Week 10: Older, Wiser Baby Registry

We’re halfway through Week 10 of pregnancy with Baby No. 2. I have no exciting updates to tell you about my symptoms. I’m still exhausted, still nauseous. Maybe more than the weeks before, so it’s my hope I’m at peak yuck and will be feeling better soon. The food aversions I had during my pregnancy with The Toddler hadn’t cropped up much this time around, but lately they have returned. I managed to put a frozen pizza in the oven for the family before retreating to my bed as soon as The Husband came home, and then ended up eating feta cheese on Flipside crackers. In bed. For dinner. Because pizza, and basically anything except Flipside crackers and feta, sounded absolutely repulsive.

Enough about my appetite, though. I went to a baby shower for my college roommate over the weekend, and it got me thinking about what I’d register for if I did it all over again. So instead of directly inundating my roommate (and several other friends) with unsolicited advice about what they should get, I thought I’d make a shortlist of things I’d get if I were a first-timer, and they can choose to read or ignore as they wish.

*My blog is too smalltime to make any money. I’m not getting anything out of recommending these.

**For real, fam & friends: This is a list of suggestions/cool things that have come out just in the last two years to help out other expectant parents. Some of this is stuff I already have, and some is just a better version of something I already have. Don’t take this as an unsubtle request!

Without further ado:

Lotus Everywhere Travel CribLotus Everywhere Travel Crib ($189)

Forget your tricky, cumbersome travel cribs of yore. This is super easy to set up, with a cushy mattress, a backpack-style carry case, and a zippered side panel so you don’t have to figure out how to lower a sleeping or nearly sleeping baby all the way to the floor through the top. I used this a few times at a friend’s house for naps and have wanted one ever since. My only wish is that it had a silent zipper. I think we’re going to get one (our hand-me-down Pack ‘N Play tore) along with the bassinet attachments for the new kid.

Mason Bottle set ($20)

We registered for glass bottles the first time around, and ended up with plastic. Which is fine, but while Dr. Bronner’s may be touted for being anti-colic or whatever, having FIVE pieces of a bottle to wash and reassemble every time is less. than. ideal. I saw an ad for this on Instagram, which converts your basic 4 oz. or 8 oz. mason jar into a bottle, and WANT! We use mason jars for food storage, drinking glasses, etc. so this is a natural next step in our collection. I like the silicone sleeves to help prevent breakage, too.

Milkies Milk-Saver ($27.95)

Breastfeeding was the mystery of mysteries before The Baby arrived. It was the apex of the unknown that surrounds new parenthood. I didn’t know how to do it, or how it would feel, or what I’d need, so I didn’t get much before The Baby arrived. (And what I did get was gifted to me by friends who knew better.) One thing that would have really come in handy, especially those first weeks when my supply was out of control and we were still working out the latch, was a way to catch any extra. These handy little nursing covers collect that leaked milk so it doesn’t go to waste.

Lalabu Soothe Shirt ($75)

Babywearing was clutch for me from the very beginning. Intimidated at first by the complicated baby wraps, I got a Baby K’Tan for both me and The Husband (two of them, because they’re sized to the wearer.) They were pretty easy to use, but I ended up finding my stretchy wrap to be more comfortable as The Baby got bigger, and the K’Tan ended up being a short-lived, though very helpful, piece of baby gear. If I did it again, I’d get us a set of these, instead. I’m definitely not spending the money when what we have now will suit us fine, but if you’re building your registry and don’t already have a newborn babywearing solution, I think this is pretty sweet!

Zutano Booties ($20-ish)

I might have already included these on a long-ago registry recommendation, but they’re so good. It’s really hard to keep things on baby feet. This is the exception. They snap snugly around the ankle, are super warm and super cute. I bought a size big so they’d last a little longer (and because The Baby has giant feet.)

That’s all I can think of right now, and I gotta shower before The Toddler wakes up from his nap. One more quick recommendation for soon-to-be moms: The Birth Hour podcast. I’ve started listening to it to reacquaint myself with the thought of childbirth, and more than I could have imagined it has taught me some really helpful things about preparing for labor and childbirth. I’m focusing on the low-intervention/unmedicated stories, because that’s what I’m aiming for, but this features everything from scheduled C-Sections and epidurals to some more unusual circumstances. (Obvious caveat: Only listen to what you’re prepared to hear. There are stories about loss and emergencies and such.)

