A year in review: first time parent advice

THURSDAY THOUGHTS
 So, we've had a couple of soon-to-be-parents friends ask us lately how we did things (i.e. how we all happily survived) with Little C this past year (she will be the big ONE in a couple of weeks!), so the hubster and I came up with a general list of items we found most useful (some are obvious essentials) and also certain practices we implemented. We hope any expecting parents who stumble upon this list, find at least one thing useful. Every bit helps :-)  And of course, we will probably remember something as soon as I post this, so I will try to keep it updated.

Also, be aware that what you are about to read is what worked for us newbie parents. Yes, each child is different. Yes, parenting styles vary.  Now that that's clear, go ahead and take the following with a grain of salt....or a heaping salty spoonful if you're desperate!


The First Year

These are the things I think we used the most:
  • Crib (didn't use bassinet/Moses basket; baby slept in crib from the start and it worked fine thanks to swaddle blanket and baby monitor!)
  • Changing Table
  • Swing (esp 1st 6 mos)
  • Miracle Blanket(s) for swaddling (esp 1st 6 mos). We tried several swaddlers and this worked best for us
  • Sound Machine (louder is better)
  • Activity Center (once able to hold head up). Especially nice for putting baby down after she is able to roll/crawl since she can't go anywhere.
  • Burp Cloths (lots for first 4-5 mos)
  • Chux for diaper changes during first 3 months
  • Baby monitor
  • Bumbo seat 
  • Baby carrier; we had a Bjorn but I borrowed a friend's Baby Beco and loved it because little C preferred facing out.
  • Simple foam bath cushion (around $7) instead of expensive one, then we started using Bumbo seat in bath tub when baby could hold head up
  • Stroller (we used BOB jogging stroller and Snap-N-Go)
  • Infant Car Seat 
  • Car seat canopy - great for helping baby nap on the go
  • Boppy pillow is helpful for nursing small babies
  • Airplane neck pillow for parent during nighttime feedings (or other moments of exhaustion!)
  • Nursing cover for public feedings (unless you have a bottle ready and baby will take it!)
  • The Boon Spoon has worked great for feedings on-the-go (once baby starts solids). Much cheaper than those baby food pouches, which cost ~$1.50 each!

These are the practices I think we found most helpful:
    • Sleep/Eat/Wake cycle (in that order; initially lasts 2-3 hours between feeds)
    • Nap when baby naps
    • Happiest Baby On The Block (5 S's) method for colic (most babies will have at least one colicky session!)
    • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - very informative, although remember sleep strategies may vary with each child
    • Put baby down for naps/sleep when drowsy, not just when fully asleep
    • Get baby ready for sleep at first signs of tiredness; over-tired baby is NOT a fun situation.
    • OK to bottle feed a couple of times per day (esp. after first few days once baby is comfortable breast feeding; we waited too long and she never took a bottle or pacifier)
    • Make your own baby food (save money and give baby healthier options)
    • "Cry it out" at around 4 - 4.5 months at night (We used "Ferber" method, sort of. We did it at 6 months and wish we had done it a bit sooner, but each parenting philosophy on this is different!)
    • Only gave vegetable-based foods (as opposed to fruit) for first year so she got use to "less sweet" foods, per our ped's recommendation.  Maybe this will backfire, but so far so good. *UPDATE* At 15 months old, she definitely prefers fruits, but she will still eat her veggies--hooray!

      *DISCLAIMER*
       Although we endorse these items/practices for our own child, we encourage parents to use their own judgement and follow recommendations advised by their pediatrician.

      2 comments:

      1. I love lists like this, Hope. I wish I had heard more before Matthew was born. Since I just learned this, I would add a note about diapers. Do not stock up on diapers too far in advance. It's hard to know what diapers will work at different times. We went with Pampers because that is what they passed out at the hospital and around 5 months Matthew started leaking like crazy at night. Ironically, Luvs, which is the cheapest of the name brands, is the only thing that will keep Matthew reasonably dry at night. So, my advice to new parents would be to try the cheapest thing first and buy in small quantities so you can figure your baby out as you go along. It's the same thing with feeding. We formula fed and started on Enfamil newborn because that's what they had in the hospital. Matthew needed Gentlease. If you don't stock up too much then it's not that big of a deal to switch and don't be afraid to switch and try new things. I think that's what parenting is all about!

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        Replies
        1. Good point about the diapers, Megan. We lucked out and didn't really have any leaking issues and only rare "blow-outs" since she hated pooping for so long, haha.

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