Holy pacifiers. If there is one thing I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, it’s registering for baby items. To clarify, baby showers… AWESOME. Registering… well, I liken it to the feeling I get when walking into a Home Depot. Exhausting and overwhelming. It really heightened my awareness in terms of my overall lack of preparedness for being ready. I like to feel like I know what I’m doing. Here, I was driving blind.
I was so lucky to get pregnant when I did. Lots of friends were ready to pass along their baby items and I was showered with a lot of sweet hand-me-downs and goodies and advice. One of my good friends informed me that she had extra size 2 diapers I could have. GOOD GOD. There are different size diapers? Here I was thinking it was a one size fits all kind of deal. Are you still wondering why I was freaking out when I found out I was pregnant?
While I was there picking up the diapers from her, she was also pulling out other lifesavers for Anonymous Baby (AB). A monkey chair that vibrates. What looked like a blue coffin box. I found out later it’s called a bassinet. Then she pulled out this blue concoction of a blanket and she was on the floor trying to demonstrate how to fold it on the baby and my mind was in la la land at that point. Before we get any further, that blue blanket, known as a miracle blanket, was a life-saver! Don’t walk. Run. Run and get extras.
The first time I sat down and actually tried to make a registry list reminded me of the time I was assigned to read Machiavelli’s “The Prince” over summer vacation for History class. It sucked balls. And it took approximately 87 tries. Babies R Us is kind enough to provide you with a list of must-haves, which must be totally accurate and not in any way skewed to fit their revenue dreams, right? 236 washcloths Babies R Us? I don’t think that’s necessary.
So, after making a Google doc with all of the items listed, I then needed to research all the different brands. There are a million. Trust me, there’s a whole wall in Babies R Us dedicated to different types of pacifiers. So I went to le Facebook and was all, “Hey guyz, HALP.” Worst decision ever. Everyone recommended a different brand. And when it came to strollers/car seats, the thing I was having the most trouble with, I was advised that it all depended on my lifestyle. Like I had any clue what my babymama lifestyle was going to be like.
Finally I convinced my mother and my sister to sacrifice their day and come be my guides navigating through baby jungle land. When we got to the row of snuggabunnies, monkey chairs, rock’n’plays, and jumper-bouncer thingamajigs, I just started scanning like a mad woman. They all looked the same but apparently they all serve a different purpose? 4 months after AB and I still had no clue. My google searches consisted of: “When do I use baby jungle bouncer?” And boy, that was fun. Some moms wrote in saying it was terrible for baby and any responsible mother would not risk it, and others were calling it their “go-to.” Naturally, I prefer peace instead of the wellbeing of my child, so we assembled that sucker and popped her in it.
For the record, AB slept in a Fisher Price “rock’n’play” for the first 2 months of her life and that’s pretty much it. Then we got a small vibrating chair with elephants and it’s super for putting on the dining room table so she can watch us cook and “eat” dinner with us. Those two items and a playmat are really about all my little kitten needed to be happy. Well all that and of course a good Game of Thrones Marathon. Kidddding! She’s more of an “Orange is the New Black” sort of gal if you want the truth.
Anyway, if you’re like me and would rather pretend to enjoy watching baseball on television than register for baby items, I’ve got some tips on what you actually need in my not so humble and totally right opinion. BECAUSE THERE’S ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY.
Miracle blanket/Yoga ball combo. I cannot reiterate enough. I’m unusually lucky and have a little babe that rarely gets fussy. But when she does, we have a go-to. Swaddle the living daylights out of her and bounce on a yoga ball. It does for her what a good dose of Nyquil does for me, if you catch my drift. And we all loooooove sleeping babies.
WAIT to buy clothes until after your baby shower. Trust me. You’ll have the urge to buy tons of cute newborn onesies and dresses (if it’s a girl) and then bam, you’ll pop out a kid who outgrows the “newborn stage” in one week. Now what? The best thing we ever did was pick up a few packs of Gerber white onesies. Never underestimate the power and convenience of a plain onesie.
