Friday, April 16, 2010

Baby gear advice

I waited eagerly all day for my favorite mom blog to post and then WHAM got sucked into the fact that she has several blogs and why haven’t I been reading those?

She has a pregnancy blog and made lists of most used and least used baby stuff. Turns out her two boys had opposite tastes on stuff, so she had two answers for a lot of stuff. But still, I’m inspired to list my most used and least used baby items. Now that my son is 7 months, I’ve noticed what didn’t get used. And you’ll get other weird advice along the way too.

While all the newborn size clothes are the cutest things on the entire planet, chances were that we were going to have a baby bigger than 8lbs, which is when newborn size stops fitting. Our baby was induced at 37 weeks and was therefore 7lbs, 7oz. I was absolutely brilliant in that I didn’t take the tags off any of the newborn stuff and just hung all the tiny hangers above the washing machine. I told my mother the week before his birth, “if he comes out small, it will be your job to de-tag and wash these before I get home. They’re all right here.” It worked! If we’d kept the bun in the oven another 2 weeks, none of those clothes would have fit. As it was, we used newborn size clothes for exactly 3 weeks.

I HATED those long, elastic bottomed baby gowns that everyone raves about. You pick up the kid, and they slide halfway out of their clothes immediately. Also my little guy loved to kick and went bonkers if he couldn’t kick his legs freely.

My child lived in his bouncy seat for the first three months. That sucker was magic. No matter how fussy, during the day, three bounces with that thing and he was happy. Oddly, I could only bounce it with my right foot, my left foot isn’t coordinated that way. Also, now if I’m not standing and I’m within 4 feet of that bouncy seat, my right foot will seek it out and bounce it as if drawn by a magnet. We took off the activity bar of junk immediately and just about never put it back on. Oh, on ours, the activity bar takes 3 huge batteries but the vibrator only takes 1! We went through a $5 pack of batteries per month and it was SOoooooo worth it. Rechargables don’t really work in baby toys – yet another way that the baby world is designed to deprive you of cash.

I nursed and we used our boppy 22 out of ever 24 hours for that first month. Then he got bigger and I got confident holding him and we basically didn’t use it for the next 5 months. Now that he’s sitting up on his own, I put it around him when he’s sitting on the hardwoods so he can’t smack his noggin on the floor at high speed. It slows him down so that he really only cries because now he’s stuck with his head on the floor and can’t get up. Definitely worth the money even if you only use it that first month!!

Knitted cotton, larger blankets. The tiny woven blankets were too small, and didn’t allow ANY movement once he was swaddled. If he did move, the swaddling came apart. The cotton blankets allowed him to wiggle, move his arms some, and were also big enough for the top flap to go COMPLETELY under his body. We needed blankets that could stretch all the way around his body TWICE, not one and a half times. Those tiny blankets are still good to have around to catch baby juices. They’re great furniture and carpet protectors. They make a good extra layer of burping rags for babies that wobble their heads while spitting up.

While our son loved to be swaddled, he HATED THE FLEECE VELCRO THINGYS. All brands, all kinds, no child in a centrally heated house needs to be that stinking warm. He’d wake up crying, stop crying as soon as air got to him, and we’d find his clothes soaked with sweat. Yes we’re sure it wasn’t pee. Why don’t they make those things out of cotton?

Fleece saddler thing with separate legs. This thing was great for those first car trips in the dead of winter when I ventured all the way out to….. Walgreens! When you’re a new mom who never babysat babies, it’s rather daunting to get them in and out of those carseats.

Baby bath tubs – why on earth do you need these?! Before the cord falls off, you’re giving them a sponge bath. Equipment you need is a counter, a bowl of warm water, and a huge towel or two. Place the towel on the counter, place baby on the counter, put in your ear plugs, sponge off baby. You’re done. After the cord falls off, use the regular tub! Draw a bath approximately 1 inch deep. Spread a regular bath towel, folded in half, in the bottom of the tub for a bit of cushion and less sliding around the tub. Lay the baby in the water. Bend over and bathe the baby. I still can’t figure out why you need yet another item around your house that is THAT big.

Bumbo – by the time I was convinced that I did need one, my son learned to sit up by himself. We borrowed one for a few weeks from church, but that was it!

Best baby investment – not an exersaucer, but one that has four stable legs. Ours is a piano with keys on his feet, keys near his hands, junk to play with, he can spin in a circle, and slide a foot back and forth. It has 4 different musical settings for when you can’t stand that series of songs any more. It even has low volume and high volume. A friend said that once they start pulling up, the fact that doesn’t have a saucer on the bottom means they can use it to pull up, walk, and stand outside of it to still play with it. At the consignment sale where I got it, there were 6 or 8 exersaucers, bouncers, and then this thing. It had three children playing with it at the same time, up to about age 4. They weren’t playing with the exersaucers at all. That was enough advertisement for me. I loitered until the kids left the sale and bought that sucker. Now my son has a bouncy exersaucer at daycare, so he still has one to bounce in, too.

Bibs – our son started being a drool faucet at 4 months but didn’t cut his first tooth until 6.5 months. We use about 6 to 8 bibs a day. Once they’re sopping or his shirt underneath is a bit wet, we change the bib. We have 8 million bibs of every size and shape and I no longer care if it matches his outfit. (I was surprised that I did care for quite some time!)

Baby bathrobe – the biggest hit of one shower. Completely useless item. Why do you need a robe when you can’t stand up on your own? Thankfully, I figured this out before I took the tags off it.

Crib sheets – I’m still not sure why I thought I needed one for every day of the week. And changing sheets on that crib is absolute hell when you’ve got a bumper on the crib. When are you supposed to be able to take that stinkin bumper off, anyway?
We didn’t get a stroller until he was at least 2 months old.
Register for baby motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Milicon, and ambesole. Get them before the baby comes. When you first need them (sometimes 6 months later) you will ALWAYS first need them in the middle of the night.

Our white noise sound machine blocked noise between wherever small fry was sleeping, and our activities in the hallway. Great thing!

When shopping for a crib, try to read the online reviews of people who are ACTUALLY PARENTS!!! I thought it was really dumb that the people filling out the crib reviews took the time to write a review of it before they actually used it. It is only of minor importance how easy it was to assemble and how pretty it is. Was the drawer on the bottom useful? Could you REALLY raise and lower the side with one hand? Do you know anyone who continued to use their convertible crib as a toddler bed, day bed, or full size bed? These are the real issues.

Hard crib mattresses. Why are we supposed to use hard crib mattresses? My child slept in the bassinet of his pack and play for over 3 months straight because it was softer to lay on. It was not soft enough to have SIDS be a concern, but that crib mattress is stinkin hard! Why is this a good thing? Once I lined the crib mattress with fluffy towels under the sheets, he would finally sleep in there.

Make your own baby food. This is not hard. At. All. Buy any blender. Buy two cans of peas. Drain the water out of one. Dump both in the blender. If there’s enough water in there, it will self-stir. Remove contents. Thicken with rice cereal perhaps. Feed to child. If you shop at Aldi like I do, you just spent less than $1 and made 4 to 6 meals for your child. And you know what all is in it? Peas. And Water.

Get the kind of baby monitor that has two speakers AND shows the child’s volume with progressive lights. This is a great thing. You can turn the volume down pretty darn low so that you can hear him when he’s going bonkers, but not when he’s just talking to himself. A glance at the monitor to find he’s up to 4 red lights, and you’re on your feet. One red light, everyone’s fine. We keep one speaker upstairs and one speaker downstairs so we don’t have to keep moving it.

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