A friend and I were talking about baby essentials the other day. She had read an extensive list and was skeptical that one needed all of it. It made me think of my own list, and while the list changes for everyone, and even sometimes between babies, this one worked for us; a Maus’s view on what one needs* for a new baby.

  • Wrap or ring sling :: With Mausi it was wonderful to have a snuggly little newborn wrapped up against us. It was the perfect way to transport our November baby through the winter. In fact, we wore her exclusively until she was 16 months old. With our Cub the sling was an absolute necessity! For all the same wonderful reasons that we had with Maus (the ease of breastfeeding on the go, the convenience of not having to lug an awkward car seat through a store or navigate narrow doorways with a stroller, and the peace that comes with a contented babe) but now also the reason of having to contend with a busy 2½ year old in addition to a newborn. Whether we were at home or out and about, with Cub in a sling, this mama had two (or very nearly two) hands free for wrangling a Maus.
  • Plenty of wool :: There’s no denying it, I have a thing for wool. Especially on babies…and toddlers…and growing 5 year olds. Wool caps, wool undershirts, wool soakers, wool sleepsacks…it’s warm, it breathes, it absorbs moisture. It’s essential.
  • Cloth diapers :: I’ve really enjoyed always having diapers on hand and not having to buy them weekly. And just incase you are curious…we work with a combination of prefolds, flats and Motherease Sandy’s and Pianissimo cloth for night (as well as one or two random other diapers). Prefolds might be the one of the world’s most useful things. They are diapers, yes, but also work as overnight doublers for toddlers, wipe up baby spit-up, handy burp-cloths, are perfect to lay underneath a naked bum…and the list goes on.
  • Lambskin/sheepskin :: We didn’t have a sheepskin with Maus, but were given one for Cub, and I can say with some certainty that we used it every day for a wee babe. And still do. For sleeping, changing and just hanging out around the place.
  • Calendula salve :: Cub was a little more sensitive to moisture than Maus was, especially in his first couple of months. We used a calendula salve almost with every diaper change to soothe the irritation. Such a useful salve for skin irritations in general.
  • Wool puddle pad :: For those inevitable times there is a nighttime leak. A wool puddle pad under the fitted sheet in baby’s sleeping place protects the mattress nicely.
  • Nursing pillow :: I should preface this by saying I didn’t have a nursing pillow with Mausi, and was perfectly happy. But then I didn’t have the pillow I have now! Not your standard half-moon support pillow available at many baby shops, the one I used with Cub is more cylindrical and filled with buckwheat so it molds to your lap. What makes it so useful in my mind however is that it can be used for so much more than just nursing!  It was the perfect support to keep Cub nice and snug against me when nursing lying down, it is of a good weight and helped keep the wee Cub from rolling off things (like the bed), it worked well to separate the 6 week old and 2½ year old when they were lying side by side (big sister love can be a tad smothering at times), Mausi has enjoyed lounging against it for the last 2 ½ years, and for mama at the computer it kept a newborn Cub at the perfect height, for kisses, nursing and talking to. Now it sort of kicks around. It keeps growing children from rolling of beds, it works as a back support when reading books, and is integral in fort building…just generally useful. Ours is the Nneka nursing pillow made in Canada, and to be honest I am not sure if there are other similar ones. Although, I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to make one like it.

* I didn’t include clothing in this list as individual needs change according to season…unless you count wool. Wool is always good.

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