So Prepared. So Very Prepared.

Let’s Panic About Babies!

So far, my main preparation for birth has been playing lots of word games in the hopes of keeping “baby brain” at bay & reading Bad Mommy memoirs like Are You My Mother? and the chilling Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? to get some ideas about what not to do.

But time is creeping up on me. I’m 8-and-a-half months along now; I look like a beach ball with limbs and feel like I’m lugging a five-and-a-half pound octopus around with me everywhere I go. Squee is a very active presence who seems to have way more feet than is possible. Especially when I’m lying down, it can feel like a toy store has exploded in my midsection — something’s vibrating, something’s whooshing side to side, something’s jutting out in a repetitive fashion, all at once. If this child, when it emerges, is as inexhaustible as it seems, there’s going to be trouble.

The problem with following Jewish superstitions about not having showers or setting up a nursery before there is a real live infant on the scene is that it can leave you feeling a bit out of control. (Or, as someone astutely put it, “So … Jews believe in being unprepared?” For babies, yes. For medical school, no.) To help remedy the situation, a friend suggested that I start putting together a baby registry even if I’m not buying anything off of it yet. I could still do the research now rather than later, and, when ready, only need to press “Add to Cart.” It seemed like a great plan — and then it spun out quicker than a Geo in the rain. There are so many damn different kinds of everything, and it’s overwhelming to add one thing to the list and have Amazon immediately suggest three more.

After I closed the site and collected myself, it seemed like this might be a good time to ask the Internets for advice. Just, you know, general, helpful tips. If you have any experience with newborns, or with life on the other side of the threshold I am soon to cross, I’d appreciate your sharing some pearls of wisdom — ideally less of the “OMG Youll never sleep again!!1!” variety, and more like “I really wish I’d known [X].” Even if [X] is, for whatever reason, quantum physics.

Thanks, friends!

10 thoughts on “So Prepared. So Very Prepared.”

  1. Coming at this from a weird perspective, in that my partner gave birth to our twin daughters nearly 3 years ago, and I am now 26 weeks pregnant with our third…

    Don’t get too stressed out about what you have and don’t have. There are SO many things on those Amazon suggestion lists that we never used! We want to get our twins and the new baby matching crib sheets, so I spent an hour looking (either expensive or ugly) before realizing that the new baby will be with us for the first five months. We don’t even need crib sheets! Or when our girls were born, I was obsessed and then seriously bummed that I never got around to buying one of those Itz.been baby timers, but we used a cheap spiral notebook to keep track of all the pees and poos and it worked fine.

    PS I just found this post and I was both horrified and glad to have the advice:

    1. That blog entry is BRILLIANT. Thank you! And thank you for the general advice too. Hearing that I do not (or may not) need things is just as useful.

  2. I say just use the registry of someone else you trust! I’ve noticed all my friends (who likely do research) all end up registering for the same big ticket items…carseat, breastmilk pump, etc. I can email you registries if you want!

  3. I have been working on my registry and yes it is overwhelming.

    I have gotten words of widsom from multiple recent parents and can send you a list.

    Ultimately the extras you might want include (in no particular order): some sort of carrier – moby wrap or ergo or baby bjorn. something to put the baby that they are happy with – bouncer or swing or both. i have heard most babies prefer one over the other so if you can borrow one that would be helpful. Some clothes since you have to change them every few hours in the beginning and some diapers. oh yeah some sort of breastfeeding pillow so your arms aren’t exhausted all of the time.

  4. The best advice I got was to prepare for breastfeeding (assuming you want to do it). Nursing is surprisingly difficult. I only know ONE woman who says it came naturally to her, and I’m still suspicious of her claim. Have a lactation consultant or a La Leche League friend lined up to support you. And buy an electric breast pump.

  5. I remember the baby-registry panic all too well (and my kid will be 13 in a week and a half…).

    Mainly, I remember how many enormous single-purpose items there were. The Hummer-sized stroller. The swing that took up most of a room. (Far better was the little hand-me-down vibrating seat that made my daughter stop crying instantly–it was worth its weight in gold; get one of those.) Consignment stores are great for finding out what equipment other parents are using, getting items that do seem useful without killing your bank account, and unloading the inevitable accumulation of stuff you no longer need.

    Another strategy is to cultivate friends with slightly older or larger babies. HIGHLY recommended.

  6. Ester, here are the baby purchases that I didn’t regret:
    1) Quick zip crib sheets (Amazon). So. Easy. To. Clean.
    2) ItzBeen Timer. When all the hours blur together, you can look at your timer and track last diaper change, feeding, medicine (if needed), and nap. Timer has buttons for breastfeeding.
    3) Cheap receiving blankets from Marshall’s. Use those suckers to line the changing pad… It will get cray, and it’s easier to wash those flannel sheets than wash the entire changing pad every time.
    4) BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance (for older infant). Great for parking the baby somewhere so you can shower, eat, etc.
    5) ArmsReach Co-sleeper Mini attachment. Because fully waling and going 8 ft to the nursery 4-5x a night is really a pain for the first 8 weeks.
    6) Ergo baby carrier. Organic. Super soft, breathes, machine-washable, has good lower back support, and is not as hot as BabyBjorn carrier. I was too clumsy and short to make the Maya wrap work for me. Only thing missing was hoagie shield for baby’s head.
    7) TinyLove Island Dreams Mobile. This is how we got to eat dinner for the first few weeks. This thing mesmerized our baby for brief periods of time.

  7. Think carefully before you decide on a stroller. I know parents who cannot live without their strollers, and other parents who never use their stroller. Ever. They carry their adorable tiny infant, & then when said infant is walking at 9 months, that child is walking everywhere. More taxing for you, but an excellent way to thoroughly exhaust your child without extra effort.
    Also consider asking for things that seem far off in the future—ie teething excitement, plastic dishes that will not break even when thrown against the table.
    Finally, I cannot recommend highly enough that you have multiple sets of clothes and linens (for you and said child) that you can, without the slightest hesitancy, toss into the bin. Obviously these should be comfortable, but feel not the slightest bit of remorse as you throw them away for whatever reason.

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