Babycare secrets that you didn't even know to ask about.
May 27, 2014 7:15 AM   Subscribe

We have a very new baby (as of two weeks ago) as an inveterate optimiser (read, lazy person) I am looking for all the little tips and tricks you have picked up for managing tiny babies.

We are currently doing a mix between breastfeeding and formula so useful hacks might include:

- Increasing breastmilk supply
- Reducing female aches and pains
- How to effectively make and cool down formula (or how to have it ready for when it might be needed)
- How to make a baby go to sleep when you want to
- How not to spend millions of pounds on ridiculous baby things.
- Any other brilliant discoveries you have made about how best to live with a roommate that is between 0 and 12 months.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Human Relations (52 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle, with those velcro swaddles.

Also, swaddle.
posted by JohnLewis at 7:17 AM on May 27, 2014 [8 favorites]

The big gun is one of those motor driven swings. That thing is like a light sent from God to light up the most beautiful place in all the world just for you to see and share with your loved ones, and not just any God, a benevolent God who wants you to be happy and hedonistic and who has no truck with war, famine, pestilence, or greed.
posted by JohnLewis at 7:18 AM on May 27, 2014 [21 favorites]

Baby sling for housework, cosleeping arrangement for sleep.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:21 AM on May 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Cosleeping is a miracle-worker. I'd also suggest to pay attention to what the nursing mother eats as it can greatly affect spit-up rates.
posted by michaelh at 7:26 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

cosleeping and babywearing made my life possible, both times. also: dad should insist on taking over sometimes. don't wait to be asked. (this is not a universal rule, but if there's any chance that mom is like I was, she won't ask, will instead insist that she's fine, will overdo it and then will crash and burn).
posted by lizifer at 7:27 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Not to be all activist but the best way to increase breastmilk production is not to use formula. Is mom pumping in addition to nursing? There needs to be a demand for milk for the body to make it. (No judgement on formula; my daughter got a mix as well. But since you asked...) Babies do not need warm formula - you can give it room temp or straight out of the fridge. Some babies have preferences, but yours may not care.

And YES to the baby swing. Best thing we bought, easily. Also, a comfy lay-back pram or stroller rolled over a bump on the floor (where carpet meets tile for example, or even just a pencil) will conk baby out.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:27 AM on May 27, 2014 [10 favorites]

The more you breast feed, the more your supply builds up so try and nurse as much as you can. And yes to the swaddle!! Congrats!!
posted by pearlybob at 7:29 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

- Increasing breastmilk supply

Put mom in bed, with safe spot for baby within arms reach (ie: cosleeper and/or bassinet). Bring mom all the drinks and snacks she wants. She rests and reads and relaxes and plays on the ipad and naps and lets baby nurse just as much as s/he wants ('on demand'), even if baby is doing that nurse for two minutes, nap for two minutes thing that is crazy making. Dad/Grandma/Good friend does everything else in the house -- EVERYTHING. Mom only gets up to go to the bathroom, and maybe sit out on the porch if it's nice. Bonus points if mom and baby can have lots of skin to skin time (ie: mom wears no top or open front top and snuggles baby). Do this for 48 - 72 hours and for many women her milk supply will greatly increase.

- Reducing female aches and pains

See above, plus time.

- How to effectively make and cool down formula (or how to have it ready for when it might be needed)

You can absolutely keep a large jug of formula in the fridge, so long as it's only kept about 12-14 hours. Lots of sources say not to microwave (because of hot spots) but just about everyone I know actually does microwave and then shakes it to mix. We also mixed formula with just room temp water (my son was born in July and prefered cool drinks) which took a little longer to dissolve but wasn't a big deal.

- How to make a baby go to sleep when you want to

At two weeks, there is no way to do this. Around 4-5 months, sleep will start to regulate, but until then your best bet is lots of rocking and body to body contact and learn to live with sleep deprivation.

- How not to spend millions of pounds on ridiculous baby things.

Just don't do it. Babies need clean pants (ie: some kind of diaper), some clothing, a safe place to sleep, and ... bottles, I guess, and formula. Everything else is optional. Period. Full stop.

- Any other brilliant discoveries you have made about how best to live with a roommate that is between 0 and 12 months.

- Take a photo of your baby every single day. (Video is even better.) You'll be amazed at the change in just one year.
- Accept (and, indeed, solicit) help from friends and family.
- Ask Dr. Sears
- Ask Moxie (particularly the parts about tension increasers vs. tension reducers).
- What works for my family might not work for yours. There is no single "right and best" way to raise a baby. Anything that keeps baby loved, healthy, and happy and works for your family is fine.
posted by anastasiav at 7:32 AM on May 27, 2014 [12 favorites]

Get stuff to distract baby while you catch 20 minutes of sleep: Swing, vibro-chair*, Baby Einstein or Tele-tubbies type videos**.

If you're having trouble breastfeeding, don't sweat it. Nothing wrong with formula. There's a whole shitload of people, and various organizations, who will convince you that you are a Bad Mother if you aren't a goddamn Hood Dairy with your boobs. Fuck 'em all. Breastfeed if you can, but use formula if you need to and your baby will not grow up to be an ax murderer. I promise. Ask me how I know.

Lots of people give away baby stuff. Check Craigslist and Freecycle.

If baby is sleeping, don't wake him/her. It's not going to starve to death.

For, like, the first year your baby is basically a yogurt factory. Never hold him/her without a cloth nearby, preferably across your shoulder. Expect everything you own to smell like sour milk.

Diapers ain't no big deal. You'll be doing that shit one handed in no time. I actually came to enjoy changing diapers because it was something practical I could do that made an actual difference. I didn't much enjoy cleaning poop off the walls, the walls that I sheetrocked and painted myself, but I forgave him eventually.

Everyone in the entire universe will offer you advice. Everything will contradict everything else. People with kids, people without kids, kids, strangers on the Internet, everyone knows how you could be doing things better. Ignore it all and do what feels right. You got this.

*We would put the vibro-chair in the middle of the dining room table while we ate dinner together.

**No, they won't make your kid smarter or better at music but it is very distracting eye candy for them and they will stare at that shit while you sleep and it's the greatest thing ever because you get a few minutes of rest.

posted by bondcliff at 7:34 AM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Baby swings are a goddamn miracle.

You can never have too many burp cloths.

Above all, remember- your baby will stop crying.

Co-sleeping is a highly controversial topic- not dangerous controversial, but there are plenty of tradeoffs to consider. I encourage you to do some research and decide whether it's a good choice for you (we chose not to). Every family dynamic is different.

