The Ranty Mama: One Month Must-Haves

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Some people love registering for baby stuff. Me? Hated it.

See, I *get* wedding stuff. Toaster ovens? Got it. Want the best coffee grinder? I can hook you up. But diaper pails? No f-ing clue.

If I knew exactly how much time I spent researching diaper pails, I would probably cry.

So…if you're registering or shopping for a new little one – and, trust me, you will be shopping, because 99% of the stuff you get will not be off your registry – here are my recommendations to get you through the first month.

I'd also recommend primarily registering for stuff juuuust to get you through the early months unless you are blessed with unlimited storage space. How such a small person can require such a large amount of crap is beyond me.

The Ranty Mama: One Month Must-Haves

Side-Snap Button Tees: Register for a metric ton, unless you feel like doing laundry all the time, or you accidentally come home with some from the hospital where you deliver (they also have the best socks, btw).

The first few weeks, our little one lived in these, a diaper, and a sleep sack because a) we rarely left the house and b) you have to change their pants every ten seconds. Plus, if you're concerned about scratches, they have built-in cuffs. Hospitals don't recommend the separate mittens since they're ONE MORE THING your kid can choke on.

Boppy Nursing Pillow: Look, specifically, for the NURSING variety. It's kind of a cross between the regular Boppy and My Brest Friend, which I tried in our baby class and just found awkward.

What's the difference vs. the regular Boppy? Well, it offers a bit more room for those of us who need it, it has a strap to keep it in the right place – which I never use, but whatever – and, most importantly, it has one cushy pillow side and one side that's a slipcovered firm foam pad, which offers a good amount of support for your squirming baby. That support can be crucial when you are EXHAUSTED, plus it's shaped so that they can't roll in between you and the Boppy and suffocate themselves or just get really pissed off.

It was awesome for nursing. We bottle feed now, and I still use it to prop my arm up in the right place. To better hold the remote. Which you will be doing a lot in the wee hours of the morning.

Also, you can take out the foam pad and put the whole thing in the washing machine and dryer when it gets gross. Which it will.

Speaking of drying, I'd recommend a set of wool dryer balls like these. They help pillows (like the nursing Boppy) keep their shape, and also speed up the drying process, so you use less energy to dry AND you can do all 700 loads of tiny clothes in less time.

Rock N Play Sleeper: We are in the process of moving, so we aren't setting up a crib until the new house, and we wanted the baby in our room for the first few months anyway because it's much easier with all the getting up you have to do.

We tried putting the very small infant to sleep in a Pack and Play, but she was not having it. I think it was just way too big compared to the bassinet at the hospital. So, she slept in this at night for the whole first month, other than for some naps here and there.

It's light and folds up, so it's easy to move around. It props the kid up a bit, which helps with reflux. It's small enough that you can set it next to your bed, so when you get up for the 500th time in the middle of the night, the kid is easy to grab.

I know there's some concern about the safety of Rock n Play sleepers…some kids have ended up with flat spots and torticollis (very tight neck muscles, basically) and some parents are blaming the Rock n Play for it. It seems like the general consensus among doctors is that kids are now at more of a risk for neck problems due to spending lots of time in things that have them sitting up (swings, carseats, etc.), and putting babies to sleep on their backs – which is still best because it reduces SIDS – puts them at greater risk for flat spots.

So, use your best judgment. I bought a head support pillow and put it in between the cover and the frame of the Rock n Play to give a bit more padding. For the first month, they aren't really sleeping through the night anyway, so it's not like they're sleeping for extended stretches in ANYTHING. And, at first, newborns are so sleepy that they will crash just about anywhere, so it's pretty easy to mix up where they nap during the day.

Now, at right about two months, we're going to start transitioning her to sleeping in the Pack and Play, so she will probably only use this for naps in a bit (fingers crossed).

Miracle Blanket: We swaddle the CRAP out of Baby No Nap. I've tried pretty much every option out there.

She Houdinis her way out of normal swaddle blankets.

The hospital sent us home with a Halo Swaddle Sleep Sack, and we used that for a long time. They, however, would not swaddle her arms in it. When you have Flaily McSpazzersons over here waking herself up every ten seconds, that's not a great option, so we started wrapping her arms up. Problem is, if the sleep sack is at all too big for the small child, the arm wrap can push up the entire blanket, hitting them in the cheek, which triggers the rooting reflex and wakes them up ANYWAY. So, we will probably go back to the Halo when she's a bit bigger and doesn't need her arms swaddled. It was no good once she got in between the newborn and small sizes.

Summer Infant SwaddleMes claim they work for up to 14 lbs at the smallest size, but my kid was pretty much always too long for them. At 10.5 lbs, they no longer closed around her arms. I know people who love them, but they just never worked for us.

Enter the MIRACLE BLANKET. There are about 300 steps to get the thing on, but it's easy once you do it the first time. It goes below the shoulders, so less risk of rooting. It's made from a long piece of fabric – kind of like the Moby of swaddle blankets – so, I'm confident it will fit until we no longer need to swaddle. And, she can't twist her way out of it and wake herself up. SUCCESS.

