Eat, baby, eat

I’m sure I’ll jinx this by mentioning it on the internet, but it’s too cute for me not to want to preserve it for posterity.

Baby J is a phenomenal eater.  Yes, we’re still having trouble with her weight, but it’s certainly not because she’s a picky eater. In fact, she’s less of a fussier eater than my husband, and certainly has a more advanced taste in cheese. (D: the cheap Parmesan powder my mom uses smells bad and I will therefore eat no expensive imported Italian Parmesan because transference!  J: *nom nom nom* more please!)

There are only a few things that J’s refused.  Millet was one, and I couldn’t blame her – I didn’t like it either.  She refused peach puree last summer, while still eating nectarine puree, which seemed weird.  We’ll try peaches again as soon as they’re in season, because I love them, and not liking a good juicy ripe peach just seems wrong to me.  She also doesn’t like peppers, but I don’t know if that’s because of the taste, or because she only has 4 teeth, and can’t bite through them with her gums.  She’s not much of a meat eater, again probably due to lack of chewing teeth – she’s fine if it’s really soft or minced.

And that’s it.

Oh, sure.  She went off fruit for a couple of weeks, but she’s back to scarfing down strawberries and raspberries and kiwis and plums and bananas.  On a given day, maybe she doesn’t like something.  But over all?  She’s eat fucking everything and I love it.  Notable foods: sashimi, deconstructed sushi rolls, pickles, olives, cooked spinach, lemon rinds, baba ganoush, humus, any kind of veggies + mayonnaise dip, tomato/eggplant/almond pasta sauce, caramelized onions, chili, Indian chickpea curry, green Thai chicken curry, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, very aged cheddar, and so on.  In fact, she’s so cheerfully omnivorous, my slightly insane mother has expressed fear that the kid has no taste buds.  To which I just laugh – if you’d ever seen her gleefully scarfing down an entire plate of veggies sauteed in olive oil and a lot of garlic, you’d know that’s just wrong – her thrill at the taste in her mouth is just so clear.

Yes, she's eating the rind and pith of a lemon.  On purpose.  And went back for more.

Yes, she’s eating the rind and pith of a lemon. On purpose. And went back for more.

I would like to say that I don’t take full credit here or anything silly.  I think I did good at offering a wide variety of foods, early and often.  I made my own baby food, so there was an infinitely better variety than the store-bought stuff.  (Fennel and white bean puree, orange mango coconut sauce with yogurt, roasted pork and leek and sweet potato mush, curried carrot soup…  I had fun in the kitchen.)  I make sure that my fussy husband isn’t allowed to say negative things about any food around the baby, ever.  I’ve been offering her food off my plate since early in J’s relationship with solid food.  We praise her for trying new things, and make an effort for most dinners to include fruit, veg, protein, starch and cheese.  (Not, like, always getting there by any stretch, but trying, most of the time.  And yes, cheese at basically every single meal for her, in our constant attempt to fend off weight loss.)  Her daycare is great – they serve 3 meals a day, and sometimes I’m jealous of how good it sounds.  Ricotta pancakes with blueberry coulis, lemon salmon with brown rice and mixed veg, mini turkey burgers, and chicken noodle soup are just a few things I’ve seen on her report cards lately.But really, it’s just that my kid’s an adventurous eater, all on her own, and I think that’s neat, so will do my best to continue to encourage her.

Fancy baby "coffee".

Fancy baby “coffee”

Although, I will grant you that it’s likely she’s growing up to be a food snob like her mother.  (Okay, snob’s the wrong word, but I hate the term foodie.  I just, you know, like to eat food, and think about food, and talk about food, and try new food wherever we go.)  J didn’t take quickly or easily to cow’s milk, which makes sense.  I was still nursing 3 times a day, and she’d never taken to either bottles or formula.  I finally figured out the (pretentious) serving method guaranteed to make her scarf down milk: heat it in a coffee cup, froth it up nice and stiff, and serve it with a spoon.  Yeah, “baby coffee, just like mommy”.  You know, minus the espresso that keeps me going.   Actually, I think that’s one of the keys for her right now – she’d prefer to eat what I’m eating – we’re in that fun mimic age.  Also, frothed warm milk is delightful.

