My must haves~
*lazy boy rocker with vibrator back massage unit and padded arms, skip the glider~ the lazy boy fits mom and 2 kids
*nursing slant footstool
*fleece dark color thick long bathrobe with deep pockets to store your flannel nursing pads in and soak up tea spills
*used book store romance novels, the cheap funny thin ones to read while you are nursing, stock up a nursing station
* Caller ID
* a couple really good flashlights to keep by your bed (especially good for hunting around for a diaper on the floor when you don't want to wake Daddy or sleeping older child)
* a neat thermos mug and some nursing or comfort teas/juices for the mid of night sessions, also a couple sports bottles
* a leopard print nursing bra to make you feel sexy regardless of poop and spit up on your shirt
* a pile of comfy cotton nursing nightgowns and a couple cute sweats outfits for yourself with elastic waist (pockets also) to wear while your other clothes are sitting
* a huge pile of cheap white washcloths (Kmart), you can cry into them, use them as baby wipes, spit rags, they fit in a diaper bag better then a cloth diaper folded, fold them into your bra or underwear in emergency as soakers, throw them at SO to get his attention while he is sleeping and you are not. You can bleach them as needed and not worry about bleach in baby's cloth diapers.
* lastly a humidfier or small fan, they make great white noise to help you & baby sleep longer
mom of 4 I loved reading the posts here
We didn't co-sleep...we used a crib, but the pack 'n play play yard was great when I wanted to work outside in the garden and it was baby nap time. I put the sun-shade up and she slept outside in the fresh air. Also when we traveled to visit family since we don't co-sleep it was helpful to have a bed for DD.
Never used a diaper changing table...just got a bunch of waterproof pads and put those down in the crib or on our bed covered with a cloth diaper when we changed DD.
Never used a baby tub...seemed like a waste of money when I could clean out my sink and put a big fluffy towel down and then fill the sink with lukewarm water. When she got bigger and a bit more fidgety, I just crawled in the big tub with her.
Didn't like the front carrier because I always felt like the baby was getting too warm in it. Will try the sling this go around.
I found our rocking chair uncomfortable for nursing, but we recently purchased a chair from IKEA (can't remember style name of chair but you'll know it when you sit in it...MMM!) that has a bit of a bounce to it if I need to rock the baby, and a foot rest as well.
You don't need a fancy-schmancy diaper bag but any bag will do. I found backpacks were helpful after a while. Just be sure it is pre-packed with the stuff you need so all you have to do is grab the bag and lock the door behind you when you are inclined. I had a a girlfriend that took HOURS (well...maybe not HOURS ) to get out of the house because she repacked her diaper bag just before we were ready to leave EVERY TIME...UGH! If you are using wipes (we didn't because DD developed a rash early on from them...even the hypoallergenic ones) have them in a small baggy, toss in a few diapers (cloth or disposable depending on preference) and don't forget a ziploc bag to put the dirties in!! Some rattles, a book or two and a changing pad (see above...waterproof pad and cloth diaper!) and you are ready to go. I found it easiest to repack the bag when I returned rather than waiting until I was ready to go...much quicker. You have to empty the dirty diapers anyway so might as well pack the stuff all up ahead of time.
We had a jogging stroller but I rarely used it because I gave up jogging (had knee surgery 6 months after I had DD). I agree, however, that it is great for city use, particularly if you are using it on uneven sidewalks. It is also great for "country/off road" use because the tires are pretty sturdy.
If you are using cloth diapers...either get a delivery system or purchase diapers/wraps/pail/etc. If you are using disposables, 'diaper genies' help keep odor down. We used an excellent delivery service until we moved to a place that didn't have a local service. Used disposables (mostly Tushies and Huggies) for last year of diaper use (between 2 1/2-3 1/2 yo).
Since I was a working mom, I needed a breastpump. I had a friend who could hand express like a champ but I never got the hang of it. I got a small electric/battery pump from Medela and it worked marvelously.
Last bit of advice...I'm not one for shopping at Baby Gap (TOO EXPENSIVE AND TOO TRENDY) but I got a pair of socks from them for a gift and they NEVER fell off of my DD's feet. All other socks did!!!! I vowed at that point that my children would never wear anything else but Baby Gap socks!!!! They have NEVER let me down!
We were d-mn poor when we had DD and we made it with second hand stuff borrowed from friends and also purchased from "Once Upon a Child"...even with a decent income now, we expect to do the same for baby #2! Keep it simple...babies don't care...they just want you to hold and love them!
I haven't read the other posts, but here's what I use while babysitting and what I"m planning on getting:
- Baby has to be safe in the car. I can't remember which infant seat I have but my toddler/older child carseat absolutely rocks - the Alpha Omega car seat. It's around $140, but worth it - it seats up to 80 lbs and is very nice; looks spiffy in my car. It puts the toddler up high enough to see out the window, which they like. It also has side head rests (when they fall asleap and tilt) and a pillow. The butt end of it is also soft! Lots' of padding there, unlike some others. I wouldn't use it for a newborn, but from 9 months on (facing backwards) it's great. For all carseats, go for a five-point harness system, it's the strongest and safest for baby.
- Baby likes to be close to mama - get a good sling. Try finding a 2nd hand store that re-sells slings and try them on with the baby to see what you like. I thought I'd hate padding, but I actually kinda liked it. There are a billion posts here on slings and their accompanying pros & cons.
- Baby's got to poop somewhere. I'd suggest a cloth diaper package from Katie's Kisses. I found her prices reasonable and I think she sells good stuff! I also supplemented that basic package with various other wraps and all-in-ones and dipes as the mood struck me. LaLa also has a nice hemp diaper!