I’m a little turned off by the fact that a lot of the storytellers are also “sponsors” of the episodes (people with Etsy shops for baby headbands, birth centers themselves, etc.) and the host isn’t the most compelling interviewer, but the moms themselves are usually really good storytellers, and so far this is the best I’ve come across in terms of pregnancy/childbirth-related podcasting content. It definitely has value for anyone with a due date in the future, and I’m glad I found it despite these minor complaints.

May your (baby) shower be as relaxing and invigorating as the shower I’m about to take.

Cheers,

R

Edited to add: Backpack-style diaper bag, because it’s really fun when your shoulder bag swings around and bashes your kid while you’re getting him out of his carseat.

Week 10: Older, Wiser Baby Registry

Road Trip Tips for Baby

Baby's first road trip

This past weekend we took a quick road trip through Columbus and to Cincinnati to visit some of The Husband’s family. Managing a single road trip does not make me a traveling-with-baby expert, but we were way more successful than I could have imagined, so I thought I’d share some tips for any new parents prepping for their own excursions.

Packing

Start with a good list. I love a list, and packing is no exception. Mentally go through a regular day with your baby and write down everything you’ll need, from diapering, to feeding, to naps and sleep; then consider any activities you are planning during the trip (for me, that was maybe using the hotel pool and going to the zoo) and list anything you’ll want for that (sunscreen, hat, swim diaper, etc.) If you are a parent and you are reading this, you know to plan for disasters, so it almost goes without saying you should bring a few extra changes of clothes/a few more diapers than you think you need.

Here are a few things I packed that came in handy:

General

  • Neatly folded plastic grocery bags for holding dirty diapers, soiled clothes, etc. I also brought a few zip-top sandwich sized storage bags for holding pacifiers, doling out small portions of baby puffs, etc.
  • Baby carrier. You guys, baby wearing is so handy for travel. We brought our stroller but it ended up staying in the car the whole time. I impulse bought a soft structured carrier the day before we left but I have zero regrets.

Feeding

  • Boobs. Because I’m SAHM-ing and extremely lazy about pumping, I brought zero bottles and only the milk I carried. A bottle could likely have come in handy at some point, but honestly, probably not enough to make up for the having to wash everything.  Obviously you will have to adapt to your situation.
  • Easy, mess-free snack. I knew we were going to be dining out a lot and I wouldn’t have a whole lot of control over sodium levels, etc., I bought a canister of Baby Puffs to keep The Baby occupied at the table if we were short on options for him.
  • Silicone placemat and a bib. Our hotel had a breakfast buffet with fruit and other BLW-friendly items, so we wanted to take advantage of it without being the worst hotel guests ever. This helped contain the mess (a little.)
  • All-purpose cleaning wipes and baby wipes. In addition to baby wipes for diapering, I kept a stash along with all-purpose cleaning wipes to clean The Baby and the table, respectively.

Sleeping/napping

  • This is totally dependent on how your baby sleeps, but I brought a sleep sack and both Wubbanubs. The Baby uses them only when he is going down to sleep but I would have lost my mind if we hadn’t brought them. I also brought a very small fan to help with white noise if our hotel A/C wasn’t loud enough to do the trick. We carried our cosleeping habit to the hotel so didn’t bother with a Pack and Play or anything. I’ll talk about our nap setup later.

Toys and entertainment

  • We brought The Baby’s favorite book for bedtime, and I fished a few toys out of the box that he doesn’t usually play with (I try to rotate them to keep him from getting overwhelmed and/or bored with the same toys all the time.) I also strung several canning rings onto a plastic toy link to make a fun, noisy rattle that I wouldn’t mind losing. Because we’re trying to go with the whole low-tech baby thing, I did not set up any baby TV on my phone for the trip.

