Monday, October 01, 2007


This Saturday we went to Co's hometown, where her brother still lives, to meet up with him and his wife and go to the local Italian-American festival. It was a late celebration of his birthday and he wanted us (me, really) to experience the amazing Italian food in the area. Now, it was really, really good; but I was nonetheless amused that virtually every booth declared its quality to be the same as the city where we live. And had just driven 90 minutes away from to attend this festival.

I feasted upon (now, keep in mind this was over five or six hours): sausage and peppers, tomato salad, rice balls, clam strips, cannoli, plus we shared a pizza fritta (fried dough with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese), a bloomin' onion, and mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat. Yum.


The other feast in my life is my baby bargains. Co eluded to my cr*igslist addiction, but didn't fully explain its scope. I now regularly stalk the list in three different cities (I have willing friends/family in two others besides my own). I have picked up the aforementioned breast pump ($100 for this, people), a nursing pillow for $5 on the street, and tomorrow's pickups: this swing for $25 and a h**ter hider for $5. It's become an obsession. I'm not much of a clothes horse, so I have never enjoyed the hunt for clothing bargains. But now? I get it. We have registries, and I take delight in removing items as I get them for free or cheap.

Recently I realized, looking at all the toddler toy/clothing posts on cr*igslist, that this doesn't have to stop with baby gear. That put a smile on my face.

***Interactive feature: what items would you recommend we *must* have in the house for Flipper's arrival? (Include the smallest things, like pacifiers, bottles...I know we need dipes and wipes!) We're not having a shower, due to the complementary superstitions of our respective cultures, but I don't mind leaving a few items on the registry for baby gifts once he is here, safe and sound.


*G* said...

Mater won't go to sleep at night without being swaddled, so I vote for lots of receiving blankets. We have 4 that we use regularly, and it's nice that when a couple get dirty, there are still more to use before laundry is done.

And lots of variety of clothing sizes. We thought Mater would be a chubby little thing and so erred on the size of getting bigger sizes, (which we can still use later) but she's actually on the small side for now, and we don't have as many of the smaller sizes so we have to stay up on the laundry or she'll run out of footie sleepers!

vee said...

Have you come across Temmerlings posts on baby necessities? They're great - i've saved them for us for when the time comes.

Melody said...

I have nothing to add on the baby necessities front since we are so not there yet. I can tell you what a 19-year old needs-- his own bathroom, a 50-gallon drum of laundry detergent, and one of those bottomless carpet bags that Hermione Granger has in HP 7 to put all his extra crap in, but I digress.

What I really wanted to comment on was Italian fest. The next time I visit, let's do Italian. You cannot get decent Italian food in the Midwest, and I am salivating at your list of festival offerings.

calliope said...

I was just going to suggest that massive post that Trista created as a resource.

and now I SO want Italian food.

fostermama said...

You've heard from us a bunch on this topic. But yeah, isn't it fun?!

Are you planning a conversion/naming/bris/welcoming thingamabob? I think you said you were. I assumed you were, at least. That is totally a present-giving time, plus Co's family said they wanted to do something too. You will get lots of gifts. And we can bring the stuff you're borrowing when we come down for that, so you'll have it around a week after he arrives. That first week I think the swaddlers, sling, and breast pump are the main things you'll need. No pacifiers or bottles til at least 6 weeks, don't forget (the pump is just in case Co gets engorged at first, which isn't uncommon).

Sandra said...

I won't go as far as MUST have, but a remote control for an outlet that you can plug a lamp into was PRICELESS with Eva. Getting out of bed to turn off the light would wake her up, sort of frustrating after nursing her to sleep.

Nursing clothes are hard to find and are definitely not required but I like having a few tops and dresses that are easy for discreet nursing. I don't do the blanket thing, personally.

Sandra said...

Be careful with a used pump, btw... it's not legal to sell them for a reason. I've heard a good rule of thumb is that you can consider it safe to use someone's pump if you'd use their toothbrush. Mind you, I don't see a problem between family and friends if you're confident of their health history, but wouldn't trust one from a stranger.

Accident of hope's list is interesting. Some points of disagreement, though:

- Cribs are huge and if you don't plan to use one, a waste of room, IMO. If you have a house with a ton of space, it's not a big deal to waste some space, but you don't have that much to spare on unused furniture. I'd say wait until you need it to buy it.

- A towel on the bed or couch or floor are perfectly good for changing a baby, with the only advantage to a changing table being when your back is hurting. I used one for a while with Eva. Again, wait until you see if you need it to get it, because my changing table ended up a printer table.

- Bassinettes, cradles, Moses Baskets: Given your space situation, these are a MUCH better investment than a crib. IMO.

- High chairs may or may not be necessary. Most of the bells and whistles chairs are designed for babies who are in them before they're old enough to sit unassisted. Which, I might add, is before they're old enough for solids. If you plan to delay solids until they meet the list of signs of readiness, you won't need it until the second half of their first year, most likely, which is recommended for bfed babies. Once they're that old, you don't need to bother with purees, either, which makes mealtimes a WHOLE lot easier and neater, and may well do away with the need for a high chair to begin with. Don't get me wrong, they're handy at times, but as with the aforementioned things, wait until you need one to waste the apartment space. Do you really want to give up that much space for something you won't need for six months?

