Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mother's little helper: So much stuff..

After going to my friend's baby shower two weekends ago, for a little girl due a few weeks before my little Beastly (but who arrived safely this weekend - eek!!), I got to seriously thinking about what "stuff" we need to get ready, to buy, or to pass on before this little one arrives. My internal "to do" list is monstrous, but my energy is low, my bank account has been focusing on home improvements and my attention keeps getting drawn back to the rambunctious two year old I'm chasing all day long.

I knew it before Ollie was born, but I really get it now, I just need some reminding... For a very long time after baby is born, there is very little that it truly needs. Warm enough clothing, a safe place to sleep, and a supported and loving mum and family should pretty much do the trick. Really, talking about what a newborn needs is talking about what a mum needs to help her get through that difficult newborn period. And there are so many things out there you can buy to help you get through it.. so many things that other mums will tell you totally saved their lives (even me), and so many things that baby stores will tell you that you must register for.

The fact of the matter is that in the same way that parenting advice from one mum to another only works if you both happen to be the same type of parent, raising the same type of child, "baby essentials" are only essentials if they work for your family and the baby that you have. For instance, I was told over and over and over again that a battery operated swing was the life saving key to getting a newborn to sleep. My mum's friend generously loaned me hers and Ollie gave it about three minutes before more or less declaring it an instrument of torture. He occasionally had comfortable hang outs in there, but for the most part, our golden ticket to sleep and quiet was the Moby wrap.

The swing went back to mum's friend and I hadn't given it a second thought, since my Moby is safely tucked away in my closet, ready for action. Until that Sunday at the shower, when my new mommy friend opened the "essential" swing and I suddenly thought "Oh shit, this kid might be a swinger!" (that's going to draw page views).

I realized not only do advice and products apply only to a particular parent of a particular baby, but that subsequent babies born of the same parent might have a whole different set of needs. Mind blown.

If I were an optimist I'd be taking that to mean that where Ollie was a very difficult sleeper, this baby will probably sleep through the night right away. But I'm choosing to interpret it more like, where Ollie only needed a long sheet of jersey fabric to be happy, this baby will probably need a battery operated, light-up, moving, singing, vibrating machine to put it to sleep.

But I'm probably not going to buy it one anytime soon. Because the other thing I know about accumulating all this baby "stuff" the second time around is that your due date isn't actually a deadline. Whereas with Ollie, it seemed crucial to have everything in the house stocked and settled and set up and prepared before he arrived, this time I'm expecting to have some basics (from my previous list) and then a few more items that I sort of wish I'd had the first time around, and then to just play it by ear, safe in the knowledge that there are three baby stores within shouting distance of my house, all eagerly waiting to sell me some "essential" items as soon as I need them.

1 comment:

  1. I basically have the entire contents of Babies R' Us in my basement (much of it was never actually used). I'm not kidding. If you need anything, let me know - chances are we have it and are more than happy to share.


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