Plan your bags well. I used our large diaper bag as the “suitcase”/staging bag, filling it with all the diapers we’d need for the weekend, The Baby’s clothes, burp cloths, bibs, and blanket. I put all his clothes in one gallon size zip-top bag, the bibs and burp cloths in another, bath toys and baby shampoo in another, and used each pocket in the bag for other “groups” of items. Sunscreen and bug repellant in one, wipes in another, etc. I used a separate, small backpack to hold all the food-related stuff, as well as a mini diaper clutch with just enough diapering supplies for each leg of the trip. My point is, try to start off extremely organized. It made it easy to grab stuff in the car and kept me from feeling weighed down like a pack mule.

Don’t forget your own comfort. Comfy shoes, plenty of nursing bras, snacks for the ride and hotel room, and a pile of books. The one amazing thing for me was getting to read a little while The Baby napped because I was too far away from my dirty laundry and unfinished DIY projects to try to tackle them while he slept. It was, in short bursts, almost vacation-like.

Driving and time management

Plan around naps. We tried to time each of our departures around The Baby’s usual nap times to give him a chance to sleep in the car. It usually worked out great. I also chose to sit next to him in the back during the second leg of each trip to serve as entertainment (and occasionally lean over his carseat to nurse him, yep) to keep him from flying off the handle.

Break the trip up. We weren’t going far, but stopping in Columbus for a few hours (and then in Oxford on the way back up) gave The Baby a chance to stretch out, hang out somewhere other than the car, and burn off some energy.

Take your time and be flexible. We decided throughout the trip that while we wanted to have fun and see everyone, we weren’t going to try to stick to any overtaxing schedules. We tried to make sure The Baby at least had an excellent first nap each day, so if his second nap was spent being lugged around in a carrier at the zoo, he’d at least have started off well.

Home base

While it’s easy to crash anywhere when it’s just you/your significant other, I think it’s totally worth it to save up/find deals to get a hotel room that can serve as a good home base. Call me a control freak (I am), but when you’re away from home it’s really nice to be able to manage your surroundings to make your baby (and yourself) as comfortable as possible, and sometimes that’s just not possible if you have a fold out couch in someone else’s house.

I intentionally found a hotel that had mini-suites and decided to cash in some credit card points to offset the extra cost. We stayed in a king studio suite, and while there wasn’t a separate room for The Baby to sleep in, there was plenty of floor space for him to crawl around, and The Husband and I did have a separate sitting area to lounge in while he slept. There was also a mini-fridge and an extra sink, which came in handy for washing our placemat, etc. after breakfast. It was just nice to have the extra space.

Basically, we just did our best to stick to the home routine. I put The Baby in the middle of the bed with pillows blocking each edge (but nowhere near him… gotta love a California king bed), and we just kept an eye on him from across the room while he napped. At night, we did our usual bathtime, story time routine, and it worked out great. The blackout curtains were clutch and made me realize the really-dark-but-not-actually-blackout curtains in The Baby’s room are not quite cutting it.

While we had to be quiet and left the room fairly dim during The Baby’s sleep, I packed a picnic for our first night in the hotel (cheese and charcuterie, plus prosecco) and we actually had a pretty romantic cocktail hour in our half of the room.

Those are my tips for a successful road trip with baby. What are your go-to moves?

(By the way, I know I linked to a lot of products in this post, but none of this is sponsored. It’s just what I love/used on this particular trip.)

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Road Trip Tips for Baby

My First Mother’s Day Wish List

TLMB's extremely specific Mother's Day 2016 Gift GuideOne thing about The Husband and me is that we’re pretty terrible at gifts.

Well, let me rephrase that:

We both generally don’t care much about gifts and tend to prefer spending our money on experiences together, or going shopping and picking out exactly what we want and buying it and there’s your present. Sure, it eliminates much of the surprise but it also cuts back on the number of disappointing, never-used gifts we buy each other out of guilt at the last minute (sorry again about the cheap ice cream maker and Bonsai tree, 29-year-old Husband.)

However, I was 38 weeks pregnant and (unbeknownst to me at the time) five days away from popping out (not how it actually works) a baby on my 30th birthday, and admittedly I was pretty cranky that all we did was go have lobster bisque during happy hour at a nice restaurant, take a walk around the park and tuck me into bed at 8 p.m. Even though it’s all I was physically capable of doing, I warned The Husband not to spend much money because A BABY IS COMING and he wrote me a very sweet note in my card.

