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Thursday, June 2, 2011

tips to make it easier with baby on board

When baby arrives you will be scrambling to figure out how to make your life a tad bit easier, how to manage it all. You will figure out our own systems for things, don't worry, I promise you will. Here are a few of my own systems that worked great:

1. Have a second bag for the babysitter or daycare.
Keep your own diaper bag, but also have a second bag that is strictly used for daycare. Drop the bag off at daycare on Monday morning, filled with whatever the baby needs for diapers, wipes, diaper cream, extra clothes, etc. Then take it back home on Friday to re-stock. This works GREAT. It's one less thing to deal with in the mornings before work.

2. Leave your diaper bag in the car all the time. I keep my diaper bag fully stocked with several sets of clothes, diapers, etc. It's always in the car. Because I commute 30 minutes from work I ran into issues when we'd stop at the bank or grocery store and Owen would need a diaper change. So keeping those things in the car for unplanned events is a good help.

3. Keep wipes containers everywhere. We keep one in each of our cars, one in the kitchen, obviously one in Owen's bedroom with the changing table, one at my mom's house, etc. You always need wipes, so better to have too many than not enough.

4. Write in the baby book often.
Don't say, "Oh I'll write this in later," do it now while you're thinking of it. If you don't have time to write as much as you want in the book itself, at least write a note on a post-it and stick it on the baby book so you won't forget. I also keep our baby book in the living room on a table where I see it daily so it reminds me to write in it when I get a chance.

5. Put the baby's doctor's number in your cell phone and on the fridge.
It's just common sense and helpful when you really need it.

6. Keep a basket of burp cloths and towels in the living room and kitchen area. You will need them for spit up and runny noses. Even after Owen stopped spitting up his milk I still have that basket in the living room because we have lots of messes to clean up still.

7. Get the Parents magazine subscription.
It's the best, most helpful magazine! It's such a short, quick and easy to read magazine that I devour it when it first arrives and finish it a day or two later, no problem.

8. Stick with mom friends. Pick a couple of friends who are moms who you trust and agree with much of how they parent their own kids and ask for all the advice you want. I text my sister, sister-in-law, cousin and really good friend from graduate school at least once a week with questions, silly things I went through with Owen, doctor appointment and Owen's weight measurement updates, vent sessions, etc. I don't text all four at the same time too often, usually I go to different friends with different topics. It's so helpful though to have people I trust and who know what it's like, who make me feel better, who understand what I'm going through, and who I really trust to guide me in the right parenting direction. I hope that I become one of these people for you.

9. Have a system in your fridge for labeling or using the older milk first.
When pumping breastmilk I really needed to figure out a good system for putting the older milk in the front and the newer milk in the back of the fridge. Whether you use formula or breastmilk, figure out a plan for organizing it.

10. Keep all baby clothes in clear plastic tubs and label them by sizes. This has been so helpful. You will get all kinds of clothes given to you. It's nice to organize them as you receive them so that when you need to get them out for your baby to wear they are all ready for you. I even take it a step further and have in Owen's dresser drawers and on the closet hangers the clothes he's wearing now. Then I wash the next size clothes, fold them and put them on the top shelf of his closet. That way when Owen randomly decides to have a growth spurt and nothing seems to fit the next size clothing is all ready for him to start wearing.

11. Learn to say no. You cannot do it all. You need your rest and private time with your new family. You will need to give up some things like going to church every Sunday or allowing the fourth visitor of the day to come in and hold the baby. Practice now by slowing down and focusing on what works best for you. People really will understand.

12. After bath time (once your baby is big enough to be in the big tub and sit on his own) clean up while your baby is still soaking. In order to give Owen enough time to transition from being in the tub to being all done and getting out, I make a game out of him helping me pull the plug of water and cleaning up the toys. That way by the time we are done cleaning up the toys the water will be all drained and he won't have any interest in staying in the tub. This also helps because then all the toys are put away, not something you have to come back to later.

13. Keep a camera handy.
We keep our small camera either on the living room table or the kitchen counter so that it's around whenever we need it. It has a built-in video camera, so that helps us also. You never know when a good baby moment will happen that you'll want to capture, so be ready!

14. Buy blank thank you notes to have on hand. You are going to be inundated with food, diapers, clothes, toys, and goodies for your baby's arrival. Be prepared now with some blank thank you notes. Then as gifts come in, write them down right away so you remember to send the note later.

15. Keep small toys and books everywhere- in your car, purse, cooler of food that you take into the restaurants, etc. (this is for when your baby gets bigger and wants to be on the move more). Better to be prepared than to have a tantrum!

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