I have started to plan for my first baby’s arrival from the first few month of my pregnancy. We were living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and budgeting was a must.
There are a ton of cute and even cuter baby items for sale in the shops and on the internet all the time. I felt it very hard to restrain myself and just pass by without buying those super sweet baby items. What is essential and what can I live without was a paramount question.
I had to decide what I will be budgeting for and by when I will need these items. I knew I won’t need them until baby comes, but what if baby decides to come 3-4 weeks early? Hind side, it was great to have the essentials in place as it turned out to be very tiring to go out and about with a huge baby belly from 36 weeks on.
Once I was clear what we must have before baby arrives, I looked around to see the price ranges and worked out how much I will have to set aside in the upcoming months. In fact if I have seen an essential item on special, available for a very good price, I bought it 2-3 months before my due date.
I will give you my essentials list in a moment, but let me start with the items you might think of as essentials, but in fact you can be without and you can use that money for more important items.
What items Are unnecessary if you are on a budget?
1. Infant Car-seat with detachable base – it might sound like a great idea and if you are not on a tight budget, you can invest in one. I do not consider it essential as it can be used for a short time. A simple baby-carrier did the job for me, when I took my infant out of the car. Instead of that I got a baby-car seat that can be used from infant to 4 years old.
2. Change-table: I got a chest of drawers with a change-table section on the top, but most of the time I changed my babies on the bed anyways.
3. Baby-monitor: I have never used it and did not miss it either. I have found that as a mother, my ears never sleep, and I woke up to the smallest noise if it came from my children’s bedroom, next to ours.
4. Crib-mobile: a newborn spends most of the time sleeping. Both my daughter and son frequently fall a sleep while feeding. Than I just lay them down in the cot. We didn’t have a crib mobile and I didn’t find it as a missing item.
5. White noise machine: if a baby doesn’t fall a sleep easily, it’s not because of the back ground noise, but because their tummy hurts or they are otherwise uncomfortable. White noise machine will not fix that. On the rare occasions my daughter would not settle, playing music and cradling her worked magic.
6. Wipe-warmer: I didn’t see any need for this item. When the wipe was very cold at winter, I held it in my hand for 20 second to warm it up little. It didn’t need a fancy appliance.
7. Hips of 0000 baby clothes: some blogs say that you need 7-14 sets of baby clothes. Although you might have to change your baby 2-3 times a day, it is impossible to tell in advance how big the baby will be at arrival. Additionally, the babies grow so much within their first few weeks that they need the next size up. Most of the clothes shopping can be done once baby is here and I found it better to buy one size larger bodysuits and jumpsuits than the actual size of the baby . Handy tip, if you are planning to have more babies in the future, buy baby items in gender natural colors and prints as they will not get worn in that short time while their fit, and can be used by multiple babies in the family.
What Are The Essentials?
1. Baby car-seat: it is illegal to carry babies and children in a car without a proper car-seat, and you will need it to take your baby home. There are car-seats you can use from 0-8 years old, which is a bonus, as you don’t need to buy a booster chair later.
2. Baby carrier: I have used BabyBjorn – Original and I loved it as it was comfortable. It has wide solder and back straps which distributes the babies weight evenly on one’s back. Although I have never tried a sling type of baby-carrier, it does not seem to be such design that would be comfortable for both baby and mum.
3. Cot or bassinet. It is very obvious why you need it from day one, so I won’t elaborate on it.
4. At least two unisex cot sheet sets or sheet sets for bassinet. You might find yourself to change the cot sheet 2-3 times a day in the first few months.
5. Cot blankets. You need more than one, in case of an accident, and cold weather.
6. Baby bottle to give baby water, for access breast milk, or formula if no breast milk. I used Phillips Avent Classic Pp Bottle it was easy to clean and wasn’t leaking.
7. Nappies: washable, reusable nappies if you are concerned about the environment, or disposable nappies will be needed from they one. If you choose disposable nappies, the cheapest might not be the best. I have tried several brands and not all worked for us the same. Huggies worked well and surprisingly, the Coles’ Comfy bot’s nappies performed well too, and didn’t cause nappy rush.
8. Pram or Stroller: it is important to take baby out for a walk to the fresh air and mummy needs the walk too. A pram or stroller makes it very easy and enjoyable. Most pram’s have several settings, and can be adjusted lay down the back, if baby falls a sleep.
9. Water-proof mattress cover for the cot mattress is a very handy item. It helps you to keep the mattress clean and dry, one less thing to worry about.
10. Towels and face-washers – these are needed to wash and dry your baby, and the face-washers will be in frequent use during the day after feeds.
When your child begins getting their first teeth, they may experience some pain. Typically, a baby seems irritable and anxious. They require their parent’s comfort through this difficult time in life. It can be very confusing to experience pain without understanding why. It allows you to become more aware of the symptoms of natural teething and the benefits of a parents love in helping their child get through the pain.
What are the Symptoms of Teething?
The symptoms of teething can range from baby to baby. However, there are some generalized symptoms associated with teething that almost every baby goes through:
– Increase in saliva flow
– Inflammation of the gums
– Red cheeks
– Low-grade fever
– Increased thirst
The symptoms of teething can appear several weeks before you notice your baby is teething. You will be able to confirm the problem when your baby develops a little white bump under the gum, which is the tooth trying to poke through gum. Shortly after, you will see a thin white line on the gum surface, which is the enamel of your baby’s first tooth. This is commonly referred to as “breeding the teeth.”
