Friday, June 13, 2008

Baby Equipment?

Hello all expat mommies out there! I'm a bit embarrassed to post this, but then again I thought, what the heck?! Isn't that what we're all here for, exchanging advice and information, tips and counseling? And you've all been such a great resource in the past...

I've made it clear already in several of my posts how pathetically unprepared I feel about this whole mommy thing, and I imagine I'm not the only one out there, but no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get on the ball. One thing is certain: I've been getting in quite a lot of rest over the past few days, since I officially started my maternity leave on Wednesday -- or that is, my congé pathologique, which is apparently systematic in France these days if you're working and particularly if you're commuting to work, as I've been doing for months now. So my maternity leave started just a couple weeks earlier than originally expected. Admittedly the trip back and forth was becoming a bit tiring, although honestly I know it could have been a lot worse too. But now that I'm home, I know I have a million things to do and get done, and yet I don't even know where to begin! And seriously, a lot of you North American gals would probably be shocked if you knew how very little I have done at this point... I'm seriously flying off the seat of my pants here! (I have no idea how many times I've said that in the past few weeks, but it's true...)

I was just wondering if any of you all had some advice in the equipment arena -- I know there's always eBay, but I'm a complete novice in that department, and I just don't know how I feel about ordering stuff on there at this point. My one sister-in-law is going to be passing on quite a few things to us secondhand, which is one of the primary reasons why I haven't really bought very much yet. We'll be getting a transat from her, as well as lots of things like blankets, etc... She also promised us a bassinet or berceau of some kind for the first few months, but now, as it turns out, she may not make it up here in time before the birth to bring us the baby bed (she lives near Besançon). So I'm trying to consider all my options and make a kind of quick, last-minute decision... I'm getting mixed signals about Ikea -- I know some gals out there have found some nice things there, but just the other day I was told that their baby furniture/equipment selection is pretty limited. Plus, I'm not too keen on white furniture, which seems to be what they primarily have in stock -- but I guess that's just me!

I did end up ordering that little green dresser from the French Vertbaudet website, and hopefully it will be shipped to us in a few weeks' time. That will cover me for some clothing storage, at least for a start... And I think I can even use it as a changing table of sorts, as I can put a sort of changing pad on top of the dresser. Then again, I'm not so sure about the height of the dresser itself... Will have to see once it arrives. But is there an all-in-one place/shop where I can pick up basics like a changing pad, etc.? And as I know the French summer sales are starting soon (officially June 25th, if I'm not mistaken) I'm also trying to hold out to see if I can get some deals -- although that will also be cutting things close, with my due date set for August 5th...

I guess my big question is this (And I imagine a lot of you are going to think, isn't this all listed in a bunch of baby books out there? And maybe it is, but I also have to sheepishly admit to the fact that I have only read the bare minimum, as every time I got to reading the baby books, my stress levels would only skyrocket more... So the next few weeks may or may not be spent catching up on my baby reading!): what baby equipment/material must I absolutely have on hand for the birth, without question? Obviously I know I need the basic newborn onesies, and I've got quite a few of those, as well as diapers (and that's another big question mark, as I want to do cloth diapers but haven't sufficiently researched the subject yet either...)... A few months back I bought a few used items, including a Baby Bjorn, a bottle sterilizer, a manual breast pump (as I want to breastfeed and have no idea yet whether I will be able to do so!), and some other small items, but that's about it! Andie told me a bit about BumGenius cloth diapers, and I'm wondering whether I should order a few on Amazon as a start. If I want to try to do a combination of both cloth and disposable at the beginning (as I have no idea whether my boyfriend and I will be able to handle the maintenance and responsibility of 100% cloth), how many cloth diapers should I expect to have on hand? And which ones do you gals all recommend, besides the BumGenius kind?

I belong to the Paris chapter of Freecycle, and I'm planning on perhaps making a callout for any newborn baby equipment, as well as cloth diapers, as I've seen quite a few other gals make this request in recent times... I have some things of my own to give away, and now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I want to be sure to share the things that we have that we no longer need, which include an extra iron, and an older Senseo coffeemaker that still works, but not very well... I also have quite a few clothes, shoes and books that I think could find a new home, so I want to go through those and try to pass them on as well.

