Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baby Needs

Wendy over at Surviving the Suburbs has a post up today about Baby Needs vs Mommy Wants. She says what I think a lot of us "old timers" already know, especially the prepping ones. That a LOT of what you are told you need for your baby is straight commercialism at it's finest.

She goes through a list of things she considers must have vs. what we are told are must have. My list varies slightly because I am a mother working outside the home so things like bottles that she didn't need I did in fact need after about 4 months.

It got to me to thinking though, in a powered down, less cheap energy future what things absolutely MUST a new mom need. I could certainly add those items to my future prep lists since I happen to have three children who might someday choose to grow up and have children of their own.

My must have list:
1. Diapers -
Cloth are probably the best bet in terms of prepping and storage. In an effort for full disclosure I don't at this time do cloth diapers. In a powered down world we wouldn't have a choice.

When my boyfriend (now my ex-husband) was watching my 1 year old a LONG time ago she ran through the diapers I had packed faster than he had anticipated. He found himself with another 4-5 hours left of child care and no diapers. He wrapped a t-shirt around her butt. Twice since she peed in the first one. I believe it was his roommates shirt. No one wants to see that.

So probably a variety of sized cloth diapers and covers would be a good plan. How many is a great question. I suspect my child, at 17 months, goes through at least 5-6 diapers a day. Since laundry will be considerable harder (I'm working on that post) I would suggest having a couple of days worth of cloth diapers available so you can be using, cleaning and drying. You might also consider in the summer going without a diaper if you can manage a few hours. Pee on the plants is good for them I hear.

2. Clothing -
Naked babies are only cute for so long. Then they get all cold and shivery. Mother guilt sets in and it's a downward spiral from there my friends.

Seriously though. Consider your laundry ability/desire.

Small babies need some onsies, some sleepers and socks. Depending on the season. The older they get the more durable your clothing choices need to be. I would also have a hat for a small baby, especially in the winter.

All of my babies have lived in a combo of onsies and sleepers for the first 6 months at least. About the time they could sit up I moved to two piece outfits. My boy currently wears a lot of polo shirts and jeans but I also tend to buy color neutral items if I can help it. Pants that are khaki, gray and black appeal to me more than the blue and green plaids because I can match a whole lot more with the black than the plaid.

3. Blankets-
With my first two babies I received a ridiculous amount of receiving blankets which were GREAT for bundling the baby in for the first week. After that I used them as burp cloths and to wipe various body fluids off me or the furniture. I also put them down on the surface to change the baby but more for his comfort than any actual attempt at sanitation. My last baby I asked for none of them.

For one thing I had plenty but for two, what I needed were blankets that actually provided some kind of warmth and not glorified rags. I received a couple of blankets and a quilt that I have used for everything from putting the baby to sleep to using as an activity area when the baby was learning to roll over and do tummy time. I don't discount that a few receiving blankets are used but I would argue that towels are more effective at clean up and a quilt is better protection against the chill.

4. Feeding -
As I said earlier, I use bottles for my child because I work outside the home. I have breastfed every one of my babies and only moved to formula when they had to begin attending childcare. But I did have to move to a bottle. Even if you are breastfeeding exclusively the time may come when having a bottle or two handy might not be such a bad thing. If you are unavailable to the child for an extended length of time having a bottle will certainly help his caregiver out and might also save a life. Even small livestock farmer tend to have a bottle handy should the mother die or reject the baby or be unable to produce milk for whatever reason.

I don't have a solution for what to put in the bottle however and can only hope that perhaps some stored breast milk might be available to use. Formula isn't a great item to keep because of it's relatively short shelf life so I'm at a loss about that. Anyone have ideas about that?

Small forks, spoons and cups are adorable by the way but certainly not necessary for child rearing or feeding. I find my children have been able to wield regular sized spoons, cups and dishes for a lot longer than I have been ready for them to. Usually it involves them stealing my spoon while I'm trying to feed them something from my plate.

5. Car Seat -
A good quality car seat is a must as long as we use automobiles as transportation. If we don't then disregard this.

6. Baby sling/backpack -
I've never had great luck with slings but I have found my baby backpacks to be invaluable. If I plan to go anywhere that doesn't involve a car seat but does involve carrying the baby around awhile a good quality backpack is the way to go. I like mine sturdy with a base that I can set on the ground and keep the baby upright. Also if I can strap it around my waist it feels better but that might be a personal preference.

So what are your must haves for prepping in case of baby? Or not even prepping, just to have on hand?


Wendy said...

Great list, Lace, and you're absolutely right that our individual lists of "needs" will vary from person to person.

Re: cloth diapers. If you're handy with a sewing machine, you could make some decently absorbent cloth diapers out of old tee-shirts or even those "receiving" blankets ;). There are som great plans on the Internet for DIY cloth diapers.

We cloth diapered our youngest two. I think we had about two dozen diapers with covers. Three dozen would be the absolute max, I would think. Too many, and you'll end up with WAY more laundry than you'll want to be doing ;).

One benefit of cloth diapering that I discovered with my five children was that the ones who were cloth diapered potty trained up to a year before their siblings ... and mostly on their own ;).

Post a Comment