When your baby is fussy from teething pain, taking them into a well-ventilated area may help. Getting fresh air, and a little bit of sunlight can help boost their mood and help relieve pain. You can also provide milk on a regular basis. The proteins in milk ensure the gums remain elastic, moist, and relaxed. Even though you want to provide milk on a regular basis, you do not want to overdo it, too much milk can cause a heaviness in the tummy, causing the development of a second problem that will make your baby fussier.
From the start of teething pain, you will want to use natural remedies to help your baby with the pain. Over-the-counter pain relief gel can harden the gums, making it more difficult for teeth to push through, increasing pain. Babies teeth easier on items like scraped licorice root, or flat teething ring to help with the pain.
A child’s teeth require a lot of care because the health of their first set of teeth will affect the health of their adult teeth later in life. The first tooth becomes visible around the age of six months old. Getting all of their teeth could take between a year to two years after the first tooth has seen. The time depends completely on the child and their individual development.
Unfortunately, many parents take baby teeth for granted because babies get a second set of teeth later in life. I know, I was one them and in a short order I had to re-evaluate this idea. From the moment the first tooth beings to erupt, good dental hygiene should begin but good eating habits too. Even a 100% fresh squeezed orange juice can do a lot of damage if your child is continuously sipping on it. It’s much better if a child is only given water to drink. Munching on cookies and crackers, drinking sugary juices and cordial creates and acidic environment in the mouth and it draws minerals out of the tooth making the dentin weak and prone to tooth decay. The first sign might just be a white spot on the tooth. That is a red flag but at that stage with good nutrition you can reverse this condition. You can read about the flexible whole foods dietary program pioneered by the head of research at the National Dental Association, Weston Price D.D.S. that proved 90-95% effective in halting cavities in Ramiel Nagel’s book: Cure Tooth Decay
It is important to start brushing those baby teeth as soon as they are out. There are a number of toothpastes on the market with xylitol as an active ingredient, which poses less risk than fluoride toothpaste. You can make your own tooth paste as well, mixing coconut oil with baking soda to form a paste. By instilling good oral hygiene, you are setting your child up for a lifetime of being healthy and strong.
So once your child knows day time toilet training, night time training is easy right?
For my daughter Amelia aged 3 we have had fully taken away nappies and pull ups and went head into day and night training at the same time because when we asked her why she wasn’t using the toilet she answered ‘because I don’t want to’. Amelia was getting lazy or too busy in what she was doing.
Now we have gone into day and night training at the same time, we are finding it a lot easier. We usually have no accidents during the day now and at night I put a huggies bed mat on her bed just in case she has an accident so I am not changing her bed sheets every night. During the night they need to learn how to use the toilet so I wake my daughter up before I go to bed and take her to the toilet 9 times out of 10 she goes to the toilet.
Toilet training can be a tricky task and some kids are scared of the toilet. My stepson was a lot is easier to toilet train then my daughter, that just shows you that every child is different.
Also remember to cheer your child on and tell them good job for using the toilet.
At the start of toilet training reward charts or reward systems worked for myself. She got a sticker each time she went then it was treats like quality time with mum if she used the toilet.
At one stage in our children’s life we need to introduce the toilet to our kids, some may love or hate it. Every child is different on when they begin going to the toilet by themselves or just going in general. Also all parents may toilet train differently some may start on the potty as some may go straight to the toilet.
Now what is the right way to toilet train your child every parent may ask. There is no such thing as right way – each child will do it in different stages and in their own time.
At one stage in toilet training kids are going to have accidents. Don’t house bond them as they need to learn how to go to toilet outside of home.
I personally can suggest using sticker charts or a reward system.
For some kids going to the toilet is like a waste of time or they just feel like they have time as our like children have so much fun and play to do! I would suggest taking your child to the toilet every 20-30 minutes when at home even if they say they don’t need to go because this will get them into the habit of going to the toilet.
For my Daughter she never used a potty it was like a toy to her. When she started toilet training it was straight to the toilet and have watched myself go to toilet she wanted to go to the toilet like mummy.
Sometimes in life there are situations that might get them to go backwards in toilet training or in their stages of learning in their life. When my daughter had to have surgery she went extremely backwards, she was going to the toilet perfectly fine before the surgery then after she just wouldn’t go because she was very upset – which I expected. After all the surgery, she was back to normal – it was like starting from scratch.
When we got back into the toilet training again I used pull ups if I knew we will be in the car for a long period or if she was tired. In between that it was underwear and I had a bag of clothes in my car at all times (in case of number 2 accident while toilet training) with spare wipes , clothes and some underwear.
We used a Sticker chart that every time she went to the toilet she got a sticker. In between stickers she would get her favorite piece of fruit like grapes or bananas. I would take her to the toilet every 30 minutes roughly to make sure she was going and this minimised her accidents as she was going to the toilet so often.
If she had an accident she would get in trouble for not going on the toilet as for my daughter she would have an accident straight after going to the toilet. Also every time she got babysat and went to her early learning centre I’d make sure they would continue the toilet training on so we didn’t go backwards all the time.
When toilet train, always remember to stay patient. We have all been though toilet training when younger so it is nothing new to us in that sense.
When night time toilet training I’d suggest going to the toilet before your child goes to bed and a few hours after to ensure they don’t wet the bed.
As each to their own you will find your own special way to toilet train your child.
Self confidence is important not just for ourselves as mum, but this is what we want to nurture in our kids.
How can we do this effectively?
I was listening some TED talks the other night about self confidence. I have especially liked “The skill of self confidence” by Dr. Ivan Joseph because he gave the answer to my question.
The tip from his video is great. We have to catch our kids when they do something good and acknowledge them, instead of criticizing them when they did something wrong. Heck, this will work with everyone else too. We can improve any community by focusing on the good things and reinforcing what is good instead of pulling down others for the thing they have failed in.