Alternatives to mainstream baby paraphernalia?
July 23, 2007 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for alternatives to some of the mass-market baby products. For example: using cloth table napkins as "burp cloths." And, can you buy decent disposable diapers in Canada?

Baby arriving any day now, panic setting in. Most mainstream baby stuff is hideous -- those bassinets look like lawn furniture wearing a teen-aged tart's clothes -- and dreadfully made; I'm not sure what it is with the fetish for icky-patterend pastels that pill. Here and there, I'm finding little work-arounds, like buying some nice linen/cotton napkins to throw over my shoulder for barf, but I need more.

What makes a good 'receiving blanket' that's not the cheap thing from the baby store, or the $100 designer deal? Is there a soft cloth something I'm not thinking of that's the right size and thickness, just not sold as a baby blanket?

Is it reasonable to think that a futon store can custom-make me a crib mattress that's inbetween the $50 Wal-Mart crinkly plastic deal and the $450 organic job?

Would, as Mr Kmennie insists, a baby really enjoy lounging in a cat bed? (NB: not for unsupervised naps; more for hanging out on the porch, etc.)

Any suggestions for tasteful (yeah, this is going to be the first child of somewhat older parents) baby work-arounds, jerryrigging, etc, to get me out of buying overpriced mass-market garbage or overpriced designer garbage are welcome. I'm tired of having "But I wouldn't (wear/sleep on/want to look at/smell like/etc) that!" panics mixed in with the odd "That's perfect, but why is it $500?" I hate having to shell out to just get something that doesn't have that ghetto Dora on it...

On a related note, I was irked to find that all disposable diapers have licensed characters on them these days. Even generics -- !! And a lot of them are perfumed to hell. Can anybody point me to a brand sold in Canada that's unscented and not festooned with advertising? (Am near Ottawa, and not near a Whole Foods or similar.)

P.S. I am also open to recommendations for baby and child instruction manuals that cater to the "I am crunchy-granola, but not prone to paranoia about vaccines" crowd."
posted by kmennie to Shopping (37 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
i just had a baby and i definitely feel your pain (babies can't even see pastels very well, so what is up with that?). i will be watching the answers since i don't have many good ones, except that there is a big series of pretty good books by Dr. Sears that seem to fit your criteria-- into attachment parenting and so on but pretty mainstream. i have the baby book and it's fairly thorough and interesting.

also, it just occurred to me that one thing you could do is get a crafter to make you some things (unless you do things like that yourself). look on etsy or someplace like that, find a few things that you like and see if the maker does custom work. a lot of people are surprisingly cheap, at least compared to the type of designer stuff you are talking about, and you could choose the look yourself.
posted by lgyre at 11:05 AM on July 23, 2007

The Superstore generic diapers don't have licensed characters on them FWIW, and we found that they worked just as well as the others.

You might want to look into "Elimination Communication" which worked really well for our second child - 2 year old is potty trained and sleeps diaperless, while our 4 year old sleeps in a diaper still (though is otherwise potty trained.)

You might want to check out the fabric store for receiving blanket type material. It's really not that difficult to make your own, and the material is significantly cheaper than buying the crap you get in baby department, and significantly more pattern/color choice.
posted by Nodecam at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2007

Walmart sells a brand of diaper called White Cloud that just has little John Lennon animals on them. They're good, too.

Cloth diapers make the best burp cloths. They're not pretty, but they're absorbent, soft and bleachable.

I sympathize. It's almost impossible to find anything kid-related that's not covered in characters and/or so gender-specific it's ridiculous.
posted by jrossi4r at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2007

Just to clarify on the "Elimination Communication" thing - we didn't know about it until #2 was born.
posted by Nodecam at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2007

One day you will awake to discover the locally grown organic hemp mattress soaked through with pee and wish you bought the icky Wal Mart model. Trust me. Plastic is your friend.

The character on the diaper is so you tell the front from the back at 2am. We bought the generics from Target (some kind of cheaply licensed blue bear) because they fit the best. If Mickey Mouse kept the pee in, we would have bought the mouse.

Bar towels make awesome barf rags.
posted by mrbugsentry at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2007

Have you considered cloth diapering? There are a few new(ish) systems of cloth diapers available now that are vastly improved upon the old fashioned "chunk of absorbent cloth and pins" method. We use Bum Genius, wash 'em in our regular washer and, although the cost of entry is a bit high, once you've bought them you can use them over and over and over again. They even have very high resale value on eBay. And because you are washing them yourself you know exactly what chemicals are or aren't being put onto your little one's butt.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2007

Receiving blankets are a snap to make.

