decorate the nursery with really babyish wallpaper unless you love stripping and hanging wallpaper. The baby stage is very short--use wall hangings or those easy-to-apply sticky things to make it look like a nursery.
3. Diaper Genies may be great, but they add yet another layer of plastic to the already plastic disposable diapers. Consider cloth diapers (yes, I can hear you all gasp) for when you're at home. Diaper services are rare as hen's teeth, but you can buy the diapers and washable covers for them that use velcro to make them easier (no pins) and watertight, and you wash them! Disposables are still the thing for traveling.

Oh yeah, we totally loved those "wallies", plastic cling designs that stick to the wall. They're not expensive and you can change them as you get sick of them.

We painted DD's room a buttery yellow and figured that it would work with anything she liked in a given period. Florists always say that so long as you have yellow in a bouquet, everything you want to mix will blend. So my tip is to paint the room in something other than pink or blue. There are some really great greens, lavenders, blue violets, blue greens, and yellows to pick from.

Oh and I had a tip that tiny infants love to look at graphic images in black and white, and I definitely found this to be true. We had a little item with these designs for the crib and DD was riveted. Apparently it takes a while before they can really process color, and contrast is very exciting to them visually.

Even if you don't see yourself planning to use disposable diapers or formula, if you sign up for coupons at the websites for the manufacturers they'll send them to you and you can always share them with somebody who can make good use of them. Kind of a nice thing when it's $2 off on diapers or $10 off on formula. I still enjoy the Pampers email newsletter I get (though we switched to Huggies early on). It has lots of developmental info that is kind of neat to have when you have a first baby.

I don't have kids yet but I DROOL over the Phil & Ted's E3 stroller. Drool.

How about a phone number for an LLL Leader? Even if you don't see yourself nursing past (insert age here) LLL can still give you a place to find info about baby essentials & will certainly help you learn to breastfeed. Also other pregnant moms to talk to:)(You do know LLL's founders were Catholic?)

Hello! I have a 3 month old and have tons of "advice" for what worked for us. Some may work for you and some may not.

#1 Gowns - LOVED them for the newborn stage. My son was big when he was born, so it didn't last long. The gowns were great for changing in the middle of the night and after my hubby went back to work and I was on my own during the day.
#2 Pacifier - My son used one right away in the hospital. There is nothing better than teaching your child how to soothe themselves. There are times when I know he is not hungry and just needs something to "soothe" him while he is drifting off to sleep and the "bibky" wroks GREAT. Please do not be afraid that the binky will stop your baby from nursing.
#3 Breast Pump - My son is 100% breastmilk baby and I used the pump everyday from about 2 weeks of age. It helped so much with relief when my milk was first starting to come in. Pumping bottles also got my hubby involved in feeding. It is nice to be able to skip nursing every once in awhile and let my hubby feed him a bottle.
#4 Vibrating chair/rocker from Fisher Price - I wish that I had put this together sooner. My son LOVES it and he can sit and play there for an hour while I get things done around the house. It also puts him to sleep, which is so nice.
#5 Click and Go stroller - So nice, b/c the infant car seat clicks into it and it is light weight.

My goodness, I could go on and on. I agree with not getting too many clothes before the baby arrives. My son has been blessed with so many gifts in the 3 months he has been here. He has enough clothes to last him three infancies. I feel guilty that he may not wear everything more than once before he grows too big!!

I can't believe I forgot my biggest advice. I had my baby in March and started buying diapers in December. I would clip coupons and only buy diapers when I had the coupon. We haven't bought a single diaper since the baby was born. It has been so wonderful to have a closet full of differnt size diapers.

I love my Snugli--the kind with the waist belt (hate the ones without). DS didn't like a sling, but he loved the Snugli since birth and now he's 14mo and we still use it!

Also-- a simple Boppy for nursing a newborn, a small, atractive diaper bag, and one of those cool baby tubs with the net insert like a hammock that holds a newborn perfectly and makes baths SO much easier!

But really-- what does a baby need other than a diaper (or 30), a blanket, and a Mommy?

Ooohhh, I have friends with the Phil and Ted's stroller and they totally love it -- they got the double stroller, and their kids adore it.

I'm de-lurking to recommend the boppy. Also, the big Dr. Spock paperback. I found it to be extremely reassuring. When I was in the hospital about twelve hours after delivery, my milk came in hard and fast and caught the night nurse off guard. She ended up dropping the ball and causing me a lot more anxiety than was necessary. Point being, if they'll let you, keep your newborn by you. We worked out the kinks and my son was a champion nurser whose poop smelled like popcorn. Now he's a TODDLER.

