I was cleaning out my storage room yesterday – getting rid of the last of my baby stuff. As I was sorting things into the “garage sale” pile or “throw away” pile, I started thinking about babies in general and what isn’t worth the money versus what is.
And so we get to this post…. because isn’t almost all advice unsolicited? 🙂
So here goes, my thoughts/advice on baby stuff for all of you who never asked!
1. Breastfeeding – It HURTS!!
I know all the “experts” tell you that it shouldn’t hurt if the baby is latching on correctly. But I question whether these “experts” have ever actually breastfed! I mean, come on!
Don’t believe me? I dare you to ask your spouse to suck as hard as possible on your nipple for 15 minutes straight, then switch to the other side. Now repeat every 2 hours ALL DAY AND NIGHT. And by repeat every 2 hours, I don’t mean from the time you finished nursing, I mean from the time you started. So really, repeat every hour and a half.
However, there’s hope! In my very unscientific research, it takes two weeks for your breasts to “toughen” up so that nursing doesn’t hurt. You may be thinking, “I can do anything for two weeks.” Well… I’m here to tell you that two weeks can seem like two lifetimes when your nipples are cracked. So invest in a pump and give yourself a break sometimes! (The pump is not as painful as the baby).
2. Baby Monitors – Not That Necessary
To determine how necessary a baby monitor is for you, I ask you the following questions:
1. Do you wake up if the phone rings in the middle of the night?
2. Do you wake up if your cell phone vibrates in the middle of the night?
3. Do you wake up if your device makes that little “ding” that you received an email?
4. Do you hear the air conditioner/heater come on in the middle of the night?
5. Is waking up every two hours not frequent enough for you?
6. Do you live in a mansion and the baby’s room is in the west wing and your bedroom is in the east wing?
See what I’m getting at? If you can hear those things, then most likely you will hear your baby crying! If you have a monitor on the nightstand next to your bed, you will hear every breath your baby takes and any little sound he makes. Do you really want to wake up from your baby breathing?
That said, a monitor can be very useful during the day so you know when the baby is up from his nap – especially if you are working outside or watching a loud movie. My unsolicited advice, don’t have the monitor next to your bed.
3. Pack and Play – Totally Worth the Money
If you have bedrooms on one level and your main living area on another, having a pack-n-play is super useful. Just keep it up all the time and you’ll have a place to change diapers, put the baby down for a nap, etc…
4. Diapers – It’s Worth the Membership at Costco/Sam’s Club
Their prices are great to begin with, but then they go on coupon frequently. Did you know that at Costco you can get coupon adjustments? Just hold onto your receipt and if an item you bought gets a coupon in the next 30 days (even if you ate it!) they will give you the coupon value.
5. Formula – Also Worth the Membership at Costco
If you are buying formula, the price for Kirkland Signature (Costco brand) is the best around! I don’t think the price has even changed in the last 10 years. If memory serves, it is still $16.79 a can.
As a side note, if you spend $300+ at Costco per month, it is worth getting the Executive membership because the 2% cash back you earn pays for more than the extra cost of the executive membership. (Costco – if you are reading this and you feel like giving me a free membership, I’ll take it!)
6. Highchairs – Go With IKEA
So we bought all the Graco stuff when we had our first. And not that Graco is a bad company, but I swear that when they designed their highchair they said to themselves –
“Hmmm. How can we put the most nooks-and-crannies possible in a chair so that it is incredibly hard to clean and will trap as much crud as possible?”
They must have had some really good engineers on the job, because I don’t think you could make a chair more difficult to clean. Not only that, but it is so HUGE! It will take up half your kitchen.
But don’t fear – IKEA to the rescue. They have the absolute perfect high chair – compact, EASY TO CLEAN, and it’s only $25!! An absolute must buy.
7. Get a Car Seat Pad
I didn’t know these existed when I had my three kids in car seats. But boy, I sure wish I did.
It was a 30-minute ordeal to get the cover off my car seat, and then another 30 minutes to get it on after I washed it. How much easier my life would have been if all I ever had to wash was the seat pad every time my kids threw up in the car! (yes, that happened…. a lot)
If you like to sew, I bet this would be an easy project.
8. The Magic Bullet Is Great For Baby Food
Apparently they make a special “Baby Bullet” that costs twice as much as the magic bullet. Just get the Magic Bullet (at Costco, when it is on coupon :-))
I would throw whatever we had for dinner in a the magic bullet and puree it up for my boys to eat. Seriously – like lasagna, chicken and corn, or meatloaf and broccoli.
Sound gross? Well, I guess I fed my kids gross food.
If you are interested in the Baby Bullet, my oldest was quite engrossed by the commercial and I videotaped him telling me all about it! In case you are wondering what the benefits of the Baby Bullet are, just listen to my then – 5 year old tell you all about it!
Click the link to see it on Youtube – the video was too big for me to post it here on my blog. Baby Bullet Video
By the way, if you are wondering if feeding my kids crazy food made them less picky later….. nope! My oldest was SUPER picky for years, my middle son was your average kid picky, and my youngest wasn’t picky at all. I did everything the same, it is just they way the came.
9. Baby Magic Shampoo Smells the Best
This is purely subjective, but really, Baby Magic smells the best!
10. Target Brand Has Great Diaper Rash Cream
And the price is right!
Once your baby is on solid foods, the risk for diaper rash increases. Of course, if they have diarrhea it goes up exponentially. So on to my next piece of unsolicited advice…
11. Diarrhea? – Try Rice Water
This is an oldie but a goodie. My mom told me this one and it worked great for my kids.
Prepare rice with more water than it needs. Strain out the rice and use the water to prepare your formula. The starch in the water will help with the diarrhea.
12. Chewable Pain Medicine is THE BEST!
Once your child is over two years old, they can get very picky about taking medicine. And when your child has a fever, he is going to be fussy anyway, so fighting him to take the liquid medicine can be impossible.
Chewable medicine solves that problem (they think it is candy) with the added plus of no sticky messes on their shirts!
I debated on this last one sharing this last bit of advice, but I honestly wish I had done it, so here goes.
If you are the curious type, you might wonder how your vagina has changed after pushing a giant baby through it. If that sounds like you, then I say, take advantage of the digital age (since you won’t have to worry about developing these pictures!) and take a picture down there before you have the baby. Then you can have your “control” picture to see what each consecutive child does to change things!
If this doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, then don’t do it. But what if you change your mind later? Then you will have lost out on your one chance to get a before picture!
That’s all for my unsolicited advice for today. I’d love to read your advice in the comments below!