Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Registry Revisited

I got an e-mail from a former Purposeful Conception kindred spirit (she's due a couple weeks after I am!), asking for my thoughts about the items on our original baby registry. Would we still want all those same things now that we have the benefit of knowledge and experience? What would we do differently? What do we wish we had put on there? What items did we never actually use (if any)?

I have to preface this post by pointing out that every "Must Have" baby item list I've ever read (even from bloggers whom I turn to every day for other advice and insight) has never even come close to my own list. I think it's simply that what we need, want, and the kinds of babies we have vary so much from person to person. 

With that said, I still think it's worth going through this exercise, as long as I explain my thinking behind my preferences. That way, you can see if my rationale resonates with you on any of these things.

Also, keep in mind that most of this stuff can be purchased used. All of these items are personal preference; none of them is absolutely critical. My strategy was to try and think of everything we would need until Christmas. Then, at Christmas, I try to think of everything we'll need until the next birthday. Then, at his birthday, I try and think of everything he'll need until Christmas. It means we may have to store things in the closet for a while, but it helps us save money.

So, here we go (in no particular order):

Items I'm so glad we received (or purchased):
  • American Baby Company Organic Waterproof Quilted Crib Mattress Pad Cover These are like fitted sheets that protect the mattress from urine and poop. Buying organic mattress covers made me feel better about purchasing Henry's mattress from IKEA. I was so glad to have two of these, so if we need to change it in the middle of the night, we can take it off and put the next one on without worrying about washing it right away.
  • Global Babies/Bebes del mundo (Global Fund for Children) In my experience, babies love looking at pictures of other babies. I love this book for its global perspective. We still read this book to Henry and he's almost two.
  • Black & White  This book is great because you can set it up accordion style on the floor and set your baby down for stomach time in front of it. In the grand scheme of things, you don't get much use out of it because this developmental time period is so short, but it's invaluable for that stomach time phase.
  • Baby Faces Board Book #02: Smile!  See explanation about baby faces above. We still read this to Henry.
  • BearView Infant Mirror Tan Bear This is one of those contraptions that allows you to see your child when they are in a rear-facing carseat. We just flipped Henry's carseats forward facing because the most recent recommendation is to keep them rear-facing as long as possible. These mirrors were super helpful. We had one for each car.
  • Graco SnugRide 35/32 Infant Car Seat Base,Tan We bought an extra carseat base, so that we could snap the carseat in and out of both cars. Having two really allowed Matt and me to distribute Henry responsibilities with ease. I'm so glad we went this route. Once you get a base installed, you should have it professionally verified (places like fire departments and hospitals can do this for free), so you don't really want to move it around after that.
  • Graco SnugRide 32 Infant Car Seat, Rittenhouse We opted for a bigger infant carseat than most of our friends, which meant that we got to use it a little longer. The downside is that it's heavier to carry, but we honestly didn't keep Henry in his carseat very much. Even if he was sleeping, we would take him out and put him into the Moby or Ergo because he would sleep much better in one of those than the carseat. Again, this varies a lot from baby to baby.     
  • bumGenius Diaper Sprayer  We didn't use this much during the breastmilk phase (even though we should have to keep waste out of the water system), but we use it constantly now.
  • Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair, Cherry We love this high chair. We never bought the special infant adapter harness thing (because many of the reviews said it was too tight for a lot of kids), and I'm glad we didn't. We never needed it.