For a large blanket you will need 3 yards Flannel fabric.
Prewash, dry, and smooth out wrinkles. Iron, if needed to get really smooth.
Fold in half with right sides together, selvege edges aligned.
Stitch 1/2 " in from the edges all the way around all four sides, but leave a six inch opening on the open end.
Turn rightside out. Press seams flat, being careful to turn edges of opening in nice and even.
Top stitch about 1/4" inside the seam. This should close up the opening.

Bonus Hood: Need 3 1/2 yards fabric for this one.

Cut a large 24"square of flannel. Fold into a triangle, right sides together. Stitch hood using instructions above. Turn rightside out, topstitch, and place BETWEEN the two layers of flannel for the blanket. Pin into place. Stich blanket as directed above.

This will make a decent size blanket, perfect for wrapping up a newborn right up to toddler. Plus, a well-worn, well-loved blankie like this ends up being the nap blankie at pre-school!
posted by Corky at 11:30 AM on July 23, 2007

The baby paraphernalia you get at IKEA is not too awful. Pretty nice actually. And cheap.

Don't see whats wrong with keeping the baby in a cat bed. If the baby likes the cat bed then it's great isn't it?

The only advice i can really give is to not buy to much stuff that you want and thinks would bee cool. In my experience new parents goes through lots products for their babies just finding stuff that works. No need buying the ultra high-tech-über-expensive baby carriage if the baby doesn't enjoy riding in it. It's a huge trial and error process and there is just limited room for good taste in it.
posted by uandt at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2007

I bought flannel (the kind you make pajamas with) from the fabric store and sewed up a bunch of receiving cloths which also doubled as burp rags. They came in great funky prints like vintage cowboys, hawaiian luau scenes, and vintage hatboxes, and gave me something fun to look at. Just wash the fabric a couple of times before you sew - it's as soft as a baby's butt after that.

I made my own baby towels out of terrycloth, too. The kind with the built-in hood.
posted by iconomy at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2007

While not a parent, I have taken part in the raising of my two adorable nieces, now six and two. One thing my older niece's Mom did before she was born was find scraps of cotton (I think they were old, worn white t-shirts) and cut out dozens and dozens of square rags about 6-8" on a side. We used these constantly instead of disposable diaper wipes and/or paper towels.

Babies and toddlers create so many reasons for wiping, either their hands/face/whatever after eating/playing/sleeping/whatever as well as floors/walls/countertops from spills/art/whatever. Cleaning up with cloth always felt like a little luxury, and I imagined it felt better for the little peanut, too.
posted by funkiwan at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2007

I have a five month old. Here's my advice. is your friend, as is I spend time staring at cool stuff at apartment therapy's nursery site, but I buy Ikea and (shudder) Walmart.

I'm a HUGE fan of slings, very convenient to have both hands free around the house. But you can really spend a dollar or two on those, so don't get fancy ones and do look on ebay or at consignment shops first.

I buy cute and cheap dresses and jumpers at, and I've seen really snappy layette sets and crib bumpers there for not too much money. (My kid co-sleeps right now so no need at this point.)

Your wife is right -cat beds are fine, dog beds are fine, particularly while the sqiggle is completely immobile, awake, and supervised - just not too much pet hair, at least for a while. You might want to use a breastfriend or pillow to prop him/her up so they can see around. My daughter hates lying on her back so we put her in her (hand-me-down) bumpo on the floor a lot right now, but it takes a while for their necks to be strong enough for that.

Good luck!
posted by pomegranate at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2007

Depending on the puke power of your baby, cloth dinner napkins may be a joke. Our son didn't puke and we never needed a burp cloth. Our best friends son redecorated himself and his parents to such a degree that they all kept three sets of clothes in the baby bag. I remember they used traditional cloth diapers as burp cloths. Honestly, it made lots of sense to me since they could be purchased in lots of 6 or 12, they were super soft, and very absorbent. They also stood up to the bazillion washings they received.
posted by onhazier at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2007

Minky fabric. Google it. It's so cozy-squeezy-soft. You can do that one one side and a cotton print or flannel. Hem and voila--blankie.
posted by rhoticity at 11:45 AM on July 23, 2007

I was glad to stay away from disposables entirely. I was really happy with my Kushies, made in Stoney Creek (I bought mine cheap at the factory, but they are for sale lots of places including the Bay and Sears). I bought three sizes, newborn, up to 12 months and then over one year old. About 30 of each @$5, I used them with both my children. They are several layers of cotton with a waterproof covering and I did not have a problem with leaking. They take a while to dry on a clothesline though because they have the several layers (as opposed to the tradional one sheet that is folded into shape by the mother). I bought plain cotton flannel from fabric shops for burp clothes (didn't use them as much as I thought I would). I took my moses basket everywhere, it saved me from having to buy a crib. A lot of the things you *think* you need, you probably don't. Hold off buying a lot of the baby crap until you feel a need for it. And stay away from ALL baby manuals, I never found any I liked (I have similar leanings as you).

