My little Tator Tot is 12 weeks old today! Huzzah! We are almost at the 3-month mark…how exciting! We’ve gotten into a little bit of a routine…
Who am I kidding? It’s still utter chaos. HA! She feeds every 60 to 90 mins. Or every 30. Or every 2 hours. It really depends on the day, the weather, the planetary alignment, the cycle of the moon…
No, no. I’m serious.
Motherhood is glam. So glam.
She is incredibly gassy and refluxy so has to be held upright for at least 30 mins after each feed or she pukes, and she sleeps best not in her bassinet or in her rocker chair, but on my shoulder, so I’ve lost feeling in the entire right side of my body because she lives there permanently. She is smiling a LOT and I know her laughs are around the corner (is there anything sweeter than baby giggles?)…however she has also entered a weird phase where she absolutely loses her shit if anyone other than me holds her. This includes dad and sis.
So. Much. Fun.
What does this mean?
I can only eat food that I am able to eat or prepare with one hand.
I frequently drink my coffee lukewarm, or reheat it at least twice.
I have to coordinate bathroom breaks with the end of her naps because if I put her down I have about 3-5 mins before she wakes up howling.
That gives you a small idea of what life is like with Ms Tator.
The great thing about this age though is that she is super responsive. She makes the BEST sounds and noises, and she is starting to show an interest in things (right now it’s shadows on the wall). She sees me and gives me the BIGGEST gummy smile and I forget just how frustrated I am. She’s no longer just a blob. She’s adorable.
I’ll just keep telling myself that.
They’re like weeds.
She’s also hit a couple of growth spurts in the last 12 weeks which means that a lot of the clothes she got have been worn once (if at all).
When Little Potato was born, none of the newborn clothes I bought her fit because she was only 4lbs. Hubby had to go out and buy her some preemie clothes. She was a size small until she was a year old, at which point she was finally fitting clothes based on her age.
Tator Tot was only 5 lbs when she was born, and while she didn’t fit the newborn clothes right away, she seems to be growing in length faster than her sister. I found myself cutting the feet off her onesies to get them to last a little longer, because her legs were no longer fitting in them while they were fitting okay everywhere else.
This also meant that a lot of the cute outfits we got as gifts just didn’t last long enough for us to enjoy them.
So now that I’m almost 3 months into new again-motherhood, I find myself in a good place to really reflect back on the old baby registry and see what was useful and what wasn’t.
Step one: don’t go crazy
What you really need on your registry
I didn’t have a baby shower with Little Potato. I pretty much just bought stuff I thought I needed and that was it. I didn’t have a baby shower with Tator Tot either, but I have some lovely mom friends who threw me a lovely baby luncheon and bought some gifts which I’ll get into shortly.
I bought a travel system. This was the one item that I spent the most on because it’s the one item that will get the most use for the longest amount of time. So get one that you like, that is easy to use, and that will last as long as possible.
I got the Graco Click Connect System. It comes with a car seat base so the car seat just “clicks” into the base, and I don’t have to undertake car seat origami trying to get the seat belt wrapped securely around it. It also “clicks” into the stroller base, so it’s pretty easy to use. The stroller / bassinet attachment means I can use the stroller for quite a few years. I’ll just need to replace the car seat when Tator is too big for it (I have a good year yet).
If you’re going to spend money on anything, this is a must.
I also got a car seat cover because it’s COLD here and it’s currently winter and we’re all miserable. I’ve stayed indoors as long as I can, but the reality is we need to go out now and again. The current advice is to NOT use a snowsuit with kids in the car seats because it’s not safe (you can’t get the kids as secure as necessary when they’re in a snowsuit). Here’s the car seat cover I bought. It’s FABULOUS. It keeps her warm with nothing more than a little fleece blanket tucked around her, and a hat on her head.
I’d also recommend getting a cover for spring / summer, or you can use a blanket.
Around the House
We got and were gifted a few things for around the house. A play mat, a swing, a side sleeper bassinet, and a rocking chair.
The play mat: This is great! It has some hanging toys, some sensory play bits, and a mirror. In the first few weeks it was pretty useless, but now that she’s become a little more alert and has started noticing things, it’s a great place to put her down for a few minutes, and a great place for tummy time. We had a play mat with Little Potato as well and this will last for a good long while… at least until she can sit up unaided (6 months or so). So well worth the investment. Get any kind you like.
Side sleeper bassinet: I didn’t want a crib (we don’t have the room) and I liked the idea of something portable that we could take from room to room. And for the first few weeks this was a great place for her to nap. It can work on the floor or on the bed and will fit her til she’s able (again) to sit up unaided. Now Tator Tot is a little different in that her reflux is really bad when she’s lying flat, so this is great because it’s got a slight incline. But we’re also in a phase where she won’t sleep anywhere but on me…so we aren’t getting much use out of it now as we were. But I’d still recommend it if you’re short on space or want something portable. This is the one we got: SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper
A swing: A lovely friend brought us her son’s swing now that he’s too old to fit in it and I’ve found that I use it occasionally. I have it in my front room where I get ready in the morning (on the rare occasions I go out). I plop Tator into it, turn on the music, and let her swing for a while. She’s fallen asleep in it a couple of times so it’s great, but I don’t know that it’s a necessity, especially if you’re short on space or cash. It’s a want, not a need.