I’m sure that as she becomes more firmly a toddler, her tastes will narrow.  Neophobia will rear it’s annoying head, and we’ll deal with that as it comes.  I just hope that by having a 15 month old who eats hundreds of things helps when the narrowing of acceptable food stage happens.  If she refuses half what she eats these days, that still leaves us with a hundred things to feed her.  Much easier than if she only ate dozen of things, and it narrowes to a handful.  At least, that’s my hope.  I am more than aware I have very limited control over it!  Which means, I guess, I should probably serve her some of my childhood favourite pickled herring while I still can…

Weaning, redux

So, I was on domperidone for like, a million months.  Okay, about 9 months.  About 750 little white pills. That’s a lot of time, and a lot of little white pills.  That’s, particularly, a lot of time on an anti nausea drug that interferes with your dopamine receptors.

The first few days totally off the pills sucked.  I didn’t throw up during my pregnancy* but 36  hours after my last pill I found myself puking up the pain pills I’d taken for the splitting headache I had again woken with.  So nauseous.  And headachy.  And ragey!  Yikes.  It took days to feel better.  I read somewhere on the internet that the drug’s halflife is 70 hours, and it takes 6 halflives to be out of the system.  It’s been a little over a week, so I’m halfway through the detox and really am feeling better.

I am still nursing in the morning though – for increasinly short times, as my milk dries up.  I’m surprised that it didn’t just vanish overnight without the pills, as I was expecting.  I’ve decided that J’s month-a-birthday next week is the last time I’ll nurse the baby – “I nursed for 15 months” has a nice even ring to it, as opposed to a more wordy “I nursed for 14 months and some extra weeks” that the pedantic in me would probably use.  (Er, provided that there’s still milk there in a week.)  It’s funny the way we tell stories to ourselves.

I didn’t intend to nurse for so long.  The year of mat leave and a month of transition was as long as I’d planned, once I was in to the thick of it.  But before I had a kid?  I was very much pro breastfeeding, but when they fed the baby formula while I was still knocked out cold from the c-section, I wasn’t overly concerned.  When I had to supliment with formula for a week after J was born until the “too complicated for the hospital to fix” tongue tie was resolve, I just did it.  The whole routine just about killed me: every three hours I had to feed the baby a bottle of breast milk, then nurse, then feed the baby formula, and then pump.  8 times a day.  But the formula part just … was, emotionally, not a big deal.  I was happy when she weaned off the formula herself – it smelled really gross – but I was never truly opposed to using it.  I mean, after the birth plan fails pretty catastrophically, supplementing with formula for a few days was no big thing in comparison.

But was that birth failure WHY I put myself through 9 months of brain-chemistry-altering pills?  I mean, I did it without a thought, really.  “Kid’s starving, take drugs, skim over 10 page warning pamphlet, feed kid, sleep through the night again.”  The logic was so clearly there, but why the extra time?  How much of my willingness to fuck with my body chemistry was because I wasn’t going to fail at breastfeeding too, goddammit?

I mean.  For a long time I felt like I had failed at birth.  The PPD certainly made me feel like I failed in the first months as a mother.  I felt like I failed when my milk dried up, despite exclusive breastfeeding on demand – something I didn’t even know was physically possible.  Going back to work (as generally pro-me-not-staying-home as I am) and enjoying it makes me feel a bit like I’m a failure compared to the “naturally great at it SAHMs” who surround me  and are able to actively engage their toddlers every day, instead of like, taking J to the mall on my Fridays off as I do.  I felt like I failed at bonding with the baby for quite a while.  I certainly felt I failed, and flailed, during the various weight crashes.