How to make a baby go to sleep when you want to

LOL. Oh, you have so much to learn.
posted by mkultra at 7:36 AM on May 27, 2014


Oh, that's hogwash. Totally depends on the carrier/sling and size of the baby- for example, you can start with a K-Tan when baby is 8 lbs. Pay close attention to the safety instructions on the carrier (make sure baby is upright, etc) and you'll be fine. More from Consumer Reports on baby carriers and safety.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2014 [8 favorites]

If you have formula, you don't need to sterilize all the things after about three months, just wash with hot water and a bottle brush and air dry. A bottle warmer gadget is worth it if you have a baby that loathes cold milk.

Look into baby led weaning so you can entirely skip puréed food. Much easier for parents and the baby will eat more adventurously.

Netmums, the UK site, is much saner and friendlier than the US sites. The NHS baby medical advice is also straightforward and easy to understand at 3am. kellymom is the best source for breast feeding advice.

No one knows how to make babies sleep. You will have to try multiple methods to find what works for you and your baby, and probably adjust again later.

You do not need to entertain your baby or educate her all the time. Provide her with a rich environment and interaction and time to be mellow and frustrated too, and she will be better because you will be less stressed and she won't be overloaded.

iPads are very helpful in some circumstances like long car rides and doctor visits and restaurants. Maybe your kid will be well behaved all the time, maybe you will need that twenty minutes of drooling elmo peace and quiet. Relax and give her twenty minutes of one on one talk and play to make up.

Decide which children's cartoons you can live with. I have taught my toddler that Barney eats children because he drives me crazy. You will live with your choices and their plastic offspring for the next five years. Thomas the tank engine is particularly difficult.

Accept and ask for help. Don't try to be perfect parents, just good ones.

Sleep as much as you can. Screw home cooked meals, sleep. Sleep sleep sleep.

Babies do not care how much what they wear or play with, and hand me downs and garage sale items are brilliant value. It will look destroyed in a week anyway with most babies.

Get a really great stroller or sling. That's worth spending money on. A one handed stroller with good movement and storage makes life so much better. You have to try multiple slings to figure out which style works, but they are great too.

Babies don't need shoes.

Brag endlessly about your baby to grandparents and godparents only. Keep the rest limited.

If your kid has serious issues, ask. People are generally very kind and parents of special needs kids are generous with support to each other. You are not alone, even though it will feel like it at first.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:44 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

I have read too many stories of well-meaning mothers who wore their babies incorrectly or too early or with the wrong product (there are warning signs all over the product) and they end up asphyxiating their little one.

Don't get me wrong, I am all over baby wearing but you've got to be careful.

Mayo Clinic

Web MD:

March 12, 2010 - After a spate of infant suffocation deaths, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents to think twice before putting infants under 4 months of age into baby slings.

The CPSC is conducting a full investigation of the once-again-trendy baby carriers. There's been no recall, but CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum said earlier this week that a warning was coming.

Now it's here. The warning comes on the heels of three infant deaths in 2009 and at least 14 deaths over the past two decades. Twelve of the infants were less than 4 months old.

Babies under 4 months of age have weak neck muscles and can't control their heads. If the sling fabric blocks the child's nose and mouth, it can suffocate the child in just one or two minutes.

posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:50 AM on May 27, 2014

To increase breast milk supply nurse on demand and nurse during the night. Listening to the baby cry will also encourage lactation but is stressful enough for both mother and baby that you probably want to avoid it. If you can, get the baby off the bottle as soon as possible. The baby may prefer formula because nursing bottles involve less work but this is not ideal for the kid.

Slather on petroleum jelly (vaseline) after every change. Use it as a preventative of diaper rash.

Co-sleep if you can so you don't have to wake up more than you need to at night. An ideal arrangement is where both the mum and baby can fall asleep during nursing. This won't cause nursing bottle syndrome (rotten front teeth) because the milk will only come out as long as the baby is awake enough to strip. (Babies don't suck milk out of the mother's breast although they do suck in order to hang onto it. They use a rhythmic tongue montion called stripping.)

If you can't co-sleep a bassinet or bureau drawer placed on the floor right beside the nursing mother's bed is a big help.

To quiet a restless or fretful baby pick it up and walk briskly with a slighty bouncy step. It also works to push it in a stroller but you can pace for miles with a baby that needs comforting. Drives in the car also work. Lots of babies go flat out asleep in the car.

Babies that are nursed usually don't need to be burped. It's the bottles that make them swallow air and cause the tummy ache.

Sleep when the baby sleeps is classic advice.

If you want the baby to sleep white noise will often sandbag it. The vacuum cleaner works. You can plug it in and turn it on without using it to actually vacuum.

Get a laundry routine going.

Breast fed babies produce nasty liquid copious cheesy diapers. If you can't cope with the smell and slime, most formula fed babies produce much less gag-inducing diapers. This is secretly the reason why many parents switch to formula from breast milk.

Remember to take pictures. You may be overwhelmed and forget to do it, especially with second, third or later kids so get into a picture taking routine.

Find allo-parents if you can. Allo-parents are very good for you and very good for the baby.

Treat your partner with as much tender protective affection as the baby. They need your support. Aim for a 60-40 split of the baby care responsibilities; if you both do that it will work out as reasonably fair.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:50 AM on May 27, 2014

Baby swings are a miracle. They sell them with wall plugs but you've got to search for them. Otherwise they eat dollar-a-battery D-cells constantly.

My wife swore by fenugreek tea for milk supply (Herbal Medicinals Mothers Milk tea).

Get as much used and hand me down stuff as you can. Find friends with kids and ask if they've got old baby stuff laying around. Go to thrift stores and garage sales. Find a local moms Facebook selling group.

We have a rule when shopping: we'll buy any cool clothes item for the kids if it's a dollar or less, no matter what size. They'll fit it eventually.

They WILL eventually stop crying.
posted by sleeping bear at 7:54 AM on May 27, 2014



Nthing swaddling! My 6 week old is about 2 feet away, napping, happily swaddled in a sleep sack (sort of a vest/robe thingy with velcro flaps that go around the baby's arms). Also white noise (we have a "Sleep Sheep") helps her get to sleep. We also offer a pacifier. Not everyone is a fan of them but they have saved our sanity.

We have a "Rock and Play" for her to sleep in. That way she can sleep next to the bed at night and we can move her around during the day to whatever room we're in.

