I know that this blog lacks a common theme so far, but oh well. If the point of this is to share my experiences and "wisdom" (ha ha ha) than it will be varied.
I learned a new word today "generalist" - meaning, I have some information about a lot of things, but lack a lot of information about any one thing. A Jack of all trades.
In the words of Mike Rowe "Beware of Experts"
I have seen a ton of lists "Things you have to have for your new baby" Things not to spend money on" "You can't get by without these" etc... I have hated most of every one. Here is mine, in no particular order, just call it a shopping list. :)
1. Robeez- They are great, soft leather shoes. They STAY ON and are comfortable for babies of any age. It is hard for babies to learn to walk if they aren't used to shoes and all of a sudden they have to have them on to go everywhere. Also, being in TN for the first time with a baby last winter, they were great. The soft soles allow babies feet to move the way they would without shoes and most "experts" agree that is best. However, there are lots of places babies go where there little feet need to be protected. I can't get by without these. They are a little pricey, but because they are so soft you can get them a size too big and they still stay on and go with baby everywhere.
2. Either Earth's Best Organic, or Burt's Bees Baby Bee Baby shampoo.
I Love and use them both. Burt's Bees smells a little closer to a "traditional" baby shampoo, but Earths best has a great lavender smell. The Earths Best is true Lavender, which some people don't like. It goes away as soon as baby is dry though. I swear the lavender in the Earth's best helps them sleep better and the shampoo is really thick, so it goes a long way. There are tons of organic baby shampoos on the market, but these are the most reasonable priced, they work perfectly, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
3. Burt's Bees Diaper Rash Medicine. There are some things that go without saying, and 1 is - your baby will get SOMETHING on her skin that isn't good. From sunburn, to bug bites, to small scrapes, to actual diaper rash, this stuff is worth its weight in gold. I love that it has real essential oils in it, not a pile of chemicals, and it is a zinc oxide base, so it goes really far. Just one tube will likely last a year or so (unless your baby is really prone to diaper rash). I haven't come up against anything yet that this stuff can't heal overnight. It is not supposed to be used with cloth diapers (no oils are), but I just apply a maxi pad in the diaper to keep it from making a mess. If it does get in the cloth diaper, a little Dawn dish soap breaks down the oil and solves any problem it may have caused.
4. A Moby Wrap- These are well worth the expense. A good carrier will allow you to live your life, and still be a mommy. A baby that is carried close to mommy sleeps better, longer (especially at first) than one left alone in a crib or bed. A baby that is awake can ride comfortably, experience all the things that mommy does, and have the comfort of mommies or daddies warmth, smell, and movement to keep them content. I love that this one can be worn so may different ways. It is great for distributing weight across both shoulders, and all across your back instead of being overly heavy on any one area. Baby can be worn lying down, sitting up, facing in, facing out, on the hip, the front, or the back. I have yet to figure out why anybody liked a Baby Bjorn. They are uncomfortable, they put baby right in front of you with no flexibility. You can't cook, wash dishes, see where you are going, nurse your baby, or anything else with it. What's the point? The next best thing is a traditional sling, but these offer more flexibility and can grow with baby better than a sling.
5. Econobum cloth diapers. I have also used FuzziBunz One Size Cloth Diapers, and bumGenius One-Size Cloth Diaper, but for the bulk of my day at home I prefer the economy and ease of the econobum. If I am leaving the house, I tend to use one of the pocket diapers, because it is easier to fold up and store the full package than a wet or dirty insert. If I am at home, I love having to only change the inside, and reusing the cover until it is no longer clean enough to do so. Any of the pocket diapers have to be stuffed with various inserts anyway, I would rather do it with one cover instead of changing the cover every time.
I am a big fan of this one. We have always had an issue with space (with 4 kids who wouldn't) This is a great alternative to a full size high-chair that takes up precious floor space. They don't fold down, which is unfortunate, but if we are going anywhere for a long period of time (more than 2 days), we take this along. It can sit on the floor during family play time, the tray can hold a suction cup toy to keep babies hands busy and out of board games or puzzles with older kids. It is perfect for mealtimes and the base has an adjustable height, so when baby gets a bit older, he can use at the table with the grown-ups as a booster. It means that if we are at the table, so is the baby, (not off somewhere else) because the chair is always the same height as your dining set.
AVENT-breast pump. I have tried so many others, I have an expensive double electric. I don't use it. I would rather have my Avent (evn though all I have is the hand pump). I get more milk faster, and more comfortably with the hand pump than I have ever gotten with an electric. I have never been able to use the Avent electric, but it is all the same parts (that count) as the hand pump, minus the work. I can only imagine it is spectacular, although, I don't know that the dairy cow feeling will ever go away. I am a huge fan of all of the other Avent products too. The fact that the Philips Avent 9 oz BPA Free Bottle, Dual Pack bottles work with the pump, and the Philips Avent Soft Spout Magic Cup, 9 Ounce, Twin or Avent 7oz Magic Trainer Cup, is a huge bonus for me. When you cant always find the part you need, you know you can mix and match whenever necessary. The bottles are great for babies too. All 4 of mine have used Avent bottles for breastmilk and juice and have had an easier time with them than any other kind. They fit well in babies hands and mouths, and the wide bottle mouths make them easy to clean.
There are a ton of other things you can spend money on, but these are the essentials. Hope it helps you new moms.
There are also a few things I wouldn't buy....
1. Any product for my babies skin from Johnson and Johnson, they smell great, and come cheap, but you get what you pay for. They are laiden with chemicals that are known to cause skin allergies, are linked to cancerous tumors, and are generally less than best for your baby.
2. A crib. A play yard is great for emergencies, or if you want your baby close, but not in your bed, but I think a crib is a crazy expense. If you really don't want your baby in your room (I am not judging) than a crib makes sense, especially the double duty ones that become a toddler bed, but it has never been right for us.
3. A changing table. In the real world, the changing table becomes messy storage for all things diaper, but the baby ends up being changed in whatever room you are in at the moment. I keep 2 plastic storage bins in the house with diapers and washcloths for changing, one in the living room, and one in the bedroom.
4. Baby cereal or formula. There is a rush to get babies on solid food. It is not good for them. Rice cereal is lacking in any nutrient except added Iron that your baby can't get from breast milk. The iron isn't very bioavailable anyway. The whole grain cereal is wholly undigestable by babies systems, and can lead to celiac disease, IBS, and generally poor health as the intestines are damaged trying to deal with the gluten. If your baby is lacking iron, then you need to eat more spinach, sorry, but its true. Formula was not meant to be the first option. It was designed to keep babies alive as a LAST RESORT. Its not convenient, it is hard for them to digest, it smells bad, and it removes many health benefits from baby and mommy. If you can't breastfeed, fine, but try before you make that decision.
5. A diaper genie. I know several parents who swear by them, but I have had one. It is a pain to change the bag, It stinks anyway. They are expensive, and I don't think they earn their keep. They don't hold early enough diapers (even disposables) to be really useful. By the time its full you are in one of two situations with a traditional system anyway. Either you have just started to smell your regular disposables in the garbage can because it has been several days, or the baby is older, and the poopy diapers smell soooo bad they have to go out right away, and no diaper genie can hold back the funk. If you use cloth, this is a moot point, and a good pail with a lid will get changed out about every day anyway.
I am sure more things will come to me as time goes on, I will update this if I need to.