Monday, April 19, 2010

Everyone is smarter than me. Tell me what to buy!

friends! thanks for all of your input on birth plans and for sharing some of your birthing experiences. seriously thank you. it really is so helpful to read comments from people who have gone through this all before. also thanks to everyone who emailed me birth plans! so awesome. in the last two weeks we have looked at lots of sample birth plans and gone over our birth plan with our midwife. i feel pretty good about ours now. if anyone is interested i can email you a copy of ours.
i think one of the main things that i have learned from all of you and also from talking with my midwife is that while it is really important to plan and prepare for how you would like your birth to go...there are no having a go-with-the-flow attitude and knowing and being ok with change is the best approach. i don't have a very militant personality so while i do feel strongly that natural childbirth is the way to go for me...i am also very aware and open to the fact that things can change and i won't always have complete control. i'm totally ok with that.
ok. moving on. you people are awesome. and smart. help! {also, sorry my blog has turned into one big plea for advice.} :)
a few weeks back b and i decided we would go to that horrendous store, babies r us, and give registering a go. for 3 hours we walked the endless rows of baby crap like zombies. every once in a while b would lift the gun and shoot it at some random bar code. three hours later we had registered for 90ish items and i'm not kidding you, i have no idea what any of those 90ish items even are. OVERWHELMING.
side note: why does everything at babies r us have to be covered with sea creature or zoo animals? can we not get a nice, classy, solid-colored baby car seat? is that too much to ask? do they literally have to cover every square inch of every product with baseballs and stars or kittens and unicorns and rainbows?
anyways, back to where you guys come in.
at this point, we have purchased a few items. those items include clothes because who can resist? and...
a sophie which came highly recommended by the brilliant paula {read her blog. it's amazing}:

and this diaper bag, also recommended by paula: {paula saved me from spending 5 million dollars on one of these.}
other than these few items we are at a loss. a big, fat, loss. do we need a swing and one of those vibrating chair thingys (that just sounds bad) and a bouncy chair that hangs from the door frame? what kind of high chair is best? do you get a stroller that has a car seat that attaches? or do you buy them separate? do you have a preference in brands? does anyone have a bassinet that they love and if so WHERE did you get it? i could go on and on like this for days. but i'll stop here. you get the idea. basically what i would LOVE to know is...
what are you favorite baby items? ANY items? what would you never want to live without?
seriously people, the pacifier selection ALONE at babies r us was enough to give me a seizure. when we saw the thousands of pacifiers on the wall i just laid down on the floor, curled into the fetal position and rocked back and forth. the next thing i knew i woke up, covered in blood, and there was a dead babies r us employee next to me on the floor.


Meg said...

While I may not have many children I do spend the majority of my life talking about or interacting with the quadrillion children that belong to my friends. I would advise buying a bumbo. Those things are awesome. Also buy an Ergo NOT another brand of baby carrier. Besides being comfy and awesome they will help you get in touch with your inner hippy. I have more...we can chat later...

Amy and Daniel said...

I remember feeling SO overwhelmed the first time we went to register. I had no idea what kind of bottles, binkies, etc to get. I think that is where baby showers are helpful, because you get lots of different stuff and try out different things and see what works for you and your baby (because they are all different..we have lots of binkies but Lucy would never use them!)

We bought a car seat stroller frame instead of a big heavy combo stroller. I liked it because I could easily get it in and out of the car.

We absolutely love our high chair. It is a Chicco ( The things we like...adjustable height, removable tray liners, removable cushions, and wheels! I can move her into the kitchen when I am cooking and then to the table when we are ready to eat.

One thing that I am glad we spent more money on is my Medela breat pump. I got the Freestyle, and I am glad we made the investment. Not sure if you will need this, but if you are going to pump, get a good one!

Good luck!!

Dustin and Whit said...

talk about overwhelming! a high chair is one thing you can hold off on right now, it really isn't necessary until they are like 6 months anyway, and the one that I would hands down recommend is the $20 one from IKEA. It is THE BEST. No frills, just white plastic, easy to wipe down, super light weight, and doesn't take up half the kitchen like the other huge ones do. I would also recommend your mom getting one, for $20 it will be nice to have over there for family dinners, and it can be easily stored in the garage or something.

