Hi folks. I recently wrote an email to a friend who is pregnant with things I had known before I gave birth or early in Reese's life. These may not apply to you, but I wanted them out there for anyone to see because I wish I had known them earlier in Reese's life.
I had been writing this to her in my head for a while, and I got to the point that I needed to send it to her because I was shopping at a huge baby store one Sunday and happened upon a cute pregnant woman and her husband. They both looked bewildered by all the choices...we were in the safety aisle - I was looking at baby gates, they were looking at baby monitors - so I stepped in and helped them figure out some things. Actually ended up walking around the store with them for a while pointing out "do's and don'ts". They were very grateful.
But it brought me back to my friend and I knew I needed to pass some knowledge on to her whether she wanted it or not. So here's what I said. (Mind you I prefaced my email with "you don't have to listen to me, but I'm going to talk."
1.) Find a diaper bag that you really like and make it a purse/diaper bag. I started Reese's life carrying her diaper bag, my purse and her car seat with her in it. After meeting a friend for lunch with her 1 year old and me taking up the whole side of the booth, I realized something had to change. So maybe when Reese was 6-8 months old, I changed my purse into a diaper bag and was much happier. I recently bought a new diaper bag for our trip to Iowa and I already love it. It is the Skip Hop Grand Central Diaper Bag. A little bigger than usual, but great pockets for our trip. http://www.amazon.com/Skip-Hop-Central-Diaper-Cinnamon/dp/B008WNV52E/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1376933406&sr=1-1&keywords=skip+and+hop+grand. I also have a Petunia Pickle Bottom that I use regularly as a purse and love, and a Bumble Collection purse too. I love my bags! Sometimes you can find these for cheaper on babysteals.com.
2. I found a baby app for my phone that I have been using since day 1 and it rocks. It's free and it is called BabyCare. It keeps track of all feedings, diapers, naps/night sleep, medicine, etc. It rocks! It is so much easier than writing it down. It also times you when you are nursing which will be important because the nurses at the hospital will ask and your pediatrician may too. I still use it to track how much Reese eats, diapers, etc. Helps a lot when she is sick and not eating/having wet diapers/needs meds, etc.
3. We have a Motorola video baby monitor that I adore. Can see what is happening and not have to go into her room to check on her. This baby has everything. You can move the camera from your room instead of having to go into her room when she moves. You can talk to her thru the camera without going into her room. You can play music for her. You can zoom in to make sure she is breathing. You can see the temp in her room. Plus it comes with 2 cameras so you can have 2 different rooms covered. And you can add 2 more cameras if you so choose. LOVE IT!
4. You may want to look for a little swing that is easily moved from room -to-room. We had one in our bathroom for when we were getting ready in the morning when Reese was little. She adored it! And it let us be there with her but hands free. I got it at Target. http://www.target.com/p/fisher-price-swing-n-seat-forest-fun/-/A-14297074#prodSlot=medium_1_24&term=baby+swing
6. As far as strollers go, don't get the gargantuan stroller that comes with the car seat. We only used ours a couple times because it was so huge. I just found a couple months ago a stroller that would take any car seat but was a lot smaller and also would take her after she is out of the carseat. Here's the link. http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Years-Indigo-Stroller/dp/B004FN1D5O/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1376935399&sr=1-3&keywords=first+years+stroller. It rides great and Reese loves that she can face us or out and be reclined after she falls asleep. The shade is a little small, but adding a blanket or shade you can buy separate fixes that issue.
7. Breastfeeding is challenging. And a commitment. But SOOOOOO worth it! If you struggle for whatever reason, reach out to anyone. Don't let it get you down. My milk took 12 days to come in after Reese was born and there were many a tear in those periods for various reasons. There is a great book out there someone turned me on to called The Nursing Mother's Companion. http://www.amazon.com/The-Nursing-Mothers-Companion-Edition/dp/1558327207/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1376936223&sr=8-4&keywords=breastfeeding+book. Helped me a lot.
8. Breast pump - If you want you can buy one now, but you might want to wait until you see how nursing goes. Some women just can't nurse, so then you have spent your money and are stuck with a pump you can't use. Many hospitals have pumps you can rent to see if things are working out, then go buy one once you know how it is all working. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a pump from a friend for almost a year. It was awesome. I could literally pump anywhere, which I did, even the car! Here's the link. http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Pump-Style-Advanced-Backpack/dp/B0011E75RK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1376936350&sr=8-3&keywords=medela+breastpump
9. Ask for help. It is hard. Was really hard for me. I got bad at hoping Jason would read my mind and just do things, then would get mad when he wouldn't. Ask for help. Hubby doesn't know what is going on in your brain. Tell him. If friends offer to bring you dinner or clean your house, say yes. Don't say you don't need anything. Ask for help! This is a huge transition!
10. Enjoy this time. Baby will only be this little once. Hold her. Cuddle her. Get a Sling or some kind of baby carrier. I love my sling because I could hold her when she was little and can still hold her as a toddler. She could fall asleep on me and I could still do somethings. Plus mine has pockets that sometimes I would just put my cell phone and wallet in and go into a store with just that. Last link (I promise) http://www.rockinbaby.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=1006S. This isn't the exact one I have, but it is the same company and gorgeous. I actually used to put Reese in the sling and go get my nails and toes done. The ladies thought it was awesome because she would fall asleep on me and I could have down time while cuddling. Plus my sling is pretty.
So there's my advice. Take it. Give it to friends. Throw it away. Whatever. But now I feel better having passed wisdom on to someone!