Tips for new parents. Have at it!
November 20, 2011 1:04 PM   Subscribe

What tips/lifehacks can you think of for the upcoming parents. Don't care how small the tips are - just avoid the obvious ones.

T Minus 30 days. Mrs. Filmgeek and myself are around the 5 week mark before the hospital trip.. First marriage, first kid, both of us over 35. Do we have friends with kids? Sure. And we're mining them for advice. Do we know what we're doing? Hell no.

That's where you (metafilter) come in. Parents of Metafilter - What dumb (smart) tips can you pass on to us.
posted by filmgeek to Human Relations (50 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
The parenting and baby tags will yield you a rich bounty, so I would recommend that would be your first stop, if you didn't search whilst writing the question :). Examples include:


There are many more questions, also.
posted by smoke at 1:16 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

My best one: set up diaper changing area in the bathroom (on a bathinette with changing table lid) so that I could follow up changes with a warm water rinse for every poop. My kids never got diaper rashes. Saved a lot of grief. Oh, and a small heater for the bathroom so they don't get cold during baths and changes. No crying.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:18 PM on November 20, 2011

Teach your little baby some basic ASL. I remember that long before her first word, our second daughter would sit up in her crib making the "bird" sign, explaining to us why she woke up so early. Didn't mean she was going back to sleep, but it was good to hear it wasn't just her wanting to torture us. ASL will also reduces a lot of frustrations around the "HEY I'M THIRSTY HERE" problem that so bedevils the pre-verbal set.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:22 PM on November 20, 2011 [18 favorites]

Try to find a way to ensure the child's primary caregiver gets an hour or two every day to themselves, or at least away from full responsibility. As much as you love and want the beautiful little bundle, s/he takes over your whole life. Knowing you will get that break eventually will save your sanity and make you a better parent.
posted by bebrave! at 1:56 PM on November 20, 2011 [11 favorites]

1. For approximately the first 3 months, many babies tend to fall asleep if surrounded by noisy people environments. This means that you can still go out to restaurants, taking your new baby in the car seat. Feed, change, go to restaurant, enjoy meal. After 3 months, its a bit more work ;)
2. You know those wooden high chairs that most restaurants have? Turn one upside down and back to front, so that the rear bar is higher than the front bar, and a baby car seat usually rests nicely on the two bars, bringing their car seat up to table height so you can see them. However, you MUST keep the baby strapped properly into the seat, in case the whole contraption falls over.
3. For the first few weeks, we were recommended not to use commercial wipes for diaper changes, and I learned how to make my own. This is handy if you unexpectedly run out of wipes too - take kitchen towels, dampen with warm water - instant non-irritating baby wipes.
posted by Joh at 2:06 PM on November 20, 2011

You will receive disposable diapers as baby shower gifts. Use them. Get a diaper genie and make them magically disappear for the first 90 days. After that, you'll have a better handle on how things run, and you can switch to real cloth diapers and wash them yourself. Give yourself this one little, non-environmentally correct privilege for the first three months. It will save your sanity.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:10 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

1. For approximately the first 3 months, many babies tend to fall asleep if surrounded by noisy people environments.
This. And, to help with this - a sling (or other baby carrier) is a thing of wonder. The ability to actually get something done (a load of washing! a cup of tea! some shopping!) hands-free whilst your Little Bundle of Joy gets some snooze?

posted by coriolisdave at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't even bother with commercial burp cloths...those Gerber things and the other ones like it suck. Order some real quality prefold cloth diapers even if you don't want to use cloth diapers for diapering. Googling "Chinese prefold" or "Indian prefold" will get you what you want. They can be used as the most amazingly absorbent burp cloths, wonderfully soft rags for wiping your baby's messy face and hands, and they're my favorite thing for cleaning the house. I found a bunch of uses for them.
posted by christinetheslp at 2:17 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]

Find some local parent&baby group that meets up once a week. Sharing horror stories will save your sanity.

