Steve & Audra's New (First) Baby Shopping List
Since we have several friends who are having their first baby, we
decided to compile a list of all of the cool things we've discovered
(in some cases after much research) in hopes of possibly helping our
friends save a little time in getting some of the stuff they'll need
for their new baby (and maybe avoid wasting time or money on things
they might not actually need)...
Here we go, in no particular order...
- Babies-R-Us is on the
web (run by Amazon.com), and
also has a nationwide network of stores, related to (but separate
from) the Toys-R-Us chain. The physical store is a great place to
go to set up a registry - you get a hand scanner and walk around
zapping bar codes. I think they also give you a list of things.
Their selection of baby stuff is probably among the best you'll
find in one place. Audra appreciated the fact that the same
registry data was also available online so she could add/delete
items without having to go to the store. One problem is that the
online store doesn't carry everything the physical stores do, like
most of the clothes. If you do find clothes you like at
Babies-R-Us (especially if they're on sale), Steve suggests buying
them on the spot since they probably aren't available online.
Besides, if you do register for them, they'll likely appear on the
list in such a cryptic form that nobody (including you) will have
any idea what they are, or where to find them.
- JCPenney has a great
baby department, and we chose it over Sears because they have a
well-coordinated registry that is available both in the store and
online. Audra liked this because (like Babies-R-Us) people could
shop in-store or online off of the same registry, and because they
have a great selection of baby clothing at reasonable prices.
- Macy's has a pretty good baby department, but they don't have
as many stores nationwide as JCPenney. I don't recall why we
didn't register there -- I think we were just trying to keep
things simple by picking BRU and JCP.
- Gymboree and Baby
Gap have lots of really cute baby clothes. We didn't
choose to register there since they're a bit more expensive than
JCPenney, but received several nice gifts from those stores
- There are lots of stores with baby furniture. However, for
those who live in the Bay Area, we can't say enough about
Lullaby Lane in San
Bruno. They are like the Nordstrom of baby stuff (that is, their
customer service people are top-notch) and are definitely worth
the drive even from the South Bay. We went there on the
recommendation of a friend to check out their glider/rocker chairs
(after not being satisfied with what we found at BRU). We bought
our Relax-R-Rocker there, after spending hours sitting in each of
the floor models they have on display. (To see what a
glider/rocker is, check out this
link for pictures. We bought the model
- We later returned to Lullaby Lane to select a beautiful crib
(which later evolves into a toddler bed) and combo dresser
(changing table and dresser all in one piece of furniture). Again,
their selection is incredible, and the quality of the items they
carry is much higher than you'll find at places like BRU. However,
we might warn you that like most things, some of this stuff ain't
cheap: you get what you pay for.
Strollers, car seats, baby carriers:
- We spent hours looking at the various models of
"stroller/car-seat sets" (aka "Travel Systems"). We decided that
most of these things are too big, heavy, and cumbersome to deal
with in the car. The mother-to-be should definitely
practice collapsing and lifting any tentative stroller purchase in
the store before purchasing.
- We received a free Evenflo stroller that was on its way to
Good Will. We figured if we needed a neighborhood stroller, this
would do just fine.
- For an out-and-about stroller, we received a hand-me-down
"wire frame" collapsing car-seat stroller (the Snap-n-Go
LX by BabyTrend.
Here's a link to it at BRU,
where you can find it for about $50). This stroller has become one
of our most useful pieces of baby gear. It's small, lightweight,
has a basket, and is in general just an awesome product.
- Thus, we really only needed a car seat. We registered for the
Evenflo On My Way car seat (with five-point safety harness) from
Babies-R-Us and received it as a gift at our baby shower. This car
seat/baby carrier comes with a detachable base (or as Steve might
say, a "docking station") which stays in your car. If you have
more than one car that the baby will travel in, you might want to
get an extra "base" (about $20.).
- Again, on the recommendation of a friend, we used the services
to do the initial installation of our car set. We heard at a baby
class that 90% of car seats are incorrectly installed, and that
can result in serious injury or death in the case of an accident.
Even better is to consult with these folks before you actually
purchase the car seat since some seats fit some cars better than
others. Highly recommended!
- Be really careful about using older or hand-me-down car seats
(or any baby product, for that matter). Recalls and safety
upgrades happen frequently, so if you're going to use an older car
seat be sure to call the manufacturer or check their
web site for any recall or upgrade information. You can also check
Product Safety Commission web site.
