I began writing an e-mail and soon realized with all the links I was including that it would make for a good blog post as well. Read on to find out what my most essential baby items are (and you might be surprised at how little they cost!!!)
Here's my list, it's really simple since I don't believe babies need much:
1) Love and security. Therefore, a sling or carrier of some sort so that baby can be on you during a majority of your time together. Bonding is very important! I like Dr. Sears' Attachment Parenting book, it's a great resource. Here are his Top 7 Reasons to do AP. I personally love the New Native Carrier (shown below with Kirsten, just a few days old!) and the Maya Wrap.
I personally love the Portland boutique Milagro's, an awesome mom-run business and an amazing resource for all things AP.
2) Good food. Breast milk is the best. A pump is helpful is you have a low supply, but generally the baby is the best stimulator. You need to have good, nourishing food at your disposal for your postpartum time. I would start stashing leftovers of meals in the freezer for a nice arsenal of easy-to-reheat, nourishing food. Here's a guide that I follow when nursing and preggo, based on what traditional societies have always considered an optimal diet for nursing moms .
You may also want to purchase some good nursing mother tea , such as blessed thistle, goat's rue , fennel.....I order through Mountian Rose Herbs.
If, for some reason you have supply problems and through all reasonable measures you decide you need to supplement, (as I needed to!) there is a nourishing, homemade formula that closely resembles breastmilk that you can make. It takes some time, but it's so much better than commercial. Here's Cheeseslave's very easy to follow guide to making this formula. Cheeseslave and I had a very similar breastfeeding journey!
Later on, when you start solids, finding good glass storage containers (ebay even had a whole set of empty baby food jars for $0.99!) for homemade baby food is a must. I also like to use these types of stainless steel sippy cups .
3) A well-informed decision about vaccinations. It's really a hot issue and traditional docs can differ widely on how they approach the issue. I personally have chosen to delay vaccinations for my children and have a doctor who is supportive of this . Not all are, and you have to really do your research. There are obvious reasons why you should vaccinate, but the "cons" are not always so widely publicized by the madia. This link offers a comprehensive article on the entire issue and really solidified my personal view.
4) A safe place to sleep . Some people choose to co-sleep, some choose to use a crib, some do both.
I have done different things with each of my two children based on what they needed the most. My oldest (who has neurological damage due to birth and gestational trauma) was and is a VERY high needs attachment baby. She could only sleep in bed next to me (and still needs to at almost 4!) My 18 month old son is also very well attached, but he had a completely different gestation and birth. He sleeps through the night in his crib and LOVES being in it.
Either way, make sure the bedding is safe and use precautions if you do decide to co-sleep. I loved the experience, personally, but I also love that my son happily falls asleep on his own in his crib!
There is some evidence to suggest that toxins from crib mattresses cause SIDS. There is no evidence, of course, to confirm, just strong correllations. I would highly reccommend an organic crib mattress or organic futon for the floor for baby to sleep on. I do not, by the way, reccommend the sleeping arrangement shown below!
5) An easy-to-maneuver stroller with storage underneath. Although newborns can be walked in slings for many months, there does come a time when it's good for them to learn how to sit in a stroller. It's also a great way for you to get excercise that's free!
I LOVE my jogging stroller and use it to walk to the store and do grocery shopping. It saves gas, gets the kids out of the house, gives me exercise, all in one!! Note: Again, the stroller shown below is NOT easy to maneuver or load into the car, but it was free and it works for me!
6) A good car seat is an obvious one and a non-negotiable, unless of course you plan to take public transportation all the time. Make sure the car seat, if second hand, has not "expired". I still haven't figured out exactly what that means, but since it's a safety device, I don' t question it.
The car seat that my daughter is sitting in is a "convertable" carseat, which means that we've had it since she was born. It's hard to believe that my little 5 lb. baby sat in that same seat. It's a great option, though, because it saves you having to buy 2 or 3 carseats!
7) Cloth diapers are the most thrifty way to go (other than "infant potty training", I suppose!). However, your situation may prevent you from realistically cloth diapering. Apartment dwellers who must use a laudromat or shared laundry might not as easily be able to do this. If you absolutely can't cloth diaper, consider flushable G-Diapers.
For cloth diapers, there are thousands of options now for every situation. A good source to consult (another local business!) is Babyworks.
8) Clothing. Yes, the baby must wear clothes. However, I've never known of an American baby who had a shortage of these. I try to encourage new moms to keep it simple (amounts are for each size) : 7 under-onesies (at the most!), 3-4 sleepers (with feet), 4-5 pairs of pants, 5-7 "outfits" , 5 hats (I love the Hanna Andersson "pilot cap") 5 pairs of socks ( Nike, Gap, and Gymboree have good ones). 2 good sweaters/coats and that's about all you need.
Yes, they blow out, yes, they spit up, but if you're washing diapers every day anyway, you might as well do all your other laundry and keep it simple! If you are blessed with a community of mothers, you will most likely never have to purchase any item of clothing unless you want to!
9) A swaddle blanket. Swaddling is very soothing to a young baby's neurological system, but it can be tricky to get the swaddle to "hold" properly. Fortunately, there are some nifty swaddle innovations to be found.
10) Good info. Parenting is about 50% intuition and 50% informed decision-making. Either way, it's experimental at best! We learn through trial and error. Unfortunatly, we live in a society that lacks strong community and for the most part we are removed from the generational influence of our elders and sometimes have to do a crash course on all things parenting-related as we go! Here are some additional books and resources that I learned a few things from. No doubt others will have many more to share:
- The Happiest Baby on the Block
- The Baby Whisperer
- Nourishing a Growing Baby
- Kellymom Breastfeeding Resource Site
Did I miss anything? Surely I did, but I really enjoyed the chance to write this post, dear preggie mama! I hope and pray you a peaceful gestation and birth, and look forward to welcoming your sweet baby into our community!!!
Readers, please add to my list in your comments!
By the way , this post is part of Works for Me Wednesday by Rocks in my Dryer!