The book "Happiest Baby on the Block" is worth a quick read on how to calm baby.


I have read that taking fenugreek supplements and eating oatmeal can increase breastmilk supply, though haven't tried these. I drink a lot of water, and pump and nurse on a regular schedule (like every two-three hours) to keep my supply up. I have also given a supplemental bottle of formula when baby was all, "OMG MOM SO HANGRY I NEED MORE TO EAT NOW."


Have any friends who will lend stuff out to you? I am currently trying out various slings and carriers lent out by friends and family. Also, there is a ton of used baby gear floating around out there.
posted by medeine at 7:59 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

looks like you're in a part of the world where osteopathy is available. i'm an osteopath and see tons of new babies and moms. things we can help with are: weird digestive things, milk production, back and hip pains, weird sleeping schedules, etc. this can save you lots of need for hacks. just make sure you see an osteopath who has postgraduate training in pediatrics and obstetrics.
posted by andreapandrea at 8:07 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

The DVD of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" was priceless for calming baby, swaddling, and feeling like I knew what I was doing when I picked him up or put him down - there's also a book, but we never had time to read it - the DVD took maybe 20 minutes to watch.
posted by Mchelly at 8:09 AM on May 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

This powdered formula dispenser.

Mix premeasured formula with pre-measured room-temperature water, and voila.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agreed about the "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2014

One thing I felt was not sufficiently widely advertised is that it is all over in a flash. Somewhat tragically.

Old folk on the street will occasionally pause to tell you this. Vital information! Somehow the endless parade of infant care manuals are all about the sort of tips-n-tricks you are looking for here and skip that bit of wisdom. The tips and tricks scarcely matter! It all ends before you know it.

I would prioritise seemingly boring, non-"optimised" stuff like enjoying being your baby's mattress. There were so many afternoons when I went for a walk with my daughter in a sling, had her fall asleep on, and came home and contemplated: ease sling off, work? or sit and read and let her sleep on me? Often it was the latter and I am so grateful for the days that it was the latter.

Babies thrive on love -- and so do their caregivers; the more you bond with the tot the easier it is to parent -- and the early days are brutally quick and there's no going back if you miss some. So my baby care secret is to just relish it and let as much else as possible fall by the wayside. The rest will still be there later on, but your baby will definitely cut out the being-a-baby racket.

However, bathing hack: skip the "baby bath" idea. A friend with twins pointed out "it is easier to just pass the little buggers in and out of the shower." Yes. Your baby may vary in how much warm water appeals, but it was infinitely easier for me, and always calming for her, to "co-bathe."

(I doubt you need an osteopath)
posted by kmennie at 8:13 AM on May 27, 2014 [12 favorites]

For the first several weeks to maximize your milk supply you need to empty your breasts of milk as frequently as possible, that's all there is to it. Emptying the breasts at night is also important for maintaining supply in the early months because it releases prolactin I think. Once your supply is established (around 7 weeks), breastfeeding is so much easier, but until then you're working uphill to grow baby's stomach and your supply.

I could pump more when I drank LOTS of water and ate oatmeal, it's a galactologue. Mm oatmeal cookies!

When your baby hits the witching hours (when they get grumpy/gassy for several hours in the late afternoon and through the evening from about 4 weeks until about 3 months), don't take it too personally, it's a phase almost all babies go through and there's no much you can do but survive it, so take care of yourself and ask for help. My son wouldn't cry but he needed to be held and walked/rocked for hours, it was really tiring, and I wish I'd put him in a stroller and gone for a walk instead of staying inside pacing the floors. I also had my partner handle him for a part of that time so I could have a shower and some much needed alone time. That is a good time to pump and have your partner handle feedings.

Formula feeding at night for us was easiest by getting a big insulated thermos, filling it with fairly warm water before bed, and having bottles prepped with the right number of scoops, then you can just pour water into the bottle and shake it without getting up and worrying about getting the right temperature, we kept it all in the bedroom beside baby so that we didn't have to get up. Cosleeping and BF'ing is still loads easier than that though imo.

Aches and pains will go away bit by bit, my feet swelled a lot when I was 9 months pregnant and it was months before I could stand up from getting out of bed without pain, but I am pain free now, your joints will stay extra bendy for several more months unfortunately, so go easy with exercise. Wrapping your belly up gently can help your uterus and muscles go back to normal, the MuTu system is the best I found for getting the abs and uterus/pelvis back to a healthy state, definitely worth the money and worth educating yourself about so you can strengthen your core and avoid further aches and pains.

No advice from me on the sleep front, except to say, all babies eventually do sleep, whether you sleep train or not. It took my son a long time though and I have mom friends who swear by sleep training at 3-3.5 months. On the other hand we have almost no sleep issues now (my son is 3). He still takes a big nap and sleeps through the night, he was a terrible napper and night sleeper for the first two years and it was really hard.

Advice to save money: don't fall into the trap that any product is going to fix a problem that is developmental. That is to say, no one product will make your baby sleep, or make your life immeasurably easier. The early weeks/months/years are challenging but gadgets rarely fix anything. Exceptions for me were a good stroller, a swing, a good baby carrier (I like the beco gemini, and it is safe for wee babies), a good pump, and nursing shirts that I liked wearing. In the early years babies thrive from being talked to and from being able to experience life close to their caregivers. Make your house safe so they can explore while you do your work. My son's favorite toys are not often pieces of plastic, he falls in love with various things around the house and then moves on to something else. I regret how many toys we bought that he has played with for an hour or less. Get those things used, and switch them out regularly (I am talking 6-12 months onwards). Mobiles are nice in the early months, above the change table.

Oh and around 6-12 months babies will get attached to things. My son chose his blankie at that age, and he still loves it. It was a big throw that covered the bed that winter, I realized he really liked it around 9 months, so I cut it into 4 so we are never without one. It has made life a lot easier! He also got attached to his bottle and I don't have a real problem with that but it is around a year that it's easiest to take away, so be aware of "sensitive periods" and take advantage of them to make changes you'd like to change, like taking away pacifiers, changing a bedtime routine, etc.
posted by lafemma at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

If your baby is two weeks old, milk supply is still ramping up. Keep nursing on demand to increase supply. I know that is exhausting.

The best advice my Lactation Consultant gave to me was to get into bed with no top on, with baby, every single day in the early afternoon. Baby can nurse on whichever side is ready, baby can sleep, mama can sleep. My LC said that supply tends to drop in the early evening because we are tired, and the easiest way to prevent that is to take a nice long nap every day after lunch.

