Hannah, This One's For You
Everyone is different. All I know is what I know; but I have taken care of my share of babies, toddlers, and children. Some of my opinions regarding products and "must have's" changed slightly when I had my own baby. Most of them did not. I have a couple of friends who will be having their first baby this year, and I have many more friends who need to hurry up and get busy. =) I have been working on a list in my head to give to my dear friend-since-the-fifth-grade-and-still-loves-me, Hannah. Lists in my head are no longer a meaningful way to track and manage information, so, for what it's worth, I decided to "blog" it.
*Note: I am assuming that if you care to know what these things are, you will google them. I'm not going to describe what the product is, I'm going to talk about why you would need it.
1. Changing Table / Dresser Made Into a Changing Table: This is one of my opinions that did change after I had a baby. For a year I changed one of my "clients" on the floor on a changing pad. It was no big deal. My mother insisted that I would not want to get on the floor constantly right after delivering a baby. Listen to your mother! I did, and I'm so glad. I cannot imagine changing Spencer on the ground from 0-4 Months. After that, it varies. Spencer is a live wire, and always has been. By 4 months, I was so scared that he would manage to "get away from me" on the dresser we used as a changing table, that I discontinued its use. But, I have friends who still change their 2 year old on a changing table, and it works great. They'll probably have fewer back problems later in life, too. No matter where you change the baby, you must do it on a changing pad. Not just a blanket. Not just a "lap pad." Accidents happen. Friends don't let friends have to scrub poop out of their carpet / rug / upholstery. "Those who have ears, let them hear."
2. Pacifiers, a pacifier clip, and pacifier wipes to put in your diaper bag: Yes, I really do think you NEED all 3. I do not like a lot of "stuff," and I try to only buy things we truly need. We didn't have a clip or the wipes for at least 5 months, and I just look back now and think, "Lauren, what were you trying to prove?" Also, some babies don't like pacifiers. I've never taken care of any of them.
3. Baby Bjorn: I have tried a "better" carrier, and I have tried a baby sling. And again, I can only tell you what worked for me and the children in my care, but the Bjorn worked for 2 out of the 2 babies I have spent the most time with. There are a lot of reasons why I like this best, the main one being that once the baby can hold his/her head up, the baby can face outward. In my experience, babies like to see what there is to see. IF, you happen to be blessed with a baby that will actually sleep in public past a few weeks of age, the baby can also face you in the Bjorn. I never used that setting much.
4. Sleep Sacks [and, after that, Sleep Sacks for "Early Walkers"]: babies flop all around when they are asleep. This way, you will only ask your husband 50 times if he thinks the baby is cold, as opposed to the 100 times you would ask it without. You can buy them with a swaddling option.
5. Plastic bags made to sterilize things in the microwave: there are a lot of different brands, and I don't think it matters which kind. I used (and still use) Medela. Ok, here's the deal with these. You CAN sterilize pacifiers, bottle parts, breast pump parts, etc. in the dishwasher if you use the "sterilize" or "high temp" rinse option. The dishwasher will heat up the water to make it hotter than the temperature on which you have your hot water heater set. The only reason I did not always do it this way is that we didn't always have a full-load for the dishwasher. In those instances, these bags are great. You can also boil those things, that obviously sterilizes them. Again, you may not always have time to do this depending on how many duplicates you buy of things and how many people are standing around wanting to help you.
They also make hard plastic trays with domes that go in the microwave to sterilize stuff, and yes, then, you'd never have to buy those bags. (You throw the bags away after about 20 uses each--the Medela ones have boxes to check each time you use it, so you'll know for sure when to toss it). Here's my opinion on that one. First, the trays with domes wouldn't fit in our microwave. We looked at every at Target or BabysRus. Second, where will you store that Third, I never needed to buy another pack of the bags. I still have some. I do still use them occasionally, when Spencer is sick or when I decide it's time to feel good about life via assuring myself that my toddlers pacifiers are squeaky clean. Now, I have some left over because I only used them when I couldn't use the dishwasher or didn't have time to boil stuff. Lastly, if you go out of town, you can take 1 bag that takes up very little space versus packing a hard plastic thing that takes up a lot of room.
I think 5 is a good stopping point for now. Small doses is best as you watch your cash dwindle down to nothing. A two pack of pacifiers is $5...and yes, I have seen the latest prices of Baby Bjorns, but there are ways to procure things short of paying full retail. (Not stealing...)