By Alexandra Whiting
I’m a huge fan of this The Strategist's Now That I Know Better series, and it got me thinking about what I’d put on my own baby registry if I could do it again, now that I know better. So here it is.
Being an editor, I’m conditioned to find the best options for any category. Being the wife of an Army Captain, I’m conditioned to moving. Often. This meant my baby shopping was minimal, smart and stylish. At least that was the intention. I should mention that the memo was just an idea at that point (one I was heavily rooting for), so my hunt was less streamlined. I had a minor panic attack in a suburban Baby Bunting at about 30 weeks. So. Much. Plastic. My other challenge was not having a baby registry, which meant I spent a lot of time responding to people generously asking what they could get me, and when I didn't, I got a lot of stuff that didn’t fit my brief and sat in drawers, unused. Meanwhile I overextended my finances buying the things I did want. If I had a registry, both problems would have been solved. In my son’s first year I came across so many great products, some when I needed them, and some too late, and so many that I didn’t even know about, particularly for my own recovery, and if I could do it again, I’d definitely be registering for things to help me. From the amount of nipple creams my friends gave me, I know they were thinking of me in their gifting.
My milk took almost a week to come in, and my nips were a mess. A rocky birth meant I was desperate for breastfeeding to be easy, so I persisted, but it wasn’t pretty. The creams and balms were great, but in the early days, let's just say, some things you don’t want to put cream on, you know? I wish I had known about Silverettes, and had them with me at the hospital. What are they? Medical-grade silver nipple covers. Why? Silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial metal that aids inflammation, soreness, wounds and cracked skin. It’s also cooling and soothing, and would have made establishing breastfeeding a lot less damaging. I also had two infections during my breastfeeding journey as a result of bacteria coming into my breast through the nipple, another thing these would have helped with.
This is something we did buy ourselves, but I wish I had registered for it so my friends and family could have put in and got it for us. Then I could have thanked them enormously for giving us something we really needed and loved. The Cocoonababy is French obstetrician designed newborn bed made of moulded foam. It mimics the shape of the womb and my son loved sleeping in it. It was also light enough for me to easily move around the house for day naps.
My hospital attire was a mess. I couldn’t figure out what I was meant to be wearing in the birthing suite and it ended up all wrong. Now I know, I should have had a set of linen button-up pyjamas. The night shirt would have provided easy access for midwives, doctors and baby (when he came), but it’s long enough to give me a bit of modesty coverage. It also would have made me feel a bit more put together. Maybe that’s because of the collar. And linen is both cool and warm. Ideal for unpredictable hospital temps. I'd lived in these in my postpartum days too. So comfy, chic and functional for breastfeeding.
I’m a shorter person, and while our black carrier was my husband's MVP parenting tool. It looked really intense on me. Like armour. This illusion probably wasn’t helped by my uniform of black SRC tights and a black sweater. I would still definitely invest in the black ergobaby, but as we spent so much time with the carrier strapped to us, I’d have liked something more fun for myself. And leopard goes with everything.
This would be put by the door with our hospital bag and taken exactly as is, straight to the birthing suite. It has everything we’d have needed when learning to change our baby and would have kept everything nice and neat (there’s not a lot of space in those rooms). I would have kept it set up exactly the same at home (we were using my desk as the changing table), and it would have made everything so much simpler.
I read something really beautiful about creating an olfactory connection with your newborn bubble, so that in years to come, the smell of something will take you back to those moments of bathtime. Bunjie smells so delicious (I’ve used it on myself once of twice), and it’s formulated to strengthen little one’s skin microbiome, helping them have less sensitive or reactive skin as adults. It’s safe to use from day one (and I was really confused about this in the beginning), so I’d love to have had a stash ready to go.
Until very recently I was under the impression that pumping was painful and damaging for everyone, and basically, everyone hated it because I certainly did. I used the Haakaa pump, and would again, it was amazing. But if I ever had to manually pump, it was torture. The Milkdrop Breast Pump Cushion is a new invention from a Melbourne mum who had a similar relationship with pumping. It is designed to take the pain out of pumping and actually considers the comfort of the mother, not just milk extraction. It fits onto any pump, genius, and consists of only the best, medical-grade materials.
When people asked me what they could give me, I didn’t think much beyond the first few months, so when it was time to start solids, we were starting from scratch, and leaving behind many barely-used newborn props. If I’d had registered, I would have put in stuff I’d need further down the line, like the Mushie Snack Cup (currently my/and my son’s favourite thing) and The Food Bottle. We mostly did baby-led weaning, but he loved a puree pouch. I just felt so much guilt about the waste of all those single-use pouches. Plus, there are so many preservatives. I would have loved to have made my own, but wanted them for easy feeds. I didn’t want to have to do it with a spoon and mess. With The Food Bottle, he could have been eating fresh food purees that I’d made, and we’d have used it for yoghurt and cereal way beyond that.