Seconding the swing.
posted by ambrosia at 8:26 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

A few random things off the top of my head: Get a big exercise ball--super helpful for bouncing a grumpy baby. We would swaddle, sit on the ball and bounce and say shhh shhh (the Happiest Baby thing) and it worked weirdly well.

Also so many folks have mentioned swings--our guy didn't dig the one we ran out and bought, so don't be bummed out if it's not the end-all for your kid.

Buy a bunch of cloth diapers to have around for spit ups and other liquid-related disasters.

When they start busting out of their swaddle, try swaddling with one arm out - that bought us some time.

Steam and blend up veggies in your food processor and then stick them in ice cube trays for baby food. Pop them out when needed and reheat.

Also lastly, our boy (he's 16 months now) had the witching hour thing where he'd get fussy in the late afternoon/early evenings... it was totally against our instinct, but we tried putting him down in his bassinet earlier and... it worked! He wanted to go to sleep. Who knew. Now this may not working with any other kid, but it was something that worked for us.
posted by jdl at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2014

One more thing, since you're a fellow guy- the first few months are all about baby and mommy. Don't feel bad if your baby doesn't gravitate toward affection with you- it will come. The hierarchy goes like this: your wife supports the baby, and you support her.
posted by mkultra at 8:32 AM on May 27, 2014

Keep in mind that different things work for different babies, and, crucially, with some babies nothing works but they eventually sort themselves out. This can mislead parents into thinking whatever they did at the point where the baby sorted themselves out was the amazing thing that worked. Hence sometimes when people are convinced that they have the secret, they are wrong, so don't worry when you get contradictory advice or people tell you that yr doin it wrng!!1

- How to effectively make and cool down formula (or how to have it ready for when it might be needed)
I had plenty of icecubes/freezer packs in the freezer at all times. Make the formula with boiling (or whatever the recommended temp is) water, then put it in a bowl with water and ice/freezer packs. Should cool it down relatively quickly.

- How not to spend millions of pounds on ridiculous baby things.
Borrow it off other parents whose babies have outgrown their stuff. Also, eBay, for shoes especially (they outgrown them so fast it is a complete waste of money buying them new). Babies outgrown stuff so fast you can borrow or buy pre-owned stuff that's barely used.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:56 AM on May 27, 2014

Things that were worth spending money on in our experience (or getting someone else to buy for us!):
- Good baby carrier (BabyBjorn initially, then later a preowned backpack carrier off eBay).
- Electric breast pump if relevant (manual ones just a hassle).
- Velcro swaddling blankets (unless you get super good at folding/tucking regular blankets).
- Loads of these little dribble bibs.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:03 AM on May 27, 2014

How to not spend millions on ridiculous baby things.

We used almost entirely hand-me-downs and borrowed things. I shopped at baby-specific consignment & second-hand stores. He didn't have many new things at all - clothing or equipment. He didn't care and neither did we.

Oh, and one of the great things we borrowed was... a motorized swing!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:09 AM on May 27, 2014

Our first baby was formula-fed and we used canned liquid concentrate, which made a day's worth of formula at a time. To warm it up, we would pour the bottle, then stick it in a biggish mug, which we placed in the sink and under the faucet pouring hot water. We'd shake it after a minute or so. Took the chill off, no risk of hot spots like microwaving.

anastasiav is exactly right about skin-to-skin mom-and-baby in the bed every single day with no other responsibilities, which will help with sleep regulation and lady pains and milk production. The mom's whole job right now is hanging out creating sustenance for this human child and also recovering from the very traumatic experience her body just went through; rest will help a whole lot. Even in a few more weeks when her body is starting to get back to some sort of normal shape, she should still be doing a ton of resting and less laundry. Someone else can do the laundry. She should have a snack and a big glass of water and maybe a handful of lactation cookies (you should have some too because they are delicious; I prefer them without cinnamon).
posted by SeedStitch at 9:16 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 for co-sleeping. As in, baby between the two of you in bed. Life saver and a lovely experience too. When/if you do bottle feed alternate nights when baby is fed by mum vs. dad even if he had to work in the morning and mum stays home. The initial sleepless month or two become completely bearable when you know you can catch up the next night.
posted by Dragonness at 9:32 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Parents of ~five month old here - We've taken Jessamyn's idea of being kind to 'future me' very seriously as a major household directive. Babycare is by nature both unpredictable in the moment and incredibly repetitive in the aggregate. So we always set things up for 'the next time' to make things easier on ourselves: We always had a swaddle blanket laid out on a table, ready for a NEED TO NAP NOW moment. As soon as we finished a feeding, we set up the feeding chair with fresh burp clothes and bibs for the next NEED TO EAT NOW / NEED TO SPIT UP NOW moment. Bathtime stuff isn't in the baby's room, it's by the bathroom and ready to go with clean diaper, clean baby towel, etc. Whenever we come back from leaving the house, we immediately stuff new clean diapers etc in the diaper bag and replace anything we've used up. I'm pumping, so have a set of spare parts and set the whole thing up for the next pump when I'm done with a session so all I have to do the next time is come sit down and plop them on. Etc. Overall I think this has decreased the potential for meltdowns, tears (ours, not baby's), and recriminations between my husband and me by about 90%.

Also, if you're warming a bottle in a mug of hot water or cooling it in ice, it heats/cools much faster if you swirl the bottle around in the water for a few minutes instead of just letting it sit there.
posted by sestaaak at 9:32 AM on May 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Do not be afraid to ask anyone who isn't an axe murderer to come and watch the baby while you get some sleep. Offer pizza and television. Even a few hours will make a HUGE difference in your life. This can be in the afternoon, evenings, or any time it's convenient for someone to come.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:36 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nth "don't waste your money on a bunch of crap you don't need." Second time around, I pre-bought almost nothing except the bare bones essentials (clothing in a couple of sizes up, diapers) and if I noticed I was repeatedly saying "I sure wish I had an X, that would make things so much easier," only then did I go out and buy it.

I was poor with my first and lived in small spaces, so I had a really thick, foam-filled, waterproof changing pad instead of a changing table, and I changed both of my babies on the floor. There's nothing for them to fall off of once they start squirming. I think the tables are a racket, but I had babies young before I trashed my back, so YMMV.

