Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Keep Calm and Don't Baby Proof Yet

Now that I'm in the third trimester of my second pregnancy, I'm starting to think about what needs to be done before the baby gets here. I have a list of projects to do, like making a blanket for the baby (not that she'll need it, but I made one for CB and it seems unfair not to do one for little sis), getting CB set up in a big girl bed, some minor updates to the nursery, etc. Since I was using my mom's rocking chair last time, we bought a used glider and I'm going to try my hand at re-covering it, because I remember spending a lot of time nursing in the rocking chair, and hey, it shouldn't be ugly if I have to spend lots of time in it.

I re-subscribed to all of those "YOUR BABY THIS WEEK" things that I got last time, and it is hilarious to me how much differently I feel about them this time.  (Except for Amalah's pregnancy calendar on Alphamom. I still think that one is just so brilliant and hilarious and helpful that it should be required reading for everyone who is pregnant.) For example, on week 26 one of them said that I should be using this time to baby proof my house - buy outlet covers, lock up poisons, get baby gates for stairs, etc.

First time moms out there, here's a tip: you do NOT need to baby proof at 26 weeks pregnant. You don't even need to baby proof at 39 weeks pregnant. You can maybe sort of start thinking about it when your baby starts doing that clumsy early crawling thing (especially if she's bashing her head on sharp corners - mine never really did so I didn't bother buying those rubber corner things), and you'll probably want to at least have some outlet covers by the time he or she is crawling around and pulling up to stuff, and by then you'll want to make sure that the cleaning supplies aren't in easily accessible cabinets that a little cruiser might want to crawl into and explore and gum. But I'm telling you: you will know when it's time. And it will be months after your baby is born, because newborns just kind of lie around and sleep and cry and look at you. They are not climbing up to the knife cabinet and then hauling the knives to the outlets so they can stick the metal points into them and electrocute themselves. 

There were so many things that freaked me out the first time around, and I largely blame all of those dang baby emails telling me I needed to baby proof NOW and buy some flash cards with black and white squiggles and institute a bedtime routine the SECOND we got home from the hospital and get ALL THE THINGS in coordinating patterns and top rated blah-ty-blahs. The reality was that we actually could still go to the store after we had a baby. When we decided we wanted a swing, we actually went to a couple of different places and then ended up getting one at a consignment store, because even a couple of months in we had started to realize that baby stuff has a short shelf life. The exersaucer was awesome - for maybe five months, at which point the baby was mobile and didn't have much interest in it anymore. The changing table was totally necessary - until it wasn't. The crib was gorgeous and new - until my baby started teething and made it look like a beaver had hit it. 

Here was what I found to be true for me, and I'd love to hear what was true for you.
  1. The bedtime routine is wonderful - but it might not happen as soon as you get home. For the first few weeks, my baby went down at about 11 and would sleep for a little bit longer stretch than she did during the day - and that was because she was a magical sleeping baby of wonderment at night from the beginning. Many parents find that they are just in survival mode for the first months and do whatever they have to so that they get SOME sleep. After a couple of months, a bedtime routine emerged organically for us, her bedtime eventually moved up until it got to its current place (between 7:30 and 8:00 usually, although it tends to be a bit later in the summer because we like doing stuff while it's light). Think about the routine you'd like to establish for sure, but don't feel like a failure if it doesn't happen right away. You'll find what works for both of you before you know it. 
  2. You will know your baby sooner than you think. I remember being pregnant and feeling so panicked about how I would ever know what to do, but it didn't take long before I knew how to tell if my baby was hungry or sleepy. If there is one thing I wish every new parent could know, it's that you really should trust yourself. Experts are great and can be helpful when you're stuck, but you are the real expert on your baby, because your baby is an individual with her own little quirks that you will know better than anyone else. 
  3. You don't need ALL THE THINGS. Especially if you live in a small space and they won't all fit. You know why some people swear by swings and some by bouncers and some by slings and some never seem to be able to put their baby down at all? That's because babies are different. You won't know what yours likes until she gets here. At that point, if your baby seems to calm down really well when you swing her, buy a swing (maybe, if you want to - I'm also pretty sure generations of parents got by without them, so don't feel obligated). If not, don't. See what I'm saying? Swings and bouncers and co-sleepers and whatever are all enormous pieces of furniture that you will only use for a few months. You don't want to store them all, I PROMISE. 
  4. Baby shoes are really cute and really useless. They never stay on, they don't do much, and your kid will probably just end up wearing socks and footies most of the time. I didn't really need to buy any baby shoes until about 9 months or so, and most of the adorable newborn shoes I have only got used once or twice because they were somehow too big until they were too small.  I'm not saying don't buy the adorable tiny newborn shoes, I'm just saying . . . shoes are not the necessity for newborns that they are for older children or adults, and you will spend plenty of money on shoes in the coming years. Be moderate. 
  5. That thing that all of your friends couldn't live without? It might not be your thing. It might not be your baby's thing. People have been changing diapers for a long time without wipes warmers, is what I'm saying. (And without wipes, for that matter, but wipes are one of those things I would prefer not to live without.) 
  6. You don't need as many newborn and 0-3 month clothes as you think. You need them, yes (unless your baby is too big for newborn clothes, which happens) but they grow SO FAST at that age. They will literally be out of those clothes in like 3 months, unless you make tiny babies. And maybe that seems like a long time when you are a sleep-deprived parents of a newborn, but in clothing life terms, it's short. I have things that my baby got to wear once before she outgrew them because I got so many adorable tiny things from friends and neighbors. I now wish I would have exchanged some of them for 12 month versions of the same thing. (At least she's got a baby sister coming along to wear them now!) 
  7. Used stuff is often just fine, especially if it's plastic and you can clean it with a Clorox wipe. I spent my first pregnancy being sure that we needed all new stuff, but two years later I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the hand-me-down and the consignment sale. That stroller I painstakingly picked out and bought? Probably will be purchasing whatever decent double stroller I can find someone selling online to replace it. (Car seats are the exception here. Buy new car seats.) 
Mostly, take everything experts say with a grain of salt. Take this post with a grain of salt. Read some articles, find some books that ring true to you, and then trust yourself. You'll figure it out. 

No comments: