Friday, July 28, 2006

A Baby Checklist

My sister-in-law Shelly is having her first baby in November, and is the first of her group of friends to venture into parenthood. Nana V asked me to put together a list of things she needs for those first few months.

So, those of you not attending a workshop on the basics for a beginning blogger, how to make your blog pretty, or community-based blogging (God, I hate you all. So. Much. I bet you're all already drunk, too. Hate.), give me some feedback on my checklist. Am I missing something?

A New Baby Checklist for Shelly

Stuff You Need
__ diapers (unless your baby is really small, you’ll use fewer newborn-sized diapers than you think. You’ll graduate to Size 1 pretty quickly, so don’t buy a truckload of the newborn size, you’ll just need a pack or two.)
__ wipes (meconium - the first baby poops - are like tar. You might want a wet washcloth for these, rather than using the twenty wipes it will take to clean it up. Taking the kid out back and spraying off his bottom with a hose might be more efficient. After the meconium stage, wipes work perfectly well. For the most part.)
__ carseat (they won’t let you leave the hospital without one)
__ changing table
__ place for the baby to sleep (crib, bassinet, dresser drawer, laundry basket . . .the baby really doesn’t care at first)
__ at least one lactation consultant visit, if nursing

Stuff You Probably Want
__ a diaper disposal system (Do not expect these to be odor-free. None are odorless, but all do a pretty bang up job of keeping your nursery from smelling like a mosh pit. Some use regular garbage bags, others take special refills. A note on the regular garbage bag systems - they will save you money, but be prepared for a face full of week-old diaper stank every time you empty the system.)
__ a secondary changing station (particularly important in a two-level house, especially if you end up with a C-section. A pack and play’s changing pad works fine for this. So will a towel on your dining room table.)
__ a portable or secondary place for the baby to sleep (it is nice for the first few months, when the baby sleeps all the time, to have a place in addition to the crib for sleeping. We used a moses basket, which might not work in a house with dogs. For some kids, a swing works fine. You’ll want a place for the baby to sleep on each level of the house at least, like the crib for upstairs and a bassinet for downstairs.)
__ a bouncy seat – not to be confused with a door jumper – or swing, or both, or neither. (Every kid is different - some kids love em, some kids could care less. The point is to have another safe place to set the child down when you have to pee.)
__ cloth diapers (for burp cloths, changing pads, and shoulder protection. You can use them for their intended purpose, too, I suppose, but I sure as hell never did.)
__ basic first aid kit - thermometer, booger sucker, eye dropper, nail clippers (someone told me the booger suckers you get at the hospital are the best, and the ones you buy in stores stink. Steal as many from the hospital as you can; we took two)
__ receiving blankets (you’ll need more than you think. They always come in handy, even if you’re using them as a great big rag.)
__ boppy pillow (for nursing, bottle feeding, tummy time, propping a beginning sitter, and dozens of other uses. Get one with a pattern you like, because it turns up in every damn picture you take.)
__ basic, boring clothes (the kind you don’t get at showers. A pack or two of onesies, maybe a hat, and some socks. Snap-front clothes are the easiest/least nerve-wracking - it’s a lot simpler to dress a bobblehead baby when he’s lying on his back, and if he poops through something you don’t have to pull the poop-covered outfit over his head. Outfits that fasten up the back are horrible to put on a newborn; avoid them at all costs, no matter how cute they are. For the most part, snaps are better than buttons.)
__ a breast pump, if you’re doing the nursing thing
__ nursing pads (they go in your bra to catch leaks. You can get the disposable kind or the washable kind.)
__ at least three nursing bras (but wait to be fitted until your milk comes in)
__ bottles (if you’re supplementing or expressing. You might want to try a bunch of different brands, as each baby has a different preference, which might change every few months. You’ll just need small ones at first, but will probably want some larger-capacity ones for later.)
__ pacifier (again, try a bunch of different brands until you find one that stops the infernal wailing)

Stuff You Don’t Really Need, But Might Like
__ bottle sterilizer (we had a microwave one, you can get bags for this purpose, too)
__ bottle drying rack (if you hand wash, but the dishwasher works great for bottle washing too, and negates the need for the sterilizer. If you put the nipples in, though, check them regularly for wear.)
__ bottle warmer (if using formula. Most people recommend against warming expressed breast milk, because it kills a lot of the good antibodies)

Stuff You Shouldn’t Waste Your Money Time On
- wipe warmer (Honestly. Do you warm your toilet paper before you use it?)
- Dreft (Seriously. Unless your baby has horribly sensitive skin, your normal detergent will do just fine. Of course, every parent goes out and buys one bottle of Dreft for those first washings. It does smell nice.)