Also, Halle LIVED in her baby bouncer for the first few months- she preferred sleeping in it over her crib or cradle, and it was great to be able to move it all over the house. this is the one we have and like- i don't know if its the best but its been great for us!It is also what we fed her in for a long time before we finally got a high chair, works great for that too!

As for the car seat and stroller- I got the peg perego P3 stroller with matching infant carrier and while at the time it was one of the top rated products and I thought I was providing my child with optimal safety and comfort, I have had deep buyers remorse because it is SO FREAKING HEAVY! Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy something lightweight and easy to carry/maneuver, you will thank me for this piece of advise.

Happy Shopping!

naezandkidz said...

Hey!! I loved having a swing! It was a lifesaver.
That is the swing I had and both my kids loved it..Great for getting things done around the house and they can just sit and relax or be sleeping away.
I had a infant seat for cooper only and it was really nice..He pretty much lived in it. It was nice cause i could just put it in the car and take it with me if I was going anywhere and he would have somewhere to sit other then the carseat. I had the carseat stroller combo (graco) I loved it but I have also see the Chicco and they are also nice. I liked the combo cause it was easy to just take the baby out of car and put it right in the stroller! On the bassinet thing. I just got a pack in play (playpin) and it had the higher level thing that they can lay on while they are small and it worked great. Had a changing table and all. Sorry if that is to much info.

naezandkidz said...

oh also on a breast pump. I used Hilary's. They are so expensive and it worked great for me and it is a really nice one. If your interested you should ask her, I pretty sure she still has it.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

My advice is you won't know for awhile what you and your baby will like, so don't feel rushed to buy everything now! I have like, five different sets of bottles because I didn't just start slowly and try one at a time to see what Charlie liked. Try just buying one and see what works for you (bottles, blankets, diapers, etc.)

As for the car seat/stroller combo- that was hard for me, too. I ended up with a Graco Tour stroller and carseat which we liked a lot (you can fold it with one hand!) But I hardly ever used the carseat in the stroller- probably like 10 times. (We did use it when we traveled to Chicago, though). Charlie never really slept that much while in his carseat, so I usually just held him or put him in the stroller solo. We used the sling a lot (we have a Moby and a Bjorn, but next baby I think I want an Ergo!) Think about what you want to do most often- run errands? go walking/running? travel? visit friends? stay home? (a perfectly fine option, too, that's what we do mostly!) That will influence what kind of stroller you get.

I think both a bouncy seat and a swing are really helpful for the first 3-6 months, depending on how much space you have, I'd get both.

I wrote about some more of my favorite things on my blog.

Melissa Stringham said...

I bawled the first time I went to Babies R Us. Really, you don't need half of that stuff!

I got a skip hop diaper bag too and love it.

I have a hand-me-down standard basinette and it works great - I don't think a spectacular new one would be any better.

I got the Chicco Keyfit infant carseat and really have loved it. It is easy to pop in and out of your car and looks nice too. When Hannah was born it was the safest one on the market...which is why I bought it. I don't know if that is still the case or not. I also got the Chicco cortina stroller that the car seat fits into. I really liked having a "travel system" while I had a little infant. I have liked that stroller too. I think there are a lot of good strollers/travel systems out there though.

Things I couldn't live without:
Boppy breastfeeding pillow (your arms ache so much those first few weeks, this pillow gives support)

A bouncer - babies don't love being left alone on the floor when you can't hold them, this is a safe place for them to sit.

A comfy glider or rocking chair or recliner - for late night feedings

A nursing bra you can sleep in - cause your boobs hurt like mad for the first week or two and you can't stand to even take your bra off

A baby bjorn - I loved being able to carry my babies on my tummy and have my arms free. I tried a sling but hated it! If you buy a cheap carrier though it doesn't provide enough neck support for a newborn, so look for nicer ones like Chicco or Baby Bjorn.

