A good friend of mine is having a baby! Hip-Hip-Hooray!
And so is everyone else I know.
Ok, maybe that is a wee bit dramatic. But this is the first big pregnancy wave that I have not been a part of.
Hold the phone, THAT deserves the three cheers. At least my uterus is cheering.
Anywho, I thought I would compile a list of my personal faves beginning from infancy, all the way through...well, through four years old, because that is as far as my motherhood has taken me.
And I thought I would spare you all the typical yadda yadda that everyone else suggests.
We all know to get a good swing and a pack and play, at least that is what EVERYBODY puts on their list. But these things, my dear friends, are items that no one really tells you about, that you will forever be indebted to me for bringing you up to speed on.
And I expect and hand-written thank-you note from each of you.
I'm serious. I like mail.
*Ahem* Back to the list.
The Early Years
If you plan on breastfeeding, consider this your formal warning: IT IS HARD WORK!
Seriously, no one tells you just how difficult it will be, especially those first few weeks. But now having successfully breastfed three babies all the way through the first year, I can single handily suggest that each of you need be prepared with one of these:
And not just any one of these. THE one of these. This is the Medela Freestyle hands free double breast pump. It makes breastfeeding that much easier and will not ensure success, but will prepare you for the best possible experience. It does not require a plug, so it is completely portable (including for use in the car or the state fair - yes, I did.), it remembers your specific moment of let-down and pumps accordingly, and is easily storable and washable. Yes. it is almost $400, but if you are really serious about breastfeeding, make the investment. It really will make the job easier.
Here is yet another commonly oops-I-forgot-to-mention-that. When babies eat, they spit up. They spit up a lot! And they spit up while they are asleep. Don't ask me why. Just mark it down as one of those things you can ask God someday.
But in the meantime, thank goodness for these...
The spit catcher, as my husband and I have lovingly referred to them as. When your baby spits up, or errr, leaks from the other end, just rip this bad boy off your sheets, and whola!, no midnight laundry loads for you. Like I said, you can thank me later. :-)
Aden and Anias swaddling blankets. Breathable, yet do its job. A MUST have. Don't buy the typical "swaddling blankets." They swaddle for two weeks, and that is IT!
And what baby post would be complete without a darling picture of my baby? And his teething necklace. A definite must. Be warned, though. Not all amber teething necklaces are the same. It has to be 100% Baltic amber. Some places use fillers, which don't allow it to do its job, thus making said necklace into nothing more then...well, a necklace. And who needs that? Especially at 2 in the morning when your baby is up screaming because his gums ache.
Oh, and when you buy one (hip-green-baby.com is the best), make sure you put it in the sun for a few hours before wearing. It helps activate it.
I put mine on the kiddos when they are about six weeks, and never take it off.
Those In-Between Times:
The essentials for the toddler years are plain and simple. Keep them fed, and make that food as accessible as possible.
I love this contraption, recommended to me on another blog.
It is great for on-the-go snacks, allowing five different varieties! Not to mention, if one of my charming children drops one of the cups on the floor, have no fear, there are four more.
I hate baby food so much. In fact, it is such a horrible stage, that sometimes I avoid it all together. The messy faces, ruined outfits, and messy baby food jars -all of it is just too much.
This all organic baby food is my new best friend. Just pop the top, give it to the young-in, and they suck it down. No jar, no spoon, no mess, and no dishes. Oh, and one happy mama.
And while we are on the subject of food, I adore these type of high-chairs.
Not only do they not take up any floor space in your dining room, but they don't take up a chair around the table either. Just scoot it on and voila! And you could be like me, and obsess about the germs in restaurants and take said high chair with you. Just about wherever you go.
The Later Years - or you know, age 2-4:
By the time your kiddos has reached the latter toddler years, you pretty much got this thing figured out. At least, you think you do. Until your child puts gum in her hair, and you are calling your mother absolutely hysterical while googling quick remedies. And the you rethink your stability.
But at least you know what your kid likes.
But just for the sake of it, I included a few items that I have loved for my growing toddlers.
First of all, make your children use a straw sippy cup. From.Day.One. It is too difficult to teach them to tilt their cup, and even if they master that, once they transition to a straw, they still try and tip, thus resulting in a humungo mess. Oy.
And this straw sippy is the Cadillac of sippy cups.
Get one. And then put me in your will.
And I have said it before, but I will say it again. I heart this toy.
The Sweet Pea MP3 player has been a lifesaver. It has soothed my fretting newborn, been background music for my crawling babe, entertained my potty-training tot, and been the sing-along on many a car-trip. It is fabulous and should be enjoyed be all.
So that's it! My faves of mothering. Well, at least my non-obvious faves. Hope you enjoyed!