Speaking of, take care of yourself in other ways besides sleep and mental health. Stretch your back, shoulders, arms. Baby will strain all these muscles, and you will get stronger, but they get heavier so fast! I never felt like my muscles completely kept up.
posted by Lardmitten at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sleep when the baby sleeps. Household tasks can wait.
posted by kinetic at 10:08 AM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Stretchy swaddle blankets are great - thinner, and harder to get out of, than normal cellular blankets.

Automatic bouncy chairs. We have this one and it is worth its weight in gold.

Baby clothes with poppers down the front. Cute little outfits that button at the back are for public appearances and grandparent visits.

For calming and getting to sleep: loud white noise, specifically vacuum cleaners and hairdryers. You can get 12-hour tracks of vacuum cleaner noise on YouTube. I have an iPhone app called 'Sound Sleeper' that plays various white noise tracks without the annoying adverts, and can be set to start up the hairdryer sounds if the baby wakes up.

Don't assume that babies like soothing lullaby music all the time, or indeed ever. Mine has screamed through lullabies then happily fallen asleep while being danced around to the Ramones.

Get a good carrier/sling - I like the Moby wrap, YMMV. 'Sling' is a confusing term because some people use it to mean all carriers, and some use it to mean the ones like this, which could be dangerous and are now banned/recalled. Follow proper safety precautions for whatever carrier you're using, and they're safe.

You cannot own too many muslin squares. You don't need the fancy patterned ones, just the plain white.

Vest extenders (increase length, and lifespan, of baby vests even if you're not using cloth nappies) and Sock Ons are also cheap and very much worth buying.

Be prepared to take advice with a decent dose of salt. Our parents' generation got told very different things about safe sleep, breastfeeding, weaning, Making A Rod For Your Own Back, etc etc.

Since you're in the UK: the two big parenting forums are Netmums and Mumsnet. Both can be very useful resources but they have quite different atmospheres, so go with whichever one fits best.

Different shops size baby clothing differently, for reasons best known to themselves. 'Newborn' can mean anything. Buy 0-3 month sizes where possible, they'll usually last longer.

Baby vests with boat necks (which is most of them) come off downwards as well as upwards. Very useful for nappy-escaping poo explosions, to prevent having to pull the thing over the baby's head.

Also: if your baby doesn't do what you're expecting it to do, or what other people/the books/your mother say it should be doing, I really recommend taking a "whatever works" approach. Is the baby happy and healthy? Are you happy and healthy? Then it's working. My 10-week-old laughs in the face of all the sleep recommendations I got - she doesn't seem to need much at all, refuses to be put down for naps no matter when or how you try, and will not fall asleep in her car seat or pram. (You would think a small tired baby cannot scream continuously for an hour in the car, but you would think wrong.) But she's happy, she's healthy, and she sleeps fine in the Moby wrap when she needs to, so we just roll with what works and let her get on with growing.
posted by Catseye at 10:14 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would say that sleep is the hardest thing the whole time. I have a 3 year old now, with a second baby due in about 6 weeks. Sleep is hard. Once you think you've got it figured out, everything changes. That said, I think one of the things we kind of nailed with #1 is getting a solid, consistent sleep routine going from early on. There were minor tweaks, like when he stopped nursing, so had to fall asleep a different way. But from the early days: diaper, jammies, story, song, bed-- or some variation thereof.
posted by kelseyfrost at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2014

I have a 7 month old. I'll try to restrict my advice for things I learned from the day of birth to around 3.5 months old. Some advice:

- Do not buy any baby equipment that you will use for said baby for less than 2 months of time. If you are more frugal or patient, increase the minimum amount of time.
- If you are thinking about buying a piece of baby equipment in the hopes that your baby will like it, wait a short period of time before doing so. If you are still convinced to make the purchase, try to find the item in consignment stores, baby item swaps, or off of other parents on Craigslist or meetup groups.
- Swaddling helps a lot of babies. My daughter hated being swaddled with the heated anger of 10,000 suns. This goes for any sleeping or soothing technique. Try out a new technique for a few days to a week, but if your baby hates it, then stop it. One size does not fit all. There is also the chance that your baby may hate it now, but will like it again at a later point. Remain patient.
- Do not turn down the trusted help of others to watch your baby. Free time is precious, so grab it when you are offered it.
- You can never have too many wipes. Changing diapers becomes rote after awhile and isn't a big deal. Soothing can be a giant pain in the ass.
- It is okay and normal to call the pediatrician's office a lot in the first month or two. Don't feel guilty about calling at any odd hour or scheduling additional doctor's appointments. Most doctor's offices have systems setup to deal with this, so take advantage of it.
- Many babies, including my own, will drool and spit up on anything they get near. If there are certain clothes, pieces of furniture, rugs, etc. that you do not want to clean regularly or get stained, then you should not take care of the baby while being near these items.
- Establish a routine. This makes life easier for everyone - parents and baby. Once the baby starts sleeping more through the night or completely through the night, put the baby to sleep at the same time every single night. If you like a few hours of free time in the morning, establish a routine where your baby is put to sleep later. If you like a few hours of free time in the evening, put the baby to sleep earlier. My wife and I put our daughter to sleep each evening at 7:30 following story time. We were able to luckily establish this routine around 3.5 months when our daughter started sleeping through the night.
- Our daughter was breastfed initially and then switched over to formula bottle due to some medical issues. We never had the need to warm bottles. Make a space and buy or create a baby food space (formula, bottles, medicinal items, nipples, containers). Staying organized makes everything easier.
- The first month or two will be brutal due to lack of sleep. Unless you have a very kind family member doing night shifts or a nanny, you are in for a rough patch. If you are living with a partner, rotate night changings/feedings if you can. This will be more difficult if you are breastfeeding. It is okay to place a nuclear baby in the crib/bassinet/rocker/etc and walk away in order to regain your faculties and/or composure.

Good luck and, always remember, that it will get easier.
posted by seppyk at 10:24 AM on May 27, 2014

Nthing: motorized swings. Yoga ball for bouncing. SWADDLES if baby likes it (Swaddlemes/Miracle Blankets etc, don't bother trying to swaddle using a regular blanket as it will never stay). Baby bjorns with an infant insert (no worries about asphyxiation there. And my daughter loved it).

White noise, white noise - I'd forget about the vacuum and just install the free Relax HD app on your phone or iPad, it allows you to play white noise or simulated rain noise, using your laptop you can also go to the website "simplyrain" (turn off the thunder noise!). Disclaimer on these things: I had a colicky baby, I've noticed with awe that other babies do not seem to need things like these - but mine did.

