What to Get When You're Expecting-- Part 2

In Part 1, I tackled some of the big-ticket items that we did or didn't need for our babies' first year. This post will be about some of the smaller stuff. As before, some things on my list won't work for every family, so take what you want and leave the rest!

YES-- a good rocking chair/office chair. If you breastfeed, you will be spending a lot of time sitting down. Get a comfortable chair. Don't be like me and use chairs that make me feel like my butt has been formed into a perfect cube shape after a nursing session.

NO-- Baby bath tub, baby soap/shampoo. For the short amount of time that a baby bathtub will be used, it is a big waste of space. I always either sponge bathed my baby or took him right in the shower with me. I am also a firm believer in preserving the skin's hilariously-named horny layer, so I don't wash myself or my kids with soap in the bath unless we have visible dirt/sweat/poop on us. It is almost always enough just to scrub and rinse off under the shower. For the occasional real dirty skin or hair, I have a small bottle of Bronner's baby castile soap, which runs about $3.29 per bottle and lasts forever.

YES-- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. The official handbook of La Leche League, this is your one-stop book for breastfeeding help. I have done it all as far as breastfeeding is concerned, and I still reference this book all the time-- I was just looking something up in it last week, as a matter of fact! Buy it and read through it BEFORE the baby is born, if possible. Reading up on breastfeeding beforehand is probably what saved my bacon when things went awry at Oscar's birth.

The cover of the newest edition

NO-- Baby food makers or baby food. Now, I'm not recommending that you starve your kid, lol. However, the true low-budget, no-fuss-no-muss approach to feeding solids is Baby-led Weaning. Basically, the focus is on introducing baby to whole, unprocessed, nutritious foods, and exploring is more important than ingesting. For Oscar, I'd cut up soft foods like avocado or cooked sweet potato into chunks (or peel a banana) and set it in front of him to feed himself or push around the tray as he pleased. I was lazy with Allen and pretty much just let him nibble on whatever I was eating at the moment-- his first food was lentil and ham soup. Since they were eating family foods, I never bothered with purees, rice cereal (which is the nutritional equivalent of feeding an adult white bread), or jarred baby food. Neither of my kids ever had choking problems, although they did occasionally gag, a perfectly normal baby reflex which actually prevents choking. If you're looking for an easy area to save time and money, this is an excellent one.

Black beans-- one of baby Oscar's first foods.

YES-- Swing, high chair booster seat, Dr. Sears' Baby Book, jogging stroller. All of these have been really helpful, although the stroller was pretty much just a diaper bag holder until Oscar got too heavy to wear in the Boba comfortably. :-)

Remember, there are a lot of companies that stand to get rich by convincing parents that their products are a necessity. Truly, the only thing a baby needs is milk, diapers, and a caregiver to snuggle with. Take a good hard look at any item that doesn't further these objectives and decide whether that item will truly make your life easier or just be more stuff to throw your hard-earned money at.

Veteran moms, what would you add to the list?

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