It looks like I have several friends with babies on the way so I will interrupt my usual nonsense blogging to offer a quick guide on some baby industrial complex items we’ve found useful — and not so useful — during Baby Eva’s first six weeks. Bottom line: You don’t need that much stuff to raise a happy baby. That said, there are some items that really come in handy.

Eva’s Favorite Things

There’s Eva in one of her favorite swaddle blankets, behind the beagle of course.

Swaddle Designs Ultimate Receiving Blanket
There are Miracle Blankets out there (too many velcro parts, pain in the ass in the middle of the night) and something called Halo Sleep Sacks that other moms really love. But we have preferred a straight up well-made swaddle blanket. Nothing else wraps Eva as tightly and keeps her feeling as secure as her Swaddle Designs brand blankets, which somehow are the perfect size for swaddling and are made with material that wraps really tightly. Eva loves these. They are pretty inexpensive on Amazon and easy to use.

Fisher Price Cradle Swing
There are lots of swings out there but most of my friends recommended this one, and Eva loves it. It has all sorts of fun swing settings and music, etc etc. Eva hangs out in her swing during the day and sometimes gets in there to help her nap.

The Nap Nanny Chill
It’s at a 30 degree angle that babies seem to like (especially babies who like sleeping in car seats), and really lightweight so it’s easy to move from room to room or even take on trips. Eva sleeps on this for naps and at most evenings, too. I hear it’s especially good for gassy babies because lying flat on your back after a big meal never feels awesome.

Other Useful Items: Bottles with slow flow nipples, lots of baby socks, footie pajamas, contoured changing pad and cover, diaper genie, a good glider (try them out before purchasing because you want to like the movement) and a strong electric breast pump are well worth the money.

Things We Haven’t Used in The First Six Weeks

Mittens
I can see the need for mittens that go with bunting, but for day-to-day wear, these are superfluous.

Diaper bag
I just use my purses or tote bags (NPR tote bag, natch) because they’re all large enough for the stuff you need when you go out with the baby. That said, Dad has his own diaper bag that he likes a lot.

Shoes
Cute, but they don’t stay on ,and are waste of money until they can walk.

Bibs, if you’re breastfeeding
Basically you have the child on your boob so much that it’s just impractical to be putting a bib on her before she starts chowing down. Also, my breast fed baby has spit up a total of three times in her first six weeks, so I really don’t think bibs come to play until later on down the road.

Wipe Warmers
Homegirl really doesn’t care about the temperature of her wipes.

Pacifiers
I know lots of babies and mommies love these but Eva didn’t get them in her first few weeks because I didn’t want her to get nipple confusion, and then she wouldn’t take a paci at all. I guess this spares us from having to wean her from pacifiers down the road.

Guides We Trust

The varying schools of thought on parenting seem to contradict one another on every point. So if you don’t want to get all turned around, don’t read too much. I stuck with my own instincts, advice from my momma, plus these two guides:

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
This is a really poorly organized book with lots of extraneous writing, but the lessons are important. (Here’s a summary.) Because I am a nine-hour-a-night-sleeper and I nap easily anywhere, it is of high importance to me that my daughter be an excellent sleeper as well. This could be more nature than nurture, but sleep still requires training, says Dr. Marc Weissbluth. Weissbluth is THE MAN! His most important lesson is “sleep begets sleep,” and so we never let Eva stay up more than 90 minutes at a time before going back to sleep. Sticking with this has helped her learn how to fall asleep without help, and keep crying to only a couple choice evenings when she decides to be fussy.

Your Baby Week by Week
This is a British guide, which I found refreshing because the rest of the world doesn’t seem as anxious about parenting as we Americans are. Interestingly, the patterns they discuss in the first six weeks when it comes to sleep totally match Dr. Weissbluth. So at least we’re consistent there.

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