A baby bath that sits in your sink - so you don't have to bend over to bathe that slippery squirmy baby

NUK binkies - my orthodontist recommended these kind. My babies were hooked on binky from day one...which was great because otherwise they would have used ME as a pacifier

Also: nail clippers, baby wash, baby lotion, wash rags, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer

Things you might want but should wait to buy - I would recommend trying these out by borrowing from a friend first or trying them in the store before you buy:

A swing - this will save your life if you have a fussy baby, but some babies don't need it and then it is just a waste of space

A highchair - you wont' need until baby is 6 months. I have a tiny kitchen so just bought a booster seat with a tray that sits on my kitchen chair - works great for babies and toddlers and saves space

A walker or play center or Jonny jump up - Hannah hated these, she preferred to just be on the floor. Don't buy before you try and know your baby likes it.

A bumbo chair - another waste of money for me, Hannah could sit up on her own after using it for only a few weeks!

I never had a breast pump or bottles becausee I never used them

Marcus and Amy said...

Andrea, I was so that exact same way! My two older sisters saved me...but before anything, my oldest sister told me to rush to Barns and Noble and buy the "Baby Bargains Book" was a life saver! They update this book every 2 years and when I bought mine last year they had just updated it. It lays out EVERYTHING! It rates all the brands, gives the pros and cons, the best places to buy, prices, etc. It was a lifesaver for me! I could then break down things in different areas and ask from there when it came to brands and such. Yes it requires some reading - but I promise it will help.

Also, I totally agree with you on the prints of everything at BRU. It drove me nuts. And when you are pregnant, small things can really tick you off! In fact, I kid you not - Marc and I had a full on arguing match in the middle of the place over what car seat to get and the print that was on them, with people watching and everything. We both just ended up walking out mad.

My suggestion is to get a travel system, I love my Graco one, but I didnt end up getting one of those behemoth stollers. My advice would be to take them down off the little shelf they are on and push them around AND make sure you can open and close them easily! That's what I did, I pushed them around the isle and played with them til I found one I liked.

And yes, get a swing! A full size one too - I got the small travel one and someone let us borrow a regular size one and Addie hates the small one and loves the big tall one that takes up most of our living room - go figure! And yes, I would also reccommed a bouncer - one with toys and music and lots of noise - it will save you for your shower time!

But really - get the Baby Bargains Book - it will help you!!!

Good luck!

Marcus and Amy said...

Oh also, get a Taggie or make one - I was given one and my sister made me one and Addie LOVES it - she is all about rubbing soft things on her face and playing with the ribbon tags and sucking on them.

Yes, I also like my bumbo.

And I bought a space saver high chair to go on one of your chairs only because we don't have a lot of room at our place so thats why I got it and I love it, I am just starting to use it!

Chris and Annalisa said...

I also cried the first time I went to BRU, ha ha! That store is uber overwhelming. Here's some of my advice you can take or leave. :)

Binkies - I bought fancy/cute ones that matched the bottles I was planning on using, etc. Then she got hooked on the soothies at the hospital and never looked back. So buy a few but wait to see what your baby prefers.

Breast Pump - absolutely LOVE my Avent Isis IQ Duo. I work 2 days a week still so I pump those days and love this thing to death. Go talk to the woman at the Lactation Station and let her give you her spiel. You'll feel smarter afterwards.

Carseat/Stroller - Hands down the best money we've spent on any baby item was what we spent on our stroller/carseat travel system. We did the Maxi Cosi Mico carseat with the Quinny Buzz stroller. The carseat docks into the frame but also has it's own seat for when baby is older. It looks vaguely like a Bugaboo. I found a smoking deal when they were clearancing out 2008's to make way for 2009's. I love this thing to death and I'd pay full price for it, knowing what I know now. Go to a store where you can push them around, heft them, and pull carseats in and out of them. It will help you get a better idea of what you like.

Burp Cloths - the cute, flannel fancy shmancy ones don't sop up spit worth a darn. Buy a pack 12-pack or two of the cloth diapers from BRU. They're by far the ones I use the most. (But I had an extraordinarily spitty baby for a while.)