When people say "trust your instincts" and "you know your baby best" I didn't understand what they meant because I clearly had no idea what I was doing! But here's what it means: you'll find yoursrlf trawling the nets and asking all sorts of friends, experts, family, doctors etc what to do about your kid not pooping/sleeping/eating etc. You will get tons of conflicting, emotionally charged advice. But the secret is: nobody can tell how your kid will react to co-sleeping, CIO, eating potatoes or whatever. You yourself probably have the best chance at guessing because you know your child, but even that is so-so. So, you'll try method X and OMG baby is crying all night what did I do wrong I am the worst parent ever, and you'll try Y and oh gosh even worse. But you're not doing badly. You didn't make a mistake, you're making progress, trial and error, finding out what works and what doesn't. No-one can tell you beforehand, you can only try it out. As long as you listen and learn from your baby, you are a great parent. Trust what you're doing.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:17 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sometimes the baby just wants to be put down and relax. If s/he is crying and you've run through all the other possibilities, give it a try.
posted by goggie at 2:21 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're going to lose your temper with each other. That's better than losing it with the baby, so never try to end or avoid a fight by going to check on the kid. If you're having one and the baby clearly needs to be taken care of, both of you should go and take care of it. However, you don't do this while continuing the fight, you just go to the same place and take care of the kid's immediate issue. It's not easy, but you'll get better at it, and once you've spent a few minutes in the same room as the two people you care about most, you'll find that you can barely recall what had you so annoyed a few minutes before.
posted by Etrigan at 2:29 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

If YoungFilmGeek is a boy: hold a diaper over him when you're changing the little rascal --- both boys & girls often pee more when the old diaper is off and the colder air hits, but the boys will get it in your face.....

And congrats in advance!
posted by easily confused at 2:56 PM on November 20, 2011

We put all the changing stuff in a basket, and changed the baby on the bed, the couch, the floor, wherever. So we could all curl up on the couch and watch a movie together without interruption.

Changing stuff = wipes, dipes, pins, any cream needed, and a changing mat. The changing mat was flannel on the outside, rubber on the inside, machine washable, and folded easily. We had 1 in the diaper bag, as well.

You will get a lot of advice. Try to listen cheerfully, some of it will be useful, but assess it for yourself. Enjoy your baby. They change and grow so fast, it's amazing.
posted by theora55 at 3:19 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look on advice with a skeptical eye. When someone says you absolutely *must* do something in a certain way, automatically add a few grains of salt.

For example, some people will tell you that you need to give the baby a bath every single day. These people are crazy.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:22 PM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]

Get a carrier. Or two. I keep one in the house and one in the car. Fussy baby while grocery shopping? Pop them in, problem solved. If you get something like the Ergo or the Freehand, you can also use it to corral (and often calm down) them when they are wandering toddlers (and much heavier than a sling can handle comfortably).
posted by dirtmonster at 3:26 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Buy a freezer teething ring now, throw it in the freezer & forget about it until needed. This way teeth-screaming can't catch you flat-footed. Also, I swear by fozen broccli as a chew toy for when teething comes: cold, nutritious, usually breaks off in tiny, tiny bits. And your child will love broccoli for life.
posted by Ys at 3:27 PM on November 20, 2011 [10 favorites]

My tip is that most parents, new or not, don't know what the hell they're doing anyway. Don't feel badly. As soon as you think you're prepared or know what to expect, the child will remind you otherwise.
posted by sunshinesky at 3:51 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you like to eat out, a good habit to get into is requesting the check immediately so you can pay and then make a run for it if bad stuff starts to go down. Probably more important for about 6ish months on, but good to remember.
posted by gaspode at 4:19 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

Baby sleep gowns are so much easier for middle of the night diaper changes.

Sleep now like you will never sleep again, and eat in restaurants now as much as possible while it's more convenient.

Oil helps get the blackish meconium poops off more easily.