Do whatever works for you for sleep. Do whatever works for you for nursing. Without decreasing formula intake you probably won't be able to boost breast milk output, but if that can't be done with preserved sanity, then do whatever you have to do. Lactation cookies and oatmeal are fun and nice to eat but I never saw much result from them. Before you try fenugreek, have her go to the store and *smell* the fenugreek - if she hates the smell, don't try taking it as you will smell like fenugreek is coming out of your pores. Lord, I can still smell that horrible smell.

For formula, try a few different types, some are easier to dissolve than others. It dissolves easiest if you put it into the water pretty hot, dissolve and let it cool down. It's good for hours so you can make it ahead of time and just let it sit until you need to use it, if your baby's not picky just serve at room temp. I would give her half the bottle, then shake it up again a few times to try to dissolve the formula sludge at the bottom before letting her finish it.

I recommend trying out any baby gadget by borrowing or getting it cheap on Craigslist, if you love it and want to buy it or upgrade then great, but if not, then you didn't waste too much money. Not sure if you have Amazon Prime over there but I have found it highly worthwhile as a mother. Please ask other people to help watch your baby. Feel zero guilt about this. They want to help and you should let them.

It's not as much of a myth as people like to say that you can help babies go to sleep when you want them to. But it really depends what sort of strategy you want to use. Not much you can do about newborns, they sleep when they need to. But for older babies, if you're willing to sleep train a bit, check out "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" - see what you think of the ideas. With a good bedtime routine and some structured help from mom and dad, there are lots of babies who can be put down to bed at a regular time and sleep through the night (not all, though, babies are all different). For many babies though this strategy does involve some crying, so it's all about your opinions on this and how you guys want to handle it. For us it was crucial that she sleep through the night because I work both nights and days and have to make life or death decisions there - and I found getting her into a good bedtime routine made us both much more happy and well rested. I did it from when I went back to work when she was 4 months, she's essentially slept around 7pm to 7am since then.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:39 AM on May 27, 2014


The most brilliant, stupid simple "hack" to making the early baby days easier was a basic page with four columns, later simplified to three:

| Eat | Sleep | Poop | Pee |
|       |        |       |        |
|       |        |       |        |
|       |        |       |        |

Track the time and make short notes on what happens, as well as you can for your current level of alertness. This means you can:
  1. pass off duties to your SO and anyone else who might be helping out, and you can start to see patterns in the little one's activities (and your own), and
  2. it also helps to discern what might be upsetting the tiny tyke.
Seriously, this was a godsend for me and my wife, when we were operating on little sleep those first weeks, and also to calm our new-parent nerves. You can then take the tracking sheet in to see the doctor, and when asked "how often does the little one do [x]," you don't have to try to remember anything, it's all written down!

Craigslist and resale stores are great for baby gear (and for later years, too). We saved a bundle on clothes, strollers, a "Boppy" pillow, and a pre-recalled Bumbo seat (keep an eye on your little one and this shouldn't be an issue, if you find an older model for when your little one is sitting up on her/his own, or find a newer model with a seatbelt or whatnot). We also had a neighbor give us a ton of hand-me-downs.

If breastfeeding is an issue, find a breastfeeding class, as every baby is different. And be there for Mom, taking on any duties you can. With bottles, the dad can do most everything the mom can do, including middle of the night feeding. It might be easier to breastfeed at night, even allowing you and Mom to get back to sleep. Or you can agree that Mom does "input" and you handle the "output." In short, be as involved as your time allows, and make as much time as you can (this is in part a rant against former co-workers who said that the early years of child-rearing were great, because they got to sit back and let Mom handle it all - don't be That Guy, unless your schedule doesn't allow otherwise).

Along with being selective with videos, be selective with toys. Make sure they won't drive you mad if they're playing the same ringtone sound over and over and over and over (seriously, an otherwise great little bouncer chair we got had the equivalent to a first-generation "singing greeting card" speaker, emitting the absolutely worst, tinny approximation of the first 30 seconds of some nursery rhyme).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

People have mentioned swings and vibration chairs, but they haven't mentioned why.

Kids want physical stimulation. Some will be biased towards searching out inner ear stimulation - those kids love swings and spinning. Some will be biased towards a sensation of impact in their joints (like my son) - those kids love vibration chairs (and later crashing into stuff, stomping around). Mixing up the chair and the kid is an exercise in frustration for everybody.

To answer your question - pre-crawling babies are basically potted plants. They don't need much. You might want to turn around the sleep thing to you sleeping when the baby decides to sleep.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 12:01 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Double or triple sheet your crib. Get two or three of those crib-mattress-sized waterproof-flannel thingies - these are the ones we have -- and when you make the crib, do crib pad, sheet, crib pad, sheet. Add a third layer if yours is a spitter or overflows her diapers. This way, when you wake up in the middle of the night to discover the child has emitted some foul ichor, you don't have to remake the bed, you can just pull a layer off.

Those crib pads are useful forever, btw. My youngest child is three and a half now and we use them all the time -- when the kid has the flu, when the potty-training child wants to sleep in mom and dad's bed, when I was pregnant for the second time and worried my water would break in bed, when we come back from the beach and everyone is wet and sandy, we just use them ALL THE TIME.

Also, there may well come a time when your baby just cries and cries and cries and cries and cries and cries and cries and cries, and no amount of feeding or burping or changing or bathing makes the yelling stop. When this happens, try not to beat yourself up; now is your opportunity to start teaching your baby that you love her even when she is sad. Put in earplugs (I like Leight Sleepers, or you can also get good ones at shooting ranges), cuddle her close, and wait it out. And if you start to fray before the crying ends, for goodness' sake, ask for help. I waited too long to ask for help and it was a bad scene.
posted by KathrynT at 12:10 PM on May 27, 2014 [9 favorites]

One afternoon my baby went from being the sweetest thing in the world who never cried to howling like mad non-stop, and nothing would soothe her. I remembered a story from a med-school friend about a tiny baby who could not stop crying, and they discovered that his toe was being constricted by a hair from his mother's head that was twisted around it. So I pulled all of my daughter's clothes off and searched for a problem hair, and there was none. But I dissevered that every afternoon, my baby girl needed Naked Time, where she would lie on a blanket, totally naked, for half an hour or so.

So, two tips: First, if baby screams like s/he's in pain, check for a hair. And second, your baby might have his or her own peculiar needs, and you'll just have to experiment to find out what those are.

