There is some kind of baby boom going on among my friends right now… woohoo! For many of you mothers- and fathers-to-be, Elliott and I have hoped and prayed for these babies from the sidelines for awhile, and it gives us enormous joy to hear that there are little mini versions of yourselves on the way. You are richly blessed, and we can’t wait to “meet” these babies this winter and spring!
With that in mind, I wanted to get back to my neglected New Baby Series. I was hungry for advice when I was pregnant, and I know everyone likes to have suggestions about what works and what doesn’t. Here are links to my advice about maternity clothes, postpartum survival, and newborn essentials.
When you hit the 3-month mark, your baby will be finally taking on a routine (if he or she hasn’t already) and will also be more active and eager to engage. The 2.5-month mark was an enormous turning point for us with Gil, as he finally started smiling (such a relief to see that he could actually be happy about something), and soon thereafter he began to eek out a few heart-melting baby chuckles. Bring on the good times!
1. Nursing cover — Around this stage, at least with Gil, I felt like I emerged from hibernation. I was really back on my feet and had errands to run, friends to see, events to attend… and a baby to nurse. This beautiful nursing cover was a lifesaver, and I love the gorgeous print. I’ve tried a couple of nursing covers, and Bebe Au Lait is my favorite brand because of the terrycloth inside the corners… perfect for absorbing little messes!
2. Play mat — If you’re on the go, this mat is perfect because it will zip right up into itself and has handles for easy carrying. Because of our move to Sicily, we were constantly traveling with Lena during this stage, and we brought this play mat with us everywhere. I can’t recommend these types of play gyms; parents I know got so frustrated with the poles bending all the wrong ways after awhile.
3. Baby lotion — Infant massage was part of the transformation in Gil’s life. I loved these quiet moments with my baby before bed, moments that have come and gone now that he is a wriggly, roly-poly 9-month-old. Watch this DVD if you can, stock up on completely pure products for your baby (like this one; we like their shampoo), and enjoy this peaceful stage!
4. Sleep sacks — Around 3 months, most babies will be busting out of even the snuggest swaddle or blanket, and — after some tears — will be ready to transition to sleeping with his or her arms free. I always put my babies in a wearable blanket (“sleep sack”) to give them an extra layer over their clothing or just their diaper. A word of warning if you want to go with this lovely brand: Aden by Aden + Anais and the original Aden + Anais are not the same thing. Aden by Aden + Anais is the cheaper, knock-off version, and their zippers don’t work well. Register for or buy the real thing… or go with Halo, which has never let me down.
5. Toys! — It’s play time… at last. Your little one will be reaching out to touch, feel, grasp, and mouth everything before you know it. In a refreshing purge, I donated all plastic and stuffed infant toys and kept to just a few bright wooden toys for Gil. Generally wooden toys are quieter, cleaner, and more pleasing to the eye. My favorites were several toys from Haba, a Montessori-inspired wooden rattle, and — how can you resist? — Sophie, who is made of natural rubber.
6. Bath seat — Elliott and I both love this hammock-like bath seat. It folds up flat (!) and dries quickly, and thus we have taken it with us all over the world, sticking it into the bottoms of endless duffel bags. We’ve bathed both of our kids in it until we were sure they could sit up themselves, and it’s none the worse for wear after two children. Highly recommended.
7. Towel and washcloth — Totally unnecessary, because babies can dry off just fine in your regular bath towels. But cute… ! We have these matching sets for Lena and Gil, and they are adorable when they’re both wrapped up side-by-side with the hoods on. Both the towel and washcloth seem enormous beside a newborn, but after a few months you will be grateful for the extra material.
8. Baby Bjorn — After our babies outgrew the snuggly Moby wrap at 3 or 4 months of age, we put them in this carrier. With the option for your increasingly-curious baby to face forward, and the great back support for you, the “Active carrier” version of the Bjorn is an easy favorite. We enjoyed it with both our kids until they were about 9 months old, at which point they could fit comfortably into our Ergo carrier.
And there you have it… a few things that got us through those early months! I didn’t even talk about cloth diapers here, but I’ll have more info about them in another post about the 6-month stage soon. Any suggestions or questions? I know other mamas-to-be would love to hear what has worked for some seasoned mothers out there!
Discouraged by cost? Remember my advice to beg, borrow, and steal maternity clothes and baby gear! On this list, we registered for some things, got others used or as hand-me-downs still in the box, and then waited to be gifted the rest by kind family and friends. The only thing we bought on this list is the baby lotion! Even though it’s hard — and my husband will tell you that it’s really hard for me to do this — we stick to a pretty strict “just say no” policy about baby gear and toys, and our patience has been rewarded over time. It’s worth it for a clutter-free home with only the things you and your baby really need!