Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hire me to create your baby registry

A few weeks ago I joked on Facebook that I wish people would pay me to create their baby registries. There are personal decorators and personal shoppers... Why not personal baby registry makers? I could be the very first!

Okay, okay. I realize that nobody is going to hire me for such a task. I assume most people actually like doing a bit of research and picking baby products that fit their own lifestyle, home, and family.

BUT! In case you don't like doing research or reading product reviews (what planet are you from?!), here is my complete list of baby registry suggestions. Most items were on our registry or we have bought for ourselves since Charlotte was born. Some, however, I've discovered over the last fourteen months and recommend them without any personal experience.

[Just for fun, here's a post about some of my favorite baby items that was posted on another blog when Charlotte was eight months old.]

Big (more expensive!) baby gear
  • Sakura bloom ring sling. (Read more about my undying love for my ring sling!!) 
  • Soft structured carrier (We have an Ergo, which we love! If I were registering today I would probably get the Ergo 360 instead, because it has the option to face your baby facing out for very short periods of time. I also hear great things about LilleBaby carriers and Beco carriers.)
  • 4moms Breeze travel crib, crib sheet, and bassinet sheet. (I cannot believe how easy this crib is to set up. I could honestly do it one handed, which is pretty amazing considering how many "pack n play" contraptions require a PhD to assemble. The major downside to this crib is that it is HEAVY. Just FYI.)
  • BOB Revolution SE jogging stroller (with adaptor bar for infant car seat). This is a great stroller, even without being used for jogging. Really easy to fold/unfold. Powerful and flexible enough to move over rough terrain, and a great turning radius. It's wide, though, so not great for shopping or getting through tight spaces. 
  • Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat (and extra base)
  • Chicco NextFit convertible seat (we got this for Charlotte just before Christmas, because she was too tall for her infant seat and we were getting ready for a 12 hour road trip to visit Joel's parents. We LOVE this car seat!)

Note: The above items are expensive, but definitely worth their cost. I think they're great items to be given by grand-parents to be, or by a group of friends wanting to pool resources for a "big" gift.
Also note: If you have more than one registry, or are open to shopping around, you can often find deals by comparing Amazon to some different stores. We bought our convertible car seat during an online sale at Babies R Us- we saved shipping because our local store had the exact one we wanted, and we picked it up the same day we ordered.

Nursery essentials
  • Any type of crib you like, though I suggest paying attention to whatever finish is put on the sides. Charlotte went to town biting on the sides of her crib and I felt somewhat less frazzled knowing that the finish was non-toxic. That should be a no-brainer for companies that make cribs, but I don't think it is. 
  • Any old crib sheets. 
  • A comfortable chair. We have an old rocking chair from the thrift store in Charlotte's room and while it's fine for reading a few books at nap time, it is not suitable for the constant feedings that happen in the early months of a baby's life. I plan to nurse any future babies in my bed or on the couch like I did with Charlotte, but if I'm creating the ideal registry, I say include a great, comfortable chair! 
  • A dresser that's the right height for dual use as a changing table. Charlotte's dresser is one that we found in a neighbor's driveway and I painted with love. It looks great in her room and is perfect for storing her clothes, but it's too tall to use as a changing table. We've changed her all sorts of places in the house, but mostly we just lay her on a towel on the floor. Gets kind of tiring on the knees after a while. :) 
  • White noise machine (we just use a big box fan; cheap and easy to replace! However, now that I'm thinking through where/ how our new baby will sleep, I wonder if it's better to avoid using a fan. Charlotte can't really sleep without it, which makes her a bit high maintenance when we travel...)
  • Humidifier (we have this one and like it)
Sleeping essentials 
  • Miracle blanket 
  • Halo Sleepsack Swaddle (we were given a newborn size in the fleece fabric and it was SO cozy for Charlotte's first few months. After that, the weather was warmer so we bought the next size up in cotton. Awesome!)
  • Sleep sacks in size medium and large. Charlotte sleeps in a size large cotton sleep sack by Halo. It's plenty big on her now, at 14 months, but I plan on putting her in sleep sacks until she is in kindergarten, so I hope they make them in extra large, too ;)
  • Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets (we didn't use these for Charlotte to sleep, but we tucked them around her in the car seat, used them as spit up rags, and sometimes I covered myself with them while nursing in public. SO handy and soft and beautiful! Highly recommend them!!) 
  • A set of TWO loveys. We have this set. Here's why I say to get TWO loveys: when we first stopped swaddling Charlotte, she was having a terrible time settling down to sleep. Friends recommended introducing a lovey at that time, and my brilliant cousin said I should get two of the exact same lovey. I looked around on Amazon and chose the owl set (because it's brown & less likely to show dirt). We have a set of two so we can rotate them out for laundering purposes, and in case one ever gets lost. I know people say that you can't choose the things your child gets attached to, and I believe this to an extent. BUT we introduced Charlotte's owl ("Screech") very intentionally and she is very attached. It's the only thing she has in her crib at sleeping times, so she knows it's associated with going to bed. PLEASE, parents-to-be... do yourself a favor and get TWO of the same lovey for this purpose! 