- Looking back, we don't really use the Evenflo stroller all
that much, since Audra prefers to carry the baby in a "Over
the Shoulder Baby Holder" sling when we go for a walk. (Here's
link since the previous one doesn't really seem to be "up"
yet.) Note: Audra didn't really figure out how to use the sling
until the fourth month. Prior to that, the Baby
Bjorn was the only baby carrier that worked for us and we
continue to use that one as well, especially around the house.
Audra recently discovered Kangaroo
Corner, which has lots of helpful information that she
could've used to figure out how to use OTSBH sling when the baby
was still a newborn.
- I guess it's worth pointing out that we really prefer to carry
our baby with us whenever possible, rather than leaving her by
herself somewhere (in a crib, play pen, bouncer, etc.). It's a
concept known as "attachment
parenting" and if you want to know more about it, just ask
Audra and she can tell you all about it. Obviously it's a matter
of personal preference; if you don't go that route, then you may
not really find the Baby Bjorn or OTSBH sling all that
Diapers and such:
- We decided to go with cloth diapers. If you live in the Bay
Area and want to do likewise, check out Tiny
Tots Diaper Service. They have a video which I believe they'll
send you if you'd like to know more. Or ask us and we can tell you
all about it. We're not so die-hard that we won't use disposable
diapers from time to time, but we've found modern day cloth
diapers (when used with the velcro diaper covers they sell) to be
just fine. We're doing our part to keep a few disposables out of
the land fill. Give them a try or ask us about them. Our baby
doesn't generally experience diaper rash, we don't have to fuss
with safety pins, and we didn't need to buy a Diaper Genie. Please
note: If you decide to use Tiny Tots, please tell them we referred
you since they give their referring customers a small credit
towards their own service.
- Wipes: We use Pampers or Huggies fragrance-free diaper wipes.
Our baby has never seemed to complain about the wipes being cold,
and we read lots of bad things about diaper wipe warmers so we
didn't bother getting one.
- We bought a Simmons Contoured
Changing Pad and matching terry cloth changing
pad covers. Get several of these covers, since they will get
- Disposable diapers are probably a matter of preference and
price. Safeway often has these on sale. Babies-R-Us has pretty
decent prices on these, mostly to get people in the store since
you're probably not going to come out of that store without buying
other stuff too. Pampers have sticky (but removable) tabs, and
Huggies have velcro-ish tabs. Steve thinks the velcro tabs are a
little nicer than the sticky tabs, but work best under a Onesie.
Without the Onesie, the tabs can become attached instead to the
inside of, say, a blanket sleeper bag, which can cause the diaper
to come loose.
- Onsies are GREAT for going over any kind of diaper - cloth or
disposable (once the umbilical stump falls off, that is -- prior
to that we used newborn t-shirts). They will often get soiled
before or during a diaper change, so it's nice to have lots of
clean ones on hand.
- Diaper bag: Whether you're using disposables or cloth, you'll
need a diaper bag. You can spend hours looking around, but if
you're just not satisfied with what you see in the stores, Audra
found a GREAT bag online. Check out the "World's
Best Diaper Bag" from WeeBees
and if it sounds like what you want you can order it online. It's
relatively expensive at $89, but Audra loves it. It's on the
larger size, but has a small removeable "purse", plenty of room
for spare clothes, comes with a changing pad, and has a shoulder
strap and can also be worn as a backpack. Audra adds that some
other bags might be better for people who need to keep milk or
formula code (since some other bags have insulated pockets for
bottles; this bag does not, though it does have several mesh
pockets inside and outside the bag).
Bottles and formula and such:
Audra breast feeds, but we still have quite a collection of Avent
bottles and accessories. There's much we could add to this section.
Suffice it to say that there are some things that are useful to just
about everyone (except people who refuse to ever use a bottle)
- Counter-top bottle drying rack
- Dishwasher bottle/nipple basket
- Bottle brush (comes in Avent "starter kit") and maybe a
separate nipple brush
- Avent microwave sterilizer
On the subject of breast pumps, we'll offer the following advice:
If the mother is going back to work and needs to pump, then the
Pump In Style breast pump is the top of the line but highly
recommended model for the working mom. Otherwise, for occasional
pumping by the stay-at-home mom (to ease engorgement), the Avent
manual pump may be fine. Then again, for the mom who needs to
increase her supply, you can't beat a hospital-grade rental pump
since (like the Medela) you may need to (or want to) pump both sides
at once -- something that is not possible with the manual pump.