Also, lots of people give well meaning advice, entirely unsolicited, about how to raise a baby. Listen to them, because it is well meaning, and as weird as some of the advice sounds, sometimes it's just the ticket later on. And if it's not, oh well. It doesn't hurt to listen to other people's experiences. The fact that you've asked this question suggests you'd listen, anyway, so perhaps I didn't need to say this.
posted by Capri at 12:20 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with swaddling. I found the velcro swaddles (e.g. miracle blanket) were much fussier and less effective than a good old square swaddling blanket. But it does take some practice to get the swaddling blankets right. If you have a friend or relative who is good at this, ask for lessons until you have mastered it.

Diapers: the best piece of advice I received was: put the new diaper down under the old diaper before you take the old diaper off. That way, when the baby continues to pee/poop as you take the old diaper off, you have something there to catch it.

Some books I found helpful:
The Nursing Mother's Companion
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
What to Expect in the First Year
posted by pompelmo at 12:31 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Congratulations! My baby is just about to turn 5 months, so here's the stuff I've picked up so far:

- It took me almost 2 months to feel some semblance of normal, physically (and I had a pretty straightforward water birth with no tears!), so depending on what labour and delivery were like for your partner, it could be awhile before she stops feeling like she got run over by a lorry. What helped me most was just REST. Honestly. From the second week, we took little walks to the shops, but more than an hour out, and I was really starting to feel it down below*. Breastfeeding can help, as it helps the uterus to continue to contract, but you can only do so much on that end. If you have access to a bath (IIRC, you guys live on a boat, so don't know if that's available), soaking with some lavender oil felt nice. A big bottle of warm water whenever I peed was also an absolute must. Other than that, time heals all.

- Heartily seconding Happiest Baby on the Block (we got the DVD). Apart from the great practical advice that Karp gives (the 5 S's), the biggest thing I found helpful (or at least empowering) was his assertion that for the first 3 months after birth, babies are in a kind of "fourth trimester." And as such, there's not much you can do to "spoil" them; if they're hungry, go ahead and feed them; if they're crying, do whatever you need to in order to sooth them.

- We did the feed-on-demand thing from the beginning (exclusively breastfeeding) and I haven't (touch wood) had any problems with supply. I would definitely recommend looking at; the section on milk production is quite good.

- Nthing swaddling. We used the SwaddleMe blankets with the velcro. NB: my son fought the swaddle SO HARD, and I didn't use it for the first month as a result. I wish I had! I tried it again from month 1, and he was slightly more amenable, but still complained, but it felt like a really crucial component of getting him to fall asleep, so I gritted my teeth through his complaints, and he would generally zonk out within like 5-10 min of being wrapped up. By month 3, he was working his way out of the swaddle in his sleep, so I would just wrap him for the initial period of sleep and then he was fine falling back asleep after night feedings. If your baby fights it, maybe wait a couple of days or a week and try again, because I think it made a huge difference.

We co-slept up to 6 weeks; our midwives helped me figure out how to nurse him lying down, so even though he might wake up 4+ times in the night, I could essentially just slide over and fall back asleep while he nursed. For the first month+, it was touch and go whether he would actually sleep lying down, though; there was a fair amount of holding him on my chest and dozing. He slept in a bedside crib (the Bednest) from 6 weeks because I wanted my bed back.

I can't second treehorn+bunny's final paragraph enough as regards baby sleeping. I mean, again, the newborn period is basically total chaos, and if you have a colicky baby, then all bets are off. But we tried to get a loose evening routine going after about 6 weeks, and I really focused hard on paying attention to my kid's drowsy signs in order to get naps to be a thing, and I can see that investment paying off now that he's a little bit older. He can basically put himself to sleep with a minimum of fussing now, and stays asleep for good chunks of time. As always, YMMV, but when things settle down, it might be something to start thinking about.

As others have said: sleep when the baby sleeps. If there are problems with colic, I'm sure that sounds silly, and shift sleeping might need to become a thing, but if you're just dealing with regular newborn sleeping patterns, it's SO important to nap alongside them. I remember during the second week, we had an evening where my son cluster fed for 4 hours straight, and I hadn't slept at all during the day -- it was not pretty. There were lots of tears, and none of them from him. As soon as your kid falls asleep, do likewise. It won't feel like much, but it will make a difference when the witching hour rolls around.

- All the other answers include great advice, but mostly, I think the newborn period, and new parenthood in general, is about generally doing what feels intuitively right to you, regardless of what the books or the grandparents have to say. My dad said I was spoiling my 5 week old and making a rod for my own back by nursing him to sleep, but not only has he not cared for a newborn in the last almost-30 years, he hasn't cared for my newborn, and if nursing to sleep was what bought me an extra 3 or 4 hours for myself, then it was the right thing at that time. Do what works for you right now (obviously within reason and keeping baby safe as regards things like co-sleeping). And try to remember how finite this period is; any struggles you're having right now are bound to have evolved within a few weeks/months. Congrats again!

*That said, do get out and about as early as you can with the baby. Doing so helped with the inevitable cabin fever, and fresh air and sunshine helps newborns to start recognising that daytime is for being awake and nighttime is for being asleep. There are lots of different types of infant carrier; we got a Boba wrap, which I've found to be simple (although it's quite a warm wrap, so you need to be aware of your baby's individual temperature). My son generally fell asleep as soon as he was put in during the newborn stage. We didn't get a pram until he was almost 4 months, and getting around with him in the Boba was a snap, especially on London transport. Bonus points (? if you're into it): everybody and their grandmother wants to tell you how cute your baby is when it's wrapped up on your chest, something they don't do when it's laying down in a pram.
posted by catch as catch can at 12:33 PM on May 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

- Armpits and between-boobs are Nature's Wipe Warmers
- Warm bath towels in the dryer, on the radiator, or in your lap as you're hunched over washing your baby for post-bath coziness
- Zipper crib sheets will change your life. So easy to change one-handed in the middle of the night.
posted by sestaaak at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2014

Others have mentioned most of our big things: happiest baby on the block, swaddling (oh the miracle), white noise, yoga ball, co-sleeping, sleep when the baby sleeps, do what works for your baby.

