Tag Archives: baby advice

Things I swore I’d do before I became a parent

4 Sep

It’s fun to look back and see if I actually accomplished my goals.

1. Never use a pacifier

— Kinda! We never relied on pacifiers. But we started using them in the car when Walt was an infant because he screamed bloody murder every second I was driving. Nothing helped… except a pacifier. We didn’t need it after he moved out of his infant car seat at six months.

2. Breastfeed exclusively

— Yes! This one was very difficult. There were times I hated breastfeeding, especially at the beginning and intermittently til Walt was 10 months old. Then it clicked. Maybe because I stopped pumping (a great device if you are out of the house but it stressed me out so much) or because at 10 months they’re starting to eat, so you don’t have to rely 100% on boob. Either way, we’re still nursing now at 2 years+

3. Not have the whole house be one giant playroom

— Nope! There is at least one toy (more like mountains of toys) in every room of the house. Except maybe the bathrooms. Oh, sweet sanctuaries.

4. Immediately put the baby on a sleep/feed schedule so he’ll sleep through the night

–Nope! Ha, ha, am I right?

5. Use cloth diapers

— Kinda! Oh boy did I try. Try and try and try. About six months ago we gave up cause Walt always seemed to have a diaper rash (and I mean always). Now we don’t get frequent rashes, and when he randomly gets them we can use the type of cream that gets rid of them (we had all sorts of natural, cloth friendly creams that did nothing). Oh well. Maybe it’ll work on future babies. I still believe in cloth diapering, and we still use cloth wipes.

6. Natural childbirth

— Yes! 100% drug free, quick birth. I was lucky.

7. Homeschool

— Don’t know yet! I’ve always said I’d put Walt in preschool for early socialization, which we started this month going two days a week and he loves it. I plan on starting around 4 or 5. A lot of people I know homeschool their children, so it doesn’t seem quite as contrary as it once did.

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Mama’s Recommendations

4 Apr

Inspired by several friends having babies this year, I decided to make a list of the items we’ve used a lot and love.