  • Lansinoh HPA Lanolin 1.41 oz   Definitely needed this stuff constantly in the first several months of breastfeeding!
  • My Brest Friend Deluxe Pillow, Light Green We opted for the My Brest Friend instead of the Boppy because it snaps around your back (I found that the the Boppy slid forward too much). It's very much personal preference, though. I recommend trying them out for yourself.
  • My Brest Friend Slipcover, Leaf Having a second cover was absolutely necessary because of vomit, etc. Like mattress covers and sheets, having a second one on hand allows you to change it out right away and delay washing, if necessary.
  • Moby Wrap Moderns 100% Cotton Baby Carrier, Slate I love, love, love the Moby. I had to watch the internet tutorial several times to learn how to put it on, but I love it. We used it all the time to carry around Henry when he was really young.
  • ERGO Baby Carrier - Performance Grey I also loved the Ergo. Having two kinds of carriers gave us options in those "dark days." We really did fluctuate between the both of them. 
  • ERGObaby Organic Heart2Heart Infant Insert, Silver I'm glad we had this, but I recommend trying to borrow it from a friend because you don't use it for very long. The most helpful piece is the little pillow that helps them sit up higher when they're still really small.
  • Fold-up Baby Nail Clipper from Safety 1st Great nail clipper. Their nails grow so fast!
  • BABYBJORN Little Potty - White  I like the simplicity of this little toilet.
  • BOB Infant Car Seat Adapter For Single Strollers  Our pediatrician said not to let Henry sit in the stroller for six months, so this adapter was absolutely essential. In fact, we still have it attached so Henry can use it as a footrest.
  • BT285 Double Ring Hanging Toy Great, simple toy.
  • Wooden Natural Boars' Hair Baby Brush We rarely use this, but I still think it's helpful to have on hand.
  • bumGenius Elemental One-Size Cloth Diaper 12-pack - Diaper Packages - Cotton Babies Cloth Diaper Store I'm still really happy with our bumGenius all-in-ones. Yes, they take longer to dry and they take longer to fit a newborn, but I really like the organic cotton, and I think they will last through a second child. They are starting to get some wear and tear. We have 18 of these all together, and that's been a good.
  • BA212 Arch Toy Hanger Even though we didn't use this for very long, I appreciated having it. It allowed me to take a shower every single day when I was staying at home with a newborn. In retrospect, I might have saved money by buying the IKEA wooden arch and painting it all white to minimize its busyness.
  • DwellStudio | *NEW SKYLINE LT. BLUE FITTED CRIB SHEET - Crib Fitted Sheets - Bedding - Baby I wish we had gotten two fitted sheets for all the reasons discussed in the mattress cover section.
  • BT290 Color Snake Hanging Toy Another great, simple toy.
  • BT295 Sphere and Bell Hanging Toy Another great, simple toy.
  • BR010 Rattling Caterpiller Hanging Toy Another great, simple toy.
  • Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner - Diaper Accessories - Cotton Babies Cloth Diaper Store These pail liners have worked great for us. Again, having two is indispensable.
  • Butterfly Mobile The Montessori mobiles are expensive and you don't use them for very long, but I just haven't found anything that compares to them. They are so beautiful,  lightweight so they move with air currents, and they are designed specifically for infants on their backs (i.e., the mobile elements are flat so the child can actually see them instead of just staring at the bottom of something like on most mobiles). I think they are a hugely important part of teaching independence, focus, concentration, and tracking from the very earliest days. I'm so glad we have these.
  • Montessori Infant Bell Another great, simple toy.
  • Mother and Baby Whale MobileSee mobile description above.
  • Aden Anais Muslin Swaddle Blanket Star Bright for boysWe never swaddled Henry because it's not a Montessori practice (plus he didn't seem to like it), but these are great multi-purpose blankets anyway.
  • Edison's Day - DVDs and Videos - montessori-namt​​​​a.orgIf you are at all interested in Montessori in the home, this video is essential for understanding what the goal is. It's a documentary about a 20-month old. I have watched it many, many times.
  • Chicken and Egg Pull Toy by McCoyToys on EtsyAnother great, simple toy.

