Baby, family, Review, Shopping

New Baby Checklist, Part 2: The Checklist

Welcome to part two of my New Baby Checklist posts!  As I mentioned in part one, I had a friend ask me for help and suggestions as she started her shopping for her upcoming December baby. I put together a list of things that I found helpful with L and that I find people seek out at the store where I work.

Please note: This post is not sponsored, however some links will be amazon affiliate links, as well as links to stores that I love. 

If you would like me or my family to review a product, or would like to send us something, please shoot me an email at inamongtheheather@gmail.com

header image for the new baby checklist

Here is the pdf copy of the list, to print and bring along with you shopping. Personal recommendations are only found on this post, not the pdf.

Nursery/Bedroom

sleeping

  • Somewhere safe for baby to sleep. Refer back to Part One here. For the sake of argument and simplicity, let’s go with what is most common here in Canada: A crib. I recommend something sturdy that has the option to convert into a toddler bed down the line. If that’s too far our of your budget, IKEA Cribs has some beautiful modern options.
  • Mattress for crib. You want something firm and, ideally, water resistant for quick clean ups.
  • Sheets for Crib (3, so that if one is in the wash or if baby is sick, you’re not screwed). I prefer flannel, as it isn’t as shockingly cold when you put baby down
  • Mattress cover if mattress isn’t liquid resistant or proof.
  • Baby Monitor. We kept it pretty simple. I wanted to be able to hear baby clearly. We really like our Avent monitor, though they don’t seem to be as easy to find these days. You can splurge on a video monitor or try a cheaper alternative of a webcam that has night vision (we picked up a cheapie from walmart that works great).
  • Glider/Chair/somewhere to sit while nursing or settling baby for bed.  We splurged here and got a La-Z-Boy recliner/rocker, similar to this one. It is the best thing ever.
  • Storage for Clothing and baby stuff. Old dressers work great, or closets.
  • Swaddle blankets if you plan on swaddling (said to help baby sleep better. Aden and Anais muslin blankets are great and have many uses beyond just swaddling. We have several of them. You can also go with an actual swaddler like a Miracle Blanket or a Woombie)
  • Humidifier. We have a Crane one.
  • A wet bag for cloth diapers or a garbage/diaper genie for disposables. My favourite wetbags are the Rumperooz Kanga Care or the Planet Wise bags.
  • Black out curtains
  • White noise machine or something like a twilight turtle/sleep sheep/whatever

Clothing

clothing

Make sure not to just get newborn size stuff. Some babies don’t stay in NB for longer than a couple weeks!

Diapering

diapering

  • Diaper Bag. Your diaper bag really depends on you. I know plenty of people who just use a MEC messenger bag or backpack. Some people want something unisex that both you and your partner can carry. Other people want something that looks more like a purse, or maybe something budget friendly, or maybe something that is really durable and has a life time warrenty. I have a collection of diaper bags, and each option has it’s own pros and cons. This is what I use: Timi & Leslie Abby for every day use (click here for my video review), Timi & Leslie Marie Antoinette for every day use, Ju Ju Be Be Prepared for longer outings/day trips, Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxt Back Pack when babywearing.
  • Changing station or change pad (many diaper bags will come with a pad. We use our Ju Ju Be change pad for most of our bum changes)

Either:

  • 24 Cloth Diapers in either one size or size 1
  • 3 big wet bags, one small
  • Wipes (disposable or cloth)
  • Cloth friendly bum cream (Substance, or Earth Mama Angel Baby)

OR

  • Newborn Diapers (1-2 boxes…babies bust out of these pretty quick)
  • Size one Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Genie (we have two, one for each floor) and refills
  • Bum Cream (some people swear by Zinc based creams like Sudocream or Grandma El’s. I prefer cloth friendly creams. L always had bad reactions to Zinc based creams)

I will be posting all about cloth diapers in the near future, so let me know if there are any specific brands you want to know about or questions about cloth you’d like answered.

Here is my first post on Cloth: Why Cloth.

