Monday, June 3, 2013

Baby stuff

Every time I have a friend who finds out they are pregnant with their first child I find myself typing up a bunch of my recommendations for products to use/not use and favorite tips/tricks/advice for a first time mom.  Now that I have a newborn again, and all of this is still fresh in my head, I wanted to collect all of that info hear to pass on to others in the future.

I am no expert on children, I have only had 2 children myself, plus contributing to caring for and raising a few others as my source of employment.  Preferences tend to vary vastly from one mom to next, but this is what worked/works for me and why.

Also, two big factors going into every decision that I make are finances and space in our home.  Within the city of New Orleans, homes are small, we only have two small closets (1 linen and 1 for clothes) in our entire house, so I can't collect a bunch of extra stuff for a baby.  Therefore I limit what I do collect to what I find very useful, but if I had more space a few decisions may be different.  Also, we are very frugal and on a tight budget, so a lot of what I buy is second hand form yard sales and/ or consignment shops... you will not see all of the newest/latest/ trendy/ boutique items on this list.  So someone with a larger budget would probably make very different decisions, and choose some of the top of the line brands (like Bob strollers).

strollers: I highly recommend 3 wheeled strollers for New Orleans, they make some  that even have an infant seat to snap in to make it a travel system, or ours adapts to allow most popular brand infant seats to snap in. I also recommend a stroller that has one solid handle (rather than two separate ones)... it makes it much easier to still push your stroller while holding a baby who no longer wishes to be in the stroller.  I also recommend a stroller with good shocks for the bumpy streets and sidewalks in New Orleans.  I absolutely LOVE our stroller, the Schwinn Tourisimo, it was one of the cheaper ones I could find that had all of the features that were important to me.  We eventually also got a smaller umbrella stroller (you can find these for as little as $12 new) for Noah, and have used it upon a few occasions when we didn't want to bring our big jogging stroller.  As a rule of thumb, especially in New Orleans, I would completely avoid any of the 4 wheeled travel systems.  With Elisha so far, we've started him straight off in our jogging stroller without the infant car seat... the seat reclines back almost flat, plus has good padding, so he does fine being directly in the stroller already.  One more thing I want to note is the difference between a jogging stroller and a jogger.  Joggers, tend to have 3 wheels, but no shocks, and aren't really made for running.  They are great for walking, but if you intend to run you really should have a jogging stroller and not a jogger.  Also, some jogging strollers have fixed front wheels, but I really like the ones that have a front wheel that can swivel, but that can also lock.  You must be able to lock/ have a fixed front wheel in order to run, but steering while walking is much easier on a stroller without the front wheel locked.  The final feature that I also really look for on a stroller is one that has a sun canopy that is movable and not attached at the top/ back.  Since the angle of the sun changes I like to be able to adjust the canopy to keep the child covered no matter what angle the sun is at, and strollers without movable canopies don't have a way to block the sun when you are walking towards it.

thermometers:  thermometers that come in those grooming kits are awful! Get a temporal scanner one (I got ours for about 30 bucks from Target). It is awesome that they work so quickly and you don't have to violate any orifices  I always take my temp before I take his, and mine is always right where it should be, so I'm convinced ours works well!

breastfeeding: this could be a whole post of it's own, but here are a few things that I highly recommend having if you plan to breastfeed;
-disposable or reusable breast pads
-a boppy pillow (totally not a necessity, you could use pillows, but it is so handy/ convenient!)
-nursing bras: sports bras, regular bras, sleep bras (several of each, because you will leak milk onto them and want backups while those are in the wash)
-a breast pump (which you could borrow from a friend, rent from the hospital, or buy used or new)
-lanolin/ Laniosh cream... I used this after every nursing in the beginning with each kid, it works wonders for sore/dry/cracked nipples and this brand is great cause you don't have to wash it off before nursing
-nipple shields: lactation consultants probably wouldn't endorse these so much, but I've used them with both children and have successfully breastfed.  I don't recommend using these for every feeding, or long term, but they do wonders for protecting sore and cracked nipples, making breastfeeding a lot easier and more comfortable in the beginning until you and your baby are fully in the swing of things.  they also help to draw the nipple out, making the latch on process a lot easier for unseasoned nursing moms and babies.

books:  there are only 2 books that I really loved for the 1 year old and younger phases... one is Super Baby Food, I highly recommend this book for anyone who plans to make their own baby food, and/ or anyone who wants the most thorough guide that I've found on what foods you can introduce to kids and when, how many nursings/ formula bottles they should have in a day at each stage (by months), and some sample daily feeding schedules for each age/stage.

