Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Parenting Advice

My best friend Kisa is pregnant with her first baby right now.  
A baby boy at that.  
We are all thrilled for her!
Hayes and Kisa had a fun relationship when she stayed with us often while she worked in Atlanta.
She asked me to help her with her registry, as it can be slightly overwhelming.
No joke.
She also asked me for some pointers about being a new mom.
She is an extra sibling we added to our family about 10 years ago.
Can you believe it has been 10 years!?  Sheesh.

I've been thinking about what I would do again and what I wish I could do over.
So, naturally I made a list, because that's what I do.
It isn't an organized list, just things I thought about as they came along...

I loved my sleep and play via Fisher Price.  We drug that thing all over the house.  Twice with each kid.  Perfect traveling bed and easy to move, set up, explain.  Plus you can clean it easily when they puke on it.  They have just issued a recall because apparently people can't clean them well, wash it well.  Let it dry well.  Duh.

Make sure you don't buy too many pacifiers or bottles at first.  Wait for your little one to indicate what he likes, then you can invest millions of dollars in them.

Don't waste your money on baby wash cloths or towels.  Just use what you have at home.  It will save you storage space and you won't have to worry with the baby being cold because those towels are so thin!  

Get one of those drying rack things for your counter top.  You'll need it for all those baby things you will accumulate.  3 years later and I still use mine daily.

Make sure you stock up on burp cloths.  Rotate them when they get gross and buy the flannel kind.  They are the thickest and absorb the most.

If you nurse make sure you keep the baby awake and offer both breasts.  They need to empty one side to get the hind milk at every feeding.  The hind milk has all the extra fat that they will need as they grow.  If he doesn't take both breasts, that's okay.  Just make sure you offer both so that he can get a full feeding.  You don't want to raise a snacker, you want to raise a child who understands how to EAT a full meal.

Also, if you are nursing you should pump and offer a bottle once a day.  Choose a time when your spouse or a grandparent can help you feed him.  You pump milk (or offer formula) while he is fed by a bottle.  Again, you want to train him to take a bottle unless you plan on carting the kid around with you everywhere (not likely) because he refuses to take his food from a bottle.  Again, totally your choice, but it will be easier for you if you start that from the get go!  

Speaking of eating, offer them every adult food you can as soon as they might be interested and it's safe for them to eat it.  I wish I had done that with Hayes!  I was so afraid he would choke, it would be too spicy, etc.  Now I have a picky eater.  Great.  However, Elizabeth eats everything that's not nailed down.  Literally.  

Make sure you let other people hold your boy.  At some point in time you are going to have to leave him and you want him to be comfortable trusting that if you leave, you will always come back.  He needs to be able to trust that other people will take care of him just as well as you do.  Maybe not exactly the same, but just as well.  

Always read the packaging on the things you buy.  Make sure they are age appropriate and safe for your little person.

Buy the expensive humidifier from Babies R Us.  Target sells the same brand, but BBRus makes one with a huge tank that will last a few nights.  Buy some eucalyptus oil as well.  Drop a few drops of that in the humidifier when he's sick.  It will smell like Vicks Vaporub, but it will help him breathe.  And crank that humidifier up all the way, but only on cool mist.
Warm mist grows mold faster than you can think about it. 

Save that little blue bulb from the hospital.  It is the best snot sucker you'll find.
As a matter of fact, take one or two OUT of the baby transport while you are there to keep at home.  

Actually, take everything out of the cart at the end of the day while you are at the hospital.  You are going to pay for a lot of stuff while you are there.  Make use of their wipes, diapers, creams, and other misc supplies. Don't take too much for him to wear at the hospital.  He won't need it.
Take a going home outfit, but that's it.

Make sure you take an extra empty bag or two to the hospital.  They will load you up while you're there and you'll need them to carry extra stuff OUT when you leave.  Take COMFY clothes for yourself and change as soon as you can.  You'll feel so much better about life and yourself.
Take your makeup, hair stuff, and shower stuff.
Also, your own pillow.

Send your kid to the nursery at night.  Trust me when I say that you will NEED THE REST.  There isn't a nursery once you go home, so take full advantage of that at the hospital.  They will love your baby and follow your directions.  You can get a few hours of sleep and that will make you a better mommy.  

Don't sleep with your baby.  Your bed is your safe haven.  His bed should be his.  It should be a place he knows to go and rest.  Most people love their own beds.  They can't wait to get back to that bed when traveling.  It is human nature to crave our own bed.  Let him learn to love his, so you can keep yours.  

Get a diaper bag backpack.  You'll need to use both hands.  
Get a baby wearing sling or wrap of some sort.  You'll appreciate that while shopping at Target.
Use Huggies wipes.  They are thicker and smell better.
Use Pampers diapers.  They absorb better and use layers of cloth not weird pellets.  Less mess.

Keep diapers and wipes everywhere.  You'll need them.
And use wipes on the snotty nose.  It won't hurt as bad.

When you have a snotty nose, use saline on the nose.  Give him a few drops and then wait a minute.
Then use that magical blue bulb.
He will scream and you will cry, but he will appreciate the fact that you are helping him breathe.
You will continue this pattern as he gets older and you will have to SIT on him to make it happen. But it is helpful!  Promise!

Do your research about car seats and strollers.  Don't buy them expired (5 years from manuf date) or used.  Unless you trust the seller and you know it is safe, then you're okay.
And don't pick the cute ones.  Pick the SAFE ones.

Give your husband a job.  Bathtime, bedtime, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.  Make him do it as often as possible.  You need a break and he needs to bond with the kid.
And don't just give him the crap jobs.
But he should be changing diapers just as often as you are!  :)

Utilize your help.  I can remember driving to Atlanta one afternoon so Hayes could stay with Kitty and her crew so I could grocery shop and go to Target.
It was about a 3-4 hour window of time JUST FOR ME and he was in great hands.
Use those people.
Call me.
I'll come sit with him while you go get a pedi.

When he sleeps, sleep.  Everyone will say that, but they are right.  Just do it.  The laundry can get done later.  The dishes will get done later.  It's okay.  Take a nap.

I'm working on my list.
I'll add more as I get to it.  

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