I mostly blame being super pregnant for my birthday crankiness. I’m only human.

And now I’m a human who MADE ANOTHER HUMAN, so it’s time to celebrate my first Mother’s Day! Woohoo!

Here is a list of very heavy hints in case anyone in my life is looking for a gift idea.

The Last Mommy Blog’s 2016 Extremely Specific Mother’s Day Gift Guide

BUY ME STUFF!!! Tangible gifts:

Teething/breastfeeding necklace

My baby is teething and also becoming distracted AF when he nurses, so something other than my delicate upper chest/lower neck skin for his little razor claws to clutch on to would be tremendous. I particularly like this silicone and oak necklace from GettingSewCrafty on Etsy.

Silicone teething necklace via GettingSewCrafty on etsy.
Silicone teething necklace via GettingSewCrafty on Etsy.

Pretty, delicate jewelry, because sometimes I want something just for me

Not everything has to be about the baby. Only like, 95 percent. I don’t own much jewelry (and now that I’m home all day, don’t wear much), but something like the little bee necklace below (also from Etsy, this time via ACharmedImpression) would be sweet.

Little gold bee necklace via ACharmedImpression on Etsy
Little gold bee necklace via ACharmedImpression on Etsy.

Intangibles and experiences

A gift certificate to Clothes Mentor

I’ve been trying really hard for the past few years to avoid buying new clothes unless they’re manufactured ethically. Which mostly means buying clothes at consignment stores/thrift stores, because unfortunately I cannot afford brand new clothes that are  manufactured ethically.But I feel like a superhero when I find good clothes at consignment stores.

I discovered Clothes Mentor while I was pregnant and being utterly dumbfounded by all the insanely priced, shoddily made maternity wear I found at most retail stores. I went to Clothes Mentor and basically cleared their small maternity section twice.

And now that I’m post-postpartum, and the same-ish size but a bit of a different shape, I could use a few new pieces to spice up my (increasingly spit-up stained) wardrobe.

A massage, from The Husband

When I was pregnant, I craved massages (obviously?). I got two prenatal massages over the course of that time from professional massage therapists, and both times felt like I had been tentatively patted down by former TSA agents. I think people are afraid they’re going to send you into preterm labor if they massage too firmly. Then, about a month ago, I finally cashed in the massage gift certificate my parents had given me for my birthday. This time, I felt like I needed a stick to bite as she rolled my neck muscles around under my skin. I had bruises the next day.

I know I could have piped up any of those three times and let the therapist know what I wanted, but here’s what I’ve finally learned about myself: I’m not very assertive, and I don’t like practicing this important skill while a stranger lotions up to rub my naked back. So instead, how about my best friend/life partner does it, and I’ll have no trouble letting you know what I want. Bonus: Free gift

A trip to a bar

We’re starting to get used to the take-your-baby-to-a-Mexican-restaurant routine, so we’re getting out sometimes, but it’s still somewhat frowned upon to practice baby-wearing while sidled up to a bar. I know because I’ve tried. I  met The Husband at our former neighborhood brewery and sat at the bar with The Baby sleeping on me (at like, pre-happy hour, around 4:30) and some of the patrons gave me stink eye. Or, to circle back, they frowned upon me.

So I want to sit at a bar and enjoy one drink with no baby on my person. And then not too long after I want to hurry home to give that baby a squeeze because I will have missed him.

Picnic me

Pack a picnic (lots of fancy cheese, please) and take us somewhere pretty where we can loll around on a blanket, eat and watch the clouds go by. Maybe the baby can even nap on said blanket and we could read and catch up on each other’s lives and hopes and dreams. Or just talk about The Baby’s poop and sleep habits and gargantuan feet some more.

No thank you:

  • Jewelry that says “mom” on it. I know what I am. No need to be so literal.
  • A long, fancy date night. The Baby is still figuring out bedtime and I don’t want to be out so long that I might have to pump.
  • Clothes picked out by someone else. I have no idea what my body is doing still. Better let me try it on.

