If you are a first time parent, it is very difficult to foresee ALL the possible situations you may face, much less to plan for it and prevent disasters. This is why we put together a series of handy-dandy tips for parents to help them plan for the unexpected. See previous articles about breastfeeding babies and preventing gas. While you and your partner get mentally prepared, here is a list of some of the physical things you need to get your hands on. Start planning early, there’s plenty to do.
- Get a mini-van. I know, I know you are still in denial and refuse to drive a mini-van! Here’s the good news, you don’t have to commit and buy one, just lease one for a few years. Mini-vans are the most comfortable cars when having a baby on board. Think about it; you have to carry a car seat, stroller, baby carriage, food and baby bag plus your stuff, on a daily basis. Be sure to pick a mini-van with easy to clean vinyl or leather seats as well as rubber carpet mats on the floors. You will appreciate this when your baby shoots a spectacular fountain of vomit —that only babies can do— covering all 3-feet perimeter, 360º.
- Baby-proof your home! It’s never too early to start moving the miniature glass ornaments or the expensive vase to higher shelves. Be sure to cover every pointy corner of the wood furniture with rubber or foam bumpers and use outlet covers to prevent electric shocks! Designate an area within every room of your home for the baby. You can use safety gates to prevent baby from being in place he/she is not supposed to.
- Electronics up high. Babies are unpredictable little creatures that can do unimaginable things, such as swallow one of your ear buds or suck on you plugged-in tablet charger or get tangled and choke with your phone charger wire. Get used to keeping small artifacts, cables and electronics out of baby’s reach, unless your devices are waterproof as your baby may drool or puke all over them.
- Choose a good diaper bag. Personally I like backpacks or the kind that can be converted into a backpack. One of the things I dislike about the shoulder bags is that when you lean over to pick up the baby from the stroller or car seat, the bag hits the baby on the face! A backpack-like bag not only prevents this but also allows you to have your two hands (and arms) free for baby all the time.
- Love pockets! Most likely you will not be able to fit into your pre-natal clothes after the baby is born, at least for a few months (some times years). When choosing new clothes, be sure to pick the ones with pockets. You’ll need to keep essential items within easy reach such as keys, phone, wallet, pacifier, etc.
- Eat, sleep and be clean. That’s all babies care about. You will need to always carry full bottles of milk and/or be ready to breastfeed anywhere. If you need a nursing cover, be sure to add more than one to your list. Ice packs near your bottles are a must! Bacteria proliferates only 20 minutes after milk is exposed to air and room temperatures. Some diaper bags have a separate compartment where you can keep ice packs near your bottles full of breast milk. As far as bottles, I recommend Bare Air-free baby bottles. Bare’s Air-plug technology keeps contents airtight so milk stays fresh longer and helps to prevent air swallowing amongst other great benefits.
- Take care of yourself. You are the engine of this operation. If you feel too weak or tired to perform your motherly duties, everything stops. Be sure to keep hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Dehydration is the most common cause of nausea and fainting. Throughout pregnancy and after the baby is born, carry healthy, slow energy release snacks in your diaper bag, ie: apples, grapes, peanuts, granola bars, etc.
I hope that these tips are helping you plan for the unexpected. Feel free to comment below if you’d like to add or have questions.
Your friend, The Breast Fairy.