Looking back, I think the best advice might be to wait until after
the baby comes, and see how things go before you invest in a breast
pump that might be the wrong one for your actual needs.
Again for Bay Area people - in particular people near El Camino
Hospital in Mountain View, we have found the lactation consultants at
"Maternal Connections" to be VERY helpful. They'll come see you in
the hospital if you give birth at ECH, which we did not. However, our
pediatrician (Dr. Patricia Samson of Camino Medical Group) referred
us when it appeared that our baby wasn't quite gaining the weight
that she should be. Anyway, they offer consultations and also weekly
support groups, as well as free access to infant scales that can be
used to monitor weight gain and feeding volumes. They also have a
great library of books and videos that can be checked out.
For supporting the baby while feeding, we have two nursing pillows
and love both of them:
- One is the famous "Boppy Pillow" (which we often take with us
in the car).
- The other is "My Breast Friend" which Audra prefers for
daytime use since it provides back support and has a flatter
surface for the baby to lay on. She finds the velcro fastener to
be a little annoying at night since unfastening it makes quite the
noise which will usually startle the baby who has just fallen
Birthing classes and assistants (aka "doula"):
If you're interested in (or curious about) having a birthing
assistant, we highly recommend the services of Heather Moll at
Birth 'N' Babies. We found
out about Heather from Audra's gynecologist (at Women's Health in
Portola Valley). We then attended one of her "open
house" sessions, and subsequently decided to take her childbirth
classes and also hired her to be our birthing
assistant. We were very pleased with everything. She
really helps with the entire birthing process. Things can move
quickly when the time comes; if you want everything to go as well as
it possibly can, having a birthing assistant is a great way to go.
She stays with you the entire time (as opposed to nurses who come and
go with shift changes) so you have someone who knows the whole
process and is essentially your advocate throughout the whole
experience. She has worked with all of the doctors at Women's Health
(and lots of others as well). She's assisted in almost a thousand
births, at many of the area's hospitals and is intimately familiar
with everything that is so new to you as first-time parents. It's
well documented that birthing assistants greatly reduce the need for
medical intervention (even in the hospital), including epidurals and
C-sections. If you want to know more, just email
her or ask us.
Other odds and ends:
- Saline mist spray has proved very useful when baby gets
congested. It really helps to loosen stuff before trying to use a
nasal aspirator to remove it.
- Simethicone drops can ease an upset tummy.
- Teething tablets or gel help ease what may be teething pains
as early as 2 or 3 months.
- Flexible tip (digital) rectal thermometer for taking baby's
temperature (recommended by the pediatrician as better than the
newfangled digital ear, mouth, or under-arm variants).
- Nail clippers and mittens: Baby nails need to be trimmed
almost constantly to avoid scratching. It's not easy, and baby
doesn't enjoy it, but it's important. Mittens that stay on help
when it's not convenient to clip the nails.
- Desitin cream when baby gets a little red in the diaper
- Cloth diapers -- not the diaper service kind, but the kind
that comes from a store, in a 12-pack for about $12 or so, either
birdseye weave or gauze weave, typically made by Gerber. These are
like paper towels: You use them between baby and the changing pad
and as birp cloths. Two packs are probably fine, as you'll soon
have them scattered all over the house and in the diaper bag.
- Most of the baby web sites offer "shopping lists" of things
that you'll need. You obviously don't need everything they list,
but it's helpful to look over these lists for additional ideas of
stuff that might be helpful.
- ParentsPlace.com is
a great online resource, with a great interactive
calendar and a free
weekly newsletter that will tell you what's happening each
week with your unborn baby and also with the mother-to-be.
That's all, folks!
If you made it this far, we hope you've found something here that
was helpful. If so, or if you have any comments or things you think
we should add, drop us a line
and let us know.
Jump back to Steve's
page or to the Lemkeville
Last modified: 3/1/2005.
First created: 2/10/2002.
©2002-2005 Steve and Audra Lemke (firstname.lastname@example.org)