Day-to-day items that I'm glad we stocked up on:

Items we got but wouldn't necessarily ask for again:
Things I wish we had:

Items we purchased after having Henry that I would have added to our registry:
Things we didn't get and didn't need:
  • Sterling Silver Rattle and Bag This item is way too expensive for the short amount of time it's used.
  • Changing Table: We still use a folded towel on the bathroom counter and it works fine for us.
  • Rocker/Glider: Everyone in the world says we needed one of these, but I didn't want to invest in one. I felt like we wouldn't use it for very long. I did use the front porch swing for several weeks, but other than that Henry has been fine without that kind of rocking motion. If I really felt like I needed one, I would probably make one like this.
  • Dresser: We just use a baby organizer that hangs in the closet. It has two bars (one up high and one low enough for a toddler to reach) and cubbies. We keep Henry's clothes to a minimum, so one of these organizers is enough for us. 
  • Multiple Strollers: We only received and use one stroller, the BOB Revolution. I love it.
  • Swing/Bouncy Seat/Playyard/Etc.
So there you have it! Definitely let me know if you have any comments or questions. We're going to have a baby shower for Bambino #2 like we did for Henry (basically a fun party that we throw for ourselves). Instead of a bowling theme, I think we'll paint my belly to look like a beach ball and then throw the party at a swimming hole. I'm looking forward to it!

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ALICE said...

It's funny you post this today... I'm just about to make my first order from Michael Olaf for my son due in 11 days! I'm planning on ordering the two mobiles you mention and a hanger. Anything else you'd add to that list? I'm also considering the book Understanding the Human Being as I don't have a Montesorri background at all (I've just read MOntesorri from the Start and have stalked MOntesorri blogs for the last couple of months).

Kelsey said...

My registry is very similar so I'm glad to know you really used all these things! I also hope to avoid using a swing although so many people swear by them. I did register for a simple kind of seat that bounces from the baby's own movement although if no one buys it for us I probably won't but it. I figure if we have a really colicky baby we might try a swing to see if that might help but we'll wait to see if we really need it.

We also purchased plenty things used - a set of 18 bum genius cloth diapers and sprayer, Chicco KeyFit car seat and two bases (made sure it was in excellent shape and warranty is good through the next several years), and glider ($40!).

A note - we already got a small Planet Wise wet bag and the small size is really small! I'm not sure it would even fit one cloth diaper, it would probably be best to hold wipes. So just a suggestion to check the dimensions and make sure you know what you're getting!

Robyn said...

Great timing! I just had a baby shower this weekend and was trying to make a list of what we still need for our first baby, arriving end of March. It seems like we have similar baby philosophies, so it is useful to see such a comprehensive list from your experience with Henry. Shopping for baby stuff is so fun--but also so overwhelming! Especially on a tight budget with a small house. But I love the challenge, these constraints force us to "practice what we preach".

Annaliese Hettinger said...

I LOVE this blog. I am originally from the Austin area (but live in Oregon now) so reading it is like getting a little taste of home. I was wondering which closet baby organizer you use...
:) AHP

Anthropolochic said...

So I hacked that chair completely independently of the blog post you linked to here. Turns out we used the same method and parts - so i can recommend the swivel attachment for rocks and turns very well.

The chair is another matter. It was great for the first month. I now have a two month old that is simply too long for the width of the seat pan - the chair arms get in the way of her head and legs. It is impossible to nurse in it and very difficult to rock her as well. I still love the chair for sitting and rocking, but if I could do it again I would drop the extra $100 on the full sized ektorp armchair and prolong its life as a place to nurse and rock the baby in positions other than straight up and down.

Thanks for the advice on the other items. Lots of stuff I've never seen before. Always nice to see new things and get new opinions.

kacey said...

Hi Sara,

Can you talk about your decision not to pump? A breast pump is one of those "must have" items that we have not invested in yet, because I'm just not sure what our routine is going to be. Any insight on this would be appreciated!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, All!

@ Alice: Yes to Understanding the Human Being. I've never read it (I'm embarrassed to admit), but Kylie over at really recommends it. In fact, I'm going to add it to Baby Registry #2 right now. Thanks!

Hi, Kelsey! Yes to the mentality that you can buy things (like swings) later if you need them. Amazon is a miracle worker for those kinds of things (especially when you are recovering from birth). And thanks for the tip about the wet bag. I almost put a small one on Baby Registry #2 (it said 1-2 cloth diapers!), but then I realized that Henry will probably be done with the wet bag his school gave us. I'll just use that one. P.S. Can't wait to see you Saturday!

