Friday, April 12, 2013

Things I wish I knew before having a baby

When I was pregnant, I really had very little clue as to what I really needed to get for my baby when she arrived.  My husband has two boys, and when I asked him he told me he didn't know because 1) it was so long ago (his sons are 16 and 19) and 2) his ex took care of that stuff.

I googled to find a list of what I would need, but was also conscious of not wanting to spend a lot of money. We were fortunate to have a lot of stuff given to us from friends who didn't need the items anymore (crib, baby clothes, baby bathtub, bassinet, indoor baby seats, toys, jolly jumper, etc.)  I was also fortunate enough to also have two baby showers, so our little bundle was in very little want of anything.  However, when people asked what we needed, I was pretty clueless.  I did say older baby clothes as I was smart enough to make sure that we didn't end up with a zillion newborn clothes, which she would grow out of in a month.  If I could do it over again, I would have been very specific in what I wanted for many items.  Here is a small list of items that I think are quite good to have for your baby (at least I found them to be helpful for my own daughter.)

Baby Bibs:  I was ok with using the small cloth bibs for my daughter when she began to drool and also when I began to feed her food, since she was still small.  However, since she turned one I started using those soft plastic bibs with a deep pocket to catch food spills.  Now, instead of having to throw bibs in the daily wash, all I need to do is wipe them clean with a damp cloth, hang them on the chair to dry and they're ready for the next meal.  Easy peasy.  Unfortunately, I have an entire drawer full of all sorts of unused bibs that were given at my two baby showers because I added bib to my list of things that I needed.  I think the worst ones that I tried to use were the flat plastic ones with a pocket.  You can't throw them in the wash and it's too hard to clean out those pockets entirely.  They're just gross.

I love these bibs!  I got mine at  Maxi (Loblaws)
Exersaucer:  I probably wouldn't have bought it myself since I was pretty clueless to what good baby items are out there.  However, the Exersaucer was a gift given to my daughter from a friend.  I recommend it as it was a great way of keeping my little girl entertained while working out her legs.  And I could give her something to eat while she was in there too.

Jolly Jumper:   We were given a used Jolly Jumper from our friend.  This is something that I would for sure have gone out to buy myself anyway.  Maybe it's because I used one too when I was a baby.  I don't know.  My daughter liked using it too.

Sleepers:  For most of the year of my child's life (and as I type this up) my daughter has been wearing sleepers since she was born.  She was born in the winter, so of course she wore these to keep her warm.   I did not bother to dress her up in anything else when we went out because they were warm and snuggly.   She slept a lot, so it was better for her to sleep in her pajamas, instead of regular clothes.  I prefer to wear pajamas myself when I'm at home because they are comfortable, so why would a baby be any different?

When my daughter was about four months old, I started to dress her up in cute little dresses when we went to church, ONLY because she had been given a large amount of dresses and clothes as gifts.  Thus, I figured that she should start wearing these cute outfits before she was too big to fit into them.  I also used to dress her up for her monthly photo shoots in these cute outfits since she would only wear them once or twice (yes, ONCE or TWICE).  This is why I think that these cute little baby outfits are such a waste of money--at least to me.

Sleep Sack:  I was COMPLETELY clueless as to these things ever existed.  However, I received not one, but THREE of them as gifts for my daughter.  I didn't actually use them until her second winter, as she spent the first winter sleeping in a small bassinet and I thought it was easier to use blankets for her.  However, once I started to use them I was converted and realized that I had finally seen the light as to why these things are  SO amazing.

With conventional blankets, your baby will move around and can end up cold because they are no longer covered by a blanket.  But with a sleep sack, they are zipped up all snuggly, so they stay warm, but their arms are free to regulate their body temperature.  We just add a thin blanket over top at night to keep her arms warm, but if she gets hot, she can move her arms out from under it.

And the good thing with having more than one is if my daughter wakes up in the morning with a wet blanket, I have another one to use in case I can't do the laundry in time for her morning nap.

Sippy cups.  Not all sippy cups are created equal.  My first attempt at buying a sippy cup was a failure to me.  It not only had 5 detachable parts to it, but is also leaked.  My second attempt at a good sippy cup was the Playtex 1st Sipster Cup.  They're cute looking, only have 3 parts and don't leak.  I love them.  I throw them in the dish washer, take out the silicone liner to dry out and voila, it's ready to use again.  Love them!
1st Sipster Cup by Playtex

Bottles:  Again, not all bottles are created equal.  When I was breastfeeding, I was also pumping so that others could feed my daughter at times while I slept.  By far the best bottle to use to mimmick breast feeding is the Medela calma bottles.  When I first started breastfeeding and was having problems, I went to see a lactation consultant and this is what she recommended.  In my opinion Medela also has the best breast pumps.  We rented the Medela Symphony breast pump for one month.

Medela Calma Bottle with close up of nipple
Once I stopped breast feeding, I bottle fed my daughter and used the Medela bottles for a few more months, but then all of a sudden, my daughter didn't want to use them anymore (I think because she was starting to teeth), so I switched and started using Playtex Vent Aire bottles that my sister gave me for a baby shower gift.  My daughter is mow 15 months old and I still use them.  They are fine.  However, each bottle has five separate parts, so it's a real pain to hand wash every day.  A friend gave me one Avent bottle and it is so nice to only have three parts to wash, instead of five.  If I knew then what I now know, then I would have just asked for Avent bottles.

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