Friday, January 15, 2010

Time to Register and Shop...But for What?

Thank you all, for the shoulder to whine on and the pats on the back. My outlook is better today and I'm just moving on and doing what needs to be done.

So the online registry process has begun. I am overwhelmed.

The simplistic me says, hey, all you really, truly need is a baby, a breast, a few diapers, some clothing and a safe place for him to sleep...everything after that is fluff.

But when you go through page after page of stuff, two questions keep coming up:
(1) what DO we really need? and
(2) of those items, which are best/safest?

Any suggestions/recommendations would be most appreciated.

I will share the one fact my research revealed that I found to be crucial. Do NOT use common crib bumpers. A baby old enough to turn over (but not old enough to realize he/she ought to turn back) can land face-first into those soft, plush, fabric-covered bumpers and suffocate. You can buy breathable, mesh bumpers that will keep tiny limbs from falling between crib slats but that will allow your baby to breathe.

I have added to my registry some of my favorite story books, baby music, some infant toys, receiving blankets and bedding. But I am stymied about bottles (glass, plastic, sterilizers, breast milk freezer bags, bottle warmers and so many brands!). When I was a pediatric nurse, this was never an issue. We used the one type of plastic bottle the hospital provided, and there might have been 2 nipple choices. Everything was disposable.

And after the bottle question, my questions, confusion and indecision mushroomed. Is an infant tub a necessity? A baby sling/carrier? There seem to be 8,000 strollers out there with all kinds of bells and whistles.

Wow. Help?


Fran said...

Oh my friend, I wish I could give you any advice on this, but I'm afraid I can't! The only thing I know I would want to get is a "Guardian Angel" as I know I won't be able to sleep at all for the fear of cot-death! But this is generally not a wide-spread fear, mostly my paranoia! My love my dear, and do keep all the suggestions you get so that I can benefit from them when it'll be my turn! Fran

PaleMother said...

Sorry to delurk so abruptly, but this reference might be useful:

The Girlfriend's Guide To Baby Gear

You are so right. Not all of the gear they want to sell you is worth it. Some if it is useful for such a fleeting period of time, you'll wonder why you bothered buying such an expensive piece of clutter.

If you are great about weeding clutter on a regular basis, you will be fine either way. But if you are like me and you tend to spend your free time in ways that are more carefree ... beware aquiring things ... gear, toys especially. Let your ~space~ limit/dictate how much you buy/keep ... there is little you can't live with out except health and peace of mind. ;)

It's especially tricky with first children, because of the gift explosion. But outfitting-by-comittee is about as effective as too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen.

Also, err on the side of less on the registry than more. Focus the list. Because if you register for a lot of that pretty, extraneous, distracting stuff that always catches your eye, you can bet people will buy ~that~ stuff and you will still be left without the important things you ~really~ needed/wanted.

Cheers, D.

Gwynn said...

You posted again too fast. I totally got swamped with work and missed out on the husband rant. They're like that, you know. Husbands. Yours is no exception. I don't know if makes you feel any better. ;)

Since I went through the new baby boy thing recently, I'll email you a list I put together not too long ago for a friend. I don't know if it will help, but feel free to email me any questions you might have. I do remember the "gear" part being overwhelming!

Anonymous said...

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy (Toddler years, etc) are GREAT books! I always get them for my friends when they are pg. I haven't seen the GG to Baby Gear but I bet it is full of good advice.

I wouldn't worry about bottles until you know if you will be breastfeeding, combo of bf and pumping, or if you need to just use formula. You can do a bit of research so narrow things down, but as you know your body will dictate no matter what your intentions are!

IMHO baby tubs are a necessity, just to help you keep the tiny body corraled, either in the sink (where we started) or the big tub (later on). Slings and carriers are hard because some babies LOVE them (or a certain type of one) and others just WON'T - we received several slings and carriers, but really didn't use any of them. I gave them to other people, and we bought another carrier system I thought would be better, but we ended up not really using that much either. I love the idea of baby in a sling, but MY baby wasn't having any of it!

stillhopeful said...

I found the best book to help me out was Baby Bargains. Very practical, great research, and focus on safety and quality. I also found I had to add a lot of things to the registry as people started buying for the shower, as the selection ran out quickly. If you register at BRU, they have a great exchange policy, you can exchange anything on your registry up to 90 days after your event date (the event being the birth date, not the shower date). So if you find you don't need something, you can always exchange.

To answer some of your questions based on my recent findings:

- Bottles: we got the Dr Browns and Avent infant starter sets. These are the two most recommended, and Dr. Browns is very known for keeping gas to a minimum. So far, we've only used the Dr Browns, and we like it. If you're breastfeeding, and only using the bottles for the occasional supplement or pumped milk, the starter set is enough. Then you can expand as needed. According to the directions, we just boiled the bottles/parts once, and then can just wash or put in diswasher, no need to buy a sterilizer. Also, our doc said no need to warm the bottles, cold is fine. I think that's a personal preference, though.

- Tub: At first you'll be doing sponge baths. I found the tub hard to use for that, and towels on top of a sponge pad the best. Once you start giving real baths, though )once the cord falls off), I would definitely get a simple tub (none of the fancy bells and whistles needed, Baby Bargains recommends a simple brand)

- Stroller: this can be a big issue. There are all these real cool matching stroller systems out there, but I found that the strollers were way too heavy! I tried lifting them at the store, and could not imagine lifting them in and out of the back of the SUV regularly. I went with an infant car seat, with a lightwieght stroller frame that the seat fits into. It's half the weight of the stroller systems, easy to use, and works fine for me. But if you want a lot of bells and whistles (lots of storage, matching frame, etc.), this is more simple. The downside is that once the baby outgrows the infant car seat, you need to buy a new stroller (whereas the systems have a forward facing stroller on the frame that can be used without the car seat). I plan on buying a lightweight stroller when that time occurs. I also got a jogging stroller, as I know I will put that to good use!