1. BreathableBaby mesh crib bumper – fits every crib! We tried Carter’s super soft bumper which was soft but it didn’t fit our standard crib well and was too bulky for easy sheet changes, which is a must.
2. Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine (has an audio input wire plus sleep timer)
3. Warm air humidifier (necessary for cold weather and colds). Get one with auto shut off.
4. Changing table with drawers and shelves
5. Charlie Banana one size cloth diapers. Or any cloth diaper! There are so many types out there.
6. OsoCozy flannel baby wipes (to use with homemade diaper spray). Even if you don’t want to do cloth diapers, this is a great way to save money and help out the environment. I got three packs and just throw them in with regular baby laundry. I got a spray bottle from CVS and just use a little bit of soap and water – you can add some drops of baby oil too – for the wipe spray. I think these clean better than disposable wipes.
7. The First Year’s Infant to Toddler Tub with sling
8. Everything Burt’s Bees Baby Bee
9. Bouncy seat – make sure to get one that won’t scrunch them up
10. I have mixed feelings about the Bumbo. I’ve used it a lot with babysitting charges but Walt hated it so we never used it. Same with the Bumper Jumper.
11. Exersaucer! SO useful when they outgrow the bouncy seat but you need your hands free.
12. Clevamama bath towels. Don’t even try to use any others. These are the best. They’re big and wonderful.
13. Catbird Baby Pikkolo carrier. This is so comfortable and fits from newborn+ . I also would get a simple sling for quick and easy in/out needs. I wanted to love the Moby Wrap but Walt didn’t care for it unfortunately. I think we successfully used it for one afternoon, but some babies love it.
14. Graco SnugRide 22. I like the smallest one because it’s the lightest and when they outgrow it (about 6 months) they’re already big enough where you won’t be carrying them around in the bucket seat anyway. Don’t forget the extra car seat base for the second car. It’s only like $30 and will ease your mind.
15. Britax Marathon 70. You won’t need another car seat after this one.
16. Diono Easy View Back Seat Mirror. Love this.
17. Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat. I don’t like the idea of them in a separate high chair. For one thing it takes up a lot of room, and for another I like them at the table we’re eating at.
18. Halo sleepsacks. The small size fits up to 18 lbs (about 6-8 months depending on your baby). Microfleece for cold weather, cotton for warm weather. We have about three in each size and that works for laundry/throwup needs.
19. Summer Infant Swaddleme, again several for peeing/throwing up laundry needs. We only used these until he could fit into the sleepsacks cause I don’t think he really liked to be swaddled. I’ve also heard Halo swaddle blankets are the best for Houdini babies.
20. Several crib sheets. I have and like the Carter’s jersey ones but they’re also really thin. In the future I’ll try to find thicker ones. We put a towel under the crib sheet so we didn’t buy a mattress pad.
21. Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib Mattress
22. Graco Pack ‘n Play – has the bassinet feature for when they’re really little. Kinda big/heavy so if you’re traveling by air a lot I would buy a second or different one.
23. Carter’s Wrap-Me-Up Receiving Blankets – we had a 12 ct rotation. Used them a bunch for the first few months for just about everything, including wrapping him up.
24. LA Baby 4 sided changing pad – and several covers. Don’t forget a travel changing pad (Kushies) and a travel wet clothes/diaper bag (Planet Wise).
25. Lots and lots of sleep n play pajamas. I ended up liking snap ones better than zippers when he got a little bigger because when it’s cold out you don’t have to freeze them all the way to get their diaper off.
26. Boppy pillow. We ended up using this more for playing than nursing cause it was more comfortable to use a regular pillow after a while.
27. Avent double electric pump and manual pump. Both fantastic for different occasions. Very comfortable (well, as comfortable as you can be pumping). Walt also really likes the Avent bottles/nipples the best. We tried Born Free but Walt always struggled with those. Lansinoh milk storage bags and nursing pads. The Nursing Mother’s Companion.
28. Simply Saline nose spray, bulb syringe, baby nail clippers, thermometer
29. Favorite toy ever: Sassy Ring O’Links Rattle Development Toy. I divided them into sets of three and have them all over the house.
30. Leap Frog Learn and Groove music table
31. Also first blocks, Fisher Price donut pyramid, stacking cups, & the Sophie giraffe chew toy is a must
32. Good food processor to make your own baby food. Food trays. Earth’s Best Cereals. Nuk spoons
33. Nuk pacifiers (we only use these for special occasions e.g. at church and in the car). Booginhead Pacigrip, which he likes as much as the pacifier.
34. Monitor. We have the sound-only kind and are just fine with it.
35. Diaper Bag. Such a personal preference. But don’t get one too small or it’s useless.
36. People will give you lots of clothes, blankets, toys, and towels (seriously return the towels and just go for the Clevamama ones. Except for maybe when they’re brand new a smaller towel works well)
37. Boon Grass countertop drying rack, Green Sprouts waterproof bibs (people will give you lots of cloth bibs)
38. Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail. This is a must and inexpensive. It contains the smell SO well and uses normal trash bags so you don’t have to pay for special bags. When we switched to cloth it also holds a reusable diaper pail liner (Planet Wise)
39. Carter’s Hosiery socks – they stay on!
40. Take n Toss spill proof cups (I don’t toss). I like small Pyrex dishes to serve his food in. People will give you cups and plates etc. too.
41. If you use disposables, Costco brand diapers or Pampers Swaddlers for when they’re young.
42. Nellie’s Laundry Soda to wash all your laundry in. No more dryer sheets! Vinegar in the rinse cycle (with a Downy ball).
43. I love the BOB stroller (and it adapts to fit the infant car seat too) but it is really big and heavy. But to take it on walks and stuff it’s fantastic. I will probably get an umbrella stroller for easier travel.

Whew is this it? I’m sure I’ve forgotten something!

Mama’s words of advice

17 Mar

Nine things I wish people had told me before I became pregnant/a mother. Not that I would have necessarily listened.
(NB: some graphic details included)

1. Pregnancy is a physical endurance test. And it takes your body a long time to get over being pregnant, especially if you are breastfeeding. I would say 3-4 months after Walt’s birth I felt really good again. Luckily heartburn goes away immediately, thank goodness.

2. Birth is a challenge of body & mind. (I definitely already knew this one but it was still a surprise given I had never experienced it before). I felt uplifted when I knew I had accomplished my goal of natural childbirth.

3. Pushing sucks. But it doesn’t last forever. A good midwife/doctor can make all the difference in the world.

4. The first 6 weeks of having a newborn are overwhelming. Even if you had tons of childcare practice; even with a fantastic partner by your side. It is lovely beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before, and scary too. Don’t be ashamed if you cry. A lot. Or never leave your house. Or see your friends anymore.

5. Breastfeeding does not come naturally/easy to everybody at first. It does get a lot easier after 12 weeks. The book The Nursing Mother’s Companion was a lifesaver. Also, buy a giant sized bra. You’ll need it.

6. Even if you nurse around the clock you can still get your period back very quickly. And that’s after you bleed forever after birth.

7. Pumping output is not necessarily the same as nursing output. Don’t stress out if you can’t pump as much as that mythological mother who pumps 25 ounces first thing in the morning. I can imagine that comparison would be similar to guys in a locker room.

8. You don’t have to stuff your baby full of food/milk to get them to sleep better. Walt actually slept better once I was nursing full-time again and not giving him lots of pumped milk. Go figure.

9. Your life will never be the same!

walter's february 2013 visit 001 (7)
My love for this boy is more than I ever imagined.