The useful and the not so much.

In the months before Oscar arrived, we made list after list of all the things we needed. We wanted to be as prepared as possible and asked everyone we knew for advice on what the ‘must have’ items were so that we didn’t miss anything. The problem was, we took on almost every suggestion and simply bought too much. Many items were either not used at all or maybe used once or twice. Now that Oscar is 4 months old, we are starting to pack up and store all the things that he has outgrown in order to gain some house space back. This has inspired me to share what baby items we think made our life as new parents easier and if we could go back in time, the few that we wish we hadn’t bothered with. The useful

  • Moses basket – Oscar slept in this basket for the first 12 weeks of his life before he outgrew it. That might not seem like that long but it sure feels like it. I found it really useful as it was mobile so we could just pick it up and move him from room to room while he was sleeping. In those first few months I didn’t want him out of my sight so it was definitely a must have and I will use it again when we have another baby. We had borrowed a traditional bassinet from a friend to use at night but he didn’t like sleeping in it and we actually had to sit the moses basket inside for him to sleep.
  • Fisher Price cradle swing – We didn’t buy our one until Oscar was 8 weeks old but I wish we had of bought it earlier. The first day we used it, we were able to watch an entire movie without having to pause or stop to attend to Oscar. He loves the rocking motion and it gave our arms a well deserved break! He is happy to sit in it and smile at himself in the reflection of the mirror while we cook dinner in the kitchen. We are feeling a little sad that he is growing so fast and soon won’t fit in it. We probably only have another 7-8 weeks before we will have to pack the swing away but in my opinion it was worth every cent for the time we have been able to use it.
  • Decent pram/stroller – I think this is an important one. The way we saw it, a pram is basically a mode of transport and if your budget will allow it, it’s well worth the investment of buying a decent one. After all, it’s something you will be needing to use for the next few years. My advice would be to have an idea of what you want from a pram e.g. smooth steering, plenty of shade/rain cover, plenty of space for nappy bag etc, easy/quick fold away. I would then recommend visiting a specialised baby shop rather than just the baby section of a superstore. The variety is wider and plus you then have the knowledge of the shop assistants should you need help. If you find the prices in those stores too expensive you can always take down the name/model of the pram you like and then you look online to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.
  • Baby monitor – We didn’t use it much when Oscar was newborn as he was almost always in the same room as us. Now when he naps and we want to do something at the other end of the house or outside we can just turn it on. It saves us from having to constantly check that he isn’t awake. We chose a baby monitor that came with movement pads to reassure us that he was always breathing but if we could go back in time we would have chosen one that also had video monitoring.
  • Digital thermometer – We have used this a number of times already although thankfully he hasn’t had a fever yet.  We just like to check his temperature in the days following his vaccinations. It’s a relief to be able to eliminate fever. I imagine there would be nothing worse than having a screaming baby in the middle of the night and not knowing if he has a high temperature. You need to know.
  • Breastfeeding pillow – This just made feeding so much easier on my shoulders and arms. He did outgrow it quite quickly (at about 12 weeks) but i still think it was well worth having.
  • Bodysuits – Oscar lives in these; specifically Bonds Wondersuits/ZipUps. I honestly thought that the only difference between Bonds and other bodysuits was the price but I was wrong. We bought a mix of Bonds and other brands but the Bonds are the ones that not only fit the best but hold their shape better after washing. They also have the hand and feet covers for sleeping. Some of the cheaper brands also have these hand covers so I went and bought a bunch to try out only to find that he is able to get his hands out in a matter of minutes. Oscar has a couple of the really thin summer ones, a few of the terry cloth ones and a few of the cotton ZipUps. Bonds might cost more but if you ask me, they’re worth it.

