As I previously mentioned (once or thrice), My Wife performed considerable research during her pregnancy concerning all things baby (including Daddy Diaper Bags as you may recall). At the time, I appreciated her thoroughness but quietly (for me) held the opinion that most of the stuff she was looking into was little more than gimmicky (dig the fancy lingo) versions of the crap (again with the fancy) we actually needed. Now that we’ve had some time with the boy, I can report that I was right with respect to some of the products, but I was also very wrong with respect to others. So as to make it manageable (and to give me the opportunity to make more posts, naturally), I am going to break my observations/reviews into multiple postings. In the coming days we will cover the “wow, that was useless” group as well as the “these are ok, but we paid how much?” bunch; but for today we start with the “holy crap, these are sanity saving” items. Cutting to the chase, if you are about to have a kid, get these, trust me:
1) Tommee Tippee Newborn Bottles: Babies belch; shocking I know. More importantly, babies belch because they swallow air during feeding. You know what else swallowing air during feeding causes? Fussy, unhappy babies that scream bloody murder because they are uncomfortable; oh, and the built up air pressure means they will projectile vomit … we’re talking distance and volume projectile vomiting. “He didn’t eat that much, how is he still spewing?!” projectile vomiting. Breastfed babies swallow less air because when they latch onto the boob, there is a good tight seal; bottle fed babies may get less of a seal depending on the bottle top shape, fluid flow through the bottle nipple and/or other manner of air infiltration into the bottle. Solution? Bottles with nipples that mimic boobs enough to create a tight seal, even fluid flow and otherwise limits air infiltration. Tommee Tippee bottles are basically mini boobs (my understanding is that there are other brands that also do this). In short, get your kid mini-boob bottles or deal with a screaming, burping, projectile vomiting child (and we all remember how that movie ended). Bonus: you feel slightly naughty washing the bottles.
2) Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail: This one shocked me. I was certain … certain I tell you … that this was nothing more than Arm & Hammer’s attempt to get into the garbage bag and pail business. I was dead wrong. Diapers stink; stop laughing. For those of you that have children, you know what I mean. To those that don’t: everything that comes out of your child’s waste management parts is noxious. Pee? It’s not urine, but rather some mixture of liquid ammonium nitrate, uric acid and devil’s sweat. Poop? After the meconium clears out (an odorless, tar-like substance that babies pass for the first 24 hours or so of life, accurately described by Sidney’s Godfather in the comments below), what you get is a toxic sludge that smells not of familiar sulfur and methane, but some acrid distillate of butyric acid, pyridine and hobo’s sweat. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that you will be changing your child’s diaper 10-12 times on a good day. That’s a dozen bundles of mass olfactory destruction. You want to have your regular garbage full of these things? More to the point, do you think you can? Unless you are suffering with anosmia, the rational answer is a stern (and nose pinched) “no.” Enter the Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail. This thing seals off the diapers you deposit and automatically sprinkles a bit of baking soda on top (sodium bicarbonate, you absorbing wonder). Each bag will hold around 24 Stage 1 diapers – and even if it was only 3, it would still be worth it. Your nose (and your neighbors’ noses) will thank you.
3) Tommee Tippee Newborn Shield Pacifier: “Pacifier’s are horrible, deform the soft palate and lead to speech impediments later in life; I will not allow my child to use a pacifier.” Yeah, we read those “reports” from “experts” too, and despite my reluctance to allow the research of extreme cases (prolonged and persistent pacifier use long beyond the newborn and well into the toddler phase) to create an absolute rule, I was ok with avoiding the use. The problem? A newborn does not care one whit about your opinion and will scream his/her bloody head off until soothed. Your child can be soothed by something else? Hallelujah, congratulations and feel free to move on to the next item. For the rest (and the realistic), odds are you are going to break down (unless you want to hear your child bawl at the top of his/her lungs) and agree to go with a pacifier during the newborn phase for soothing purposes (you can wean them off the things later on; 0-3 months is not the time for philosophical stands). This being said, a pacifier that mimics the thing kids are sticking in their mouths at this point anyhow (nipples and tiny fingers) and that does not press against the soft palate is ideal. Enter the Tommee Tippee Pacifier. Tiny, flexible and soothing. For now it solves his fussiness when he is falling asleep, soothes him when he’s antsy and over-all makes life better for the family unit. Another benefit is that giving your newborn a pacifier will annoy sanctimonious pissants. The takeaway: you are going to end up using a pacifier unless you are a sociopath/sadist/sanctimonious pissant, so use these.
4) Badger Basket Changing Table: In my ignorance I was convinced that any solid surface was going to be sufficient to change a diaper, so why in the name of Plank’s Constant would we spend money on a “changing table”? The couch is a “changing table” I argued, as are the bed, the dining room table, the floor and the kitchen counter. Hell, storing a changing pad was one of the reasons I needed to have a diaper bag I railed. Then I changed a diaper … you need a changing table. It puts the baby at the perfect height, keeps him/her from rolling around, stores all the supplies you need within arm’s reach (and trust me, it has to be at arm’s reach) and gives you a padded surface to bang your head after the changing is complete (and you will want to bang your head sometimes). More important than all of this, however, is the fact that without a changing table you will be buying a new couch, mattress, dining room table and/or kitchen counter. Why? Because your kid will not necessarily be done “going” just because you started changing the diaper. Pee will shoot out the moment you have the diaper off, as will poop; on particularly bad days it is like having a combined lawn-sprinkler/soft-serve pump assault. All of that would be on your other furniture but-for the changing table. Get one people.
Now, if you will all excuse me, I think we need to get Sidney to the changing table (he just finished the mini-boob).