Having your first baby is such a fun (and tiring) time for your little family. Everything is new, adorable and terrifying [is his poop suppose to be that color?!]. If you’re like me (Italian and very loud), you even find yourself speaking in a quieter, more soothing tone around your baby.
Eventually, you’ll find your new normal and life will calm down again. And if you’re like my husband and me, you’ll laugh about all the dumb stuff you did because you were learning to navigate the world of everything baby related. Here’s a short list of tips to help!
1. Use Pack’n’Play and infant carriers early
Seriously, I cannot stress this enough! We kept the Pack’n’Play up and let it take up so much space in our living room but barely ever just let him get use to sitting in there as a small baby. When he was able to really scoot around was when we needed it most. We put him in it to keep him from putting grass or mulch in his mouth while we did yard work, but he was not having it! It was like a foreign land to him and he couldn’t stand it. If we had gotten him more use to it I think he’d have liked it more. He never enjoyed it. Same with his baby carriers. I tried three different ones but he hated being in them. I never used them when he was a tiny infant. I just carried him and did everything with one arm. I use to see parents out shopping or walking with their kids in carriers and was so envious! (One blessing from carrying 24/7: I have some really toned arms now!)
2. Baby proof drawers and cupboards earlier
Like most parents, we figured we had ample time to baby proof things once our son was actually born. And we kept putting it off because we kept an eagle eye on him and he never got into anything (too much). Then around 8 months he started really liking getting into the cupboards and pulling out snacks and Tupperware. Once we finally got the plastic baby proof clips on the cupboards, he was already accustom to opening them. So now we have an insanely strong and angry child pulling at our cupboards and almost falling over in anger. He actually finally wore one out and broke it off. I think he might be related to Bruce Banner or Clark Kent.
3. Keep the tags on
Keep all the tags on clothes. I know as a new parent you cannot wait to get your baby’s room all organized and looking perfect. But trust me, you will put them in the same 10 onesies every week. They’ll get poop on any “special outfit” you put them in for holidays or pictures. Trust me. It’s like Joey knew when he had a new, nice outfit on and he’d automatically drop a deuce that would come out the front, back and sides of his diaper. Once it was so bad that it got all over his dad and we changed him in the lawn at my in-laws because it was EVERYWHERE. Ask anyone who gets your baby outfits to please put a gift receipt with it. I know it sounds kid of rude, but if they’re parents they’ll understand. And you really have no idea what size they’ll be wearing during the different seasons. All kids grow at different rates. You can also download apps that can help you locate where some clothes are purchased to get store credit if there’s no receipt. Shop Savy is a great one!
4. Stuffed animals
The things people love getting your baby more than clothes is stuffed animals. For the sake of your sanity only keep a few out. Put the rest away in a big storage box that you can bring out later for them and they’ll never know! Sometimes I break one out when Joey’s been having a rough week with his teeth or if he’s been sick. He gets to feel a little more special and all I did was open a box.
5. Crib sleeping
I saved the most important for last. Let your baby sleep in their own room, in their own crib! I cannot count how many parents I’ve talked to and they’re just transitioning their baby to their own room (some after over a year old!). We waited until our son was almost 2 months old and looking back I wish we’d done it from the first day! I know it’s a huge inconvenience in the beginning when they’re waking up every few hours to eat. It’s easy to just pick them up from the crib beside your bed and then go back to sleep once they’re fed. But the extra few steps are worth it in the long run. Once they get use to your room it is so hard to get them use to their own room and crib. Not to mention that it helps you and your significant other sleep better, too! Well rested parents can be better parents.