- Bumbo seat looks like a trendy waste of money to me. I can't see any use for it, personally.

- Strollers are great for people who drive places. They're a massive pain in the butt for taking up and down the stairs in the subway. A sling is a much more sensible option, IMO, for a small baby in a large city. Once they're old enough to make your back tired (and with four bad discs, I UNDERSTAND that) there are options that are easy and portable like the patapum and frame backpack carriers, or the wrap style carrier which is good for newborn through toddlers, but has a steeper learning curve. I'd still pick up a stroller, they're nice for walking around your neighborhood, but if public transportation is involved, leave it home.

- Swings take up lots of space and as she pointed out, you don't even know if your child will like it. Two of mine hated them, and one only liked it for a few months. In an apartment your size, that sounds like a HUGE gamble.

- Bouncy seats are just as likely to be hated or loved... but at least they're SMALL. I like to keep one in the bathroom even if they hate it because sometimes you have to put down a baby even if she's crying. Er. He. Anyway, sometimes you've got to wipe and it's easier if you can put him down a moment. If you're lucky and the baby doesn't loathe it, you might even catch a bath with him in it. Worst case, you get rid of it, but it's relatively small and cheap, so minimal risk.

- There's no fancy equipment needed to bathe a baby in the sink, though my preference is to bathe or shower with the baby. It's very cuddly, if your child isn't terrified of water. Good for bonding... AND mom gets a quick bath at the same time!

- Crib set is pointless with no crib ;)

When push comes to shove, the baby NEEDS a place to elimiinate, being it disposable or cloth diapers or a potty chair.

The baby NEEDS food, whether it's breasts or bottles (and I highly recommend keeping bottles out of your house for at LEAST six weeks, if not twelve, if you're planning to breastfeed).

The baby needs a place to sleep, whether it's your bed, moses basket bassinette, or crib.

The baby needs seasonally appropriate protection from the weather (clothes, shade from the sun, etc).

The baby needs a safe carseat if you drive.

EVERYTHING ELSE IS OPTIONAL. A sling is fantastic. Nursing clothes or nursing covers. Swings and bouncy seats and strollers can make life a bit easier. But you don't *NEED* any of it. It's stuff. Think tribal mamna and work from the basics and don't get caught up by the consumerism, however exciting it can get. In the end, you'll be glad you didn't.

Trista said...

absolute must haves for coming home (other than what I think you already have):

*Burp cloths
*a few absorbant bibs
*some onesies and some footed one-piece loungers (cause you'll be bringing him home in the winter)
*diapering supplies
*a couple different shaped pacis (unless you're extremely opposed to them) (oh, you'll probably get a chance to get a paci at the hospital, but you might want to pick up another couple in different shapes just in case your kid has a preference)
*some way to sterilize the pump parts -- do you have a microwave? you might want a microwave sterilizer for the breast pump parts (medela sells bags that are cheap and easy to use)
*baby wash and one of those super soft silicone baby head washers (you might get one of those from the hospital)
*don't bother with a bath tub because you should get a little teeny tub from the hospital that you can use for the first few weeks
*diaper rash ointment
*frangrance-free sensitive skin lotion
*a few baby wash cloths
*a couple soft towels
*some receiving blankets (we found the stretchy jersey ones to be much easier to swaddle in than the flannel kind, but maybe get a couple of each kind to see what you think, at the very least they make good things to place under the baby on the bed to keep various baby fluids from making the sheets nasty wet)
*If you want, one of those things that makes a heartbeat and swooshy womb sounds. Julia found that soothing the first few days
*and one really cute outfit that you want to have pictures taken in...

And don't forget yourselves!
*plenty of frozen and convenience foods
*make sure that you're stocked up on the necessities like toothpaste and shampoo and deodorant so that when you get a chance to shower you can take advantage of it
*and I'd splurge on a couple of lounge outfits for each of you (if you don't already have them yourselves) -- like stretchy yoga-pant-like things and sweatshirts. Something comfortable that you also feel ok receiving visitors in...

Lo said...

To clarify: I know what we need to get in general. My specific question here is, what do we need in the house from day 1, things we shouldn't "wait and see if we get it as a gift."

Thanks! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

Some people have said no bottles in teh house, but you may want to have a few around. By about day 5, I had a sore on one breast that became infected, so I have to pump for a few days & we bottle fed those days. It was handy to already have a few, in the midst of the chaos of having a new one. Others would recommend that you use a dropper or such, though, in the same situation.
also, i've never heard of anyone getting any supplies from the hospital around here except a receiving blanket.

Sandra said...

Sorry for being so verbose... I always wonder about "must have" items and how "must" is defined if I've got three kids and never used them or missed having them.

From day one, you need food, shelter, a place to pee and a carseat. Nothing else is urgent enough to require prior to your baby welcoming party.

BTW... just on the off chance that I master batiking... what colors do you like?

Sandra said...

