Partner’s Post: Presents and Presence

Two questions!

1. If you have a baby, what are the top three must-have baby items — aside from the obvious necessities like crib and car seat and diapers — to include on your registry? (Do you adore your Diaper Genie? Sophie the Giraffe? Baby Einstein DVDs?) What is the most useless baby gadget? (Did that bottle warmer just take up counter space? How about the wipes warmer? Did Junior never get around to wearing those uber-expensive newborn-sized Converse?)

2. Who was or will be present on the big D-Day? How did you and your partner decide? Did you or will you include your parent(s)? (I ask because PartnerA’s mother is insisting incessantly and with frightening intensity that she be present at Bingo’s birth, even though neither PartnerA nor I wish for her to be present.)

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14 thoughts on “Partner’s Post: Presents and Presence

  1. I’m assuming you will have the really necessary stuff, like a carseat. Besides that, I recommend those really thin muslin blankets (anais something sells them) and some toys r us baby washcloths. I really liked having more than one boppy, because I am bone lazy. I wish we hadn’t waited so long to get a real white noise machine — this is vastly superior to our cd of downloaded water sounds. Extra waterproof crib mats are awesome, because that means you can achieve the all important sheet sandwich (mattress cover, sheet, waterproof mat, sheet) that means you only have to take one layer off, not remake the bed, when someone pukes at 3 am. King-sized pillowcases fit our bassinet mattress and our changing table cover, giving us more decorating choices. FYI. This is more than three; sorry. What I’d really like is toddler tranquilizing darts so mine would nap.

    D-day was me, my wife, a doula (plus my horrorshow OB and the largely wonderful hospital staff). I sort of wanted to ask my mom, but that would have meant asking my mil, and NO. This time, I just want my wife and a better doula. I would have liked visits afterwards from more people (our families do not live here), but hell no to anyone else in the delivery room.

  2. diaper genie, bouncer, aden and anais swaddling blankets are my three top pics. oh and the binky clips for outings, those are very handy. i also love the wipe warmer, though i view it as somewhat of a luxury item that is quite unnecessary, but its nice for a tiny new bottom in the winter months.

    useless items… um, aspirators other than the hospital style ones (at least for us), and baby shoes. our daughters could barely keep baby sized socks on, and shoes on babies are silly, but cute sometimes.

    for me it was just my wife, for my wife, it was myself and her mom. anyone who you dont want there, SHOULD NOT be there. its your moment, and unwanted guests may create unnecessary tension/drama. the world can wait, when your baby is being born, the world (and everyone in it) can wait. just my thoughts, hope you are both feeling well!

  3. Those Aden & Anais muslin blankets are indeed awesome, but seem to be popular gifts (we got four sets and that was before bonny Prince George). Same goes for Sophies (we got two), so you may not need to register for either. I love Bionic’s rec for a sound machine. That was priceless in the beginning and not something we would have ever thought of. For us, the Miracle Blanket was the best swaddler on the planet and we were glad to have two of them. Anything with “warmer” in the name is useless, in my opinion. And if you can get your baby used to drinking cold milk and/or formula from the bottle, your life will be easier later. You can buy a nice garbage can that you’ll be happy to have post-diaper and save yourself the need for a diaper genie (in fact, avoid any baby item that needs refills). Ok, here are my top three: 1)Miracle blanket 2)good quality hooded bath towels that will last into toddlerhood (not those paper thin ones that come in multi packs) and 3) burp cloths (we had a major spitter and could never have too many).

    I was not about to have anyone in the delivery room besides my wife, the doula, and medical people (and that was even being generous – I might have preferred doing it alone). My mother isn’t alive, so it wasn’t an issue (though she would have been in the waiting room had she been), and my MIL knows me well enough not to have even asked. Good luck fending off Partner A’s mom! You gotta do it if that’s what you need.

