giogio: (Gio)
posted by [personal profile] giogio at 03:06pm on 21/01/2014
I was extremely lucky to receive two really good infodumps regarding babies while pregnant, one from [ profile] hsb and one from [ profile] jainoh, which totally prepared me for birth and the first few weeks of care, as well as warning me about some of the stranger consequences of childbirth, which was great. I've since (through trial and error) acquired some practical baby shopping/supplies experience so I thought I'd post this here for those in need of ideas for baby gifts or contemplating having babies or grandbabies (there seem to be quite a bit of both around me at the moment). In no particular order, though thematically sorted, here are a few tips about baby swag that should be in baby books (but probably aren't).

Independent advice: download the invisible hand plugin ( for your browser or mobile device. It will let you know not only if a better price for an item is available, but it will also give you all available coupon codes for that retailer.

Baby Clothes:

- The thing about clothing sizes is a) that no two manufacturers have the same physical size for the same sized garment, and b) that for example Size 3 Months doesn't actually fit the baby when it is 3 months old (even if you don't have a supersized baby), rather it fits from 0-3 months on an average baby, for certain values of average (because babies have steadily been getting larger). The unasked for advice I now supply when in the kids clothing section observing fresh-baked grandparents/uncles/aunts and other assorted relatives trying to pick out clothes is, "Check the label. It will tell you the height and weight range that specific manufacturer assumes for that size. Make sure you know the length and weight of the infant you are buying for and buy accordingly." If you are buying a present for a baby you don't know the size of, buy large (chances are mom is already inundated in the 0-3 months clothes size that is going to fit less than 3 months, anyway) and buy season neutral, in case the baby in question doesn't fit the average and reaches that size during the wrong season (I'm still bitter about the supercute 6-month size spring/summer stuff I bought when I was pregnant that we were only able to put on the baby for a Kodak moment).

- When buying footed pyjamas for infants, the best kind are the ones that button up both legs (rather than one leg). The baby will get a lot more wear out of them because the parents won't have to bend one leg oddly to get it into the PJ's and thus they'll fit longer, plus diaper changes on a half-awake baby that will hopefully go back to sleep shortly will also be so much easier.

- The most awesomest of the awesome footed PJs for supersized babies are the ones that come with built-in mittens in the form of fold-over mitten cuffs because that allows you to keep baby's hands covered without having to amputate fingers to fit into newborn mittens. Old Navy does these in up to size 6-9 months, but you can probably find them elsewhere as well.

- Babies that start screaming the roof down if you try to put a hat on them might be OK with a hooded sweatshirt/onesie/jacket. Just saying.

- The online sale/clearance prices are not always as good as the in-store clearance prices. For instance, the mitten-cuff PJ's on clearance on Old Navy's website are current $8.97, whereas in my local Old Navy, they're marked down to $4.99, so if it's practical, it's a good idea to check the store before ordering online.

- Sign up for all the store rewards that are free. Seriously. Old Navy Super Cash is great. Gymboree Gymbucks are great. A lot of these you don't even have to use yourself, you can pass them on to others if you don't need to buy any baby clothes when they are redeemable (though you probably will because babies keep on growing!).


- Do not buy Diapers as a gift/for a baby shower at Walmart, even if they're a couple of bucks cheaper there than elsewhere. I'm serious about this. Buy them at Target. Here's the deal: on most babies a certain brand of diapers will fit better than another, especially when they're very young babies, and because of variations in size, the baby in question might not need those diapers. My kid skipped newborn size and wore size 1 for about a month before moving on. Walmart will not let you exchange diapers purchased there without a receipt for a different brand, and depending on the mood of the sales clerk, they may or may not let you change to a different size of the same brand (it worked once, not the second time). And it wasn't as if they didn't know those diapers had been purchased from them because the packages had "exclusively for Walmart" printed on them for that particular packaging quantity... Target will take back all unopened diaper packages bought there for store credit. In fact, Target so far has taken everything back for store credit with or without a receipt. This makes me generally well-disposed toward them.


- For the love of God, give a gift receipt! There's really no point in one baby having two bath tubs. 'nough said.

Breastfeeding Pillows:

- I have several because the mombo/boppy pillows that are endemic to most stores actually make better decorative pillows than breastfeeding pillows because small babies are slippery and wiggly and you need both hands to breastfeed (one to hold your boob, another to hold the baby) and do not have a third hand to hold a pillow which doesn't actually stay in place. So then, in the first big flurry of emergency purchases from Amazon during the first week of the kid's life, I ordered Mybrestfriend because this actually straps around your waist and stays in place making it almost as awesome as built-in mitten cuffs. It is probably one of the most useful gifts you can get any breastfeeding mom.

Medicine to ask for at the very first pediatric appointment (or even better before leaving the hospital):

- Ask for a prescription of Nystatin for oral thrush and make sure you have anti-fungal cream for baby's bottom (and if you're breastfeeding, your nipples) preemptively, especially if you receive antibiotics during labor. In my experience, ranging yeast infections are developed by babies just after the doctor's office closes on a Friday night and you really do not want to wait until Monday to treat them, though they're mostly harmless in the sense that they don't really require an urgent care or emergency room visit (and are easily diagnosed by the layman). Also, they'll tell you to drop the medicine into the baby's mouth with a pipette. This is useless, because baby will immediately spit it out. Better to dip a cotton bud into the medicine and then rub that--lightly--over affected areas. It gets the medicine where it needs to be and it's not enough to spit out.


- A very tiny baby can be better acclimatized to sleeping in its crib in one of these. This was another emergency purchase two days post-partum and K slept in this (placed inside his crib) for about the first 6 weeks or so. After that, he became interested enough in the surrounding world (mobile, wall art, etc.) that he no longer needed that restricted space. Depending on the situation, it might make more sense to buy one of these rather than a separate bassinet for the first few weeks of life.


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