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    Entries in amazon (1)


    step away from the amazon list

    Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


    When you're pregnant, especially when you're pregnant with your first child, you're the world's most vulnerable consumer. You're a target for retailers, purveyors of all things teensy, pink and blue (and green -- with frogs -- if you're the sort of spoilsport who chooses to deny your baby shower attendees the personal fulfillment that comes with knowing whether to buy the onesie that reads Daddy's Little #1 All-Star Football Champion or the onesie with puffed sleeves and a glittery ADORABLE! applique). You have nearly ten months to daydream about the person you'll be meeting, and you want to make them happy. You want to make them so deliriously happy that you, poor daydreamy pregnant lady, will take "advice" from a website that suggests things you might like to purchase, you know, out of the goodness of its heart. Because It just wants to help.


    7 month pregnant, summertime me

    Preparing for a first baby is kind of like getting ready to welcome an exchange student: you can run all over town looking for Vegemite, hang up Australian flags and learn the most current slang, but odds are the kid will just want to take a nap and hang out with some nice people. I'm the first to admit that I fell prey to the buy-this-now mentality of preparing for parenthood. I wanted my bases covered, and who was I to argue with Pregnancy magazine, or that person's "must have" list, or the people I knew who already had kids? If someone had told me that all my kid really needed was an attentive, loving, present parent, a place to sleep and some diapers, I'd have been skeptical but grateful. Well, if I had it to do over again, here's what I wouldn't buy, and what I would.

    I Would NOT Buy:

    1. A bumbo. There's a reason babies that age can't sit up. Give it... like, a week and a half, oh wait? He's sitting up. Now he's walking. Just let the kid roll around for awhile and be developmentally appropriate!

    2. A bouncer. George hated it. He was not impressed by the "mid-century modern styling" or iPod dock. I wanted to hold my baby, and he wanted to be held. Nature's bounciest bouncer is a walking mama whose milk's just come in. I don't come with an iPod dock, but my rendition of A Bushel and a Peck is not too shabby.

    3. An infant car seat. We didn't -- just went straight for the convertible -- and never wished we had one of what we lovingly call "the buckets." When we went to a restaurant, we held George so he could be a part of the action and nurse if he wanted, while we ate. At the store, he was strapped to mama or papa. No flat head, no giant contraptions to accommodate in small eateries. 

    4. Any baby food making supplies. I got a food mill and special baby-stomach-portion-sized silicone freezer trays that were glorified ice cube trays at four times the price of the ones meant for water. You know what works for mushing up food? Forks. Your fingers. Popping something on the stove to steam or in the microwave to soften doesn't take long, and if my kid is freaking out, Ican'twait hungry, I should've been paying better attention to his cues. 

    5. Toys. You'll get hand-me-downs and gifts, and unless something really speaks to you like George's Waldorf teether doll (hates it) did to me, you don't need to buy it. If you know any older babies, see what they gravitate toward. See if yours takes an interest in anything, and if you can find something similar at a consignment or second hand shop.

    6. Brand new parenting books. With the exception of the Sears' Baby Book, I don't need to own any of the books I've bought. Borrow from the library, or, if you're a bibliophile like I am, check thrift store shelves for deals. 

    7. A separate sleep space (crib, hammock, pack & play). It saves money, and it's nice to sleep with your family. It also makes breastfeeding easier, and the store will still be there if, after the baby's born, he turns out to be one of those have-to-sleep-alone types. 

    8. Shoes. Why did I buy shoes? They were just so cute. Those tiny Adidas still call to me. They call, "we cost $30 and never fit your kid!" 

    9. "Normal" clothes. If I think about my ideal wardrobe, it would consist of things with elastic waist bands, made of the softest knit imaginable. Socks that don't leave marks on my calves. Shirts that don't bunch up at my armpits or pull across my back. Nothing that gives me a muffintop. Nothing uncomfortable, ever. Then, still, people would somehow always think I looked completely precious. Babies have that last bit covered, so don't try to stuff their little bellies into jeans no matter how cute they are or what a great clearance sale Gap is having. 

    10. Fancy cloth diapers. Don't get me wrong, here: I LOVE cloth diapers. Constantly buying things for someone to crap into would be unbearable for me. But, I bought a giant stash of Bumgenius at $16something a pop only to discover after a few months of use that -- for US -- they leak, don't fit that well and get stinky no matter how diligently I strip them or painstakingly I make my own detergent. The prefolds and consignment shop covers, however, that total around $4 per set are reliable workhorses.

    gratuitous newborn cuteness

    Now, onto the positive. DO Buy:

    1. An Ergo. Baby wearing saved my relationship with my son. He wanted to be in my arms at all times, and I was a frustrated, tired mama who could get nothing done between hourly, 30-45 minute-long feedings. George learned to sleep in the Ergo and it was like having a new lease on life. 

    2. A king sized bed. We didn't originally intend to co-sleep, but clingy daytime George didn't turn independent once the clock struck nine PM. We tried to make our double bed work until tax season made a new mattress a possibility. Every night when we all snuggle into bed, it still feels like a luxury.

    3. Our highchair. It's small enough to fit in our little kitchen, is all wood and inoffensive. It was also $60 (take that, Stokke). It converts into a little chair and table, and I love to imagine toddler George sitting there, helping himself. 

    4. Cloth diapers. Just not the fancy ones.

    5. A sling for papa. One he will actually wear. Nathan was able to bond with George by wearing him, and it's still their special, sure-fire nap time spot. 

    6. Dr. Sears' Baby Book. Even though some of my friends were attached parents, I felt awash in unsolicited, unhelpful advice when my baby was pegged as "needy," "fussy" or "high-maintenance." When I found Dr. Sears, and read that it was OKAY to sleep with my baby, GOOD to feed him when he seemed hungry rather than on a schedule, HEALTHY to keep him close by wearing him, it felt nothing short of revolutionary. Dr. and Martha Sears have solved so many of my "problems" just by encouraging me to follow my instincts to provide loving care to my child. 

    7. An iPod or Kindle or something to entertain you. Gazing at your beautiful newborn is great for awhile, but when you're nursing for eight hours a day, you need something to do so you're not frustrated, trying to hurry him up. 

    8. Good quality toiletries: body wash/shampoo, diaper cream and massage oil. Don't skimp on the products that go on your naked baby. 

    9. A few pretty, functional mobiles. I made ours, and the black, white and gray one that hung over George's changing table for the first few months was the first thing he smiled at.

    10. Nice nursing bras that fit you. Get fitted by a professional at Nordstrom or a local lingerie shop (NOT Victoria's Secret). Don't underestimate the difference this can make in your day to day. 

    magical Ergo

    We made a lot of mistakes and continue to buy things we don't need, but I hope these top and bottom ten lists help someone avoid the "Amazon recommends" trap that is so easy to trip right into when your eyes are starry and nine months seems forever away. 


    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: