Ready But So. Not. Ready.

posted by Mel

Things are great- really. My belly is getting bigger. We listen to the baby almost every day, and the heartbeat is still there and strong. Nausea has subsided a bit, and I am enjoying pregnancy– well, kind of. Actually, I mostly want it over because we have been waiting on this baby for what seems like forever. The other day I commented to Vanessa that the first trimester had been god-awful long, and she said, “Well, yeah– it lasted two and and a half years.”

She’s right. It feels like my body has belonged to this baby for more than 2 years already. It’s not like I’m ready to eject it or anything. I would just like to finally meet it.

On the other hand, I am freaking out because I know next to nothing about what happens next. I have spent so much time focused on how to get here I could teach classes on infertility– what the possible roots are, what the different meds do, how to administer the drugs, how to badger sperm banks and nurses into giving you the information you need, how to talk to your insurance company about it. But what do I know about how to pick out a bassinet, choose a breast pump, decide on a diapering system, or properly install a carseat? Bupkiss. We are making zero progress on the baby prep front. Every time I try to research anything, I flip the f out. Don’t even get me started on breastfeeding or child birthing methods. A panic attack for another day. For now we walk into a baby store, and I have to leave within 10 minutes. It is too. much. stuff. Too many moving parts. Too many accessories. Too much plastic. Which of this shit do we need, and where the hell are we going to put it all in our tiny (by Midwestern standards) bungalo?

When we first began our baby-begetting discussions, way before we started trying for one, Vanessa had me convinced that babies don’t take up much room at all– that, if we wanted to, we could even manage one in that first 700 sq ft one-bedroom apartment we shared. We’d just slide it into a dresser drawer or something. I know there has to be a middle-ground between the baby drawer and the BABY ACCESSORIZE YOUR WHOLE HOUSE approach BRU would like us to take. I wish that middle-ground was easier to find. It sure isn’t presenting itself at retailers or in the pg magazines I’m picking up at the OB’s office.

I know some of our readers are making this work already in spaces much smaller than our approximately 10 ft by 12 ft bedroom set aside for the nursery. Big city apartment dwellers, I’m looking at you. I’m tired of looking at checklists with 150 things on them. What are the top 10 things we need to buy to be ready for this baby?



Filed under Preggo

18 responses to “Ready But So. Not. Ready.

  1. Katy

    Soft cloth wipes for bathing and booties
    Onesies and socks
    Burp rags
    Car seat
    Bassinet (babies don’t sleep with mommies)
    receiving blankets
    whatever breast milk/formula you choose

    My mother is way low maintenance on these things…I learned

  2. Jenfu

    I don’t know how helpful this will be, but I’m a big fan of the Apartment Therapy blog. It’s a design blog with lots of different cool things and a focus on making the most out of what you have. They have an associated kids’ blog:

  3. Oh! Good blog subject today. I think that Jen has our list, let me get with her and I’ll comment again later. We moved into a 1 bedroom with a loft just prior to getting pregnant, so we’ve been visiting this issue for about 4 months now. We decided to make the place into a pseudo studio. Our room will be the loft and the bedroom will be the nursery, the living room will be an office/tv area. Let me get to that list and I’ll get back to you! 🙂

  4. Io

    Yeah, you really don’t need half the stuff they try and push on you. I am going to respectfully disagree with Katy on the bassinet – go with a crib unless you want the baby in your bedroom in the beginning – a baby will outgrow a bassinet quickly. On everything else she’s right on. (Says the infertile with no children.)
    It must be weird to actually move to the next step (Actual! Live! Baby!) when it’s taken so long to get here.

  5. Lo

    ooh! Me me me!
    (First I must applaud your use of “bupkis.”)
    OK, so aside from diapers, wipes, some clothes…I assume it’s those scary big items you’re talking about. Here’s what we did:
    –rather than buy a crib right off, we used a Pack n’ Play. I agree that it makes sense to buy a crib if you know where you’d put one, but we weren’t sure. However, the Pack n’ Play has many other uses, so I do recommend it.
    –we got a combo changing table/dresser. Many people say you don’t need a changing table, you can just do it on the floor; that’s not comfortable for me. But he needs a dresser anyway so that saves space.
    –For many babies (including ours) the swing is a lifesaver, but this one is small and even folds up:
    –That swing can double as a bouncy seat (a.k.a. “a place to put the baby down safely.”) Kids enjoy the bigger bouncy seats, but the only one we’ve ever had is this, which I recommend because it lasts a long time (he can still sit in it sometimes and it’s a rocking chair when he gets big enough not to be strapped in, not to mention excellent to climb all over now):
    However, the baby bucket carseat (which comes in and out of the house easily) can also be a fine place to put a kid down. The one everyone has is the Graco Snugride.
    –we have this stroller, which works fine for us. Stroller needs vary by city & lifestyle, however:
    A lot of people swear by the frames that use the carseat (and then get another stroller later).
    Email me with any other questions…
    –We did break down and get (by which I mean borrow from a friend) an exersaucer because he LOVES it but you can deal with that later….I have listed here ALL of the enormous pieces of plastic we needed for him up to six months. (We’ve added the exersaucer and a “learning table.”)
    Email me with questions. I love to share. and if you can, try to get stuff secondhand….