[Also, I need to get back in touch with another Freecycle member who offered me a baby bath a few months back; I need to try to pick that up as soon as possible, if it's still available!]

Any and all advice is totally welcome here, and I would be extremely grateful for all you can share with me. And again, I apologize if this seems like a crazy thing to post! I just want to find a starting point, or maybe some firm footing at this point, as all I'm thinking about these days is how much I haven't done instead of all I have perhaps done, or the simple fact that the pregnancy has been going well so far... And I do hope and pray it will continue to do so! I guess I just feel a bit at loose ends here, because even though I have a few really great expat friends in the area, I just hate to pester them all with my questions and fears...

Thanks so much in advance for your advice, tips and input!

P.S. ~ A great American colleague of mine also told me about Message months ago, and silly me, I put off sending in the membership form. I've got that on the way now (quite late, I know!) and I realize that this organization is also an excellent resource, particularly for breastfeeding, so I'm hoping to touch base with them at least a few times before the baby arrives. I also met a breastfeeding consultant at a recent event I attended through my SCBWI participation, and I'm looking forward to speaking with her in the future about breastfeeding as well.


Jennifer said...

We aren't big "gadgety" parents - we buy only the minimum we need. Before Paul arrived, we bought a bed & sheets & tour de lit, some clothes, diapers, bottles and formula - that's it. Other people gave us stuff after Paul got here, some things we needed, some we didn't. Really, those things I mentioned are the minimum. We bought a changing pad and put it on an old table we had sitting around. Paul still has all of his clothes sitting on a futon, but since we're moving soon, we're not getting him a dresser now. I'd say Paul has the minimum, and he's doing great. You could always just try to get a bed, clothes, diapers, and whatever you'll need to feed him and then get the other things as you go along.

I can't believe your due date is so close! Time really flew by!

Charlotte said...

The things you need are: somewhere for baby to sleep, somewhere to change a nappy (and as Jennifer says, all you need is a changing mat on a table) and a car-seat, if that's how you will be transporting your lovely newborn. Obviously clothes and diapers too.

Good luck! You must be very excited.

The Late Bloomer said...

Thanks so much, Jennifer and Charlotte! Jennifer, you've reassured me that I'm at least not completely unprepared, as I've been told several times that to start out with you don't need all that much... But I forgot to mention that I'm very lucky to be getting a secondhand, but very recent, carseat from one of the diplomats at my job -- he is returning to Japan and left his baby carseat for me. What a wonderful gift! He also left what they call here a "parc bébé" which is apparently a sort of wooden contraption to put on the floor when the baby gets older and you need to keep him/her in one place in a room... Another colleague offered to pass on a "lit parapluie" as well, which is basically a transportable crib, if I'm not mistaken, which I'm sure will come in handy down the road...

precarious tomato said...

We didn't buy a whole lot beforehand, either. Honestly, they do make you feel like if you don't buy everything you could POSSIBLY need before the baby arrives, then you are late. Which is silly, and (I think) makes you buy a lot of things you end up not using. New babies are pretty happy to be wrapped up and asleep when you first get them, and they don't really need a lot other than blankets and love and food.

You can ALWAYS buy things later if you find you need them. Stores will still be there, and honestly it's nice to have a reason to get out of the house. As long as you've got the basics, you'll be okay.

I use the BumGenius diapers, which are working out well for us. I got the three pack to see if I'd like them before I committed. And I think now we have two dozen, which is plenty.

And if there was one thing I would recommend, I would say get some of those waterproof pads to put underneath the baby when s/he is being changed and use them EVERY TIME. Newborns have an uncanny ability to take a tremendous whizz during the second between when you've gotten the old diaper off and the new diaper on, and they are particularly good at doing it when you don't have them on something waterproof. Like the sofa. ;)

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh, the one big question I think is the stroller: there's a part of me that wants to invest in a good, sturdy, "poussette évolutive" that will last for a while, but then another part of me is freaked out by the crazy prices. That's another reason why I'm hoping to hold out for the sales in 2 weeks' time...

