Since I became an expert (i.e. since I had a baby), I am often asked by expectant mamas what out of the millions of baby products offered they will actually NEED for their child. This is my answer:
A few soft onesies/gowns, depending on the season
A few soft flannel blankets
A safe car seat with extended rear facing capabilities
A safe and comfortable baby carrier
My list is pretty minimal, and fairly inexpensive. It really doesn’t cost much to have a baby. If you are going to splurge on any item on this list, splurge on the baby carrier.
I always knew I would wear my baby. I saw the mamas walking around the farmers market with baby in a wrap and went green with envy. But, in all seriousness, I wanted to wear my baby mostly because I thought it was cute – fashionable, even – much like the Birkenstocks many of these mamas also wore. When I got pregnant I registered for a Moby Wrap. I loved the look of the stretchy solid grey wrap and the newborn snuggled up in it. But during my pregnancy I had the opportunity to try out the Moby on my 6 month old cousin and discovered how cumbersome it can be to put on. It is HUGE, the fabric is very stretchy, and getting baby situated safely in the wrap felt akin to rocket science (though there are many mamas out there who love their Moby’s and, I am sure, can put them on in a flash.) After doing some research online and at the recommendation of another cousin who works part time as a nanny, I registered for an Ergo baby carrier. The Ergo is more expensive than the Moby (and other options that can be bought at Target, Walmart, and Babys-R-Us), but, for me, safety and comfort definitely come before cost. The Ergo features adjustable straps (the same carrier fits both my husband and myself comfortably), a wide seat for baby (to support her hips and spine – as opposed to a “crotch dangler”), and can be worn on the front, hip, or back. It can be bought in conjuntion with a newborn insert so that the same carrier can be used for a baby from birth-toddlerhood.
When I did not receive an Ergo at my baby shower, I was dissapointed. I did, however, receive a Moby, and after Eliza’s birth confirmed that I am not a fan. Although I could get her wrapped snuggly, it took ages and the fabric had so much give that I never felt comfortable with much range of motion - which basically defeats the purpose. I held out for Christmas, vowing that if I did not receive an Ergo (the one thing I really wanted) I would buy one. My parents came through with a beautiful green organic Ergo – not the one I picked out, but one I like even better. I used it for the first time on Christmas day 2011 when Eliza was 1 month old.
Heading into West Town Mall for some after Christmas shopping.
These last 15 months, Eliza, the Ergo, and I have been inseperable.
We’ve played pool.
We’ve cooked (and eaten) many dinners.
We’ve folded countless loads of laundry and stuffed countless diapers.
We’ve shared with Daddy.
We’ve voted AGAINST Amendment One (The Defense of Marriage Act)
(Look at those toes!!!)
We’ve cleaned our new home, packed our old home, and moved.
We’ve taken about a million walks.
We’ve rambled in the woods.
We’ve hiked alone and with others.
We’ve napped while mommy and daddy fished.
(I’ve found that the Ergo makes a handy changing pad…or sleeping surface if you are like us and lay your baby down for naps in the forest.)
We’ve visited Asheville and eaten at Early Girl Eatery (my favorite!)
We’ve ridden the chair lift at Tweetsie (several times)
We’ve ridden the Merry-Go-Round, too.
And a ferry.
We have graduated to back carrying
I found that as a younger baby, Eliza preferred to be on my front where she could see me and snuggle into my chest (and nurse!) But, as she has gotten older, wearing her on my back has offered her the same view of the world as I have while freeing me up to garden, cook, ect. without worrying about jostling her or spilling things on her head.
We’ve split wood.
We’ve visited the Fort Fisher aquarium.
(Where we nursed in public in the Ergo for the first of many times.)
We’ve walked on piers.
We’ve walked on the beach.
We’ve played in the waves.
We’ve played in the park, walked the sidewalks, and shopped in Blowing Rock many times.
We’ve watched Daddy march in the Honor Guard in two different parades.
We’ve been to church.
We’ve been to parties.
We’ve grocery shopped, in the Ergo, every two weeks since December 2011.
We’ve eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We’ve cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We’ve eaten out at restaurants.
We’ve used the Ergo to get Eliza to sleep.
We’ve used the Ergo to soothe her when she is sick.
We’ve used the Ergo to nurse her while pushing a shopping cart.
We’ve even….used the bathroom.
When a tired new mother complains that her baby won’t sleep without her holding him, I say wear your baby.
When a parent complains they can’t get anything done because they can’t put the baby down, I say wear your baby.
When a parent wants freedom from a stroller, I say wear your baby.
It will be a sad day when Eliza outgrows our Ergo, though it won’t be for many months.
Luckily, this is in our future.
Tula Toddler Carrier