But, dammit, I could NURSE THIS CHILD.  There was something.  Medically assisted or not, I could offer the baby a nipple and she would eat and I would know, KNOW, that I wasn’t failing her at this one thing.

And I guess, as I work this out on my computer screen, that’s not nothing, if that’s the route of why I have nursed for so long.  That in the rough seas of early motherhood, I found myself a touchstone that I could say, with confidence, that Yes I Can Do This.

It’s funny.  I also cloth diaper and made like 98% of the baby’s food, but that doesn’t feel the same to me, despite how the three are often grouped together in  “parenting philosophy”.  I CD because it’s cheap, and cute, and since the introduction of flushable wipes, surprisingly not messy.  I made all her baby food because it was cheap, and easy, and I could make 3 weeks worth of food in an afternoon, and my kitchen produced infinitely more interesting varieties of food than the store, and I like cooking.  I have no ego tied up in them – it’s just, you know, what I did, because I could, and wanted to.

But breastfeeding?  I have ego involved in that, which I’m only realizing now in the final days of my nursing relationship with J.  That’s interesting to me.  I wonder what other choices I’ll look back on later and see more complex reasoning for, tucked behind the stories I tell myself?

*except for that one night of stomach flu, but that wasn’t pregnancy related, so it doesn’t count.

Active little peanut

All children develop at their own speed – we all know this intellectually, yes?  But it’s pretty fascinating to watch it play out in real time.

Baby J is all about physical activity.  (Everyone who told me it’s easier to have girls because they are calmer and aren’t as physical can fuck off, because what a lie.)  She’s bold and fearless and yes, sometimes covered in bruises.  She’s a squirmy little monkey who at 14 months can walk forwards, backwards and sideways, can pull up, stand up, climb up and now down a flight of stairs, connect mega blocks, walk while carrying the half-her-size duplo box, dismount properly off the couch, rock chairs (even non rocking chairs – yikes), climb through tunnels, use a bumbo seat as an obstacle course, climb in to the dishwasher (just that one time when my back was turned, I swear), turn almost anything in to a walking push toy, pull up on a handle and get her feet off the ground, scale the back of the couch on to the desk, self feed, help undress, flip through books, takes apart duplo, pat herself on the chest when she coughs, and so on.  She’s so, so physical.

She doesn’t talk.

Like, at all.  Well.  Okay, she says a few words: no, oh oh, oh no, hi, and a two syllable inquisitive noise that means “what’s that?” Mama and dada, but we haven’t quite figured out what she’s talking about yet – it’s certainly not us.  For a while, we were pretty sure she thought her name was dada…  She listens, she understands words and requests and is again sleeping thought the night, this time after the doctor told her that she wasn’t going to be fed at night anymore.  She’ll bring you items on request and knows that when we say NO we mean it.  (Which sometimes starts this hilarious little temper tantrum I work very hard at not laughing at.)  She babbles noises and sounds.  I’ve had her hearing tested twice, and all signs point to fulling functioning ears.  She just … doesn’t have anything to say yet, or something.

I’m not worried.  She’s an effective communicator, for a baby, and makes it very clear what she does and doesn’t want.  (Not that, obviously, she always gets her way.)  She has a sense of humour. She likes to blow raspberries on my belly and play the Squish With Love game (she crawls, I chase after her, and when I catch her, I cover her in kisses until she collapses on the floor giggling.)

When my friends post videos of their similar age kids talking I can simply marvel at their babies without feeling doubt.  My kid will get there.  My kid is fine.  No, my kid is more than fine.  My kid is an active little peanut who is too busy with all the places to go and things to see to be bothered talking about it.  She’ll get there, and it will be adorable, and until then, I’ll just focus on trying to keep her from using the toilet as a water toy and teaching her how to properly dismount furniture taller than she is.