This is such an awesome fun time, enjoy your new little one!
posted by saucysault at 11:46 AM on July 23, 2007

Would, as Mr Kmennie insists, a baby really enjoy lounging in a cat bed?

Sure. I slept in a dresser drawer for the first few weeks of my life. Babies aren't picky.
posted by MsMolly at 12:14 PM on July 23, 2007

Seventh Generation diapers are character free and work well.
posted by Otis at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2007

I think cloth diapers (you can buy them at your local Target equivalent: whatever's cheapest is fine) are better than napkins. I've been astounded by the difference in absorption between a cloth diaper (washed as hot as you can get the water in the tiniest amount of detergent, then dried on hot, repeated two or three times before the first use) and other, equally-thick cotton cloths. Stuff tends to bead up and roll off other kinds of cotton, but it sinks into diapers.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:30 PM on July 23, 2007

Best answer: (Looks like you can get free delivery of Seventh Generation diapers in Ottawa here.)
posted by Otis at 12:32 PM on July 23, 2007

I can't help you on the diapers, but for the most part, the best baby things are at the auto parts store.

Terrycloth towells are what, $7/dozen? They're fantasic as burp cloths and wash cloths and "what the hell is that quick get it off the floor" cloths. You can toss them with no guilt if they get too icky.

For a softer feel, there are car finishing cloths - they claim to be "diaper soft". IME, though, they don't fold flat after washing. If you really want to get fancy, you can get microfiber car wash/polish cloths.

The soak-it-up cloths as seen on teevee really do work as advertized. The only downside is they must be kept damp, which is kind of squicky but you get used to it, especially after cleaning up the third milk spill of the day. I got a large one and cut it into pieces.

For later, there's Goop for crayon and paint accidents, bag of rags for other mishaps

You can get flexible unbreakable mirrors from about $5, just round the corners and glue it on the wall next to the changing station, or wherever.

Also ditto the sling. I had the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder. And for recieving blankets, I just got a larger blanket and cut it up (noticing a pattern here?) Thrift stores and garage sales are good for hand-crocheted blankets. And don't turn them down for a mattress as of yet. My two are still on their (used) crib mattresses and I have yet to have problems. Your itty bitty will be fine for a time co-sleeping on a firm mattress, so leave the cat bed for later.(I had the same thought as Mr. K, but was advised against by the pediatrician)

And for mom's groups, I think I know what you have in mind. Email me.
posted by lysdexic at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

You want the Dr. Sears "Baby Book" for crunchy but pro-mainstream medicine parenting ideas.

I have a green and grey plaid Pack and Play that I used as a bassinet. The pattern is inoffensive and it is reasonably well constructed. It is also a cheap alternative to a crib. We will not be buying a full-sized crib now.

Get Miracle Blankets for swaddling. Mine were plain-coloured fleece and were totally inoffensive. Regular receiving blankets are useless crap. Plus, I had blankets magically appear (friends and family bring them) so there was no need for me to ever buy a blanket.

Although your nesting instinct is kicking in now, buy as little as possible before birth. This is how you avoid accumulating crap. When you have a problem that you need to solve, buy goods selectively to solve that problem. I have lots of stuff that I bought before birth that turned out to be useless. Conversely, stuff that I sniffed at derisively before birth I ran to the store and snatched up the second I needed it.
posted by crazycanuck at 12:39 PM on July 23, 2007

Also, my wife recommends Brain, Child magazine and Carry Me Mama baby carriers.
posted by Otis at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2007

I used Chinese diapers for burp cloths. But you could also use regular cloth diapers, if they aren't shaped.

I urge you to buy the crinkly plastic mattress. Pee, poop, barf, spit-up...neither your cat bed nor the hemp mattress will hold up.

I am anti-branded items, so I just used cloth diapers. However, after a car accident made it hard for us to do laundry, we switched to disposables. I found that the generics didn't fit the shape of my child. But YMMV. Diapers are the only branded items we own.
posted by acoutu at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: Cloth diapers: I may get a few for occasional use, but Mr Kmennie has zero interest. Far be it from me to put off an actual interest in diaper-changing over a longish paternity leave, I think.

