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Baby Registry Guide: My Must-Haves for a Happier Postpartum

Stepping into a big-box baby store for the first time can make anyone hyperventilate! And trying to sort our your registry list can be equally daunting, and easily mount to thousands of dollars (the average registry is between $1500 and $3000). The truth is, you really DON’T need that much.

In fact, it’s often said in birth-y circles that if you have two hands and two breasts (or a bottle and some formula) you’re all set. Now while I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, I think there’s a happy medium between these two extremes.

Below are my ultimate must-haves for a happier postpartum. Every single item on this list is intended to make your life easier, while supporting your baby’s needs and/or making it simpler for you to connect and communicate with your baby.Of course, you’ll have to add some other essentials like clothes, diapers (if you are doing that), a sleeping surface, and a car seat. While very necessary, those items don’t really fall into the category of sanity-savers. The items on the list below do.

To make things easier for you, I’ve added links where possible. Note that some of these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a small percentage of what you buy (if you buy), when you use these links. That is a lovely ways of supporting me and the podcast.

Here are my favorite Must-Haves in no particular order:

 

1) Expectful ($9/month, with 15 day free trial)

Your baby is attuned to you. A calmer you = a calmer baby. Meditating on a daily basis can help you be more mindful of your reactions and emotions, allowing you to find your calm place, quicker. Expectful is meditation specifically geared towards helping you through fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Aside from all the health benefits of re-seting your nervous system, meditating can also help quiet your mind fast so you can fall back asleep more easily after night wakings. Expectful.com
FREE OPTION: The Calm App. This is a general mediation app (not geared towards maternity) but can also work wonders. Has guided meditations as short as 3 minutes, so you can easily include this habit into your day. Also has “sleep stories” to help you fall asleep easier. Great for partners as well. (Has in-app purchases to get the full version.) Calm.com.

 

2) Wrap or carrier (from $32 – $179)

Babies love to be held closely, and jiggled around. This is a great way to do both, while having your hands free. There are MANY types of wraps and carriers, so it’s hard to recommend just one. Ideally, you would try on as many as you can to see which works best for your body and your baby. You could do this by connecting with your local chapter of Babywearing International, tapping into a local mom’s group, or finding a local business that provides this service. That being said, Baby K’tan makes wrapping simple; Moby Wraps have a steep learning curve, but are highly adjustable; and the sturdiness of Ergobaby carriers allows for longer use as your baby grows, providing lots of back support.
FREE or CHEAPER OPTION: Get hand-me-downs from friends with older kids, or keep an eye out for sales. You can also make your own (Here’s a good place to start. It includes both no-sew and sewing options).

3) Swaddles and/or sleep sacks (from $13 – $30; more for multipacks)

The goal: to keep baby from experiencing the ‘startling reflex’ and waking up, when sleeping on his/her back. Depending on how wiggly and strong your child is, this may require some serious containment. Here too, there are many options. I love the aden + anais muslin swaddles for their softness and breathability, but they can be easy to get out of, and require learning how to swaddle from scratch.
Some sturdier options with velcro and/or zippers: the HALO SleepSack swaddle, the Miracle Blanket swaddle, the Nested Bean Zen swaddle, or the Love To Dream Swaddle UP. They are all a little bit different, so you might want to try one or two options first (maybe get a hand-me down from a friend or a consignment store score to see how your baby likes it before committing to a bunch).

4) The baby shusher ($32)

White noise is great for soothing babies. The trick is to find something that sounds extremely similar to the rhythmic shushing blood-flow noises that your baby heard in utero. You could just shush loudly yourself, but it can be hard to sustain that for more than 5 minutes. Enter the “Baby Shusher”. The recording that emanates from this gadget has the perfect tone and rhythm, and won’t make you light-headed. Bonus points for portability, so you can soothe baby on the go.
LESS PORTABLE OPTION: The HoMedics Sounds Spa Relaxation Machine (nature sounds + white noise)
FREE OPTION: Use your own voice! 🙂

 

5) Baby ears app ($3.99) – FOR THE FIRST 3 months of life

Not every cry is created equal! Babies make different sounds when they are hungry, sleepy, gassy, need a burp, or simply uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it be great to know those nuances, in order to better respond to your newborn’s needs? This app helps you train your ears so you can hear what your baby is saying.  Note: in some phones, the ringer needs to be turned on in order for you to hear the sounds. That’s a weird glitch of the app. More info: DunstanBaby.com

if you are breastfeeding…

 

6) A silicone “breast pump” and/or milk collector

These (newer to market) “pumps” are miracle workers and will even cut down on your pumping big time. The idea is to collect that milk that tends to just drip away from breast B while you are feeding baby on breast A. Since it requires a bit of suction for it to hold in place, it will collect a bit more than just that milk that would otherwise be lost. For some moms I’ve spoken to, that has been as much as 3 oz. or more! Cue singing angels! There are several very similar options out there (silicone molds are not a complicated thing); some of the better know ones are from Haakaa, NatureBond, and Ashtonbee.

A similar product that came first are Milkies’ Milk Savers, which are intended for you to leave in your bra as you go about your day (not so much at work, since they are a bit bulky). The idea is that they collect the milk that would otherwise be soaked up by your breast pads… so not as much as the silicone “pumps”, but also with less effort. (Please follow instructions for proper care and storage of breastmilk). Another good option is the Lacti-Cups.

7) A breast pump (specially if going back to work!)

There are many types of pumps, to fit your different needs. In figuring out where to start, I’d suggest you listen to the Birthful podcast episode with Nancy Mohrbacher on “All About Pumping!” where she tells you what to look for to match your needs. For the time being, breast-pumps are covered by insurance in the US. To make that process of figuring out how to get the pump you want at the best price, go to AeroflowBreastpumps.com: they are a durable medical equipment provider specializing in helping moms qualify for a breast pump through insurance, and have a large assortment of options and brands.

 

CREATE YOUR OWN registry through Amazon and get 10-15% off!

(A one-time 10% discount (up to 15% for Amazon Prime members, compliments of Amazon Family) is offered on select items from your registry, 60 days before your child’s arrival date).

 

 

BONUS: My all time favorite for your baby’s first 20 months!

The wonder weeks (app $1.99 Book $18.32 audiobook $2.99)

The only reason The Wonder Weeks is not #1 above is because you can’t really use it from day 1, but if I had to choose only one thing for figuring out what’s up with baby, this would be it! “The Wonder Weeks” tells you all about the 10 developmental leaps that happen during the first 20 months of your baby’s life. These are different from growth-spurts, and they happen at the same intervals for all babies, so you can be prepared. That’s the good news. The bad news is that before each leap, babies get extra fussy and clingy. The app lets you input your baby’s info, so you can keep track exactly where you are at, and even send you alarms for when you are about to enter a fussy stage. The books go deeper into the science of what is happening, and what you can do to help your child master whatever it is they are trying to develop. More info: WonderWeeks.com

Adriana Lozada

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