Rocking chair: Because she started agonizing when lying in her bassinet (thanks, reflux!) I got her a rocking chair that allows her to recline in an upright position while sleeping, and it converts to a chair she can use til she’s about two years old. I personally have found it invaluable because when I CAN put her down, she loves being in it. I got it from Walmart a couple of weeks ago. Here it is. Again, this is a want, definitely not a need. Find what works for you.
BONUS ITEM: Babies love being rocked and jiggled. With Little Potato I found myself doing dance moves and squats for HOURS trying to get her to settle down and nod off to sleep. This time, I have found my giant exercise ball to be an absolute GOD SEND. I sit on it, cradle her in my arms, and gently bounce. She nods off pretty quickly. GET ONE. I use it more now than I ever did before I got pregnant.
Honestly, baby outfits are SO cute…it’s difficult to resist buying them. But don’t.
We got a lot of beautiful outfits as gifts, and thankfully most of my friends had the foresight to buy bigger sizes (6-9 months, 9-12 months and 1 or 2 years). That makes more sense. Because even though newborn and 0-3 month outfits are ADORABLE, they are very impractical, especially when you spend the majority of your time at home. Or at at the clinic getting baby weighed. Or if you’re at the doctor getting her checked out. Getting in and out of a onesie / sleeper is WAY easier than taking off vests, pants, shirts, etc. Less hassle = less baby tears. Especially when having to take clothes off over their head.
So I’d suggest buying 5-7 onesies in newborn size, 0-3 month size, and then 3 month size (as and when you need them, not necessarily all at once). I prefer button ups but zipper ones are great, too.
Get a really good hat for baby. You’ll need it when you take baby out.
Baby booties and socks are another want, not a need. Although socks are a must if you buy onesies that don’t have feet on them.
Scratch mitts are great, but double check the onesies you buy as some of them have little fold over pieces at the ends of the arms which function as scratch mitts. Otherwise, just keep baby’s nails trimmed (sometimes easier said than done).
Blankets, swaddles and other bits: One blanket is good enough. If you don’t do laundry often, get two. Little burp clothes are pointless… honestly I have about 6 receiving blankets / swaddle clothes and I use them as a permanent fixture on my shoulder. They are perfect for burping baby, lying her on the floor, keeping her warm during a nap at home… they’re also great for swaddling. So I’d recommend getting half a dozen to ten of them. (Good cotton ones.)
I was also gifted velcro swaddles which are great for super easy swaddling of baby. But swaddling baby isn’t tough. Tons of videos online to teach you the technique. And no matter what you hear, swaddling in those early months is enormously helpful in calming baby down, especially when they can startle themselves simply by moving.
Bath stuff: A good bath tub that can go from newborn to toddler is a must. I find it’s way easier than using the grown up tub or sink. Get a few good baby wash cloths as well, they’re way softer than grown up towels on that petal soft baby skin. Get a gentle shampoo / body wash. Don’t use the grown up stuff, obviously.
Get a good fragrance-free baby lotion (I love Aveeno products for baby).
A baby hair brush is also a must especially if baby gets cradle crap, which 70% of infants do get within the first 3 months. It’s great for when you wash baby’s head / hair to help loosen the scales gently.
What I learned from the first time around is that babies DO NOT need any of the stuff all the baby websites tell you that they need.
For the first 3 months of life, at least, baby needs one thing: YOU.
So real talk. Here’s what you should REALLY be getting as part of your registry.
Diapers and wipes: you’ll need tons. And my wonderful mom friends were thoughtful enough to buy me diapers in various sizes and bundles of wipes.
Books: you’ll need something to entertain yourself during long nights awake, or while baby is sleeping in your lap and you’ve watched all of Netflix. Or a bunch of Kindle / Amazon gift cards to buy for your device.
Coffee: Trust me on this one.
Hand cream: You will wash your hands so much you’ll need a good cream. Again, I like anything Aveeno.
Bottles and a sterilizer: If you are going to pump breast milk or use formula, get some good bottles. The hospital suggested wide-bottom bottles with the appropriate slow flow nipples. Get a microwave sterilizer because it takes just minutes to sterilize bottles rather than ages boiling them on the stove. As for a breast pump, I don’t pump often so I have a hand pump, but if you plan to pump a lot, I’d recommend investing in an electric pump (you can also rent these from your local pharmacy on a monthly basis; you just have to buy the actual kit of bottles and what not).
Receiving blankets / swaddles, some bibs, baby wash cloths, as mentioned above. Everything else is a want. But at the end of the day, it’s really up to you. If you want to go all out, by all means, do! But after having had a baby twice, nearly 10 years apart, with all the advances in baby “stuff”… I can tell you that I don’t see a need in anything other than what I’ve listed above.
That’s it. Really.
And that’s all I can really think of. Trust me, babies don’t need a lot. Just the basics. And it really all depends on what you personally want to do and what you need. So forget the lists, and go with the flow. You can always buy as you need, or borrow from friends if available. All baby really needs is you.
Am I missing anything that is an absolute need? What did you have for your baby that you found to be invaluable? Comment below.