Keep a few cloth diapers handy in every room for cleaning up/throwing under sudden upchucks and blow outs. Layer them like a lasagna on changing surfaces for when they go during the changes.

Put a dab of nail polish on the middle snap of the onesies and sleepers for faster, not mismatched
posted by peagood at 4:22 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]

When you take a sleeping baby out of the crib, set a heating pad on "low" in the crib so that when you go to put him/her back in, you can take the heating pad out and you have a warm spot to put the baby on. Because sometimes the feel of cold sheets after a set of nice cozy arms will wake the baby up. Usually this happens when you most need the baby to sleep.

Keep the heating pad near the crib so you don't have to fish around for it in a moment of need. And obviously, test it beforehand to make sure that the spot in the crib doesn't get too hot.
posted by corey flood at 4:41 PM on November 20, 2011 [12 favorites]

When you take a sleeping baby out of the crib, set a heating pad on "low" in the crib so that when you go to put him/her back in, you can take the heating pad out and you have a warm spot to put the baby on.

This is simple, but it's genius.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:57 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Spread a little oil on the babe's bum to help get the tar like meconium off easily. Imse Vimse cloth wipes are fantastic - I bought a ton and use them mostly for face and hand wipes (my oldest is 3 and we still use them!). A Sleepy Wrap will make grocery shopping, laundry and other chores possible. The nice thing is that if you're wearing baby while out in public, the baby is in your personal space - little old lady types have NO PROBLEM touching your babe's face and hands if it's in a stroller but will hesitate if the babe is ON you.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:17 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh yes, two more things:
1) Learn how to swaddle properly. It's amazing how few people (midwives included!) have ineffectual swaddling techniques - we had a right escape-artist, and we really had to get that shit TIGHT. The b est technique for us was straight out of..

2) the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD - I never did get around to reading the book, but the DVD really helped me to cope better. Gave me a concrete plan of attack to help get our wee red screamer to STFU. This has ensured that she's survived to see her second birthday next week (something which was touch-and-go at points pre-HBotB).
posted by coriolisdave at 5:35 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Buy the sleepers with the zippers. Whether it's because you're trying to manage a diaper change without waking baby up or dealing with a squirmer that hates being on the diaper table, or just because half the time you miss one when you're doing them up and have to start over - the snaps suck. They sell them at Walmart - I think $12 for a 3 pack.
posted by kitcat at 5:45 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh, and another one that saved us a few times. When you make up the bedding on the crib layer mattress pad, waterproof sheet/pad, sheet, another waterproof pad and another sheet. If the baby wets, vomits, poops, or combinations of the above, you can simply pull off the top sheet and waterproof pad and put them back to sleep instead of having to wrestle with making up a bed in the middle of the night.
posted by goggie at 5:54 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]

On sleeping "sacks" (as we called them) - some of them have a hole at about the crotch, on both sides. This is for the babyseat crotchstrap to pass through.

You want that hole.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:55 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Breastfeeding can be tricky at first for both mom and baby. Get the number of a lactation consultant/health nurse/ postpartum doula and put it on your fridge now. Read up on Kellymom before having the baby.

For newborns, pick up a swaddle blanket with velcro. So much easier than swaddling with receiving blankets. When baby is a bit bigger, a sleep gown under a sleep sack is awesome. That way baby's toes are covered, they can't kick it off like a blanket, and nighttime diaper changes are super easy. Also, pick up a day/night video monitor. Then you can actually relax while the baby sleeps, instead of obsessing over whether or not you should check the baby.
posted by rabbitfufu at 6:00 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have the means, I really recommend having a night nurse, at least for a few nights a week. She saved our sanity and now she's our go-to babysitter for date night. It is a lot of money? Sure, but what it saves in your sleep is priceless. We found ours through a post-partum doula service.
posted by Leezie at 6:15 PM on November 20, 2011

If you have a boy, point his penis DOWN before you close up the diaper.
posted by chiababe at 6:57 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I broadly object to the word "hack" being applied to every shiny new tool, rule of thumb or minor tweak under the sun. That's why I stopped reading BoingBoing in 2008; Cory Doctorow’s post called "HOWTO make a portable sandbox out of a wheeled under-bed storage tub", referencing a site called "parenthacks".