  4. 1) bouncy seat as this is where the baby would nap the best, 2) Moby wrap (or some type of carrier) and 3) Boppy for breastfeeding support

    I had my wife, MIL and best girl friend in the room during labor BUT only the wife and I were present for the actual birth. I wanted the wife to have someone to lean on for support during the labor so she wouldn’t feel as if she had to take care of me by herself. But, I wanted the actual birth to be a special time for our family.

  5. I obviously needed bionicbrooklynite to help me plan my registry… We love the small sturdy fan we got (I think the brand might have been Summer) from toys r us. It makes sufficient white noise and has run every night for 3 years. Also, it sounds like a fan and not like static which, if you’re me, will ensure sanity during late night visits. Cloth diapers (even if you aren’t) are brilliant for mopping up everything. I couldn’t have too many bibs but that’s because I’m an incredibly lazy laundress. As for the big day itself, we had that baby alone in the hospital with no family or friends. I’m not sure I would recommend that route – our friends were dog sitting and coming post-birth and we didn’t invite our mothers or sisters (who don’t live nearby) mainly because we weren’t sure when RR would be born and we selfishly wanted our first weeks with our baby to be just us. Admittedly, that was partly so we could figure out what we were doing. In peace.

  6. We don’t have babies yet, so I can’t be much help on the list. I am planning to have my partner (B) and my mother present at the birth (if she can get here in time). But I have a close relationship with my mother and she was a nurse for many years, so she can help out with negotiating medical stuff. B has a good relationship with her too, which is very important.

    Also, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award on my blog.

  7. Giving birth is a wonderful, unique, and very special experience – but it is also long, painful, difficult, and stressful (not to mention very personal). For that reason, the woman giving birth should have the absolute final say in who is in the delivery room. If Partner A doesn’t want her mother in the delivery room she has every right to say so and shame on her mother for giving either of you a hard time for that.

    Good luck to both of you standing up for what is right for your little family of two (soon to be three).

  8. Most useful: 1. Baby wearing implements – we used a Moby when Critter was tiny, then graduated to a Mei Tai. Critter was utterly convinced that he would die if we put him down, so he had to be carried/worn All. The. Time. For the first several months. Wearing him saved our sanity, or at least what we managed to retain of it. Plus, I enjoy babywearing. Even if your kid will let you put him/her down, they’re very handy. 2. White noise source- we have a Sleep Sheep (and a travel Sleep Sheep), and they are both wonderful and terrible. Wonderful because they make white noise in a few varieties, and they’re portable, and they help a lot. Terrible, because they have two time settings, which are something like 13 and 26 minutes, and what they really need is a third setting called something like “Until I Damn Well Tell You To Stop”. At least with Critter, if we didn’t hit the button and reset the thing in time, as PB liked to put it, “the Island exploded”. We also have a fan in our room, and when we moved Critter into his own room at night, got one for him too. They’re white noise and circulating air, and I am very fond of both of these things. Plus I read somewhere that circulating air decreases a baby’s SIDS risk, and that’s never a bad thing. 3. A diaper bag big enough to haul everything around – it doesn’t have to be something that’s marketed as a diaper bag, if that’s not your style, but babies seem to necessitate a lot of crap, and you’ll want something handy to carry it in. 4. Bonus item: board and picture books that you can read over and over again at least half a dozen times *in a row* without completely losing your mind. If you have a book that you don’t think you could read at least 10 times in a day without wanting to rip it to shreds and then set fire to the bits, just get rid of it now, and save yourself the mental anguish.

    Those were some of the things we found vital with Critter, but the best advice I got on the subject came from a friend, when I asked her what she had found necessary. She said that you won’t know for sure what kind of family you’ll be until you meet your baby. For example, we were given a swing, and found it somewhat useful, in that Critter would tolerate being in it for a little while, and sometimes even a few minutes of relative freedom was a treat. I’ve also heard of babies who absolutely wouldn’t stand for being in a swing at all, and others that completely loved being in them. It’s a little hard to predict.

