Airing out the Dirty Laundry
Of all the household chores, doing the laundry really isn't too highly ranked on the annoyance meter. However, it can be time consuming, which is why I had made it a point to only need to do my laundry about every 2 weeks. We all know how often we do laundry is determined by whatever essential we have that we run out of first. So I stocked up on plenty of everything and could comfortably just do the laundry when I felt like it.
Then I had a baby. Holy s***. Literally.
Daphne's full size hamper seemed to fill up every day! I'd just put a fresh _________ down and now there is poo/pee on it and we have to do the laundry so she has it to sleep at night! UGH. I'd say I was doing the laundry every other day. At least. Newborns require almost constant attention so trying to do/fold laundry seemed like an insurmountable task every time that hamper would mock me with its fullness. I'd read all the "what to buy for newborns" checklists and had what I thought was adequate stock but in those early days I found myself SCRAMBLING for extras of what I needed more of, regretting the wasted dollars on the things I didn't, desperately trying to find the right balance.
And then I did. Around the three week mark I got myself to the point where I only had to do the laundry once a week (this is a miraculous stretch in baby terms). So to those new moms who don't mind doing laundry all the time, you can just skip past the rest of this post. This is for the moms who want a realistic, no frills, checklist for what to get your kid (in the washables department) to keep you from getting your washing machine to the point that it wants to phone in a vacation.
These items are for the 0-3 month mark. This is the point where the learning curve on diaper changes/blowouts, puke, and other baby messes is the most skewed; you and baby have a long way to go in figuring out how to avoid them. For those moms who want to cloth diaper, my hat is off to you, but I cannot begin to fathom THAT level of laundry.
1) Side Snap baby Tees: 7-10.
These are fast and easy to get on and off. You can buy them in multiple packs on the cheap. New 5-packs of carters (which are bigger, stretchier, and softer than gerbers) run around the $20 mark. Nothing to pull over baby's head, nothing to block your view of the pee-gauge on the diaper. There are short sleevers (for my 4th of July baby), long sleevers, or if you want to pop for it, the kind with the flip over cuffs to keep baby from scratching (for those of you terrified to clip baby's nails, these can be invaluable). When it comes to clothes in the 0-3 month size you just don't need much else. You don't leave the house much before the shots so you don't need tons of "ooooh cute," and newborn size in particular, Daphne was out of within a week from the hospital. One or two cute outfits in this size and you may even forget to wear them before the kid outgrows them.
2. Zip-up Footed PJs: 7
We started out putting Daphne in her snap tees then into the swaddle to sleep but her legs got a little cold. Once we started doing the zipper PJs at night, she stayed warmer and slept better/longer. I hunted down multipacks of these at places like TJ Maxx and Kmart. One per night will usually do it. Get the zipper, not the snaps, unless you want to spend all your day snapping and mis-snapping and wondering how you ended up crooked... you get my point the zipper is the way to go.
3. Velcro Swaddlers: 3-5
I love these so much. I buy them for almost every baby shower I go to now. The velcro ones are the most adjustable as the kid grows. You can get a tight swaddle on any size baby in the suggested weight range. If you put them on right, the kid will not escape (trial and error, we figured out "right" eventually). 3-5 allows for the occasional spit up/blowout moment during the week, but you can reuse them for a few nights in a row if they don't get a mess on them. These velcro ones you can even change the diaper without undoing the arms thanks to the velcro bottom pocket. There's also a slit in the back for quick diaper checks or for swing harnesses. Brilliant.
4. Changing Pad covers: 2-3
Referring back to the Baby Sleep Saga, Daphne's sleepytime took place in her cosleeper. However after reading a suggestion on a website, we also got a 4-sided changing pad to keep in the co-sleeper for her to sleep on to help keep her from rolling around. So rather than having to change baby sheets all the time, I just had to worry about changing pad covers (and the item below). Babies... just when you think they are done pooping and you go to change the diaper, they will shoot poop out like a pressure washer. So you will need a few changing pad covers. 2-3. You can find them on the cheap at places like TJ Maxx.
5. Waterproof pads: 7+
I registered for a multipack of these. It included "sheet savers, lap pads, waterproof mattress pads" of various sizes. THESE are how you really save yourself in the laundry department. These go under the baby EVERY TIME YOU CHANGE to avoid a big messy problem. They really have a bajillion uses and you won't regret having them around.
6. Bibs: 10+
I "discovered" bibs around the 2 week mark when Daphne was having her snappy tee changed 2-3 times a day. Bibs are life savers. With a reflux baby, I still go through 2-3 a day. My personal recommendation, pop for the carter's teething bibs. They are triple layered with waterproof lining and BIG. They are the only bibs that stuff won't soak through to the clothes. A little more expensive, but if you hound the racks at TJ Maxx and Marshall's you can get the three packs for $6 and they are worth every penny.
7. Burp Cloths- 1,000,000+
You can never have too many. I liked the tri-fold cloth diapers while she was still small, but you can use receiving blankets, too. With a reflux baby, we easily go through a MINIMUM of 3 a day. I will say this, I'd seen those Aden + Anais muslin blankets and thought they were a total ripoff but after popping for a couple... they are probably my favorite splurge. They are so big and soft and wonderful, and if you hound amazon you can get some decent sale prices. I probably had about 10 of the tri-fold, 10 miscellaneous receiving blankets, and now about 10 nice muslin ones. I've retired the skeevy stained trifolds but they served their purpose.
8. Baby Wash Cloths: 3-4
Pssst-here's a secret. You can use any ol' wash cloths.
9. Baby Towels: 2
Ok I'm going to take a moment on this one. I had a bunch of those cute little baby hooded towels that I'd received in multipacks. Guess what? THEY SUCK! They are thin, it took at least 2 to wrap my kid and dry her off. Finally went to Babies R Us and popped for some thick soft toddler hooded towels (2 were $18). It only takes one to wrap her up and it actually dries her. Should have had them from the beginning!
That about covers it. If you aren't going to do the crib pad, you'll probably need 2-3 waterproof mattress pads, at least 3-4 crib sheets, etc. Once you get past the first few months, the kid's poo gets a bit more under control, and you get better at avoiding the situations that might take 3-4 waterproof pads to survive. Plus your kid is going out in public now, time to break out the CUTE clothes!!
What about you other mamas? What did you need more/less of in those early days?