Shit That Saved My Life As A New Parent (and Possibly My Child’s, Too)

Seems like everyone I know is getting pregnant.  I am, of course, super happy for them.  I’m also super happy for me.  Mostly because several of my high school classmates are posting pictures of their grandkids on Facebook.  It’s nice not be the only old lady defying evolution.  *uterus bumps*

Several of these parasite hosts have asked, “What should we register for?”  My answer, usually, is that most of the general online lists have it right, more or less.  But I like specifics.  So do most of my friends.  And seeing as how you guys are my friends, also probably like specifics, and at least half of you have uteri, I thought you might like a list of specifics, too.  So here’s my list of “Shit That Saved My Life As A New Parent (and Possibly My Child’s, Too).”

Butt Sticks – So the manufacturer calls them by  different name, but mine is more memorable.  These things are fantastic.  If you are foolish enough to use cloth diapers (I did it with baby #1 then wised-up.), these won’t ruin them.  I love my kids, but fingering their bung holes isn’t my favorite part of parenting.  I think we had pink eye five times in the first three months.  With these sticks, your hands stay clean!  Plus they’re totally non-toxic and smell great.  Your kid could eat them.  But that would be gross.  And they work on everything – not just butts.  Baby #2 battles eczema in a big way.  I rub butt stick on top of his medicine to prevent it from rubbing off on his clothes.  And when he’s teething, I rub it on his face to keep it dry.  I have multiples of these things in each room.  (Note: Don’t use the same stick you rub on baby’s ass on his face.  Or eat the butt one.  Probably shouldn’t eat the face one either, even if they aren’t toxic.)

OXO Wipe Boxes –  I could take or leave the wipe warmers and that whole scene.  But then I tried to open a package of wipes with two shit-covered hands while holding a squirming shit-covered kid down with one elbow and shooing away curious cats with the other.  Then I discovered these things on an outing to T.J. Maxx.  Then I tried them.  Then I bought one for every room.  One-handed wipes for the win!

OXO Bottle Brushes – Tiny cleaning brushes.  On a key ring.  Brilliance.

Life Factory Bottles and Teething Rings – As a cancer survivor, I’m pretty crazy about avoiding BPA’s.  Certifiable even.  And sure, you can buy BPA free plastic these days, but what have they replaced them with?  Whatever it is, you can bet your ass it’s too new to know all it’s bodily repercussions.  I use glass for everything I can.  Silicone for what I can’t.  I love this company and my kids dig their bottles and teething rings.  You can wear the teething rings like bracelets making them 70% harder to forget.  Bonus?  When the wee ones move on to sippy cups, you can buy the caps to use on the bottles you already have.  Your wallet and the planet will thank you.  You can get these guys at most Whole Foods these days, too.

Pack N Play – I can’t recommend a specific one of these guys because I never bought one.  I can’t pass up a free hand-me-down.  It’s not in my garage-sale-scouring, dumpster-diving, thrift-shop-hunting nature.  But if I had to do it all again, I think I’d pony up for one of those fancy new models complete with the bassinet and changing area and and and….Then you don’t have to buy bassinets or co-sleepers or even a crib for quite some time.  Extra bonus if you travel to visit people EVER.  I suggest buying a mattress and some sheets, too.  Boob juice gets on EVERYTHING.

Little Remedies – Know what else I’m crazy about post cancer?  Artificial colors.  Artificial sweeteners.  Parabens.  Phalates.  All the creepy stuff in all the medicines. But I trust this brand.  Well, I trust it more than any of the others out there anyway.  I keep the Acetaminophen, saline mist, and cold rub on hand at all times.

Cetaphil – There are millions of lotions and unguents designed for the short set.  With Sam’s skin issues, we’ve tried ’em all.  Turns out my trusty cetaphil works better than all of them combined.  If you hate the idea of using a commercial moisturizer, coconut oil works, too.  This just works better.  I’d suggest replacing your lotion with this magic, too.

Jaque the Peacock – Both boys went nuts for this guy.  They love all of the Lamaze toys, honestly.  Stevie Wonder (Paul’s name, not the company’s) is almost as big a hit as Jaque.  I won’t leave the house without them.  There’s one attached to the car seat and one attached to the stroller.  Usually I attach one to Rocco, too.

Magic Cube – Both boys loved (and still love) this thing.  The sound quality is pleasantly surprising.  Sadly, there is no volume control, but electrical tape over the speaker goes a long way.

Belly Band – Since both of my kids were hacked out of my body, I can’t really recommend this for a vaginal birth.  It may or may not work.  If it’s all the same to you, I’m not going to find out for myself.  For a C-section though, this thing was hella amazing.  I kept mine on for almost two months.

Diaper Genie – We fought this long and hard.  We weren’t the type of lemming-like consumers that needed an over-priced, over-specialized product like this instead of a good, old fashioned trash can, were we?  We were.  We are.  If you live in any kind of small place, you need one.  Especially once your crotch maggot starts on solids.  Blech.  And yes, it’s totally worth it to get the model you can open with your foot.  (See Wipe Boxes above.)

