I don't know why other than I HAVE a baby and work for a baby company. Neither which make me an expert.
However, I am
So sit back, relax and be ready to take in the awesomeness that is this list....
1. Invest in the good, long lasting furniture. They will take it to college. Something timeless and well made. This is something your kid will be climbing on top of, into, out of. You want it to be sturdy and well made. Plus, with the convertible cribs now, they go from infant to baby to toddler bed, and lastly to a full. So you better like looking at it.
2. Borrow, don't buy, a bassinet if you feel you NEED to have one. We used ours for the first 2 weeks in our bed room but then moved her into her own room. Turns out, WE were the ones waking HER at night. And get your mind out of the gutter. Rutherford has allergies and coughs in his sleep and I, apparently but I don't believe it, snore. Whatever...
Once she was moved into her own room she slept much better and so did we. We never subscribed to the co-sleeping either. To this day she has NEVER slept in our bed. As much as I have wanted to put her in bed with me, I haven't. Once you go that way, I hear it's hard to go back.
3. Since we're talking about infant in the crib, lets talk about the adorable bedding options. We have the Penelope Nursery bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. It took me FOREVER to decide on bedding, I went to every store and looked at every pattern. Finally I got some great advice from my sister-in-law, Celena, she said invest in nice bedding, it will last longer than the cheaper stuff. Well, for the money that was spent on this stuff, Boogie is taking it to college. But it's GORGEOUS and I love it.
Baby safety 101: The only thing that should be in a infant crib is the infant and a sheet. Anything else, including the beautiful and expensive bumper, is a suffocation and SIDS risk. As they get older, you can add a woobie, or toy. We actually have put the bumper in now what Boogie is over a year because shes been getting her legs stuck in the bars when she sleeps. But until now, it's been on the floor of the closet. What a waste. But, if you're even the slightest bit crafty and want to do something awesome with the bumper, go here. They show how to make a super cute valance from your unused bumper. I'm going to be trying it out pretty soon. I'll let you know how it goes.
As far as her beautiful comforter goes? It's hanging on the wall. I'll be pulling it down for use when we make the bed into a toddler bed. It was just too cute to stay in the closet and she needed stuff on her walls. Win-win.
Super duper awesome tip alert! I hate changing sheets. Hate it. And with a bumper (hey it's your crib and your kid, we had bumpers and we survived) changing sheets in basically impossible. Changing poop/barf filled sheets in the middle of the night...forget it. My solution? Layering!
I put 3 sets of sheets on the bed at a time with disposable changing pads in between. When it comes time to change the sheets just grab the corner from between the bars and pull. Toss the changing pad and VOILA! New clean sheet when you need it.
4. Keep a pack of diapers in a size up for night time if you wake up to soaked baby every morning. (This is for when they start sleeping through the night.) Going a size up at night is also great for babies with diaper rash. Gives more breathing room and helps heal faster. We use Huggies Overnights because Boogie would be SOAKED every morning, this solved that problem and now we have almost no diaper rash issues either.
5. Diaper pail=necessary. Yeah I learned this one late. We had a stinky nursery because of it. I did a bunch of research and found Munchkin Diaper Pail to be worth the money. Works well, highly rated and safe. Apparently, on the inside of a Diaper Genie there is a really sharp edge used to cut the bags. Um, no. My curious kid would be in there and bleeding in no time. I'll pass, thankyouverymuch.
6. Spend the money on a good VIDEO monitor!!!! I can't push this product enough. We started out with the audio monitor because I couldn't justify the expense but, OMG, this changed our lives! I blogged about it here. I highly recommend the Summer Infant monitor in my blog post. Now that Boogie is walking, I have used it to scan the room to see what she's doing in her room and I have told her to lie down during nap time.
Side note: the talk back feature is awesome. Okay, so it KINDA freaks her out when the "voice from the sky" tells her to lay down, but whatever. It works and she lays down. And I had to laugh when my brother got on there and told her it was "The Lord".
7. Wiener dogs are handy when it comes to child cleanliness. Go figure.
8. Nursing is hard. Anyone that nurses their baby deserves a medal. I did for 5 weeks and that's all I could do. If you choose not to, or can't, don't let anyone (I'm talking to you crunchy judgmental mommies) tell you that you're a bad mom.
When I couldn't do it anymore I felt bad but it turned out to be good for us. Rutherford was now able to feed her and it helped with his bonding time and he LOVED it. AS for the type of formula we used, believe it or not, we used Kirkland brand from Costco.
My sister-in-law has been a post pardum nurse for years and she told me that it was what the other nurses and doctors used. If they trust it, so do I. At a year we switched to Soy milk.
