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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baby Registry 911 (Help!)

The other day one of my best friends told me she is pregnant. Not only was I excited for her, but I was also excited because she is the first of my close friends to join me on the crazy path to parenthood (finally, someone to commiserate about heartburn! Teething! Disgusting rivers of baby poop!).

One of the first things she asked me about was help with her baby registry. For any first-time parent, Babies R Us is easily the largest, most overwhelming and frightening store ever. It is like going into a Starbucks never having heard of coffee (if Starbucks were the size of a warehouse). The registry department will give you a categorized list of baby essentials and a little gun to scan everything you want, but I still had no idea what most of the stuff I was looking at was, let alone whether I needed it or not. So this is not a comprehensive list by any means; rather, it's a list of things my son and I loved and things I wish I'd known about sooner.

1. The Snoogle
This isn't something you register for, this is just something you need, plain and simple. Get it as soon as you know you're pregnant so you aren't kicking your husband out of bed when you're five months along and his arm touches you and you dissolve into a snotty hormonal sobbing fit. I was obsessed with the Snoogle while I was pregnant. I needed leg and tummy support and could not tolerate any body heat whatsoever towards the end so this was my husband stand-in (for the record, he was jealous of it and hated it - I think he may have thrown it away after the baby came).

2. A Boppy
See why I was so confused? Listen to these ridiculous names. Regardless, if you are planning to breastfeed, you definitely need a boppy. It also serves as a sweet napping spot for infants anywhere on your bed where they are totally safe and snug while you watch TV or whatever.

3. A Wipe Warmer
When I first saw this at the store I thought: Ridiculous. I am not going to be the type of mother who needs a diaper warmer. didn't have a diaper warmer, as I'm pretty sure they didn't exist in 1983, and I was just fine. But once my baby came and my heart turned to mush I realized that OF COURSE I could not put cold wipes on his precious little behind. It makes life easier for them and it feels nicer :)

4. A Co-Sleeper
This is a MUST. If you are breastfeeding, you will wake up every 2-3 hours to feed the little one, so you will want him close by. says: "Place your baby to sleep in the same room where you sleep but not the same bed. Keep the crib or bassinet within an arm’s reach of your bed. You can easily watch or breastfeed your baby by having your baby nearby. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are at risk of SIDS, suffocation, or strangulation. Parents can roll onto babies during sleep or babies can get tangled in the sheets or blankets." ( 
The co-sleeper puts a wall between you and your little one, so you can't roll over onto him but he is at the same level as your bed. Also, as he gets older and wakes up in the night, you can turn over and stick a pacifier back in his mouth the minute he whimpers, whereas if he has to wait for you to stumble all the way to the nursery he will already be up and wailing. I didn't have this until a friend lent it to me a few months in and let me tell you, I wish I did.

5. At Least One Swing
You need at least one of these to park the baby in so you're able to get anything done (dishes, phone call... peeing...). I had a swing like this and also a little chair that vibrated and he was always really content in them. In the beginning I was super-paranoid so I dragged the swing into the bathroom with me every time I went ;)

6. A Video Monitor
My mom and I both have this and it is AWESOME. Trust me, at first I just had audio monitors but you will want this one. Once baby is sleeping in his own room, you will want to know exactly when he falls asleep in order to time his naps. You will want to know if he is crying because he got his leg stuck in the side of the crib, and want to know if he's standing-up or sitting-down crying (sitting-down crying means "I'm going to give up and sleep eventually;" standing up crying means "Not a chance in hell so just come pick me up and I'll nap later"). Also, if you suspect your child is going to be a climb-out-of-the-crib type (which I do) you can spy to make sure he doesn't get hurt. Practical reasons aside, it is adorable and so entertaining to watch your little one roll around and talk to himself and contort his body in his sleep without risking stepping on a floorboard and waking him up.

7. A Lovey
This weird thing I never heard of until I had a baby, but it's good to have. I only ever give it to my son when it's nighttime or naptime, and if you take one with you in your diaper bag he can virtually fall asleep anywhere because it's comforting to him and signals sleep.

8. A Noise Machine
My sister got us this white noise machine and I swear by it. It has peaceful, non-irritating rain and wave sounds and also signals to baby that it's time to sleep. (You will have so many toys with irritating noises and songs that you will appreciate the white noise.)

9. A Humidifier
I also recommend getting a cool mist humidifier. Depending on the time of year, babies get all kinds of congestion and you'll notice it gets worse when they lie down. My pediatrician said this is totally normal but recommended a humidifier.

10. Nail Clippers
I am fairly confident your baby will have more hair than mine, because I didn't have any use for a comb or brush until fairly recently (he is 15 months old). However, nail clippers are an ESSENTIAL. Newborn fingernails grow freakishly fast and they can cut their precious little faces. Those nail scissors pictured and the nail files, I had no use for, but they might work better for you. I just use the baby clippers. Maybe get a couple pairs because I always forget where I put mine...

11. Diapers
Register for diapers, because you will be shocked and terrified at how expensive they are and how quickly they go. Many people are relieved to buy something so easy.

12. If you are breastfeeding...
Sorry to say it, but you will need this (ouch): 

And you will definitely want these:

Rent a breast pump. They are insanely too expensive to buy and most hospitals (probably including the one where you deliver) rent them for $30-50 a month. Totally worth it. Every once in a while your breastfeeding schedule with baby will get off, and it's really uncomfortable. Also if you're going to go somewhere for a few hours and don't want baby to have formula, you can store it in the fridge (or even in the freezer if you want to keep the breastfeeding thing going after you go back to work).

13. Final Advice
I'm gonna tell you something else. You and your significant other* will both CONSTANTLY run out of storage space on your phones from obsessively taking pictures and videos of the baby. There is nothing more frustrating than getting ready to snap a PERFECT shot of your little one and being told you can't because you don't have enough storage. Then you have to (very quickly) make some heart-wrenching decisions about deleting previous pictures to get the shot. That is why it is essential to have Google+. It was designed to be a social media website like Facebook and never really took off, but if you download it, it automatically backs up ALL your pictures to the website every time you take one. So I still periodically dump all my pictures onto our laptop, but if (God forbid) something happened to that, you would still have all your pictures safely stored on the Internet - and it's not public, so no one else can see them if you don't want them to. Do not bother buying more storage space from Apple; I made this mistake and it only lasted a week. Just get Google+ :)

Don't forget to load up on pacifiers. I didn't use them at first because I didn't want my baby to get confused since I was breastfeeding, but once you do you will find the baby has very strong preferences and you do not want to be running out at 10pm to buy the "right" pacifier or leaving a family party because you lost one and your baby is having a meltdown.

But you really shouldn't stress about any of this. In the very beginning all you will be doing is sleeping and feeding the baby. As long as you have a place to change diapers and a place for him to sleep, you won't miss any of the other stuff. I built my nursery as my baby grew up based on things I thought he would like and things we needed, tailored for our situation.

When you send out your shower invites, tell people gift cards are welcome too because honestly you don't know until your baby is here what you're gonna want/need. As long as you have some swaddling blankets and diapers and nail clippers in those first few weeks, you can send someone out for whatever else you need.

*When you have questions before and after baby you will turn to the Internet, as we all do. There are a host of acronyms that parents use and to save you some head-scratching: "SO" means significant other, "LO" = little one, and "DH" is dear hubby. Annoying, yes, but at 3 in the morning when you're seeking advice about how to soothe your child's cough you're not going to care that the person giving it is annoying enough to call her husband dear hubby in the first place, or that she can't bother to type those extra 7 letters.

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