I titled this entry purposely since my 'must haves' may not be yours (or your cousin's neighbor's sister who you really need a creative baby gift for). I guess I could have also named it 'unsolicited advice'. I've been thinking about it some because I have a friend who is newly pregnant with her first child. She will remain nameless as there's still a bunch of people she hasn't told. I'll give you a clue. We're Facebook friends. hahahhaha.
Another reason to write this down is that I will otherwise forget one day when #2 comes along with the way my memory has been operating lately. Then I'll be standing in the kitchen really needing something and saying dangit, I totally used that all the time with Charlie - how did I forget??? And then Charlie will ask for some juice and I'll forget I need it in the first place.
It's also rather cathartic to come clean with all the stupid things I have done thus far. May you or someone you love learn from my mistakes!
So here goes:
Nice to have when you're preggers:
- The Baby Bargains book. Look, you just saved $1,000 by reading my blog!
- Japanese Weekend OK Maternity Bengaline pant. My friend Karen lent me 3 pairs of these and they fit better then any other maternity pants I wore. They also looked nice after the baby was born (like I had anywhere to go). Something about that special waistband. Totally worth the investment, at least for some black ones. Says the girl who didn't have to actually buy any. Thanks Karen!
- Speaking of JW, if you live in Dallas or thereabouts, you have no excuse but to visit the Japanese Weekend store. They have 4 stores in the whole world and you've got one in your area. Their sale rack is incredible; it's the holy grail of maternity shopping.
- A really nice pair of maternity jeans. I got some Citizen ones and no matter how cowish I was feeling before we went somewhere, I'd put them on and feel fabush. Now, they were a splurge, but I wore them a ton and they are still in great shape. One of my pregnant friends is wearing them next. And I hope to wear them again one day. They're an investment.
- Shea butter for your tummy. It will help stretch marks from appearing, but if your momma's got them, you probably will too. In which case use it after. Nubian Heritage is my favorite - the olive oil & green tea smells yummy. Whole Foods has it in all scents.
- An OB you click with. I don't care if their peers in the entire tri-state area have nominated them as the best - if you don't click with them (or worse, they are so popular from the publicity they have almost no time to spend with you) it's not going to work. I was lucky to have this and it made my decision making easier and my experience (the one where she cut my stomach open) fun!
- Electric heating pad. The $11.97 CVS version will do fine. Your back will say Thank You!
- Supersize container of Tums
- Hanky Pankies or their friends, the Target knock off hanky pankies. They'll fit the whole time and don't heartlessly remind you how big you're getting by not coming up past your knees when you're late for work.
- A sense of humor
- A friend or family member you can whine to (the only way the previous bullet can be accomplished sometimes)
What I wish I'd gotten: a bunch of really comfy maternity pajamas early on. My mom told me my Old Navy ones were kind of not-cute (in a nice way) and she was right. And it's nice to feel cute when you're smuggling a watermelon. I also wish I'd gotten one of those bands you put around your waist to relieve the pressure on your lower back. They have them at the drugstore. I think I suffered more then necessary for not having one.
Nice to have for labor and maternity leave:
- Giant cups with lids for water. You'll think you've just crawled across the Mohave desert you'll be so thirsty. The hospital gives you one, but it's nice to have a backup for when it's in the wash.
- As many takeout and delivery menus as you can find. Self explanatory.
- Some beer to help your milk come in. I don't care if it's a myth or an old wives tale - a single beer will feel like nectar of the gods after birth. This got the thumbs up (in moderation of course) from my OB. Another reason we 'clicked'.
- If you have a C section, some vitamin E oil for your scar (wait 8 or so weeks). I found good stuff at Whole Foods. The higher the I.U. number the better - more concentrated I think. Massage in a circular motion to make your scar fade faster.
- Nursing bras (if you are nursing). Go ahead and splurge. You will be putting these through the ringer. I ordered cheapos from the Gap and they are now so ratty now I wouldn't lend them to a nursing dog.
- Some nursing tops if you're nursing. When junior needs to eat every 1.5 hours, you want some easy access to the goods. I got some from the Gap but they aren't much to look at. Of course, neither was I.