We bought all Medela bottles and guess what! She doesn’t like Medela bottles! Not that your baby won’t- each is different. But, perhaps instead of buying the schmorgasboard first, buy a few different types of bottles and see which one she likes best. Generally, if you plan on breastfeeding, they recommend slow flow nipples. But feel your little shark out.
Mittens! Who knew? Well apparently lots of people but us. Luckily my cousins who had twins gave us a whole baggy full which was great because AB loves to grab her face and scratch it. A friend’s mom told me that when my friend was a baby she scratched her eye and had to get surgery on it. NO THANKS. Mittens for life!
Stroller/Car Seat Combo: We got a cheap, lightweight stroller. Like, super cheap. Of course you can get the deluxe travel system stroller for $400 bucks, but I found myself a used Graco brand “snap-n-go” and it does what I need it to do. It snaps. It goes. It’s also super lightweight. I didn’t need one with all the bells and whistles that gave me a hernia every time I lifted it in the car. That should be your check test. Take the system you want out to your car. Practice folding it and unfolding it and practice lifting it into the back of your car. Then imagine yourself doing that every day for two years, at least. Still want the Deluxe? Good for you. Your arm muscles will be better than mine!
Baby Carriers: I learned my lesson the hard way. Instead of going to a store, looking at the different options, and trying them on to see how I liked them, I bought the one that had the best packaging (Ergo). Then we got talked into another one so I returned that one and bought a Beco. The Beco is great because your baby will grow into them and will be able to face outwards. And in case you’re wondering, there’s a whole thing about when babies can face outward in a carrier and how your baby carrier might be giving them hip dysplasia etc. Trust me, if you want to live dangerously, just post on a mommy thread that you bought a Baby Bjorn. Anyway, I like the Beco but it is a pain in my ass to put on. When I’m mall walking I am always checking out other moms/dads and their baby carriers. It’s like I have baby carrier envy. My point is there
are lots of different ones. Go check them out.
First Aid Kit – If a family member makes you one with Gripe Water, a thermometer, baby Tylenol, and all the basics, they’ll become your favorite relative. On that note, I’m told Gripe Water is the answer to all your woes. I have no proof, but I do put in a dose with her bed time bottle and anytime she’s extra gassy and she’s less fussy afterwards, so there’s that.
Ok, there’s a thousand other things I’m sure I’ve already forgotten about, but that’s a pretty decent start. If you want to get really crazy and crafty when it comes to registering, I’ve got a tip. First, register for all the nice, new pretty things that loving and generous family members will buy for you. Then, head back to those local “Little Peeps Swap and Sell” type groups you already added yourself to on Facebook. I found FANTASTIC deals on these groups. For example, I registered for the snuggamonkey-bunny-elephant-whatevermajig. Then, I happened to see a gal selling hers (brand new, never used) for 75% off what it’s listed in stores. So, I gathered my pennies and bought that one from her. Then, when a very loving family member bought me the new one, I was able to return that for store credit, and BAM. It’s like free baby money! Which means diaper money, or whatever else your little heart desires from Babies R Us or Target or Babyland. I’m not sure if there is a store called Babyland, I just imagine there’s got to be.
I was at Babies R Us so much the first three months I was really wondering how they haven’t capitalized on incorporating a café/play area in their stores. They’d make bank. I’d have purchased a latte, chatted with other moms, spent more time in the store and would have bought even more than I did. Babies R Us… if you’re listening… you can’t go wrong with this idea.
Honestly, the biggest thing I learned was that you don’t need everything right away. You’re always discovering and learning what works best for you and baby as you go. That’s really annoying for someone like me who likes to have a plan and be prepared for things like a year in advance, but it’s true. You could buy one carrier and your little muffin could absolutely hate it. You might learn that cute mobile that you bought to put over her crib isn’t timer based. That’s fun. I don’t know about your baby, but AB is absolutely captivated when we turn on the mobile attached to her crib. Her jaw opens, her paci falls out, and she stares and drools like she’s just seen the mother-load of all boobs. It’s great, until it stops, because it’s wind-up and not timer based. And then she cries like you’ve taken away all that’s good in the world. It’s awesome. By the way, does anyone want a crib mobile? We have one we’re selling…