Friday, October 31, 2008

Big Radiant Smiles

One day she's going to think this is a less-than-flattering picture. But I love it. This is the first big radiant smile we've captured on camera. She is 5 weeks of joy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watcha Need - the 1st Month

My sister-in-law is expecting her first baby. I'm really excited because I have never been an aunt before, and it's fun to add a baby to your family that you really have no responsibility for - you just enjoy them! Of course, having one of your own is better, but I already have a few of my own...

She recently asked "what do I need" for baby? Here is my two cents, and I'm hoping that a few of my friends out there will add their two cents to pass on with this.

Our pediatrician says that the first month, all they do is "eat, sleep, pee & poop." Since I have a 5 week old, I can attest that this is true.

Eat - They will eat seemingly all the time. If you're nursing, that means that you need to eat well and be hydrated. Beyond that, I really appreciate having a good chair to nurse in (a glider with an ottoman is my favorite), a Boppy to hold baby up (your arms get tired even holding a 7 pounder for hours each day), and lots of lightweight blankets and/or burpcloths for spit-up. It is also a good idea to purchase a small breastpump. I'm on my third one now, and I like the Avent Isis Manual Pump. It's quiet and efficient. I also have a Medela electric pump that is efficient, but it is incredibly loud! Both the models I mentioned are in the $50 range. You will also want a few bottles to accompany them. It is convenient if they are the same brand as your pump, but not critical. I also buy milk storage bags and freeze the milk for future use (like for when we go out on a date). You will also want to purchase the appropriate undergarments and some disposable leakage pads.

Sleep - When we had our first baby we were in a one bedroom apartment. We had no room for a crib. On top of that, I was on bedrest for months before she was born, and had virtually nothing for her. However, before she was born, a friend bought me a bassinette, and some onesies and someone else loaned me some baby nightgowns and two outfits. We managed just fine with these few items until we had a baby shower, about 3 weeks after she was born. All this to say, you do not have to have everything on the Babies'R'Us check-off list. You will need a safe place to have your baby sleep. If you don't have a crib, I would recommend that you invest in a nice crib that converts into a toddler bed, and later a double bed. I don't have one myself, but if I were shopping I'd choose this. You'll need the other items later! Another option is a Moses Basket. These, like bassinettes, only work until your baby starts rolling over and moving about, but they are very handy - especially the Moses Basket for travel. (The basket is not absolutely necessary...I've had babies sleep in blanket lined dresser drawers when we travel, and even on the blanketed and cushioned floor of a hotel closet. I just like the baskets...) Another good option to acquire is a Pack'N'Play. Baby can sleep in it at your house, grandma's house, the backyard, etc. and can use it as a play yard when they're bigger. Don't worry about the fancy sounds and dinglebobs. If you get it used, just make sure it is really clean because you can't take the fabric off to wash it.

Pee & Poop - I would recommend that you at least acquire a padded changing pad. These are foam filled and contoured on the sides. (But don't EVER leave them unattended - they will start to roll over when you least expect...) We set a pad up on the bathroom counter for years. I loved it because it was right near the sink! When we moved to our present house, none of the bathrooms would accommodate a changing pad, so we had to find a changing table. I found a very decent one for $14 at a baby consignment sale, and turned a closet into a changing room. You will also need a diaper pail. I like the Diaper Champ, because you can put regular kitchen size garbage bags in it (as opposed to the Diaper Genie, which requires special liners), and the fact that it doesn't smell horrific after 4 kids. One trick: when they start eating solid food the smell will amp up. You can purchase little diaper disposal bags that you stick the diapers in, before you toss them in the diaper pail. It wipes out about 90% of the odor. Diapers? Any brand will do, but I like Huggies. When it comes time for a bath, you will need baby soap, washcloths, and warm water. A baby bathtub is great, but don't spend a lot on the attachment to prop them up in the water - you have to hold them anyway!

Other things:

Travel system. You have to get around, right? I like the travel systems that have both carseat and stroller. I'm on my third now, and my children were happier with the Evenflo brand ones than Graco. I think the Evenflo carseats are slightly larger, which will last you longer. Hannah loved her carseat so much, that when she was really upset, we would let her sleep in her carseat instead of the bassinette! Make sure that you get a new carseat. Most other things are OK to be "gently used" first, but you need your carseat to be structurally sound and not outdated.

Bouncy seat/Swing. These are really nice for when you want to put your baby down, but don't want them always on the floor. (They do need some "floortime" though to develop muscles and learn to get around.) We recently got a portable swing and I LOVE it. It folds up into a decent box to transport it, it is lightweight, and no clicking sound. (The brand is Boppy.)

Blankets. Several different weights of blankets are helpful. They will get spit-up on, and your weather will vary. I also keep at least one in the diaper bag at all times.

Go register. Babies'R'Us and Target are good places. They will have checklists for you. Keep in mind that this is an INDUSTRY. They want your money! Fancy is nice, but not always best. Keep quality in mind!

That ought to help you through the first month. We're officially in Month Two now - which is much more fun. Our doctor calls is "Smile and Coo." You should see her smile...Precious, precious, precious!

OK Ladies, anything to add?

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This one is for Granny. Abby is growing and looks very much like Hannah! We can't wait for you and Grandpa to meet her.
If any of you did not get Abby's birth announcement in your email - and want to see it (complete with video of the other kids initial reaction upon seeing their new sister), let me know and I'll email it to you. I don't have everyone's email addresses...