If you're curious (or just really, really thick) the how part is indeed "obtain a wheeled under-bed storage tub and fill it with sand". Pouring sand into a plastic bin is now clever enough to be called a hack, apparently.

I hold Doctorow and his crowd personally responsible for dumbing that term all the way down to six feet below ground level. A great hack used to mean you really, really understood something, to a degree that let you accomplish something remarkable. Now it means "suggestion I hadn't though of".

Which is all to say, screw those guys. Seriously.

We've done the following things, that have proven very useful:

Those plastic sheets you put on kids' mattresses, to keep the pee off them? Put one on your own; the kid will be in there with you at some point, and the dreaded Type 2 Containment Failure is a risk we all face.

Dimmer switches in the kids' room and yours, so you can get things done without waking anyone up. Oil all the hinges on all the doors. If you have the means, replace your toilet seat with one of the slow-settling kind that won't clank down.

Start potty training your child as soon as they're strong enough to hold their neck up. I can't tell you how much better this will make your life. The google terms you want there are "natural infant hygiene", and I am a convert. Before we had our kid, I would have told you for sure that this was 100% hippie bullshit but we gave it a shot anyway at my wife's behest. And as it turns out I would have been 100% wrong. One dirty diaper per month by the end of the first year? Yes please.

If you have a car and can spare the space, put a change of clothes for yourself & your wife in a bag in the trunk. Leave them there; if you don't need them good work, but if you do and odds are good you will, there they are.

Coriolisdave notes the Happiest Baby On The Block DVD, and says he skipped the book, but what he doesn't say is that the DVD is the right way go, because there's only about 20 minutes of real information there. You want that information, but skip the book. The DVD is all you need.

In truth, there are no meaningful "hacks", no clever workarounds. None. The most important thing I know about parenting is that you're playing the long game, and you need to keep the future adult you're raising in mind when you're making decisions about discipline, goals, rules and rewards. Consistency is the key.
posted by mhoye at 7:08 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]

A bit down the road, but when your baby starts crawling, teach them how to do steps as soon as possible - on their tummy, feet first (backwards). If you have a single step up anywhere, this is an ideal setup, since they can't fall. As soon as they show interest in the step, just keep turning them so that's how they maneuver down. It's hysterical to watch a baby see steps and turn and crawl backwards for a couple yards just to get ready, but it's really good to know that if you're someplace without a baby gate, there's one less thing to worry about. And it's a good transition to learning how to get down ladders when they get to the playground a few months later.
posted by Mchelly at 7:13 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

1.) Make the crib in layers. Mattress, waterproof pad, fitted sheet, waterproof pad, fitted sheet. That way when baby has a diaper blow-out or puke-fest in the middle of the night all you have to do is wad up the sheet and waterproof pad and you've got a clean bed ready to go.

When you've got a baby who you've finally gotten back to sleep you'll be able to strip the bed one handed without worrying about putting the baby down and risking him waking up when you pick him back up.

I never used the changing table. I always used the couch, the floor, or my bed. Waterproof pads are amazing for turning any surface into a changing table. So if you have the choice I wouldn't buy a changing table.

2.) Have a small diaper bag always ready. We called it our "Quick Change" bag. It always had a change of clothes (usually a blanket sleeper), diapers and wipies, spare pacifier, bottle and formula, and a toy. That bag lived either in the car or right by the door. Then if I ever needed to just dash out of the house (like the time one of the older kids jumped off the couch and broke his fall using his face and the coffee table...) I didn't have to stop and hunt down everything needed for a diaper bag. The Quick Change bag saved me so much sanity.