The thing is, there's no reasom in NYC to need to have a bottle in advance. Within walking distance of your house, there've got to be a dozen places to get one in an emergency. And if you're frustrated at 2AM and it's there and handy, you're A LOT more likely to use it out of frustration.

Jude said...

Within the first week, we ended up using the following:

1. cosleeper
2. swaddle-me swaddler
3. clothes
4. diapers and wipes
5. blankets
6. burp cloths (cheap cloth diapers)
7. car seat
8. boppy pillow
9. changing table
10. washcloths
11. baby wash

I can't think of anything else. But DO stock your house up with food/toilet paper/etc. You want to have it all set because you're not going to want to run around picking up toilet paper when you're just getting home from the hospital.


Holly said...

It looks like you have the "immediate needs" bases pretty covered with the advice from others.
We used the pack n play in our living room a ton in the beginning because we have a townhouse and it was easier to keep him downstair during the day. We also used the swing a ton in the beginning. The tub we used was the $5 styofoam one for the first 6 weeks in the sink. We did end up buying an infant bathtub (many people who have the capability to use the kitchen sink don't ever get one) because Andrew didn't fit in our kitchen sink.

Someone gave us the "Miracle Blanket" and we got a ton of use out of it in the beginning.

We also got a breast pump from a friend and were given some free accessories from the hospital so we used brand new parts (cups, tubes and bottles).

If you befriend the nurses in the hospital, you get sent home with lots of free crap, including diapers and Aquafor.

Mo said...

I agree with Sandra a lot on the minimalism. We didn't need a whole lot from the beginning for the baby, but just think about the comfort items YOU will need. I loved shopping on cra*g's list for baby stuff. Yes, I did buy my breast pump used, and I sold it again on the list to a woman who was very happy to pay less than $100. You're right that the bargain shopping will keep on coming. And I have to say that this was one of my favorite quotes ever: "due to the complementary superstitions of our respective cultures." Talk about a clever use of words, and something I think a lot of people can relate to also.

garyamort said...

Yeah, a nursing pillow can be handy, especially in the beginning. I liked My Breast Friend a lot with Eva. I don't think I used one with Raffi and when I had David, my back was worse and I definitely needed one, so I used one that I won't recommend. I don't hear as many good things about the boppy, though... I hear they don't give enough support, so if you have one of those already and it doesn't work out, you may want to try a different one before giving up on the pillows, since they really can be very helpful.

art-sweet said...

Given your space concerns, check out the Phil & Ted MeToo chair. It goes onto our dining room table solid as a rock, and P'ito prefers to eat when adults are eating, although he doesn't always get his way. It also travels for use in restuarants.

fostermama said...

We went minimalist at first. And still have a lot less stuff than many people have for babies. But each baby has their different quirks and different things were useful. As you get to know Flipper, you'll probably have things you want to buy later. Don't try to anticipate all those things now.

Does your doula do ongoing breastfeeding support? Like, is she someone you can call when the baby is 5 weeks old and something isn't working right, for example? Does she seem to really know her stuff in this area? Because there is often a learning curve for both mom and baby and you're exhausted and baby is screaming and you really do need someone who is able to help. If you are not close with another local mom who has breastfed successfully, such that you're comfortable having her with you while you're trying to nurse, then make sure your doula can be called at 3am when something is hurting or whatever.

Also, check out, it's a great site with lots of info including bfing advice and problem-solving tips.

garyamort said...

In case it needed to be said, you can call me at 3AM, if you need...

garyamort said...

I never heard of the Phil & Ted Me Too chair, but after googling it, I've used them. The local diner has a bunch of them instead of high chairs and they work really well, until the child tries to climb out, anyway.

Shelli said...

Hey Co!

Burp cloths ("cloth dipes" from k-mart, package of 6 for like 1.99 or something)

We live in a modest 2 bedroom apartment, and cannot LIVE WITHOUT OUR STROLLER. We do not have a car, so that stroller is our life line - just taking strolls around the neighborhood with a screaming baby is a lifesaver, and trust me trust me trust me - you SO need a stroller.

Not a fancy-shmancy one, but a decent one, for sure.

but day one - onesies, burpcloths, a bottle or two, a can of formula (just in case) a bottle of guinness (REALLY good for nursing moms, and even if you're not ;) ) thermometer, SOUND MACHINE, bouncy seat.

Not much more, really.

PS - I hate to disagree with Sandra, but personally being a NYC gal in an apartment that is only 850 square feet, a changing table and crib fit WONDERFULLY in her room, and are indeed, a necessity.

I LURVE us some sling action, and indeed, they are a necessity, but again, so is a stroller - but I think you guys have one already, right? I am now a MASTER of the subway schlep with a a McClaren. I'm not sure how I'd do with another brand, but I can wear her diaper bag (back pack style from llbean - LOVE IT!) and carry the stroller up and down the stairs - SOLO. And I just put the ergo or hipseat underneath.

But seriously? You SO won't even be leaving the house for a few days, so you don't need much.

Sandra said...

Can I giggle at "modest two bedroom" and "only 850 square feet" in the same sentence? That's pretty BIG for NYC, IME... my four bedroom place isn't much larger!