Tag Archives: preparing for babies

10 Tips for Soon-to-Be Moms

I’ve had a few friends who are expecting their first baby ask for a little advice on how to prepare for the bundle of joy. So here are a few things that I figured out either with EK or with J or because a wise woman told me so.

This was when a friend and I took our collective three kids on a walk. Only two are mine, but she was saying since we knew we’d have another, it was only a matter of time until it was me without a friend…

1. When placing your nursery furniture, to important to make it look nice. It’s also important to make it convenient for you to use each of the pieces in the room. For instance, when you wake up to the cry of your newborn at 3:00am, walk in the nursery, and immediately smell something… terrible… you know that you’re gonna need to change a diaper, and probably clothes, blankets, and maybe sheets. You pick up your sweetie, move to the changing table, and roll up your sleeves. Within arm’s reach, you want to have that extra change of clothes, as well as diapers and wipes, of course. So when arranging your furniture, it’s good to have your dresser (or wherever clothes are kept) within easy reach of the changing table, so you don’t have to walk off and leave the baby!

2. Speaking of changing the sheets, all moms know that changing crib sheets is a giant pain in the booty. So how do you make yourself have to change them less often, even though your baby will have messy poops, incredibly sized pees, and spit ups that stink to high heaven? One word: layer. My wonderful mother-in-law introduced me to this idea, and it’s saved my sleepy or busy self more times than I can count. So what you do is have 4-6 sheets AND full mattress-sized waterproof pads, and layer them into the mattress. I like to take the mattress completely out of the crib to do this. That way, I just peel off the offending layer whenever there’s a mess, and toss it in the laundry, and there’s already a sheet on there, ready to go! Of course, 1/6 times, I’m screwed. But I’m saved the rest of the time!

3. When someone offers to make a meal calendar for you, take them up on it. When they ask for email addresses, give them every single one you know. If people don’t want to help/are too busy, they just won’t sign up. But everyone else? Let them feed you. Lots of them (like me a lot of times) will just ask what you want from your favorite take-out place. It’s a win-win. And sometimes, it’s a sweet friend, who comes bearing dinner, and does some dishes or some laundry while she’s there, because it’s somehow easier to do someone else’s than your own. ((If you need help with this one or don’t have someone to do it for you, email me and I’ll help you out.))

4. Related to #3, stock your freezer. If you’ve got a meal calendar set up with people doing dinners, stock the freezer with pancakes, waffles, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, sausage, bacon, etc. Another great idea is to pack individual baggies with everything for a smoothie in them. Put in your fruit, kale, spinach, oats, flax, or whatever you like in there, each in an individual Ziploc bag, and then all you have to do for breakfast (or lunch, or a snack) is put it in the blender with the liquid of your choice, and yogurt or peanut butter if that’s how you roll. For lunches and dinners, spaghetti sauce and chili are easy things to make and stock up on, as well.

5. Get the book Happiest Baby on the Block or at least skim it in Babies R Us one day. Cliff notes: When they are fussy, swaddle them, let them suck on something, swing or bounce them, hold them positioned on their side or stomach and make some loud white noise (loud “shh”, vacuum, hair dryer, etc). Y’all are thinking I’m crazy. Try it.

6. Start letting baby put himself to sleep even when he’s a couple of weeks old. When he’s fed and diapered and snuggled (and swaddled, in my opinion), lay him in the crib and leave the room. Learning to go to sleep on his own will make everyone’s lives easier in the long run.

7. Something I didn’t do until recently (mostly because I think they didn’t have it when EK was a newborn) is sign up for one of those Amazon or something diaper subscriptions, where they just send them to you. I’ve got it now that my kids aren’t growing out of diaper sizes too quickly (and they’re both in the same size), but here’s what I did. I took all those coupons for creating registries at Babies R Us and Bed Bath and Beyond, and bought diapers – a couple of cases in every size. I waited till they were on sale (since before you have the baby there’s no rush, right?) and used the coupons. Babies R Us is great at mailing you stuff monthly, and almost every time there are coupons for diapers. I only bought one box of newborn size (they grow out of those the quickest in my experience) and two boxes of the rest (stopping at size 4) just in case. I felt totally prepared, and if I did run out of diapers, I at least had some in the size up they could wear so I was never completely and totally out.