3.) The only really good piece of advice I got that I pass on is this: "Don't let the baby nap in a quiet room." I never put my babies in their cribs for naps. They always slept in whatever room I was in. I'd put them in a bassinet, their car carrier, or the swing. Sometimes they'd nap on a blanket in the middle of the Living Room floor. I'd just keep doing what I needed to get done. Washing dishes, running the vacuum, watching TV.

My aunt kept the house absolutely quiet with my oldest cousin and she grew up to be an incredibly light sleeper. My next born cousin was treated exactly the opposite and now he could sleep through a tornado.

I took her advice with all my kids and they are really heavy sleepers. My three year old can wake up screaming and pitching a fit in the middle of the night and my eight year old who sleeps right next to him won't even stir. My oldest can sleep through just as much. We've lived in some pretty noisy places and having kids who can literally sleep through a freight train makes my life so much easier.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:41 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

A crying baby, one that just won't be comforted, is a drag on the parents' morale. It is tough on the one who is trying to sleep, and the one who is carrying the shrill alarm around. Ear plugs help to ease the sound. Buy them by the dozen, as they will fall out in bed and get lost in the corners.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 8:08 PM on November 20, 2011

The sleep bible: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. And seconding The Happiest Baby on the Block.
posted by yawper at 8:09 PM on November 20, 2011

Another great sleep book, one which helped us solve our first daughter's sleep issues: Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: Revised Edition by Richard Ferber, M.D.
posted by blob at 8:24 PM on November 20, 2011

Oh yes, I forgot about the warming the bed thing! I used a hot water bottle rather than a heating pad, it works a treat.
posted by Joh at 9:08 PM on November 20, 2011

New parents of 5 weeks here, so our memories are fresh if sleep-addled.

0) Make sure your wife has a written statement for the delivery hospital stating who gets to be in the room during delivery. Once stated, the nurses will do a good job as bouncers to keep pushy relatives out during a stressful time. You're going to be busy enough with the delivery without giving status updates to relatives. Also, pack lots of snacks and drinks for the hospital. Yes, the nurses will get drinks, but it's a lot easier just to have stuff rather than wait 5 minutes for the next nurse to come by. Definitely do a tour of the birthing center and note where you will be sleeping during the whole affair. If the beds look like back manglers bring bedrolls, some cushions or even a sleeping bag.

1) If you have pushy relatives, remember the magic phrase "THE DOCTOR SAID". Do not attempt explaining anything (e.g. how the immune system works). Just say "THE DOCTOR SAID TO WASH YOUR HANDS". It worked like a charm when my MIL charged in with all kinds of chemical perfumed 1970s bullshit for use on the baby.

2) Happiest Baby on the Block DVD is good, but see if you can borrow one. It's really not that much information, the main info is how to swaddle tightly. Also, YMMV, but all the fancy ass velcro swaddles didn't do anything for our little Houdini. The hospital-provided square cotton swaddling cloths turned out to be our favorites as they are exactly the right size to produce perfect straightjackets for the little monkey.

3) Don't buy many clothes since the baby will outgrow anything that fits within a few weeks. We polled people we know who gave birth 6+ mo ahead and they gladly gave us all the newborn clothes we needed. There are numerous parent associations which have swap nights for exactly this reason. The used clothes are usually nice and soft. Tiny burp cloths are BS as noted above, you will probably want something large like old towels/tshirts as a shoulder shield in case of a milk geyser.

4) Rent a good commercial-grade breastmilk pump from the hospital for the first three weeks if breastfeeding. Ask a lactation nurse for where to get one. This will help your wife maintain breastmilk production if anything goes wrong (chomped nipple, latching difficulty, etc.). It will also allow you to supplement with a bottle to give your wife a break, and lets you figure out what kind to buy later, if any.