Winter Gear (depending on your climate. I’m having a December baby in Ontario)

winter

  • One thicker snowsuit for being outside in colder weather, where you might have baby in a stroller. Columbia is my favourite bunting suit.
  • Thin fleece suit that is safe for the carseat (here’s a great one from Columbia). Please read this amazing post by The Car Seat Lady for everything you need to know about keeping baby safe and warm in the car.
  • Thumbless mittens, Hat. You can find some adorable and toasty options out there. For hats, I would recommend something with ear flaps or that is long enough to cover baby’s sensitive ears. Babies sometimes hate mittens, but I have had good luck with keeping mimitens or stonz mittens on L when he was bitty.
  • Warm Legs through leggings, legwarmers or wool. L wore a lot of baby legs as a wee babe. Merino Wool is a great option too, as it helps keep baby warm without overheating. Bumby is a great option.
  • Footwear. For tiny babies, I would recommend something warm and soft, rather than a soled boot. You don’t really need solid boots until kiddo is coming in contact with the snow/ice. A popular option here in Ottawa is Padraig slippers with Stonz boots, We used winter robeez with L with warm socks and found it was enough.

Feeding

feedingbottle

If Breastfeeding:

If Formula Feeding:

  • Bottles and Nipples
  • Sanitizing Tray
  • Formula
  • Bottle Brush
  • You can get fancy with bottle warmer, neat formula mixing bottles (Like the Mixie) or the formula Keurig like machines out now (Baby Brezza is the name I see most).

Travel

travel

  • Car Seat. The great debate, of course, is bucket versus convertible. I went with bucket, so that I could bring in a sleeping baby and use the bucket seat in our stroller. We love our Graco Snugride, as we tend to make big babies and wanted it to last. Diono Radian is also highly regarded, as is the Clek Foonf or Fllo.
  • Stroller. Another one that is really dictated by your lifestyle and needs. We wanted something that would do well in the winter, on the trails at the dog park and would retain it’s value. We chose the BOB Revolution SE.
  • Mirror for the car so you can see baby in the back.
  • a couple car seat/stroller toys
  • A carrier (Stretchy wrap like a Moby or Boba for the early days, and then a structured buckle carrier for when baby is a bit bigger. We loved the Beco Gemini). A full babywearing post to come!

First Aid and Safety

safety

  • Nasal Aspirator (Nosefrida is gross but awesome)
  • Hydrasense Spray
  • Infant Tylenol/Tempra/Advil/Motrin/whatever (I recommend dye free)
  • Infant Ovol/Gripe Water
  • Baby Nail Clippers
  • Baby thermometer. We love this one by Braun.
  • Baby Gates and Baby Proofing Stuff (mainly outlet covers, cupboard locks)
  • Small first aid kit

Toys

playmat

Bathing

bathtime

  • An infant tub or the kitchen sink
  • Gentle baby wash (I love Original Sprout or LiveClean)
  • Soft Face cloths
  • Hooded Towels
  • A few bath toys

Other Gear

highchair

  • Pack and Play
  • High Chair
  • Bouncy/Vibrating Chair or a Swing
  • Soothers (Avent were the only ones that worked for L and we tried SO MANY. Wubbanubs and Gumdrop are super popular too)
  • Receiving blankets (act as burp cloths, swaddles, blankets, nursing cover, you name it!)

Great Books and Apps:

  • Wonder Weeks app and Book
  • Baby Led Weaning book
  • Baby Connect App
  • Happiest Baby on the Block book

Please note that these are just my personal recommendations. In no way do I guarantee or represent these products.  Please do your own research and use your own judgement when purchasing and using any products for your family.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

Baby, family, Pregnancy, Review, Shopping

New Baby Checklist, Part 1: The Basics

Babies are expensive. For such tiny little creatures, many retailers would have us believe that you need a whole lot of stuff to survive those first few years. I work at a baby and maternity store, and with Baby M on the way, I have really been thinking about what we need versus what we want. Of course, having done this all once before has been a huge help, and we definitely have a better idea of what worked for us and what was a waste of time and money.

A girl from my due date group is having her first and is overwhelmed by options. I sent her a list I put together and thought that maybe it would be helpful to others. When I think about where we are now, compared to where we were when I was pregnant with L, I realized that a lot has changed. With L, we were both working and had decent savings. I had paid maternity leave coming up. This time, I work part time, with no paid mat leave and practically no savings. I know how important it is to know what your options are for different budgets, as well as an idea of what you actually NEED versus what you might just want. So, before getting to the checklist, here is a break down of what a you need for a new baby.

newbabybasics

Note: This post is NOT sponsored. I have used these products and love them, that’s it. I am not being compensated in anyway for talking about them. 

So, what do I actually NEED to keep this baby alive?

Let’s break this down to the very very basic stuff. What are the things that a human infant need to live?

  • A safe place to sleep
  • Clothing to protect them from the elements
  • A food source
  • A plan for their waste products
  • Something to safely get them from A to B.