    Since you mentioned the bottle warmer specifically, I will say that we still use ours. Critter likes his morning milk (cow milk now, but still) warmed, thank you. We also got one that you can put small jars (like baby food jars) in, and we still use it to heat small portions of food (think something like a side of leftover broccoli, for example). We never even considered getting a wipe warmer, though.

    As for who we had there for the big event, it was just PB, me, and our doula. Well, plus the OB, a nurse, and I think a medical assistant student were all there for his actual emergence. But for the majority of the time it was just her, me, and the doula. I liked that system a lot, and we’ll be doing our best to recreate it this time around. I would tell PartnerA’s mother in no uncertain terms that she will not be there. (Not that it sounds like she’ll listen well.) She doesn’t live super-close, does she? Is she going to come visit you to “help out” around the general time of Bingo’s birth? Because if she’s not going to be nearby, I would just not even tell her when PartnerA goes into labor. Just call her after Bingo is born.

    Good luck!

  9. I love my carrier (catbird baby). We also found the summer infant co-sleeper to be very valuable for the first few months until we felt comfortable just having him in the bed. Third, I wish I had picked up a second pump sooner. Carting it all over the house was not fun. It was so much easier to have one set up upstairs and one downstairs until I went back to work when I kept one upstairs and one at work.

    Other than my my wife and myself, we had our doula, my mom and my MIL present at birth. To be honest I wanted a homebirth with a house full of friends and family so having three non hospital people felt comforting. There was a long list of rules for the moms and I would not have thought twice of kicking them out if they broke them though. Fortunately they believed the I would and really wanted to be present so all boundaries were respected 😉

    Our dads, my brother and a few friends were waiting in the waiting room and visited about an hour and a half after birth. Once my son was born I asked everyone to leave for an hour so we could bond. It was not the hospital’s typical procedure but they respected my wishes and did not remove him from me after birth. He was weighed and measured a few hours later after spending time with us and nursing.

  10. must haves:
    mybaby soundspa lullaby sound machine and projector. Tabitha is now used to the ocean white noise, play it every time she sleeps. the projection is awesome!! I point it at the wall when I am holding her and jiggling her to sleep.. she stares at it until her eyes close. I would die without this thing.
    snuggabunny baby bouncer or any bouncy chair. you need a place to set the baby down when you want to eat, go to the bathroom, etc. also the boppy infant positioner is great for that too. I use it all the time.
    if breastfeeding, “my brest friend” hands down a life saver.

  11. also she has started spitting up more. so ee go through a gazillion cloth diaper burp cloths s day.
    the aiden and anais muslin blankets have been awesome too.
    & she liked having warm wipes as a newborn, shr cried less with warm.wipes but I got our warmer from.someone who never used theirs.
    love the stroller base that the car seat snaps in to.
    waste : snugglenest..she hated that thing.
    so far she has hated the swing too. oh well.
    she hasn’t liked the baby bjorn, but it is mucj easier to use than the ergo baby carrier.

  12. Oh goodness, good questions! My essentials are moby wrap, gripe water, and amber teething necklace. Seriously. The non-essentials are the diaper genie, wipes warmer and changing table. I just changed my kiddo where ever we happened to be at the time.

    We also very much love the Gigglebellies in this house. Learn it, live it, love it. It’s like baby crack. When Bingo is bigger, he/she will love the crap out of it! 🙂

  13. oh yes. And the amber teething necklace. We put it on Gus when he came home from the hospital for about a week and put it back on him at around three months and he has worn it ever since. I also loved the “my breast friend” pillow. I also used a “timer” thing for nursing/diapers/sleeping to keep track but today I would probably use a good app instead (I LOVE baby connect app)

  14. Here’s a list I compiled on my blog: http://queerfemmemama.wordpress.com/tag/baby-stuff/

    My top pic is a great baby carrier. A stretchy wrap, sling or mei tai for when the baby is tiny and then a structured carrier (Ergo, Manduca, Beco or Boba) for when the babe is bigger. A second hand bouncy chair will be very useful in the early days when you need to put the baby down. And a good nursing pillow/chair set-up. Congratulations to both of you!

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