I’ve seen many new moms write out a list of the items they absolutely couldn’t have survived without. Because I hope to help other moms-to-be, or moms who are desperately in need of something to help with whatever issue she’s having, or because I’m a lemming, here’s my list of things I can’t live without, and what I think you can pass on.
1. My Brest Friend pillow–When I was first told about this pillow, I scoffed at the idea of using it, instead favoring the always trendy Boppy pillow. Boy was that dumb. Having a C-section, and not being a small girl, oh, and GIVING BIRTH TO A TODDLER made the Boppy damn near impossible for me to use. I had to shove two or three extra pillows underneath the Boppy to keep Joshua remotely close to my boobs during nursing, which meant that I’d roast like a Thanksgiving turkey while feeding him.
The My Brest Friend pillow (and yes, I admit the name is the most RIDICULOUS I’ve ever heard, and I don’t totally understand why the makers decided to forgo the use of the letter “a”) is made of thick foam and fastens around the back creating a “baby table” for nursing. He stays where he needs to be, and I get at least one hand free because I’m not constantly shuffling pillows all over the place.
2. I’ve raved and raved and raved about it already, but seriously, get yourself a Moby Wrap. You will thank me. I love mine so much I want to buy another one in another color, or a Moby D, or something more “fun” and decorated. Seriously. I love it and I could not live without it. I can grocery shop and walk the mall again. And people look at me with a mix of fascination and curiosity and ask me all the time what it is, or comment that they think it’s cool. Get yourself a Moby Wrap and you can be a cool kid, too.
3. The Miracle Blanket is definitely a must-have, particularly if you’re planning to implement the 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block, and really, you should do that, too. Swaddling has saved our lives. The Miracle Blanket is an instant soother. Joshua sleeps so well when swaddled that I’m afraid we’ll still be swaddling him when he goes to college. Does it look like a little baby straight-jacket? Yes. But since there’s a good chance we’ll drive him crazy enough at some point in his life to actually NEED a straightjacket, it doesn’t hurt to get him used to the feeling while he’s small enough to forget we were the reason for it.
(And last night, he decided to bust an arm free of the straightjacket Houdini-style and go right back to sleep. My boy is growing up!)
4. The Lansinoh Double Electric breast pump is a good buy. Yes, the Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced is the more popular pump and Medela has pretty much cornered the market in terms of breastfeeding paraphernalia readily available, but the Lansinoh pump has served me well thus far. It is the same pump as the Ameda Purely Yours, so you can buy the extras from Ameda. (I ordered an extra set of horns and they work just fine with the pump.)
There is an annoying beeping sound that the pump makes when it’s on, and it doesn’t come with any extras like a cooler or travel bag or extra bottles/flanges, but for the mom-to-be or new mom who wants to breastfeed who also happens to be on a tight budget, or for the person who just needs to pump an occasional bottle for a night out with the husband, this pump is plenty sufficient.
5. The Skip Hop Duo Deluxe diaper bag. I lucked upon this one for $27 at Gap Maternity early on in my pregnancy. I think we already knew we were having a boy, but I can’t remember for sure. The bag ended up being $21 when we got to the register so we got it for a steal. However, even at a sale price not as good as the one we found, this is still a good buy. Target also carries bag made by Skip Hop that is cheaper.
Originally, we’d planned for this bag to be Dan’s diaper bag, but I love it so much it’s become THE diaper bag. I love that it has tons of pockets and places to put things. I also love the messenger style. I cannot say enough good things about the Skip Hop.
6. Cloth diapers to use as burp cloths–buy more than you think you’ll need because you will go through them. Quickly.
7. Clothing–buy LESS than you think you’ll need because really, unless you plan to change your baby’s clothing five times a day just because you can, your child will likely NEVER wear everything you have for him or her. There are several outfits and onesies Joshua will only wear once if he wears them at all. And, because I got a bit trigger happy with some things I just HAD to have, I have long-sleeved onesies that he’ll fit into IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING SUMMER. Awesome planning on my part. (For the record, I’m considering altering said onesies to make them short sleeved. If anyone has any idea how I can actually do this without really screwing them up, I’m all ears.)
8. Blankets–again, and maybe this is just because of where we live, but we haven’t really had a need for many blankets. We have a couple of lightweight flannel blankets we use regularly, and one from Baby Gap that I love, but we’ve really only used about three blankets. We probably have twenty. (No, I didn’t buy them.)
9. Medela Quick Clean Steam bags are fantastic. You actually don’t end up sterilizing things as often as you might believe while pregnant, unless you are a germaphobe with more time on your hands than the rest of us lowly mortals. Your baby isn’t sterile once s/he is born, so taking the time to sterilize every bottle every time your baby uses it is kind of silly. So, to save precious counter or cabinet space, skip the giant sterilizers and go for these bags. They are super easy and each bag can be used 20 times. We have yet to use the first bag 10 times. When you see how much room you can save, you’ll thank me.
I actually think that might be everything that I couldn’t live without, and I actually had to struggle to come up with that. The thing is, baby stuff is a HUGE market. Manufacturers prey on unsuspecting parents-to-be convincing them that they HAVE TO HAVE this or that and really, being a minimalist will do you well when it comes to having a new baby. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to figure out how this gizmo or that gadget works at 3am when your child is screaming his or her head off and really just wants to be held for a few minutes.