If you're anything like me, you've found -- or are finding -- the whole baby registry process to be completely overwhelming. You don't know the first thing about baby gear, having never produced a human before. If you're honest, you aren't really confident you know the difference between a onesie and a romper...if they are, in fact, different things. But, a few frantic Google searches later, plus a few email cries for help to more experienced mom-friends, and you're all set. From big ticket items like a crib and stroller to smaller items like cute outfits and nursery decor, your registry list is long and thorough! You even remembered the practical stuff like a snot sucker (who knew?) and a baby thermometer. Now it's time to sit back, relax, and wait for baby to arrive, right?
Baby Registry Tips
...well, sort of. Following the above steps got me a pretty awesome registry and subsequently a pretty phenomenal haul of adorable and useful baby gear from my wonderful friends and family. I had ALMOST everything I needed when my daughter made her appearance. When she arrived, though, those small, overlooked items were immediately and glaringly obvious. I am mildly ashamed to admit that on our first day home from the hospital, I sent my almost-equally-exhausted husband on a frantic search throughout the city for a few of these items.
In order to spare you -- or your loving partner -- this last minute quest, we've compiled a list of the 10 commonly-forgotten Day 1 Baby and New Mama essentials. If it's not too late, use these Baby Registry Tips to round out your wishlist. If that ship has sailed, read on to see how you can get totally ready for baby's big arrival with a bit of online shopping:
1. Scratch mittens
You have baby nail clippers, you say? Unfortunately, they won't be enough. Taking a sharp object anywhere near your days-old infant will seem like the worst idea ever when you're facing the prospect. It takes a mix of courage and skill that a sharpshooter would envy. Don't do it, mama. To handle the shockingly long daggers on your precious baby's fingers, we recommend covering those lil' hands with some cute mittens. You can work up your courage to give baby a mani later on. There are some super cute organic cotton mittens that we love like these and these. There are also some great ones on Etsy if you want to work a little harder -- or (spoiler alert), you can wait for the January 2015 Ecocentric Mom Pregnancy Box!
2. Baby Hairbrush
Still within the baby grooming theme, it's worth noting that adorably bald babies may be the norm, but some babies come out with a full head of greasy hair. (TMI alert: when my daughter was being born, her full head of brown hair was visible before she was even born, if you know what I mean.) I had failed to prepare for this occassion and found myself combing her tangly little locks with my giant grown up hairbrush. After keeping that up for a month, we finally found an inexpensive, eco-friendly baby hairbrush by Hip Peas that we love.
3. White Noise Machine
Well, I can say that this one wasn't even on my radar before my daughter arrived, but it turns out that many babies sleep really well if they can listen to sounds that mimic those they were exposed to in the womb, as well as that cover up other sounds that might disturb them from their sleep. White Noise was crucial to my early functioning as a person, but we didn't have a plan for how to generate it. There were many nights that I put my phone on the floor of the nursery, blaring a white noise app that I had downloaded for that purpose. Bad plan on many levels that I won't go into. Go ahead and get a machine like the MyBaby Sound Spa. This is the one we got, but only because we found it at our closest baby store. There are lots of options -- the key is to get one that doesn't turn off automatically -- unless you tell it to -- and doesn't run on batteries, since that is pretty wasteful. Our friends at See Spot Sing, a music subscription featured in our November 2015 Mom & Baby Box, also have a white noise option you might want to check out.
4. Baby Formula
I know, you are going to exclusively breastfeed. Me too. However, there may be times when you just can't swing it and you don't have the supply you need in the fridge or freezer. That day is not the time to be worrying about which brand is best for your baby -- because sadly, you aren't going to find a healthy one at the local drugstore. Do you research ahead of time and pick up some just in case. FYI, we like Baby's Only brand. You may never need it (that would be wonderful!), but you'll be glad you have it when and if you do.
5. (Organic) Nipple Balm
6. Weather appropriate accessories: Summer Babies
This one may seem like a no-brainer to you, but it was not so for me -- I'll chalk it up to pregnancy / baby brain. Turns out the trusted mom friends referred to above had their babies in a different season than me. My June baby didn't really need long sleep newborn onesies and stroller bunting right away -- but she did need a sunhat if I was ever going to be able to leave the house without endangering her perfectly white skin (you may or may not know this but sunscreen is not recommended for the brand-news, even if it's the good, non-toxic stuff.) This means that as a mom to a summer baby, you will go to great lengths to cover up your precious baby without overheating her. Our last-minute purchase was this newborn sunhat. Given a do-over, I would have gone with a more eco-friendly option like Under the Nile or this adorable one by Kate Quinn Organics. Here's a great roundup of what you need to know about organic baby clothing.
7. Weather Appropriate Accessories: Winter Babies
On the flip side, winter mamas have it even harder. Keeping your newborn -- and you! -- warm when you venture outside is not an easy feat. Cold weather items to consider include stroller muffs, a coat with a pouch for babywearing, and the above-mentioned bunting for the stroller. You do NOT want to be homebound, mama.
8. Baby Hangers
Turns out, those tiny little dressers have tiny little drawers that fit very little of the wardrobe you have carefully selected for your new arrival. By the time you neatly fold all of the swaddles, sleep sacs, burp cloths, bibs, onesies, and pajamas, you don't have any room left for baby's dresses, sweaters, coats, etc. You then turn to the closet to put away the rest and find yourself trying to jam baby's tiny little frock onto a full-size hanger. Probably makes sense to buy small hangers for small clothes -- but go the eco-friendly route with Little Dundi's adorable patterned hangers, made from recycled paperboard and sized perfectly for infant duds.
9. Newborn Photo Shoot
Your baby is tiny and perfect. Your baby is only this tiny and perfect for a very short period of time. One of the things I'm most grateful
for about where I gave birth (in NYC) is that they had a professional photographer visit us in the hospital room to take photos. While I wasn't obligated to buy these pictures, a quick look at them convinced me it was well worth it. The pictures I took made my daughter looked like a shriveled alien; his pictures made her look like a serene baby-angel. Had this photo shoot opportunity not been thrust upon me, I would have missed my chance. I would totally recommend getting someone with skills to take pics of your baby, even if it's a friend with a decent camera.
10. Ecocentric Mom's Mom & Baby Box
Did you think we'd leave this one off? Our New Mom & Baby box is a sanity-saver for new moms. Not only does it include green and natural beauty and pampering products for a tired momma (which you deserve!), but it also gives you an opportunity to discover healthy products that you won't find on your frantic trip to the local big box store when you find that the need arises. When your baby shower has come and gone, your monthly subscription is a fun little treat for you and your baby that keeps arriving just when you need a little pick-me-up.
What about you, experienced momma - is there any Day 1 Essential you wish someone has told you about before your baby arrived? Share your baby registry tips or last minute baby needs in the comments!