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My First Mother’s Day Wish List

My gender neutral, not color neutral nursery

The Husband and I decided to keep our first baby’s sex a surprise. For one thing, we like surprises, and for another thing, it bought us some time before the entire world started pushing its gender stereotypes on our little (what turned out to be a) guy. No “Daddy’s Little Princess” or “Big Man” onesies, etc. This, of course, drove some people totally crazy, but I don’t care.

When we started trying to figure out our nursery, I ventured over to Pinterest to search for gender-neutral baby ideas. There are, of course, tons of awesome nurseries showcased all across the Internet. One thing I found was that often times, gender neutral also meant neutral-neutral: grey, beige, white, etc.

I love neutral colors, but I wanted something a little brighter for our babe-to-be. I also tend toward eclectic decor (and admittedly a lot of hand-me-downs, cheap Target stuff and finds from our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Find one of these in your community – they are so awesome!)

Pinterest completely overwhelmed me with ideas (though you can check out my nursery pinspiration board here.) Finally, I got the idea to use this vintage opera poster that my mother-in-law had picked up at a thrift store and gifted to us a few years ago as the basis for the nursery’s color scheme.

Puss in Boots vintage opera poster
The inspiration for our nursery: colorful, vintage, eclectic and gender neutral without being neutral-neutral.

[Soapbox second:] Yes, you won’t be the first person to notice there is a “scary” looking demon-creature on this poster. But guess what? The Baby LOVES staring at the poster while he gets his diaper changed, and as we don’t point to the creature and say, “This is something you should be scared of!” he probably won’t be scared of it. And maybe it will be a lesson for him that just because something isn’t beautiful doesn’t make it evil. [/soapbox second]

Anyway, we decided to paint the walls a light blue to mimic the background of the poster. Yes, The Baby could have been a girl, but I am a girl and I like blue and again with the pressure of gender conformity!!!

We scored two cool dressers at ReStore, one a perfect little wooden chest of drawers with cutouts for handles and the other a low, wide dresser to serve as our changing table. The latter was painted two shades of butt-ugly green, but The Husband meticulously painted it a yellow also pulled from the Puss in Boots poster. There was a big sale going on at ReStore the day we went, and we got both dressers for a total of $65.

I found a rug at my favorite online source for rugs, on sale I think for $99, Rugs USA. (Not a paid advertisement, I’ve just gotten some great deals there!)

Rug from Rugs USA
The rug from Rugs USA.

I’ve always loved the classic beauty of a Jenny Lind crib, and went with white. I registered for it, just to keep track of what I wanted, and before I could order it, I found it delivered to my doorstep as a gift my very dear best childhood friend.

Inspired by a friend who made awesome dropcloth curtains for her apartment, I bought a bunch of dropcloths that were on sale when we were buying paint and made curtains and a matching crib skirt.

We finished it off with an inexpensive rocking chair I found on Overstock for about $200. It’s not a plush upholstered chair, but I have two jerk cats who scratch up every piece of furniture we buy so I didn’t want to put too much money into it. This chair actually walks backward across the room whenever I rock in it, so I wouldn’t glowingly endorse it, but it’s pretty comfortable for what you pay, and if I ever get around to sticking some non-skid pads to the bottom of it, it will probably quit scooting so badly.

We accessorized with, of course, the poster (VERY securely hung… I know it looks a little scary hanging over the changing table but I pulled on it while super pregnant and it didn’t budge), a cool wooden duck I found at a thrift store, a framed set of six vintage postage stamps I found in the back of a desk drawer (another ReStore find) and a “Cleveland Born” print also from my BFF.

I knitted a very simple block color blanket to match the colors in the room, bought some pretty neutral Burt’s Bees jersey knit crib sheets, and there you have it – nursery complete.

I think we spent just about $600 for everything. Not bad, eh?

Here are some photos of the nursery (in our old house). Of course, everything but the paint came with us to the new house, so once we get around to painting, it will be home sweet home again for our little guy.

How did we do? Let me know what you think at @arkayokay.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more nursery and baby ideas.

