Sunday, September 18, 2011

Baby paraphenalia

I did not want a lot of stuff when I got pregnant, and as time went on, I tried to decide what was absolutely necessary, and what was desirable, from other people's experiences.  I hope my experience will help others decide what to try and what to forgo.  As a warning, I am not fond of clutter, I generally don't like garish colours and I absolutely hate plastic toys, and anything that is not environmentally friendly, so that should explain some of my choices.

1.  cloth diapers.  I wanted to write a separate post on these, but there is not much to say.  I chose g-diapers because they were the only ones I had seen (here in my town, the cloth diapers are rare, and my friend had a g-diaper to show me, I thought it was ok and went for it).  I wash them daily, one doesn't have to wash the whole diaper, just the cotton insert, but I wash the whole thing anyway each time.  I bought eight pairs and it is enough.  If you plan on doing laundry every second day, then I guess you'd need about sixteen pairs of all-in-one diapers, or about twenty inserts for the G-diapers, or twenty prefolds.  I take the dirty diaper off, and rinse it if it is poop, then throw the insert in a bowl filled with water and a little nature friendly peroxide solution.  In the mornings, I dump the water and do the laundry, including my clothes, my husband's clothes, and Emma's clothes and everything else in the house minus the towels around the bird cage which I always do separately every second day.  I am not squeamish about baby poop, it smells clean (especially if breastfed) and they do not have much in the way of harmful bacteria at this point.  When she starts on solids I will probably do the diapers separately, as it might require a longer cycle, right now I just do a rapid wash cycle with warm water and nature friendly detergent (we use Nature Clean right now).  I line dry in the house most of the time, and if in a hurry then I use the drier and feel appropriately guilty.  They always come out clean and smell-free. 

2.  cloth wipes.  I use fuzzybunz wipes.  I bought a packet of 10.  I wash them, fold them in a little box on the changing table, and when I need to use them I wet them with water from a thermos (I like it warm for Emma's comfort, so I put it in the thermos hot twice a day), no soap or other cleansers, and wipe her with it, then put them into the bowl of water.  

3.  I don't have a diaper pail, I just use a large bowl filled with water, which I rinse out every day.

4.  I don't use any baby lotion, potion or anything else.  Everybody in the house uses the same kind of wash, which is Dr. Bronner soap, and I will soon change to Live Clean baby wash for everyone as well.  It is much simpler than having a separate soap/shampoo for each person. I use cornstarch for her bottom if it gets red, but she has never had a diaper rash so it is more preventative.  I store it in a glass bowl and apply it with a cotton pad. 

5.  We don't have a baby tub.  I wash Emma in the sink every morning, or I have a shower with her.  I wash the sink beforehand, and I don't use it for anything other than me and her.  We share the same bacterial flora anyway. 

6.  A change table is a nice thing.  She loves the change table as it has a plant that extends a branch over it, and she loves looking at it.  I find it easier on my back than changing her on the bed, but I am pretty tall.  I also needed it to store her clothes into, so I picked one with three drawers.  

7.  I have an Ergo carrier with the infant insert and I love it.  I use it for walks, for housework, and for my daily exercise on the elliptical trainer which I have started last week.  Emma loves sleeping in it, especially on the elliptical.  If you like your hands free, get one. 

8.  I also like the Stokke stroller a lot, and use it for my daily shopping trips to the grocery store.  I like to buy small amounts of food often, and the stroller has a nice bag on the bottom that fits all my groceries.  I  can also maneuver it with one hand and hold her in the other hand if she wants to breastfeed (or more like pacify on my rather underachieving breasts) or to be held.  During the day I use the stroller's bassinet for her to sleep in.   But I consider a stroller entirely optional, as the Ergo can do the job just fine.

9.  A fleece blanket for the stroller, as it gets cold.  I got a fleece sleeping bag, since it is quite windy here.

10.  About four Aden and Anais blankets in organic cotton, they are soft and gauzy and amazing for swaddling, covering her against the sun, and using as a cover when breastfeeding if one feels the need to cover.  I have about twelve of them, but I did not really need this many.  I just love them.

11.  Four onesies, three pairs of pants, and three long sleeve tops.  Two pajamas or sleepers.  I also found invaluable a fleece costume that I got for going out on windy/cold days. 

12.  Two hats, one in some kind of wool (I prefer cashmere or merino) for cold weather, one in cotton.   Wash the cashmere one by hand or in the machine on cold/cold cycle and line dry.

13.  Two pairs of wool/cashmere socks.  Her feet were very cold in cotton socks, and since I got the cashmere ones she is much more comfortable.  I keep them on her feet with hair elastics and make sure that the elastics are not too tight and do not leave marks on her skin. We don't use mittens yet, but will use thick cashmere/wool ones in winter. 

14.  I did not need a change pad so far, but I suppose that if you travel or are outside of the house for a long time you would need one.  So far I changed her on her blanket, making sure to interchange the diapers quickly as to avoid her peeing on it.  

15.  I don't have a diaper bag.  If I leave the house, I just take one clean diaper, one ziploc bag, one pair of pants, and the bottle or the SNS as I don't produce enough milk for her at this point.  All of these fit in my purse.

16.  I have six Aden and Anais washcloths that I use to wipe the burped milk off her face.  I don't use bibs.  If she gets dirty, I change her, but I find that if I hold the washcloth in front of her face when I burp her, she does not get dirty.  If I get dirty I wipe the spot with a wet towel, and I wash all my clothes daily with hers anyway. 

17.  A car seat.  We got a Graco, don't get it, it sucks.  It does not have a button to loosen the slack on the straps so I have to use the metal belt buckles for that every time, which takes half an hour.  That is why we walk and avoid the car like the plague.  By winter I might inherit a Peg perego from a friend and be delivered from my pain.  MAKE SURE YOUR CAR SEAT HAS A BUTTON TO LOOSEN THE SLACK ON THE SHOULDER STRAPS.  THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE!

18.  We don't have a crib.  She sleeps in our bed and will do so until she no longer wants to.   MrH and I don't mind at all and in fact we like it.  The two of us will have sex on top of the washing machine in the broom closet while she is sleeping.  (If I had a dollar for each time people ask us this question!).  We have several beds in the house anyway, if the need to be conventional strikes us. 

19.  We don't use a pacifier.   She hates them.

20.  If you breastfeed you don't need more than two bottles with nipples for emergencies.  Heck, one would suffice.  I use the SNS, and my two bottles, but have several bottles for transporting the donor milk back and fourth from her house to mine.  If you are a good "milky" like my friend's daughter calls it, then a manual pump would suffice.  Or even hand expression.  I need an industrial strength double pump for my barren breasts.

21.  Somebody lent us a swing, and I am very excited to see if it prolongs her morning nap time, so that I can get more housework done.  I would not have bought one otherwise though.

22.  A pair of nail clippers.  Any kind will do, just keep them for the baby only.

That is it.  I don't like baby toys, so I will let her have one rubber one, and up to three fuzzy soft ones, that is it.  She can play with household items like we did growing up.  I don't think I had more than four toys during my whole childhood, and I still remember them.  I get terrified when I walk into someone's house and I see it filled to the brim with garishly coloured plastic toys.  It cannot be good for the kid's attention span anyway.

end of list.  let me know what you guys think.

1 comment:

  1. A great list for a newborn! We LOVE our Aden and Anais blankets too!I'm sure that I'm not the only one who admires your purity - basic items of a high quality are far better than dozens of cheaply made items. However, I did find as time went on that my list of needed items grew quickly along with the baby....