Since Islo has turned 6 months old (what?), I thought it would be a good time to do an update on the New Baby Essentials that we actually used and how we felt about all the stuff. This post covers 0-3 months and next week's post will cover 3-6 months.
Big life transitions are apt to make us feel uncertain, so some of us (most of us really) look to buying things to feel a little more secure. I mentioned this briefly in the last post... even our family falls into this trap sometimes. And with the exception of one or two things, the items we acquired when feeling that way were unnecessary and usually returned.
This is where we landed on baby stuff for the first few months.
0-3 MONTH BABY ESSENTIALS:
1. Diapering: We decided to punt cloth diapering for a couple of reasons but mostly because of the water usage and effort it would take at a time when we knew we would already be struggling. So, we were pointed to and have loved compost diapering! The Swedish (yes!) diapers and wipes are healthier for baby and the environment and they’ve performed quite well, better than Honest or bigger brands for us. Plus, they are simple and cute. That’s all we’ve used in addition to a little coconut oil here and there… no warmers, creams or ointments.
We’ve also been really happy with our diaper pail and changing pad. It’s so easy to wipe down and helps us avoid pad covers and related laundry.
2. Feeding: We breastfed almost exclusively but wanted to have the option of bottle feeding for both the car and so I could be away from Peanut for more than a couple of hours if need be. We were told that there was an ideal window for introducing a bottle at around 4 to 5 weeks. It took a few tries at an already stressful time but we are so glad we persisted because it’s a relief to have a baby that can easily feed from breast or bottle. I’ve really liked my pump, although it’s not the tiniest for travel, and we stuck with two Dr. Browns bottles per stage. We fed all over the place but had a couple of stations at home... no rockers required.
3. Carrying: Unfortunately, we weren’t a huge carrier family for the first few months... maybe because of reflux or healing or strollering or a baby that liked free feet? When I did manage to use a carrier, I liked the Nesting Days one that I received as a gift. It was comfortable and supportive and easy to use. One note is that I wish I had started using it earlier. Peanut was a small newborn and wasn’t eligible for most carrier weight limits but it turns out that that first month was the perfect time to start.
4. Strollering: We actually did choose to get a car seat/stroller combo right away and have been really happy with it. It’s less than a quarter the price of most I see around the city but it’s done every job well and it’s super easy to use. We used this a lot the first few months to leave the house, go on walks and run errands. It even has a bassinet setting if that’s a thing you care about. Peanut doesn’t mind the car seat, especially with a mirror reflecting trees.
5. Sleeping: Hmm, well our intentions of having Peanut sleep in his crib right away didn’t work out so well. He had bad reflux with choking and couldn’t be on his back a lot. After a couple of weeks of getting no sleep, it was suggested that we try a Rock ‘n Play and so we did. It was an annoying thing to have to buy but it was one of the few anxiety-ridden purchases that definitely paid off. We ended up using it for nighttime sleep plus most naps for two months or so and then did an abrupt transition to the crib once he could almost push himself out! It was in his nursery so at least he was getting used to that location. We swaddled using these and started leaving his arms out once he was hand-soothing, a little after three months.
6. Clothing: This is an area to save a good amount of money and resources. We did laundry at least every couple of days so needed very few clothing items to begin with. Peanut spent most of his time in long-sleeve footed pieces. We loved ones that snapped (kimono-style) or zipped all the way up. We used a handful of those (Burt’s Bees and L'ovedbaby), a few kimono-style onesies (H&M), a couple of pairs of pants (Gymboree, of all places), a hoodie (hand-me-down from Gap) and a hat (hospital-issue). Things we didn’t use: socks (to begin with footies worked better), shoes, mittens (just trimmed those nails!), t-shirts, dressy outfits.
+ Most of the items we had ready to go were size 0-3 months. Peanut was… well, a peanut so thankfully I had purchased one newborn item to take to the hospital. He wore newborn size items until almost 3 months and is just outgrowing 0-3 month items at 6 months. It’s good to have a few items in different sizes for that first week because you never know!
7. Wrapping: We swaddled in blankets to start and also used blankets when outside or hanging out on a floor. Three was probably the right number in different weights. We also went through our fair share of burp cloths (reflux!) and had about ten in rotation.
8. Entertaining: Peanut interacted with zero toys his first three months. We read daily and looked at and touched a bunch of things around the house and outside but he needed nothing special. Receiving toys early on was actually stressful to me because I felt like I needed to entertain him and get him excited about them.
9. Toting: We’ve appreciated using this travel changing pad when on the go. It fits a couple of diapers, wipes, a burp cloth and a small change of clothing. This is the minimum we would leave the house with unless we were just going for a walk.
10. Bathing: We opted not to get a special tub and it worked out! One of us would bathe with him and we did a few sink baths on a towel as well. He didn’t get that dirty so this wasn’t a daily thing. We used a little sample of Honest shampoo to start with along with a towel, two washcloths and a hooded towel for extra warmth and cuteness. ;)
+ Another item we've used a bunch is a balance ball. I labored on it, we'd bounce Peanut to sleep on it in the beginning and now we use it to soothe him if he's upset or gassy :/
Those have been our essentials over the first 3 months! It sometimes feels like a lot to me but most items get used daily and have a space to be put away. Some of the things we’ve enjoyed not having so far: a special rocker, a changing table, an infant tub, multiple strollers, a swing, a pacifier, a monitor, grooming items (we share), special detergent, most toys, extra clothes/sheets/towels, a diaper bag, nursing paraphernalia, a floor mat and any crib decor.
Next week: an update for 3-6 months!