Places to go, things to see

Places to go, things to see

Babies be stressful

It’s always something, you know?  Just this weekend J fell off the couch while cruising, and while I caught her halfway down, there was an unfortunately placed toddler chair that caught her temple, leaving her with a surprisingly-pretty purple black eye.  (And of course, the panicked call to the nurse line, and the half hour wake-up-the-baby concussion checks, and did I mention this was on the same day as her 12 months shots?)  Despite the scare, and the swelling, she’s totally fine, and I’m sure this won’t be the last injury she sustains.  The kid is physically ambitious, and fearless.  At a playdate this weekend, she went straight for the toddler sized rocking chair, climbed up on the seat, stood up, grabbed the back and started rocking it, all gleeful.  Given a chance, she’ll scale the back of the leather couch and try to climb across the computer desk.  She thinks desk chairs are the best walking toys, but that they’re even better if you put her in the seat and spin her until she’s dizzy. So I expect that she’ll be hurt again, and I’ll worry, but I also have faith in the strength of the baby skull and her resilience in bouncing back.

But other things are harder to deal with.  Things with less clear cause and effect.  (Fall = scary = bruise.  No mystery there!)  J’s weight has been an issue since birth – it’s been all over the map, and often not for clear reasons, and it’s really scary. She’s now 13 months old, and we’re just climbing out of the 3rd weight crisis of her short life.  She lost 11% of her weight post-birth, and it took two separate tongue tie snips to correct her latch and another couple of weeks to get her weight on track.  The next she was around 5 months old, where, unbeknownst to me, my milk had mostly dried up, and she was starving.  This was only discovered when she’d dropped from 75th percentile to 30th percentile in weight, and I talked to my doctor about the PPD returning due to the sleep deprivation from comforting what turned out to be a screamingly hungry baby all night long.  I was put on Domperindone (the same drug my father took for chemo side effects!) and within a week she was plumping back up and only waking once at night to feed.  Then, at a year, I went back to work (thanks, Canada!) and she started daycare and her first teeth actually arrived and she became totally mobile, all at the same time.  She dropped to the 5st percentile in weight, and then went on an illness caused hunger-strike, and dropped down to the 1st percentile.  She adjusted to daycare and got over that round of colds, and is back up to 15th percentile, but she’s still a tiny peanut.  In a year, she’s gone from the 90th percentile (incorrectly) to the 1st (scarily).

And I want to wean SO BADLY that it’s making me weepy.  But I can’t, the doctor says, at least until she gets back on a healthy growth curve.  I’ve been breastfeeding for 13.5 months, quasi on demand, quasi on schedule, because she’s never hunger cued very well.  I’ve been on the pills for 8 months.  I’m tired of them.  I’m tired of them decimating my libido, and making my hair fall out.  I’m tired being too cheap to buy the 36H cup bra I need, because I keep thinking I’ll be able to wean soon, and of none of my work clothes fitting my chest.  I’m tired of waking every night to feed her, after months of her sleeping through the night.  I’m so very tired, and then stay up all night worrying about her.  But I can’t not feed the baby, and I don’t know if I want to try feeding her like, muffins or fruit packs at 3 am.  So nursing it is.

She’s a great eater.  J’ll eat almost anything off my plate, from chickpea curry to broccoli to sashimi.  I worked diligently to introduce her to fruits and veg, but may have neglected to give her enough fats or whole grains in the 10-12 month period, and therefore kind of blame myself for the weight issues.  But I didn’t know!  I was so smug about my green bean and aged cheese devouring baby that maybe I wasn’t pushing enough rich food on her?  Or my anti-refined sugar stance?  I was kind of relying on breastfeeding to fill any nutritional gaps?  And it didn’t work, and here I have this amazing eater with no detectible medical problems (we’ve done blood tests, which was awful) who, during the day, does not give off any real hunger or satiety cues.