  6. Jen

    Hey if I could do it at 19 with a partner who had never even held a baby before you guys will do great. I just bought shit that looked cute and after the baby was born it became quite apparent what we needed. There is nothing a baby will need that you can’t go out and buy after the fact 🙂

  7. jay

    Vee says it’s no use asking us because as far as we’ve worked out thus far, all they need is booties and a few stuffed toys (oh, and 2 babygros that we bought for a relative and then decided to keep and bought a cooler one for them instead, and then we decided we loved THAT one so much that we wanted one for Bonus Ball too so we had to go and buy an identical one for him/her. WTF?!).

    Seriously, we totally get the fear, and I can’t even read a pg magazine for more than 10 minutes without panicking that we need to remortgage the house. May I suggest that hand me downs and Freecycle are the way to go? Let random items fall from the sky into your laps and just fill in the gaps yourselves if something OMG SO IMPORTANT (like, umm, bottles or something) does not find its way to you? That’s kind of what we’re doing. Let fate do the work. Haha.

    Oh, and your nursery is bigger than ours! Marginally.

    Vee says is there room in the sand for 2 more heads?

  8. jay

    PS You’ve actually been GOING INTO SHOPS? Wow.

  9. Hah! Plenty of room in the sand for two more heads. And yes, we’ve been going into baby shops occasionally, but we always walk out with nothing. What we have purchased for this baby so far: one set of pjs for a 1 year old that Vanessa snatched off a rack while I was using the only bathroom in the store, which just happened to be in the baby section and one snuggly winter suit to be worn over a onesie the day the baby comes home from the hospital in the middle of a February blizzard. It says it’s for age 0 months, but it looks like it could fit a 2-year-old at least.

  10. The first thing I’ll say is that newborn babies really don’t need much. Really. Something to eat, something to wear, and some diapers (and a way to get home from the hospital safely). So what you need before he or she is born is simply a carseat, diapers, and some clothes. If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t need food. You can change them on the floor or bed. The baby can sleep with you, or even in the carseat at first. (We liked having a bassinet in our room, but only because our waterbed isn’t safe for co-sleeping with a newborn.) They don’t need toys. They don’t need paint colors. They are very, very simple at first.

    WHEN you’re ready to buy things, be it before the baby comes or afterwards, there are a few things to get: a crib, a stroller that fits the carseat (one of those frame ones rather than a travel system), a carrier of some sort (sling, Ergo), and some more clothes for when the baby grows. Something to put the clothes in–maybe in the closet with some of those wire storage shelves for folded items?

    Might I recommend the book “Baby Bargains”? It’s great for really testing different baby products and giving reviews of them. Also, it’s very honest about what you need and what you really don’t need. I think you’d find it helpful!

  11. missanthropy

    I don’t know much about babies, that’s for sure, but I do know this: no one needs all that crap. My parents did the cloth diaper thing for a minute, but hated it, so I recommend the Seventh Generation brand. It’s more expensive, but disposable and not full of toxic junk. Beyond that, what? Like, some glass bottles, a crib, some clothes? I like the idea of those cribs that push up next to your bed so you can breastfeed at night, or the ones that convert to toddler- and then full-sized beds. Same with strollers; they have all-in-one stuff with a car seat. I like the efficiency of it.

    Babies seem to need nothing but their mother for quite some time. I know it’s overwhelming right now, and I can’t even imagine how freaky it would be for me, but I would save all the extraneous stuff for an after-birth shower. Get the necessities, get to know the baby, THEN have a party with lots of presents that you decide you’ll need. 🙂

  12. missanthropy

    P.S. Don’t forget CraigsList, yard sales, second-hand shops, and friends whose kids have recently out-grown things. They’d probably be more than happy to hand down!

  13. We went to BRU and had an overwhelming but still manageable experience. I think it helped that when we voiced our anxiety to the sale associate, he said, “You know really, most of this stuff is just excess. There’s very little you’ll really need.” So we walked the entire floor and the only left with the two maternity dresses I picked out. Is that selfish of us?

