I sure did learn so much after having Soleil in regards to what I really needed for my new baby. We live in a Society that is so focused on mass consumption and waste and the baby industry definitely tells us we need so many things that we reeeeeally do not need. So, hopefully from my own experience, I can help you pick out some specially curated things for your own newborn journey that may be a bit more eclectic and eco friendly than items on an average baby registry. I also include some hacks I developed too by using these items.
The above picture shows how ready I am at 32 weeks pregnant. That is our room and we have a ......... Bassinet! Woohoo! We accomplished one task! We are sharing a room with the baby for as long as we feel we need too. Our philosophy is Attachment Parenting which promotes continuous bodily touch and closeness. So, we are not going to be putting our baby in another room until he/she is ready. So, what does this mean? We will have to get used to having sex in all the other rooms of the house for a while : )
I am giving you my Baby Registry Hacks for the eco-conscious, the minimalists, and ALSO, for those of you who want to stick to the basics of attachment parenting (I had a fantastic experience raising Soleil this way).
The most amazing book that came my way when I was pregnant with Soleil that helped me form my Baby Registry was called "Save Your Baby : Throw Out All Your Equipment!" and I learned that most of the products that American Society tells us we need is actually physically damaging to newborns. Crazy right? The book unfortunately is not being made anymore, otherwise I would link it. My midwives have stacks of them at their birthing center which is how I got one.
Other than your chest, here are my hacks and the products I am personally getting for our July Baby. Babylist.com is the greatest way to compile a registry from all kinds of sites and sources and I highly recommend it.
Getting Sleep with a Newborn
Cosleeping: I owe all the sleep I got with a newborn to COSLEEPING and this is what my own philosophy is on the subject - When babies come out of the womb, it takes time to adapt to the outside world. They feel safe with mom and dad, not by themselves alone. If you put yourself in their shoes, wouldn't you be terrified too to come out of the safety of the womb, just to be left alone in the world? I put a cosleeper in between myself and Sol's Dad in our bed. When Sol was ready to nurse every few hours, I did not have to get up, I got to stay in bed, and put her on my breast and when she was done, I laid her back in the cosleeper and we all went back to sleep peacefully. Attachment parenting teaches us that babies who are raised this way are actually ready earlier to be confident by themselves because they gain your trust from the very beginning and they know you will be there for them when they need you. Babies who are left alone to cry and self soothe don't get that stability and understanding.
Snuggle Me Organic - Voted best baby product of 2019 on BabyList.com. I have one to cosleep with our new babe.
Himalayan Salt Lamp - I was gifted this when I had Sol and it was specifically intended for night nursing. It is the perfect night light so that you can breastfeed throughout the night because it is super hard in the beginning to get that latch in the dark. Plus, the salt lamps are known to purify the air, reduce allergies and stress, and improve breathing and stress. Sounds like a big fat WIN for everyone involved!!
White Noise Machine - Real white noise is a natural sleep aid and has been known for decades to help babies sleep soundly. I got this one from Babylist.com
"Clothing" a Newborn
My two sense about newborn clothing is that, when they are used to being in Mama's womb naked, I believe we should make it as soothing and simple as possible for them and ease them into the outside world. So no frills simple loose clothing is what I like best. But this also depends on if your baby is born in the warm or cold seasons. Sol was born in June, so for the first 3-6 months, I barely dressed her. Babies absolutely want to be swaddled more than anything, until they are ready to stretch and explore their limbs. So, I swaddled her mostly in the first 4 weeks, and let her be naked with only a diaper if she wasn't swaddled. I used swaddles more than clothing for a while.
I guarantee you that people will gift you clothing more than anything, so, there will be no lack in that department. In my blog post about living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, I talk about the importance of hand-me-downs instead of registering for a ton of clothing that your baby most likely will not wear or may perhaps wear once before they grow out of them.
We are not finding out the sex of our baby so I found these really cool gender neutral pieces above from some companies that I love: Aden + Anais have the best breathable swaddles, Woolf With Me makes all organic baby clothing and bedding AND is a mama owned biz like mine, and Spearmint Love has the cutest swaddle designs.
if you intend to Breastfeed
Nursing Tops - You have to have nursing friendly tops, and well, I just happen to make the best ones available. They are organic cotton and bamboo and have the most dreamy feel and fit. Definitely stock up on these and you can see all of the Mothersun Nursing Tanks here.