5) Imagine your testicles have swollen up to the size of a catcher's mitt due to repeated beating with a cricket bat. Now try to get around the house, change clothes, go to the bathroom, and do chores. Your wife will not be a happy camper for at least the first week. Make sure paths are clear and things are conveniently placed in the bathroom for somebody infirm with a really sore bottom. Frozen water-soaked diapers in a U-shape were used at our hospital as vaginal icepacks, so ask a nurse how to make them if they don't explain it. You wife will probably use them for a week or more.
posted by benzenedream at 1:00 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]

I have this app on my phone; it has a white noise setting. It's like a magic baby off switch.
posted by tallus at 2:04 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not every moment has to be a teaching moment. Kids are going to do the "wrong" things a lot. You don't have to correct them or teach them the "right" way every time.
posted by Fairchild at 3:54 AM on November 21, 2011

You know how they say to sleep when the baby does? They are not kidding. At first, every nap. Later, maybe just one good one and use the others to clean up/shower/breathe and remember you're a human being. I would take the first nap with my baby, and it made such a difference. I never felt comfortable having him sleep with both me and my husband, but had no hesitation laying him down next to me when we napped. He slept longer and so did I.

A bouncy seat was a lifesaver, too, especially when he got a cold and needed to be sitting up. Don't sweat the swaddling if it doesn't work; my first two cousins (twins) loved it, the next two couldn't stand it. I bought a pack of hideously ugly orange washcloths (so they were easily identifiable and not used for anything else) and used those instead of babywipes and was so much happier with them.

Good luck!
posted by lemniskate at 4:30 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

This may sound imprecise, but for me it was a gem that I held onto for the first year of babyphone's life: whatever is happening now, at this "stage," is likely to change soon. This was helpful for me because I tended so see whatever small series of events as "she's not napping? this is going to be this way FOREVER!!" or: "well, I guess she doesn't like vegetables since she liked steamed apples but didn't eat strained peas this week." "She woke up at 2am the last 2 nights = she's not sleeping through the night anymore!" In most cases, whatever quirk it was resolved in a few days. Staying calm and staying the course helps rather than trying a bunch of techniques for sleeping, eating, etc.

Along the same lines, and conversely, we found that beyond her core selfhood, babyphone moved from stage to stage every month or so. This had both an upside and a downside - on the one hand, she went from hating the car seat to loving it, but also went from a perfect nap routine to needing it all rearranged again. So, you need endure difficult phases for just a little bit, but things change as soon as you have things mastered. Interestingly, babyphone is 5 now, and it's still kind of true - the phases are just longer.
posted by dreamphone at 4:39 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing Happiest Baby. We got the book and it SUCKS. It's written like an infomercial. The Movie is 10000x better. You can find it online streaming free if you look for it. The movie is also helpful because you can watch the techniques instead of trying to follow them from print.

Little Melee just turned 11 months old last week, and I can gratefully say that he has been the easiest baby anybody has ever heard of. No colic, slept through the night from 5 weeks old (still does!), eats like a champ (32oz/day at 6 weeks!), etc. I attribute it entirely to luck and the extreme laid-back nature of his parents. I also got to bring him to the office with me for the first 10 months, so that's been great too---but just be chill.

Car seats...are...a nightmare. Especially when they're teensy and seem too small for it every third day. One thing that REALLY helped us was that I figured out that our car seat, and a lot of them---graco's included (ours is Baby Trend, but w/e) are hard to put the baby in, put the straps around their shoulders after they're in it, and get them snapped. I figured out that the bottom buckles, the pieces that snap into the lap belt, will smoosh INTO the gap where the handle swings up and down. Hard to imagine what I'm saying, let me try another way:

The handle of the actual seat itself moves forward to "Straight up" and back to "support the seat". If you move it back, probably "all the way" is easiest because it keeps the chair from rocking, you can shove the lower buckles (or the upper, but there's hardly room) into the gap left by the handle pivot on their respective sides. Do this, then you can put in baby and not have to dig the straps out from behind their back, which they don't like. Little Melee is a squirmer, this practice was borne of necessity. IDK if it will work for you, but we've showed it to many people.