Play Mat – If someone you know with kids sends you something you didn’t register for, pay attention.  Not me.  I’m totally gonna send you a useless gag gift.  But other people, I mean.  Real, responsible people.  I had no intention of getting one of these things, but received this one as a gift.  Life.  Saver.  Plop it right on top of your un-vacuumed, cat hair-encrusted floor and BAM!  Clean play space!  With toys hanging off of it!  That you can wash!  (Boob juice, remember?)  The kind that evolve with the kids look pretty cool, too.

Bjorn – Some don’t like these.  And yes, they aren’t the best for newborns.  A Moby works better until about 3 months.  But after that?  Shit.  These are the bomb.  Better back support.  Snuggly winter covers.  Easy access.  Dads, grandpas, and uncles are willing to wear them, too.  I have two.  TWO.  I am that crazy about them.

Nasal Aspirator – Quite possibly the single most important thing you have.  My kids turn out snot like Michael Bay turns out bad movies.  Babies can’t eat if they can’t breathe through their noses.  Babies that can’t eat stay hungry.  Hungry babies are assholes.  These snot suckers are so effective, I’d swear they remove cerebral fluid as well.  Sadly, the store-bought models all suck.  Or rather, they don’t suck.  Fortunately, your new baby comes with one.  It’s like Barbie and her hairbrush.  You can never buy another hairbrush that works as well.  (Probably.  It’s been a long ass time since I bought a Barbie.)  STEAL AS MANY OF THESE FROM THE HOSPITAL AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.

Nail Clippers – Babies will cut you.  Mine came out with talons and a tail.  Ok, just talons.  Thank goodness for C-sections.  Otherwise I’m fairly certain my vaginal walls would have looked like the inside of a coffin after someone was buried alive in there.  Take them with you to the hospital.  Assuming you value your eyes, of course.

Rectal Thermometer – Because no registry list – be it wedding, housewarming, or otherwise – is complete without the word “rectal” on it somewhere.  Make sure it’s a quick-read model.  The one they send you home from the hospital with takes about as long to ding as a frozen Thanksgiving turkey.  And when your kid gets bigger, this model doubles as a pretend screwdriver for removing door knobs.  Remember to wash your hands when you visit, k?

Swaddle Blankets – First, read Happiest Baby on the Block.  Then buy swaddle blankets.  Aden and Anais.  And a noise machine.  And sleep sacks.

Wet Bags – Baby #2 has yet to meet a diaper that he couldn’t destroy in a single shit.  That kid cannot be contained.  But shit-saturated onesies (and sheets, and swaddle blankets, and sleep sacks) really should be.  I have quite a few of these.  Having a snap loop is surprisingly helpful, too.  And when they’re done flinging feces, I figure they’ll be handy at the pool.

Take Care of your Tits – I’ve had mastitis more times than I’ve pined to be best friends with NPH.  And nipple yeast infections.  And clogged ducts.  And milk blisters. This latest round, my nipples bled for four months.  Four.  Months.  FOURMONTHS.  And…look – just be good to your boobs.  Buy good nursing bras (soft cotton, no underwires EVER).  Get a few nursing camisoles.  Buy Lanisoh in bulk.  Have a heating pad or hot water bottle.  Take probiotics.  Buy them nice beer and administer liberally.

Overnight Diapers – I don’t care if you’re using cloth ( I liked these, for the record), or pampers or another hippie brand (these creep me out the least).  When it comes time to put that vagina vermin down for the night, put ’em in an overnight.  Sleep.  Sleep is your priority.  These help.  Promise.

Oh Lord the Laundry – The weekly volume of laundry you’ll need to turn out just quadrupled with a baby.  And that’s assuming you use disposable diapers.  Both Nellie’s and Seventh Generation worked for us without upsetting baby#2’s nightmarishly sensitive skin.  Eco sticks work on most stains.  But sometimes, we need big guns.  *flexes muscles*  Oh, the other kind.  I’ve yet to see a poop nor purée that this stuff couldn’t remove – even after drying.

Stroller – Do not fuck around here.  Do not cheap out.  Do not cave to your spouse saying, “We’re in the middle of moving.  No we don’t have time to go test drive one.  They’re all the same.  Just register for one already.”  Because then you’ll end up buying four before, three months into your second kid, you find the perfect one that you really should have just bought in the mother effing beginning.  Like this one, for example.  Get air wheels.  Big ones.  And make sure you can push it with one hand.  Test it on linoleum.  Trust  me.

iPad – Trapped nursing all night long?  Illuminated books.  Baby hysterically screaming at 3am and you’re convinced he has Ebola?  WebMD at your fingertips.  Can’t remember which boob you’re on?  This app went a long way to calming my Type A ass down.

Beer – I thought I’d want wine.  I didn’t.  At all.  I was too dried out from birthing and boobing.  After playing 6 sets of tennis on a clay court at high noon in July, do you rub a glass of red wine across your forehead?  Didn’t think so.  Eight months later, I still prefer beer.  Go buy it now before you’re distracted by the kid.  Who cares if everyone in the liquor store shoots you dirty looks as you load your shopping cart(s) with cases of brew?  It’ll be well worth it.  Trust me.

I’m sure you all have more to add.  Go for it.  Even if it’s just a specific beer recommendation.


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