Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Natural parent's baby shower registry

Natural Parent's Baby Shower Registry Gift Guide: The simple essentials for breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, & cloth diapering! -- Hobo Mama

Welcome to the December 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Greatest Gifts

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have suggested go-to gifts and gifting experiences for the holiday season for all your loved ones.

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

I couldn't resist when the topic was gifts this month — my mind turned to my sweet new baby, and I felt the itch to make a list of all the gifts we haven't gotten him.

See, the grandparents have been asking us what they can give Karsten. They asked when he was born in late October, and now they're asking as Christmas looms. And we keep answering them truthfully: We have everything.

This is the third baby, and the third boy. We're set!

But that means I've been around the block a time or two, and I know now what sort of natural-parenting baby registry I would make if we weren't living in Hand-Me-Down City and needed to start from scratch. My btdt experience can be to your profit! Just copy this list of must-haves and would-love-to-haves on over to your own baby registry or holiday wish list, and outfit your natural nursery like a boss.

Note that, since I'm constantly nak-ing a newborn, I'm going to veer toward minimalist (my preference for our small space) rather than comprehensive and crunchy, as is my family's wont. So this list will be the essentials we needed for breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping, cloth diapering, and other attachment parenting choices. If you made different parenting choices (and that's valid!), you might need to add and subtract to this list, but it can still be a good starting point as you consider your options.

Cloth diapering: Keep things super simple, and ask gift givers to pre-load gift certificates to a diaper service. Not an option where you live? Keep things still pretty dang simple, and go with prefolds and wool diaper covers, plus some wool wash and lanolin. If you're buying supplies yourself, eBay is a good spot to look for high-quality but reduced-price diapers and covers. You'll want at least six covers in small or newborn size and at least 18-24 of the small prefolds. Then you can move up (probably relatively quickly) to medium and park there for awhile, so don't blow your whole budget on the smallest sizes. The good news is cloth diapers have a good resale value! Throw in some wipes, use a small daypack as a just-right diaper bag (reasonable size and easy to sling on your back to have hands free for baby), and store your dipes at home, both clean and dirty, in a wet-dry hanging bag. I thought we'd need a diaper-changing pad or table, and I was wrong. You can (and will) change diapers any-old-where. If you want to throw in some elimination communication, add a little potty — it'll come in handy eventually either way.

Babywearing: My hands-down (hands-free, ha ha!) favorite carrier is my handmade mei tai (tutorial here if you sew, and tutorial for a no-sew option if you don't!). If you want something available for purchase, other magnificent options are commercial mei tais and soft structured carriers like the Babyhawk, Infantino Wrap and Tie (frugal option), Ergo, and Boba. Any of these will work well for little babies on up through toddlers, so despite the initial price tag, buying one is a thrifty choice. And might I recommend my book, The Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing? It will help you learn to wear your baby with confidence and ease.

Clothing: You'll get a lot of clothes because people like to buy 'em. That's why I'm not even bothering to put blankets on this list, because you will get tons. Tons. But if people are open to buying clothes that will make your life easier, whether you're doing cloth diapering or elimination communication or both, I highly recommend suggesting side-snap kimono-style tops (non-onesie) and pull-on pants. For bedtime, I love baby nightgowns. Why these choices? Newborns pee approximately every five minutes — fact. Who wants to be undoing and redoing a bunch of snaps all day, and then particularly all night long, too, in the dark? The kimono action of the tops means you get to avoid the dreaded chore of pulling clothes on over that oversized floppy newborn head. The pants, by the by, are just for going out in public. Otherwise, throw on some BabyLegs and socks and have no-fuss access as needed.

