Thursday, October 17, 2013

A list for new moms

Home, Family, and Kids: New Baby Check List
Check: 10 fingers, 10 toes
Have two hands? Well - you're all set to take care of a baby. End of list.

Yes, yes, I do believe that babies need nothing but their loving parents around them the first few months. 

But in today's realistic world, in which babies poop, parents don't live in grass huts and we don't anymore give birth by the riverside listening to a babbling brook, there are some basics that just make life easier during those crazy, overwhelming first few months. More so when you are someone who lives in a 'foreign' country and want a mish-mash of multiple cultures and philosophies to child-rearing.

From experience, here is my baby essentials wish-list, rooted in basic needs and contributed to by several of my girlfriends:
SUNDVIK Crib IKEA The bed base can be placed at two different heights. Converts into a toddler bed.
We have too many things in brown in our home (including ourselves HAHA) so we got white. Plus, it just screams "baby!" when you buy things in white.

BABY WILL SLEEP Even if you plan to go the desi way and co-sleep right through, it's  comforting to have a safe place to put down the baby and go get that shower.
  • Crib: 1 IKEA SUNDVIK white 
  • Mattress: 1 IKEA crib mattress 
  • Mattress pad: 1 absorbent mattress pad
  • Crib sheet: 2 Fitted crib sheets

  • Swaddle blankets: If you want the baby to sleep anywhere besides your arms, you better be swaddling! I found Aden and Anais swaddle blankets the best, though some folks I know swear by the ready swaddles such as the miracle blanket

  • White noise machine: Essential to use white noise if you have a sensitive baby who wakes up whenever you breathe (politically correct term for fart). Don't waste money on a machine, just get the Sleep Pillow app if you have a smartphone

  • An alternative to a crib is a co-sleeper bassinet: The arm's reach co-sleeper is hands down the best. We ended up having the baby right beside us the first 4-5 months and wanted a small unit, something that easily fit into our bedroom. We borrowed our friend's co-sleeper and loved it. 
BONUS! You won't need to banish the husband to the couch just because you want to hear every breath your newborn makes right beside you
DOUBLE BONUS!! Baby might sleep so soundly you might leave baby in the room with husband and move to the couch
    Ideal Co-Sleeper®
    This might be more expensive than the crib you want. Beg, borrow or steal this co-sleeper cos baby won't fit in this after ~4 months

Warning: All babies HATE their car seat for the first few weeks and will scream bloody murder when they sit in it. If you are driving with your parents or in-laws in the car, both you and they will be traumatized by the baby-screaming experience. This will cause a rift in the family. You will curse U.S safety laws to death. One day, though, baby will wake up and climb into the car seat with unexplained joy...and you'll want to slap someone. With happiness.
  • Stroller: We bought a stroller only after 2-3 months, once we could figure out what we wanted in one. Till then we just used a Graco car seat stroller frame
After much debate between the City Mini and UPPA Baby, we splurged and went for a yummy red UPPA Baby Cruz. The 180 degree recline, large basket and light weight was worth every penny - our UPPA baby has been awesome for S's naps on the go on vacation, meal times outdoors and saved my back during grocery time. 
Make sure you get the infant car sear adapter and the parent organizer accessories.
Warning: Denny will quickly become your second baby. You'll want to push it around even without baby in it.
BONUS! I heard somewhere that strollers are the new cars - they add cool factor for dad and ensure that he loves taking the baby out
DOUBLE BONUS!! Mom can veg out and catch-up on mindless trash TV
  • Baby carrier: Try to borrow a friend's for the first few days to see which carrier you guys and the baby like best. Our friend MC lent us the Baby Bjorn, it worked for S and we didn't experiment. We also bought a Sleepy Wrap, was great to head out to brunch with a tiny newborn snugly tucked inside the wrap
  • Baby Wrap
    Free! Lady with wrap
If you're searching for the ideal one for you, check out Babble's super cool research on the best carriers of 2013

  • Diapers: Pamper, huggies, cloth diapers or nude bums? We just bought Pampers in bulk from amazon because our hospital started us on that and it worked
  • Wipes: We just used a damp Bounty because we didn't want chemicals on S's gorgeous tush just yet. We used Pampers sensitive wipes for travel
  • Changing sheet/pad: Helps to have a changing pad with a washable cover so baby pee and poop doesn't get all over the place! Someone recommended that we buy a 4-sided pad but I don't think it makes a difference, really
  • Diaper rash cream: Desitin
  • Vaseline or Aquaphor or Weleda creams: Apply before putting on new diaper
  • Nursing cover: Go wild choosing pretty prints on amazon
  • Boppy pillow
  • Bottles: I just used the Medela bottles the first few months. S refused to take a bottle after a month or so and I had to buy every single bottle in the market to see which one she liked. I suggest NUK, Medela or Lansinoh bottles if you don't know where to begin
  • Bottle brush
  • Nursing pajamas: Love the Japanese weekend brand
  • Nightgowns: Ask mom or mil to bring you night gowns from India - you know, those shady ones with a long zipper in front - best thing ever if you plan to nurse. 
BONUS! You can always experience the joy of burning them later...
DOUBLE BONUS!! You can rip them apart with your bare hands and then experience the joy of burning them later
  • Recliner or rocking chair with ottoman: I couldn't praise the Dutailier rocker-glider more. I have family from India who want to buy and take one back with them
Fake photo alert: See how happy the mamma is, huh? 
  • An iPhone: No, really, this phone with headphones saved me those first few weeks of nursing non-stop. I watched movies, wrote emails and read books on the Kindle app. I also threw it on husband A to wake him up when I wanted him to change S's diaper. Hehe!

  • A stroller with a bassinet option: Nice option because you can step out for a walk, make the baby sleep in the stroller and then bring the stroller bassinet into the bedroom without waking up the baby. If you feel splurgy enough to get a Bugaboo, great! The UPPA baby Vista and Cruz also offer sturdy bassinets as optional accessories. 
  • Baby video monitor:  Dropcam. Can see baby from anywhere in the world. No, seriously
  • Bouncy seat: Bjorn babysitter balance. Plop baby in it and take to the loo when you are alone at home and gotta go
  • Bath tub: Some people use the kitchen sink the first few months then switch to the big tub. I used this baby tub with sling
  • First-aid kit: This is actually not just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. What you want in this depends on how paranoid you are. Ask your doctor and friends for recommendations.
Whew. That was a long post. If you actually made it this far, go ahead and add anything you thought saved your life those first few months. Even your therapist's phone number

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