So? I decided to create a "What I Liked and What I Used" blog page- complete with pictures and links for all things New Mom and New Baby (up to the first 6 months)
The Bedroom: Where it all begins
Most baby beds these days will also convert into a toddler bed. Some will even convert into a full-size headboard and foot board! The conversion into the toddler bed is the most practical; and will turn out to be the most useful.
The baby crib below pleasantly transforms from a standard crib to a toddler bed, and then some.
(NOTE: The ability for the side of the crib as well as the mattress frame- to raise and to lower is most important. When laying a newborn down to sleep, having to bend over to a fully lowered mattress along withbending over a fully raised crib side = "good morning sleeping baby".)
Changing table? Or no changing table?
To be honest, my first two daughters had most of their booty-changes either on the couch, on our bed, or on a well placed blanket on the floor. It wasn't until we had Number 3 that I discovered how much EASIER it was to have that wiggly little bottom secured nicely into the buckled up strap of a changing pad.
Nope. We didn't have a changing table. I purchased this kind of changing pad at the advice of a genius mom-friend; who apparently didn't have time to mess around with useless furniture. We had a long dresser that served a multipurpose use in number 3's nursery. The pad had "grippy" things on the bottoms so that it would not slide around, a removable cover (accidents happen), and a restraint strap. We stuck it atop the long dresser, and Voila!!!
I placed diaper-changing supplies (*diapers, wipes, and butt-cream) in a cute little basket beside the changing pad to make sure I could keep my eyes and my hand on the baby, and I always made sure she stayed buckled up. Morning time and bedtime changes were SO simple; and being that the baby was literally on top of the dresser- getting dressed for the day or night-night was just as easy.
*links to my favorites
Rockin' and A Rollin'
Glider. Rocker. Swivel Rocking Recliner? IT won't matter!!! Just as long as the new droopy eyed mommy can have something to lay her head back on as she rocks and soothes her newborn into dreamland!! A glider with an ottoman would be ideal, but if the nursery is want of some 'space', and/or the pocket book is feeling a little too light, then use what you have, where you have it, and it will do just fine. I used something different for each child-o-mine, and they all ended in the same result; Snoozing baby...... Snoozing mommy. (Word!)
GEAR(heads): What's YOUR style?
As much as I'd love to pick out all of my favorite styles of baby-gear; I won't. The kind of baby-gear a new-mom uses will be 100% up to her personal style. I'll outline a list of the basic baby-needs, but will not link to a site for pictures.
* INFANT CAR SEAT (and base)
* SWING (Do yourself a favor- don't bypass the swing- it'll save your LIFE (or so it would seem) when you need to sooth the baby and cook dinner and answer the phone, and coddle your husband- all at the same time!
*STROLLER (Ok. I lied. I am going to detail this one.)
If you're a mom on the GO, I'd really recommend foregoing the typical "Travel System" and go with something really EASY!!!) For the first year, your baby is going to be ridin' in style via their infant car-seat. New mommy will have developed MASTER biceps from lugging around the infant carrier. A travel system stroller is typically HEAVY, and bulky. This type of snap-n-go stroller weighs maybe 5 pounds?
And!! Typically- you can find it used via Craigslist or a Consignment shop for about $25. (I did, anyway!) Later- when you have an understanding of what mommy-hood is going to look like for you (cause honey- you're NOT gonna have a clue until after those first few months) you can decide on the perfect stroller for you. They make ALL kinds, for all different levels of mommy-life. You may be a home-body mommy that doesn't get out much- you may be a mall shopper mommy that needs an awesome swiveling maneuvering stroller, you may be a runner/jogger/mountain climber mommy and you need something that will go EVERYWHERE you go. See? That's the key. What's going to work for you?
(I was a busy on the go mom, and if I had been able to afford it- I'd have bought THIS baby! (It's a BOB Revolution Duallie Stroller)
Unless you're planning on co-sleeping, a bassinet is a sweet little piece of furniture to have to keep that baby with in arm's reach. I had c-sections, so- literally, I invested in the Arm's Reach Cosleeper/Bassinett. It saved my poor abdomen from the reaching in and out of a standard bassinet; but truly, a standard bassinet will do just fine as well.
*PACK 'N PLAY
The pack 'n play is awesome! It's something the new mom will use for (atleast!) the first 2 years. Dang. I lied again. I have to show the 'type' of play yard that TOTALLY rocked my world!
For mom's with dogs/cats or small children running around- this thing is another one of those "life savers". I had mine put up in our living room. It stored all of my diapering needs (we're on a split level- imagine the exhaustion of running up and down stairs for diaper changes!) and was a safe place to let the baby nap while I cooked, cleaned, or tended to my other children's needs. Each mom's situation is different. Perhaps you don't have animals, small children, or perhaps you're nursery is stationed right next door to the living room/kitchen area. IF that's the case? You may not feel the need to buy one. On the other hand? If you think you may travel or have Grandparent sleepovers in the next 2 years of your life; it's a worthy investment.
