Confession: I am not a parenting, nor pediatric, expert. In fact, I had only held one human baby before my own. All the more reason you should trust me when I tell you that, as a clueless new parent, these are the best items for the first seven weeks. I’m sure everyone has their own opinion and favourite things, but these are my must-haves. O.K., some of them are ‘wants’ and not ‘must-haves,’ but if you are creating a registry, throw this ish up there. Speaking of registries, I stumbled upon Babylist, which was the best thing ever. You can add any item from any store or website. Your gift-giver can purchase them from the site/store you posted, or just claim that they are going to get the item and then purchase it from where ever they want. You can also ask for non-monetary gifts like childcare, help, and meals. Plus, the service is free!
Here is what you put on the registry:
Aden & Anais swaddles: Or Aden & Anus, as my husband calls them. These muslin swaddles are just cute and they happen to be good quality, made of cotton. Once our baby hit six weeks, she began sleeping for 5-7 hours at a time when tightly swaddled. I found the best deal buying them as a four-pack on amazon.ca, but if you can find them at Winners, that is often an even better deal. $35 for four, amazon.ca
Awesome Birth Services Postpartum Herbal Sitz Bath: A friend gave me this tea right after I gave birth. I didn’t understand what it was or why I wanted it until I used it. It is a blend of organic herbs, flowers and Epsom salts to help soothe you and baby. You brew the leaves in a French press or teapot and add the tea to your bath or peri bottle (you will learn what this is at the hospital) or use it to clean around baby’s cord. Awesome Birth Services is a B.C. company and also sells both a prenatal and Postpartum Deluxe Care Kit. Sitz Bath, $26, Awesome Birth Services
Awesome Birth Services Postpartum Herbal Sitz Bath
SKIP HOP Backseat Mirror: I thought we could get away without this until I was the one driving and could hear Sophie crying and had no idea whether she was fine or, the more likely scenario in my head, being suffocated to death by her blanket/headband. Or the other common scenario, where you are driving in the dark and not sure if you forgot the baby at Carter’s and can’t see in the backseat. Hopefully that’s not just me… Anyways, for some reason, we inspected every single mirror and the Skip Hop brand seemed to have the clearest mirror. I would recommend buying this item from Buy Buy Baby. It is also available on well.ca, but if you sign up for Bed Bath & Beyond/Buy Buy baby coupons, you can wait for one and use a 20% off coupon. $29.99, Buy Buy Baby
Skip Hop Backseat Mirror
Chick Pea Fleece Sleep Sack: Apparently, a lot of babies love those swaddle sacks that are shaped like eggplants without stems. My daughter is not one of them. She sometimes does not enjoy being confined in bags without arms. Fair enough. And regular cloth sleepers are not warm enough at night in the winter. A friend gave us this fleece sleep sack with arms and it has been the best thing ever. It is cute and soft and warm and baby can move his or her arms – we use it every single night. $32.99, Winners.
Sophie in her Chick Pea Fleece Sleep Sack
Diaper Genie: I really thought this thing was a scam, like the Williams & Sonoma countertop sommelier. But actually, you can’t live without it. Well, you can, but don’t. It’s slick. Somehow, I found a 100% off coupon for mine on amazon because it was hospital green and my husband painted it white. I wish I could tell you how it was free, but I can’t. Just be on Facebook all the time, and these things will pop up. $37.97, amazon.ca
Fisher Price Rinse ‘n’ Grow Tub: This one is definitely a want, as any of us, whose mothers remind us that we were bathed in the kitchen sink, will tell you. But it will make your life easier. Put it in the middle of your kitchen island, fill it up to the line with a pot. It has this inner baby net, which hangs above the water, just in case you are terrified of drowning your baby. Again, just me? Seriously though, the net is helpful in the beginning when your baby still has its umbilical stump and cannot be submerged. $30.36, amazon.ca or Chapters/Indigo
Fisher Price Rinse ‘n’ Grow Tub
Go Macro Bars: I love food. I never understood how people could forget to eat; isn’t that what life is for? But since I have had a baby, there have been days I have realized it is 2 p.m. and I haven’t eaten anything yet. Not ideal. Since you also end up getting out of bed at 11 a.m. and heading back to bed at 9-10 p.m., there tends to be a missed meal in there somewhere. My naturopath recommended these bars; they are as healthy as bars can get and they still taste good. Bars are not an ideal food source, so please don’t adopt them as a lifestyle, but they are better than nothing. $34.68 USD for 11 at Go Macro or Target
Indoor Carrier or Wrap: There are many different carriers and wraps; find a smaller, thinner one. I have the Moby wrap, which takes some getting used to, but is very comfortable once you are wearing it. Limited varieties are available at Nature’s Fare, but I order them buy the box and have them shipped to the U.S. There are also Facebook wrap-swapping groups; if you end up with a wrap your baby doesn’t like, you can swap it with someone else for a different one.