Boppy - got it at a shower and don't know how the pilgrims and indians nursed their babies without them, lol! Your arms will thank you.

LOVE the swing and the bouncer the first few months. I would definitely buy one of each of those right away. We are also loving our Bumbo right now (at 5 months), but you can wait on it for a while because your baby won't need it right away. Same with a highchair. My main advice would be to focus on needs for the first few months so as not to overwhelm yourself unnecessarily, and worry about high chairs and bumbos/exersaucers/jumpers later!

Taylor and Cami Weight said...

Andrea first of all I love you! Secondly, I would love to get a copy of your birth plan if you want to email it to me, and third, I have a list of things that I feel were good to get, but maybe I should wait until after the baby is born to see if I use it all or what I wish I had etc. :) I know how you feel though, but don't worry about too much until after your showers...honestly though keep in mind no one really gives you stuff from your registry. I only got 2 out of the 30 things I registered for but turns out I didn't need a lot of that stuff anyway :)

Erin said...

I think Melissa S. had a great list! Basically the first few months your baby won't need all that other stuff like high chair, bouncer, etc, but a swing might be a good idea. Here are some more little basics:
- lots of onesies and soft bibs are a must!
- baby finger nail clippers
- newborn pacifier (worry about all the others later!)
- Lots of burp cloths (I used the old cloth diapers for cloths and they were the best!)

Go to Kid to Kid and DI for used baby things like a swing. Seriously, some of that stuff is still in great shape!

Also, I freaked out about where to have the baby sleep- bassinette or crib, cradle? We ended up just putting him in the crib, and you know what? He slept just fine!

Good luck!

kl said...

It's called pottery barn kids! Register there, tons of cute stuff! And I have a petunia pickle bottom, you've gotta be stylin!! It's a one-time investment (hopefully from like your mother in law or something)! I've seen those other diaper bags though, and they are cute too. Anyway, laters girly! - - Kelli

Melanie said...

The two items I recommend as absolutely must-haves are pretty simple. The Marpac SleepMate Sound Machine found here... It's a white noise machine that makes the yummiest white noise for sleeping. G is the lightest sleeper on the planet. If I walked by her door she would wake up. This machine has worked wonders for us. It helps me sleep to because I hear it on the baby monitor when I'm trying to sleep at night. It's a little expensive but since I bought it a few years ago it's come down about $15 in price. Some people will laugh and say you just need a fan for white noise but I don't think a fan works very well. And what do you do in the winter? A fan makes a room freezing cold. Plus, this little machine is so small you can pack it in your suitcase for trips. I'm buying another one for bambino #2. It really is amazing.

Second item we could not live without...a SwaddleMe. Look it up on Amazon. Get a summer one (lightweight cloth) and a winter one (fleece). Read the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth. It will save your life! G didn't sleep through the night until she was 8 months old and I wish I would have read this book before she came. She would have slept so much better. It talks about the need for a 4th trimester in the babies development. READ IT. You'll see why you need a SwaddleMe.

Those were my top 2. As far as everything else goes, it all depends on what works for you and your baby. Every baby is so different. We had both a bouncer and a swing and we only ended up using the swing a handful of times. G didn't really love it. Waste of space and money. don't need this for awhile yet. But I recommend the Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair It's half the cost of other chairs and it just straps on to one of your kitchen chairs. It saves space and money and works great for toddlers too because it turns in to a booster seat.

Strollers....I didn't get a combo carseat/stroller thing because G was born in the winter time and I knew I wouldn't need anything like that. We bought a Maclaren Triumph Umbrella stroller and a Jeep jogging stoller. I love both and need both. I personally think the combo stollers seem like a waste of money. You really only need it for the first few months. You should just use a Baby Bjorn for walks during those first few months since it will be summer time.

