Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Advice for First Time Mamas

I just met a wonderful gal at a fellowship dinner. She's just moved to the area and isn't going to get a "replacement" job, and she's pregnant. We had such a fabulous time talking, finding stuff in common, and just enjoying each other's company. As we chatted, I started thinking about all the things I should have done during my first pregnancy-the "if I'd only known" syndrome, I suppose. So here're the Domestic Goddess' advice at the low, low rate of free. :)

1. Chill out! Not in the "chill pill" way, that is. Just relax. Take a deep breath and enjoy it. If you work, then take advantage of any time you have with your spouse. Take this time to truly get to know him and enjoy your alone time. Trust me, childcare for date nights can be tough (and expensive) to finagle! If you're an at-home spouse, then don't worry so much about the state of the house or daily "stuff". Take some time to devour your reading list, do your nails, and soak in the tub.

2. Don't buy anything unless you absolutely have to, and even then, try to get it second-hand. Gosh, I would have saved sooooo much this way. All those fabulous gift cards could have been used to buy formula after I discovered I couldn't breast-feed. The toys our baby "just had to have" were great, but babies change so much and so quickly that the only way we'd get our worth is to have about six kids and then pass them on to a friend who would have to have six kids of her own. Impractical.
Example: A play mat I paid full retail of $40 would have cost $7 at a kid's consignment sale or shop. Find friends who are done with their baby-producing stage and ask if you can take the stuff off their hands. Trust me, it was so nice to find out my college roommate was expecting right around the time we were packing. She took all that good stuff off my hands for free! Great deal on both sides. Of course, check for recalls on anything before buying it.
What You Really Need:
Car seat (buy a new one that will last until your baby is at least 40 pounds),
Jogging stroller with a swivel front wheel and tires you can inflate at the gas station (but don't jog with baby until 6 months),
BPA-free bottles if using formula or pumping, lots of onesies (at least 10 will last a week),
A couple of weather appropriate pieces (Cold weather: jeans/pants, jacket, hat, leggings, socks. Hot weather: shorts/skirt, hat, swim diaper, socks.),
Sturdy diaper bag,
Diapers (about 20-25 if you're using cloth),
Free and Clear detergent.

3. Eat right. I gained 85 pounds with Thing #1, and I'm still struggling with the last ten. She is four years old! I was totally depending on breast-feeding to help me lose weight. Naughty me. I should have known better than to depend on something unpredictable. Sure, you can give into a craving here or there, but moderation is KEY. It helped me with Thing #2 and Thing #3 to think of cravings as a budget. I could splurge occasionally instead of making it a lifestyle like I did with Thing #1.

4. Exercise! Gosh, it made a world of difference in my post-partum attitude. I had knee surgery nine months after Thing #1 was born. Thing #2 arrived nine months after that, so I didn't really have a great opportunity to get back into a good work out program. I truly believe that's why I had such a bad case of the baby blues after Thing #2 arrived. Even if exercise doesn't prevent post-partum depression, it will help keep you and the baby healthy (besides working off those occasional craving splurges!).

5. Cloth diapers. I discovered these with Thing #2, and even though I only used them from her 8-12 month stage, they sure did help with potty training. Thing #2 potty trained herself the week before her second birthday. The cost? Five training panties, three of which doubled as evening soakers. Pricey, yes, but I'm reusing them on Thing #3. Thing #1 didn't really get proficient with the toilet until she was nearly three (switch from diapers to disposable training pants around 2 y/o) and then didn't figure out night training until she was 3.5. In fact, Thing #2 was done night training about a month after Thing #1.
Potty training for Thing #1 cost waaaay more than it did for Thing #2 and even more than Thing #3 even though we've subsequently bought three more training pants. Thing #3 is only 14 months old and has a very solid interest in the potty. I strongly believe it's the cloth diaper because she can feel the wetness.
Resources: Diaper Swapper (if you're okay with second-hand diapers). Kelly's Closet (for new diapers).

6. Read Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. I read that after the arrival of Thing #3 and vehemently wished I'd discovered it during my pregnancy. It's a Christian-based philosophy on child raising and disciplining. I loved it. I started implementing several of Tripp's ideas, and within weeks, I could see the change in my kids' perspectives on how they viewed their actions.

7. (Not so much for pregnant contemplation...more for when you've already got your babycakes in hand.) Get reusable stuff or find ways to reuse stuff you buy.
Buy Reusable Stuff: Each of the kids has a Nalgene Grip 'n Gulp cup in their assigned color. Not only are these things super durable, Nalgene will send a replacement if anything goes wrong with the cup. We also like reusable snack bags from Planet Wise. Baggies have been reduced to puzzle storage. I feel so much less wasteful now whenever we pack snacks or picnics.
Reuse Stuff You've Got:This is my favorite mommy aha! If you're going to buy jarred baby food, keep the glass jars so you can store snacks in there later. You can keep baby cereal in there for on-the-go and then just add water when you're ready to use it. My 14 month old loves to eat her Cheerios and goldfish out of there. They are just the right size for a little one. The jars are surprisingly durable, and the lids screw on, so you don't have to worry about an unmixed cereal mess in your diaper bag or snack pack.

So there you have it. If this list is useful to at least one person, then I'm happy.

Challenge: To spend less than $100 on baby prep items (not including the car seat-I am a firm believer in buying those new).

-Domestic Goddess out.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Gaby,

    This stuff is great and very much appreciated. Thanks again for all of the stuff--it really is helping, even if I don't realize how much right now. Hope you guys are having a great weekend.