Lessons learned, gear tips, and general observations from 4 months in:
- Buy carpet cleaner. You laugh - but you'll be amazed at how talented babies are at projectile vomiting, pooping, peeing and general messiness. We got carpet and upholstery cleaner with the built in scrubber and it has been used frequently.
- White onesies - if your baby is born in the summer, you really don't need these (at least not the exorbitant amount all of the websites tell you to buy). Winter babes, these go under clothes.
- Butt Paste (Boudreaux's) - it's awesome. Buy it. It seems expensive (like $16 for a tub), but it lasts. We are still on the same jar from when HWB was born and have about 1/3 left. He has yet to have a diaper rash and we put it on after every poopy diaper and about 50% of wet ones. The pop top is clutch for one handed opening and diaper change madness.
- Buy lots of burp rags. Size is more important than looks. I made some really cute contoured ones I thought would be awesome - we never use those. We use the plain white hospital grade ones because they cover more surface area. If you want cute ones - start with big ones as a base and make THOSE cute!
- Also buy shout spray/stain remover for clothes. If your baby has a blowout, get the clothes down to laundry room to rinse with hot water stat. Rinse the offending stain, spray with stain remover and throw it in the washer (doesn't need to be washed right away, but helps to soak).
- Carriers - if you buy a carrier. K'Tan - they run big! Size down (I got a medium and probably should have had a small, and normally wore Medium or Large shirts at the time I was using it). Soft carriers are great for teeny tiny babies. Harrison slept during a lot of grocery trips or walks when he was itty bitty because he was in a carrier. I love my Ergo 360 too - I never bought the infant insert. A rolled up blanket under baby's buns works just as well (started using it when Harrison was about 2.5 months) - far more comfortable for me than the soft carrier because it had more support.
- Baby laundry detergent - we used it at the beginning, but already have moved to all laundry together. Harrison hasn't had any reactions to regular detergent - and I like the smell of normal detergent to get spit up smells out of clothes!
- Swings/Bouncers - if you can, buy these used, borrow etc. The not so fancy ones work just fine. For swings - the "on the go" or travel version are awesome. The travel feature means it's smaller with a carrying handle - so you can move it from room to room! We tend to put Harrison in it during meal time or when I'm cooking. If he can see me, he's fine - so portability is key. Bouncer - we just got a super plain one that vibrates. We rarely used the vibrate function, but use it propped up on the counter, kitchen table, or in the room where we are so he can see us. Again - fancy is not needed. Just a seat with a belt function in case you put him on an elevated surface. You probably don't need both of these - if you are given them or can borrow, great - if not, choose one (I'd say travel swing).
- Boppy - dual purpose. Great for nursing, also great as a napping device to fake the baby into thinking he/she is still cuddling with you. It takes some skill to transition baby from your arms to the boppy, but once you have it down - boppy got us extended naps so I could get up and get some things done around the house! Before he was moving much, I'd just leave him napping on the boppy on the couch. Once he got more wiggly, I'd put the boppy napper on the ground.
- Jumparoo - Harrison loves this thing. He finally is big enough for it now at 4 months. Great for solo play while mom/dad need to do things around the house (ours lives in the kitchen so I can make dinner!)
- Diaper caddy - if your nursery is on a different floor than your main living area, I highly recommend getting a changing mat and a tub/caddy with diapers/wipes/cream/outfit change for your main living area (especially for those first few weeks postpartum). It makes your life so much easier not to have to do stairs early on for those frequent diaper changes. We still do 90% of Harrison't diaper changes with that.
- Bibs - great for outfit protection if baby is eating or hasn't burped yet and you need to go! I recommend 1 in the diaper bag at all times.
- Diaper bag - great for full day adventures. If you're not going to be gone all day - a travel case of wipes and a few diapers in the purse will do the trick
- Tiny baby clothes - you need sleepers. That's about it. The tiny real clothes are cute - but anything non stretchy/sweatpants material just doesn't seem comfy. We had some adorable outfits that we never used because we just had Harrison in sleepers or onesie/sweatpants all the time (yes, even in the summer)
- Humidifier - worth it to have on hand for the first time your baby gets sick. It makes a big difference with congestion. Speaking of sick - have one of those bulb snot sucker things too (or a nose frieda). Kind of traumatizing to use, but really helps the baby breathe.
- Diapers - stock up during sales. You know you're going to need them - and places like target will exchange sizes / return with no hassle (no receipt needed either). We like pampers swaddlers.
- Baby shoes - who needs them? Ha - we have yet to put Harrison in shoes. Personal preference.
- How many bottles do you really need? I have 6 that we actually use - we put the rest in storage because it was more of a hassle to have bottles everywhere than to just wash them and re-use. Tommee Tippee and Avent natural were the two kinds that Harrison preferred. I have about 8-10 of the containers that attach to my pump with matching lids - that numbers makes it so I don't have to wash them out every time I pump. I send 4 bottles to daycare, then have 2 back up for evenings/extra in the fridge.
It's hard to believe we already celebrated Harrison turning 4 months old this weekend. He such a happy little guy most of the time. It's fun to see character traits of ours already coming out in him at such a young age. He is very particular (sometimes will only nurse from one side, or I have to not touch him while he eats, or prop him up a certain way) like his daddy, he sometimes stays up too late for his own good if he's around people like his mommy (if we have people over, he doesn't want to miss out so fights bedtime, then ends up a hot mess from over exposure). He doesn't have much of an inbetween - he's either happy and playing and socializing or he's DONE. Yup, he gets that from me too.
Still really enjoying being a mom. I got to experience the helpless feeling of watching Harrison be sick over the past weekend. It's awful. I can only imagine the pain of more serious health concerns, death of a child, future bullying etc. The mama bear mentality is real - wanting to ferociously protect him from harm, but realizing that I can't. He has to live. Putting him in a bubble might seem like the best option in today's society -- but he can't thrive there. Trusting Jesus has new meaning when my precious son is growing up. Being a mom has already changed my prayer life. Now I ache over politics - over the world Harrison will grow up in. Some of the current "concerns" in society - I wonder what school will be like for him. and it makes me pray. I pray for his teachers, for his character to be strong so he can stand alone, and for him to be rooted in Christ above all else. And I pray for God to continue working in our family - that our home would be a haven, a place where Jesus comes first and TRUE love (Kingdom love) is known.