Binkies...I didn't want G to have a binkie but the nurses in the hospital gave one to her anyway! She became hooked. They give you the soothie binkies in the hospital which are supposed to feel the closest to "mom". I would try those out first and see if she takes well to them. G had a hard time keeping them in her mouth. We switched over to NUK binkies and they worked great. The the number 1 ortho recommended and it's much easier for baby to keep one in her mouth.

Do NOT get any crib bedding. I know it's tempting but it's extremely dangerous. All the baby needs is a fitted sheet and a SwaddleMe.

When I was pregnant with G I bought a book called Consumer Reports for Baby products or something like that. I would recommend that book as well.

Had enough of all my opinions yet? :) Good luck with everything! Remember not to go overboard too. Just buy things as you need them.

Jen said...

Couldn't live without...
1. swing...the kind that switches side to side or back and forth.

2. bumbo with a tray instead of high chair ('cause my house is tiny and I hate hate hate cleaning up high chairs...the bumbo can take a shower with me and the tray can be washed in the dishwasher. also...bought 2 at kid to kid for cheaper than 1 at target in fabulous condition...not a big used shopper, typically, but this is an exeption.)

3. hooter hider/nursing cover/whatever you want to call it. If you plan to is soooo much easier. They are $$$ to buy and rediculously simple to make. In fact, if you don't have one let me know and I will whip one up for you.
4. avent pump. I have the manual one (from when Morgan was little and before they came out with the IQ) and it is phenominal. I rented a hospital grade one for about a month, and my manual avent is just as efficient...I have lots to say about this, so let me know if you want more details.

5. Baby einstein lullabies cd.

what I would skip (because I have thrown away/donated/gotten rid of after buying it)...
1. diaper bag...I did use it with my first and it looks like the one you got is darling, but I don't do the diaper bag may argue that by the size of my purse, though. :)

2. high chair (as mentioned above)

3. wipes warmer...sounds like a good idea, but dries out your wipes and they really don't care.

4. receiving blankets...they are too small to be functional past 1 month. Get (or make...they are kind of hard to find) bigger ones.

5. crib bumper or quilt...they aren't safe and they are pricey

6. changing table...seriously, go with a dresser and put a changing pad thingy on it. More functional, more variety, less money.

7. baby need to sleep and not listen to them breathe. You are going to hear them if they need you!

I sound really cheap, don't I. I kind of am, but stuff gets TRASHED, expensive or not, so I have learned not to dump money into it. Babies/toddlers/kids are just plain messy!

I seriously could go on and on about this, just like every parent out there, but really, if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask because I have probably bought it and thrown it away. :)

Bonny said...

Hi! I had my first baby 4 months ago. Here's what we did and some recommendations:

Carseat/Stroller - We bought the Chicco Keyfit car seat but NOT the travel system stroller. Instead we did a very light weight frame stroller (i think Baby Trend or something) because I didn't want to have to deal with that GIANT stroller. Besides I'm tiny so I didn't want to lift it. We've loved the frame stroller. When he's ready, we'll buy a stroller he can sit in that won't be huge because the huge ones are annoying. I love the $20 umbrella strollers...

Bassinet - We used the portable crib/ mini pack n play and LOVED it. It's small enough to fit through doors but spacious enough for baby. It folds and travels VERY easily too. Here:

-Boppy pillow is a must.
-Huge high chairs are annoying and ugly to me. I bought a highchair from the 70s at a consignment shop. I plan to get the booster high chair that straps to a regular chair.
-We loved our little swing although now our little man is using a vibrating chair with dangling toys and LOVES it. Both were good investments for us.
-ditto to the cloth diaper burp rags. you need a ton of them seriously...same with bibs

Starr said...

K I am a total looser and you may not even read this, but I have been contemplating this for weeks! WEEKS! Or just one week since you posted it a week ago...never mind. There are several things I would not recommend, but once I started to ponder (which I certainly did) I realized that to each their own, you know? So while the unused boppy is still stashed in my closet somewhere, and the pickle bottom d bag is now the reject church bag, there is one thing I would recommend - TRIPLE PASTE. For rashy bottoms. Nothing is sadder than a little red booty and this stuff is MAGICAL.