That’s it, really. One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned about having a baby is that you can make anything as simple or as complicated as you please. This applies to everything, for the most part, and is especially true when it comes to baby gear. Baby Stuff is a huge industry and if we believe what advertisers and retailers tell us, we need ALL THE THINGS to be successful loving parents. I couldn’t disagree more. I think every family is different, has a different home,a different set of priorities, a different style and a different budget. I also think that there is nothing wrong with anyone one that scale, so long as the child is having their needs met.

To start, I’m going to talk about these basic needs and then I’ll get into options. Eventually, I’ll get into the actual checklist, I promise. Stay turned for Part 2.

A Safe Place to Sleep

sleepbassinet

So, this really depends on you and your comfort level. Bedsharing, Co-Sleeping, a laundry basket, a large box, a bassinet, a floor bed, a pack and play, or a crib. You have options. And yes, those are all real options. You can use a combo of these, change things up as your family’s needs change.

I don’t claim to be a sleep expert or a baby safety expert, so please take all of this with a grain of salt and follow your own gut and comfort level. From my own experience and reading, a safe sleep space basically means a place where baby can sleep comfortably, without anything that become an obstruction to breathing or that may pin baby in a position where they cannot breathe. A firm mattress or surface is recommended, with no blankets, pillows, or stuffies. The concept behind the laundry basket, the box, bassinet, pack and play and crib are a seperate baby-only space. With bedsharing, I stress that is not recommended for those who are very heavy sleepers, who take medication to help them sleep, those who drink or do drugs before bed or those who move around a lot in bed at night. Floor beds are essentially a mattress on the floor for baby to sleep on, which requires a safe room (furniture anchored to the wall, cords out of reach, etc…) in case baby ends up out of bed.

As you can imagine, these options range from free (sharing your own bed), to cheap (repurposed laundry basket with a soft surface) to more expensive (cribs really can range from hand-me-down to custom and extremely expensive).

sleeppackandplaysleepcribsleepfloorbed

What we do: We did a combination of things. For a while, L slept in bed with me. Eventually, we added a pack and play and a hand me down cradle for naps. He then moved to a crib in our room (considered co-sleeping, and is recommended by Health Canada) for all sleeping when we found he slept better on his own. For his first birthday, he was gifted a custom montessori style bedframe (basically a floor bed with a low frame to encourage him not to roll out) by his Nanny and Grammy, and so we moved him to his own room. We plan on doing basically the same thing with Baby M. The crib is all set to go beside our bed, the pack and play is ready for main floor naps and I expect to have him in our bed for the first couple of months.

Clothing to protect them from the elements

clotheswarm

This one is pretty obvious. Naked babies are adorable, but tend to get chilly and cranky. Depending on your climate, you need different things for baby. I don’t want to get too far into the specifics here, but I think the key is that every baby is different. I run cold, pretty much all the time. My kid, on the other hand, is a freaking furnace. As a baby, he was miserable when he was too hot. The best way to prepare? Layers. Diaper Shirts/Onesies, long sleeved and short. Leggings, sleepers, socks. That will pretty much get you through. Don’t spend a tonne on newborn sized stuff, as you have no idea how long your kiddo will actually be in them. For L, it was about a month. He stayed in 3-6 month stuff a bit longer, and lived in 6-12month stuff a bit longer.

For the great outdoors, your climate will dictate your needs. Car seat safe snowsuits, hat, mitts, boots for us winter folks, Sun hats, breathable layers for those of you who live in the heat.

Budgets get a lot of room here. You can buy new, at top end stores for those who want to and can. For those with tighter budgets, become familiar with your local consignment stores, join freecycle or buy nothing groups, ask friends and families for hand-me-downs. Those of you in the middle can shop sales (there is always a sale around the corner! Talk to your parent friends or  online groups. Often parents already have an ear to the ground),

babyclothes

What We Do: I work in a consignment store, so I stalk the super cute clothes and shop the sales (last night I snagged some clothing for L off our dollar rack). When money was a bit better, I shopped the sales at Children’s Place, Old Navy and Carters. Buy Nothing groups have been a life saver for finding baby clothes (we sold off a bunch of L’s stuff, and most of it was the wrong season for our upcoming winter baby).

A food source

foodbreastfeeding

Humans need to eat. This is as basic as basic needs get. Thankfully, we live in a time where we have safe options to choose from to suit our lifestyles, budgets, health restrictions and unique families. For those who choose to, there are many formula options out there. Catered to specific dietary needs and sensitivities, there are many ways for you to feed baby. Many formula companies will send you free samples and coupons, and I know that bulk stores like Costco or price matching at Walmart can help you get the best price.

