Dear Antepartum Me,
Hello! This is your post-partum self. It’s been two years since you’ve had your baby (and yes, I promise, he DID eventually come out; although, it wasn’t easy, and he did come out facing the wrong way…BUT that’s a story for another time…) and I’ve been thinking lately how much I wish I would have known then what I know now.
First, I’d like to let you know that about 30% of the things you bought that you were told you NEEDED to have for when baby arrived were
A. completely useless
B. not as helpful as other dual purpose things
or C. not as helpful as some things you didn’t buy and ended up buying later.
The following fall into that category:
The Bumbo Seat and accompanying tray- You barely used it, and when you did, he barely fit because of his adorably delicious, chubby thighs. Your Boppy nursing pillow or Snoogle (a God send, as you now know, Antepartum Me) worked just fine to prop him up.
The shopping cart cover– This was a last minute “Oh my gosh, how could I have forgotten to register for THAT!” item that you used maybe twice because you never EVER remembered to actually bring it inside the store, and eventually, your kid was trying (most often successfully) to LICK the handlebar of the cart (and everything else) anyway, so your germ fighting tactics were completely moot.
The fancy, silky, minky blankets or tons of heavy blankets– You rarely let him use them because (in case you aren’t aware) A. babies get hot (or cold) easily and B. babies often explode all manner of bodily fluids the minute you set them on or near the things you like. Plus, that minky just isn’t as soft after it’s been puked/drooled/pooped on and then washed (and you can’t put them in the dryer). In fact, the only blankets you ended up using (which also became his lovies) were the muslin Aden and Anais blankets. They’re lightweight, softer each time you wash them, easy to wash, and breathable. The biggest benefit is how multipurpose they are: keeping baby warm, swaddling, nursing cover (if you wish), covering the car seat, burping baby, and using as a clean play area.
For at night when you want a little more secure of a swaddle and to make sure he stays a comfortable temperature, the Halo sleep sacks (with or without the Velcro swaddle wings) are your go to for night time, still even now at 2 years old. They come in fleece or cotton and have a zipper closure, which by the time he was three weeks old, you could take it off and put it back on in the dark, in the middle of the night and half awake after nursing him back to sleep. #mommaninja
Electronic toys that make sound/play music- Did you know babies like repetition? Did you know babies like repetition? Did you know babies like repetition? Did you know ADULTS DO NOT? Step away from the LeapFrog aisle and stick with simpler items. The simpler the better. An empty water bottle? A cup? A set of measuring spoons? Do you have tissue paper (leftover from the babyshower where you got a million clothes and blankets and nothing else, perhaps)? Do you have a box? Good. You’re good to go. Or Baby Paper: pretty awesome and not obnoxious (and washable, oh and they won’t melt in your baby’s mouth like real tissue paper-yuck).
Changing table– Okay, so you DO need an area to change baby, but an actual changing table is kind of unnecessary. You didn’t end up buying one (thank goodness) because you went the route I’m now going to recommend: a low dresser. That way you can put the changing pad on top of the dresser, and the dresser still has a function post diaper stage. Truly, though, baby is usually changed everywhere but the changing area, honest, particularly on the floor.
“Make Your Baby Smart” Dvds– Just walk away. Please. Not only are they obnoxious, but your kid will not even look at them. Seriously. You registered for like five of them, and thankfully, everyone else knew better and didn’t buy them for you. Besides, lots of screen time before 2 is considered a no-no anyway. This is a rule you will inevitably break (a lot) but please don’t break it for ridiculously boring and terrible movies like this. Disney movies are way better. Plus, once they get to the point where they actually watch them, they like to watch them over and over. See “Electronic Toys” for elaboration.
Baby hangers– It’s so cute. You still think you’re going to hang up baby’s clothes! Look at you, Antepartum Me, with dreams of strict organization and laundry schedules. You’re adorable. Really. Go on! You won’t be living out of laundry baskets most of the time or shoving things in drawers the rest of the time! Right? Wrong. Don’t bother buying them because they’re worthless and never used (except maybe one to hang up the Christening outfit).
Baby bathtub– Thankfully, you listened to a friend’s advice on this one and didn’t go this route either. The tubs are huge and cumbersome and some of them are ridiculously overpriced with ridiculous bells and whistles. (A baby spa tub? With jets? REALLY?) What you want, is a Blooming Bath. Seriously. They’re so much easier to use and clean, and they make transitioning to the big tub much easier. You’ll see!
Tiny, thin, hooded towels– Have you really taken a good look at those hooded towels? What are they made out of? Tissue paper? They’re so thin! They barely wrap around them once! Your baby is so tiny! So cold after that bath! So pitiful! Get that baby a plush, large towel in which to snuggle! In fact, one of the best gifts he received at his first birthday was a handmade hooded towel made from a real towel, not that flimsy stuff.
Sucker bulb nasal aspirator– Uck. He screams. You scream. We all screamed for a Nose Frida Snot Sucker because those stupid sucker bulbs do anything but suck properly. I know it looks gross, but seriously, do yourself a favor and just buy that to begin with; you’ll never look back, and you’ll find yourself singing the praises of a booger sucker to everyone you know.
You’ll have more clothes than he will wear before moving up a size. You’ll have more blankets than he has ever used (even once), and you’ll have more stuff than you know how to organize by the time he’s one. However, you’ll also find that it will be the most incredible experience of your life to meet him for the first time, that all the preparation, whether it ends up being frivolous or not, will be worth it.
I know this letter is getting lengthy, so I’m going to break it up. Next time I write, I’ll let you in on a secret about all the advice you’ve been getting from everyone and their mother now that your belly is humongous and unmistakably containing a child.