I didnt read everones so I am sure its been suggested. LOVED the bumbo seat. My baby is actuall yon the testimonial page at bumbobabyseat.com she is the one with the curl on her head. We took that thing everywhere. Also, totally toddler stain remover. I never had a stain on her clothes that didnt come out with that! I use it in the carpet cleaner too and it gets out everything! I used the Bjorn for the first 8 months or so after I tried the whole carseat stroller thing in the store and found it so hard to manuever down the isles and she hated being away from me. As long as I had her in the front carrier I could shop for hours or until my back started killing me.
Things I didnt use but had: Boppy...I didnt have any position probs, burp cloths...she didnt spit up since she was breastfed, those 3 in a package recieving blankets sucked and were too small to swaddle and too thin for cold days.
I will tell you as far as not buying to many in 0-3 month size. I dont agree since my baby was born at 7lbs but didnt grow out of her 0-3 till she was atleast 5 months so I actually had way too little and had to buy more. It just all depends.
So congrats! I am preg with my second and cant wait!!!

Oh one HUGE thing. GOWNS!!! YOu cant live without them for the first month - two months. They are wonderful because you are changing like 25 diapers a day and it is way to much work to keep unbuttoning something or taking pants off and on. The gown you can just lift up and change and you can pull it over their feet and they dont get cold. You need about 10 of them!

OH, i totally second the advice about no bottles or formula in the house unless you are not going to nurse. If I had of had those things in the house those first few weeks I would have given up on the nursing. Its way too tempting when baby wont stop crying and you just fed him for an hour and he wants to be fed again. Plus, bottles are cheap and you can get them anywhere.

I LOVE this question...
I have a teenager and a six month old. Things and products have changed so much since the first. Now we are expecting again, so I have definately given this some thought.
I can't tell you how many onsies I had and how I never used them. They are tough to put on a newborn, I found.
-The bouncey seat has been a life-saver on so MANY levels.
-I got a very pretty crib at wal-mart for 69 bucks! I almost spent hundreds..I am so thankful I looked around.
-I bought the stroller, car seat combo at wal-mart-the cheapest one...it is awesome. The car seat has the base that stays in the car and you jsut pop baby seat in and out. Awesome.
-Don't buy a diaper bag. The hosp will give you a black one..plenty sufficient.
-Make sure you have bottles and formula on hand (the hosp gives you formula) just in case you need it. (I needed it in an emergency at 3 weeks, for some reason I didn't have enough breast milk to feed her..I was heartbroken, but prepared.)
-Clothes...our baby soiled every outfit in every possible way, every time she wore them. I would make sure you have Zout on hand for stains. Don't spend a lot on newborn clothes, they grow so, so fast. Roses has fantastic prices on baby clothes. Mostly 2-5 and outfit!
-Burp cloths or swaddling blankets, I still use a zillion a day for baby messes.

Best of luck!

Wee, I love advice - especially solicited advice (you know, as opposed to unsolicited assvice)

One can never have enough sleepers. It's all nice and fine to think that you're going to dress the baby all cute and hip in chinos etc but the reality is this: sleepers are the most comfortable and durable things going. Love them.

Dr. Harvey Karp's book "The Happiest Baby on the Block". Quite literally a lifesaver in this house. The Swaddling? No one told me about the swaddling. And big blankets to do so, after they've grown out of those there is an awesome product called "The Miracle Blanket". Miracle, indeed.

Lanshinoh (or similar nipple lubricant) if you plan to breastfeed.

Boppy pillow

Tiny Love Gym

Those were my "can't live withouts"...the rest was gravy.

Best breastfeeding book ever: "The Nursing Mother's Companion" by Kathleen Huggins. Technical enough to satisfy the overeducated among us, but practical enough to include very specific instructions about getting the best latch. Lansinoh is a lifesaver.

I couldn't live without a bouncy seat and some sort of infant carrier. Which kind, though, does depend on the baby. They do have preferences, and it's not easy changing their tiny minds. Baby #1 loved the Bjorn, though only when she could face out, and didn't much like a sling. Baby #2 adored her sling and while she was fine with the Bjorn, she liked the sling better. (I had a Hotsling, which I loved. Great patterns, they roll up small for a diaper bag. Not adjustable, though, so you have to make sure you get the right size.)

