I tried to join Pinterest so that I could make a board of (my opinion of) baby must-haves for my amazingly fantastic pregnant friends, but apparently Pinterest is so cool that there is a waiting list. I will resist the urge to rant on websites and their virtual velvet ropes, and get to the point. For the lovely pregnant ladies of my life, here is a quickly thrown together blogging post on baby essentials, because a simple email just won't do. Happy shopping!
I am a huge fan of reusable diapers. They are so different from when we were in diapers. You can put all your faith on one system or mix and match from all brands. There brand Pete and I have for Xavier is the Applecheeks Diapering System, size 1 and 2. We struggled a little at first to get the right fit so that little man wouldn't wake up wet and eventually settled on cloth diapers during the day and one disposable at night. You don't technically have to soak the diapers because breast milk is water soluble, but once your little on is on solids her/his poop will change and you may want to do a pre-soak (I use a borax mix or Pink Solution).
Basically you need about 12 envelope covers each of size one and two, 12 bamboo inserts (not to be confused with the bamboo booster), and some kind of liner for when the real poop arrives. You will also need a couple of wet bags; a large one for the nursery and a small one for in your diaper bag. If you are looking to go swimming with your little one, you will need a swim cover. Applecheeks makes one, but I have the one from Bummis which is all my little man needs to wear in the water (plus they are super cute).
The only thing I wouldn't get form Applecheeks is the Bamboo Booster which is essentially useless. You are supposed to be able to lay it on top of the diaper cover so that if your little one poops or pees the booster absorbs the mess and you simply change out the booster instead of using a whole new diaper. In reality it is too small and oddly bulky. Bummis makes a reusable fleece liner that I would use instead. It is thinner and wider and less likely to bulk up as your little one moves. I haven't used one yet, but my friend uses them with her Bummis system and loves them. I've hear great things about Bummis. If you are still confused, there is a website that reviews and discusses cloth diapering systems.
I love the wrap I have by Mamankangourou. It is one size fits all and evenly distributes the weight across my body. People freaked me out into thinking that I shouldn't use a carrier with Xavier until he was four months old or he would suffocate. Yet so many others, I found out later, tried wraps and slings with no issues. Grrrr. I wish I had listened to my instinct on that one. The wrap I have been using with little man is the Amerigo, but I just saw the Asiatik on the site and it looks interesting. A friend of mine used only this on outings in the city and her little on slept in it when she needed to (that might get rid of your stroller on streetcars problem).
The brand you see everywhere is Medela. They can be uber expensive (read: $400+ for the double electric one). I went on the cheap side and got the Harmony Breast Pump. It is a manual pump that you can use to pump occasionally. If I am leaving Xav with someone for a little bit or when I had any pain from breastfeeding, I would pump with this. I also used it so that Pete could feed little man once a day as a bonding thing. I really like it. It does get tiring, because it is manual but I have been told that you can order the parts to upgrade it to an electric model later (say for back to work use). If that is true it will save you some serious dough.
I ended up feeding Xavier lying down 99% of the time because I was at home and it is way more enjoyable. However, I did like using a breastfeeding pillow until he was big enough to lay in my lap and reach my breast. The brand I have is the Jolly Jumper Boomerang Nursing Cushion. I think you can get by with just your imagination and pillows or blankets stacked together. The pillow can be used to prop your little one in when she/he is learning to sit up, and you can lay her/him across it to practice tummy time.
A few of my favourite things:
This is great for building up the muscles to sit up. There was a recall at some point because people were leaving their babies unattended and they can tip over with enough force/weight on them. With a little common sense, this is a great item. You can also get a tray to use for putting toys or food on.
Floor Mat/Large Blanket
Xavier has a spot in his room with toys on a blanket so he can play and practice crawling without being on the carpet (I shudder at the thought of what's lurking inside!). He has a similar area in the living room. The living room one allows us to play actively and the area in his room is for quieter play as part of his wind down routine before naps and bed when he needs it. I like the blankets because I can throw them in the wash.
That is not her real name, but it should be, For whatever reason babies love her, and she is all natural which is great. This is another great teether (we have both).
This company does great toys to expand their senses, but it can be pricey. Xavier has a few and loves them.
I figure the more the better. A lot of toys are made with PVC which is so bad for little ones it is not even funny. We opted for an organic mattress and bedding because babies spend so much time sleeping and regular bedding and mattresses are doused with flame retardant chemicals. Yikes!
Swaddles are necessary to keep little ones from hitting themselves in the face (they have no control over their arms/legs at first, and don't even know that it is them hitting themselves at first), but later on a sleep sack is a great idea. A sleep sack will let your little one have her/his hands free once she/he is in the stage where she/he can roll onto her/his tummy (wow, that was a lot of /s). I recommend one that zips from bottom to top and not the other way around (which is good for changes/checking her/his diaper).
Here are a few of the books I read and enjoyed:
The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (Sounds a little pompous, eh? Well she is, but I liked this book because it helped me get little man set up on a routine for eating, playing and sleep)
Baby-Led Weaning (Suggest you should skip the mush and go straight to real food. It is not a new concept, and is a really interesting read. I will be trying it with little man in a few weeks)
I hope that information helps. Feel free to leave a comment or question.
UPDATE: I did finally get on to Pinterest and make a board of stuff for Little Man.