So one of my friends is going to have a baby very soon. I promised her way back in the early stages of pregnancy that I’d compile a list of REAL advice for a first time mom, not all that glossy magazine and parenting books you come across endlessly in all sorts of places. And, now that the baby’s due next week, here’s the list of REAL baby advice that no one tells you. (In no particular order.)
1. When you’re at the store, park as close as you can near a cart corral.
It’ll save your sanity. Here’s why: At first, you’ll probably have a
baby in the top part of the cart, in a carrier. You’re done shopping,
and if you parked anywhere else, you have to lug a huge car seat and
your purchases into the car to all be tucked away. And you’re going to
be exhausted because that is second nature after having a kid, so the
less distance you have to carry kids and other stuff, the better. Even
when the kids are older, this is good too, because you’ll want to hurry
and get your stuff to the car before you or them have any more
breakdowns. (Nervous for mom, behaviourial for kids.)
2. New babies don’t care about clothes.
they care about the big things, like food, diaper changes, being held
and loved. But for at least the first 6 months, clothes are not a big
deal. When you’re going out, yes, it’s nice to have the cute outfits and
matching socks and hats and bows, but that’s for adult sentiment. Not
babies. When you’re at home and it’s just you, the baby and the dog
watching The Wiggles at 7:30 am, that baby doesn’t care if it matches or
not. As long as it’s dressed, that’s all you need. And besides,
whatever it’s wearing is going to get soiled in some fashion, so it
might as well be something cheap and comfortable. Goodwill or other
store like that is a good place to look for early baby clothes. It’s
cheap, and if it needs to be thrown out because of a blowout from one
end or the other, you don’t feel guilty. And a side note, if you think
it’s warm enough for baby, don’t think you have to put clothes on. Just
something to cover the bottom up, and maybe something to cover a diaper
too. Because those little hands will soon figure out how to undo diaper
tabs. And that’s not pleasant. Trust me. On the other hand, I’m sure
you’ve heard “Dress the baby in one layer warmer than yourself.” This
really only works if it’s cold, I’ve found.(and don’t forget a hat) If
it’s hot, dress it in the same as yourself. It’s really just a judgement
call. Do what feels right. You can always put layers on a baby or take
it off, just as yourself.
3. Cloth Diapers.
don’t care if your baby wears them on their butt or not. Pick up a
package of these. The cheap white 12 count package is fine. Cause these
make excellent burp cloths, and once again, for the first 6 months, you
will live with these things. Seriously, have one under your baby when
laying down after feeding, and if not under, within six inches of it.
Cause random projectile vomit happens. Sometimes a lot. They’re machine
washable and disposable if need be.
4. Try to sleep sometimes when the baby sleeps.
is an oldie but a goodie. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. And
you’ll say “Oh, I don’t need to sleep, I need to get stuff done!” etc
etc. Yeah, well, forget it. I’m not saying you should sleep EVERY time
the baby sleeps, otherwise, true, the laundry may not get done, or the
dishes, or a shower for you, or anything else, but at least once a day
during the first three months, up to the 9 months or so, TAKE A NAP
DURING THE DAY WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS. You need it. And whatever else
you’re doing can wait. Those dust bunnies aren’t going anywhere. Let
them sit. You need to take care of you too.
5.. The diaper bag is your new best friend.
pick a practical one. You’ll be lugging that thing around for probably
at least three years, so get one you’ll like. Make sure it has lots of
pockets so you can’t find what you want when you need it. Also, for you
moms, don’t carry a purse and a diaper bag. Just throw everything into
the diaper bag. But make sure you at least get your wallet and stuff out
if dad takes the bag without you.
5a. A side note on clothes and travel.
packing for your baby’s diaper bag, even if you’re just going to the
store for “5 minutes”, pack a whole extra set of clothes. Because
Murphy’s Law is especially true for babies and bodily fluids. My rule is
“Pack a set of clothes for your baby. Then an extra set. Then one more
set.” Because some days, it’s going to be that way. Extra messy. Baby
clothes are small, you can always stuff an extra shirt and pants in
somewhere. Some day, you’ll be glad you did.
5b. Plastic bags.
it’s the plastic shopping bags from the grocery store or little one
gallon bags you can find in the baby section, have some in your diaper
bag. Because someday you’ll have a extra messy diaper you can’t toss
right away, or something gross you need to keep separate from
everything. Carry these around. The environment will understand. It’s
6. Baby Gates.
exactly a thing mamas need to worry about right away with little
babies, but a point nonetheless. When you’re looking for baby gates, and
you’re looking at the selection, keep this in mind. Don’t buy the
cheapest baby gate. I’m not saying you have to buy the expensive modify
your house ones, but if you think you can just buy the $10 ones and have
it work right, you’re wrong. Buy the $20 ones. It’ll save you so much
7. Savor it.
first year is going to fly by. (So will the next few years, but the
first year, especially.) Take some time when they’re little, especially
in the first weeks and months when they can’t squirm away too much yet,
to just hold your baby. Remember what it’s like for them to be so
little, tiny and helpless. Look into their eyes and wonder what they’re
thinking. Watch them when they’re reaching for a new toy or trying to
catch a mobile over their head. There’s nothing quite like watching a
baby when it’s learning, when you can see the gears turning. Remember
that new baby smell and feel. Because it’ll be gone before you know it.
I’ve already started that, and even though my kids are still young, at 8
and 6 I look at them now and say “where did the time go?” Next thing I
know, I’ll turn around my kids will be 18 and 16, and almost grown up.
So yeah. Cherish it.