8. Find a good stain remover. This is a total must, because your baby is going to be causing stains on everything. I really love Babyganics, and it really seems to work on everything from poop and spit-up to red wine and coffee (and those are the four most common stains at my house).

9. Use the heck out of those annoying and wonderful Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons you get all the time. Use them on carseats, strollers, toys, nursery furniture, pillows, swaddles, and anything else you can buy there instead of a baby store. Our BB&B recently got a major baby section upgrade, so I get tons of stuff there with those super coupons.

10. Don’t refuse the help. Yes, there’s a line between letting a thousand people traipse through your house every moment of the day and accepting the help of well-meaning friends and family for a few days, or a few days a week if they’re willing to keep it up for a little while. But if someone offers to snuggle the baby and let you nap, or let you shower, let them. If someone offers to do a load of laundry or pick up some groceries, let them. These things are so nice and helpful, and often it’s a chance for a friend or aunt or someone to meet your little bundle. A win-win for everyone!

All you almost-mamas, I hope this helps! Pass it along to anyone who might need some words of wisdom before their little babe gets here!

Do the veteran mamas have anything to add to the list?!

Featured on April’s Everyday Mom Link-Up! everyday mom link up

Things You Think About Babies Before You Have One

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The other day, I posted this article from Scary Mommy on my Facebook. It was “liked” by several parent friends, obviously because it’s snarky, hilarious, and true. I also had one not-yet-a-parent friend who commented her things she thought (was afraid?) would be true about having a baby. Here they are:

1. They will be constantly peeing.
2. They will poop all the time and smell like poop.
3. They will cry all the time, especially at night.
4. They won’t want to breastfeed OR bottlefeed, somehow.
5. They will grab my hair and pull it hard, frequently.
6. They will drool on things constantly.
7. They will cry whenever I put them down and I won’t be able to get a break from them.
8. I will feel trapped and at the mercy of a crazy baby.

Unfortunately, I had to tell her that these are all sometimes true. No, they’re not blanket statements that are true all the time. But are there times I feel like all I do is change diapers? Yes. Are there times that all I seem to hear is the sound of crying? Sometimes. Yes, babies pull hair (and clothes and earrings). Yes, they poop a lot (especially newborns) and you will smell it (especially toddlers). There are times I feel like I need a break from the little humans I created. Yes, there are times you may feel trapped in the nursery, with a baby who is endlessly crying, who doesn’t want to eat or sleep or play or be put down.

In short, yes, motherhood is hard. Raising kids is tough, no matter what age they are. (I’m told it doesn’t really get easier.) But are you immediately and totally consumed with love for this tiny, helpless, red-faced thing you’ve created? ALL OF THE YES. Do you sometimes watch them peacefully sleeping, and remember the moment you first saw them? Absolutely.

And in response to where I think people get these ideas before you have a baby/kid of your own… If you aren’t close to any kids, or friends with kids, all your experience with them is probably related to times you were at a restaurant and there was a crying baby at the neighboring table. Or the time you were at the grocery store, hearing the squalling kids from several aisles over, strapped into a racecar shopping cart full of juice boxes and goldfish crackers. But the truth is that you’ve been around babies and children way more often than that. It just didn’t occur to you, because those kids weren’t throwing tantrums or making messes. Sometimes, that happens. They behave! They eat their dinners! They draw on their menus instead of throwing the crayons to the next table! But those moments when they’re “behaving” or “acting normal” are just less memorable to you. They don’t stand out in your mind. But they happen.

So yes, having a baby is difficult and wonderful. It will rock your world in the fullest meaning of the word, in good ways and bad. Yes, you should be ready before you decide to have one. And “ready” looks different for everyone. There’s no way to fully prepare yourself for the change in your home, and the change in your heart.