As first-time parents we were pretty clueless about many of the Dos & Don’ts of parenthood. One guiding light was my sister who has two little boys and has been through the same rigmarole. She advised us to make some major purchases during pregnancy. Once the baby arrives, NO time for anything else. It would be JUST baby. Also, it’s a good time to learn to operate the purchase. So we set about making a list and over time found the concept of a Baby Registry to be pretty useful. We had an informal one for close family and friends and that worked out very well.
Here’s a list of our choices –
The first thing we were looking for in a stroller was the weight. We needed something that both one of us could whip out of the boot of the car with one hand and also assemble very quickly; and also handy during vacations where massive strollers are a huge burden. We needed a no-nonsense, no extra baubles stroller that would be super functional. Also, we wanted a stroller with full recline, so that a new-born could be taken around easily. We chose the Mother care Nanu and spent a good two hours in the shop trying to work it, folding and unfolding to our hearts content. It is a beautiful bright neon-green. Initially we were a little miffed because it’s very easy to unfold but folding is a bit tricky. It takes a while to get used to, but we are very happy with it now. It has made an international trip as well and survived the volleyball-thrust-throwing-around in the cargo at Karachi Airport. I swear it’s like they’re trying very hard to see if your luggage will break.
We wanted a very sturdy one with a base that would double as a carry cot as well. Though honestly it was only used as a carry cot till about four months by which the baby gets too heavy to shovel around in the carry cot. Also, attaching and detaching it from the base isn’t as much fun. We also wanted one that would fully recline. We chose the Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 35. The only issue with this was it didn’t recline fully. And with a new born baby who couldn’t hold his head this was an issue. After he was about five months old things got easier as he literally filled up the seat. His first birthday is in a few weeks and he is still using this same car seat. Though weight-wise he has outgrown the rear-facing seats, I am in no hurry to get him a front facing one. It is statistically proven that the rear facing one is five times safer than the front facing car seat, even if much more boring. So we are going to hang on for a couple more months, or till his legs need more room.
We are thoroughly satisfied with this one purchase: Brica Deluxe Baby In-Sight Firefly Mirror. It is simply ingenious. Highly recommended for all parents with infants in rear facing car seats. Please go get yourself one of these and you will thank me every day.
This was one of the more expensive purchases we made and it did help at times Graco Swing Lovin Hug. However, if given the choice, in retrospect we would not buy it. All babies are different and whereas some do sleep very well in the swing our baby preferred to be bounced to sleep. In fact the bouncer worked so well for us we actually got another one for when we went over to my mum’s place. So all in all we are very well rounded up for the next time round.
Now, onto the next, most important topic of all: SHIT. This is such a supremely important topic that many couples have done away with having children at all. Yes, we do this for our children; we clean their poop off their cute little butts. Several times a day. Almost all parents do this. Yes, it is initially quite gross. Yes, one does get used to it. Eventually it is not such a big bother. My husband does it too and yes that does prove he is not a chauvinist and when he does it does make me feel like I have a partner and that we are in this together. Ass-wiping is not only the responsibility of the Stay At Home Mom. We both decided to have kids and it is a joint responsibility.
Since it was our first baby and we have had a ‘nothing but the very best’ philosophy regarding anything to do with the Baby, we decided to use nothing except Pampers Premium. These diapers come in white packaging and are much more expensive than their green packaged counterparts. However, you will discover that there is hardly any difference between the two. And we made the switch in the sixth month! Initially we went broke because the baby would use as many as 22 diapers a day. That really is no joke. He would actually WAIT for us to put on a clean diaper on him and then he would decide to poop. And one diaper we would just hold near his pepe so that we don’t get bathed in pee. I don’t know why I’m saying ‘we’ here. Husband never changed a diaper till end of first month. And then took the first few months very seldom. I don’t say this with bitterness at all even though it may appear so. It’s just that while penning this I can recall the immense frustration I felt some night when he would get up every few hours and poop and request a feed and be rocked to sleep. And I would obsess about mosquitoes in the room. So sleep deprived, nursing baby, changing his diapers, thirsty, hungry, and weary with dark circles and cracked nipples and dissolving stitches…. But most of all…. BORED out of my wits. Honestly, such a horribly boring and lonely time that was. That was the one thing I can clearly recall from those long nights. I would yearn for morning and some company. I would want someone to take the hungry, cranky, sleepy baby from my arms and rock him to sleep. While I watched a movie, surfed the web, took a nap. Honestly, BORING BORING BORING.
Ok, massive tangent here but coming back to diaper changes. It helps if you keep a washcloth handy to cover the baby’s groin area while you change his diaper. The washcloth gets soiled, no problem at all. Better than wasting another diaper for the purpose. Also, we took a tougher road- we didn’t use wipes till he was about 8 months or something. We would only use cotton dipped in water to wipe his butt, unless it was a poop explosion which would warrant a washing at the sink.
For his bath we used an organic shampoo and wash marketed under the name Burt’s Bees. My sister would send these in bulk. Before his bath he would get a massage with Olive Oil in the summers and Almond Oil in the winters. We just recently stopped the before-bath massage (in his eleventh month) when he got extremely dry skin and his doctor advised against it. Now as the weather is changing we need to work that in again as studies show that massages are quite beneficial for baby’s emotional health and general development.
Except for the first week of his life Baby has had only breast milk and some cow’s milk after being weaned. Though we got formula a couple of times as back up for when we drop him off at my mums. However, somehow he never needed it and we would have to give it away. Yes, I am a lactivist. Hate me for it. But give me a chance to explain myself as there is a particular chain of events that led to this. I will deep dive into this so forgive me for now.