hey! i'm back!
no good explanation for the absence, just busy i guess. anyway, i just wanted to try and compile a list of must-have stuff for new babies.
1. a baby carrier. i am using a beco butterfly 2 ($139 new) and moby wrap ($40-60 new) for the first several months. right now i'm beginning to branch out to woven wraps (depending on size and brand $105-$145+) and ring slings ($40-105). there is a swap on facebook and on a few baby websites for used carriers. you don't usually get a crazy discount, but your not buying new (which is good) and you're helping a family get baby crap out of their house! a stretchy wrap like a moby, is advertised as being able to hold up to 35 lbs or so, but once babies get to 15-20 pounds, the carrier gets sagging due to the stretch. a soft structured carrier like beco and ergo will get you from newborn to toddler+ and they're easy on the back. a ring sling is great for a newborn on through toddlerhood but since you'll be doing one-shoulder carriers it can be taxing when holding a bigger kid. woven wraps
2. cloth diapers and wipes. i mean modern cloth diapers. i have used bumgenius, bummis, rumparooz, happy heinys, modia, little lemon tree and coolababy (the ebay diaper). i would suggest starting with about 24, though they are addictive and you could end up with many more. i use baby washcloths for wipes. i found a 12 pack of gerber washcloths on amazon for about $7, i bought two and it has been plenty. there is a cloth diaper swap on facebook where i regularly see mom selling their entire newborn set of diapers for a fraction of what was paid. they only fit for the first 2-3 months but i think the full one-size diapers are a little bulky for a tiny newborn. most insert diapers come with a microfiber insert set but more manufacturers are making hemp, cotton, organic cotton and bamboo inserts. oh, when selecting the diapers you want for your older than newborn baby, i highly recommend snap closure over velroc/aplix closure. with velcro/aplix, you have to be religious about using the laundry tabs to stick down the hook part of the velcro. if you are not, you end up with diaper chains and your velcro gets fuzz embedded and it does not stick as well. oh, you can also RENT newborn diapers. i rented from modern cloth diapers. the owner, heather, is awesome and will answer any and all questions before you place your order. once my rental period was over, i had an idea of what i liked in diapers and bought accordingly from her website. pro tip- she really does it up on cyber saturday.
3. a bouncy seat. ($30-$200) the brand doesn't really matter. our neighbor gave us her fisher price seat when her baby was too big and she found out we were expecting. sometimes you just need some place safe to put baby down and a bouncy seat is really great for this purpose. i am writing this now with my baby in his bouncy seat. he's having fun playing with the toy bar thingy. there are baby crap looking ones and there are (expensive) fancier looking ones. try craigslist for used ones, you can usually get about $20 off retail for something in good condition. you might even be able to find someone giving one away just to get it out of the house!
4. swaddling blankets. i use adan and anais, ones we took home from the hospital and a couple that my friend made for teo when he was a baby. the key here is to not get receiving blankets. those are too small to be useful except for when you need to pin babies arms in because your miracle blanket is in the wash. we also use a miracle blanket for overnight, but not until he was able to break the swaddle in the other blankets. seriously, do not accept imitations of the miracle blanket. they are not miraculous at all. your baby will be out of that swaddle before you can say "miracle blanket". you can find them cheaper used but i bought new or was gifted the ones that i have. $30-40 for a set of aden and anais, $32 for a miracle blanket.
5. co-sleeper. your baby totes does not want to sleep in a room all by himself. he wants to sleep with you. and you will want him to sleep with you when he needs to eat overnight. that way instead of waking fully up, getting out of bed and checking on baby every time he cries, you can just reach over, and give him his pacifier or scoop him up and put him on the boob for a little while. we scored a never-used co-sleeper from a mama on craigslist for $100. i love it. it isn't used all night or for naps. i use it to put my little man for the first segment of the night, before the night first feeding. i find we get a pretty good stretch this way. i also like it for if i want to have an adult beverage, that way i don't need to worry about any dangers of bed-sharing while possibly intoxicated. another option is to skip the co-sleeper bassinet and just sidecar a full size crib without the front rail. we had already bought the co-sleeper by the time we came up with this idea so we're using it. we will upgrade to the sidecar when baby is too big for his bassinet. we found out about the dropside crib recall/ban and were trying to figure out how we could use big brother's crib without it being dangerous. the sidecar is what we came up with. it should be fairly simple because it converts to a toddler bed with no dropside rail.
