1. Sea-Band anti-nausea wristbands. Whether they actually work or not, I don't care. I thought they were working and I felt better. I have since found out that there are cuter bands, but this was what I wore for about two months straight. I also wear them when I have to ride in the back seat.
2. Palmer's Organic Cocoa Butter lotion. A little more expensive than the standard lotion, but it smells better and I think it rubs in more easily. I still got a few stretch marks, but who knows what would have happened without.
3. The Bella Band became my best friend. It hides when you have to leave the button of your normal jeans undone. It holds up maternity pants that are too big. It covers the gap between pants and the rising hem of your shirts. It holds up the maternity pants again after you've stretched them out with your giant belly and still can't fit in your regular jeans.
4. A comfy rocking chair and a Boppy (with multiple covers). It really helps to have a free hand while feeding the babe.
Tip: if you have to wash the actual Boppy pillow, it might help to put some towels or something in first and the pillow on top. I washed my Boppy by itself and now it has a weird dent in the middle from the agitator.
5. LOTS of burp cloths. I like the ones Grammy Linda made for us out of cloth diapers, they are very absorbent.
6. A well-stocked changing table. Coordinating baskets are optional, but extremely helpful. Thank you Grammy Linda.
7. Tons of diapers and wipes. In fact, never let a diaper or wipe coupon go unused. I once bought 7 packs of wipes at once because they were on sale at Target and I had a bunch of coupons. And always have some of the next size diapers ready to go. You never know when the change will occur.
All diapers function pretty much the same. I don't like Huggies only because they don't fit Penny's body. We've used Pampers the most. I really like the Swaddlers, but the Baby Dry are a little cheaper. Luvs are cheaper than Pampers and are pretty much identical, except that they are Blues Clues instead of Sesame Street. Speaking of characters on diapers, I am disappointed that Oscar the Grouch only appears on the Newborn size of the Swaddlers. There was something oddly theraputic about putting an Oscar the Grouch diaper on a cranky baby. Target diapers are the cheapest of all, but they seem to run a little big. I'll use those as transition diapers. We are still in Size 1, but you see the giant box of Size 2's ($7 dollars in coupons, oh yeah).
8. A giant bottle of hand sanitizer. Pump top is definitely a plus. For some reason, Penny thinks it's funny when I use this and rub my hands together. Who knows?
9. A good diaper pail. We stayed away from the Diaper Genie because of the special bags it requires. This Diaper Champ is the only one I've used, but I like it. It doesn't perfectly contain odors, but I would be surprised if any diaper pail did. This one uses regular trash bags. You just drop the diaper in the top, flip the handle and the dirty diaper goes away. No dogs allowed! And I just noticed it kind of looks like a robot when the handle is in front. "FEED ME POOPY DIAPERS!! MEEP! MEEP! MEEP!"
10. A baby bathtub and a small bin for toys and washcloths. This particular tub has a reclining seat for newborns until they can sit up. Then you put them in the other end so they can splash and play. The bottom is made so you can put it over a kitchen sink. I've always bathed her on the bathroom counter until we recently had to move to the tub within the tub method to contain splashings. I just got the bin at the dollar store.
11. Moisturizing Baby Wash, any brand. Penny's skin is still pretty dry, but not as much as it used to be. This helps (especially if you can't manage to get lotion applied after the bath). A pump top is helpful, but not required. The Bedtime Bath is nice. It may or may not calm your baby, but it smells nice and makes YOU feel better. Bonus!
12. All Free and Clear detergent and dryer balls. Any detergent without dyes or perfumes will do and will probably be way cheaper than any specialized baby detergent. The dryer balls help fluff the clothes, soften them and dry more evenly (so they claim) since you aren't supposed to use dryer sheets on baby clothes. They also work to keep pillows and Boppies from coming out too lumpy when you have to wash pee or spit-up off of them.
13. Bottle drying rack and dishwasher basket. These are both by Munchkin. My only complaint is that they don't really work with the Soothie bottles that we like. However, they work perfectly with standard bottles like what we send to daycare.
14. Soothie products. These are pretty much the only pacifiers she likes, and we really like the bottles. The wide opening makes it really easy to get the formula in and the nipples are shaped like the pacifiers.
15. Baby swing. It took a while to get her used to it, but she likes it now. She seems to prefer the ones that go side-to-side, but we don't have one. This one was borrowed from the Ress Family.
16. A bouncy seat. I've mentioned this in a previous post, but it's so wonderful I'll mention it again. This one is by Bright Starts. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles some other brands have, but the price was right: $22.50 at Wally World. You can hang different toys from the bar, and there is a loop on the harness that you can attach a toy to as well.
17. Jumper. This one is the Fisher-Price Jumperoo. It is going back to the store, but only because the Ress Family is generously letting us borrow their Baby Einstein jumper.
Did you notice a theme with the last 3 items? SOMEWHERE TO PUT THE BABY! You can only do so many things one-handed and eventually you have to shower. Or pee. Alone.
19. "Easy-entry" clothes with buttons all the way up the front (see picture). Much easier than trying to get a squirmy baby's head through a neckhole. Carter's makes a lot of these, but they tend to be short. Their "wiggle-in" bodysuits are good for Penny because they are long and skinny like her. They get too tight around her belly before they get too short, which is rare for her.
20. Coffee. Oh, Mr. Coffee, we lost touch over the years. But like a true friend you are there for me when I need you without judging me. In return, I promise I will clean you. Someday. Maybe...
21. And finally, great friends and family. Who else will let you borrow baby gear, buy your kid super cute clothes, look at all of your pictures and listen to all of your stories.
Thanks to everyone, we love you!