Thursday, January 12, 2006

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Created My Baby Registry

Yes, this is a loooong post, but this is a Baby Stuff Review that I wish I had before I created my baby registry or purchased stuff for the baby -- Categorized in Must-Haves, Try-N-Borrow for your baby, Decide On your Own, Don't-Gets, and Extra (my baby is now three months old, so keep that in mind as you read this). I hope that this will help even one person who is scratching their head about what to register for like I did.

First of all -- don't register for diapers or clothes. You'll receive them at your shower with or without registering for them anyway, and you'll end up getting what everyone else wants to give you, not specifically what you want!

If you really want to purchase something for the baby before it's born, then make sure it has a really cute NEWBORN size outfit and some onesies in newborn size to bring the baby home from the hospital in. Even if you think you're having a really big baby. My son was 8 lbs. 9 oz., and didn't fit into anything we had for him. We were expecting a big baby, and all the clothing and sleepers I received were 0-3 months or bigger. I thought for sure my son would be too big for the 0-3 month sizes, but it turned out that we had to go out and get several items of clothing (sleepers, onesies, etc.) in a newborn size for the first three weeks of his life. I was disappointeded, because the cute outfit I had for him to come home in (0-3 months) was so big he got swallowed up in it. I ended up having to bring him home in a gown and a t-shirt that the hospital put him in -- not as cute!

Must-Haves -- Here are eight things I absolutely love and can't live without --

1. A Digital Camera -- why? Because it is so convenient. The camera I have is a Konica/Minolta DiMage Z6. You never need to purchase film, and as long as the batteries are fresh, you're ready to go. And the thing I absolutely LOVE the most is that you can keep the pictures you want/like, delete the duds, and upload your pictures onto your computer and send them off to print either at (they have really great products), (need a Costco membership), or even at . I love the fact that you can have the pictures printed at any Wal-Mart or Costco across the country -- great for sharing pics with grandparents or friends and family, because they can pick them up and pay for them! Or, Kodak will mail them anywhere! Major highlights of this camera are 6 megapixels, 12X optical zoom, Anti-Shake Technology, and video ability up to 3 minutes on an empty card! How much can you expect to pay? About $300 - $350

2. A Bouncy Seat -- I chose the Infant To Toddler Bouncy/Rocker Seat by Fisher-Price -- I love this bouncy seat/rocker because it can go from infant to toddler (maximum weight of child: 40 lbs). It has calming vibrations to soothe an infant (like a ride in the car) and can also rock (like a rocking chair), three-point restraint holds baby securely in place, fold-out kickstand for feeding or sleeping, removable machine-washable seat pad, two-position recline seat, converts from infant seat to toddler rocking chair. Especially good if you had/have an enormous baby like I did! Very roomy. How much can you expect to pay? About $35

3. A Cradle Swing - Ocean Wonders Aquarium Cradle Swing by Fisher-Price -- If you have plenty of space, this is an awesome swing to get. It has beautiful and vibrant colors that have captured my sons attention -- and pictures of little neon colored fish swimming around. This swing soothes my son in two ways -- back and forth like a swing or side-to-side like a cradle (a push-button control turns the seat 90° to switch from swing to cradle). Music, soft lights and tranquil aquatic sounds also help soothe him. This swing has a water globe with changing lights & swimming characters, motorized mobile with four plush fish in bright Neon colors, eight songs & three aquatic sounds with volume control, six soothing swing speeds, deluxe machine-washable pad with infant head support, two-position reclining seat keeps baby comfy, removable toy tray with bead bar, sturdy frame legs, folds for storage & portability. How much can you expect to pay? About $99.