  • microwave sterilizer bags
  • extras of bottles/pump parts whatever that have to be washed regularly - so you don't have to do it as often
  • a big bowl for washing bottles/pump parts - easier to keep clean than the sink
  • a designated drying rack/space for all the paraphanelia (something like this), so you know what's clean and it stays clean
  • GLOW IN THE DARK pacifiers - frigging brilliant! Our baby loves these.
  • IMO, don't start solids early. Yes, you may be dying with curiosity (well, not now but in a few months) about how your little one will react to watermelon or yogurt or whatever, but wait till 6 months. It's the World Health Organization recommendation for the health of the baby, but it's also MUCH easier for the parents - their poop stays relatively inoffensive, less mess, less muss, less guessing about whether x food caused y upset (you'll get to that soon enough), and they'll be better able to handle real food rather than needing an all mush baby diet.
  • And speaking of, it's not the cheap option, but for mush food, the baby food in the packets with the nozzle are SOOOO much easier than trying to get 8 million tiny spoon fulls into their mobile mouths. Less time, less fuss, less mess. Despite the lovely baby food cookbook and the special silicone ice cube trays I bought for making/freezing home made baby food, I love these nozzley things the most. This of course may vary depending on food intolerance and local selection of available foods of course.
  • Baby finger nail clippers that don't suck. Like this, NOT this.
Side note: swaddling was a miracle for us, but it wasn't always easy, our baby is extremely squirmy, so we tried lots of different products. What we found was best overall was the large muslins for when he was a wee baby and needed all over swaddle (arms and legs) and before he got too squirmy. Then this wonderful swaddle strap (and hey, it's a small business so yay!) when he didn't need his legs swaddled, was super squirmy and slept swaddled. Though the strap might have been awesome when he was an infant too, we just didn't discover it till later. And then the muslins again when he got older and needed a loose swaddle just during the initial get to sleep phase ("stop trying to pick my nose child"), but stays asleep better without being swaddled. There were some other products that were briefly brilliant but only when he was a very specific size (so you know, for like a week here or there), otherwise they were too loose or not big enough, so not ultimately worth the money for us.

And another side note: ours didn't like the swing (so keep your receipt if you buy new...) but was very happy in his vibrating bouncy.
posted by pennypiper at 1:14 PM on May 27, 2014

I haven't read the whole thread but here's a tip -- it's sort of a babycare secret, in that the best ones are also parentcare secrets.

Always, always, and for ever always, put your car keys on top of the car when you put your baby/kid in the car. Not in your pocket. Not in your purse. Not in the diaper bag. Not on the seat of the car. Always on top of the car. Why?

Because as soon as you set those keys down, you'll forget where they are. You think you won't, but you will. Every time. And you want to know what's hard to keep track of when you have your arms full and your brain frantically multi-tasking while trying to take care of an infant? Your keys. You put your keys somewhere else other than the roof of your car enough times, you will lose them. It'll be so annoying. It'll be when you're late. It'll be when baby is crying.

Always keys on top of car.
posted by amanda at 2:18 PM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Unless your car is push-to-start.
posted by Night_owl at 7:59 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lots of great stuff here...some of which I wish I had known but the best advice I ever got was to enjoy myself because there are no real hard and fast rules. Your baby can communicate so will get it.
And by accident, my neighbor asked me to store a recliner for her. I used it for my first child and I could sleep and lay back at just the right the daytime, in the night time. It had pockets so I soon stored everything that I needed in those pockets.
Which reminds me. Put everything you need in a basket. The basket can move with you. You don't have to jump up and find things. Make 5 baskets if need be. Always have the stuff you need in a hurry. Diaper, wipes, lotion, etc.....
posted by OhSusannah at 11:38 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

We had to supplement due to low milk production. We've always given our baby cold milk, you don't need to heat it up. Costco formula is great quality, cheap and is more conveniently packaged than most other brands. She has thrived on it.

The infant car seats that have a car base and a companion stroller frame they slot into are great, e.g. Chicco KeyFit. We could transfer the baby easily without waking her. We got our seat used on Craigslist in great quality.

Happiest Baby on the Block is on iTunes - we watched it on our Apple TV. Very useful for learning how to calm the baby and get her to sleep. Totally worth it.

The electric swing things are fantastic. For months it was a reliable way to get her to take a nap while we got something else done around the house.

Bear in mind that the kid is constantly outgrowing the equipment, clothes, toys, so you don't have to get everything new - often used stuff is barely used since it only had say a 3 month window where it was useful and in a few months you'll be selling it on to the next guy.
posted by w0mbat at 11:56 PM on May 27, 2014

> Always keys on top of car.

>> Unless your car is push-to-start.

Yep. Luckily somehow the keys stayed there through the 10 minute trip across town.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:08 AM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Meh, our child hated the swings. But a fisher-price rocking recliner sort of thing, he loved. I, however, didn't love the effort to replace the D-sized batteries that it's vibrating function used.

Work with your partner to figure out the sleep schedule. I can live with only 5 hours of sleep but they can't be interrupted. My wife needs at least 8 but can get up for brief intervals. We used this to our mutual advantage in tag-teamed feeding and changing during overnight ours. I handled the late night stuff and crashed at midnight/1am. My wife handled anything else in-between. We were fortunate our boy was good for at least 5 hours at a stretch when it came to overnight sleeping. I hope you share that good fortune.

Swaddling. So tight it almost seems criminal. Keep those little arms locked down. For the child that needs it, the close fit of a good swaddle is a life-saver for your sanity. We followed that by a Sleep-Sack (basically a sleeping bag/sleeveless shirt) and it greatly improved his sleep.

Breast-feeding is fantastic. Do not hesitate to call in a nursing consultant if the process doesn't seem to be working right for you. We should have brought one in a week earlier than we did (latching issues). Make sure your milk keeps if you plan on pumping. My wife's wouldn't. Meanwhile know literally millions of babies thrive quite well with formula. Your child needs nurturing, not fanaticism. So go with what works for you.

When you get to using a crib, CVS sells some large absorbent pads 2'x3' in size. Works wonders placed under sheets. The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of the night (or any time, really) when there's a bed accident is have to replace ALL of the bedding. Get a decent mattress cover, put down a pad, and then the sheet. If there's a problem you just remove the sheet and pad, not everything else. We still keep some on-hand for sleep-over guests.

Have two of any supplies you might need in more than one place in the house. You do not want to have to be running around up/down stairs all the time. Same thing goes with the diaper bag, keep it stocked separately. Do not put yourself in a position to be scrambling to find stuff, that combined with a screaming child, leads to just losing your shit entirely. Be prepared.

Never pass up on extra paper napkins from lunch. There will be things that need cleaning up.
posted by wkearney99 at 9:56 AM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older FIP on iphone not working   |   How do I cover my ass when writing a juicy memoir? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.