- Baby's got to wear clothing. Find a good re-sale children's clothing store. They grow so fast, you could spend a fortune on clothing alone. Don't buy any more than two or three newborn outfits - other people will buy you or give you alot more than you imagine. Or borrow.
Baby's got to sleep somewhere. Most babies here sleep in a "family bed". Some use bassinetts. I wouldn't waste money on a bassinette that will be used for a couple of months at the most. If you buy a crib, make sure it's up to standards; all new cribs will be. I personally am planning on buying an organic mattress. I can't co-sleep because I have a bad back and sleep with a half dozen pillows - a definate no-no while sharing sleep in a family bed.
Baby also has to eat. If you are planning on nursing (and I'm assuming you are, this being Mothering), get nursing supplies - boppy, a few shirts, nursing pads etc. A good blender or food processor for mixing homemade baby food.
Baby likes to play and have "tummy time" occassionally so he doesn't look like Charlie Brown like my nephew did (he always laid on his back, and his head flattened out!). Have a few receiving blankets to lay on the ground. Also, get a good bouncy seat with safety straps. Some moms here may advise against that, but feed him baby food from it later on, getting more use out of it if baby likes it.
Some kids also like swings. As long as it isn't used as a babysitter, it can keep baby near you while you try to eat and do laundry while she's sleeping!
I'd also get a nice colapsable Combi stroller for around $90 from Babies R Us for those times when the sling won't do. Bring the sling anyway in the basket below cause half the time you'll be carrying baby and pushing an empty stroller anyway. Carry groceries in it.
Ask for books or gift certificates to a bookstore. You can never have too many books. Also, get a library card - and you'll always have more than enough to read.
Another thing I love is a tape called Heartbeat Lullabies. They are fantastic and *I* love it! So did all the babies at my preshool. It is various lullabies set to the beating of a human heart. Very relaxing! (for parents AND babe).
Target has this great one made by Homedics, sold where the foot bubble baths and curling irons are. It's small, collapsable and runs by AC adaptor (plug-in) or battery. It has five great nature sounds and womb heartbeat. We've started using it in my toddler's room to drown out the phone and barking hounds and it's wonderful! We tried a fan, but being winter and all, it made his room too chilly. Oh, it was only $17.88. I searched on-line and the cheapest I could find that worked off of AC adaptor (the battery only ones eat batteries I've read) was like $80. So, I really felt like this was a deal!
So, if you've got barking dogs, a loud neighborhood, or older kids that might wake baby while s/he naps, this might be a great investment!
*An infant carseat with leave in base. Our dd #1 was very small, 5#6oz when she left the hospital. The bottom limit in the car seat was 5# and she just flopped around all over the place. The reason I say leave in base is there may be sometimes when it is cold or slippery out or your baby is sleeping and it would just make more sense to leave baby bundeled in the car seat. So that you don't have to struggel with properly installing the car seat evrytime (and it is a struggle) a leave in base insures that it will stay properly installed.
* If you are going to buy a breastpump get the Avent Isis. It is the only pump for under $250 that is worth the cardboard it is packaged in.
*My kids loved the swing, but we boiught a no frills $12 one second hand. If they won't be taking up residency in it there is no reason to spend a fortune.
*ton of onsies.Gerber makes the best ones. Carters suck.
*Don't buy outfits that snap in the back. These are so hard for first time moms. Don't buy in the newborn size. They are there for like a week. maybe one cute sleeper for going out in. Even the afore mentioned tiny babe grew out of the newborn size by 2 weeks.
*Good books: The Baby Book by Dr. Sears, Mothering and Fatering and The family bed (2 seperate books) by Tine Thevenin,
The womanly Art of Breastfeeding, LLLI, vaccines an issue of our times by mothering mag and some good fiction to read while you are glued to the couch.
* A washer and dryer. We actually got a set and an ofer for another. So ask if you need one. You never know.
*A white sweater if you have a girl. It is a real outfit stretcher.
* A good blanket. larger than your average baby balnket. And about 12 recieving blankets. You can use these for anything. Swaddeling, coushining baby's head in carseat, layering blankets for out door events, wiping up stuff, emergancy diapers, burp cloths,
* a carrier of some sort. i really like a sling but have never been able to use it with a new born. Usually around a month, but never in the cradel position. Usually upright against my chest. If you don't like slings I hear baby bjorns are good and Kelty makes a sweet one.
*a cordless phone
*a big honking water cup. I stole mne from the hospital. We had a $20,000 out of pocket bill. It was the least they could do.
*extra bedding. Doing laundry, especially a comforter sucks right after you have a baby.
*food in the fridge.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
Babytrekker (advertised in Mothering): extremely comfortable for adult and baby and can be used up to 40 lbs. My 21 month still likes to go in it sometimes, www.babytrekker.com
Cozey Rosie: a fleece insert for strollers and baby joggers (what I use it for) so that you can keep your little one warm while you get a bit of exercise. Especially nice for toddlers who get fussy when asked to wear lots of layers. www.sewbeautiful.com
I saw a few others mention Bravado bras--definitely great for both pregnancy and bfeeding. Love the Avent Isis pump (although my dog chewed it up last month .
A glider is a must. My DH had to go out the day after the birth to buy this, and I still use it with my 21 month-old.
Somebody gave me a playpen before the first. I found it useful for a couple of years at christmas time, to put the tree in so that my adventurous son didn't climb it! Mostly it held laundry!
One thing about carseats...be sure to try getting it into and out of your car a few times when you first get it some carseats seem to fit better than others!