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New parent help/suggestions

Posted: Wed Jan 4, 12:59 2017
by rowan
Well hey we've had a few threads but I thought things change. And maybe people are through the first year(s) now so it's a good time to look back and reflect on what you thought was useful. Also I have friends having babies and mine is 8 years old now, and things change. So!

What are some things that you thought you would love, and wound up not using (or even hating)?
What are some things you didn't think of or didn't have on your registries that wound up being useful?
Any new advice or suggestions for people?

Re: New parent help/suggestions

Posted: Thu Jan 5, 8:10 2017
by lyra211
Things we didn't use:
- Regular Ergo, which I was sad about both because I really wanted to baby-wear and because it was a gift from dear friends. Once we figured out the babe was only happy facing out, we eventually sprung for the Ergo 360, and we've used it nonstop. Seems like a no-brainer to recommend the 360 since I think some babies just hate facing in (like mine -- still hates it at 10.5 months).
- Receiving blankets. We got SO MANY of these and hardly used them. We did use the handmade quilts (2) that people gave us for tummy time on the floor. Since our baby was born in February, most of his critical tummy time happened over the summer when it was too hot for fuzzy blankets (and when it was cold in the winter, we only needed a rotation of a couple of fuzzy blankets, and never used the lightweight cotton ones -- I get that some people love these, but we just found burp cloths to be more absorbent).
- Most of the clothes we got. Our kid was in 18mo clothes by the time he was 7mo old, so even the well-meaning advance purchases of winter clothes in 12mo sizes were wasted. I think in the future I will just not buy clothes for anyone who does not actually have a baby yet, since it's essentially impossible to predict baby growth until at least several weeks in.
- Large stuffed animals. Our kid is apparently kind of afraid of them.
- Baby sleep stuff (sleep sacks, pajamas, etc.) -- I think these wind up being very individual. See also issue with sizes for extremely large kid -- we love sleep sacks now, but there's a whole stack of smalls that people gave us that were never used because by the time he was done with swaddling he was already in size medium (which we then had to buy). PJs are also very seasonal, so the size issue comes into play there as well.

Things we were surprised that we loved:
- Stacking cups! These have been a favorite toy since about 4mo. Also Duplo and Mega Blocks, our pink Lamaze owl, and anything with wheels.
- Ergo 360 has been essential (see above).
- Pack 'n' Play has been in nonstop use since day 1. In advance I didn't really understand why these were so essential, but I got one as a hand-me-down and then I understood. We also wound up spending a bit on waterproof pads and fitted sheets for the pack 'n' play, so those could be a good gift that others might not think of.
- Flannel crib sheets (in addition to standard cotton sheets). In retrospect, duh, but I don't think you can go wrong with them since any baby will be in a crib for at least a year or two. It's also nice to have spares since inevitably the crib sheet will be snot-covered every morning all winter long.
- Velcro swaddle blankets. I'm a DIYer by nature, and figured only wimps wouldn't just learn how to do a tight swaddle with a blanket, but at some point velcro just stays on better, so we caved and bought some and never looked back.

Ha. I'm sure I had much more advice before I actually had a kid. Now my only advice is: if it's working for you and your kid, it's not a problem, and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Re: New parent help/suggestions

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 16:07 2017
by antfancier
I agree with everything lyra211 said and will add a few more.

Things you don't need:
Anything soft, fluffy or furry. My baby couldn't care less about minky blankets and soft toys. Plus they seem more gross to clean when they get covered in bodily fluids.
Clothes that look like adult clothes. It's so difficult to squeeze baby thighs into miniature corduroys or denim jeans which have no give to the fabric.
Baby washcloths. Babies make a disproportionate amount of mess so you need adult size washcloths to clean them up.

Things that were super useful:
A folding changing mat. I have a SkipHop one which has enough storage for wipes and diapers, which was all I needed to carry with me when I had a newborn. Now that he's bigger, I appreciate the larger size of the mat because the one that came with my diaper bag is way too small.
Balls. They were the first thing he played with and still his favourite toys. At the beginning he liked one made by Oball which was easy to pick up, and a soft fabric one which made a crinkly noise. Now he loves throwing a soft rubber ball and watching it bounce.
Toys with moving parts that make noise. This is probably specific to his temperament, but he loves anything that clicks or rattles or that can be hit against another hard object. We have a thing called a Clickety Clack which he was obsessed with as soon as he could hold it. Also Fisher Price stacking rainbow cups (with a rattling yellow ball that is his other favourite object).
A flexible, cordless reading light. I used this for the frequent night time diaper changes and nursing sessions. I had it clipped on the diaper caddy or bed and could direct it exactly where I needed it without it creating too much light.
Glass nail files. Scratch mittens didn't stay on, baby nail clippers broke immediately, and adult nail clippers somehow left him with razor sharp talons. Glass nail files make the nails smooth and I can file them down really short so no need for scissors or clippers.
Sleep n play suits. (I think that's the name) Basically all-in-one, footed onesies that zip up. They are so easy to get on and off. I wish people had only gifted me these instead of cutesy two pieces that he hates being dressed in.

The best advice (which is something I didn't know) is if you're breastfeeding, as soon as your supply is established (around 6 weeks) make a routine of pumping once a day and having someone else give the baby a bottle so they get used to it. I didn't do this (plus he's surprisingly willful) and have been stuck being the only one who could feed my baby every. single. day! It severely limited me from doing anything, and having some time alone, in the early months before we started solids. People will tell you to try 'all the different bottles' but it's not about the product. It's about making it a habit for your baby, so save yourself time, money and stress by doing it early.