I also really enjoyed most aspects of the Babywise book.  This book/ philosophy is not for everyone. The premise is basically an argument for parent directed feeding/ scheduling your baby, as opposed to the child-led/ attachment parenting models.  I think that each philosophy has it's benefits, and some will work better for certain kids/moms/families, but for us, scheduling is definitely the way to go.  I thrive in a scheduled environment, where I can plan my day and know what ot expect, and therefore my children, and our home and family thrive using this model as well.  Flexibility is still key though, as with anything relating to kids, sometimes things work in one season, and not in another, you have to adapt and change as needed based on your own situation.

diapers:  I have found that Huggies diapers do not work so well for boys, and tend to leak, but are great for girls.  Pampers have always been my favorite diaper for small boys.  I used disposable diapers for the first 1-2 months with Noah (and am doing the same with Elisha), but then switched to cloth.  There are many types and styles of cloth diapers these days.  The ones that I use are among the more expensive diapers as far as cloth goes, but still are supposed to save about $2,500 on one child over using disposables.  For me, I was nervous about the whole cloth diapering process and chose the simplest method I could find, even though the diapers are more expensive.  I think the pocket style are the closest in putting on and taking off the child to disposables, so that's what I did to not be overwhelmed with the process.  I used BumGenius diapers for Noah and liked them enough to stick with them for Ellisha.  There's a lot more I could say on cloth diapering, so maybe that will be another post on its own one day.

sleep sack: this is another item that isn't necessary, you can definitely swaddle your infant in blankets, but I found these sleep sacks so much easier to use, especially when I was trying to swaddle a baby at 3 am and wanted to go the quickest route possible.  this isn't the exact brand that I used, I don't have a preference about that, but I linked to give an example of the product.

There's a lot of stuff I left off of here (burp cloths, bibs, pacifiers, grooming products, bath tubs, and so on, these are just the items that I'm strongly opinionated about

Products I don't like

I didn't get a diaper genie/ trash can. Some people love them, but I read a bunch of reviews where people didn't. I just used a regular trash can in the beginning when we did disposables, and since Noah and Elisha were breastfed that was fine cause their diaper didn't really stink anyways. With the diaper genies, you have to buy their specific trash bags, and not only have I heard that they don't really eliminate odors, but the bags get expensive.

Velcro is awful!!!! Noah had velcro bibs that the velcro wore off on very quickly, so it really only holds well for a few months. Plus, he could yank hard and pull the velcro bibs off of himself. Snap bibs rock, but that's just my preference.  I feel the same with cloth diapers, and everything else... always choose snaps/ buttons over velcro if you plan on your items lasting long term, or through multiple children.

All aspirators at stores (sold individually or in a grooming kit) are awful!!!! They don't suck the snot out! The hospital one ROCKS! Take it home, and never loose it, because it's the only good one you'll ever find.

You don't need baby wash and shampoo, just use the baby wash for their hair, it's one less bottle and product lying around!

Some people like changing tables, I find it A LOT more practical to just stick a changing pad on top of a waist high dresser... it reduces pieces of furniture, and a dresser is a lot more useful for storage than a changing table.

I hope this information is helpful to new moms-to-be.  I know that the sea of what I needed to know and be prepared for seemed so overwhelming when it was uncharted territory, but really a lot of it will come naturally, and it's not as complicated as it seems.  God created and chose you specifically to be the parent for your child and there is no one better for that job!  You were made for this!

1 comment:

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