So I wrote this out to a friend who is pregnant when she asked a question on the Facebooks about what to register for. It took me forever to write it all down so I decided to keep it here so I can find it later if anyone else ever wants a short novel regarding baby gear. Those without children will probably find this to be rather dull. Feel free to skip it. Those having children or planning to have children might also find this dull but possibly informative. So hey, here it is.
Bibs: I like Carters’ bibs. Target, Wal-mart, Babies R Us (BRU) all carry them. They are lined so they are waterproof (drooling, barfing, dribbled milk, etc) but the waterproof lining is inside so they don’t have that yucky crinkly feeling. Although, word of warning, I do not dry them because they shrink and get weird. I hang mine dry and they are in perfect condition (except for some random food stains – sweet potatoes are a butt to get out!).
Boppy/My Breast Friend/Mombo/Etc: If you plan to breastfeed (I’ve heard those who bottle feed like them too), one of these is a must. I have a Boppy and I love it. I’ve heard others like the MBF or the Mombo better. MBF actually buckles behind you so it doesn’t shift. You can get interchangeable covers with all of them but I know the Boppy makes a water-resistant “undercover.” That way if you get milk or spit up on it your actual pillow is protected. Now it’s resistant, not proof so if it gets wet you want to pull off the top cover and check the bottom one before it soaks through. The pillow also doubles as a place for tummy time and for the baby to sit/recline in.
Jammies: I like the gowns (I used them even with Baby G) and snap footie jammies. That way if you have to change the baby you can just unsnap the legs instead of unzipping all the way down. Now, some have two-way zippers which are awesome. In general, Carter’s brand tend to be longer and slimmer than Gerber and Circo (Target). The BRU brand footed jammies have bizarrely short legs so we never used those. Depending on how cold the house is, we generally used cotton jammies and a swaddle blanket when he was little. Now he is either in lighter weight jammies for warmer temps and fleece in the winter.
Crib Mattress protector. I use a 100% cotton mattress pad and then a waterproof liner on top of that. The waterproof mattress pad I had originally got ruined when I dried it on low. Wasn’t happy about that. With the waterproof liner in between the mattress pad and fitted sheet, the fitted top sheet and waterproof liner can be washed without having to strip the whole bed. The cotton mattress pad helps provide a little softness and protection and warmth. The inserts wash and dry just fine and you will want those through toddler-hood. They are also great for under your side of the bed for milk leaking, night sweats (I had horrible night sweats after my C-Section), and for even before birth in case of accidental peeing (yes, it happens) and water breaking, etc. Look here. They are 100% cotton and really nice.
Travel disposable diaper sacks: These are great for the diaper bag, in the car, in the house, etc. It’s nice to have if you are at someone’s house or out in public so you can put stinky diapers in them and toss them without having to worry about stinking up their house. Or heck, your house. We still use them almost 2 years later.
Diaper Cream: This is one of those things you want to try a sampling of. Desitin smells really strongly (to me) but it’s the only one that worked on Baby G. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste was worthless for him but a lot of people really like it. A lot of it is trial and error.
Diapers: Again, a sampling works best here until you figure out what works best. I’m a fan of Pampers Swaddlers and I find I have the best results with them. I still buy them. I’m also a diaper snob. G can’t wear Target brand (he’s allergic) or Pampers Baby Dry. DO NOT GET PAMPERS BABY DRY. THEY ARE THE DEVIL. Ok, the may not be (or be of) the Devil , but they have been known to cause burns or terrible rashes due to a chemical that are in them. We used them once and G got a violent blistering diaper rash that took us ages to get over. You might say it’s not fair to blame the diapers but I’ve heard of too many stories of it happening so we will not be trying them again. Wal-mart brand diapers worked terribly for us. We used 2 and then took those puppies back. Never again. We are now using Luvs at night (he goes up a diaper size at night now) but during the day I’m stuck on my Pampers. We have used Huggies too but I just like the fit of the Pampers better. BUT, some babies fit better in other diapers. Hence, the sampling.
Wipes: I HATE Pampers wipes. I know, right? Huggies and Parent’s Choice (Wal-mart) are my favorites. The Pampers are really thin while the others are nice and thick. Thick wipes work a lot better than thin wimpy wipes. Haven’t tried many others.
Baby Tub: I have the cheapest Target tub that has the infant sling. Nothing fancy or anything. The sling is great though when they are very little. G used his tub forever (it has the infant sling, the recline, and the area to help them sit up). He actually probably used it for longer than needed but we tried the big tub at one point and he seemed a little overwhelmed. So back to the baby tub we went for a little longer. There are a zillion options out there for tubs. You can even get a baby whirlpool tub. I don’t have one of those for me so I figure my kids don’t need one either.
Hooded Towels: Love, Love, Love, hooded towels!! Everywhere sells them. They make little ones for babies and bigger ones for toddlers. We still use the bigger hooded towels. Love them. And we never used a robe. They are cute but not practical. You would have to dry the baby, change them into the robe (you don’t want to dry them in the robe because then it would be wet), and then change them into clothes. The only way a robe would be good is if you are going a long distance between bath and wherever you are dressing them. Then you could change from wet towel to robe and then to room to dress.
Washcloths: I am partial to 100% cotton. I like both the really thin ones and the thicker ones. We still use the little washcloths for G. Usually a thinner one for face and thicker for body (I find they hold more soap). When they are teeny the thinner ones work well for all their little crevices.
Swaddling blankets/pod/sacks: I LOVED the swaddling blankets I got. I have these. BRU and Target have the aden + anais brand that are similar. They are nice and big and lightweight which is great for layering. We also really liked the SwaddlePods and SwaddleMe wraps. They make swaddling pretty easy.
