Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Preparing for Baby

Is it just me or are there tons of pregnant women out and about right now? There must be something in the water because there are several people I know from church who are expecting (many due within a week or so of each other), not to mention a dozen or so in my office, one of whom left for the hospital early yesterday morning, hoping to deliver her bundle of joy soon. For all I know, she already has.

I hardly consider myself a baby expert. Far from it actually. But over the past two years I have discovered some baby items I felt like I just couldn't live without, not to mention some that were a complete waste of money. I thought I'd compile a list of what did and didn't work for me us. So, all you mommas to be, this post is for you.

The Must Have Items:

A bouncer or swing. Charlotte had bad reflux as an infant and we discovered pretty early on that sleeping on an incline helped the acid to stay in her stomach where it belonged. For the first few months of her life she slept exclusively in a bouncer similar to this one. Not only was the reflux noticeably reduced, but we were able to put the bouncer in whatever room we happened to be in (since it's so easily transportable) without her having to get familiar with sleeping on a new piece of furniture.

Baby Rectal Thermometer. The indignity!! As a teenager she'll be mortified to know one of these was used on her (and we have photographic evidence of it to boot), but it really made taking her temp much easier than trying to get it under her arm. This results in a more accurate reading too. A must for a worrywart momma! And while ear thermometers are all the rage, this one was super cheap and took up little of that precious space in the diaper bag.

A Baby's First Year book. I never babysat an infant with any regularity and wasn't very involved with my nieces and nephews when they were newborns, so everything about taking care of a baby was new to me when Chuckles came along. While these sort of books can be hit or miss, I found it helpful to have something to use as a general guide in terms of milestones and expectations. The one I liked best is titled "Your Baby's First Year" and is authored by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I can't begin to tell you how many times I referenced that book when Charlotte had a fever, starting banging her head on things (weird stage that I'm glad she outgrew quickly), began teething, etc.

Baby Einstein Videos. Some moms may be against plopping your infant in front of the tv for any length of time, but Charlotte has always loved these videos and I found that a half hour was often exactly the right amount of time for getting a few chores done, taking a shower or making dinner sending Mark to pick up dinner. The videos can be pricey if buying new, but Charlotte didn't mind watching the same ones over and over again, so if you're not able to find used copies still consider investing in two or three at full price.

Bath Sponge. Babies are wriggly when dry and exponentially more squirmy when wet. For the first month or so of her life we bathed Charlotte on a bath sponge like this one. We were able to lay it right on the counter (with a towel underneath in case any water soaked through) which is super important to a new mom who is feeling uncomfortable after child birth (see next recommendation) and doesn't want to bend over a tub. You just rinse it out and let it air dry in the sink. Easy peasy and very inexpensive!

Witch Hazel and Pain Relieving Spray. This item is a must for all moms who delivered vaginally. If your hospital doesn't offer it right away, ask for it (don't wait until day 2 like I did) and then buy more if you seem to be running out once you're home. Use liberally and frequently. Enough said.

Items to Take Off the Registry:

Diaper Stations/Wipe Warmers. Contraptions that hermetically seal the dirty diapers in are a waste in my eyes. We simply made sure to put the used diapers in the kitchen trash (since it went out most regularly) and occasionally tossed particularly smelly ones in their own bag before disposing of them. No need for a special receptacle at all. And wipe warmers are a waste too. As soon as those wipes are out of the warmer and into the air they cool back down again. So cross them off your list!

Gliders. I do think having a comfy chair to feed your baby in is important, but having a baby-specific glider that will never fit your decor once the baby's outgrown it is not money well spent. Look into a standard rocking chair with pillows and blankets or a comfy armchair that is not designed for baby, but will work well for your feedings.

Changing Tables. Invest in a changing pad (these are super cheap), not a changing table. You're not likely to go to baby's room to change every diaper, so plan to just plop a pad (we've resorted to just using a towel actually) on the floor or couch to make the change. You can even put one on the nursery's dresser if you want a dedicated space in that room.

Play Yards. I know some people use them often, but I can't recall ever using ours (aside from when our niece stayed here during the day and napped in it while Chuckles napped in her crib). Our living room is baby-proofed so Charlotte has always had free reign of it and she always napped either in the bouncer mentioned above, on the couch or in her crib. Our play yard serves as nothing but storage and the money spent on it would have been better served spending on something else.

Well, there's my list. All you moms out there should chime in with your own recommendations!!

And good luck to all those mommas-to-be! Enjoy your little one, because they quickly grow from this:

To this:

Yeah, I have no explanation for why she's licking the couch. Other than that she's just a weird kid of course.


marie said...

There does seem to be a lot of new babies on the way! I think your recommendations are spot on. I wish they had those giant sponges when you were a baby! I would have had on for sure!

Miss C sure has grown up ~ hard to remember her that small. She's a cutey ~ even when licking a couch! Silly baby!

Rhea Sunshine :) said...

Hey, I stumbled across yours and your mom's blogs via Facebook. Charlotte is absolutely adorable!! Hope everything is well with you and I love all of your creative ideas. Take care and God bless! ~Rhea :)

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