I forgot: I bought 40 flannels (US "washcloths" -- facecloths?) to use as wipes. (Do I want more?)

"Minky fabric" = "100% polyester." NOooo

"free delivery of Seventh Generation diapers in Ottawa here" = thank you!

And we are now suddenly in a jam after having been screwed over by (1), who changed their mind about shipping us a MacLaren MX3, (2) UPS, who have unapologetically lost our Maxi-Cosi car seat. @#$*. Pointers to on-line stores selling either and reliably shipping to Canada recieved with thanks.

Re. buy as little as possible before birth: how much shopping are we going to want to do with a newborn? We love going to PetSmart with the cats on leashes, but...
posted by kmennie at 1:11 PM on July 23, 2007

Nthing a lot of the advice already here -
Cloth diapers make the best burp cloths and they are super-cheap. You want a lot of them too, a pack of 12 is good.

Buy the plastic crib sheet, and have 2 or 3, since the middle of the night is when most leakage accidents seem to occur.

I agree with mrbugsentry, the characters on diapers serve a purpose when you are tired and trying to change an uncooperative, crying baby as fast as possible before he pees all over you, the diaper and the changing table :) Even then I have tried to put them on backwards once or twice in the middle of the night. Most important is to find the diapers that fit your baby (and lifestyle) best, and not to worry what they look like. I hate branded character gear but I'd rather put up with sesame street characters on diapers that don't leak! Buy a pack of each different type and try them, its the only way to tell what fits your baby's bum!

I chose to spend a bit of money on the baby lounger, and got something that has him reclining but able to see the world around him, its portable so I can pick it up with him inside and carry him from room to room with me, and it also bounces when he moves, soothing him back to sleep if he is tired and keeps waking himself up. I chose the oeuf baby lounger, and I'm well aware that I paid for the designery look, but it functions awesomely, so I don't care. He sits in for 2-3 hours every single day, and it should last him several months.

I didn't really find receiving blankets to be terribly useful, its too hot here to have him wrapped all the time, and after a few weeks he got strong enough to undo his swaddle every night, then woke up crying. Instead I bought some of those swaddle blankets which are easier to wrap up at 3am, and keep him snug and happy better than my attempt at swaddling with a blanket.

I suggest looking for used baby furniture on craiglist. Also ask around friends/co-workers if anyone has a crib/changing table etc they would be willing to sell or loan you. I got a crib from friends for free and I bought a combo changing table/dresser, since there doesn't seem to b any point having 2 seperate pieces fo furniture when one will do fine. All the nice modern stuff is ridiculously overpriced, and I also hate the twee frilly traditional stuff. Target has some more reasonably priced but plain, modern stuff, worth checking there if they ship to Canada.
posted by Joh at 1:27 PM on July 23, 2007

Just saw your last comment - online shopping is your friend with a newborn :) Otherwise, if friends offer to help with anything, get them to go do shopping for you. Don't buy too many clothes at first - I bought a bunch of newborn stuff but then he turned up at 5lbs 10oz, so we suddenly needed preemie clothes instead (harder to find, along with preemie sized diapers which are like gold dust). Again, online solved the problem.
posted by Joh at 1:30 PM on July 23, 2007

40 cloths may get you through the week, just make sure there's a diaper pail for them.

I was lazy, I used the select-a-size paper towells and sprayed a soap and water mix on them. For the first month or so you can just use water on baby's sensitive skin.
posted by lysdexic at 1:34 PM on July 23, 2007

We swear by the Maya Wrap. My wife uses hers all the time and gets stopped constantly by folks who want to know more about it, how/where to get one, etc.
posted by jquinby at 1:41 PM on July 23, 2007

Sobey's generic diapers have plain yellow ducks on them.
Flannel is great for blankets.

We barely used a crib with our first. He went from bassinet to pack 'n play to a crib for maybe a few months (he didn't like it much; we co-slept half the time) to sleeping on a futon once he could get up and down from it easily. If you don't want to lay out for a crib, you can totally get away with it. In fact we don't have very much in the way of baby things and we've managed three just fine.