Car Seat Canopy: These are great for keeping sun off, people breath and fingers away, rain/weather protection, etc. Mine is a JJ Cole and actually velcros under the seat. Some just lay over and that’s fine. Mine also has a slit in the front so you can peek at the baby without having to pull it off completely. They make also make fleece ones for winter.
For Breastfeeding/Pumping: Nursing cover (find a large one. I had one that wasn’t quite wide enough and didn’t provide enough coverage). I know breastfeeding in public is legal and all but I’m not one of those who’s willing to have my boob hanging out. Also, if you’re going to pump, you want a hands-free bra. Find it here. It was a LIFESAVER.
Babywearing: The two best carriers I have found are the Moby and the Ergo. The Ergo requires a special insert for newborns but is great when they get older if you don’t want to bother with the insert. The Moby takes some time to get used to putting on but it’s VERY secure and comfortable. It looks daunting, but it’s awesome. I wore Baby G everywhere in the Moby when he was tiny and never had to support his head or anything else. Some of the carriers out there are not good for their hip development and they recommend you never wear them facing out (even when they get older) as their hips are not properly supported. The Ergo also does a nice back carry that is great for older kids.
Hats/mittens/socks: I found Carter’s hats to be wide and short. We were never really able to use them. The Gerber hats seem to be longer (taller?) and more slim and fit a lot better. The little mittens you find in the stores really don’t work all that well. They don’t stay on and seem to be pretty shallow. A lot of the Carter’s jammies and long-sleeved onesies have hand covers that work better. If you do have to cover their hands, baby socks work better than the mittens from what I found. As far as socks, I really like the Circo brand socks. That is mostly what G wears now. They are longer and thinner vs. some of the other brands that are short and fat. Again, this will depend on your baby but my family generally has long skinny footed kids so for us the Circo socks are awesome. The Carter’s ones again seemed short and wide. Which is weird because their clothes are long and skinny. Go figure.
Car Seat: you have the option of an infant seat or a convertible seat. The infant seats are portable and clip into some strollers or stroller bases. I do not suggest ever putting them on the top part of a buggy as they are not meant for this and can easily tip over. And possibly damage the mechanism that holds them into their base. I was guilty of it with Baby G but will not be doing this with the new one. Most of the time I wore him but when he was teeny tiny and we had to run someplace I’d leave him in his carrier with the canopy so he was completely covered and away from germies and prying eyes. A lot of infant seats are only rear-facing and usually go up to 25-35 pounds. Convertible seats go from rear to forward facing and have a much higher range of weight. But they are not very portable. We chose the infant seat and will get G a new booster/5-point harness seat when baby sister comes.
Strollers: Ugh. It took us forever to pick a stroller. A lot of brands make travel systems and the infant seat clips into the stroller. We picked a “jogger” style and I like it mostly but I wish it had a bigger basket on the bottom. I also wish it sat up a little closer to 90 degrees. It has a fantastic canopy and wheels nicely but the cargo room on the bottom stinks. Now we have that and an umbrella stroller and all depends on where we are going which one we use. There are crazy expensive brands (BOB, for one) and mid-line brands, and basics. Some strollers can be fitted with adapters to hold other brands’ carseats. There are also just bases that only hold the carseat part. Now we have to decide if we want a double stroller or not. It probably is a good idea eventually but for starters I will probably just wear baby sister while G rides in a cart/stroller.
Cart/Highchair Cover: These are awesome. Mine covers the entire shopping cart seating part – handle, sides, etc, so that G can’t lick the handle (why do kids DO this??) or touch something gross on the sides, or sit in someone’s dried pee. Hey, it happens. Not to us yet but then again, we use a cart cover so we wouldn’t even know. I’m not a total germaphobe and sometimes we find ourselves without it but it just makes me more comfortable to have him in less contact with surfaces that are gross.
Other things to register for (or buy) are pacifiers (again with a sampling here as not all babies will take every kind and you’ll want several in each stage), a paci strap, a paci holder (keeps them clean in diaper bag, purse, etc). Bouncy seat (can be as fancy or as basic as you like) and swing (same here), high chair, pack and play (tons of options with these). Crib sheets, changing pad cover (want multiples of these). Teethers, rattles, soft toys to chew, toys that hang from the carseat, a mobile (if you desire), a monitor (zillions of choices – video, regular, two-way, etc). Sorry for all the sentence fragments. My mind works like that these days.
As far as registering for Diapers and wipes, clothes, toys, etc – people will buy them regardless. But I figure, if they’re going to buy it anyway I might as well register for things I actually want. It’s also suggested to not go crazy on newborn stuff. If big babies run in your family (like do in mine) you don’t want to get stuck with a ton of newborn clothes and diapers. Or you could be like me and literally have like one newborn outfit and one small box of newborn diapers and bring home a preemie. *facepalm* But, honestly, I would have rather had that than have been stuck with a ton of stuff I couldn’t use. Also, don’t wash everything ahead of time. Again, don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of washed clothes your tiny person won’t wear.
Are you asleep yet? Did you quit reading halfway down thinking it would never end? Heck, I didn’t even go in to baby furniture or toys (yes get a play mat and a Bumbo or equivalent). The only other suggestion I have is shop consignment stores and sales. I’ve gotten great deals (both my cart covers and my travel Boppy were bought secondhand) on clothes and other baby gear. In fact most of G’s shoes up to size 5 were bought from a local consignment store. I’ve gotten some great brand-name clothes and shoes for a small fraction of their original cost. And in great condition.
So that’s it. I’m done for now. I’d really like a nap.