register for THIS, not THAT.

todd has a friend who has been asking us to put together a registry so that he can have the opportunity to bless us...which is crazy generous and humbling. (who begs you to put together a list of stuff because they're dying to give you a gift?!  i wish i was more like him.)  so we went to target to put stuff on our list and left with a total of 18 items on there.  five of which were boxes of diapers and wipes.  and the rest of which were comprised of some baby shampoo, diaper cream, and a couple of baby gates to replace the falling-apart ones we currently own.  it's a short, boring list.  (i could have made it longer, but i figured we should be responsible for buying our own nursing bra stuffers, hemorrhoid relief products, and giant maxi pads.  i'm nothing if not willing to share the load.)

and yes, i did put a couple things on our list that i have lived without but that would be really nice, like a rocking chair and some swaddler-whatsits (i've always used normal receiving blankets, but both my kids have LOVED being swaddled, so if finneas is the same, it might be nice to have some on hand to make things easier.)

i thought i'd put together a list of things the registries act like you can't live without but you really can (and arguably should).

1. specialized diaper pail or system.  your house will smell like baby crap no matter what you do or how much money you spend on something gimmicky.  keep your outside dumpster close to the door and toss dirty diapers there, or just get a normal cheapie lidded trash can and empty it regularly.

2. cutie patootie slings.  get the mammoth, ergonomically-designed kind.  anything flimsy or one-shouldered will only get used occasionally and for short spurts at a time.  migraines will abound.  my personal recommendation is the moby wrap, although it is a bit awkward to put on and take off but boy howdie is it comfy.  (when you put your baby in it, it's like you've got a 10-pound cloud strapped to you.  it's still 10 pounds, but something ought to be said for the fact that it's a cloud.)

3. full-on outfits for really new babies.  they sleep like 20 hours a day at first, so the closer an outfit resembles pajamas, the more likely you are to use it.  and covet it for yourself.

4. expensive baby detergents and stain removers.  this one might be a bit more controversial, since i know some babies have really sensitive skin and some detergents are especially harsh (anything with live enzymes in it, like tide, might cause more problems).  but i would say more than anything it's fabric softeners and dryer sheets that are irritating to sensitive skin, and just avoiding these and using your normal detergent is way more economical.  plus then you don't have to wash baby clothes separately from the rest of the family's, saving on water usage.  basic baby hygeine on a budget? boom, roasted.

5. baby toys.  maybe a couple to hang from the carseat.  but i swear they'll ignore it for the first six months and after that they'll only want to chew on your tupperware instead, so why bother?

6. a special bathtub.  while convenient, it's unnecessary if you keep your kitchen sink clean.  i'm thinking about getting rid of our baby tub, but i'll make that call after i see whether or not the convenience factor is worth keeping it around.

7. tons of noisy and/or bulky 'holding' devices.  yes, you definitely need a couple.  probably a swing or bouncy seat, an exersaucery-thing and a bumbo.  but i promise you will not need an exersaucer, a johnny jump-up, a jumparoo and a walker.  pick one and pocket the cash and the extra storage space that the other ones would suck up.  i would recommend getting something that's easily moved from place to place and not too bulky to be centrally located in your most-used rooms.  my kids LOVED the bouncy seat that my friend jamie picked up for me on the side of the road by someone's trash can.  babies aren't real housewives.  they're happy to use whatever works even if you found it in a dumpster.  (or on craigslist, which is another great option as long as you don't get yourself raped, pillaged or murdered when you go to pick it up.  craigslist is getting scary.)

8. most things labeled 'baby einstein' or 'genius infant' or 'teach your baby to sign in binary.' i really believe that the things babies need to know and are capable of learning, they're equipped to receive without fancy or expensive stuff.  they like faces.  they like being talked to and held.  they like looking at random stuff.  mostly, babies are equipped to like stuff that is FREE.  which means New Baby and i have a lot in common.

9. those weird, puffy crib quilts.  they're really cute, but no one ever puts them to use because they don't seem warm and they are quite likely to suffocate a child to death.  both valid reasons to not invest tons of money in one, in my opinion.

10. specialty dishwasher attachments for bottley things. i never put my bottles/accessories in the dishwasher because i was always afraid that the water spots on them were old, dried milk.  yuck.  plus, if you only have a couple of bottles or if you don't run your dishwasher every day (both true at our house) you're probably going to need to reuse a bottle before the dishwasher could get it clean anyway.  buy a two-dollar bottle brush and rinse everything well and you should be set.

11. those weird head-to-toe snowsuit things.  newsflash: babies do not play in the snow.  and in the 3.2 seconds it takes to get them from the door to the car, most can be effectively bundled with a hat and a warm blanket or two over the top of the carseat.  or gimmickier, but quite effective, a bundle me.

12. specialty bath toys. a cup, some tupperware, a spoon.  maybe some dish soap bubbles when they're older.  and done.

13. baby powder. i do not know anyone who uses this.  i don't even know what it's for.  i would also lump in large jars of petroleum jelly in here.  not sure what it's used for other than lubing up rectal thermometers and about a weeks' worth of circumcision care, and in either case it's very concerning if you need such a large jar of it.

14. half the weird stuff that comes in a baby grooming kit.  you will get a cheapo but very effective baby hairbrush at the hospital.  ditto for a nose sucker thing.  and any time your baby needs a medicine dropper, it will come with the medication.  and what anyone uses tweezers or tiny scissors for on a baby, i don't know.  why spend the extra money on this stuff?  the major exception is baby nail clippers - NECESSARY. and how.  get the kind that are normal-hand-sized with a tiny clipper on the end (ours have big bulbous handle things), not the kind where the whole clipper is tiny and you can't see what the crap you're doing.  you will bloody your kid's hands faster than something really fast.

15. wipes warmer.  your kid will just be thankful (or should be) that you're not making them crawl around in their own crap all day.  cold wipes teach character and gratitude, that's what i say.  (plus wipes warmers just remind me of whatever adam sandler movie it is where they give him a hot towel on the plane and he doesn't know what to do with it so he just wipes his face and puts it back in the bowl.)

16. baby bath robe.  i can't even imagine when a baby would wear one of these if you have a hooded towel and, you know, clothing for him.  except for in the evening when he's also wearing a fedora and smoking a cigar while reading an antique, leather-bound copy of milton.  so maybe consider investing in one if your baby prefers to spend his leisure time thusly.  otherwise, un.necessary.

17. specialty make-your-own-baby-food-at-home gear.  do you have a blender or food processor and some ice cube trays? you're set.  or do what i do and skip the baby food phase altogether and just mush some normal-people dinner up after a while.

it's so funny when i think back on the things i thought i HAD to have as a first-time mom.  and how was i supposed to know any differently? the people telling me what was 'necessary' were the people making sweet, sweet moolah off my purchases.  it feels nice to look back over the things i've used and the things that have gone unused and be more confident of what all i should keep around and what stuff is a waste.

anything else that should make the list?  anything on here that you've actually gotten a lot of use out of?


The Crislers said...

I think this list is brilliant. However, I do know people who use baby powder- they sprinkle it on their hands before they play pool. We also go through a lot of petroleum jelly- but not for our babies; I slather copious amounts on my lips because it's the cheapest lip balm out there.

CarrieAmelia said...

I use baby powder for after the beach, or in Iowa's case, the sandbox... just sprinkle it all over and rub it around and it takes all the sand right off. Because really, nothing is worse than that grainy sandy feeling.

Also, I have met you like once, years ago when you were LisaGrace's roommate... and I happened upon your blog one day, and haven't stopped reading since. Keep up the genuine-ness of your writing, I love it!