getting ready to have a kid?

Let me tell you what you do and do not need.

In case you’re wondering, the Baby Marketing People have found out that I am pregnant again and are sending us all kinds of advertisements for baby things.

* A baby carrier. Seriously, you will not regret it. This is so much better than a stroller.

* A really big diaper bag. Bigger than you think. Preferably a backpack.

* A few clothes. Not too many or you’ll let the laundry pile up and the baby will wear everything once. Or not at all.

* A thousand blankies. Seriously. You can’t have too many.

* A breast pump. I cannot imagine the mom who doesn’t need one. Unless you’re going to stay at home and never go out without the baby, or unless you’re formula feeding, I guess. So I should say, I can’t imagine the nursing mom who doesn’t need one. Get a good one. They’re expensive but they’re worth it. I love the nursing pillow, too.

* Something for the baby to sleep in, in your room. We used our playpen (I refuse to cater to this new euphemism, “playyard”), and (I know, I know) Mary’s car seat, which she loved for sleeping. You do not want to get up and go to a different room every time the kid is hungry in the night.

* Car seat (duh).

* Diapers. Lots of them.

* Eventually, books. Babies need books. Mary has a lot of them. Do not buy nice or expensive ones–your baby will eat the pages and color on the covers. (So far my parenting philosophy is that this is allowed, because they are hers.)

* Also eventually–when your baby is getting too heavy to carry comfortably for a long time, he or she will be big enough for an umbrella stroller (the little kind that folds up small, like what your grandparents probably had). It should be really light.

* The “travel system” stroller that weighs 600 pounds. Come on. You can travel with that in your car but you’ll have to take it in and out, etc. Just carry the baby. He or she weighs less than ten pounds (usually). I don’t even like the car seat baby bucket unless you’re going to a restaurant and want the baby to be able to sit while you eat.

* Most of the toys. Babies don’t care about toys. For months, they are not interested in toys. They like faces, music, and food.

* Most of the clothes. See above.

* Anything designed to get your baby to sit up before he or she can sit up (by this I mean things like the Bumbo seat). Why worry about it? Let them lay down!

* Fancy high chairs–it is going to look like the site of a pumpkin massacre the first time you feed your kid sweet potatoes, so the simpler, the better. If you can find one that’s small enough that the tray can go in the dishwasher, that’s cool. Mary uses a wooden one, now, that pulls up to the table (no tray), which is way nicer.

* Shoes for babies. They can’t walk. They don’t need shoes.

* Rice cereal. This stuff has almost zero nutritional value. Give your kid a banana. If your kid is too young to eat a banana, the kid doesn’t need solid food.

* Hats for babies over three months of age. At least in my experience the baby removes them immediately.

* Almost all of the baby gadgets, toiletries, etc. What you really do need: a thermometer; baby shampoo; lotion (and the “baby” kind is probably not it–go with something fragrance-free, etc.). Later you need infant Motrin and possibly baby Vicks. You do not need baby hair bows, six different nail clippers (since you will nick the baby’s finger the first time you use one and then never use the clippers again), a bunch of baby lotions and unguents that smell nice but have no real use, or, God forbid, disposable pre-soaped washcloths.

* Stuffed animals. Why? Because everyone you know is going to buy your kid stuffed animals. With no effort on your part, your house will soon resemble a stuffed zoo.

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