    Head in sand,

    ps. “Baby Bargains” has been recommended to us on two other occasions, might worth reading.

  14. twomoms

    Hi! Stumbled upon your blogsite while searching for home insemination. I’m so happy for you both!! My partner and I are starting our first home insemination in a couple of weeks. I have three children so far…so any baby help you need – I’m here! As far as what babies need: most important are love and patience. Second, an uber-safe rear-facing carseat, hand-me-down pjs and onesies (you’ll understand once it’s here), if not breastfeeding – try to use glass bottles (they’ve mentioned chemicals leeching from the plastic kind), no pillow, bumperpads, or blankets in the bed until around age 2 (for safety reasons), safe bathing tub or sponge, and a crib is definitely the best way to go – will last through 18 mos to 2 yrs.

  15. Co

    You can be really minimalist about it. As someone already said, newborns need:
    1) a place to sleep (bassinets get outgrown quickly, so unless you get one free, maybe not worth it; we got a pack’n’play with bassinet; the bassinet was good til 15 pounds but we could use the pack’n’play up to 30 pounds, so we can still use it; a pack’n’play is okay to sleep in while they’re small and useful for traveling if you don’t want to commit to a crib right away; we used a Snugglenest and Jo slept in our bed; for a nursing mom waking up every 2-3 hours, it was a G-dsend to have him in our bed and I just felt more confident having him in a little protective box than having him lying directly in our bed, although that’s what he does now)
    2) something to pee/poop in (diapers–even if you plan to do cloth eventually, it’s not a bad idea to do disposables at first–you don’t need the stress of diaper washing the first couple weeks and the earth will forgive you)
    3) something to wear (we thus far have only bought Jo 7 outfits new; everything else? hand-me-downs and yard sales)
    4) a car seat (lots of people like the Graco Snugride for newborns)

    Things you don’t need but which I think are really nice:
    5) a combination changing table/dresser (you can also just get a flat top dresser and put a changing thing on top of it — it’s true that you don’t need this and can change the baby anywhere, but I think my back would hurt too much if we didn’t have one personally)
    6) a safe place to put the baby down once in a while when you’re exhausted or need a break (yes, pack’n’play and crib work, and a car seat does too, but a swing or a bouncy seat can also be nice for this; we bought the Fisher Price take-a-long swing that was easy to fold up and fit in our tiny apartment; swings can also sometimes help a baby fall asleep)
    7) a breast pump (you don’t necessarily need it at the beginning, but if you have any supply or latch or whatever issues, it’s nice to have from the beginning — my Medela Pump in Style kept my supply up while Jo was having latch issues; everyone I know has a Medela Pump in Style and we all like them, and Medela has awesome customer service.)
    8) stroller and baby carriers (a lot of people love the Snap’n’Go that turns the car seat into a stroller and you can put off which stroller you want; but as for choosing a stroller, it depends a bit on how you plan to use it, so maybe ask other people in your area; baby carriers are great, too, for moving around your home as well as outdoors; i’d recommend going to a store and trying on slings to figure out if you like any (we have a Maya Wrap, but never use it); the Ergo and Baby Bjorn are popular and easy to use carriers that don’t require you to thread rings and such.

    Yeah, it’s overwhelming. But you so don’t need a glider and ottoman or any of those zillion other things Babies’R’Expensive wants you to believe you need. You’ll do great. Lo could send you a zillion links if you want. I actually didn’t do any of this. Lo did it all.

  16. A decent chunk of my mommy friends are minimalists with regard to the accoutrement needed by baby (as evidenced by the fact that each had 2 kids with them in Florida and somehow I had the most and largest luggage?) however each one of them swears on the Boppy. Good support for breastfeeding and when the cat hauls in a dead bird, doorbell rings, phone rings, dogs need out – whatever – you can stick the baby in it for support to free up your 2 arms.

  17. PS I hate Babies R Us too.

  18. g

    I second Co’s list. I would also add that a Boppy was the ONLY way I was able to BF Mater…and the only way she would nap for the first four months of her life while I was at home with her. She would not sleep in the pack and play – only on the Boppy which was wrapped around me. We also used it for her as she learned to sit up so she would minimize the head hitting the floor…and we still use occasionally for naps – we’ll elevate her head with it if she’s lying on the floor. I also would say to check out the site at
    they have some really great ways to save space and occasionally have a gallery of super small nurseries that have utilized their space in a really creative way. The only thing I would add (and it may be here already as I skimmed some of the comments) is that if you intend to BF, you should get some pure lanolin. One tiny tube will last a while and it works wonders in those first few painful weeks!!!

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