She doesn’t like drinking milk (cow or goat) or juice.  She eats the highest fat yogurt I can find, and cheese, and the occasional ice cream, now that I’ve broken my no-refined-sugar stance.  We’ve never had any real food issues, other than that one week of illness, and the few foods she rejects (peaches, millet, berries about half the time) are done politely, and don’t interfere with her eating the rest of the meal. I read a pretty helpful book that was highly recommend, and it was great for hopefully setting up healthy boundaries about food, but didn’t quite answer what to do if your kid is failing to thrive despite enjoying all the food.  Because of the illness, we’ve fallen out of my previous 4 meals and 2-4 breastfeeding sessions a day routine, and now feed her from basically dinner time to bedtime in the hope that she’ll sleep through the night.  (It never works.)  I don’t know if I should be cutting off snacking, or allow her to keep eating dried berries in the hour between dinner and bedtime, or what.  I just don’t know.

I know, like all the other mini crisises, that this will pass and I’ll look back with relief that we got through another one, but it doesn’t make it any less stressful to live through.  There are no right answers, or at least, none than anyone can give me.We just keep muddling through, and offering the baby green Thai coconut curry with chicken and peas, and marveling that she’ll eat it, while hoping that it’s enough.  While hoping that I can wean soon.  That she’ll start sleeping through the night again.  That sleeping through the night again will happen before I need a caffeine IV to get through the work day…

Feeling the fever

So everyone is pregnant, as far as I can tell.  Everyone!  But, uh, not me.  Not trying, even.  Due to the pills I’m on, probably couldn’t be even if I tried.  I just, like, have eyes and can’t help but notice that everyone is pregnant.

I’m sure it’s hyperbole, but today, for example, I went through the +15 to the next building to grab some lunch, and saw, I swear, 7 very pregnant ladies.  Two were standing in front of me in line.  Walking from my office to J’s daycare?  It’s a 10 minute walk though the +15s, and I have never seen less than 4 pregnant women.  (Okay, sure, they could be the same ones everyday, but I still see them.)  I work in a group of 30 people, 13 of whom are female (not bad for a STEM field), and 2 of them are pregnant.  I’m back downtown, working in a very corporate world, and I’m surrounded by lush, fertile women who are gloriously, roundly pregnant.

And I’m so jealous I’m practically salivating.

I’ve said it before, I was never really baby hungry before I  had Baby J.  It was a cerebral decision, more than anything.  I never had baby fever, or heard a ticking clock, or whatever other cliche that can be used to describe the longing for a baby.  But now?  Holy fuck, you guys.  WANT.  NEEEED.  It’s the strangest feeling.  It feels like a walking cliche, to be so eager, but here we are.

And while we are totally planning a second, not yet.  I’d rather have them +2 years instead of -2 years apart .  I *just* got back to work, and I owe it to myself to give this a serious go.  I’m still on the domperidone, and that’s done insane things to my cycle.  It’s not fair to J to do anything until we figure out what’s wrong with her.  (She’s down to 17 pounds – 1 pound over her 5 month weight.)  I refuse to wean until she stops losing weight or at the very least starts drinking any form of calorie, and I want to have my body to myself for a few months before I get pregnant again.  I’m simply not ready to try again yet, and neither is David.  Mentally, I get it.  In fact, mentally, I have no desire to start trying right now.

But viscerally?  WANT SO MUCH.

At the end of the day, we’re all just animals, right?  It’s stuff like this – this crazy longing – that really brings that home to me.

34 weeks along, looking like I ate the world.  Why do I miss this so much?

34 weeks along, looking like I ate the world. Why do I miss this so much?

Weighty Issues, Redux

Hey, so remember like 10 months ago when I was all aflutter because my baby was charted as being off the chart overweight for her height?  Yeah, I barely do either.  I was thinking about it today, though.  At J’s 12 month check up, the doctor charted an actual drop in weight – about a pound the month prior.  So on Friday I took her to the public health nurse office to weigh and measure her.  And she’s lost another half pound.  Which puts her somewhere between the 3rd and 15th percentile in weight.  She did grow an inch, so she’s now up to the same for height, which is something, I guess.  She’s a tiny peanut.  A tiny peanut who now weighs the same as she did 5 months ago.

Yeah.    That probably isn’t good.