Hi, Annaliese! I bought a simple baby closet organizer at Target. It's held up well for us (we've used it constantly for two years now).

Hi, Anthropolochic! I nursed mainly on my bed or on the couch. Babies do grow fast!

Hi, Kacey! It's such a personal decision and most of my breast-feeding friends pump. When Henry was born, he would eat and eat and eat and eat. Seriously, he would eat for at least 45 minutes at a time (at a minimum). One day, he ate for a total of nine cumulative hours. So in those early days, I was overwhelmed with the thought of spending so much of my day breastfeeding AND then making time to attach myself to a pump. We borrowed a high-grade pump from a family member, but it never worked well for me. I'm not sure if the attachments just weren't the right size for me or what. I definitely could have gone to a mother-centered store for help. However, I just didn't enjoy pumping or trying to make time for it, so I cut myself a break and decided not to pump.

Then, breastfeeding got a lot easier and faster (at the three-month mark), and I decided that I would commit to being near Henry for a breast-feeding session every 3-4 hours. Sometimes it was very tough! I was a stay-at-home mom for a year, but there were a couple times when I had to go to very important trainings. Once, a friend of mine drove from Louisiana to our house in Houston and then rode with me to Austin. I went to a training, while she hung out with Henry in the city. She would bring him to me every 3-4 hours, and I would leave the training to go breastfeed in the car. Another time, I put Henry in the daycare at Matt's work for two days and again had to leave the training every 3-4 hours to go breastfeed him. Matt disagreed with my decision not to pump because he saw the difficulty it brought into our lives at times, but it was important to me.

But aside from those exceptions, it really wasn't too difficult. I liked the idea of following nature's lead and being close to my baby frequently throughout the day. It felt like it was helping to develop Henry's sense of security.

BUT, it's definitely not for everyone! I followed my doctor's advice about not feeding Henry in the night early on (there are other posts about how I did that), so it wasn't like I was the only one getting up with Henry all night long for a year. That would have made not pumping much, much harder.

If you do pump, I definitely recommend investing in a high-quality pump. It will make pumping so much easier and more enjoyable.

Good luck figuring out what works for you!

kacey said...

Thanks- I appreciate the in-depth and candid response!

Nici said...


I heard that both the bobby and the brest friend nursing pillows have fillings with toxic flame retardants. A great alternative may be the less known Theraline Plushy Moon: All my European friends use it. It is filled with micro beads and is super soft yet supportive. Can be used as sleep support during pregnancy and long after as well.

Kate said...

In my area of the country (Northeast) people almost never host their own baby shower--a friend, not a relative, would host it for you, and usually only for a first child. Is what you're doing common among your friends?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Kate! No it's not common among the people I know to host your own baby shower. For me, it's just a celebration of our impending baby, so it doesn't really matter who hosts it. And because it's a celebration of our impending baby, I think it's important to have one for the second baby, too.

Beginning Montessori said...

Thanks for this post! Great timing as we add to our baby registry. We're planning to have a one-month celebration instead of a baby shower (prior to baby's arrival). We were able to purchase what we think at this stage are essentials for baby's arrival (any day!) and then add to the registry those things we think we'll need in the first year, or like you said, until Christmas. I guess I'd better add a diaper sprayer but I'm keeping the silver rattle on the list. Almost every baby that I observed using it absolutely loved it and what a special heirloom gift. We'll see what we are blessed to receive of course.

Kristin said...

Hey Sarah - which nursing bras did you like? The link there doesn't seem to be working. Thanks for writing all this up! It's invaluable!!!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Sorry about that, Kristin! I love, love, love the Bravado nursing bras:

Julia. said...

Hi! I hope comments are responded to long after the original post! I'm going to be planning our baby shower soon and would like to know where you registered online so that you could include the wide variety of shopping sources for a list like the one you've posted. Amazon seems complicated for returns and doesn't include many of these online vendors.

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