Monday, October 30, 2017

Reader Question for the Community: Nursery Essentials; Childhood Traditions that Worked; and Other Advice for New Parents


A Reader Question for the Community:
My husband and I are expecting our first child next year and we were wondering what the SWNE community considers to be essentials for babies. There are so many lists and mommy blogs out there (that I eventually gave up reading because they were so overwhelming) and I'd love some help narrowing down what actually matters. In addition to the essentials we need to go buy to set up the nursery, were there any things that you had that you really liked, traditions you put in place for your children, or ideas/advice that you have that might make the transition into new parenthood a little bit easier?

32 comments:

  1. Classical music. Also read to them before they were born.

    Main thing they need is to know they are loved and wanted, but they are not the center of the universe.

    Enjoy! It goes by so quickly.

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  2. Wow, mine are grown, but I look forward to reading the answers. For what it's worth, from the time our kids were very young, we started an Easter scavenger hunt tradition. On Easter Sunday, each one found one egg in their basket and we helped them read the short note that lead to the next egg and a small surprise. Over the years, surprises graduated from quarters, color books, and small toys, to Pokemon cards and swim suits, to gift cards or cash, etc. We gave very little candy. In college, they couldn't wait for Easter morning at home and they still talk about it. Best wishes to you.

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  3. No visitors to the new-born please, til after 3pm. Thank you. Mom will need her rest after middle of the night feedings.

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  4. I love the picture, my own nursery was decorated in Peter Rabbit. Born in 1987 next Tuesday I will be 30. Oh, how the time flies. Enjoy every minute. Something I have done with my own son is revisiting places that I have fond memories of as a child. For example a local park that was built in the 90's, I remember being so anxious for it to open. Also, reading books that were read to me like Dr. De Soto written by William Steig or the Mr. Men books by the British author Roger Hargreaves. I remember always checking those books out at the library.

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  5. Essentials. - keep it simple, very simple. Life with a new baby will be so much easier if the drawers aren’t jammed full of 30 onesies.

    Any things that you had that you really liked? A very high quality stroller and don’t buy it until your baby is old enough for you to know how you will use a stroller. We had a Valco (from New Zealand)and it was worth every penny. 12 years later, it’s on its its third or fourth child. (We gave it to friends with instructions to pass it on.

    Traditions you put in place for your children? So many, too many to list. A favorite comes to mind, real hot chocolate with a little too much real whipped cream on a grey day.

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    1. I second the real hot chocolate with whipped cream tradition. My eight year old and I just enjoyed the first one of the season yesterday evening. I am partial to the Inn at Little Washington's recipe by Patrick O'Connell.

      SassyinClifton

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  6. Read to them after they are born, too. (Sorry, Mary Anne; I couldn't resist.) Talk to them in English, not baby talk. Give them lots of love and encouragement. Raise them to be independent and self-sufficient. Buy or make a changing table of sufficient height so that you can change their diapers without having to bend over. Breastfeed. When they get older (i.e., starting at six months), don't feed them junk food, and minimize or avoid sugar. If they are crying, that usually means they are in discomfort of some sort. Don't just let them cry; comfort them. As for decorating the nursery, keep it simple and realize that the nursery may soon become a toddler's room, and then a pre-schooler's room, etc., so don't go overboard on babyish furnishings. Make sure the crib complies with current safety regulations (https://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2011/06/14/the-new-crib-standard-questions-and-answers/). Most of all, enjoy them while they are young and innocent. In the proverbial blink of an eye, they will soon become less innocent and you will be sending them off to college. (Speaking of which, consider opening a 529 savings plan unless you know that money won't be an issue come college tuition time.)

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  7. From a father's perspective: a soft, cushy rocking chair suitable for holding/rocking and, if needs be, falling asleep holding the baby in the middle of the night.

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  8. Great comments here. So glad to hear the many advise simplicity with a few select quality items, i.e., crib, stroller. Put your focus on parenting and not on stuff. Reading, spending time. I'm also a strong believer in comforting when they are crying and not letting them cry it out. Too stressful for a baby. Patience, patience, patience in everything you do. Quality in their food, crib, time spent. Who cares about the "theme" of the room, that's more for the parent and not the child, but it doesn't hurt as long as you don't go overboard. Save your money for their education later in life...God knows you'll need it. Congrats to both of you and enjoy.

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  9. This is one of the loveliest set of comments I have ever read on any blog. Filled with love and memories. Heather I loved your comment about hot chocolate on a grey day! And Doug, Anonymous and others about holding and loving your child. Made my day (my son is a very independent 8 1/2 yo and I do not know where the years have gone-I am an older Mom so it is especially bittersweet). Hold them as much as you can as babies. N from VA

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  10. Just know that this truly is the best time of your life. As others have said, hold them as much as you can, and comfort them. When things are so hard, and you are so exhausted, others will tell you how quickly it goes - believe them - you will be where I am some day and wishing you could do it all again......

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  11. For me, the essentials were mostly practical items. I recall having burp cloths in every room of the house, just in case! ARH

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  12. My son is in college but he still says "I love you" at the end of a phone call. Joy!

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  13. This is the advice my mother got from her mother and I always pass along: Sleep when the baby sleeps. Everything will get done eventually.

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  14. Restraint, restraint, restraint! Clothes, toys, baby accessories, etc. I have a 3 and 5 year old and there is SO MUCH STUFF out there. For Christmas from Santa, we do "something to wear, something to read, something you want, and something you need." It helps with the restraint. And of course, love, love, love. There is just no such thing as too much love. Enjoy walks, museums, libraries. Take trips to the beach, take an annual family vacation. Talk with and read to baby and open a 529 asap. And enjoy!!