Newborns/small infants are quite portable. You can get more done with a sleeps-most-of-the-time baby than you can with a wiggly don't-wanna-sit-in-the-stroller! early toddler. Really. In retrospect (after having three) going out with just one kid, even during the bumpy phases, is no big deal (don't wait 'til you have more than one to figure this out, like I did - lots of missed opportunities!).
posted by Melinika at 1:45 PM on July 23, 2007

Oh, and not everyone knows that drying burp cloths and cloth nappies in the dryer with fabric softner makes them less absorbent.
posted by saucysault at 1:47 PM on July 23, 2007

how much shopping are we going to want to do with a newborn?

kmennie: as much as you need to. Unfortunately, you don't have Target. You should have a Babies R Us, though. I was at Target on Christmas Eve three days after the baby was born (after a C section no less!) buying stuff that I didn't realize I needed until it was too late. My husband sat in the car and minded the baby while I shopped. It can be done.

Generally I have a once a month freak out or so (of the OMG I need X variety) and I can fix it in an hour a trip at our local baby repository. If you have somebody at home to help you with the kid, you can make it in and out of a store in between feeds.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:34 PM on July 23, 2007

Delayed serial post: keep in mind that with a newborn, you have to attend medical appointments (5 days, 2 weeks, 6 week postpartum check for you, plus any other visits to lactation consultants or other assorted health professionals). I always shopped after these appointments. There was no real overhead associated with going, as I had to leave the house anyway.
posted by crazycanuck at 3:13 PM on July 23, 2007

No, you're not going to want to go shopping for the first few months, if you can help it.

I'd recommend going to a lot of yard sales and rummage sales right now. I've had the best luck picking up non-branded baby clothes that way, and also some other baby items. (Not everything is safe to buy secondhand, but most things are. Just not the carseat or crib.) And see what items friends might be willing to lend or hand down to you.

It's nice to have the option of a lot of baby things. I hadn't thought I would want to get a "baby activity center" (a walker that doesn't walk, basically), but my sister-in-law lent me hers, and my daughter loved it for about three months until she outgrew it. So that was great, but not worth the price of a new one. Even better, you can check to see if things have been recalled when you get home from buying them. With new items, you have to wait awhile until people discover problems with them.

While I might recommend g diapers, I'm not sure how feasible it would be to get them in Canada. You can do your own research on that. (Or, if you'd rather do a cloth diaper service, that may be an option for you.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:34 PM on July 23, 2007

Instead of a basinette, I'd suggest a co-sleeper. (We have the full-size and I wish I'd gotten the small one; I have to scoot all the way to the foot of the bed to get out.) A pack-n-play would also work, but it's a little more awkward to have to reach down into it to grab the kiddo.

Our kiddo *loves* her bouncy seat. I never would have bought it, because I don't like electronic/plastic stuff for babies, but I'm happy we have it. I find the sounds it makes annoying, but our 8-week-old is fascinated by the bubbles & lights.

I'm surprised by how little we've needed so far: car seat, co-sleeper/pack-n-play, sling, a few onesies, bouncy chair, breast pump, generic disposable diapers, a few blankets, and flat cloth diapers for wiping up spit. We'll stop using disposables as soon as I manage to decide which cloth diapers I want to use.
posted by belladonna at 8:48 AM on July 24, 2007

I share your dislike of the baby-stuff insanity and am at a similar place on the crunchiness scale. My guy is four months old, so I was recently in your shoes.

If Mr. Kmennie objects to cloth diapers (presumably the difficulty?) but you like the philosophy, you might think about about using Fuzzi Bunz (annoying name, nice product) or something similar. They are super easy to use and save you some serious money. My husband was a little skeptical but got used to them pretty fast.

I second the idea of using prefolds as burp cloths. They are incredibly handy for all kinds of things and are quite inexpensive.

Aside from the issue of staining, I would not use an improvised crib mattress due to the risk of SIDS. Let me hasten to add that we co-sleep with our baby in our bed. But I am much more attuned to him when he is right next to me (especially when he was new and tiny). (I never intended to do this but after his birth, for a number of reasons, it was the way to go for us. We have a co-sleeper but I haven't ended up using it much at all--although it's a nice medium.) Still, if I were going to have him alone in a crib I would make sure to have the real deal. It's not worth the risk, IMO. Also, I dunno about totally organic, but I recall seeing a decent eco-mattress for around $180, not $400.

Many things can be pared down or simplified. I didn't get a changing table; just attached the changing pad to the top of a bureau. No covers for the pad: I just slap a prefold on there. I started off with a simple snap-n-go stroller until I had a better idea of what I'd really use. I didn't buy any special bedding or decorations for the crib (we have one for when he gets older). That kind of thing.