6. a changing table. some people will say to skip this, i beg to differ. they say, "oh, just get a changing mat and change them on your bed!" well, i have a low bed and bending down that far 10+ times per day for several minutes per change would really do a number on my back. luckily, i kept the dresser/ changing table i bought for big brother so we just used that over again. ikea has some nice options but they don't have great storage for clothing. you could also just get a regular dresser that is about changing table height and stick a changing pad and supplies on top.
7. clothes! there are a ton of consignment stores where you can get decently priced, lightly used baby clothes. you can also check craigslist for lots that local peeps are selling. i got a lot of mateo's clothes as gifts and i saved most of his newborn stuff so that's a lot of what ivan is wearing. you can also find pretty good deals on new clothes during sales at big box baby stores. see if any of your friends have hand-me-downs from their kids. one thing i just found out is that american apparel has baby clothes and they are pretty reasonably priced. because they're off season, i just paid $25 for a hooded sweater ON CLEARANCE from old navy. later the same night, i found a hoodie from american apparel on amazon for $15! dangit! i had to get something though because he had outgrown all of the ones he had been wearing and the ones i thought he could wear after are too big and it's still damn cold here. all of the store are selling shorts and t-shirts, meanwhile, it's rainy and 40 degrees outside. i think aa pants and t-shirts are under $10, but don't quote me on that!
8. a really good camera. you should have this anyway, but i think it's especially important for when you have children. i dropped about $450 on a new camera but you could def go used here. you also need to have a system for backup things up on your computer otherwise all of your precious memories are likely to be lost if you ever have catastrophic computer failure. i am a mac user and i use their built in back up utility called time machine. it automatically backs up your computer every hour to an external back up drive. super easy. i am sure there are similar programs for windows and linux machines, just google it! there are also online back up services that charge a fee for online storage space. these are good because the copy is offsite and that could be very helpful if there was something worse that just computer fail, like a natural disaster or house fire or whatever. this is super important though! i still look through mateo's baby photos 6 years later!
9. toys. ok, so, for the first 4-5 months, your baby will not care about toys. after that, they love toys. try to get brightly colored stuff that is bpa free. my favorite materials are wood and silicone. that being said, mateo's favorite things to play with as a baby and toddler were empty yogurt containers, big and small. he also had a few kitchen utensils that he liked a lot. i think he still even plays with a set of measuring spoons that i gave him when he was one or two years old. ivan likes wrist rattles, sophie the giraffe, froggy toy that you pull on to make it vibrate and his jelly cat stuffed monkey (of which i need to buy a duplicate). if your kiddo develops an attachment to a toy, get one or two extra (asap) in case something happens to it. baby toys are often nominally priced unless you're going with wooden toys. either way, i'd buy new!
10. a breast pump. pro tip- you can find a screaming deal on a breast pump via craigslist. before you say "eeewwwww!", let me tell you something. you can buy new tubing, horns and bottles for a used breast pump and you come out waaaaaaay ahead money wise. milk does not go anywhere on the motor or it's housing. you probably wants to inspect the thing to make sure it works ok and is clean before you buy it. in my experience, moms clean their stuff pretty well before selling it. you can get a manual pump for pretty cheap new, but i never had much success with the one i tried. i suggest an electric double pump. why do you want one? well, once you start breast feeding, breast milk is all you want baby to have. some people have no problem subbing in a bottle of formula here and there, but a) it doesn't taste/smell as good and b) formula poop is way stinky. also, if baby is going to be drinking from a bottle a lot, breast milk is still free and you can get a great pump, new or used, for less than the price of 10 cans of formula. we use glass bottles because we're trying to minimize the plastic ivan come into contact with, but i think almost all of the plastic bottles on the market nowadays are bpa free. ivan has one bottle every few days so dad can feed him while i do something else. he also drinks from bottles when he hangs out with his granny and papa so mom and dad can go on dates! the pumps are changing/improving all of the time but medela is generally the best brand, it's the kind they use in hospitals. do some research online and then look for your top choice pumps on craigslist! you can also rent a pump from the hospital. while they are industrial grade, the rental costs a lot over the long run so it's more worth it to make the purchase yourself. if you qualify for WIC, you can get one for free through them.