I am over-the-moon with excitement that the acupuncturist who attended my second birth is indeed pregnant herself. I have been thinking of the things that I would want to pull out of storage and loan to her, or recommend that she purchase for her bundle of joy. (For the record, I wish I had the funds to have acupuncture treatments through my pregnancy. She was a stand-in assistant when my midwife was short-staffed.)
* I will mark which items I feel are best to buy new (N), borrow from a friend B), or buy second-hand (SH).
- Basic Layette: I posted about this before, and my experience has taught me that we can get by without all the trappings. Department and big box stores want you to think you MUST HAVE a product to tend to any possible need. Hey, I’m a sucker; I bought that teddy bear with the heart beat. After round one rearing a newborn, I vowed to keep it as simple as possible and stick to the essentials. Basic clothing. Basic amenities. Wait to see what your baby is like before you buy too many things.
- Swaddlers (N): Babies are used to being tucked under our cozy little abdominals (ahem, well, mine are plushier than they were before I had kids). So when they get upset, the swaddler is an amazing way to calm their troubled little souls. This is the perfect shower gift, and a good item to get new so you don’t have to deal with pilly velcro.
- Co-sleeping crib (B): This is not a necessity for parents that choose to co-sleep, but sure nice for those who wish to claim some bed space while they still can. I used this for three months with my daughter (she was a big baby) and it was awesome to have her level and right beside me so she could wiggle over and nurse at any point in the night. I learned firsthand that babies are born with their own needs and desires. My son did not like the crib at all, hence why it is good to borrow if you can.
- Baby Carrier (N/B/SH): There are so many carriers for such little packages! My neighbor has 80 – yes, eighty – carriers sitting in storage. She tried out carriers for her son and then started teaching classes to other parents who were looking for babywearing solutions. We are all built differently – baby and parent – so it’s a good idea to contact a babywearing group to get advice on what carrier might suit your frame, musculature, back condition, etc. The stretchy Moby wrap was wonderful for my newborn and good to borrow, while my Ergo was indispensable once my kids were heavier and able to ride on back or front. I am glad I bought my Ergo new because I put it through the ringer with two children!
- Glass baby bottles (N/B/SH): I did extensive research on bottles and it came down to the fact that no one had ever complained about glass bottles. They’re durable, practical, easy to clean, no BPA, and a standard size so outfitting with new nipples of the latest technology is no problem.
- Newborn Carseat that plops into the Stroller (B): I commend the person who invented this system. My newborn falls asleep in the car and then I plunk the seat into a stroller if I am going shopping. The basket actually fits more than a sack lunch – yeah! I don’t recall using a newborn seat for more than three or four months so this is definitely an item to borrow.
- Books (B/SH): Do not think that I value books any less because they are lower on the list. Reading to your newborn builds early literacy skills, but more importantly, it creates an intimate moment when you are talking, singing, and enjoying the rhythm, pulse, and narratives of language and song. I found ti incredibly challenging to “narrate my day” (as experts suggest to build your child’s language skills.) Reading books alleviated that pressure.
- Bouncy Chair (B): This item, alone, allowed me to shower once my husband returned to work. And showers turn into the cheapest five minute therapy session once you’re a parent. Babies grow so quickly that this is another good item to borrow.
- Good Nourishing Food (N): This is the greatest expense in our household other than rent, and I am thankful that we don’t skimp here. I needed every ounce of food to help me heal from the rigors of labor, as well as provide my body with the essential building blocks to create breastmilk. This includes teas like raspberry leaf and nettles. Aviva Jill Romm writes a great book on post-partum nutrition.
- What to Expect in the First Year (B/SH): This book saved my husband and I numerous times when another one of those weird baby things popped up. Strange colored poop, labored breathing, reflex movements, etc. This book outshines the rest in the series and gives a helpful month-by-month play of things to expect from your newborn. It complemented our regular checkups with our pediatrician nicely.
If you’re expecting, do you think your list would look different? And for parents, what was on your list?