BTW, Jennifer, are you guys moving really soon? What does the timetable look like at this point?

jchevais said...

Did I ever tell you that Mr C and I found Kilian's bed by the side of the road in the Bercy area when we were on the way to the movies?... It was a bit rickety and broken and destined for les encombrants.

Mr C packed it into the car and then put it together later. That sucker could have given splinters, but it didn't. Nothing bad ever happened. Brenna's first bed was a lit parapluie and she had it until she was in her own big girl bed. It was super handy. We just bought a baby mattress to go into it.

Try not to worry about "being prepared". What an oxymoron. As if you could be fully prepared. Keep things simple. The more you have, the more you have to keep clean and sanitized. And baby stuff is very difficult to keep clean. Trust me. That stuff gets crudded up fast. Especially the big plastic contraptions by chicco or whatever.

Though I do recommend the baby kangaroo sling...

jchevais said...

precarious tomato hit the nail on the head. oh how early the parent guilt stikes.

Penny said...

One piece of advice I was going to give you before I'd finished your post was to line up some breastfeeding support before the baby arrives - but you've done that. Fantastic.

As for diapers, I used Fuzzi Bunz - they are excellent. But I would recommend starting them at about 3 months. Let's face it, there is so much to learn as a new mum that the last thing you want to do is have to wash millions of poopy diapers (and breastfed newborns poop a LOT!). If you wait till 3 months, you can buy the medium size rather than newborn and that will take your babe up till over 18 months old.

Get lots of plain white cloth nappies to use as burp cloths - you'll need them especially if you get a chucker!

And my last bit of unsolicited advice (and this is from an ardent breastfeeder, so watch out and please no one get offended!) - if you are going to breastfeed DO NOT have bottles or formula in the house. It just makes it too easy when things are tough in the middle of the night to start down the slippery slope of bottlefeeding.

Enjoy your last few weeks
Penny :)
PS love the new blog look, BTW!

PAULINE said...

I agree the kangaroo thing is essential in Paris. Nothing more awful and stress inducing than trying to push a baby around in a pram/stroller (think dog shit, cars parked too close together, kerbs that are too high and too many people on the pavement that gat in your way) Really great for the first few months.

We bought the bare minimum too:

- No bottle warmer (we did it in the microwave)
- Don’t buy too many clothes you’ll get tons of presents. But buy something special that you really love for the maternity and babies first outfit, as it’s an outfit that you will always remember and maybe want to keep.
- Bed + a baby sleeping bag + fitted baby sheet + buffer for around the edge of the bed. You may need 2 sets, as one will often be covered in vomit and droll. We never bothered with a crib/basket that is often used just for the first few weeks.
- A padded changing matt (we put ours on top of a cheap Ikea dresser to do the nappy changing thingy)
- I would suggest a bin with a lid for those stinky nappies. The lid keeps the smell in.
- A baby bottle cleaning brush (that for the Mums like me that bottle fed) + a supply of bottles + microwavable sterilizing thingy
- Some clothes to put on your should when you burp the baby (avoids vomit on you clothes. Can’t remember what they’re called
- A cheap plastic baby bath to put in the real bath. This may help with any fears you may have of drowning your newborn. I didn’t both with the temperature thing I used my elbow (don’t ask it’s my Mum that told me)

I would avoid baby books like the plague if I were you; this only made me worry more than ever.

There is a baby shop that holds all these and many, many more and they are all over the Paris region called ‘Aubert’ (near us they are even open on Sunday too) so maybe you can take a look near you!

Lesley said...

If you get a pram with a "landau" type top, you can use that for the baby to sleep in for the first few months - that's what we did. It can also be strapped into the car for any long journeys, because small babies are supposed to travel lying down.

You'll probably get a great long list of stuff from the maternité too - but half of it is unecessary in my opinion, especially the long-sleeved woollen brassières.

Gretchen said...