Feeding Essentials
  • Double electric breast pump, if you plan to breastfeed (you can probably get a comparable pump free through your health insurance)
  • Manual pump. I didn't have this at first, but I wish I had; I think it really would have come in handy when dealing with some discomfort and struggles when my milk came in. Also-- very handy for times when your babe isn't emptying the breast, but you want to signal your body to keep making milk!
  • Baby Led Weaning cookbook (more about BLW here)
  • 2-5 bottles, depending on your lifestyle. We recently bought one of these Lifefactory glass bottles and LOVE it. I'm not sure how this kind will work if transferring between the bottle & breast in baby's early days. When Charlotte was a newborn we used these, and they were awesome. But I prefer glass, so Lifefactory is my overall recommendation. 
  • Bibs!!! We had at least ten, but I sometimes wanted more. Small, basic cotton bibs are so helpful with young babies who tend to spit up. Now that Charlotte is eating real food, we use plastic bibs that can be rinsed quickly in the sink and hung up to dry before the next meal. 
  • Burp cloths. For this next baby, I have already made a commitment to buy burp cloths with a contour in the middle so they fit over the shoulder. We had a ton of random burp cloths when Charlotte was tiny, but my absolute favorites were the ones someone made us- they were a great shape and didn't fall off when slung quickly over our shoulder. 

Miscellaneous Items
1. Inexpensive foam bath cushion. We used this for about 8 months with Charlotte. She would take baths laying down on it as a newborn and when she could sit up, we sat her on it in case she tipped over. Then, when it wasn't necessary any more we threw it away. Best $7 ever spent!

2. Some type of swing or bouncy chair or the like. It's really nice to have a cozy place for baby to sit when not sleeping or being held. We received a used swing from our friends and it was great. My only complaint is that it is super heavy and can't be easily moved around the house. We also had a bouncy seat, but it was low to the ground and Charlotte didn't really like it once she was able to move around a bit.

3. Baby nail clippers, dye-free acetaminophen, Hylands teething tablets, baby thermometer, other first aid things.

4. We use cloth diapers, so two gifts we received from our registry were wet bags. Even if you don't use cloth, I definitely recommend registering for a wet bag. It is really useful for carrying wet swim suits in the summer, and soiled/stained clothing all year round.

I don't recommend registering for: blankets, clothing, stuffed animals, or shoes. People have given us MANY clothes and for some reason (maybe because Charlotte was born in January?!) we received an absurd amount of blankets, which do not get adequate use. Also- shoes are very weather and season specific. There's no way to know how fast babies' feet will grow, so I don't think it makes sense to buy many shoes in advance.

What am I missing?! Parents-- feel free to chime in here, to add anything you think is a great addition to my list! 

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