(let's call her Julie)
for whom I am VERY VERY excited!
I'm compiling some advice for you and whoever else is interested:
Obviously, every family is different and to a certain extent you’ve really got to make choices based on your own situation. But, I have really gotten a lot of useful info from other parents and reading reviews has helped me a lot (although eaten up a lot of otherwise valuable time).
A huge piece of advice that I have found helpful is buy used when possible. For instance, my dad bought a swing for us for $15. It was absolutely invaluable for a very short time. I would have been frustrated to shell out $60 on it, but for the price it was great. We were able to re-sell it for the same. It’s a good idea to decide what you want new and what you are open to buying used. The consignment sales will be coming up in the next few months and they will have tons of great stuff, some barely used, but it is mind-boggling if you don't decide ahead of time what you are looking for.
Here are a few “biggish” things that I think you will need one way or the other:
1) Crib---several options: convertible, or not; there are even these awesome round cribs, some sides raise and lower, others don’t. You may not need this right away, and could use a pack ‘n play or bassinet for a couple months before investing in the crib. Obviously, you know all this, but anyway…
2) Carseat---several options on this front too. Most people get infant car seats with the handles, and then a bigger one down the road. Other people get convertible car seats that can go from infant way up through toddler. It may depend on the size of your baby…mine were too little for those at first. Personally, I think having a handle so you can carry the whole seat while baby is asleep is invaluable. Many different price points and safety features. You’ll probably need to research this.
3) Breast pump---you will probably want to get one of these ahead of time. They can be rather expensive and if you are going to pump while at work you want a pretty good one. Double electric is the way to go. Manuals are stupid and singles are stupid. Single manuals are just idiotic (in my humble opinion ;-) Mine wasn’t that great but you are welcome to borrow it; you buy all the fresh tubing and pump parts so it isn’t gross to share!
4) Pack ‘n Play----most everyone needs one of those these days. Depends on how much you may use it on the features you will want. If it’s just for traveling, a simple cheap one will work fine. If you want to use it a lot at home too, then they have nifty ones with changing tables, mobiles, diaper stations, bassinets and tons of cool stuff.
5) High chair----of course you won’t be using this until baby is 6 months old, so you can hold out and look around. I really really wish we had bought nicer convertible chairs that could be used for a long time: http://mamaslittlemonkeys.blogspot.com/2008/04/searching-for-high-chair-i-could-go-on.html
6) Stroller---another thing you will want to research. So many options are available, especially for singles. Some important functions for me are lightweight, basket underneath, cup holders, and maneuverability. Also, consider air-filled tires (like bike tires), v. plastic tires. It’s important to have a good canopy that actually covers the baby. You may want two, a cheap-o umbrella stroller, and a more heavy-duty jogger for outdoor use. Travel systems allow the infant seat to snap in to the stroller, which is pretty awesome. Some jogger’s have this option as well. Here is one that intrigues me: http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Jogger-City-Single-Stroller/dp/B000WG5M1E/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1218115818&sr=8-2
7) Diapers: Cloth vs. Disposable. A lot to consider here too. A big issue is who/where you will be getting childcare. Some people are NOT into doing CD, and may insist on “’sposies’”. A neat place to learn about CD and other natural baby options is: http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/index.php You will have to register to ask questions and make comments but it is quick and free. I’ve gotten a lot of useful info here. Two other ones I frequent are: http://www.windsorpeak.com/vbulletin/index.php and http://www.mothering.com/discussions/index.php My user name is Melaine if you want to look for me there.
8) Bathtub---here is the one that we have and LOVE: http://www.amazon.com/Primo-340B-PRIMO-EuroBath-Transparent/dp/B000LCDUUY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1218116415&sr=1-2 We still use it today.
9) Changing table----we just put a changing pad on top of a dresser. Works great. Most of the time we changed them on the floor, anyways, and at least this is a piece of furniture that will be functional for a long time.
10) Nursing pillow---we had boppys, they are great. You are welcome to borrow “my breast friend” which is great for BFing but isn’t useful for tummy time, etc. like the Boppy.
11) Bedding, etc. you will need crib sheets. They have nifty ones that zip on and off but they seem pretty expensive. We got most of ours used so we would have plenty all the time without shelling out the cash. We used the same sheets for the pack ‘n play; most worked just fine. Receiving blankets seem like a popular gift, it’s nice to have about 8. Whether or not you’ll need thicker ones, I don’t know, since your baby will be a spring baby. SwaddleMes and Halo Sleep sacks are also great. We loved them and still use Halos ALL the time. You will need burp clothes, the cheap-o cloth diapers work great for this. Also bibs, you can start out with just a few and see if your child needs 1000000 like mine did. Maybe you’ll be lucky and 5 will be enough.
to be continued....
Love, Your Baby Consultant Extraordinaire