Things You Wish You Had Known

September 17, 2008 at 7:00 am (Baby Stuff) (, , , )

I’ve been avoiding looking at many baby “things” because I don’t know the baby’s gender yet. Since we’ll find this out on the 24th (pending that baby is cooperative!), I’ve finally given in to my urges and started looking around at Etsy, Babies R Us, Snugglebugz (a local baby shop) and various other online places. But it’s completely overwhelming to me; I don’t know what separates a good diaper bag from a bad one, whether I should look for unisex-type things so Chris doesn’t feel funny carrying around something that’s clearly girly (IF WE ARE HAVING A GIRL), or if I should ignore the thought of gender altogether and get something with the intent of using it for another kid. I don’t know if I actually NEED those baby furniture sets that come with a crib, changing table, and armoire with a hutch (we already bought a cute dresser @ IKEA that my sister will have to paint for me when she comes up in November 😉 ), or if I should just get a crib. Do I even need a changing table? Would it be easier to whip out a changing pad and just change baby wherever a dirty diaper happens?

And baby sling vs baby chest pouch vs baby carrier… what? How do you even figure out what works best without trying them all out?

Will my diaper bag spend most of its time open? If so, should I stop worrying about zipper closure vs messenger flap vs drawstring top? Was there ever a time you fumbled with a messenger flap in desperation to get inside that bag and just about blew your top?

When it comes to a baby registry, I’m totally cool with whatever people are able to provide in terms of clothing, blankies, books, etc … but does it make me a total bitch to want a “special” hand-made, personalized diaper bag that’s chic and stylish and costs $70 + shipping (like this one or this one)? Chris and I are ready to put out the cash for our own stroller and car seat, but we’d really like the family’s help with a crib — should I get a crib that’ll convert into a toddler bed or one that I can dissemble and toss into the closet for future babies? And again, the money & personalized thing; I know what the crib I want LOOKS like in general (and it won’t match my dresser, which is why my sister and I will do all sorts of baby room decorating when she gets here!), so I don’t want to leave it in someone else’s hands to decide, but since neither of the grandmas live close by, should I find someplace that sells what I want online, or is it alright for me to find it locally, at a shop that might not have a baby registry or even online purchasing?

What things am I forgetting? I know there will be so many little items that the baby will need and/or that will make my life easier, but I don’t know what they are. I need a checklist or something.

I’ll admit, a lot of this is probably just me being neurotic and strangely, sadistically satisfied that I have at last found a baby-related issue that I am worried about. So these questions are the ones that really matter:

What are some things you WISH you had known about baby-related gear? What would you change about the things you bought/received before baby arrived? Is there an item you couldn’t live without?

Please help! 😦


  1. familygal said,

    Such good questions. And probably only one answer: Everybody’s needs are different.

    I never had a changing table, I found it too much trouble to lift Baby up that high all the time. One of those square plastic things to put the baby on top of when changing (which usually comes with most diaper bags) worked just fine for me. I didn’t use the actual diaper bag too much, just ended up stuffing things in my purse so I wouldn’t have two bags to carry around.

    The baby swing is great if you have a little fellow that likes movement. But some babies don’t care for them and there’s $150 down the tubes. I’d wait until he’s about two months and test drive your friends’ swings first, see what the baby thinks.

    A vibrating chair, easy to use stroller and Sophie (a plastic giraffe-shaped chew toy that must have some invisible baby catnip in it, babies love it so much) would be the top three things on my list.

    And lastly (and most importantly) pick whatever the heck you want on the registry. It’s a fun, exciting time to just dream big and choose everything that strikes your fancy. People tend to pool their money together on gifts anyway, so go crazy. If you forget anything, you can always get it later.

    Congratulations and good luck to you!

  2. Maria said,

    We used a guest bed instead of a changing table. Useful if you have a guest bed, not useful if you don’t. Now that we have one guest bed and another kid coming, I’m not sure what our plan will be.

    I used my big stroller like, four times. Ever. Some people use them a lot. I’d evaluate how much time you spend walking places. If you’re a slug like me, don’t splurge on a stroller. You’re better off with a nice umbrella stroller when the baby is out of the bucket seat.

    Bumbo was cute. Didn’t use it for very long.

    Swing and bouncer were TOTALLY important.