4. A Take-Along Swing - If you're short on space, but still want a swing, the Take-Along Sensory Swing by Fisher-Price is awesome! We got the Linkadoos Take-Along swing for the nursery at our church, and I borrowed one for a trip I made, and my son just loved it. The Sensory Swing seems to have replaced the Linkadoos swing, but has all the same features. Even though it sits low to the ground, it has a lot going on for a small swing -- open top design making it easy to take baby in and out, a toy bar that gives baby fun things to look at with a cute black & white panda and a mirror, seven fun songs, sounds and rattles, crinkle and clacker toys, that have different textures for baby to explore which are interchangeable, and of course, five swing speeds. You can fold it up and travel very easily with it. It also has convenient carry handles on each side to let you carry it from room to room even with baby in it. It's much more affordable than the cradle swing, and saves big on space. How much can you expect to pay? About $55

5. A Microwave Sterilizer -- I got the Express Microwave Steam Sterilizer by Avent - Many pediatricians recommend sterilizing feeding accessories and breast pump accessories to eliminate harmful bacteria. I was originally sterilizing the old fashioned way -- boiling. Hated it, and it took so long! I also found out thdoesn'te dishwasher doesn't reach the recommended temps for sterilizing, and I hated the thought of having to wait until my dishwasher was full to run it! Now, I use this on a daily basis, about 3-4 times a day (that's how much I love this product). The Avent Express Steam Sterilizers reach the recommended maximum sustained temperature of 212° (depending on the wattage of your microwave), for the fastest, easiest and safest form of home sterilization in 4 to 6 minutes. How much can you expect to pay? About $30

6. A Bumbo Baby Seat -- This seat is so awesome -- it was invented by a physical therapist in South Africa and has been used by Europeans for a long time, but has just recently become known here in America. The Bumbo Seat is designed to fit a baby's posture. Babies can sit upright in a Bumbo Seat as soon as they have head control. More importantly, it helps them develop the trunk control they need to sit up on their own. It is recommended by pediatricians, orthopedists, and physical therapists so you know it is good for your baby. The Bumbo Seat is made from a low-density foam material, which makes it lightweight and portable. It is soft and comfortable for the baby, and it is designed so that the baby's own body weight keeps baby in place. The Bumbo Seat's key feature is that it places your baby's bottom at a lower level than the leg openings. This seating position provides excellent support for the lumbar area of the vertebral column. Suggested Age (8 weeks to 12 months) How much can you expect to pay? About $40 - $45

7. A good Monitor -- We got the Private Connection Monitor with Dual Receivers - This is a great monitor that allows you to have as private a connection as possible. This monitor gives you a choice of 10 channels choose from to reduce the likelihood of someone picking up your transmission. Plus, 900 MHz technology offers a more powerful signal, with excellent clarity and greater range than most nursery monitors. The monitors also have sound lights and rechargeable batteries, and dual receivers for added convenience. How much can you expect to pay? About $55 - $60

8. A portable Bath Tub -- We have the Sure Comfort Newborn-to-Toddler Tub -- This newborn-to-toddler tub has an awesome mesh cradle/sling/hammock thing that attaches onto the tub so that you can give your very new new-born a bath and they just float on the water with no fear of them sliding under! My son loved the feeling! The tub also has foam pads that cradle infants, and an upright backrest which provides additional support for toddlers. Toys, wash towel or rinse water can be held in the built-in basin. Mildew-resistant pads are machine washable and quick drying for easy clean up. A temperature guard drain plug changes color to indicate when water is too hot. Fits double and single kitchen sinks. How much can you expect to pay? About $17


1. A bassinet -- They are costly, and the baby is not in them long enough to really make it a worthwhile expense. My son moved out of his and into his crib after 2-1/2 months -- thank goodness my sister loaned me hers.
2. A Pack-N-Play with a Bassinet feature if you have a two story home so that you can have an extra place to place the baby when they sleep. You end up having to get so much, that I would have saved $100 if I had borrowed one instead of purchased one!
3. Boppy nursing pillow -- you may or may not end up using this or even liking this product. I was so excited about nursing, but my milk never quite came in, so I ended up formula feeding. I had registered for this item and received it as a shower gift, but when I was able to nurse (first 5 weeks of his life), my son liked to nurse in the football hold, and I just found it a bit awkward with the Boppy. For a while, I would use it to lay him on so he was slightly elevated and could look around. Now, it just sits in the corner.

