advice from a stranger: registering for baby

On Saturday, I was wandering around the Farmers’ Market, thinking to myself that I should send an email to all my friends with kids and ask for advice on what stroller to get. Just at that moment, a tall man walked by pushing a big red Schwinn jog stroller. I stare all the time at parents with strollers, trying to see what brand and model they’ve chosen. They usually look at me like I’m some kind of creepy pedophile. Rarely do I get to explain.

This guy saw me looking, caught my eye, smiled. So I explained. I’m stroller shopping. I gesture towards my belly.

Oh, he says, let me tell you all about our stroller shopping process. He leads me off the main path of the market, to a side path in a grassy knoll. Scott walks up and joins us just as the man has begun his story.

And thus commenced the most amazingly thorough half-hour of advice on baby gear that I have ever received.

He suggested the Peg Perego Aria for its light weight and one-handed ease of folding/unfolding (his 5-foot-2 wife loves it), and a jog stroller for heavier duty activities, plus a 5-in-1 car seat/stroller/everything else particularly for the husband’s car and for plane travel. He said to skip the snap-and-go because the wheels are too small, hard, and irritating. The Aria can take an infant seat.

He recommended Britax for the car seat, and a wall mount hair dryer with nightlight for the bathroom where they also keep the changing table. The dryer sound simulates the whooshing babies hear in the womb, thus calming them, plus the nightlight is useful for late night changes, and the dryer works best for post-wipe moisture removal, preventing diaper rash. He suggested cotton pads with water instead of wipes — again, less wetness, and cheaper — get the 4-inch squares. “Chucks” or liners to protect the changing table are cheapest on ebay, in bulk of course.

And get a front-facing changing table. The traditional approach-from-the-side doesn’t actually make any sense from an ease/ergonomic standpoint. Target sells a model that fits in the corner.

Use Tiny Tots for the cloth diaper service, use the plastic clips, not the pins, and supplement with disposable diapers called “Tushies” which don’t have any of those weird toxic gels in them but work better than the “green” brand.

Get the slope pad with the bolsters to help the baby sleep, and then when he needs to transition from your bed or bassinet to crib or sleep in a strange location, if you have that little pad, you’re golden.

Get the cheaper model swing. He’ll only use it for about three months anyway, and he won’t know the difference.

Get the Swedish wood high chair. Company name starts with an “S.”

Then he turned to address Scott directly. “Get her a good glider. It’ll cost you about 5 bills, but it’s the best money you’ll ever spend. She’s going to live in it. You both will.”

Oh, and for the delivery room and post-natal: Bring an airbed with you. The best the husband gets otherwise is a couch — and you’ll probably spend a night or two in the hospital. And bring an iPod speaker dock. You’ll get tired of the sound of the TV; soft music is better.

He also suggested a good cafe nearby for real food, to augment the dreck the hospital will serve. And he recommended the Girlfriends’ Guide to both of us, for reading up on all we will face.

With that, we agreed that my brain was probably saturated, and back we all went into the market crowd.

3 comments for “advice from a stranger: registering for baby

  1. August 6, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    This guy sounds fantastic and really really nice. I guess this answsers a lot of questions for you. Anyway I hope so.

  2. Pop Pop
    August 6, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    I don’t know why, but this made me laugh out loud. What a great story and what a great telling of it!

  3. August 6, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Great blog… great title! This post made me smile. What a happy coincidence, this man had all the answers you needed. I remember getting the low-down from all my girlfriends before my first one, “Must have the Ultimate Crib Sheet and the boppy and the Baby Wise book.” Some advice applied and some… did not. In fact, in retrospect, all the advice I would have given MYSELF for my second one, I would have thrown out the window because it was such a different experience.

    So I find myself refraining from giving too much advice and more reassurance. If you find that you need something, you’ll get it. Trust your instincts, you’ll know what to do and what your baby needs and if you don’t, there are lots of people who can help. Human beings have had babies long before we invented the changing table and glider.

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