Updated 8/5/09 - added intro, header for books and Mother
Update 11/30/09 - baby name site, rearranging, reformatted a
Update 8/24/14 - Minor grammar edits, fixed a couple typos,
added some whitespace.
About this page
When my good friend Diego was due to have a daughter, I wrote this
page for him based on experiences with Anna. Since then, I've
sent it to a few other people, so I figured I'd best add an
explanation up front. This is bluntly worded, includes some
cussing and is biased by my preferences. That said, enjoy and
please send me mail if you
have any comments!
Naming the kid will take more time than you think. Make some of it
amusing by trying the
baby name voyager, which shows popularity of names since the
1800s. Cool stuff.
Nearby you'll want a diaper pail. You want it to be airtight and
easy to change, there are two major types. We went with
the diaper champ and like it. You can use generic bags,
which is easier and cheaper, but its less airtight and thus
smellier than than the other brand.
One non-obvious thing you'll want isauto-on
LED nightlights. Put 'em everywhere,
as you'll be up at all hours stumbling around in a haze of
fatigue. This way, you can see what you're doing and even change
diapers without turning on the lights.
I also tried push-on lights above the changing table, so-so
effectiveness. This one is a little too bright:
Moving on to the contents of the baby dresser. We put diapers,
wipes, ointment and incontinence
pads in the top drawer where they're easy to grab. The pads
are useful the first few months when both you and the baby are
likely to make messy errors - just roll up and toss. Later on, the
errors diminish and you can go back to just a washable cover.
In the second drawer, medicinals:
is now a complete no-no except in emergencies. Seems
to cause autoimmune diseases like asthma later in life.
is now the go-to drug for fevers and such.
anti-gas, a godsend at times. After we learned how well
it works, we got some for me as well in the adult version.
thermometer - more expensive, but you don't have to
stuff it up their ass while they scream. Put that way, it's
cheap. Ear thermometers are a lose, as ear infections make
them more sensitive, meaning that they scream if you try to
take their temperature.
Sunblock - not needed early on, no sun for six months
Spares and stock - it's a bad idea to run out, but don't overstock
because they grow so fast.
The leftmost (Combi
Savvy, from Susan) is preferred nowadays,the
middle carries the carseat (Chris likes it for carrying the
carseat and uses it at work.) and was good early on. The right is
a jogging stroller from a co-worker, not sure if I like it yet.
It's large. These days the Savvy is preferred:
This one might surprise you, but consider the
560. Ours is programmed to run Tu/Thurs/Sat, and does a fine
job. It's a cheap way to keep the floors clean, is fun to watch,
and makes Mom happy. ;)
This holds diapers, wipes, and is an absolute requirement. Carry
it everywhere, no joke. You can change a baby anywhere with this
Another useful thing is this small plastic bag dispenser. We got
it at Target for under $3, and keep it clipped to the keyring
holder in the diaper bag. You use it when you get a messy diaper
while out and about; contains the mess and smell. Highly
recommended. (Can't find a URL, sorry)
Bottles, nursing and related
For nursing, two things made a big difference here. First off, a
support pillow to hold the kid, with the awkward name of 'My
Friend'. (No picture, you pervert!)
Secondly, the Medala
shields saved a great deal of pain all around. Ask your MD
first, but try 'em if the kids is abusing the goods. There are
several breast pumps, we have tried two. Get the
PJ's Comfort Junior breast pump and carrying case: (For some
reason, women don't want to carry a bag around that says 'breast
pump' on it. Go figure.) The PJs bag is a nice backpack:
There is also the
pump; spend the extra and get one of the two. A cheap pump
is misery incarnate.
We don't have a dishwasher, and you do wash a lot of bottles. We
got the Avent
24 sterilizer, you still have to handwash but this
sterilizes in 6 minutes flat. Wonderful, worth considering because
its so much faster and more effifient than a dishwasher:
It's just a boiler with microcontroller, so get a jug of distilled
water with a valve to you can easily dispense water for boiling.
Otherwise you get scale and crud on the heating element. (It comes
with a measuring cup, takes 90ml so a jug lasts months). I put
ours on top of the fridge; out of the way but trivial to dispense
We like the Dr Browns
bottles; the flow valve minimizes back pressure so they can
drink easier. This is supposed to reduce ear problems, as they
don't have to suck as hard as the bottle empties. So far, so good
Chris discovered that this
stuff really helps. I make her a pot every morning, and she
usually has some in the afternoons as well:
And she'll need a big box ofthese
fine products. Spend the extra for Lansinoh brand, and note
that they are asymmetric front-to-back.
We are still wrestling with this one. We started out with a
Graco travel lite, with the idea that it'd be next ot the
bed and she'd sleep there. Hah! It ended up next to my desk as a
playpen we can keep in sight. Still useful, though. Chris's
brother and wife like the Arm's
co-sleeper, that's probably a better idea than the Graco.
Early on, they should sleep on their back and like to be cozy. You
can use rolled-up blankets,the
baby boppy and we highly recommend a set of the
Blanket. Swaddling really
helps for the first few months, even if it does feel weird.
Now, we're using a regular crib where I left one side off. It's up
against the side of the bed with a towel rolled into the gap, so
she can safely transit. That way, she'll nurse to sleep and Chris
can then slide her over into the crib. A work in progress.
Here's a a detail of the gap filler:
Bright colors, varied textures, and easy to grab. These are
perennial favorites. Most are Haba-brand.
Wiggle worm: (Can't find a URL, sorry)
The simple wooden ring is so popular we call it 'the one true
ring.' Yeah, I know. The other thing is supposed to be a bib clip, but she
loves it as a toy.
Interestingly, the painted wood toys with simple connections are
the favorites. This plastic sphere also has its moments too.
Personally, it looks like an aquatic mine to me, but who cares
what I think, eh? Mostly Haba.
For the father
You cannot possibly be expected to cope without a
(and the iPhone is
perfect for reading Google RSS
feeds while the kids naps, plays or otherwise requires
Don't forget a waterproof watch, at least 100m. It'll get doused a
few times! Make sure its readable in the dark, too. Heck, you
deserve this for becoming a father!
(Sorta just kidding.)
By far the most useful thing I've done in all of this was to try Amazon
Prime. You can get damn near anything, the reviews help in
the product selection, and it arrives fast. Prices are good to
excellent, and it saves a shitload of time you'll need for the
Early on, this CD worked pretty well as background noise for
She will love cloth books, which have texture and can be chewed. This one
is the favorite:
My mom (with six kids) says I've erred in forgetting the Mother
The very first thing I bought for babies was an
excellent Mother Goose book. You can read them and sing them
from day one and it is amazing how much they learn and what fun
they can have. Educationally it's nothing but great.