One thing we couldn't live without during those early months was a motorized swing. It's a HEAVENSEND, seriously. The noise and the motion is super soothing for babies, and it saves your back and arms during those looooonnggggg nights. My 2nd was a colicky baby, and she would pretty much only sleep in that swing. That swing saved my sanity, if not my life. ;)

Amy Sue said...

I've got 6 kids and honestly, babies don't NEED a lot of things - no matter what advertisers tell us. Like Charlotte said: someplace safe to sleep, car seat, diapers, wipes (I love cloth diapers and wipes!) clothes, sling, that's about it. I never used a baby bath, I used the kitchen sink until baby was too big. You also don't NEED burp cloths - they're nice, but towels and washcloths work just as well. A portacrib is nice because you can use it in place of a basinette and crib, as a playpen, and if you take baby overnight to Grandma's or on trips.
Good luck!
~Amy Sue

misschris said...

I´m new to your blog, hi! I just have to reiterate Jennifer and say that lots of parents aren't very gadgety anymore these days --we aren't either. It seems to be a trend. The transat you said you acquired is a good thing to have and you will use it a lot later. As for a bed, you know what's much easier to sleep with the baby the first few months if you are breastfeeding, and if you really must put him-her in a little bed, you can use a padded dresser drawer until you find a suitable crib. They are so small that a normal crib seems almost huge. I slept with my two kids and it keeps me from getting up for late night feeds which was a godsend.

Penny is right on about the cloth diapers and the breastfeeding. She swapped me her cloth diapers in fact and the Fuzzibunz pocket style diapers she talked about and that I am now using are fab. You need about 24 diapers but you can build that up slowly over a few months.

The stroller is a very personal decision because it depends on where you live, how much of a status thing it is to you and what you need it for. At around 8 months old you'll start looking at getting a lightweight stroller, trust me. Those huge,expensive systems wear out their welcome before the first year or so. Theyre so cumbersome. If you can buy a nice medium weight MacLaren stroller now that works for a newborn by laying flat (and add a pad of some sort) it will serve you well all the way up to age three and that is a great investment. Maybe someone will loan you a stroller that has a "nacelle" where baby can lay flat in it for the first three months. This also doubles as a great baby bassinette and you can roll it all over the house!

Good luck! It's so exciting bringing a little one home. I will be following along :)

Nicole said...

I agree with the comments about the stroller- when they are tiny, a Baby Bjorn/sling is soooo much easier than trying to manage a bulky stroller unless you do a lot of walking (no public transport) and want to use it also for carrying bags. As for a baby bed, we had a berceau that we never used- the baby went almost straight into the crib, as I could not get a good sleep with a noisy grunty baby laying next to me. I was desperate for sleep so I preferred getting up to go to her room when she started fussing. There are lots of things this- you'll have to see what your baby is like and what ends up working for you, hence the reason to not buy too things ahead of time. And while I was really happy to breastfeed, I very quickly decided to let my husband do one bottle each night so that I could get atleast 6 hours of sleep a day. THANK GOD I had bottles on hand. And while breastfeeding advocates will tell you this destroys your milk supply, I never had a problem with doing breastfeeding + a bottle. The best thing to remember is that advice is useful in so far as it lets you know that there are lots of different ways to do things, and you'll figure out whats best when the time comes.

L said...

I was talking with my mom and my mother in law recently (but separately) about baby showers in the US and France and my mom was shocked to learn that the French don't give gifts before the baby is born because you're not "prepared". But the French think it's unlucky, and perhaps that it's better to give gifts when you know what the parents need. I also just read an article in the NY times about equal parenting and one of the women explained why she hated all those baby guides: "They don't mention men at all" as though the father doesn't need to know about taking care of an infant. Don't feel guilty about not reading the guides, just tell yourself they aren't inclusive enough concerning the role of the dad!

The Late Bloomer said...

L, you make a good point here, and that reminds me of something someone else mentioned earlier today (I think it was Vivi?! Feeble pregnant brain checking in again...) -- apparently the French also don't like to prepare too much of the baby's room or "nursery" ahead of time either, because they consider even THAT a bit of bad luck, and can be very superstitious about it. Sounds fine to me -- I think that pushing and stressing us out with "having everything ready ahead of time before the baby arrives" is honestly a bit overdone back in the U.S. anyway, so in a way I'm relieved I don't get as much of that pressure here. Sure, if you go into the shops they'll tell you you need a bit of everything, but I guess you just have to sift through it all and make the decisions based on your personal circumstances...