Also, sometimes I don't mind the el cheapo solution. The flannel receiving blankets from Toys R Us were inoffensive (yellow and green, simple designs) and exactly what I needed.

(I have found it surprisingly easy to take a newborn out on errands, after the first few weeks. Takes some getting used to, but it's really okay. Unless you have a colicky baby, they are pretty low-key and often agreeable.)
posted by Herkimer at 10:51 PM on July 25, 2007

Response by poster: Update, for Ask parents of the future:

The stack of 40 flannels = best purchase. Great for diapering, spit-up mopping, etc. A few more will be needed if the rate of laundry ever slows, though.

We love the Seventh Generation diapers. Christ, Pampers smell awful. Yet newborns smell lovely. What were they thinking? I don't have loads of diaper experience, but we did note that the 7th Gen are very soft compared to a lot of diapers; less likely to chafe little legs.

The baby travels to stores (in a Baby Bjorn thing, usually) just fine. It is her exhausted parents who have trouble finding the stamina to shop. That said, there're a lot of things we still don't have, and I'm glad we waited on them. A stroller and a crib, for example. She gets carried for now, and is in a co-sleeper thingy if not on the bed. I'm not even 100% sure we're ever going to get much use out of a crib.

This waterproof baby pad thingy is the best we found; others are too small, and often made of really harsh fabric. We've got three and want more.

I wish I'd found some good cotton terrycloth and flannel fabric, and had somebody run up seams. Baby towels, it turns out, are all either covered with duck bills that flap in baby's face, or appliquéd junk that itches, and you're charged a premium for that. (Or, just a tacky print, in which case: 20% polyester.) Baby blankets should be lightweight, layered if necessary, because a heavy one just floats over the kiddo without actually warming...

The Craigslist, etc, baby sections in Ottawa are all overrun with people trying to sell used baby socks, as though new parents might want to drive across town to save $1.50, the sitz bath they got free at the hospital, and the utterly useless item they got at a shower, which is invariably "$69.99 plus tax in store. Selling for $65 firm." Bizarrely chiseling and useless. Value Village turns up some finds, though.

Speaking of socks, Grandma got us some nice boxes of the Trumpette ones. Cooed over whenever we leave the house, and well-made. I highly recommend relying on Grandmas to shop; she also found $12 soft, plain, organic cotton sleepers (@ Cotton Ginny) and to comment on what is and is not useful.

Re. books: Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding is great, esp the no-guidelines guidelines for solid foods.

belladonna's bouncy seat is (1) ugly, and (2) probably going to be bought asap. I am more willing to accept, a month into it, that some plastic fantastic is okay. But I remain disgusted by the state of the market...

Future Mums-to-be reading this are advised to spend time shopping for themselves, too: my wardrobe is pretty short on stuff that can get milky but which you'd also wear out of the house; if your clothes are all cashmere or crap, you'll run into frustrations. That said, the "buy nursing bras in advance" advice turned out to be useless; they're risibly small now.

Finally, if anybody's still reading -- with three floors plus basement and Daddy eventually returning to work, I am now thinking about a baby monitor so I can cook without dragging somebody out of bed or running upstairs sixteen times. Reviews suggest many are garbage. Comments?
posted by kmennie at 5:29 PM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hey! Congrats! itty bitty BAYBEEEEEEEEE!

I never did the monitor thing - the house was too small. A friend of mine loved her closed circuit television/sound monitor in her two story house. I just IM'd her and she doesn't remember the brand, but she said she'll let me know.

Heh. She also says webcam+laptop.

And yeah, Pampers and especially Huggies stink to high heaven
posted by lysdexic at 12:32 PM on September 17, 2007

I'm not sure about Canada, but sometimes it's hard to tell generic disposable diapers from the more expensive brands by performance. I stopped using disposables since my baby has asthma and is very sensitive to the fragrance and chemicals that disposables are loaded with. But I read recently that in tests they are no worse on the environment or more expensive to use than cotton.

If you want to be a stylish mom and save lots of money on baby gear for the early months, make your own baby sling . You could make an entire wardrobe of slings for what one would cost you in a baby boutique or store.

Baby washcloths and towels are another area where you can skip the overpriced stuff without sacrificing quality and safety. Cotton flannel squares don't have to be pretty, labelled or even hemmed to get the job done. Larger pieces can serve as receiving blankets and use the remnants or scraps for your bath cloths.

I would not get a crib mattress from the futon store. There are just too many things that might go wrong with an incorrectly sized mattress for baby's bed.
posted by msbaby at 8:31 AM on November 2, 2007

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