Feeding: If you're breastfeeding, you don't need much. I find that a nursing pillow can help make you more physically comfortable when your baby is very small. Add in a well-fitted nursing bra and nursing pads (maybe things you want to get for yourself rather than put on a registry for your father-in-law to see, I dunno…). For clothing, if you prefer discreet nursing in public, you can easily make do with layers: Wear a cami underneath, and pull up your top layer. Voilà! If you don't have prefolds on hand for cloth diapering (see above), you will absolutely need some burp cloths. That's about all that I think is necessary, but if you want some ideas for fun extras, see my post on my 10 favorite breastfeeding products. I don't have specific product recommendations for bottle feeding, but if you're interested in pumping and in the U.S., you might appreciate my positive story on securing a double electric breast pump through health insurance. You'll likely get a newborn bottle set with that pump, and then you'd just need some milk storage bags for freezing. For six months on up, I love baby-led solids, where we mostly just share bites of our big-people food, which means all we really needed was a compact high chair for our small place. We've enjoyed this portable booster with a tray, and it's worked really well for different ages, chairs, and uses.

Sleeping: I love the ease and closeness of bed sharing and have talked about how to cosleep successfully and how to breastfeed while lying down. Note that bed sharing comes with risks of suffocation, particularly for young babies, so read up on the risks, make your educated decisions, and take your child's safety seriously. I won't go into all of that here, because this post is about products, and honestly, you don't really need much in the way of products to bed share! What we did was buy a firm king-size mattress and plop it on the floor. I added a fleece cover for protection against wetness. Additional useful items have been a wool puddle pad to go above the sheet and under baby and me to absorb newborn-era and postpartum leakage (so. much. leakage.) and a foam bumper for the side of the bed. If you don't feel comfortable bed sharing but want baby close, you might consider side-carring a crib, adding a small mattress beside your bed, or buying a dedicated cosleeping bassinet. I'm not going to tell you to buy blankets, because, honest, you will receive so dang many. But you'll all be happier sleepers if you have either a white-noise machine or a CD of white noise. (I have "Rain on the Roof" on repeat all night long.)

Mama love: As you heal, I highly recommend going cloth with your postpartum pads. Soooo much comfier, seriously! Having sitz-bath herbs on hand is a thing of beauty as well. But as far as giftable things go, think indulgence: a gift certificate for a massage, a visit by a cleaning service, delivery of meals or groceries, amusement of older children as you rest. Fingers crossed for you that someone gives you something so delightful!

Safety: You'll need a car seat! You can go with an infant car seat that can be snapped in and out of a base, or a convertible seat that grows with your baby. I'll let you choose what fits best with your baby, your budget, and your vehicle. The good folks at Car-Seat.org can help if you need help narrowing down your options or installing in your car.

Bathing: I get into the bathtub with my baby and use water and a washcloth to wash him. The end. If you've got cradle cap or flaky skin going on, you can rub in a little coconut oil and then gently slough off the flakes. If your baby has hair, a little combing can help, but I just use my own comb. I've also had to trim nails, and I use my own nail clippers. I seriously think so much baby "stuff" is filler. I do, however, like having baby towels, because they're easier to wrap a small, slippery munchkin in. If you don't want to invest in baby-specific linens, I'm down with that.

Toys and books: This is a newborn-centric list, and newborns can't give a hoot about toys and books. For one thing, they haven't yet figured out their hands are attached to their bodies and propelled by their own volition. But, don't worry, just as with blankets, people will give you toys and books — they're perennial gifting faves. For now, I'd have on hand some things that make noise. Keys clanking on a keychain do well, and surely you have keys on hand. If not, or for variety and future gumming, grab a sweet rattle. That shake-a-shake-a noise can sure help with distracting during a diaper change or encouraging a smile for a photograph. Once baby has upper-limb control, add in some soft teething toys and drool-proof reading material.

Gear: We don't have much space or need for it, to be honest, but if someone's offering to buy you a big-ticket item, here's where you can throw in your needs (car seat, for sure) as well as wants. Pretty much everything we got was secondhand, actually, including our strollers, swing, and bouncy seat. What you and your baby will enjoy is really individual. Mikko loved his bouncy seat, but so far Karsten hates it and will tolerate the (new-to-us) swing for only a few minutes at a time. To save money and try things out, contact friends of slightly older kids who are clearing out the place (or who would be willing to lend something out until their next baby) and check yard sales and consignment and thrift stores.