Super duper awesome tip alert! There is nothing fun about getting up 3 times a night to nurse in those early weeks so to make the time a little easier for *ME* I would Tivo all the crap reality shows that Rutherford wouldn't watch and that I wouldn't normally have time to watch, and watch them then. It got to the point where I was like "Sweet! Baby is up, now I can see what happened to Tracy on Jerseylicious!"
Also, nursing makes you HUNGRY. Like lumberjack hungry. I would get nauseous when I would nurse from hunger. On average, you burn up to 600 calories a day nursing so you're going to need to eat. My wonderful mother-in-law made bags and bags of muffins of all types for me. These were perfect for middle of the night snacks and easy to open and eat with one hand while the other hand is busy holding the baby that is stuck to your boob.
9. People always ask what the best thing I got for my shower that I didn't register for. Great question and the answer is Sleep Sheep. This is a white noise machine disguised as a stuffed sheep. It latches on the to the crib, carseat or stroller as needed. This has been invaluable to us. Since the day she was born we have put this on for EVERY nap or bed time, on the same sound. Since it is portable, this is helpful when we go to the In-Laws. It doesn't matter where she is, she will hear the same sound at nap time, which drowns out any noise she isn't used to hearing, in a strange house, and helps her sleep. This is a MUST have.
We have even used this in the car on a long drive to Flagstaff when she was about 6 months old. I put a blanket over the carrier and turned the sheep on and she was O-U-T.
10. Now lets talk shopping. I have TONS of super cute stuff and I will tell you now, I don't pay full price for almost anything. Here's how I do it:
Coupons are your friend. Babies R Us does a 20% off every month to every other month. However, they don't take expired coupons. I tend to go to BuyBuyBaby more than Babies R Us anyway. They pretty much have the same things EXCEPT BuyBuyBaby takes all competitors coupons AND those awesome 20% off coupons to Bed,Bath&Beyond coupons you've been stock piling (and if you're not, you should be!) They also have better customer service. You don't have to look far to find someone super knowledgeable and helpful. Their return policy is great too!
Get to know your local child consignment stores. Lets face it, kids clothes can be SPENDY and they tend to wear it once, maybe twice before they grow out of it. Especially if they are under 6 months. These places are great and you can often find stuff with TAGS! Best deal is always on baby shoes, they will always look brand new because, lets face it, they never touch the ground. Score!
Use your online resources. I love baby deal sites. My favorites are Mamabargains.com and TheMiniSocial.com. I can personally vouch for both of these sites as I have ordered MANY things from them. Mamabargains runs a deal until it sells out then will run a new one. Just yesterday I ordered this Day Tripper tote for $16 (regularly $40) because it is the smaller version of my FAVORITE bag The Weekender that I also got for $18 (regularly $58). I get asked every time I use my Weekender where I got it so getting the smaller version was a no-brainer. Boogie even has the ORE Origionals Kiddie Backpack from TheMiniSocial, paid $8, regularly $20. The difference with the MiniSocial is they run about 20 deals for a week.
Super duper awesome tip alert! Kids grow out of their clothes FAST! Keep a Tupperware bin (w/o the lid) in the babies closet. When you go into the closet to find something to wear for the day and come across something too small, just take it off the hanger and into the bin it goes. Easy! When the bin gets full, put the lid on and label it and into storage it goes. I have bins labeled 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12. If you are really a stickler, like me, I go through the closet bin when it's full and make sure everything goes into its proper sized bin. This is going to make my life so easy when the next one comes along, or it's time to pass along to a cousin. Hint hint Sarah! :)
11. Lastly, being a Mom, especially a NEW first time Mom is scary and hard AND lonely at times. Use your resources. Maybe it's just me but I felt comfort in knowing I wasn't alone so I reached out to Twitter. Think about it, a bunch of other mothers reaching out to each other, cheering each other on and offering advice is brilliant no matter where it comes from. I have made some great friends and have an amazing resource. I have sent out every question in the book from what to make for dinner, what to do about lingering diaper rash, how to interview a babysitter and why is my face breaking out! And that was just yesterday! Responses come back from everyone from Mom's to experts like Dr.Perricone, Heidi Murkoff (author of What To Expect When You're Expecting), BabyCenter.com and Dr.Lynne Kenny (nationally recognized child behavioral therapist). Not to mention other moms, just like me.
In addition to the great people, you will also find some great companies. Summer Infant, Safety 1st, Munchkin, Cuisenart, Pampers, Huggies, Yes To Carrots and Eucerine, just to name a few. These companies have had personal contact with me, each with amazing customer service and advice.
You can find me on Twitter as @BetterHalfMommy and I answer any question you can send, and if I can't, i'll find you a resource who can.
I hope this helps! Want to add to this list? Go for it in the comments! The more the merrier!