It’s hard to believe this little goose was a quarter of a year old yesterday! I’ll tell you what, a 3-month-old is so much different than a 2-month-old and a two-month old is so much different than a 2-day-old. Even at 13-weeks-old, it feels like we’ve been through several “chapters” of MoMo’s life so far, but a few items have come in handy almost everyday.
Until three months ago, I had basically no idea about baby gear and I’m still far from an expert. Who could have guessed there was so much STUFF associated with bringing forth life? Like most things, capitalism has found it’s way into every nook and cranny of having a baby. I’m not anti-capitalism, but I am anti clutter, money-wasting and mindless consumerism.
So in looking back at the last three months, I thought I’d highlight what few newborn baby essentials have been really handy in our day-to-day life. There are plenty of lists out there that tell you how many nighties and washcloths you’re “supposed” to have so I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’ll just share what items few non-essential essentials we have used almost every day of Momo’s brief career as a baby. I’m sure everyone has something they personally couldn’t live without that wont be listed here, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
1. Baby Carriers: I’m a huge fan of baby wearing and if there was one item I would say I’ve used THE MOST during this newborn stage, it’s been a baby carrier. There’s plenty of research about why it’s anthropologically appropriate to keep your baby in close contact with you—it helps the baby regulate it’s breathing and temperature and it also helps the mom’s hormones normalize more quickly (who couldn’t use a little help with that?) But besides being academically sound, baby wearing makes my baby happy! For the first two months, Simone would really only nap on me. I could have just held her for 5-7 hours a day (and some days, believe me, I did), but wearing her allowed me to actually get out from under a pile of baby and move around a bit. Plus when we’re out and about, I refuse to haul her car seat around like it’s Paris Hilton’s handbag, so I almost always wear Simone in stores and restaurants. I own three carriers, which I love for different reasons:
–Baby K’tan: This thing is like a second womb. It was all we used at first. The K’tan kept her balled up and happy and was less of a headache to put on than a Moby-style wrap but still created a similar effect. Now that she has better head control, we still use the K’tan and she likes that her legs are able to hang out and wiggle around. If I had to only choose one carrier for this 0-3 month window, it’d be this one.
–Ergo: There were some days (and some marathon walks) where the K’tan hurt my back. That’s where the Ergo comes in. It’s AMAZINGLY comfortable. Seriously. It makes my now 13 pound baby feel like a walnut. I’ve worn in for 2-3 hours on hikes with no problem. A bonus is that the infant insert is like a padded taco shell and it keeps her really warm when we’re outside. (Obviously, this is a drawback if you have a summer baby.)
–Maya Wrap Sling: I thought slings would be a major pain-in-the-back, but in the case of the Maya, I was wrong. This sling is really easy to get her in and out of and thus is my go-to carrier for trips into stores or when I’m wearing her around the house.
2. A Noise Machine and a White Noise Phone App: Perhaps Simone shares her mother’s disposition towards light sleep, but I don’t think this girl would ever fall—or stay—asleep without some sort of white noise. Sometimes I worry that she’s going to think she grew up in a wind tunnel in the rainforest where ocean waves never ceased, but that’s a small price to pay. (We own this noise machine and use this app.)
3. A Car Mirror: In this case I’m talking about one that lets the driver see the baby in the rear-view mirror. Alright, perhaps this is not essential, but it sure is helpful, especially when you have a baby that hates her car seat. At least then I’m able to see the degree of torture we’re inflicting on her every time we leave the house. (We own this mirror.)
4. A Video Monitor: Similarly to the car mirror, it’s just helpful to be able to SEE your baby when you can’t necessarily get to them immediately. For me, the video monitor helps me gauge the severity of her whimpers while she’s napping. Plus, if I happen to see her eyes opening up, I can rush downstairs like my eyelashes are on fire and try to sooth her back to sleep before she realizes what’s going on. That said, I’ve also had a friend tell me that she got a little too wrapped up in watching her baby on the monitor and felt like it detracted from her own sleep. And I can’t lie, I have studied that monitor for a three pixel fluctuation in Simone’s belly to make sure she’s still breathing. I guess the benefit of a video monitor really comes down to personality type and personal preference. We didn’t use this monitor at all for the first six weeks. It was only after Simone started doing a little sleeping on her own that we found it useful. And if I lived in a particularly small house or apartment, I think I’d find it—or a monitor of any sort—a lot less necessary. In that case, I don’t think you need a $200 piece of equipment for something your ears are willing to do for free. (We own this baby monitor.)
5. A Good Camera: Again, this is far from a my-baby-will-grow-up-to-be-a-friendless-recluse-without-it essential, but as parents who are slightly obsessed with our new little playmate, I am constantly thankful that we have a decent DSLR camera. It’s nothing fancy as far as cameras go, but it allows us to take good photos without a flash. (We own this camera.)
6. Patience: With your baby. With your partner. And most of all, with yourself. You can never have enough.
So there you have it. This is the very brief list of things I’d take with us if we were sent to a deserted island with a 0-3 month-old baby. It’s far from a complete inventory of what it takes to keep a baby alive and happy, but I’ve found it actually takes surprisingly little to accomplish those goals.
Thanks to my dear friend McCall at Lucky Malone Photography for providing the last three photos for this post. These were taken when Simone was about 6-weeks-old, but McCall is great at photographing big people too. Hop over to her site and see for yourself.
So, what are the baby items you can’t live without?
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