Reading: Try to get these gems as e-books so you can read in the dark, one-handed, as you nurse. I recommend The Other Baby Book, The Baby Book, Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, Gender Neutral Parenting, and did I mention my babywearing and parenting-poetry books? Heh heh heh.

There you have it. Those are the baby products that worked best for us, and the ones we're still enjoying, three babies in!

What favorites are in your natural baby registry? Do you have additions to suggest?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon December 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • I Want to Buy All of the ThingsThe Economama discusses whether there's a way to buy all of the baby stuff she desperately wants for her daughter without spoiling her.
  • The "Collectors" and the "Concentrators": How Children React to Lots of Presents — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., at Parental Intelligence discusses two types of children who receive gifts: the "Collectors" who rip open the wrappings on their their presents and love to count them and the "Concentrators" who spend endless time on each gift ignoring the array of presents around them.
  • The Joy of Giving and Receiving — Ellen at Life With Lucien shares her three-year-old son's new favorite toy for imaginative play.
  • Books: Best Present Ever! — Holly at Leaves of Lavender discusses some of the many reasons why books are the ideal gifts for little ones.
  • 10 DIY Gifts You Still Have Time To Make — A roundup of 10 DIY gifts that don't take much time to make from Doña at Nurtured Mama.
  • Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaves - A Delicious Holiday Gift — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares one of her favorite recipes to make and give during the holidays. This Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf is much anticipated by her friends and loved ones. Learn how to create this delicious gift from the heart!
  • Christmas gifts for dreamers — Tat at Mum in search shares her favourite books and resources that have helped her get inspired and move forward towards her dreams this year.
  • Natural parent's baby shower registry — Since she had everything already for baby #3, Lauren at Hobo Mama is amusing herself by building a list of essentials and a few fun fripperies for a natural-parenting nursery.
  • Gifts of love — Charlie at PeelingClementines recalls her favourite Christmas gift of all time and thinks about how to add this magic to her little one's first Christmas.
  • The Gift of Letting Go — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has discovered that when you're a perfectionist, sometimes the best gift is simply releasing yourself from self-imposed expectations.
  • Montessori Inspired Gifts for Babies and Toddlers — Rachel at Bread and Roses shares gift ideas that were a hit with her son last year and what's on her wishlist for this year.
  • Giftmas Ideas for KidsMomma Jorje offers an original gift idea that hasn't been overdone and is good for the kids!
  • Favorite CDs for Babies and Toddlers {Gift Guide} — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family's favorite CDs for babies and toddlers, some of which were favorites of her children and are now favorites of her granddaughter.
  • The Birthday Turned Christmas Wish ListThat Mama Gretchen forgot to share her birthday wish list this fall, but she's still wishin' and hopin' a present or two will arrive for Christmas!
  • 8 Thoughtful Non-Toy Gifts for Baby — Is your family asking for hints for presents to give baby? Moorea, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, offers this list of ideas that won't overwhelm your little one with toys.


Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Such a good list. I've been going through our old baby stuff - paring down and deciding what is absolutely necessary *just in case* we have #3. It's been a bittersweet process :)

Anonymous said...

This is a great list! I did not decide to cloth diaper until after my daughter was born - I wish I had figured it out in advance so I could have registered for the supplies!

Rachel said...

What a great list, I wish I had this before our son was born ;)

PeelingClementines said...

Loving your list! I agree with pretty much everything you've said, so comprehensive and I'll be directing new-expecting parents in this post's direction.
The only thing I'd add is that if you have a lovely bedframe you're loath to part with, getting a good sturdy bed guard worked as a handy alternative to the mattress on the floor thing for us. We love our flip-up-and-down one as by day the bed still looks like our bed :)

Holly Scudero said...

Babies really don't require that much stuff, do they?! Not nearly as much as most people think they need. I know I, for one, ended up with a bunch of stuff we didn't need and never used after my son was born, some of which was bought by us and others of which was received as gifts. This is a great list for anyone looking to stick with the basics!

Tat said...

Congratulation on your baby, Lauren. I was having a hard time concentrating on what you've written because I was too distracted by your beautiful photos. What a great list you've got! I can't believe I never thought of using a fleece cover for wetness protection!

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