Yaaaa! You're having a baby! Whether it's your first or fourth, it's always exciting news. You're busy growing him or her and all is great...until about month 5 or 6 when you start to freak out as you think about how many things there are out in the marketplace for babies. From strollers to carriers, bassinets to cribs, play yard to swings...it's overwhelming.
I thought I would share a few of my insights as well as tips/ideas from others. I remember being the expecting parent thinking baby needed so much stuff. I soon realized the stuff was almost more overwhelming than the new baby. Baby #2 was a lot more streamlined as far as stuff went. I knew by then what worked, what we liked and what we actually needed. Babies are truly simple beings, especially in the early months. They need to feel safe and warm, eat, have their waste cleaned up/removed and sleep.
Items truly required for a new baby (based on my opinions):
- Childbirth class before baby arrives!
- Reusable diapers (of course, you can't be surprised).
- Good quality and well-fitting carrier(s); I used plural as I found personally that having several different types of carriers made life a little easier. It depended on what I was doing, how old babe was and how long she would be on me.
- Reusable wipes (face and bum), a gentle and mild soap, etc.
- Sleepers; I think my kids wore sleepers pretty much all the way to at least 5 months.
- Several quilts made by family members or someone close for them to lay on and play on as they grow.
- A couple toys; only a few simple ones. We were overloaded with toys after our first and with the second made a more conscious decision about good quality, safe toys (hello Sophie the giraffe). We still are way over the limit on toys...none really that we have bought ourselves...
- A baby carrier that works for your body and ability.
- A stroller that allows baby to lay flat for the first several months as well as faces you. You feel better seeing them and they love connecting the voice with a face.
- A good quality and highly rated NEW car seat. Yes, they cost money, but can you really be 100% sure someone was never in an accident or dropped their seat etc. Plus, it's now illegal to re-sell used car seats (Transport Canada is a wealth of knowledge on car seats).
- A good list of places to meet other new parents outside of your house. In Calgary, I suggest momstown.ca, Modern Mama or sitting down with an issue of Calgary's Child at a local park as starting points.
Don't get me wrong, there are other items. I loved my bassinet for babe's naps until they could start rolling around (and for the toddlers to play with their baby's). And then the crib was good for naps after the bassinet. I chose to co-sleep with my babes, especially #2. After breaking my heart over and over with #1, we started co-sleeping to ease breastfeeding at night and getting more sleep. #2 barely slept in a crib; she chose to take naps on my front or back typically. I'm not suggesting you use these techniques; I am saying it's okay to do what you personally feel will benefit you and your family. Some babies sleep awesome on their own and don't like cuddles. Mine happen to love cuddles and still do. It's the whatever-helps-you-survive-another-day philosophy that I believe in. My friend calls her similar ideology the organic philosophy.
Baby Showers...friend or foe?
Back to the purpose of this post...baby showers are a basically a given event in North America. My friends and coworkers each threw me one with babe #1 and my co-workers generously did the same with babe #2 (with a promise that I would come back). I know of people who have had multiple showers for multiple births and people who may have had only one. Baby showers have an incredible potential to help you out, especially with your first babe. You can make registries basically anywhere (Adventures of Little included; shameless plug). The trick, however, is to get people to actually use your list and make their purchases from it. I've been guilty of this (my hubby's Christmas wish list is a great example of always finding something else specifically not on the list). You find something ridiculously cute and impulse buy. Plus, it's not as much fun for the gifter when the giftee already knows what they are getting right? Wrong. How can you get people to buy what you really need and save yourself from then having to go out and buy it while finding room for all the other stuff?
I have a customer that is having twins and wants to cloth diaper. That's a lot of diapers! Yes, she will save an incredible amount of money and waste in the long run, but the upfront cost is double that of a single baby starting up with real diapers. She set-up a registry but only a few have bought off it. In order to try to remedy this for the upcoming showers, a family member of her's had an awesome idea (and my inspiration for this post). She's arranging for a draw prize for everyone who buys diapers/diapering supplies off her registry. How cool is that?! This could be done for any type of registry. People like to be motivated...I know I do. Bonuses at work...they are motivation to individuals to produce better results right?
Another tip...when someone asks you what you would like, tell them! Don't say 'Oh gee, whatever is okay'. Be specific, use the registries that are offered by companies and make sure the people know about the registries. Typically there are bonuses you get when you have a registry as well...so it's really a win-win situation. If you have several large ticket items, make it known that people going together as a group on a gift is acceptable and encouraged. And if this is not baby #1 and you have most of what you need, suggest things like warm/frozen meals, light house cleaning duties, grocery store trips, etc. Those are really some of the most amazing gifts someone can give a new parent. I generally don't buy gifts for new parents now. I like to make a meal or two that can be frozen and easily warmed up/cooked etc. Unless they want diapers...those I do like to give.
The basic ideas that I hope you take away from reading this post are:
- If you are the parent-to-be, ask specifically for what you truly need; make it easy and fun for people to purchase the items (aka our registry).
- Consider non-material gifts like nutritious meals, babysitting of the older child/ren or doing some housekeeping for the new parents. These are my personal favorite to give and receive!
- Don't fall for all the hype of the best new thing when looking for a gift. Go with what the person has spent the time registering for.
As I conclude, I have realized that I really like lists...sorry, it's a habit I formed in school and they are so darn efficient...
What tips or suggestions do you have for either new parents or people looking to get gifts for new parents? I'd love to hear from you!
Please head over to read more of our blog if you'd like to read more and be sure to check out our store ! I love questions too, so feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-805-6326.
Here's a personal picture with baby #2 in the oven and almost done...notice the "love marks" from baby #1...those are my Mommy Stripes and I think I have earned every single one of them!