Will you be a baby-wearer or a stroller pusher? Maybe both!
Will you nurse or bottle feed? Again..... maybe both!
There are so many options out there; and the next few things I put on here are going to be from my personal experiences of having to do (almost) BOTH of (almost) everything!
The Boobies Or The Bottle?
Boobie feeding is not easy. Don't let anyone tell you it is. Not only do you feel the physical effects of nursing your baby, but there are an equal amount of emotional effects to consider.
I'm gotta be frank- breast feeding is, for sure, the absolute best possible thing for your baby (and YOU!). If you are informed enough, and make sure you utilize the (nipple-grabbing) lactation consultant provided at most hospitals; the physical pain, if present, will quickly disappear.
Emotionally?? HELLO hormones. And hello guilt (Is she getting enough? Maybe I'm not doing it right? Why does he keep falling asleep?) As they say; This too shall pass. It's worth it. It's so worth it to at least TRY your hand at boobie-feeding. Will you get stretch marks? Will your boobs turn into prunes? Don't ask me. It's all genetic, baby!
In my personal experience- the emotional hardship was also about the fact that I had to supplement. It broke my 'new mommy' heart to have this understanding that booby-milk was the best, and I had to use (gasp!) formula.
Guess what!?! Whatever. I gave my kids breast milk as long as I could, and formula kept them alive through that 12th month.
SO?!?! If you're going to breast feed. You're gonna want to get:
*A breast pump. You decide what's gonna be best for you. I loved the manual Medela pump, but I also used the electric mack-daddy Medela double pump. Both worked great- the manual was just a tad-bit more time consuming. Avent makes a manual pump- they're awesome, too. The cool thing about the Avent is that these particular bottles are GREAT helpers in keeping that baby from getting "lazy". They have to work at getting the milk out of the booby- and the Avent bottles make them work to get it from there, too.
*Nursing pads (unless- by chance, you enjoy having the sound of a babies cry automatically enter you in to the nearest Wet T-shirt Contest).
*Lanolin cream. Dry, cracked nipples? No thanks. Buy the $8 cream. And apply liberally.
*Nursing Bras (talk to the chicks at the maternity shop- they'll hook you up).
***** IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BREAST FEED *****
Invest in an ace bandage thingy and a sports bra that's about a size too small. I've never had to do this- but I've heard alllll about the pain that comes along with getting that milk to "dry up". Ouch. Ouch. OUCH!
THE BABY CARRIER:
I tried (most) of them. The Bjorn. The Infantino. The Ring-Sling. (Ok. It's actually awesome, too.) The Native. And blah-blah blah. And finally?!? I found THE ONE I LOVED THE MOST!!! I didn't buy it. (Or steal it!!!)
I made it.
I'm not crafty or artsy or anything awesome..... I'm just budget-conscience. (Or poor- whichever term you wanna use.)
I found the most amazing baby-carrier on the planet; but we could not afford it. If you CAN... here's the link. If you can't. GOOGLE is your friend, sister!!! Find the instructions (They're basic. Seriously. You just need some Jersey Knit Fabric, basic sewing skills (can you stitch a straight line?) And some scissors.
Also- secondary to the awesomeness of the hug-a-bub... THE MOBY. Same concept. Less Moo-lah.
IN THE END..........
This is the basics; the bottom line of what you may want to get before that bundle gets home from the hospital.
(Well? You might wanna consider some clothes; but- you know- that's totally up to you.)
Just know- everyone is different. What worked for me, may not work for you. The good thing is.... there are LOTS of mom's in the world to glean from- so ask around as often as you get the chance.
The price list for baby gear can get EXTREME! If the baby showers and grandparents aren't able to meet every need; I would HIGHLY recommend checking out your local resale shops, Craigslist, or maybe even Ebay?
Baby gear is used for such a short period of time. Most of it is completely sterilize-able, and washer friendly. (car seats and strollers have removable cloth) and lysol wipes will eventually become you're new friend, so if buying used, you may as well get acquainted.
As far as the "little-things" go? Will you need a wipes warmer or a bottle sterilizer, what's the best diaper bag, and will a diaper genie really come in handy or can I wad the stank-diaper up in a grocery bag? Honestly- it's person to person. You know you're lifestyle the very best.
I will leave you with one of the "little" things that I've found to be handier than any handy convenient baby item out there: The JJ Cole Essentials Diaper and Wipes holder-thingy.
It keeps diapers from getting all squishy and crumbled. It has a wipes container and a changing sheet-pad-thing in case you're somewhere gross and can't stand the thought of putting down the baby-blanket for a quick diaper change. It wipes CLEAN (Hey. Lysol wipes. New friend.) and the strap will un-strap and re-button so you can hook the Holder onto ANYTHING you need it to be attached to.
And there ya go. Happy searching. Enjoy the newness of it all. It may seem stressful- the whole new mom thing... but it pales in comparison to when that sweet baby-bump turns into a Terrorizing Two-Year Old.