Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Newborn Gift Guide – Part 2

3/26/11 Newborn Gift Guide – Part 2
Originally at:

By Mike Shinn

Newborn Gift Guide - Part II

If you had a chance to read Part I of the Newborn Gift Guide, you might notice that I have my favorite baby items but am critical of others. In Part II of the gift guide, I have continued my list of practical items to add to your baby registry. The items listed in Part II are intended to be higher on the priority list as you will want all of these things sooner than later. Baby Sling: You will need one of these and use it more than you know. This is the type of gift that you can put a lot of research into online and still be as uninformed as when you started. The best way to find out which is best for you is to ask around and try them out. Test out your friends' slings and try others in a store - bring in 10 or 20 lbs of weight or stack up heavy toys inside if you have to. Be sure to have one of the professional sales staff adjust your sling for you. In my case, we received a Bjorn as a gift from a coworker. I was skeptical until our schnauzer willingly tried it out with me. I think that she still yearns to be carried around in it. Cost: $30-150

Changing Table: There are a lot of products out on the market for this, and many of them are expensive. I was surprised to see cheap plastic tables going for well over $100. Even more frustrating - many of these in the showroom were single-purpose items. In other words, after using the changing table for a couple of years, you're stuck with dismantling and adding to the landfill. There are alternatives, though. My wife and I purchased a standard wooden dresser from the Unity Shoppe downtown and saved a lot of money. It looks nice and we can use it when we're finally finished diapering. Alternatively, consider a pack-n-play. This is a collapsible and somewhat portable baby bed/playpen with optional changing-table top attachment. Be sure to get a table with a dock or drawer to store spare diapers and wipes. Placing them on the table itself may work at first, but only until your newborn learns to kick. Cost: $60-500

Changing Pad: Now that you have your changing table, consider getting a changing pad. This will turn your flat, hard surface into a concave foam fortress. You will also want a few washable covers - even the easiest of kids will have messy mishaps. Cost: $10-25

Baby Bath: Done right, this can be an inexpensive and fun item. Read up on the reviews for the bath that's right to you. Not all children will grow to remember baths given to them in the kitchen sink as I do. I don't recommend going all out on this item. Your baby just needs to be clean and safe, not given a spa treatment. Cost: $20-80

Cute Towels: Now that they're out of the tub, it's time to dry them off. There's nothing cuter than a kid in a towel costume. These are gaining in popularity - now it is easier to find towels with the corner folded over and eyes or horns sewn in the top. Convincing your child that bath time is finished is a little easier when they have a fun towel to wrap up in. Cost: $12-40

Bottle Drying Rack: This was an item that I saw in advance of my daughter's birth but was skeptical of. I thought that it was somewhat wasteful. The paper towels that I laid out to dry my bottles on seemed to get me by just fine. It was only after receiving one of these (thanks to points on my think geek account) that I learned the true use of this item. While my paper towels got me by, a drying rack elevates bottles, caps and rubber nipples in order to allow for a better and faster overall dry. Cost: $20

Boppy: I thought that this item was ridiculous before the baby was born - it looked like an oversized portable travel headrest. Its intended use is for breastfeeding mothers - they will wrap this around their waist and rest the child atop so that feeding can proceed without holding the child. This use is nice, but for fathers it is all the better. If you are trapped beneath a sleeping baby, jostling them into a flat position to free yourself when you become uncomfortable is an option that sounds good only to the inexperienced. Strategically using the boppy as a body pillow surrounds your child with the hugging comfort of a parent that doesn't have a bladder that needs to be emptied on occasion. Consider getting a couple of covers for this item. Cost: $15-50

Baby Swing: Some kids can't sleep without them. Still, all children are different. My son wasn't interested in the swing that my daughter loved. You won't know which swing matches to which kid until later - this is a gamble no matter which swing you choose to get, if you choose to get one at all. These also come in a variety of sizes, shapes and features. Your child will not likely pay any attention to the features, so focus on the safety and cost. Cost: $50-200

Reclining Chair: This item may not be at all necessary for you if you plan to feed your child in a chair or couch that you can easily get up from while lifting a sleeping baby. For most of us, this couch does not exist. Consider getting a comfortable chair or at least ottoman for the couch or chair that you most often use. You will be surprised to discover later how often you accidentally fall asleep in it yourself! Cost: Free-$1000 depending on where you purchase. (See my next article for tips on where to purchase in Santa Barbara).

As mentioned in the last article, no one is ever provided with a proper gift guide for newborns. It can also be said that parents of newborns are seldom properly trained or prepared. This can play itself out in many ways. One of the most noticeable is in the review of a baby toy or tool. Too often I was discouraged from purchasing or registering for something because a parent would rate the item as poor quality or unsafe. Later, I would discover that these parents had rated the wrong product, a previous version of the product or were improperly using the product to begin with. Take online reviews with a grain of salt, but take note of general trends in ratings when comparing products before making a decision.

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Manos Diwary said...

I have continued the list of useful items to increase your baby registry. The items classified by Part II are meant to be greater on the concern list while you will want most of these things earlier than later

Toysadvisors said...

Bottle Drying Rack was an item that I saw in advance of my daughter's birth but was skeptical of. I thought that it was somewhat wasteful.

Guacamole Recipes said...

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