What a girl needs Part I :: What stuff does a baby actually need?

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Before the arrival of Bolle, alongside attempts at finishing the whole semester at University by medio March and moving from Bergen to Stavanger in a state rendering me unable to carry any boxes as my arms were way too short, I also tried to equip the household for the arrival of the baby. 

It might be a bit too early, but I thought it time to take stock of what we actually found we needed for Bolle.  As is the case for everything to do with babies, one receives a lot of unsolicited advice, about most of which the advisor feels extremely strongly.  Here is my interim evaluation of 5 random pieces of advice received before birth…

1. «Get a bouncy chair.»
We got a bouncy chair.  We used it like 20 times maybe.  There was a brief phase of two to three weeks when Bolle could not flip over from back to belly by herself, when I had to use it every time I wanted to spend more than 30s in the toilet.  She also sat in it while we had dinner for a few weeks, but in the end she was happier on her play mat or in my lap.

When I showered when she was really young, she was in the softbag from her stroller, as the white noise of water sent her straight to sleep.

Our bouncy chair is a very nice BabyBjørn model, and it has a great bounce.  She once fell asleep in it, and she likes the toy.

My physiotherapist friend says it’s OK to use it «in moderation», but I can tell she doesn’t really mean it.  Instead I allow Bolle to sit in her car seat for strolls on a regular basis.  That makes it OK, right..?

Verdict:

Sort of meh.  Certainly not an essential.  Basically we’ve used slings, laps and mats instead.  Though maybe if you spoonfeed it could be useful for entertaining the baby while it eats?

2. «Get a huge changing bag»

How can you need a bag bigger than the person it’s for`…

I ignored this advice, mostly because I never got around to getting a large one, and used the Petunia Pickle Bottom small one I was given by a friend.


Verdict:
Unnecessary.  I don’t even know what other people keep in those massive bags!  I’m sure it will change, but I hardly even use the small changing bag now.  I just stuff some diapers in a pocket or in my regular handbag.

Breastfeeding and BLW means hardly ever having to take bottles or large quantities of food, and the small bag still fits two diapers, a few wipes, a changing mat, two muslins and clean underwear for Bolle.

3. «Get more muslins than you can shake a stick at.»
I think these muslin cloths are the sort that people used to fold and use as diapers in the olden days.

Bolle enjoys a muslin-capped nap in the sun

As it turned out, Bolle doesn’t spit up much, so you’d think these were non-essentials.

However, they have a gazillion uses!  They are sun screens when we go for a stroll with the pram, cuddly toys at bedtime, bra liners to catch milk leaks, hats for Bolle when she’s in the sling, and I’ve even fashioned a makeshift sling with two of them when I was in a pinch.

Verdict:
A bit boring, but really great!

4. «Get lots of newborn baby clothes so you have to do less washing.»
As we inherited all our newborn stuff, we had so much size 50 and 56 clothing that she wore a lot of stuff like once.  Maybe I’m a lazy mother, maybe she was just better at shitting at the wall than in her onesies (my rule was «if it’s not covered in poo, it’s still wearable», but somehow she usually lasted a whole day in each outfit.

Verdict:
I actually think the baby book I read was right, saying you need six sleepsuits and six day outfits.  You end up with so many dirty muslins and towels and bedsheets with milk stains that you always have a full wash anyway.

5. «Get a good pram»

As sold by Baby Nest

My boyfriend’s family bought this for us, which meant that I felt slightly less guilty splashing out on a new one (that’s what his siblings did so..).

We got the in my eyes ridiculously expensive Emmaljunga City Nitro with a softbag, and although the softbag was very handy, as soon as Bolle could hold her head up, she found it boring and tried to do situps down there as she couldn’t see anything.

Fortunately we also got a car seat adapter for it, so we’ve mostly used it with our Britax car seat instead of with the pram bit since then.

Verdict:
It’s handy for a change, but carrying makes Bolle a lot more convenient to take along.  I’d probably feel different if I relied more on walking long distances to get places.

I’ve actually been surprised at how little stash one needs for a fully breastfed baby.  I’ve still got money left over from what I was given by the lovely Norwegian State when she was born, even including lots of disposable diaper purchases.

When people complain that it takes them ages to get out the door with a newborn, I think it’s partly because they get bogged down with trying to remember a thousand pieces of random kit they think they need, which appears to me a nigh on impossible task given one’s reduction in cognitive capacity due to sleep deprivation.  Or maybe I am a dirty hippie mum after all.

Look fwd to the next part of this series:  Great advice and the things we really couldn’t do without :o)