The doctor, at the last appointment, told me I had two months to fatten up the baby.  Two weeks of macaroni and 5-cheeses and cream cheese spread and a couple of pieces of bread a day (daycare) and everything else I can think of to fatten her up, minus feeding her straight up butter?  She loses weight.

It’s so hard to tell if you’re doing the right thing with kids.  I worked really hard to introduce J to fruits and vegetables and proteins and all types of dairy and she eats so well!  I really had thought we’d had it all figured out.  I mean, the kid eats more interesting cheeses than David does.  He likes… marble cheese and plain babybels.  J eats aged white cheddar and Parmesan and cranberry goat cheese.  She happily eats almost anything and everything.  She doesn’t like peaches, and we both had a similar blurg reaction to the millet I experimented with, but otherwise?  She has a preference for citrus fruit (including lemons!) and kiwis, but will also eat bananas and purred apples and pears.  She still has no teeth, so has had no luck with chunks of apples.  She hasn’t turned her nose up at any veggie that I’ve made for her, and shows a particular love for carrots and parsnips.  On the rare occasions we eat steak, she gleefully sucks the meat dry.  (She still has no teeth.)  She eats pork and chicken and shrimp and beef and even raw fish, although her preference is for fruits and veggies over meat.  We don’t eat a ton of grains at home – I rarely keep bread in the house because it goes moldy long before we’d have finished it.  I’m not on Atkins or anything – I just don’t, you know, eat a lot of starches, other than rice.  Which she is indifferent too, but I still offer and she always eats a bit.

I thought I was doing good, you know?  Having this kid who turns down chicken to eat another segment of a sweet blood orange.  Who cheerfully eats broccoli and green beans and parsnip soup.  Who loves yogurt with berries and flavourful cheeses.   Who devoured homemade salmon cakes.  Who still nurses twice a day.  And yet, somehow, something has gone wrong, and I feel guilty.  Should I have been pushing higher fat food the whole time instead of fruits and veg?  Is there something more seriously wrong, or is this just a blip brought on by the combo of daycare, a sleep regression, a cold, teeth finally emerging and gradual weaning all happening at once?  How much olive oil can I pour on her food before she stops being willing to eat it?  What’s the line between enough cheese for the calcium (she doesn’t like milk much, though she’s offered it 3-4 times a day) and total constipation?  How much of my reaction is overreaction, penduluming too far the other direction from last time?  I thought I was doing so good, feeding her veggies instead of like, processed sweetened puffs or whatever.  Should I go out and buy more frankenfood?  God knows I love me a bag of chips, so it’s not like I’m totally against it.  It’s just… I thought I should keep her foods pure-ish for as long as I could, you know?  I’m sure it’s not hard to learn to love goldfish crackers (NOM) but much harder to introduce broccoli later, so why not offer it now, when her tastes are so influence-able?

And how can someone with cheeks this round be so slim?

And how can someone with cheeks this round be too slim?

I just don’t know anything any more.

Babies, man.

Five Things

When I was pregnant, I read a million and one lists of What You Must Have and What You Totally Don’t Need.  I cribbed together a fairly detailed spreadsheet, delicately titled “Shit We Need”.  We were gifted/handed down the vast majority of what we needed, plus a bunch extra, so as we received things, I’d colour code the cells and add the information to the thank you card tab.  (Yeah, I’m that person.)  The list was fairly comprehensive, from the big ticket items like the car seat and crib, to small things like washable breast pads and baby socks.  I won’t go in to all the details, because, as I said, there are a million and one resources for that kind of thing on the net.  But I will list the 5 things that Baby J needed/loved the most.  It will be interesting to see if the list is the same for hypothetical future second child.