Breastfeeding is a great option for those that can. It’s free, made by your body and is the perfect food for your baby. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes requires lots of support and guidance, but it is an option that is worth considering.

Like with all parenting choices, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can breastfeed and supplement with formula. You can breastfeed for a few months and then switch. Do what is right for you and your baby.

What else do you need? Well, for the first 6 months you will need your food (formula or breastmilk). Breastfeeders may also choose to supplement or pump. In that case, you will need a pump (manual pumps are cheapest, electric pumps are easiest), bottles, and milk storage (bags or trays). Anyone who feeds with a bottle with need, of course, bottles, a bottle cleaner brush, something to sterilize the bottles (a large pot of boiling water, or a sterilizing bag or tray), nipples for the bottles. Bottles range from relatively cheap to pretty expensive, with different features and options.

Formula feeding parents can also get some gadgets to make life a bit easier. Bottle warmers, automatic formula mixing machines (similar to a keurig), special bottles for formula mixing and storage, etc…

Breastfeeding parents may seek items to make things easier and more comfortable. Nipple creams, breast feeding pillows, breastfeeding covers, breast pads, nursing bras, nursing clothing, breast pillows or gel pads, lactation foods or teas. At the end of the day, the only thing you really “need” is your breasts, patience, support and knowledge. Breastmilk works as a soothing nipple treatment, any pillow will work in a pinch, clothing can be made to work.

feedingbottle

What we do: I approached breastfeeding somewhat selfishly. I had read, several years ago, that breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer for both the parents and the child. Seeing as how my mother died of breast cancer, this was a major concern for me. Also, I’ve heard that it can help prevent digestive issues. Both Pat and I have suffered with a variety of digestive problems over the years (he is undiagnosed, I have IBS). So, my plan was to give it a shot and hope for the best. My goal was 6 months. Well, here I am and I still nurse my 3.5 year old. It has been a life saver for us. Thankfully, it came easily to me. I have always had an oversupply and my little dude was dedicated to the cause, despite a bad lip tie. We worked through it and had some great support to pull us through. I plan to continue with Baby M. I love how easy it is (I can’t imagine mixing bottles in the middle of the night), how it got me a bit more sleep and rest in the middle of the night, and how soothing it was for L when he was hurt or sick.

I do have a nursing pillow that I love (hand me down), I used breast milk as a nipple cream, I used a pump (electric) and breastfeeding friendly bottles. I had a cover, but I hate it. I got it for free on a cheapie web deal. I shop sales for nursing bras and nursing tops, as well as used clothing sites and consignment stores.

A plan for their waste products

diaperssposie

What goes in, must come out. If your my kid, this is true from the very moment he was born. He peed on the nurse and had pooped in the womb. Yep. So, where do you want that waste to go? You have a couple of options, There are disposable diapers, reusable/cloth diapers, and no diapers (elimination communication). Obviously EC would be a free option, and is considered the norm in many different cultures. For those that this doesn’t suit, there are diapers. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of diapering just now, as that would take a whole other post to get through. So, to sum up: Cloth is the cheapest option in most cases, though there are some expensive fluffy butts out there. Disposables are more expensive, though there are budget brands. In each case, there are accessories that you can add for ease and comfort. Special bins, air fresheners, wipes, creams, organization, you name it. You can honestly get by with just a diaper, and something to clean the baby’s bum (disposable wipe or reusable cloth with water) and somewhere to put the mess (either garbage or the wash).

diapercloth

What we do: L was in Pampers until he was around 1. We used Pampers sensitive wipes, occasional bum cream, and diaper genies. At that time, I got a job at the store and started using Cloth part time. I used a mix of different brands and types, for about 6 months. We then switched back to pampers full time. We are in the middle of potty learning now. The plan for Baby M is to use cloth during the day (part time, when Daddy is away), and disposables at night or when we are out for extended periods of time. Pat is not pro-cloth, but is down with me saving us some money by using my stash when he isn’t around. Hopefully this will save us some cash as we shouldn’t need very many sposies. I will get into the specifics of my stash another time, but for the most part it is a mix of brands, hand-me-downs and types (prefolds, hybrids, all in ones, pockets, fitteds)

Something to safely get them from A to B

stroller

This one is pretty straight forward. Do you have a car? You need a car seat. Do you take the public transportation or walk? You might want a carrier or a stroller. Your car seat needs to be up to current safety standards and should be installed properly and used safely. There are a millions resources out there, from free to paid, to help  you keep your baby safe in the car.(Check out The Car Seat Lady and S.E.A.T.S) I will say, very strongly, that is is IMPERATIVE that you use your car seat correctly. It is the difference between life and death. Really.