Stuff Some People Swear by but We Didn’t Use
- sleep sack (our kid did fine in his pajamas)
- sleep positioner (but remember, we had to get the kid a helmet)


Betty said...

Probably a good idea to have stuff on hand for mom when she gets home - sanitary napkins, Motrin, tucks pads and Prep. HAlso, I would recommend Mylicon or some other gas drops for baby.

E :) said...

My best friend's due with her first in less than two weeks. I'm totally sending her this link - thanks!

Melissa said...

Stretchy swaddling blankets -- some babies reeeeeally like to be swaddled, and those flannel-ish receiving blankets can be hard to keep tightly wrapped (or maybe I just suck at the whole swaddling thing. That's also a possibility).

And I would add chocolate to betty's list of things for mom.

nonlineargirl said...

A bunch of wash cloths (we got a pack of 10 or so at Target for cheap) come in handy at various times. Washing baby, wiping their faces after meals...

Baby tylenol - it probably won't be needed for a few months at least, but once you want it, you want it NOW. At 3 am that can be kind of a pain if you don't already own it.

Lumpyheadsmom said...

These are all great suggestions. Keep 'em coming!

CPA Mom said...

Go to - they have a website link on there right now for new moms to get a weekly newsletter that sounds cool.

Jill said...

Diaper rash ointment and gentle baby soap.

Also, I'll stick up for the wipes warmer. If you get the kind with the little moist pillow inside it will make the wipes more moist for easier cleaning.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Not drunk yet...

Does Shelley need a crib?

(How sad am I reading blogs AT BlogHer?)

Daddy L said...

The only comment I'd add is, buy as much as she can used, especially the clothes.

Maybe it's because I'm a cheapskate, but geeze, they grow so fast those first few months it just doesn't make any sense to buy things new.

Em said...

Does Shelly know whether she is having a boy or girl?
Diaper bag or similar for hauling around the baby's stuff.


A couple of towels to go with those wash cloths

Don't need but want Robeez or possibly Tulip Toes :)

UpsideUp said...

great list LHM. here are a few other things you might want to have:

- a stroller that the car seat snaps into (for the first few months). if the baby falls asleep in the stroller, you don't want to wake her/him just bc the stroller ride is over. later (around 6 months), switch to a regular stroller or jogging stroller.

- swing. some babies love em, some babies don't. one of mine loved it, one of mine, not so much. i'd suggest borrowing one to determine your baby's preference.

- sling or other soft baby carrying device. a sling is great for when the baby is tiny tiny, but for us, a baby bjorn took over when they were a little bigger. some people swear by slings. we liked ours for a few months then we were done with it.

- gymini, or some sort of "lie on the ground and stare up at toys" kind of thing.

- exersaucer. for when the kid outgrows the bouncy seat. my kids lived in these from about 6-9 months.

Mom at Work said...

soothies or lanolin and some great nursing bras -- I liked the bravado.

Sara said...

I second the mylicon and tylenol as something you should have before the baby is born.

A couple of bibs might be good and some burp cloths. (don't know which category those fall into...)

(and I really liked the bibs that have the waterproof backing on them because they actually protect the clothes beneath (!), but if you put them in the dryer and dry them all the way, after a few times, the waterproof backing will crack - better to air-dry them)

mo-wo said...

This is a good list. I would consider the gymini an oversight... This was the best toy EVER for us and I always give it at showers.

And, you are sooooo right about the shower clothes and back snaps, etc. The last shower I went to for a little girl had me snickering the whole frothy tulle time. Well there was one not pink frou-frou.. you know the peach linen two piece!! HAHAHAHA linen for a baby????

Anonymous said...

Speaking of sleep sacks, have you seen the contest is running for bloggers?

Kinda cool.