Okay, peeps. It’s time for another of our packing lists, from the Great Ethiopian Baby Odyssey of 2008: Miscellaneous Baby Stuff.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Self? What kind of miscellaneous baby things could one possibly need?” Well, I am here to tell you, we took a buttload, and our daughter is just 5 months old. I can’t imagine the wagon train of stuff required for a toddler, for example.
So here’s our list:
- Teething keys: Packed and used. But not much. We brought along some teething keys, in case of… well, teething issues. Plus they were small and colourful, but didn’t make too much noise. Turns out, our daughter was only just learning to grasp things when we met her, so holding the keys was a bit too challenging to start with. She got better as the week went on. Now, she jangles ’em like crazy. We tell her if she can get those keys to work in one of our cars, she’s more than welcome to take it for a spin.
- Ball: Packed and invaluable. Auntie Sherri to the rescue again! In her box of goodies, Auntie Sherri had sent along this fabric ball that has crinkly cellophane in it. It’s bright and colourful and soft, and The Girl took to it like a duck to water. She loveslovesloves that ball.
- Rattles (2): Packed and invaluable. We brought along two rattles. One is Mr. Toy, the famous toy of song and story, which she absolutely adores and could be contented playing with all day long. (It’s actually called My First Rattle.) The other was a soft, fuzzy animal-shaped rattle which was of no consequence whatsoever — again, because of the whole grasping issue. But Mr. Toy kept her amused for most of her waking hours during the week, and so it was the best $4.98 I ever spent (of course, I got it on SALE).
- Soother strap: Packed and didn’t use. Our daughter does not take a soother, so a soother strap, no matter how cute, was of no help whatsoever.
- Plastic pants (4): Packed and didn’t use. We brought along plastic pants for two reasons: 1) if the quality of Ethiopian diapers was sub-par, and b) if The Girl had the runs on the way home and we wanted a little extra protection on the plane. Turns out, Ethiopian diapers are fine — definitely not as high absorbency as we get here, but they were fine enough while we were hanging out at the hotel and all. And she had the runs, but nothing too much to handle, and certainly not more than could be handled in a quick diaper change on the plane. So one pair will be used for swimming lessons later on, and the rest we’ll pass on to somebody else.
- Loveys (2): Packed and used. We brought along two loveys for her to snuggle with, a teddy bear and a giraffe. The giraffe turned out to be too big for her little hands, and so was just a friend in the crib all week. But the bear, a simple little bear we got at Ikea, had a simple, friendly face which she liked and was small enough that she could grab his arms or legs and wave him about and such. They became fast friends. One night, when she did not want to sleep, we found her dragging Mr. Bear along the bars of her crib like he was a tin cup being dragged along the bars of a jail cell. We howled with laughter. “Noooooobody knoooooooowwwwws the trouble I seeeeeeennnnn…”
- Teething ring: Packed but didn’t use. Girl isn’t teething. And she would not have had the manual dexterity to use it anyway.
- Soothers (8): Packed but didn’t use. We brought a bunch of soothers — all ages, silicone and latex, everything. She would have none of it. Despite the nurse telling us she took a soother after her bottle, she had absolutely no interest whatsoever. Except for to fling them around like toys. THEN they’re cool.
- Bottles – 4 oz. (4): Packed and used. We brought both 4 oz and 8 oz bottles, because we were not sure how much she’d be eating, and a lot of families had advised the 4 oz would be plenty. As it turns out, she eats 6 oz. So, we did use them, but we doubled up. And quite honestly, without proper washing and sterilizing capabilities in the hotel, it was nice to have the extras. It meant we had to do dishes less frequently. We also thought they’d be a more space-economical packing option… yeah, well, we really could have done without and packed extra 8 oz bottles instead.
- Liners – 4 oz. (1 box of 100): Packed and used. See above.
- Bottles – 8 oz. (4): Packed and invaluable. Our daughter can eat like nobody’s business, so 8 oz was the way to go. And honestly? If we’d have been smart we’d have just taken the 8 oz, even if she ate less. It’s easier to throw out excess formula, but a hassle to make up bottle after bottle of the 4 oz size.
- Liners – 8 oz. (1 box of 100): Packed and invaluable. See above.
- Nipples – slow (5): Packed and invaluable. We brought the old fashioned, standard issue slow latex nipples, and they rock the house. We tried the silicone nipples when we got home and our daughter just hasn’t any idea what to do with them. Same thing with the newfangled high-tech, environmentally-friendly, BPA-free bottles and nipples we saw other parents TRYING to use while we were there. These babies are started on the basics in terms of bottles and whatnot — it’s what’s available in Ethiopia, right? — so anything else just causes “nipple confusion” or flat-out rejection. So it’s best to continue with what they know. I just wish we had brought about 5 more.