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My gender neutral, not color neutral nursery

6 things to add to your minimalist baby registry

ShowerThere are infinity gear guides for new parents out there. (My go-to resource is Lucie’s List, but I also had success in the example registries at Babylist. This is only like my third post so no, neither of these are paid advertisements. I just used them and liked them. I should say nothing on this post is sponsored, just good stuff IMHO.)

In Last Mommy Blog fashion, let me add yet another slew of advice about what you should register for.

As building a baby registry can be daunting, gear guides can be helpful in keeping you from going completely nuts.

But the honest truth is, getting baby gear is like packing for an international vacation without knowing where you’re going. Some new parents will be headed to the tropics, and will rave about how helpful it was to have a snorkel and flip flops. The parents who take their advice will be disappointed in these items’ lack of utility when they find themselves in the Alps.

However, there are a few things you’ll need regardless of where you’re going: Passport, underwear, an adventurous spirit.

I tend toward minimalism, and didn’t have a million things on my registry. (We still got a TON of stuff from our very generous friends and family, but I don’t have a lot of space to stash stuff and have liked being able to buy stuff as I discover a need for it after baby’s arrival. I also try to be a responsible consumer and feel a little itchy about getting a pile of plastic shit I will not need in the near future/possibly ever.)

For what it’s worth, here are six pieces of baby gear I found essential (for my winter, breastfed, loves-to-be-held-all-the-time, baby boy):

Baby wrap

If you’ve ready any of the literature on the “Fourth Trimester,” it makes an awful lot of sense that new babies like to sleep and just generally be snuggled up close to you – they’re accustomed to being snug in a uterus. So if you like using your hands to do things such as eat cookies, send text messages, or anything beyond holding a sleeping baby, I would suggest getting a baby carrier of some sort.

As a bit of a minimalist, I also like the idea of baby carriers for outings because they mean you don’t have to cart around a stroller or lug the infant car seat around a store (those things are HEAVY!)

The Moby-type wraps seemed daunting, like you need a merit badge in knot-tying to secure them. So I registered for the Baby K’Tan, which claims to take the guesswork out of manipulating 30 feet of material but functions the same way.

I like the Baby K’Tan well enough. I ordered one for my husband (alas, they are not shareable between parents unless both parents happen to wear the same shirt size), and we both wear the baby around as he sleeps. But when I needed my hands free last week and my K’Tan happened to be in the laundry, I reluctantly pulled out the *Sleepy Wrap that was given to me by a dear friend and veteran mom who is an expert Craigslist-trawler for baby items.

*Looks like Sleepy Wrap became Boba Wrap in 2011, so this is a vintage item. But I think they’re identical.

Lo and behold, it wasn’t hard to figure out how to wrap this thing at all, and the feel and stretch of the material is way better than the Baby K’Tan. I feel like I’m nearly crushing my baby maneuvering him into the K’Tan, and there’s no way I could successfully  breastfeed in it – I’ve tried. (I guess it could be a size thing, but I followed the company’s sizing guide, so…) The Sleepy Wrap still feels secure and supportive (as long as you tie it tight enough), but it’s more forgiving. And it’s one size fits all, so it’s more cost effective. I’ve seen the Baby K’Tan Breeze, which is made of mesh. That might be stretchier and certainly would help with the heat factor. I’d probably buy that one instead, if I had to do it over again.

A friend of mine has a ring sling that seems to be a great option, too, but I can’t justify spending $80 to experiment when I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.

In short, I would suggest getting some sort of cloth baby carrier. They’re a relatively inexpensive and worthwhile investment in my experience.

Breast pump

Some day I’ll delve into my history with selling breast pumps as a childless 22-year-old recent college graduate. Suffice it to say, I knew I was going to need one if I ever wanted to work/hire a babysitter/leave the baby with my husband. Fortunately, insurance covered mine, which is great, because I had a rocky start with breastfeeding and about a week and a half into motherhood I had to spend about 36 hours exclusively pumping and feeding the baby with a syringe and my finger while I healed up a little bit. (More on early breastfeeding adventures soon, you lucky dogs.) Having a pump at hand right away allowed me to work through the kinks so I could keep going.