Nursing Blanket - These help for when you are nursing in public. If you feel more comfortable by covering up, then definitely stock up on these, you can also use swaddles too. My favorite one out there is the Boobs Baby Blanket by the fab brand The Little Milk Bar.
Nipple Cream - My experience with nursing for the first time is that I needed to be proactive and put nipple cream on my nipples before I felt like I needed it. The trick was to apply cream before they actually crack. Cuz when they crack, you can't go back!!!! So, stock up on this for sure and really use it regularly. My fav brand is MotherLove.
Other Necessary Items - Medela Breast Pump which should be covered by insurance, Oh La Lari Nursing Bras, Reusable Bamboo Nursing Pads (instead of the disposable ones!), and eco friendly bottles from the Package Free Shop (find bottle nipples that resemble a breast nipple to make this easier for baby to adapt to).
Babywearing : essential for a calm and happy baby
Indigenous mothers and children don't have sleepless nights and they don't experience terrible two's the way Americans do. What is their trick? Babywearing. It is a vital piece of the new mommy and baby pie of life. The photo above is Soleil and I on our first birth day together and I wore her til she was 3 years old.
•Babies who are worn cry an average of 40-50% less than babies who are not.
•Strengthens bond between parent and baby.
•Decreases risk of SIDS
•Allows for easy and discreet breastfeeding anywhere
•Allows baby and toddler a safe space to be comforted anytime.
•Allows for easy interaction with baby and helps parents and baby see from similar points of view. Baby will also learn a lot more about their world.
•Calms colicky and fussy babies
•Allows parents to be hands free while completing tasks throughout the day.
•Many worry baby will be too needy, crying for attention all the time, but in fact its actually the opposite. Baby will feel more comfortable and happy.
•Toddlers often become overstimulated. Wearing them will ensure they are comforted before a meltdown occurs.
•When babies are worn and calmed, mother feels more competent.
•You will move about more quickly and easily than you would with a large bulky stroller or carrying around those carseats outside of the car.
Something huge that I learned when Soleil was a newborn is that newborns need to be at a horizontal incline until their little bodies are strong enough to go vertical in a carrier. So, slings work best for baby's health in the beginning and then the upright carriers come next. Soleil was so damn easy as a newborn in my sling, and the first time I wore a new vertical carrier, she was so unhappy and cried out in pain and I realized quickly her body was just not ready to be in a vertical carrier, so we went back to the sling until she let me know she was ready for the next thing. If your baby is unhappy in a sling when upright, then try putting baby in it in a different way until they are happy.
Slings: the one I am wearing above is from Aloha and Light but her store is currently unavailable, other popular brands are Wildbird (I registered for this Modal sling which is the softest fabric ever), Maya Wrap, Happy Baby Wrap, and Sakura Bloom.
diapers and bath time
I have to be super honest. I still haven't decided on what I am going to do about diapers. I am torn between expensive "eco-friendly" diapers and cloth diapers. Diapers are super detrimental to the environmental problems we are facing today and I haven't made up my mind what I am going to do yet. The one thing I absolutely know: I am going to pursue Elimination Communication. My girlfriend Jessica told me about it and her experience with sounded rad and natural, logical and organic. I'll let you know how this goes.
"Eco" Diapers - I think for the first few weeks as I adapt to the newborn life, I will use these. After researching "eco friendly diapers" these Bambo Nature Diapers are supposedly THE ones to get.
Tushy Cream - You can't go wrong with Earth Mama brand, so I will definitely be using Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm. When you read the ingredients, they are just so different than all the other products on the market.
Baby Wipes - Soleil was sooo sensitive to wipes as a baby. she had eczema too and these diaper wipes from Costco were the only wipes I found that didn't give her diaper rash. AND they are cheap AF.
Keekaroo Peanut Diaper Changing Pad - Every search I made for an eco friendly changing pad option, this product was at the top of everyone's lists. And then my friend Dayna sent me the same link telling me I had to register for it because it was the most revolutionary baby product she got:
- Impermeable to fluids, does not require any additional sheets or pads
- Solid surface wipes down easily and limit bacteria growth
- Wipe with soap and warm water
- Slip resistant material
- Latex, PVC, BPA, phthalate, and formamide free
- Made in the U.S.
Beach Diaper Bag - I love this one from Pottery Barn Kids and its on sale. It's really nice to have a changing pad that comes with it too. I raise my babies at the beach, so I was mostly concerned with a canvas one that I could get dirty and throw around.