Decide on Your Own:

1. You're on your own when it comes to Infant Car Seats and strollers. I was given the Graco SnugRide infant car seat in the Central Park Pattern for a shower gift (I registered for it), and I have to say that I'm really disappointed with it. First of all, it sits at such a steep angle that the baby is sitting almost upright. My son hates that. Second of all, it had the wrong parts for the Canopy, and since my son came early, I didn't have time to exchange it and had to use it right away. Now I'm stuck with it. Finally, it is recommended for up to 22 pounds and 29 inches. My son is at 16 pounds right now (not quite 4 months old), and is really, really long -- the doctor told us he'll be out of it very soon, and he can't even sit on his own yet! At $150, it's a big investment to not be totally happy with it. Ask around for other parent's opinions before you make such a big purchase (on the other hand, you may be totally happy with it!). (I think Graco has just changed their seats within the past three years or so -- not as comfortable as they used to be)
2. While I am disappointed with the Graco SnugRide infant car seat, I absolutely love the Graco Quattro Tour LX. I love the look of it, the feel of it, it is very sturdy, rugged, and has an excellent braking system on it. It is compatible with the Graco SnugRide infant car seat, and while I hate the car seat, I love that they work together. It has a combination 3 point/5 point harness that keeps the baby snug and safe, a removable weather protection boot for chilly or windy days, advanced durable aluminum frame for years of use, 4-position flat recline with occupant retention creates cocoon like environment, one hand Gravity Fold, child's tray with snack and cup holder pivots open with one hand for easy entry, parent organizer tray has a secure accessory compartment for keys and cell phones that you can access even after you fold it, infant head support and deep side wings for extra napping support and comfort, reversible canopy with peek-a-boo window, front suspension with lockable front swivel wheels, ergonomically designed handle for easy steering, awesome one touch brake that uses the bottom of your shoe both when locking and unlocking the stroller, large drop down storage basket, and for the gadget inclined daddy -- it comes with a time and temp comfort tracker. For $160, it is quite a luxurious purchase, but well worth the expense. I feel that this particular stroller will last me a long, long time.
3. Another thing for you to decide on your own about... Onesies. I love long-sleeved onesies - especially since my son was born in October, and it's only January right now. He'll wear short sleeved onesies in the spring and summer, but for now, I want to make sure he's warm enough. I found that Carters makes long sleeved onesies that are not finished very well whreputationy surprised me, given Carter's reputaton. The sleeves aren't even hemmed well stitchhey are simply surged (the zig-zag stich). They are made of a cheap cotton that disappointedut of shape, too. I was very disapointed in Carters. Gerber, on the other hand, has beautifully finished long-gaugee onesies in a nice, durable heavy guage cotton (which is so soft) with double hems around the collar, sleeves and legs. They keep their shape nicely, and they come in all white (which is what I like to put on him under all his sleepers or clothing) or color. Long-sleeved onesies of any kind are very hard to find ... especially newborn size, so if you see them, grab them up. While I prefer Gerber brand, I do have many Carter long-sleeve onesies because I just couldn't find them when he changed sizes, but like I said, it's up to you what brand you'll like better! (I found that Target had the best inventory of Gerber long-sleeved onesies.)