Have fun!
posted by TomMelee at 6:49 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, sleep when your baby sleeps! I cannot emphasize this enough. I had four kids in four years and sleep is a precious, precious commodity you cannot hoard (My youngest is 22 and I'm still tired ^_^). Steal it every chance you get and let all of those pesky "chores" wait until you are awake enough to take care of them properly.
posted by patheral at 8:01 AM on November 21, 2011

Get a projection clock. It projects the time on the ceiling. Much easier to open your eyes look at the ceiling than fumble for the clock on the nightstand... Especially useful in the first few weeks when feeding frequently.

i think i saw it in one of the previous baby askmes :)
posted by aeighty at 9:44 AM on November 21, 2011

Echoing don't get a lot of clothes under six months in size. Sometimes they grow freakishly fast.

But. Stock up on clothes for yourselves. I'm serious. Socks, shirts, underwear. There are going to be a bunch of crazy new priorities to figure out, the last thing you need is frantic laundry doing because a grown-up ran out of clean socks. Also, some babies are masters at spitting up everywhere *but* the burp cloth, so primary caregiver may be running through shirts faster than you might imagine.

To accommodate all of this, go get three identical nesting laundry baskets if you don't already have them. Life is going to be all about laundry for the next little while, multiple baskets make sorting easier, and if they all are the same they will stack inside each other and not take up extra space when you are not using them.

Finally, rechargeable batteries. If your baby loves the swing/bouncy seat/whatever, get rechargeable batteries and a charger, plus a set to have in the charger so that you can just swap out as needed. With my first, I got so that I could change the batteries in the swing before the swing came to a stop. Three years later we are still using those batteries in other toys, so it will pay for itself over time, no question.
posted by ambrosia at 9:45 AM on November 21, 2011

Re nightmare carseats: Go to the highway patrol/AAA or whatever entity in your state does assisted carseat installs (book early, the wait can be a month). Supposedly 4/5 of carseats aren't installed correctly, and after helping a CHP officer do it properly, I wouldn't have done it right either -- it needed two strong guys and the use of one person's entire bodyweight to get the seat base snug enough.
posted by benzenedream at 9:52 AM on November 21, 2011

I modified all of our battery stuff (swings and bouncers) to use recycled wall-warts from cell phone chargers so we didn't need batteries. May be worth looking into.
posted by TomMelee at 9:58 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Something my sister-in-law told me to do that has turned out to be a great tip -- always put your car keys on top of the car when loading the baby. ALWAYS. It'll keep you from locking yourself out, for one. But the really important thing is it'll keep you from losing your keys every time. You go to put baby in the car and you throw your keys in your purse... or the diaper bag... or on the car seat... or in a coat pocket... where are the keys!? It will drive you mad. No. Always on top of the car. You'll be amused at the crazy shit you do after months of interrupted sleep. Don't let losing your keys every time you put baby in car be one of them.
posted by amanda at 10:05 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

One thing we have done that has been amazing is to create a "Yes Environment." I picked it up from another parent friend and it's been great for our sanity. Once the kid is mobile, make at least one room of the house safe for him to doodle around without close supervision. He gets to safely explore and you can relax a bit. We gated off our living room, moved everything he shouldn't get into out of the room or out of reach. He gets to wander and I get to enjoy him instead of spending all day saying no and redirecting. I'm at the grandparents for the holiday where it is not 100% safe, and this visit has crystallized how important this is to having chill parents and a chill baby.
posted by chiababe at 7:11 AM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

I'm too lazy to read through all the answers. So I might be repeating some here.
- Here's a question I asked sometime back
- Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save
- Destine is good for Diaper rash
posted by WizKid at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2011

« Older Please help me understand bipolar mania.   |   Recommendation for a book on jealousy in romantic... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.