by Danielle Schultz
For the fussy times… Even the most mild-tempered babies get fussy on occasion. The following tips are ones that have either worked for me, or sworn-by from a fellow parent.
Get a Sling A sling is by far, the most useful piece of baby equipment I own. You can purchase slings in most stores carrying baby items, near the “other” baby carriers. Slings can be worn a variety of ways and allow for discreet breast-feeding. When baby is fussing to be held, you can wear the sling while you do your household chores. (*Please note: NEVER wear baby in a sling while cooking or cleaning with chemicals.) You will see the sling mentioned in other sections of this article, like I said, it is the most useful piece of equipment I own.
The Sound of Water I have used the sound of water several ways to soothe a fussy baby. When my firstborn was fussy, I could open up the washing machine, start the water, and she would quiet down instantly. Of course, this meant getting the laundry started some nights at 3 a.m.! Running a warm shower also can calm a fussy baby. If these work, you can try recording these sounds with a tape player, it might help with your water bill! And of course, don’t forget the pre-recorded water sounds. You can now get tapes and compact disks in such varieties as: babbling brook, rain forest, summer rain, and the like.
Mommy’s Scent I found that my babies slept the best during the day while on my chest. I have to admit that I enjoyed this time together, but it was hard to get any of the household chores done. I got the wild idea to try placing something with my scent in with sleeping baby. I discovered that when I did this, her naps lasted a little longer and she tossed and turned less. To “scent” something for your baby, you can wear a cloth diaper (or other suitable fabric) up next to your body for a few hours. You may also use last night’s night shirt as today’s baby blanket. It sounds strange, but I found it to work like a charm.
On The Go… Cart Returns If you do your grocery shopping with baby in the car seat, try and find a parking place near the cart return. This will save you from having to carry baby all the way inside in the car seat. An extra bonus to this hint: you won’t have to feel guilty about not returning the cart to the store afterwards.
With More Than One If this is not your first baby, you may find that fitting two or more children plus groceries into your cart virtually impossible. Ask your store manager about the new style of carts available with two seats attached near the handle. I stopped in a grocery store I don’t usually frequent and discovered one of these “limousines of shopping carts.” I mentioned the experience to the manager of my regular grocery store, and low-and-behold they had one at my store within a week. Another suggestion is shopping with baby in a sling instead of the car seat. Allow your older child to ride in the shopping cart seat. This leaves much more room in the cart for your groceries, plus your baby gets to snuggle while you shop.
Bath Time and Beyond… One-Handed Baby Soap Transfer your baby soap/shampoo into hand pumps intended for hand soap. These pumps dispense just the right amount of soap/shampoo, and leave one hand free for holding on to baby.
Squeaky Clean Scalps I found with my girls that just using my hands or even a wash cloth on baby’s hair didn’t loosen all of the dead skin cells. This of course, resulted in a flaky scalp. I discovered that a soft fingernail scrubbing brush worked well to solve this problem. After lathering, I simply used the fingernail brush to gently brush the shampoo through baby’s hair. This loosened the dead skin resulting in a squeaky clean scalp.
Hold on to that Bottle Save the episiotomy care bottle they give you in the hospital. These bottles are perfect for rinsing baby’s hair. Fill the bottle while running the bath water and float in the tub. When it’s time to rinse baby’s hair, you have warm, clean water that is dispensed at just the right pressure for baby’s head. If you don’t have the epi bottle any longer, or just can’t bring yourself to use it, I have heard that a plant watering can also works well.
Warm Lotion If you like to lotion your baby after a bath, take the chill off the lotion by placing the bottle in the bath water while you bathe baby. By the time you are finished, the lotion is nice and warm to baby’s skin.
Two Washcloths = Warm Baby When gathering baby’s bath supplies, grab one extra adult-sized washcloth. Wet the washcloth in the warm water and spread out over baby’s tummy while you wash the other parts of his body. This will help to keep him warm. Periodically warm the washcloth by dipping in the warm water, as the water on the washcloth will cool fairly quickly.
Bath Time = Vitamin Time If your child is required to take liquid vitamin supplements, bath time is a good time to give them. Any drips are easily washed off instead of staining clothes.
Keeping it Straight… Shoe Holder Organizer If you find yourself short on space for all of those baby goodies, put up a clear shoe holder designed to hang on the back of a door. These usually have about sixteen compartments and are perfect for holding goodies such as shoes, hats, lotions, clippers, pins and other small baby paraphernalia.
Diapers… Underpads for Changing Pads Replace the changing pads in your diaper bag with underpads. Underpads are disposable pads sold with the adult bladder control products (much like the ones they put beneath you in the hospital.) When you are out with baby, you may use the underpads instead of a changing pad, and throw away with the diaper. This keeps foreign germs from making their way into your diaper bag. Plus when new babies urinate unexpectedly between diapers, they absorb the mess.
Diaper Caddy Many storage caddies with handles are out on the market these days. These caddies are perfect for diapering goodies. Diapers fit in one side, and the other side can be filled with pins, lotions and powders. If you change baby in more than one room, transport is a snap in one of these caddies.
Wet Wipes If you purchase more than one package of baby wipes at a time, you might notice they have a tendency to dry out. To combat this, simply store them upside down. This helps to keep the “top” wipes moist, and once opened, the moisture soaks back through the stack.
Mommy Musts… Packing Mom’s Lunch Some days with a newborn can be quite busy, and sometime chaotic. It is very important, however, that mom takes good care of herself along with baby and the household duties. I found that by lunchtime, making myself lunch was somewhat of a chore. So I began “packing” my lunch early in the morning. I’d prepare a lunch-sized portion of leftovers in a microwave ready bowl, or make a sandwich. That way by lunchtime, taking care of my needs was only as difficult as a stroll to the kitchen.
Keeping it Clean… Scotchguard Saviour Babies, even newborns, have a knack for staining clothing. I have found Scotchguard in the spray can to be a life-saver. I once bought an outfit that advertised that it was treated with Scotchguard. Amazingly enough, my messy two-year-old daughter was unable to stain this outfit. Ever since, I keep a can of Scotchguard with my cleaning supplies, and every new outfit is treated before washing. I simply spray, allow to dry, and then wash before she wears it. I have been amazed to simply wipe red juice off an outfit. I just wish I knew about this when my first was a baby, but alas, we got a second chance! And #2 hasn’t made a permanent stain yet.