- Nipples – fast (5): Packed and didn’t use. They’re just too fast for our little girl, and not what she is used to.
- DVDs (4): Packed and invaluable. We brought 2 Baby Einstein videos along, as well as a couple of Disney movies. And when we needed a bit of time to eat some lunch, or when our daughter needed a little bit of stimulation or something different than just us, we popped in a video and she was enchanted. Plus the Baby Mozart music was great lullaby music, because it is similar to what they pipe throughout the Transition Home during sleep times.
- Disposable washcloths (1 package of 15): Packed and invaluable. For convenience sake, these rocked. They have soap and shea butter in them, and get all foamy when wet, so it saved us packing bath stuff. And disposables freed up packing space on the way back.
- Disposable face cloths (2 packs of 30): Packed and used. They were also a great convenience item, like wipes but for baby’s face and hands. It was great to have these since we were skeptical about using the water when wiping her face and hands, since it might get in her mouth.
- Bibs (wipe and wear) (4): Packed and didn’t use. These are the plastic kind, you can just wipe off when you’re done. But our daughter just wasn’t that messy. Soon, when she eats real food? THEN they’ll be great.
- Disposable Bibs (2 packs of 15): Packed and used. For convenience, so we didn’t have to wash any bibs, these worked well. However, I much prefer conventional cloth bibs (and so does The Girl).
- Washcloths (10): Packed and invaluable. DUDE. They’re baby washcloths. They work for EVERYTHING. And you can wash ’em and hang ’em to dry in the shower.
- Burp cloth (1): Packed and used. Our daughter didn’t seem to get the whole burping thing when we got her. I don’t think they burp the babies as a matter of course at the Transition Home. So the burp cloth was really kind of useless — we could have used washcloths for that.
- Change pads (2): Packed and invaluable. We used our change pads for everything: as an underpad for the crib, to set up a change table in the hotel room, for using at change tables on the road, for lining the bassinet on the plane… They rocked. Versatile and portable. Should have brought one or two more.
- Sheet set (1): Packed and used. We brought an extra sheet set in case of midnight diaper blowouts, because we didn’t want to wait on housekeeping if a change of bedding was required. And it came in handy: one change of bedding, no waiting, and no interruption in schedule. Perfect.
- Diapers (1 72-pack of size 2s): Packed and invaluable. We brought a pack of diapers, specifically for the trip home. And they came in VERY handy. However, we also got caught in the rush of parents being carted to and fro and so our need to go to the grocery store for FORMULA AND DIAPERS was kind of shuttled to the side in favour of SIGHTSEEING AND MARKETS (don’t get me started!!!). So we made do for a couple of days on this emergency supply of diapers until we could get out to a store and get some.
- Wipes (1 package, 3 bricks of 250): Packed and invaluable. Who doesn’t need wipes? Also, see the shopping fiasco above.
- Travel pack wipes (1 package of 12): Packed and used. But unneccessary. We had TONS of wipes.
- Nipple/bottle brush: Packed and used. Great for cleaning the nipples, and the bottle brush worked for the juice bottles and formula mixing bottle we brought along.
- Mixing bottle: Packed and used. We used this to mix up formula for the 4 oz bottles since measuring was a pain. But once we moved to the 8 oz bottles we didn’t need it anymore.
- Snugli: Packed and invaluable. The snugli was an awesome thing to have, for so many reasons. For one thing, there are no baby car seats in Ethiopia, and some of the roads are unbelieveably rough. Having the girl in the snugli, strapped tight to me, made us feel at least that she wasn’t getting her little head and neck whipped about all the time. Plus it was nice to have to take her out for walks, and out on outings. And it’s a great bonding tool. Even still she loves to be carried like she is in the snugli when we go into a store or whatever.
- Play blankets (2): Packed and invaluable. It was great to have a couple of quilted blankets to lay down for her to play on.
- Cuddle blankets (3): Packed and invaluable. Our daughter likes to have a blanket to pull up and rub on her face whenever she is tired, so these blankets were a godsend to comfort her. One is a hand-knit one that she used primarily for sleeping and stayed in her crib, and we’ve continued that here at home. The others were just cheapola fleece blankets ($2 apiece) that she used to cuddle with with Mom and Dad or while she was playing, but we also used to cover her when we went out anywhere.
SO that’s the miscellaneous baby stuff list. I TOLD you there was a ton of stuff.