I have so many links saved that I figure that I can dump them here and empty my computer. Wheee! This way, if I'm every lucky enough to have another child, I'll just look here, and in the meantime, other people can benefit from my advanced degree in applied shopping. Another mom has put together a site called crankylittleman.com, in which she has reviewed everything she's used. It contains an awesome page on "great shower gifts," versus "overrated" stuff.
Before the baby:
The interesting thing about having a child is that, even if you think of Nordstrom as your personal products Wal-mart (hey, some of us do), this will change when you have a child. Oddly enough, I found that the best kid's products were at Mervyn's. Who knew? I think that I'd been into a Mervyn's, like, once. But I liked dressing my infant in nice, simple, comfortable cotton clothes, and that's what Mervyn's, Sears, Target, and so forth have. Mervyns especially had the little Carter's infant flannel blankets that I was absolutely wild about. I think we had about 12. Loved them. Swaddle with them, put them under the baby, etc. etc. etc.
Well, what do you need?
There are some very good lists telling you what to have. Carter's has a layette guide, for example. Good old Amazon, always on top of things, has something called "so you'd like to register for the essentials." You can see what other people are registering for here and here. (might be outdated. If so, go to amazon and type in "layette.")
A few things that are not on a typical layette list:
Go to a store where you can return the products and buy one preemie outfit. That way if you do not have a 10 lb baby, you'll have something to dress them in. I took my child to Nordstrom when he was about 2 days old because he had no clothes at all. Seriously. I was considering stapling a diaper on him because everything was falling off. If your child is born large, simply return the outfit in a while (unworn).
Make sure that you have enough diapers. We only had one package, so after Nordstrom, we took the baby to Target. Ugh.
Many of my friends swear by diaper wipe warmers. They're nice.
I really liked these side-snap infant undershirts that my mother gave us. We put one on my son under everything.
I adored the Carter's flannel baby blankets. By the time Simon was 1, I think I had about 12!
There is one additional thing. I just found it and it looks lovely. Swaddling is a wonderful thing to do for a newborn, so that they don't startle themselves awake. This blanket, called the Miracle Blanket, makes swaddling very easy. You can also read The Happiest
Baby shopping - general notes
Even if you don't really care all that much about it, you're going to shop your brain out for this kid, so get used to it. They grow ALL THE TIME.
Local baby stores
From Urban Baby. In the San Francisco Bay Area, a list of babygear stores. (Check out the site; they're moving to other cities too.) I used a Medela pump. Here is their site.
Baby-carrying and holding devices
Slings and wraps
A girlfriend of mine swears by the Maya wrap.
Carriers, swings, strollers, etc.
Notes on strollers: My child is 3 and we've had about three strollers. The Maclaren kicks butt, and the best place to buy them is on Ebay! So there you go. Tip for the day.
I think that we had the Combi or Graco bucket that clicked into the holder in the car when Simon was younger, and we adored it. Wonderful.
Graco has a nice website. Here's the Combi site, which contains a link to their discontinued section!
The Bob stroller looks nice.
Some people swear by this. My kid was unimpressed, but yours might adore it. However, the natural wool toys are absolutely wonderful. We have Nigel, a lovely wool horse from Melbourne,and he's incredibly nice.
Babygear.com, aka baby style has a bunch of maternity and baby stuff.
Luxury baby stuff - ??
When I had my child, I figured that I could afford to buy him whatever I was in the mood to buy him. After all, he was barely sentient, so he wouldn't be able to remember! But it turned out that I didn't really feel a compelling need to dress my baby like a martinet, so I didn't go over the top very much.
As a matter of fact, when I had my child I went to Mervyns for, if not the first time, then the first time in maybe 20 years? You see, I happen to really like the Carter's baby stuff. While there are other nice baby things, Carter's seems to provide the real nuts and bolts stuff. Like those little snap t-shirts for infants. And the little tiny cotton flannel blankets. At any rate, Mervyns has the best selection in my area. Funky, huh? I do confess to finding some stuff that I loved. Petit Bateau. Ah! I love Petit Bateau! The best cotton around. The cutest little footsie pajamas! I particularly like Petit Bateau little tiny baby stuff because I have never found little boys dressed in eurotrash chic to be attractive, you know? Having been raised by a wannabe hippie, I dress my kid in gap preppie.
When people were asking me about baby shower gifts, I requested clothing with ears. I really love clothing with ears. It's lovely.
Our over the top product story
Typically at every stage, we purchase one over-the-top thing. That would be the Nature's Cradle, which we bought in 2000. The company went out of business in 1999, unfortunately. It was an awesome product, but their marketing strategy seemed as though it had been planned by the local little league team, you know? At any rate, if you hear about this, give it up. We have one in the garage and maybe if you're nice, you can buy ours, but it was incredibly expensive. BTW, our kid didn't need it. <snicker> But it's always like that, isn't it? Sometimes it feels as though we buy this stuff almost to ward off heebie jeebies.
Note: this is no longer available.
Nature's Cradle crib mattress simulates a mother's gentle walking motion and internal rhythms of the third trimester of pregnancy with a patented motion and sound mechanism and positioning system. Actual amniotic fluid and heartbeat sounds are digitally reproduced and piped through under the infant. Studies show that babies sleeping in Nature's Cradle cried 65% less! Of course our child wasn't a big crier, but who knows of the prophylactic value of such a device? Maybe he wasn't a big crier just because the cradle was sitting there. Ah yes, retail justification 101.
But the product was seriously cool! (Actually, it's in the garage. Want to buy it?)