Even if you’re not sure how you’re going to feed your baby in the long run, if you can get a double electric breast pump through insurance or a generous benefactor, go for it. It could be the rescue you need in the first few weeks, the key to long-term success if you’re going back to work, and remember: breast milk is way cheaper than formula.

I should add that there’s a bunch of other breastfeeding-related paraphernalia you’re going to want, but I felt sort of weird registering for nipple cream (especially since we had a co-ed shower) and it was pretty cheap/easy to Amazon Prime to myself.

Snap-up pajamas

Dressing a newborn is frankly terrifying. The body suits you have to pull over their soft little skulls are better attempted after a few weeks when the baby seems a little sturdier and you feel a little more confident, in my opinion. I bought a couple thermal jammies from Old Navy to serve as The Baby’s home-from-the-hospital outfit and really liked them (though their newborn/0-3 months size cutoff is weird at 7 lbs, and The Baby is about to grow out of the 0-3 month size at 8 1/2 weeks). Zippered pajamas are fine, too, but I like the snaps because you don’t have to expose the baby’s tummy to change a diaper.

Also, I didn’t bother getting many newborn clothes because they say a lot of babies are born too big to ever wear newborn clothes, but be warned: 0-3 month sizes are ENORMOUS on a 7-pound newborn. Don’t bother with expensive/fancy/complicated newborn clothes in case you can’t use them, but it’s worthwhile to get 5-6 cheap sleeper sets, because if your baby is less than 8-8.5 lbs at birth, you’re going to need them for at least the first couple of weeks.

You don’t really have to register for much in the way of baby clothes, if your friends and family are anything like mine they will pile them on you (take hand-me-downs! Take them all!)

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play

This was a garage sale find from my mom, and I was grateful to get it. This item has gotten rave reviews all over the place, and I will add to it. It’s small and portable enough to drag from room to room, it’s easier than any swing to get a tiny baby in and out of, and it holds a swaddled baby quite nicely. I will reiterate what Lucie’s List says about babies sleeping in this thing: If you’re worried, talk to your pediatrician.

Black and White Board Book

It’s weird to think newborns can see just 8″-12″ at birth, and can’t see color for a long time after that. While he seems to slowly be warming up to listening/looking at pictures in the many wonderful children’s books we got at our baby shower (inscribed with greetings, instead of cards – great idea!), our baby’s current obsession is a simple, black & white board book. I can prop it up next to him in his crib while I’m picking out his clothes or taking a bathroom break, and he is riveted by the high contrast pictures.

Zutano Booties

I think all infant pants should come with attached feet. Easy to lose baby socks and baby shoes for kids who can’t even pick their own heads up make no sense to me. But alas, I am not in charge of baby clothes manufacture. So if you’re going to dress your baby in anything but the aforementioned, beloved, snap-up/zip-up sleepers, you’re going to need to keep their feet warm with something that will actually stay on. My friend and fellow new mom recommended these Zutano booties to me, and even though they’re a  little expensive for a tiny pair of shoes, they stay on amazingly well. Just make sure you get the 6 month size. My not-freakishly-huge baby just about outgrew the 0-3 month size at 6 weeks or so, and because they snap on, it’s okay if they’re a little big at first.

And here’s a quick bonus list of things I’ve done just fine without, at least for the first two months:

  • Wipe warmer
  • Bottle warmer
  • Separate changing table (use a dresser and a changing pad)
  • Adult-looking clothes for newborn babies (he sleeps 20 hours a day, let him wear pajamas)
  • White noise machine (I bought a $4 mini-fan)
  • Crib mobile (My baby so far has spent a total of 35 minutes in the crib, and that board book has been plenty of entertainment)
  • Stroller (We have one, and I’m sure I’ll love it someday, but it’s winter and no one shovels their sidewalks in my neighborhood so it’s useless right now)
  • Flashy, noisy toys (little ones can very easily be overstimulated.My kid’s current favorite toy is my face. BTW, I love this post about hacking an activity playmat to make it less like the Vegas strip. )

What’s on your must have/don’t bother list? Let me know in the comments or Tweet at me @arkayokay.

6 things to add to your minimalist baby registry