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  15. Love the Peter Rabbit china. I had my oatmeal this morning in a Royal Dalton Bunnykins porringer, a gift to my daughter 30 years ago. It's not babyish, just sweet. I like to give feeding sets as a baby gift. If you are afraid of breakage, they come in melamine too, though my china mugs and bowls have survived without any chips. I also like the comment on teaching your children to eat real food, avoiding the processed stuff. Too many kids only eat "happy meals" and children's menu fare of chicken tenders and mac and cheese. If we don't teach them to have good table manners and about gracious living, who will? Meals are a wonderful time to bond as a family. Best of luck to you!

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  16. Enjoy each and every moment.

    Someone much older and wiser once said, 'The nights are long but the years are short'

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  17. A sense of humor, the ability to ask for help when needed, grace to listen to all advice but only use what feels right to you and plenty of love.

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  18. Sleep when the baby sleeps as much as you can. Remember that you will not be a perfect parent, no matter how hard you try...and enjoy every moment you can, because it goes by quickly. Good luck, and welcome to parenthood!

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  19. Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby makes an inexpensive, delightful gift.
    It's a CD by Dave Koz.
    Easy to wrap or send. Try it. You won't be disappointed.

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  20. My sons, now in their mid-20's, were not great nappers when infants so I would lay on the floor with them reading book after book after book. To this day I can probably recite all the Dr. Seuss books as well as Goodnight Moon, etc., etc., etc. It is a crazy world... so yes, give them all the love, hugs and kisses you can. Teach them to treat everyone as they would like to be treated. My sons always say I love you at the end of every phone conversation. My youngest who is still at home says, goodnight, I love you, sweet dreams, see you in the morning before going to be every night. I like to think, as a single parent, that I did something right when raising them. Enjoy every single moment it goes by way too fast!

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  21. What I wish I'd done: Used a rocker with a high back so I could rest my head when I was rocking/nursing in the middle of the night. My very adorable rocker had a lower back and was perfect in every other way--but my head would get so heavy!!

    What I wish I hadn't done: Read all the "Must-Do" and "Mustn't-Do" rules. They just made me more uptight and less able to adapt to the ever-changing needs of my little one and our family.

    What I'm glad I did: Listened to him. Learned him. Believed him. Trusted myself. I never let him cry it out; it wasn't right for him. He let me know when he was ready to quit nursing (9 mos.); I believed him and he was weaned without any trouble. He let me know how much he loved cosleeping/bedsharing; since I loved it too, we did. He let me know when he was ready to stop (4 yrs.); I believed him and he began sleeping alone without any trouble.

    The best advice I have: Enjoy your child! Listen to him. Trust her. When you make a mistake, fall forward and keep going.

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  22. Could not have said it better Marisa! We are kindred spirits as child raisers. PA

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  23. As Marisa said, listen to your child. Also, listen to your instincts. There is a lot of noise out there (here?) on the internet, as you have discovered, but if you can tune in to what you think will work for your family, and what you find is best for your child, you will have an easier time.
    Also, when it comes time to feed other than milk (6 months), consider Baby Led Weaning. This "method" amounts to letting the baby try table food with appropriate textures (starting with naturally soft things such as banana and avocado), rather than spoon feeding them purees. A baby needs to learn to eat, not learn to be fed.
    -Anna

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  24. Read to your child, even when they are an infant. And talk to them. (If you have the chance to expose your child to a second language do that as well...my kids have grown up bilingual and they don't know how good they've got it, being comfortable and fluent in two languages.

    Travel with your kids (really it isn't as hard and stressful and people make it out to be.)

    It goes too fast-- enjoy!

    --EM

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  25. Read, read, read to your child. Start as early as possible. Every night. Cannot stress this enough..

    Enjoy all the days, even the hard ones. They fly away far too fast.

    Signed, Concord Diaspora

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  26. Thank you for asking this wonderful question because it pulls all of us to draw from loving, wonderful memories. A comfortable high back rocker is essential. Many wonderful soothing songs to sing when you peacefully rock your precious angel to sleep. Babies are big business now - and there are too many products out there. They really don't need much "stuff" - just love and comfort. Read to them, involve them is learning about the world, peacefully let them wander down a forest path stopping at every second step in their fascination of a leaf blowing in the wind. Enjoy. And I love the fact that so many of our community members do not believe in them "crying it out." Really? That's not who we are or what we want them to be.

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  27. I just finished a great book called "How Not to Hate your Husband after Kids" by Jancee Dunn, which seems very helpful. I plan to give it to my son and his wife when they get pregnant.

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  28. Hands down the best baby shower gift I received for my daughter who is now eight was a publication called "Growing Child" which provides monthly developments and what to expect. It is written by child psychologists who are grandparents. My husband and I were incredibly sad when my daughter "aged out" of the monthly newsletters at 72 months, but was happy to discover that they offer another quarterly newsletter/email called "Growing Up".

    "Growing Child" is my go to gift for baby showers.

    SassyinClifton

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  29. There is a book series called "Goodnight _____" that features all different states, cities, etc. they come in board books and features different characteristics that are unique to the title location. I got one for our home state when my son was 6 months old. By the time he was two years, he was asking about and we were visiting the places featured. It was a great way to combine reading and teaching local geography and hometown pride.

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  30. Limit TV and have a dress up box full of costumes for using their imagination at playtime. We only gave each child three gifts at Christmas since that's the number Jesus received at his birth, and we had tea time when they were old enough to seat still. Lots of hugs.

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