The only downside of all these swaddle blankets is that you really need 2-3 of whatever you choose, because babies will get stuff on them, and they nap CONSTANTLY, so you need a backup or two in the rotation to wash #1 and still burrito your child. They're all kind of expensive, so I'd actually recommend either registering for one of each, and then buy more once you know what works, and hopefully return what you didn't use. Or, buy some used from eBay/Craigslist/consignment stores to figure out what you prefer. Even better, borrow from a friend, if possible.

2 AM Miracle Cleaner: I love this stuff because it's green, safe for kids and pets, smells like lavender, and – most importantly – works. I've used it to get tough stains out of spot clean only stuff. I use it to wipe down hard surfaces or wipe off toys. It's great.

Burp Cloths: A ton. There were two different kinds I ended up really liking in the first month, when we didn't have explosive burps but just needed a bit of shoulder protection. We did, however, use them to wipe up all sorts of other stuff.

Your basic cotton ones. You can also get cheap cotton prefold diapers (Gerber makes some) that will work. I keep these all over the house to wipe up all sorts of baby messes. I found, however, that they were pretty thin for burping, at least when spit up is involved.

I liked these knit Gerber ones for burping, as they were a bit thicker and wouldn't soak through.  My husband, however, liked the Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs better, because they offered a bit more coverage. They're more expensive, but they do double duty as a bib when your child's older.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail: I know, it's an $80 diaper pail. You likely think I'm insane.

However, I have walked into many nurseries with the plastic diaper pails, only to get knocked over by the scent of nasty diapers. The plastic eventually absorbs smells, leaving you with either a nasty smelling room or starting all over with a new pail. Also, those liners? Freaking expensive, yo. The pails are cheap, but they lock you into expensive special bags as long as you use the thing.

The Ubbi is steel, so it doesn't absorb odors. If it starts to get funky, just spray it down like you would a normal stainless garbage can. You can use regular trash bags, which are WAY cheaper in the long run than liners, or you can use a wet bag if you're cloth diapering. And, let me tell you, that thing keeps the stank in the can and out of the nursery, because it can be downright nasty when you open it. Luckily, that only takes a second or two, and you're back to a no odor nursery.

Also, the company has GREAT customer service. I gave them a so-so review on Amazon because I ordered a white pail, and the plastic ring around the top was purple. They wrote me back to let me know that the color is because they use recycled plastic, and that their latest production run had much less color to it, so they shipped me a new pail and a return label to send the purple one back to them free of charge. Awesome.

Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changer: Again, you think I'm insane. An $80 diaper pad? And, if you have a table, it probably came with a basic one, right?

Hear me out.

Those freebies will inevitably fall apart, as will any of the vinyl padded ones. The freebies are also very thin, and you will probably want to get a better one anyway. So, there's some money spent. Then, you will likely want a cover for it. More money. And, as I noted with the swaddles, you probably need 2-3 covers so that you have a clean one available in the event of the inevitable blow out/peeing incident, which happens A LOT.

By the time I added up what it would cost to get an average pad and a couple covers, I was at $50-60 already. For the extra $20, you can get this one which can be sprayed down and wiped clean, no covers necessary. And it will last you through multiple kids, unlike the cheaper vinyl ones that inevitably come apart.

My husband thought I was nuts for buying this, but this was the first baby item he said he was glad I bought after a late night change that involved a surprise poo and some spit up. He just wiped the thing down, and we were back in business.

A Travel Changing Pad: I had an extra diaper bag, so this was free for me, but you can get one here.

Yeah, the changing table in the nursery is great, but when you are nursing every hour on the hour, your butt will inevitably be parked on the couch. So, set up a second diaper station with one of these, some cheap burp rags, a pack of wipes, and the rash stuff of choice, and change by the light of the TV at 2 AM. And 4 AM.

Udder Covers Breast Pads: Do not pay full price for these. DO NOT. If you sign up for their emails, or watch your baby boards, you will get “Free ______” emails where you just have to pay for shipping and handling, which is around $12.

Udder Covers, Carseat Canopy, Nursing Pillow, Baby Leggings, and Seven Slings are all part of the same company, so if one has a freebie code kicking around, you can probably find a code for the rest of the sites. Most of their products get pretty crappy reviews.

The breast pads, however, are great, and the company usually offers them free with shipping during National Breastfeeding Week, so that's when I stocked up.

I tried disposables, and they stuck and hurt like HELL to get off, though lanolin does help with that. These are soft and well made, and when they run their promo, you can get 10 pairs for around $12. I think I ended up getting three packs – it's becoming obvious how much I hate doing laundry, I know – and that was a good amount, especially when your milk starts coming in and you need to double them occasionally. I probably could have gotten away with two packs, if I was willing to do laundry more often.

I know people think disposables are more convenient, but they were just not comfortable at all, and you end up doing SO MUCH LAUNDRY anyway, it's really not a hassle to wash the pads. I always threw them in with the baby's laundry.

Obviously, you also need a carseat and whatnot, but this will hopefully help you round out your registry so you're set for month one.