Two and a half weeks into it, there are several things that we’ve found very helpful that I wasn’t really anticipating.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles: These bottles have a little cylinder gadget inside them that somehow helps to direct air bubbles away from the kid when he’s feeding…I think they may be made from the same crystals that teach Superman about our Earth culture. We’ve tried a couple other bottles but these end up with the least gassy results (and that’s a good thing for many many reasons). As of right now we only have two of ‘em, so constantly washing ‘em out is becoming a chore. The ones we’ve got are 4 ouncers, but I think I want to pick up an additional four of the larger size. Plus, any infant feeding device named after Christopher Lloyd’s character in the Back To The Future movies must have some merit to it.
Lap Pads: These things are plastic waterproof pieces wrapped in fuzzy industrial flannel, about a foot-and-a-half square. They’re soft enough to go on a changing table but waterproof enough to go on a changing table. The nice thing is that you can throw ‘em in the washing machine and clean ‘em up. We use ‘em when bathing, changing, and watercoloring landscapes (he’s very advanced). While they would not seem essential to the casual observer, they make bathing and poopy diaper changing a much less laundry-intensive proposition.
Old Fashioned Cloth Diapers: No no, not to put on the kid’s butt, to use as burp cloths, spill rags and any other industrial-strength mopper-upper that you can think of. I’m talking about the kind that are all white with the double-thickness part in the middle. The kind we have are made by Gerber and full of awesome. I guess the thing I like about them is that since they’re just plain diapers, unadorned with cute bunnies or stripes or anything, you don’t mind getting ‘em totally crapped on or wiping up grape medicine with ‘em. And they come clean with a little bleach and elbow grease.
The Travel System: This is one of those deals where the car seat locks into the stroller. We’ve liked it for the obvious reason, but one thing that has totally taken us by surprise is how convenient it is to have in the living room. Any time we’re eating or cooking or just hanging out and we need both hands free, we just toss the kid into the Graco and he’s happy as a clam. This is especially nice because we have a hyper little dog, and having the kid up in the stroller keeps him out of the reach of inquisitive noses.
People Bringing Us Food: Jesus Christ I cannot stress how valuable this has been. If not for the kindness of friends, relatives and neighbors, we would be either broke from ordering out or starved to little husks that used to be people. Fresh fruit has been very nice, and meals that would freeze and re-heat are a real lifesaver. Among the most helpful has been my Dad and his Girlfriend who knew that people would come over with food, but none of those people would bring drinks, so they loaded us up with pop, beer, water and (best of all) gallons of Gatorade which has been very helpful in PJ’s recovery.
There are a million other things (The Boppy, Mylicon, Kandoo baby wipes, little bags that you use in the microwave to sterilize bottles, the tantalizing blend of ibuprofen and oxycodone), but these five take the cake so far.