I had a most wonderful chat with a dear friend today (for an hour and a half, which is AWESOME). I’m 34 weeks pregnant and she’s about 15 weeks, so needless to say we talked about baby stuff most of the time.
I love it. I love being reminded of what it feels like to be on your first kid and all the fun, wonder and questions it brings. She had great questions. Hopefully some of my answers were helpful. And as we hung up, she said, “If you think of anything else, let me know!”
So I thought I’d do a post of a bunch of random “mom” things – mostly pertaining to newborns and the first year. All different categories.
I know these are just my opinion, and mom advice (especially for newborns) is a dime a dozen… or less than a dime, since moms don’t get paid, but here you go anyway…
Essential Baby Gear
• Good rocking chair/glider – I never bought one of these, but 3 kids later, I wish I had bought one with the first kid!
• Pack N Play – great for grandparents’ house, hotels, traveling, and having an extra bed
• Baby Swing or Bouncy Chair – sometimes they sleep better that way
• Breast Pump – splurge on the good kind, especially with your first kid. You’ll use it!
• High Chair/Booster that attaches to your kitchen chair – We’ve had both kinds (the stand-alone, cool-looking wooden one too) and if I could go back, I’d just get the plastic one. Serves the same purpose, smaller and portable.
• Carseat/Stroller/Carseat base – duh, you have to. I loved my Graco infant seat because it was lightweight. When you’re lugging 10-20 pounds of baby, you don’t want the carseat to add 10 more pounds to that!
• Umbrella stroller – $10-20 at Walmart or wherever. Sometimes you just need the smaller version to throw in the car
• Playmat – any kind will do… babies don’t need the $100 version of something dangling over their head. Just something they can look at.
• Bumbo seat – I’d consider this optional, or at the very least, try to borrow one. They’re great, but they only work for a couple months, then baby is too big to fit, or big enough to use the high chair.
• Exersaucer – just say yes.
• Johnny Jump Up (aka door frame hanging bouncer) – They’re small, portable, fun for baby and hysterical for you. 🙂
• Baby tub – Well, you just have to…
There are a hundred billion philosophies for this, so find what’s right for you. We followed the basics of Baby Wise, or should I say, the VERY simplified version. Feed, Awake, Sleep. Feed, Awake, Sleep. There you go – that’s the book for you. It just teaches babies to not have to eat themselves to sleep. Good when you want to leave baby with someone else, etc. (Although eating myself to sleep sounds wonderful.) It also helps you know that when the baby wakes up, it’s because they’re hungry. If you feed them to sleep and they wake up 30 minutes later, are they hungry or are they just done sleeping? Who knows?
Main thing: Don’t expect your baby to follow a certain schedule right away. THEY didn’t read the book you read. THEY don’t know the rules. They follow the rule, “I’m hungry. I cry. You feed me.” That’s about it. I got frustrated when my babies didn’t follow the books. They didn’t sleep through the night at 2 days old and follow a 2-hour pattern, and speak full sentences from birth, so cut yourself some slack.
• Do not fold baby clothes. They are too tiny to get wrinkles. Or it doesn’t matter if they get wrinkles. They’ll spit up on it and you’ll change their outfit in 7 minutes away. Definitely do NOT IRON baby clothes. Just throw them in the drawer/bin, and use the extra 20 minutes to take a nap.
• When “they” say, Nap when baby naps… do it if you can. If it’s your first kid, you CAN. And then cheerfully get up at night with baby, because hubby that was at work all day did not have a chance to nap. 🙂
• Diaper brands matter a little bit on newborns, but not much. They use 10 diapers a day, so they’re always peeing. Don’t spend tons on fancy diapers… you’ll go through hundreds of them a month anyway.
• Our pediatrician’s packet of info said newborns are asleep 17-20 hours per day, and they cry 1-4 hours per day, so… if you add the 20 and the 4, that’s your whole day. Which means that just because they are awake and crying, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. It’s just what they do. Relax… just a little.
• Ask for help. Or accept it if it’s offered. Direct people who offer to what you really need… “Thanks! We have tons of frozen meals already, but if you have 30-45 minutes available, instead of making a meal, could you come over so I could take a shower peacefully?” or “I’d love for you to see/hold the baby, but what I could really use is someone to do my dishes or my laundry!”
• Take a shower. The worst that can happen is your baby starts crying during the 10 minutes you’re in the shower. And in the long run, the worst is – they cried for 10 minutes. 10 minutes from now they won’t remember that. Take care of yourself.
• Go on dates. Newborns sleep. ALL THE TIME. (except at 2am when you want to be sleeping) Babies are portable. They can sleep anywhere. So go on a date. At a restaurant. Even try going to a movie. Once they are big enough to move and crawl, that’s all over. So go when they’re little!
• Relax a little. (Did I say that already?) Diapers are easy to change. Clothes are easy to put on. Baths, you can do. Pooping, the baby can take care of. So your main mom job is to keep them fed. If you can do that, you’ll be okay. With our second kid, my motto was, “I just have to feed him. I just have to feed him.” Loosen up about all the rest. 🙂
• Compare, but not too much. Use your community of other moms for advice on EVERYTHING. But then don’t expect your baby to be the same as theirs. THEY’RE NOT. Other moms can be great resources, and great support for you; just take it all with a grain of salt. If you’re desperate for ideas, use their ideas. If their ideas don’t work, don’t stress. Keep asking around.
I’m sure these lists could go on and on, but these are my initial thoughts. In 6 weeks, when I’m back in newborn land, sleep deprived, wandering the house in a stupor, I’m sure I’ll think of more. (or maybe I won’t think of anything) Hope these are helpful!
What other baby gear would you absolutely recommend? What other tips would you give to new moms?