...that probably aren't on your registry
People love to gift fun things for baby: wee outfits, toys, gadgets, and if you’re lucky, some of the big-ticket items. Hopefully you're also well-stocked with diapers (sizes N and 1) and wipes! But don’t forget to ask for, borrow, or buy these less exciting, yet super useful products for those early days (and nights) with your tiniest family member.
1. Thermometer - underarm and/or rectal and/or forehead. Before you're discharged from the hospital (if you had a hospital delivery), the staff will likely run you through a list of warning signs for baby's health -- in other words, when you should worry. According to most sources, if your newborn's temperature surpasses 100.4 F, you should at the very least call your pediatrician. While a rectal thermometer is supposed to give the most accurate result, our hospital said an underarm one was okay for an estimate (I couldn't get myself to take baby's rectal temperature, but he also didn't get sick for the first time until he was older and a bit sturdier).
2. Bulb Syringe - you will probably get one of these for free at the hospital, but try to snag a second as a backup -- our split open and became useless almost as soon as we got home. Newborns tend to spit up a lot, and the syringe helps suction out yucky stuff from their mouths. Direct it to the mouth floor or inner cheek area, not the throat. If you have a second syringe, you can use it as a nasal aspirator for stuffy noses (or get a Nose Frida).
3. Pads - With a little luck, you won't need gargantuan hospital-grade pads after the first couple days, but will have to deal with a period-like flow of blood for days or weeks postpartum. It turns out pads have come a long way since I converted to tampons as a teenager! These Always overnighters are thin but super absorbent.
4. Rubbing Alcohol and Q-tips - to clean and dry out the base of baby's umbilical cord until it falls off. I was so relieved when my first son's new bellybutton appeared and I could stop doing this!
5. Tons of burp cloths - So much spit-up! I have these stashed all around the house for easy access. Any wash cloth, dish towel, or other fabric scrap will do; you don't need fancy designer linen burp cloths.
6. Tons of onesies - On the one hand, it's silly to spend money on lots of tiny outfits that baby will outgrow in a matter of weeks; on the other, due to the aforementioned spit-up (and diaper overflows), you may find yourself changing baby's clothes four or five times a day. Onesies (or onesie pajamas for colder weather) are the easiest thing to take on and off...don't torture your newborn with three-piece ensembles, please! You will be doing plenty of laundry as it is. Friends whose babies are a couple months ahead will likely be happy to pass on their tiniest attire to you.
7. Swaddle wraps - In the first couple days of his life, when he was super snoozy, I could take the time to origami my newborn into an adorable, snug little pupa. Once back home, though, swaddling became tedious and inconvenient. I love the SwaddleMe wraps for efficient baby bundling.
8. OxiClean - I definitely ended up tossing some of my first son's outfits that were so spit- or poop-drenched that it wasn't worth dealing with them, but there were a few little outfits that I really liked, and wanted to recuperate. OxiClean is magical - I used it on a sweet white onesie from Petit Bateau that was dyed neon yellow from a poop explosion, and the stain came out completely. They make a baby version of the product that is supposed to be gentler.
9. Diaper cream/ointment - Sometimes I let the poop sit too long in baby's diaper, either because I don't know it's there or I don't want to interrupt his sleep...but the result can be a nasty irritation (and a lot of crankiness). Boudreaux's Butt Paste Maximum Strength is my favorite -- it provides immediate relief for bothered bums.
10. Refillable water bottle with straw - for easy hydration, because breastfeeding makes you thirsty! Go for BPA-free plastic over glass or metal -- my friend's 3-year-old dropped a Hydroflask once and it broke his toe. When she took him to get patched up, the doctor said he'd seen a spate of metal beverage container accidents, from broken toes to chipped teeth. Keep that death trap away from your new baby!! (I know, super alarmist, but why take the risk?)