Getting Ready for Baby

As I am expecting child #5, I figured out a long time ago that most of the things that you think you need with your first child are really not necessary. I have whittled my baby needs list down to mostly essentials with a few “nice to have, but don’t really need” items.

Of course, by breastfeeding exclusively we won’t need any of the bottle-feeding paraphenalia, but I would like to make my own nursing coverburp cloths, and bibs. A nursing pillow, like a Boppy, is great to have too. Nursing also requires a few good nursing bras and a stack of nursing pads (store-bought or home-made). By not starting solids until at least 6-8 months, I can get by with a booster seat at the table. And I love my Vita-Mix for making my own healthy baby food.

Since we co-sleep, we don’t need any nursery decor or furniture, just our Arm’s Reach mini co-sleeper and some waterproof pads for our bed. A changing table just seems like a waste of money and precious space in our full house, especially when it’s so easy to change baby on the bed or floor. I have made each boy their own baby blanket and this time I’m going to make a flannel rag quilt.

I absolutely love wearing my babies because it makes my life so much easier and is good for them, so I definitely have to have my Maya Wrap baby sling. I also have found it fairly simple to make my own pouch carrier and have considered making a wrap carrier. If I get carried away, I may even attempt a mei tai carrier. My husband and I both prefer using a baby sling carrier over a plastic infant carrier/car seat, so we went for an infant-to-toddler Britax car seat.

For baby’s bottom, I use Seventh Generation diapers because they are chlorine-free. I use the subscription through Amazon.com to get an extra 15% off and they deliver them to my door! I have tried a few different cloth diapers before but I am really interested in trying the all-in-one, one-size cloth diapers this time. Of course, by going the cloth route, we would also need a diaper pail, liner, wet bag for outings, and (not necessary, but handy) a diaper sprayer. But in the end, it would still save us money over using disposables exclusively for 2-3 years. But if I don’t jump on the cloth diaper train, I won’t beat myself up over it. For the occasional diaper rash, I depend on Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. It is awesome!

As for dressing babies, I prefer simple cotton onesies and sleepers for the first several months. The little 2-3 piece outfits in the stores are adorable but just don’t look practical or comfortable for tiny babies. I did develop a fondness for the soft-soled leather shoes like Robeez and ShooShoos and I recently ran across Bugaloos, which are only $15. But I’ve already started working on making similar cloth baby shoes using this pattern. They are easy to make, inexpensive, and I can make them in an unlimited variety of colors and patterns.

I do like to use a bouncy seat for keeping baby close and entertained while I’m busy cooking or doing chores. And some type of baby bath tub is necessary, along with a natural baby wash, like Burt’s Bees or California Baby. For play time, we like simple wooden or cloth toys and try to avoid unsafe plastics and battery-operated things. Babies usually prefer a lap, a smiling face, and whatever big people “toy” is handy anyway.

Babies only need a fraction of what the baby product marketers would have you believe. Fill their bellies, keep them clean and cover their bottoms, hold them safe in your arms, and babies will be happy (most of the time!).

Wear your baby and other advice

While shopping tonight, I shared an aisle with a couple that appeared to be shopping for baby stuff. So, of course, being the sociable person that I am (read: introvert turned extrovert when it comes to talking about things I’m passionate about, like babies, homeschooling, etc.), I struck up a conversation with them. They are expecting their adopted daughter to be born next month and were getting ideas. Needless to say, I did what any experienced mom of four would do…I gave them advice. I’m sure that they have had no shortage of advice, but maybe mine was different than the rest.

My first recommendation was to get a baby sling and wear that baby. The man asked if they should get one like on the shelf nearby and I quickly said no, that they are mass-produced and the manufacturer seems to think that parents have to have all kinds of buckles to carry a baby safely. They also are not the most comfortable and the baby grows out of them too soon. I mentioned briefly a few of the benefits of babywearing such as content babies, babies who sleep through shopping trips, bonding, especially with adopted babies, and social development. I also said that riding in a baby sling was better for baby than hanging around in a bucket-style car seat and that they could save money by skipping the bucket altogether.

Even celebrities wear their babies.

Even celebrities wear their babies.

That turned the conversation to car seats, so I walked them over to that aisle and told them about the highly rated, infant-to-toddler Britax Marathon, which we have. Yes, it costs more, but I think it is worth it since you only buy one seat instead of two or three by the time they are four years old. It claims to hold a child up to 65 lbs, but in reality, by the time your child reaches four, they probably won’t want to sit in the “baby seat” anymore. That is just my opinion, of course.

Levi has the safest place in the van.

Levi has the safest place in the van.

After that, my introverted nature compelled me to apologize for being so forward as to offer advice to strangers, but they were appreciative and said they were tempted to put me to work making their wish list. I smiled politely and waved goodbye because if I hung around, I would probably end up telling them about chlorine-free diapers, making their own organic baby food, soft-soled shoes, co-sleeping, homeschooling….