- Carriers: I have the Moby wrap, Baby Bjorn, and Hotsling. Only used the Moby so far, Aysia loved one position, hated another. It's a little complicated, but with practice, I think it will get easier. I found it to be great to be able to hold her hands free - was able to do stuff around the house, fold laundry, etc. Now that Aysia is over 8 lbs, I can try out the Bjorn. I'm hoping that's a little easier to get setup. Just haven't had time to try the Hotsling yet.

I also found the whole process of registering and deciding what we needed a little overwhelming. I really relied on Baby Bargains as my "bible", plus talked to many people with small children to get their impressions. Also, the user ratings and reviews on the BRU website were helpful, too.

Good luck!

embieadoptmom said...

Being the mother of 7 already I will give you my best review on products.

I LOVED my carrier-for when the baby is fussy and there is work to be done. You can still do dishes, laundry and have your hands free.

MUST HAVE... A BUMBO-great for strengthening the back muscles and for a change of scenery. Before baby can actually sit, they can sit in this-it is awesome.


K said...

Oh gawd. We just went through all of this. I know it's early for us, but I didn't want to be in a panic (since there are 2 and they will be early anyway). I was off the hook for most of this. Mr. W had all the opinions and told me what was best and I was happy to go along with it. So, I'm no help. If you want his "professional" opinion. Email me. :)

tootertotz said...

For what its worth...husbands tend to not get it AT ALL until they meet the baby. Everything else baby to them is pretty abstract until they can see the baby and it all seems to fall into place.

As for the gear...I'd suggest a tub. After the cirmcumcision heals (if you opt for one) and the umbilical cord is gone you will find a tiny tub that fits in your kitchen sink to be pretty helpful. Ours was rather basic and had a plug in the base so the water drained right into the sink and we used it until our very big boy was almost 9 months old b/c it saved our backs from being hunched over the bathtub.

Stroller: maybe don't spend a fortune on this until you know how much you'll use it. We got a great one (read: expensive) and hardly used it b/c I was a carrier mom. You can get a pretty simple stroller that will clip the infant seat in place for a reasonable price if you aren't going to be a big stroller pusher. Also, with #2 on the way, we are now in a mess b/c we need a double and are starting from scratch b/c of what the age difference will be.

As for carriers...this was a big one for me as I am petite and had a BIG baby. Wait and see what kind of mom you are. They are pricey and vary in terms of effectiveness for what you need. I will say the Baby Bjorn was a nightmare for us. It turned out little guy's legs blue after about 10 minutes of wearing and has evidently received reviews that it isn't great for their tiny hips. I found after trying slings and such that the Ergo Carrier worked best for me and saved my back from any pain. Slings also gave me back back ache carrying such a big baby. It took some trial and error on my part until I found the right one though.

Good luck on the baby gear hunt.

tireegal68 said...

Dear mama,
I have no clue either, but your advisers seem to know a lot! If you google the blog Romancing the Stork, the author, K did a baby prodect review or two a while ago which I thought were really good. Good luck and happy registering!!

Lorraine said...

Yep, it's that time! I've been reading a jillion reviews of things and it's true that there are no magic answers. What works for some people is pointless for others.

Gwynn reminded me about the snap-n-go concept, which I had w/ my daughter and it was a lifesaver. There are a few brands, but the concept is basic: a lightweight frame that the car seat attaches to. Not so much for "going out for a walk" as for getting from the car to the pedi office or popping into the drugstore for a few things. Super-convenient.

I've been looking at strollers. I had a "good" one when my daughter was born, which had the reversible handle so she could either face me or face away - it was really good for directional sun. It also reclined completely into a bassinet, but without having an additional attachment. It was fantastic for the first six months, but it was bulky.

We go a jogger for "real" walks, and it was our favorite stroller to use outside. The large wheels glide along so much more smoothly. It just felt natural, very little resistance with the pushing.

Then I got a Maclaren. Joy! A really nice lightweight stroller, the seat reclined in case she fell asleep. We took that thing everywhere, to several pedestrian cities and lots of walking-only places like botanical gardens where a kid might fall asleep in a stroller.

For sure the Maclaren was the best buy of all of them. I got it in Paris, so I don't even know how much it was in dollars, but I don't care. It wasn't extra-super-pricey and it was definitely worth every penny. The jogger was an investment in my own exercise, so I think that was worth it, too - it got me out on light hiking trails and at the beach path, going at a pace I don't think I could have managed with a regular stroller. The cushy reversible stroller with the footmuff was useful in the first few months, but in the long run I could have lived without it. Luckily, it was a gift from my mom, so having it was a nice extra.

That is really the bulk of my own useful information, and even I don't know what I'm going to do with it. I'm still struggling with the concept of an upstairs/downstairs set-up that doesn't require me to basically buy two of everything!

Good luck, and let's keep in touch about all this - I'll email you as I come upon good recommendations!

Holly said...

Amen on the Maclaren. I got a travel system and after having a c section, I could barely lift the damn stroller, let alone the carseat.

Also, be sure to have on hand(so you dont have to get in the middle of the night): desitin, baby saline drops, aspirator, infant tylenol and mylicon.

OH OH OH-and take your nail clippers with you to the hospital. Adam kept scratching himself in the hospital(their nails are LONG when they're born) and the hospital didn't have any clippers on hand-ridiculous.