    Cute clothes aren’t important. Small babies can wear onesies and blankets almost exclusively. But footsie jammies are good for chilly months and can be worn any time. Cause it’s not like the baby is walking anywhere.

    ANY bag can be a diaper bag. Do not let them fool you.

  3. Erika said,

    Not at all hun! A diaper bag is very important. In some cases women leave there own purse at home to avoid carrying so much. So it’s a good choice to get the bag you want & a few extra dollars won’t hurt because heck it might turn into your purse & you have to like your purse right?

    I’ve never heard of the two baby links you linked to, thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  4. Daniel's Mom said,

    yes diaper bags are important.. i have a small purse for my personal stuff inside the diaper bag., along with everything that my baby needs..

    And baby sling vs baby chest pouch vs baby carrier . . . . . i find it difficult and hassle to use.. I would always love our handy stroller.. strollers and car seat are so important..

  5. fyreflixie said,

    @familygal: Both myself & my husband were babies that LOVED swings, so I am probably going to take a leap of faith and make sure we have one in the house. Thank you for the tips on the registry, too… I hadn’t thought about the fact that people will pool together for gifts!

    @Maria: Excellent point re: changing table. We’ll actually have a futon in the baby’s room to accommodate the guests we’ll be having (since I figure the baby will sleep in our bedroom for the first little while anyhow), so it could be multi-purpose and function as a changing table as well.

    @Erika: Etsy is amazing! I am just loving browsing their stuff and I am positive I will be spending a nice chunk of cash supporting artists there. They have this great search function where you can look for LOCAL artists and I am really excited about that in particular. I think I will take your advice & go for a bag I am in love with.

    @Daniel’s Mom: That’s true, we are going to get a really nice stroller. I am kind of wondering if a pouch or sling would be useful for when I have to do chores around the house & my husband isn’t home though? I don’t want my dogs to lick my baby’s face off while I’m doing dishes 😉

  6. Daniel's Mom said,

    ” I don’t want my dogs to lick my baby’s face off while I’m doing dishes” . . . . . haha i can’t imagine, maybe i’ll faint..

  7. HumpsNBump said,

    Oh my goodness. I just happen to come across your blog. Also a mother-to-be with my first (only in my first trimester), I was almost doing a standing ovation reading your post. I’m just as lost with all this baby stuff as you are.

    When you figure out the answers to those question I suggest you re-post. Love to get your perspective.

    Good luck!!
    ~ Humps

  8. Exercising « It Was a Very Good Year… said,

    […] know my recent “OH MY GOD I AM LOSING MY MIND” post?  Well, there’s a chapter all about shopping for baby — and it goes […]

  9. Gala said,

    Such a first time mom you are! 🙂
    I loved the changing table because you didn’t have to bend over to change the baby, so no painful back. The stroller thing–I think a good one is great, but I love the ones where you just put the car seat into a frame (not available in the dark ages when I had my babies). Carrier–seeing as ALL my babies hated being left alone in the baby seat/or playpen, a carrier would have been great–I really like the sling type ones, because the baby is so close to you or hubby.
    Diaper bag–like the idea of one you can use for repeated babies, so I would stick w/neutral colors.
    Baby clothes–couldn’t have lived without gowns–no snaps, zippers, just a draw string. Amazing how many diapers you will go through!

    The most important thing–A Boston Red Sox outfit for those special days out!

  10. fyreflixie said,

    @Humps: Glad to have you here — a fellow GTA’er! I will keep posting as I work things out 😉

    @my mommy: I fully expect Uncle Vic to send me a Red Sox outfit for the baby!

    I was looking at one of those carriers that can be worn on the chest and then converted to be worn on the back for when the baby is older … I think that will be useful :]

  11. Ms. Core said,

    Hmmm…not a mother yet but will post my two cents about stroller/carseat so far. We bought a combo which is a carseat, an infant stroller and an umbrella stroller all in one. It is also the three-wheeled stroller supposedly much easier to drive. From taking it out of the box and assembling it I am very impressed, the stroller part also folds really easily. We very space limited though so two fer ones are very attractive. That being said while the baby is small I plan on using a sling a lot to keep him close but we need a carseat for the occasional car ride and once the baby is bigger a stroller will be nice to not have to carry him everywhere.

    Again, caveats are I haven’t actually used these products with a screaming, squirming infant.

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