- Really soft nursing pajamas. Even if you aren't breastfeeding these will fit over the belly you didn't realize you were bringing home from the hospital. ***word of warning: the Olian ones shrink like crazy. Probably because I put them in the dryer. I'm a new mother - like I am going to LINE DRY pajamas. Whatever. Buy Large.
- Mesh panties like they give you in the hospital. I didn't realize I could bring home the extra ones from the hospital and wash them so I tossed them or left them. That was stupid. If you have a C-section it will be amazing how all existing panties hit right where your incision is! You can get some at a drug supply store or online.
- Comfy slippers with rubber soles so you don't fall. I like these Acorn ones.
- Spanx. For that special dinner out when Grandma is watching the baby and none of your dresses fit.
- Vicodin (doctor prescribed of course)
- A sense of humor (aided, if possible, by the previous bullet)
Nice to have a for a baby who is less then 6 months old:
- Newborn sized clothes. I didn't realize what a sizable difference there is between 'newborn' and '0-3 months'. Zero does not really mean zero in this case. My mom had to go out in the snow to buy Charlie some clothes that weren't ridiculously too big. And he was an 8 pound baby!!! An 8 pound baby whose mother had no fitting clothes for. Arguably my first parental mistake. Awwww, makes me all nostalgic.
- Waffle weave (thermal) receiving blankets. I didn't use the regular kind at all. These can double as swaddlers if your baby likes being swaddled. Mine hated it.
- A small fan for the nursery. Never underestimate the power of white noise. Also good for SIDS prevention.
- Drool bibs. Baby Bargains wrote in 2008 that these were unnecessary. Sure, if you like changing your baby's drool-soaked outfit every 2 hours then they probably are unnecessary. I also have a great plastic curved Baby Bjorn bib my friend Kristen gave me that goes in the dishwasher after it's covered with baby food. Brilliant!
- An interesting mobile with music that won't drive you insane. I liked this one.
- A car seat mirror that plays music. We've shopped extensively and there is not one in existence with music that won't drive you insane. Embrace your insanity and enjoy the otherwise quiet car.
- A swinging device and a vibrating device (no not that kind!) for the baby to sit in. Borrowed or used if possible because there is no guarantee your child will actually like them. There is a risk here of feeling stupid for spending $75 on something your child hates.
- A supped up exersaucer - the more you spend, the larger the blocks of much needed sanity time you will get.
- A Child's Gift Of Lullabies. I don't know if it's the songs or this woman's voice, but Charlie hears it and is instantly relaxed. I hear his Aunt Clare reacted the same way as a baby. =)
- If you have two levels in your house, a pack n' play with a changing table set up on the floor the nursery is not on will save you so many trips up and down the stairs. I'm just not a person who can change a diaper on the sofa or floor.
- Anything from Two Funny Girls. Shameless plug for my friend Kristy. But the waterproof labels are nice for daycare, the bibs and towels are soft and oversized - also good for baby gifts. Anything with your baby's name on it is much appreciated at daycare and increases its chances of coming back home.
- For travel, the MacLaren Triumph stroller. I can't sing its praises enough. You can collapse it using 1 foot while holding the baby. Best money we have spent (besides diapers natch) hands down.
- Also for travel, a zip up bag with wheels to transport and protect your car seat. You can check it for free. The rental car companies will charge you more then they paid for that Cosco Scenara that doesn't come installed for your 2 day trip. My cousin got us one and we didn't pay it much mind until we actually had to travel with our car seat. Yay Kim you're brilliant!
- A case of wine
- A sense of humor (aided, if possible, by the previous bullet)
One thing I thought I would use, but didn't: The Itzbeen timer. People rave about this, but I am boring and old fashioned and used a *gasp* pen and paper. Not sure why it didn't work for me but at $29.99 it felt like a waste. It's going to a pregnant friend in the hopes it will get some use.
One last thing, if you haven't signed up for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall emails, you can do so here: https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.
So there you go. I'm sure I'm forgetting about a hundred things in my lists of things nobody asked me to make. These were the first ones that popped to mind.
Well better run and take care of things while Charlie is napping. Add 'naps' to all 3 of those nice to have lists!