Don't-Gets -- Don't wast your money or time on these products

1. Wipes Warmer -- Waste of money-- Really, it is.
2. Sounds 'n Lights Monitor by Fisher-Price -- picks up a lot of static and background noise -- not great -- inexpensive, but not worth it.
3. Crib CD Player with Light -- not loud enough -- go with a regular portable boom-box.
4. Grab N Go Bottle Warmer doesn't concept, it's a neat idea -- in reality -- it doesn't really work well. Especially if your baby likes the Playtex nursers like mine does. It doesn't heat through the hard plastic bottle part to the drop-in. I find that a cup of hot water from a restaurant heats the bottle much faster.
5. Don't commit yourself to any particular bottle until you know exactly what your baby will like. I registered for Avent bottles, and ended up with tons of them, and while they are great bottles, my son hated them. Whenever he used the Avent bottles, formula would pour out of the nipple and down his face. He needed a bigger, rounder nipple that he could get a better latch on, so we ended up using the Playtex nursers with the drop-in bags. Less to sterilize, and his mouth fit perfectly around the nipple (soft and shaped more like the breast). Now we have a lot of Avent bottles we can't return. I just use them to heat his formula in. What a waste!
6. Specialty diaper pails -- Why bother? The Sassy Diaper Sacks work really well, and if you don't want to use those, you can always use zip-loc baggies from the dollar store. I prefer the convenience of the sacks, and since we only have one, maybe two poopy diapers per day, I'd rather tie them off and toss them in the kitchen trash (it gets taken out daily). The bags smell like baby powder and neutralize the stinky smell. I use a regular trash can with a lid in the nursery for wet diapers and empty it every two to three days. No smells and much more convenient for me (and cheaper) than using a diaper pail that has to be twisted, cut, or have filters replaced, etc. They run about $2.50 for 50 Sassy Diaper Sacks.
7. Disposable Changing Pads - waste of money. I found that Fisher Price has a really nice folding portable changing pad that fits neatly in my diaper bag. It is bright blue, and again, has those lovely neon fishies on it. I love it because it has a container for wipes and pockets for diapers. If I'm out and need to change a diaper, I'll grab only this out of my diaper bag (as opposed to carrying the whole bag), go into the public restroom and use their public diaper station with my portable changing pad. I'll even use it on a couch or bed to protect the fabric. I keep a cloth diaper inside so the baby isn't sitting on vinyl (or whatever it's made out of). It's much more economical for me.
8. Don't get any blankets, onesies, or clothing (in fact, don't get any baby things) until AFTER your shower(s). You will get a lot of everything, and may even get duplicates. I ended up doing a lot of returns. Target will allow you to return without a receipt as long as you have a registry with them. You just print out your registry and take it to the counter - it doesn't matter whether the item is on the regreceiptr not. Wal-Mart allows you to return items without a reciept three times in one year, so gather everything together and make one receiptturn. Toys-R-Us allows you to return items without a reciept and no questions asked. As long as each of these stores carries the item you are returning, then it doesn't matter that the person didn't actually purchase it there. They'll take it back.

Extra --

1. I found Pampers Swadlers to be the very best diaper for infants. They say they go up to 18 pounds, but trust me, they don't. My son was out of stage 2 Swadlers at 13 pounds. They are nice and thick, and have stretchy sides. I NEVER had any leaks with them.
2. I found Pampers Baby Dry diapers to be just awful. My son leaked in them all the time. I had to throw away an entire pack because I was so unhappy with them.
3. Luvs Diapers in general are awful... leaks, leaks, leaks. Threw away a whole package of these, too. They are thin and just plain yucky feeling.
4. Huggies "Baby-Shaped" Diapers are awesome! They are contoured, and have elastic around the back to fit the baby snuggly without being tight. Very nice and thick. I haven't had any leaks with them. They fit my growing boy ever so well. I love, love, love them. I only wish I had tried the Newborn diapers.
5. I really love Huggies Shea Butter Wipes - they say that they help maintain naturally healthy skin. They also have a very pleasant soothing scent -- kind of like suntan lotion. Plus, they're cushiony thick for a gentle cleaning and are alcohol free. They come in the easy, one-handed Pop-Up dispensing, and they are the only wipes available with Shea Butter.
6. I really love the Lavender Baby Wash and baby lotion - I love how the lavender baby wash smells - very gentle and soft, and it really does seem to relax my son after a bath. I have used both Huggies and Johnson & Johnson brands, and they both seem to be the same.
7. DON'T RETURN ANY MEDICATION YOU MIGHT GET AT YOUR SHOWER (i.e.: Mylecon, Infant Tylenol, etc.). I made this mistake and ended up having to re-purchase what I returned, and then some. You WILL need the meds at some point, and they are not cheap. Keep them tucked away in a medicine chest until you need them -- babies get gassy, and you can't overdose with Mylecon-- you'll go through it quickly. Tylenol is expensive, and unbelievably, my son started teething at 2-1/2 months old... I went through a bottle of Tylenol in less than three days.

Well ... this is all I can think of right now. I hope this has been helpful to you! Let me know if you have any questions or have anything you want to add.


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