In my first trimester, I had terrible nausea and vomiting. It was so bad, I lost fifteen pounds.
To keep focused on why I was going through all this, I secretly started my baby registry, obsessively researching all the best baby gear and practices for the nauseating bean who would grow into my beautiful son.
At 17 weeks pregnant, I was put on “activity restriction” because of a pregnancy complication. Obviously, this meant a lot more time for research! I gobbled up the “Mommy Must Haves” series on this blog. TheNightlight.com still comes up automatically in my browser when I start a search query with “the”.
Now my son is now five months old. Looking back, there is a lot of advice I wish I could give to my twenty-weeks pregnant self, madly clicking through links in hopes of being more prepared for my baby than I was for my difficult pregnancy. Before my son was born, people would ask if we were prepared, and my husband would invariably reply “we have prepared.” What he meant was that I had researched and registered for the most popular and well-reviewed baby items.
My son did not read the same reviews, however, and I soon discovered that some items were more useful than others, and that some items needed to be replaced with more useful ones.
What follows is a list of baby gear trade-ins that I would have liked to make.
Instead of: The Boppy Newborn Lounger– A coworker told my husband that we needed these in every room. My son got a few weeks use out of it, but now the only one using it is our dog, who thinks it is a very nice bed. My son was ready to get moving, and the newborn lounger was quickly just something for him to wriggle out of.
I would have gotten: A puzzle mat– Babies spend 90% of their awake-but-not-eating time learning how their bodies work, and looking at their surroundings. From early on, what my son wanted was a place where he could safely explore and survey the room.
Instead of: The Ergo Baby Original Carrier – I had it on good authority this was the best carrier out there, and we used it right from the start. Now that my son is bigger, the Ergo isn’t great on my back, and my son doesn’t always seem comfortable in it.
I would have gotten: A membership to Babywearing International of Greater Burlington. This might be my biggest baby gear regret. The lending library of BWI has every carrier you can imagine, and trained volunteers help you get the right fit. With a $30 annual membership you can check out a different carrier every month. We are trying at least five different carriers before replacing the Ergo.
Instead of: One size cloth diapers- almost every one size cloth diaper system claims to work starting at birth. This is not true, unless you have an extremely large baby. Also, not all cloth diapers are created equal, and no amount of research can help you find the right ones for your baby until your baby has arrived! Skinny legs, heavy wetters, sensitive skin- all of these factors will influence what kind of cloth diapers work best.
I would have gotten: A variety of newborn diapers, to get a good fit (we have had three blowouts in five months, which is a strong argument for cloth diapering.) I would have liked to find out what works best before buying the diapers my kiddo will wear until potty training.
Instead of: Adorable baby outfits- little button ups and pinafores are harder to get off and on than good old sleepers and onesies, which people will give you in spades. Your baby will be cute in whatever they wear.
I would have gotten: nursing tops and dresses (www.milknursingwear.com): If you are breastfeeding, that is your #1 job for the first few weeks, and even if it goes well for you, it’s not an easy task! Nursing-friendly clothing will help you feel more confident nursing in public, so you and your baby get to leave the house more. Attractive nursing clothing also encourages me to get dressed when I am at home with the baby, which is good for my mental health.
Instead of: Cool baby toys- your baby isn’t going to need toys to play with for a long time. My son’s favorite toy is a scarf. The whole world is new to a baby, so everything is interesting.
I would have gotten: more books- I thought I had enough baby books. But when you are reading stories every day, even twenty stories get old fast. We have read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel at least eight times. Books also have great longevity, since your child can enjoy them well into elementary school.
So there you have it; I hope my 20/20 hindsight will help you better prepare for your own little one.
Written by Jillian Kirby
I grew up in central Vermont one of a class of five students. Among my many skills, I can: temper chocolate, edit a winning grant proposal, use a commercial meat slicer safely, type 60 words per minute, run a meeting smoothly under Robert’s Rules, and prep lasagna for forty in 30 minutes. I wouldn’t trade my unconventional education for any university experience in the world. One winter evening friend insisted I would love this progressive-metal-rock band playing at Metronome. I did, and after their set I was introduced to their guitarist, my future husband. We married three years later, and one week shy of our second anniversary we welcomed our son Monroe to the world. I am a passionate DIY’er and a miter saw is currently at the top of my personal wish-list. When the baby goes to sleep my husband and I like to stay up late watching anime or any of the Netflix Original Series, and talk about politics