Given the time of year and where you live, you may want to consider getting a fleece sling or pouch. It will make it easier to take the little one out and about on cold days, and many babies adore a walk outside during the baby witching hours in the evening. You will probably also get a lot of use out of one of those carseat bundlers that slips on over an infant seat. They're easier to use than bulky jackets and safer, because you can't get carseat straps tight enough when they're wearing bulky clothes.

Diaper bags: highly personal, but consider getting a backpack or messenger style. It's hard to keep a bag on your shoulder while managing a squirmy baby. Lands End makes great ones that will last forever and that a guy can carry without blushing.

I second the advice to get a Snap and Go now and then something else later when you have a better idea of what you want and how you'll use it. (I love my Maclaren Triumph.) Also, keep in mind that snow and strollers don't mix very well. All the more reason to get a carrier of some sort.

And I also think you need at least some 0-3 month clothes. My first weighed in at 9 lbs 4 oz, and was above the 95th percentile for length. But we still used 0-3 clothes for a while. Worth noting: newborn and 0-3 are not necessarily the same size!

Happy shopping!

Definitely get your hands on the baby bargains book, I checked it out of the library. Strongly recommend Graco infant car seat, and then a snap and go type stroller frame for the first several months (allows you to get around without disturbing naps!) The Britax carseat is expensive, but excellent. Everything else you could really get at consignement shops to save a few.

I agree with the above posters who suggest waiting until after you have any showers before making many purchases, although making a list or registering for preferred things will either guarantee that your friends and relatives give you gifts you can really use (or make a quick trip to Babies R Us easier if they aren't given as gifts).

I highly recommend Kangaroo Korner fleece pouches, especially for a fall baby. It'll work when the baby's tiny and also as he/she grows. I wore my 30 lb 18 month old in it while 4 months pregnant last fall for short trips. I love my Ergo carrier for longer walks with a 20+ lb baby. It should work with younger babies too, but I use a Moby Wrap instead. If I could only pick one, I'd go with the KK pouch, but all three get lots of use here.

The only baby gadgets we have are a play gym and a johnny jump up (although I might get rid of that, too). No bouncy seat, swing, bassinet, pacifiers, bottles, exersaucer, bathtub, crib, or diaper genie. Our house is too small for most of that anyway.

Since you're home during the day already, I highly recommend going garage/yard saling this summer. The tiny baby clothes often look brand new and sell for under a dollar. I think my mom bought my first son's entire wardrobe at garage sales once she knew I was pregnant. If you find someone whose child is a year older than yours, it's possible to buy tons of stuff at one place (and remember where it was for next year).

I concur with the many "you don't need much" comments and add my five favorite ways to save money based on my experience so far with our 7-month old girl.

1. The Library. All the baby books in the world, including all the ones recommended above, for no cost. Also great for checking out all the pregnancy and birth books, and figuring out which you really do need to buy.

2. Goodwill. Great stuff, some with tags still on it. You have to pick through things a bit, but it's a steal. And remember, you really don't need more than a few fancy-going-out outfits because you just won't have that many opportunities to show the baby off before he/she grows out of it. The folks at church will understand if you have the same outfit on practically every Sunday. (If they even notice!)

3. Regifting. This is the reason I'm rooting for everyone I know to have a girl like me. :) Never remove tags from stuff you're not sure you'll use - we had lots of clothes we grew out of or that became unseasonal before we could use them, about twice as many stuffed animals than my daughter will need in her life, and doubles of several toys. I saved the cute baby wrapping bags, too, and will not need to buy baby gifts (at least for girls) for a long time.

4. No baby furniture. We have a co-sleeper, but use it mostly for a toy bin because our daughter sleeps with us. A dresser top works fine for a changing table if you get a changing pad, and the baby doesn't really need its own furniture for quite a while as long as you have some drawers/hangng space for clothes somewhere else in the house. We still hardly use our baby's room and so could have put off buying furniture type stuff for quite a while, spreading out the baby costs.

5. Craigslist/Ebay/Freecycle. I'm not sure if they have these websites in your area, but all provide free/cheap used baby stuff and are worth checking out.

One non-money-saving tip: slings rule! I love my maya wrap and use it practically to the exclusion of the stroller. It's a bit of a financial outlay, so pick a color/pattern you will be happy to wear a lot, but it has been worth it a thousand times over for me.

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