Long-Sleeved, Zippered Onesies: The most versatile onesies/sleepers have legs and long-sleeves. The best ones have zippers or, better yet, inverted zippers, which zip from the bottom. Also look for onesies that have finger tabs on the shoulders; they are so you can take the onesie off over the baby’s head when they have pooped all over their lower half. $16, Old Navy
Pants!: Again, everyone will gift you adorable onesies! Most of them will not have legs. Ask for baby pants. Old Navy has cute, inexpensive baby pants for as little as $5 each. $4-22, Old Navy
Organic Cotton Reusable Breast Pads: Again, I didn’t understand why I would need these. Especially because, for the first few weeks, I didn’t. But when you do need them, you need them. You can certainly use disposable pads, but the reusable ones from Buy Buy Baby are comfortable, soft, and inexpensive. They come in packs of six, which I find to be enough that you can always have a pair in the wash and a couple on hand. $5.99 for six, Buy Buy Baby
Boppy Waterproof Changing Pad Liners: The change table is the nursery’s greatest mystery. How do you assemble it? Does it need sheets? Do you have to change the sheet every time the baby poops on it? Do you have to rinse the poop off before you throw it in the dryer? Exactly. Luckily, my husband saved the day and bought these reusable, waterproof change pads. We get by with a pack of three, but six would be nice if you want to do less laundry. We have two change table sheets that we alternate and then place the changing pad on top and swap it out when she poops aaaaaaall over it. If you are lazy, (no judgement), you can also use doggy pee pads and then just throw them away. If you have time, I would wait for a Buy Buy Baby coupon and buy these there, otherwise, Amazon! $17.78 for three, amazon.ca
Robeez Cozy Ankle Soft-Sole Boots: As a general rule, baby boots and shoes will fall off. These Robeez soft-sole boots are the only ones I have found that are cute, warm and stay put. $29.99, carter’s, Osh Kosh
Thinx Period Underwear: I saved the best secret for last. You may have heard, after you have a baby, you will bleed for up to six weeks (probably less). Once you are out of the delightful mesh diaper, it would be nice to not have to buy giant Hanes panties to accommodate the pad you will still have to wear. Enter period underwear! This is the best thing ever. They are absorbent panties (or boy-shorts, or thongs), which are anti-microbial, leak-resistance, and last all day (or night). They are super comfortable; no garbage, no pads, do it. They are not cheap, but you can keep them and use them when you get your period back, which, unfortunately, you eventually will. Use this link to get $10 off! $24-39/each, shethinx.com
Ebates.ca: If you are going to be shopping online for anything you didn’t receive at your shower, you have to use Ebates! Simply create an account and then click on the plug-in before you shop to receive cash back on purchases at most common online retailers, including amazon, The Body Shop, dyson, expedia, Hudson’s Bay, Indigo, Joe Fresh, lululemon, Old Navy, Sephora, and more. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s real! Like almost every other online shopping site, Ebates gets a commission – they simply pass it on to the consumer. You can take your cash back as a cheque, have it deposited to your PayPal account, or given to a charity or family member. There are both Canadian – Ebates.ca – and American – Ebates.com – sites, if you order from the U.S.