For the Young Consumer
If you are about to let a Little Someone into your life, here are some things you might want to arm yourself with. Apologies in advance if something on this list is unavailable in the region of your residence. Envy me.
1. "What's Going On In There?".
The single biggest weapon in the armory of the budding parent. There are a million "what to do" type baby books out there, but as far as I know, just this one that explains why. Every chapter has basically 3 sections. It takes a sense (e.g., smell, vision, locomotion), first explains the neuroscience, then the psychology, then how this can be influenced by the parents and the environment. Essential.
2. Ergo It's the *best*. Just pop your baby in and go wherever. The design is fantastic, it distributes the weight over your whole back so there's no stress on your back and it's so comfortable for the baby. The only problem is that until the baby is 15 pounds, they recommend you use it along with an additional insert, and that adds one extra step. The insert actually makes it feel like a plush couch for the baby :-) We stopped using the insert when she reached 12 pounds, and we carry her everywhere in the Ergo. Plus it's so much fun!
3. Moby wrap. We (all three of us) love this as well. It's a little harder to wear than the Ergo, but once you have it on you can just pop the baby inside in any of 3-4 positions -- find the one that your baby likes best and she will fall asleep almost as soon as you put her in. We use this indoors mostly (and our routine has become that TPB wears this indoors, and I wear the Ergo outdoors).
4. Squish toy. A close friend got us this -- he's a father of two and married to a top infant developmental psychologist! Our baby has loved it since she was about 3-4 weeks old, and shows no sign of getting bored of it. Me neither.
5. Lamaze toys. We have a few of these and our baby loves them too. They have all kinds of interesting colors and textures and noises -- no end to how they can be explored. Very smart.
6. Stokke products. This is a Norwegian company that makes high-end "hardware" products for babies. The design is magnificent. We just started using their crib ("Sleepi"). We bought the high chair ("Tripp-Trapp") but haven't started using it yet. We were *really* tempted by the stroller ("Xplory") but decided not to buy it for a while (which turned out to be a good decision because as we now realize, we almost always use the Ergo and not a stroller).
7. Baby Einstein gym. Our baby has spent almost all her leisure hours (when she is not in her bed, or being carried by us) on this. It kept her completely occupied until just this week, when she's finally realized there's a world beyond the mat, and what's more, she can get to it.
8. Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers. These come in yellow packets (not green). The major innovation here is that the diapers have a thin yellow line running through the business district, and even the slightest flooding causes the line to turn blue, so you can see from outside and change at once. No poking inside, no smell tests -- very helpful! If you choose to go with disposables, this one attribute makes these diapers very helpful indeed.
9. "Breastfeeding Made Simple". If you intend to breastfeed (and I believe you should), here's a book that cuts through the clutter and gets to the essence of how to do it and why. All expecting parents should read it.
10. "The Happiest Baby on the Block". And finally, how to get the baby to sleep. I was skeptical when I read this book, but boy did it work or what!
So that's what I have been up to. I'm tempted to add a #11: Canon SX10IS, but that's just me :-)