Strollers are like freaking cars these days. You can buy a cheap beater or an expensive Ferrari. You can buy used, you can find them free online, or you can buy one pretty much anywhere. Your budget and needs really dictate what stroller will work best for you.

Carriers. Man, I could go on forever for carriers. They are a life saver in this house, so I will keep it brief: They help you get stuff done, they are great for being out and about, and they help with bonding and breastfeeding. There are a tonne of different kinds and brands. I will post about this later. You can get them cheap or insanely expensive.

babywearing

What we do: All of the above. When L was bitty, we had a bucket seat that we will be reusing for baby M. We paid full price at Toys R Us for it (We got the Graco Snugride 35). We also bought our Stroller at Toys R Us but then later won the exact same stroller in a contest, which I then sold, so it kind of paid for itself. We wanted something that could do well in the snow, and at the dog park, that worked with our bucket seat, had a good long life and a decent resale value. We ended up with a BOB Revolution SE and we love it. It was definitely a splurge. As for Carriers…well..I have many. I will say that for baby M I plan on using a stretchy wrap (Boba and Moby, one gifted and one bought new). Ring Slings (new custom conversions) and a woven wrap (a beater Girasol bought used online and a Didymos that was gifted to me) for the early days.

So, there you have it. The basics as well as some insight into what we’ve done for L and plan to do with Baby M. The next post will be about specific products and will include an actual checklist of things I recommend. If you have any questions, please ask away! As you can tell, I am a baby geek. I love this stuff. I especially love helping people figure out their own personal needs.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

Baby, Daily Life, family, Health, House, Pregnancy

September

Where did the summer go? I mean, it’s still 40C out there with the humidex, but I can’t believe it’s already September. I don’t feel like we’ve been busy this summer, and yet it has flown by.

The past few weeks have been a bit tough here. I had some bleeding a couple weeks ago, and so my health team is keeping an eye on things and telling me to “take it easy” (which, you know, with a 3 year old is kind of interesting). There have been some miscommunication and a case of too many cooks I think, so I’m switching from shared care (GP and OB) to just my OB. I won’t lie. I’m a bit stressed about everything right now. I had an appointment this past Thursday, another this Friday and then another two weeks after that. Somewhere in there they want me to get an ultrasound done too.  As far as we can tell, baby is fine, but they want to keep a close eye on things.

This, of course, has ramped up project “OMG, time to get ready for baby!”, so I’ve been making lists, researching and started packing our hospital bag. I am mostly freaking out about how Liam will fair during Go Baby! time, but I am telling myself that we have a wonderful group of friends and family who will jump to the rescue whenever we need them. Also, it has helped me think about our birth plan/guidelines this time. Want to see what I’ve come up with? Click to enbiggen.

birthplan

So, with all of that going on, Liam and I took a week to hang with out friends and do what makes us smile. I booked the week off work and we did what ever felt right. We had a great time visiting parks, friends’ houses, having people over to our place and basically having a staycation. I managed to sneak out with my girlfriends one night and had a great time.

At the park, Liam plays on his scooter with his friend riding his bike in the background

Today we are going to be rearranging our master bedroom to prepare for Baby (I know, I know, 3 months away. Mama needs to nest!). I have been slowly working away on our mountains of laundry and prepping all the baby clothes for his arrival. We maaaaaaaay have agreed on a name, but I’m hesitant to say it’s chosen for sure. It was on our list for Liam, and I had somehow disregarded it this time until Pat brought it up again. It’s not as… unique or historic as I would have liked (RIP Finnigan, River, Rowan, and Ronan; the names that I loved and were vetoed) but I think it works and fits well within the family. If I feel more certain about it, I will share it (with the disclaimer of it being possible that we change our minds when Kiddo arrives and we see if it actually works for him). In the mean time, I am working hard to convince Pat to at least go with some alternative spelling, but I doubt that will come to fruition ;)

Oh, I wanted to add that I’m sorry for the lack of ipsy review this month. With everything going on, I just wasn’t into it. Doesn’t help that my bad this month was incredibly uninspiring and disappointing. Here’s hoping this month is better.

And with that, I am off to make myself a tea. Mama needs all the “get up and go” that she can get.