Plus, the whole thing with absolutely knowing the sex so you can "prepare" for baby's arrival -- heck, I know I'll eventually want clothes that will work for the baby, but I've managed to find some pretty cute unisex things so far. I just have to pick and choose. And in a way it actually limits me in my purchases, so at least I haven't gone TOO overboard -- YET! But if I were to find out it's going to be a girl, I know I'd want to go mad with the dresses and bonnets, etc... But it's such a personal thing; I respect everyone's choices, so when people are really shocked by my choice to wait, I don't know how to explain it... It's just always the way I hoped to approach things!

Thanks to everyone so far for all your tips and advice -- they really are greatly appreciated!! :-) Keep 'em comin'... I'm taking lots of notes! And recording for future reference...

jchevais said...

I thought of something yesterday... You absolutely need a clothes dryer... You have no idea how much laundry you'll be doing soon. ;-) And having clothes dripping around all over the apartment will make you feel like you're living in a tenement complex. This is the reason why I didn't go with cloth diapers after all with my first. Laundry! I hated hanging up laundry and then watching it dry. Those onesies kept blocking my view of the telly.

But seriously, keeping it simple seems the best way to go. All you need is a bed really to start and then you'll play it by ear.

So no more talk about not being prepared. You guys'll be great.

The Late Bloomer said...

Thanks, Jenn -- the one positive thing I can say about this pain-in-the-ass apartment is that it is equipped with a combination washer-dryer. So it's not OURS, but for the time that remains for us here in this abode, at least we can make use of that particular appliance. These days I usually only crank on the dryer for thick towels and occasionally our sheets, but I imagine it will come in handy for the baby's things!

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

First of all, RELAX. I remember feeling exactly the way you do. And then I realized quickly when le Petit arrived that what he needed more than anything else was my love and my patience (more of both than I knew I had!). Get ready for the most beautiful and crazy ride of your life.

But I second what has been said about forgetting the bottles at first. And I also suggest that you don't say "I'll try to breastfeed" but start assuming success. There can be hiccups at the beginning, but if you line up help from experienced moms and consultants and the like ahead of time, chances are it will work out great for you. You don't want to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby before about six weeks anyway, to avoid "nipple confusion."

You can rent a high-quality electric pump that is reimbursed by the Secu and your mutuelle. Make sure to get a prescription before you leave the hospital. Although you may have to go to a specialized medical equipment shop, get a Medela if you can. Under no circumstances waste your time with a Kitett from the local pharmacy.

My advice from my experience (my baby, le Petit, is eleven months old now) -

Essential items:

1) A comfortable baby carrier. The Baby Bjorn is pretty good at the beginning, but I ultimately liked the wrap style carries (like the Moby) even better.

2) A comfy chair in the baby's room, where you can doze while you're nursing. It really is easier to put the baby's crib or bassinet in your room at the beginning so you can nurse in bed. Big benefit of breastfeeding: you don't even have to turn on the lights when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night.

3) A good nursing bra that doesn't make you feel like some sort of grandma. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the bella materna bras on Mamanana.. They have lots of cute nursing clothes if you feel like splurging. You should only buy one or two bras at first, and make sure to buy a slightly *smaller* band size than you're wearing while pregnant, because your rib cage actually contracts somewhat after you give birth. (Mamanana has great sizing advice.)

4) One month size clothing, mostly pyjamas and onesies. Le Petit, despite his name, never fit into any of the "newborn" stuff we bought, so don't bother. Just get one- and three- month stuff. And the sleeping bag/turbulette, a few hats, a blanket.

5) The car seat, which you already have.

