What Item Should Every Parent of a Newborn Own?

Going to need lots of wipes.

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Answer by Domhnall O’Huigin:

Baby wipes. All these other answers are exactly right as well, but the one thing I must emphasise is you cannot have enough baby wipes.

I am talking about preparing-for-the-apocalypse amounts: thousands and thousands of them.

Babies create frankly unbelievable amounts of biowaste. I don’t know how it is accomplished, but a baby can easily produce three or four times his entire body volume in biowaste. I suspect a kind of portal effect is in play, and the waste is being brought in from some n-dimensional space, but really the reason does not matter. There is lots and lots and lots of it, and it never stops. Ever.

I’d like to pause here a moment to discuss color and odor. Baby biowaste is not as yours or mine. No. It comes, seemingly by design, in a startling and inventive palette of colors and textures, from luminous green (I do not exaggerate at all) to a vibrant and lively orange (I believe the right term is vermillion) and all shades and consistencies in between. The odor is … diverting—I’ve never been sprayed by a skunk, but I’m told it takes two full days of scrubbing with tomato juice before the odor begins to fade. All I can say is skunks ain’t got nothing on baby biowaste.

So I will get to the point: The baby wipes are to clean your baby and to avoid touching any of the biohazard with your hands. You need thousands of wipes because a baby never stops, it often somehow ends up going up his back and on his head, and there is lots and lots and lots of it.

I should note, in my personal experience, that the mother of the child does not seem to have this problem. I have, with my own eyes, seen the mother of my child changing the baby on the kitchen table. The one I (used to!) eat on. When I had recovered myself sufficiently to make a brief comment on the 500-euro purpose-made changing table not 3 feet away and to opine—in negative terms, I confess—to the suitability of the table I eat on for such activities by contrast, the response was, and I quote: “Oh, but nothing bad can come out of my baby! No it can’t! No it can’t, snookums! Not out of my widdle liddle baby.” I like to imagine the queen from the Alien films saying something similar: “Who is Mummy-wummy’s little caustic acid bleeder-weeder? You are! Yes you are!”

I digress. My overall point is I found that mothers have some sort of innate defense against the handling of their broodlings’ biowaste. I have seen her make do with as few as two wipes and come into contact with the biowaste with no discernible ill effects.

This I cannot do. I need a wipe to hold the active wipe as it were. I cannot reuse a contaminated wipe, and should there be a containment breach and I come into contact with the biohazard, a full decontamination procedure is called for, which itself requires many multiple wipes (and bleach). 

Baby wipes. Thousands of them. Mark my words: I have been that soldier.

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