I just got back from an event hosted by MomTrends about traveling with family. It was a beautiful event I will talk about later but for now I want to focus on what I wish I knew before having kids. I feel like when mine were really young I spent most of my days awash in gear and second guessing. My house was filled with stuff and my head was full of doubt. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done too much differently because as crazy as it was, it got us here and here is pretty good. But, there are some things I wish I knew before I had my babies because if I had, things may have gone a little smoother.
Here are five things I wish I knew before my first baby was born.
- You don’t need much and it’s best to wait and buy what you do need when they are ready to use it. This could go for everything-bottles, pacifiers, diapers, but this time I’m specifically talking about strollers. I think I’ve had ten and I only really liked two of them. The first was that stroll n go that isn’t even a stroller but a set of wheels for the infant car seat. The thing is genius and now they even come with cup holders. Get that. Then decide what type of stroller suits you AFTER you figure out what life with a baby is like. I did not need a huge Cadillac of strollers. I needed small, easy to fold and (soon) seats two. I found that but it was well after I’d wasted money on other ones first.
- They don’t wear many clothes at first and if it’s summer they don’t wear many at all. Sure, all those 3 and four piece outfits are adorable, but let’s face it, babies aren’t dressed much. First, they’re floppy, so you try putting formal wear on a wet noodle and see how long that lasts. Second, they poop a lot, so changing intricate outfits is a bitch and third, who doesn’t love a t-shirt and diaper when it’s warm? Heck, I’d wear it if I could.
- It’s ok to leave babies in cribs while you shower. In the very beginning, I remember thinking I could never take my eyes off her or it made me a bad mom. I quickly learned the bouncy seat (then exersaucer) in the bathroom trick, but it meant I never, ever relaxed. Showers are good for moms. Showers with babies safely resting in cribs or pack n plays or somewhere other than the bathroom floor, are even better for moms.
- The Most Expensive Thing Isn’t Always the Best Thing: I remember when my first was born the Italian stroller/car seat combination was huge. But everything I read said Graco had the best safety rating. I was so torn over that decision because Graco just seemed so “plain”. I wanted my baby to have the best. Of course shouldn’t the Prima Bambino Expensivo Blah Blah Blah be better than an old Middle class ” ‘Murican” Graco? I went withe Graco. It was awesome. It saved us about forty bucks and we used it for all three kids. Score one for The Amuricans.
- Sometimes it’s worth it to spend the money. Remember I told you I owned ten strollers? Yeah that was only a slight exaggeration. I gathered most of my strollers and at least three baby carriers in an attempt to find ones that I loved that didn’t cost me a monthly car payment or the same as an entire set of pots and pans. After many failed attempts, I finally broke down and bought a McClaren umbrella stroller and an Ergo Baby carrier after my second was born. The stroller wasn’t even the most expensive, (the carrier was) but my fancy NYC friends had the stroller and my earth mama friend had the Ergo so I thought I had really made it. I’ll tell you what (suddenly, I’m Texan). I just stopped pushing that McClaren, six years and two kids later and it was worth every penny. As for the carrier? Yes, it was probably the most expensive, but it was for sure the best. I used it for what seemed like forever. Probably too long-The Baby still makes me carry him around all the time and he’s five! I’ll tell you what I know, I wish I had the money back that I wasted on all the other strollers and carriers I bought in an attempt to avoid paying a higher price. Sometimes, the baby gear is worth the price they’re asking.
And the bonus item is the one regret The Husband and I have (and we COULD have many) which is: You Don’t Need to Move to the Suburbs to Have Babies. I got pregnant and we sold our house in the city. Dumbest decision ever. I wish we kept our tiny, manageable city home with the manageable rent. Babies don’t take up much space at first. Until they’re in school, enjoy city living. There’s nothing better than strollers and parks and coffee shops and the built in support that comes with that.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.