6) A good breastfeeding reference book. I like Kathleen Higgins "The Nursing Mother's Companion," but there are others. Also, put the phone number of a good friend who can provide emergency breastfeeding advice in your cell phone. It also might be worth going to a La Leche League meeting beforehand, too. Unfortunately, some of the breastfeeding advice you get from uninformed hospital personnel, puericultrices, and even doctors in France is unhelpful, so line up support that you trust ahead of time.

I'm probably forgetting things, but I think there isn't much else that's essential. In the worst of cases, you'll send your family, who will be falling all over themselves to help out anyway, out to buy whatever it is the week you get home.

What ended up happening to us is this: I FREAKED OUT about the choice of crib, changing table, etc, ended up at IKEA and Jacadi, found cute bedding and the like, and then... le Petit wouldn't sleep anywhere but RIGHT NEXT TO ME for the first two months. I was dead-set against co-sleeping, but it became a matter of survival. We put his cute crib next to our bed and slowly transitioned him to it by two months old, then at five months had him in his own room. I learned that when it comes to infant sleep, you do what works, and what works may surprise you.

Le Petit never did like the transat too much, and I spent much my days in the beginning carrying him around in either the Bjorn or the Moby Wrap that I bought in desperation. Now I miss those first cuddly days!

He wasn't a big fan of the stroller at first, either. We got a Bebe Confort 3-in-1 deal, with a "nacelle" car bed, a car seat, and a stroller that all snap onto a base. I'm fairly happy with it, although if I had it to do over I'd get a sturdier car seat, an ISOFIX if I could find one (rear-facing ISOFIX are hard to find).

If you are every anywhere near Troyes, it is worth going to the factory stores. There's a Bebe Confort outlet, Jacadi, Petit Bateau, and tons of other children's brands. We visit family there often, so that's where I buy almost everything.

This will all seem very unimportant in a few weeks. You'll do just fine. The most important thing to be prepared for is to have your life toppled upside down and rearranged in a beautiful new pattern. You can't be prepared for that... so don't try! Hee hee hee!

LBK said...

Hi Alice!

Just thought I would add my 2 cents... I bought a few baby bottles before Cosmin was born but ended up never using them as he wouldn't take a bottle. Depending on how much independence away from baby you would like to have though, it's a good idea to pump and introduce a bottle after the first couple/few weeks (and breastfeeding is well established) so that other people can feed the baby. Of course, if you're going to come back to work pretty quickly your baby will also have to be used to being fed with a bottle by then.

As others have said, you will need a good breast pump if you plan to continue feeding your baby breastmilk after you've gone back to work. The best pumps for maintening your milk supply are double pumps that work both sides at the same time - I think you can contact La Leche League to find out where to rent one or maybe a MESSAGE BFS would also know.

As for strollers - we carried Cosmin for the first 7-8 months of his life in either a Baby Bjorn, a pouch/sling (a Hotslings), scarf/wrap, mai tei or Ergo. I am crazy about baby carriers! I ended up buying a lightweight Maclaren Quest and we have been very happy with it as it's easy to fold and navigate around town, but as I said, we didn't use it at the beginning but only much later (I bought during les soldes and got a really good deal on it). It has held up well, including through 2 trips to the US!

The Ergo is a great carrier that you can use even when your baby gets much bigger (at nearly 15 kilos Cosmin is just too heavy for it now though - thankfully he now walks most places on his own!), and the wrap/scarf type carriers are also great for their versatility. I found that we really needed someone to show us in person how to use it though as we couldn't figure it out just by looking at photos.

Anyway, that's all I'll say for now. I hope you're feeling well! Talk to you soon!

afoos said...

I am just now getting caught up on blogs, so sorry for not responding sooner!

We went with the cheapest Ikea baby bed because it was the only one that fit in our first apartment. It has now gone through Louise and will go through the third too and it goes until the age of 2 and a half. We also bought a changing table from Ikea (we didn't have much room or imagination at the time!) and we are still using it.

For the first couple months, we just used the Baby Bjorn and then went with a Maclaren stroller around 3 months.

The transat was also a must.

But, there are a lot of parents out there that don't even use all these things and you'll find out what you need the most.Brocantes are great places to get stuff and I have been known to get things off of ebay as well.