1) Baby Log.  The best $5 I spent in the last year, no question.  After the first month of so, when J’s habits started to become apparent, I downloaded every free baby tracking app that would work on my old iTouch.  I picked the one that I liked best, imaginatively called Baby Log, bought the full version, and tracked that baby every single day until she was 11.5 months old.  Which, on paper, is crazy OCD, but in reality was wonderful.  J lives by a clock in her head, and as soon as I figured out what her preferred schedule was, especially in terms of napping, my life became so much easier.  I knew she would want a nap 2 hours after she woke up, and the app kept count so I didn’t have to remember.  As she got older, the waking times changed slightly, but with the app, it was easy to see and adjust and not have to think too much.  It also tracked what side I started nursing on, so I didn’t have to remember that either, and during the 1-poop-a-week phase, we could easily track that too.  I know, I know, but with this baby, who lives by her own clock it was the most wonderful thing to have.  I’m not that OCD or clock following myself, but she is, and this was worth it’s weight in gold coins.

2) Swaddling/Sleep Sacks.  J enjoyed being swaddled from the beginning, albeit with one arm free for finger sucking.  When she was too strong for swaddling, we switched over to sleep sacks.  We keep our house on the cool side, and she’s now a very mobile sleeper, and this keeps her warm and cosy and makes it slightly tougher for her to cruise around the crib.

11 month old imp in a sleep sack

11 month old imp in a sleep sack

3) Stuffed animals.  This was a surprise to me, and points to other people for providing them.  J LOVES stuffed animals.  Like, open-mouthed-making-out-with-them love.  It’s adorable.  There’s now something cuddly in every toy bin in the house.  If she’s upset, just hand her a stuffed penguin and watch her cuddle him to happiness.

7 months old, with her namesake Skipper penguin

7 months old, with her namesake Skipper penguin

4) Bumbo seat.  J wanted to sit up from a young age and watch the world.  The Bumbo made that possible.  We still use it every day, when we eat dinner in the basement, on the couch, watching tv.  (Yeah, yeah, I know, but at least we’re eating homemade food together as a family.  And she tends to ignore the tv except to dance to the music.)  Sure, she can flip her way out of it now, and we only use it with one of us sitting with her at all times, but it helps corral her during dinner, and it’s easier to use in the basement than the high chair in the dining room where we eat breakfast and lunch.

2 months old

2 months old. already watching and judging

5) Bassinet.  Our bedroom is on the main floor, and the nursery is upstairs.  She slept in a bassinet in our room until she was 7 months old.  Co-sleeping didn’t work for us, going upstairs 5 times a night wasn’t going to work for us.  The bassinet was perfect.  It was on a stand, so I didn’t have to bend much, which would have been impossible after the c-section anyway.  Even after she moved upstairs to her crib, she’d still occasionally have naps in it.  I know a lot of people say not to bother with them, but it was perfect for J, for a very long time.

A few weeks old, swaddled in the basinet

A few weeks old, swaddled in the bassinet

Sure, we needed a bunch of other things: strollers, diapers, clothing, a baby bath tub (oddly essential for a very short period, especially for shaky new parents), a swing, bouncy seat, high chair, baby fingernail clipper, etc.   But those are mostly generic needs (though swing vs seat is pretty baby specific.  J liked both…).  I’d say that the 5 above were pretty key.

As for what we didn’t need?  J hated carriers and wraps from almost the beginning, so the 3 different kinds I bought got very little use.  J rarely spit up so all the nice homemade burp clothes people made for me barely got used.  We barely used the 3 bottles I bought – even when we’d go out, she’d basically just wait for me to return before eating much.  There are a dozen unused sippy cups of various styles in my kitchen, purchased before I tried a cup with a straw, which she handles like a champ.  (Yes.  Can’t use a sippy cup, has no problems with straws.  I was surprised too.)   We have been given a lot of toys, and some of them have not been played with at all.  (Unlike the duplo, which she is still officially too young for, but she adores taking blocks apart and using the blocks to make noises.)

Babies.  They have funny personality quirks and opinions just like real people!

Someone gave us a play tunnel.  It's a ridiculous thing to have in your living room, but the baby loves it, so...

Someone gave us a play tunnel. It’s a ridiculous thing to have in your living room, but the baby loves it, so…