I actually have a moses basket/couffin type thing (it's not actually a basket but a couffin) that Louise slept in her first 4 months. If you are interested, you can have it! We have another little travel bed that we're going to use in our room the first couple months.

The Bum genius are really great diapers and I'm getting ready to order some more off of (you get better deals on there, from what I've found). Etienne and I are both converted to cloth now and absolutely hate disposables. I think it's a great idea to test out both and see what you like.

In the clothes department, the first month if I remember correctly, baby usually just wears pjs the whole day. Stock up on onesies because it might be warm this summer. We also used pacifiers for both our kids and weaned them around the age of 2 with no problems.

I would stock up on some formula and bottles just in case. There are some who believe that we can all BF no matter what but like me, you might find that there's a limit to this and if you really want some sleep, it's nice to have a bottle on hand.

I'm kind of random in this post because I can't really think of anything you absolutely need off hand. If you want to borrow anything, please let me know.

But, we'll need it back by January! (Haven't announced it on the blog yet, waiting to hear news about the end of my year!)

Anonymous said...

Hi ! I discovered your blog through Tatiana de Rosnay a year ago, and I like it.
Just to say that Nicole "parle d'or" and that you'll find your own style.
Something I found very useful, whether you breastfeed or not : it's called "coussin d'allaitement" (don't know the english name for it) and you can use it for many different purposes even if it's originally a support to help you feed the baby in good positions. I used it in the last months of my pregnancy to take naps or sleep, I used it with my baby for months to feed him, it's very useful if for example you have to put him on a big bed and you don't want him to fall, etc. etc.
And also, the name escapes me right now, but if you breastfeed you'll need these things you put in your bra to avoid milk leaks.
All the best

C. said...

Ok can't resist adding my two cents either.

1) Stroller - combo strollers are heavy and costly. We got a McLaren and love it. Used it from day 1 and plan on keeping it until she grows out of it around 3 years. I was so cheap I got my mom to buy me the stroller in the states for 200 dollars less and bring it over when she visited after the birth. The one test I applied to strollers when I was looking at them was whether I could fold and open them one-handed and whether I could lift it up stairs without having a hernia. The weight-test ended up being a life-saver because I had an emergency c-section and could barely lift the baby, let alone a stroller for several weeks.

2) Ikea stuff varies but they have some great cheap items. The cheapest crib is great, as are the mattresses and bedding.

3) I second the recommendation to get a nursing pillow. When I was pregnant I thought they looked so useless but I would have loved to have one.

4) Also second the good nursing bra. But don't worry about that until you see how much your bdoy changes.

5) A good sling/wrap etc. I got a Baby Bjorn and hated it because I didn't feel right. All the straps etc - but I hadn't even thought that I wouldn't like it. I suggest putting it on and stuffing it full of something quasi-heavy and have a walk around your apartment for a hour or so. I ended using a Moby wrap, a sling and mei-tei.

6) The nursery stuff is over-rated.

Reb said...

We started washables once the little one was eating solids - the poop from a breastfed baby is a mess and I didn't want to deal with it. Plus we didn't have a drier. We use mini-maxi diapers from ptits dessous. Every seems happy with them.

Amy H said...

I haven't been blog-reading lately, but had to stop in to see how your pregnancy is going!

I bought my Natalys couffin off of eBay, and was very happy with it. I then sold my electric swing on eBay to a very happy mommy (gretchen is right - those things are heaven-sent, but cost over 100 euros brand-new.

I got an evolutive stroller and car seat at a good second-hand store in Tours, so was able to get much more expensive brands than I would have normally bought that way.

Try a grand-surface like Monoprix or Carrefour for all the basic baby stuff (changing pads, baby baths, etc.)

And then ask friends for the other stuff - I got a hand-me-down changing table and high chair from someone who was really glad to clear out their small Paris apartment!

Good luck, Alice. And remember - you're not in the middle of nowhere like me. You can always ask your man to run to the store for you if there's something you haven't thought of! (I had a friend in Paris who worried about not having essential "baby stuff" while having a pharmacy and Monoprix a half-block away!)

I'll be thinking about you!