The not so useful

  • Stuffed toys – Honestly, don’t buy these. I guarantee someone will buy them for you. Other than being something to decorate a room, they are useless. We have so many of these, some we bought ourselves but most were given as gifts. Newborns don’t use toys or even acknowledge them. Oscar is now a bit older and interested but only in toys that rustle or are bright and dangly. Ones that have clips on them are even better as then you can attach them to your pram. Stuffed toys just take up space if you ask me.
  • Shoes – Baby shoes have got to be one of the cutest things in existence. For this reason, Oscar is the proud owner of  12 pairs. But here’s the thing. HE CAN’T EVEN WALK. Baby shoes are not in the slightest bit useful! I know this, yet I can’t stop buying them. I’m really just putting this on the ‘not useful’ list in case you have more willpower than we do. Seriously, just this week I bought another pair for him. It’s a sickness, people. Don’t get sucked into it!
  • Bottles – I had always planned to breastfeed Oscar but there was a big part of me that was sure I wouldn’t succeed. For that reason we went out and bought everything that we would need in the case of formula feeding. We absolutely jumped the gun and now we have 8 bottles and a bottle sterilizer taking up space and gathering dust. We should have just waited to see how breastfeeding went first.
  • Fancy cute clothes – Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable a tiny baby looks in fancy cute clothes? As adorable as those overalls are or as dapper as suspenders look, they don’t work and are such a waste of money. Wait until they are older so their shirts don’t ride up under their armpits and they don’t have to suffer tight bands around their waists. Onesies, singlets and loose banded leggings are a baby’s best friend.

A few other notable mentions;

  • A baby bath will be outgrown very quickly so maybe just borrow one instead of buying or even just use the family bath right from the get go.
  • Don’t stock up on newborn nappies, they grow up into the next size so quickly. Oscar had already gone from newborn, to infant, to crawler size by the time he was 15 weeks old. He is a bit of heavyweight though.
  • We bought an Ergo carrier and while it’s great, we wish we had of gone for the Ergo 360 rather than the Ergo Performance. Simply because it would be nice to be able to carry Oscar front facing sometimes especially now that he is interested in seeing everything. It looks like a scene from the Exorcist the way he twists his head around to see the world. I’m considering buying the 360 but still in the process on convincing myself it’s not a waste of money to have 2 Ergos.
  • If you are going to be using disposable nappies, Huggies are the most absorbent. Simple as that. Our local IGA doesn’t sell Huggies and on the few occasions that we have shopped there and had to buy a different brand, those nappies have sucked. One night we had 3 separate outfit changes due to leaky nappies. In the middle of the night, that’s the last thing you and your baby want.

Every baby is different so the things that worked best for us may not work for you but there you have it.

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An exhausting week for everyone

It’s been rough in our house over the last week but we are finally coming out the other side.

Oscar is currently in the 4th leap according to the Wonder Weeks app and sleep regression has been an issue. He is up a lot more often for feeds during the night and it can sometimes take quite a while for him to go back to sleep afterwards. That alone is enough to make it an exhausting week. But then I caught a cold. Let me tell you, looking after a baby when you are sick, sucks. I desperately didn’t want Oscar to catch it but I think it was almost inevitable. Being that I’m home alone with him all day constantly needing to feed, change and give him attention (did I mention that this 4th leap means he demands a lot of attention) it would have been a miracle if he didn’t catch it. Thankfully it was a fairly mild cold. Candice went out and bought a steam vaporizer and some chest rub to help with his breathing and both helped a lot. The poor kid also seems to be teething pretty hardcore. It’s Drool City over here, population: Oscar. He is chewing on everything and is really whiny. He has also started a new thing where he pushes his tongue down really hard onto his bottom gums and will contort his face into quite an unflattering expression. I guess it feels good on his sore gums? I’ll try to get a photo and post it to show what I mean.

Poor Oscar, he basically just won the trifecta of shitty things to occur simultaneously. He has looked simply miserable at times. Amazingly though, we have still been seeing plenty of smiles and he also gave us his first ever laugh about a week ago. It was glorious!

Candice has now caught the cold off Oscar and she seems to have had it the worst. It’s like it has mutated into something awful. She’s up coughing a lot through the night and it seems to be dragging on a lot longer than it did for Oscar and I. We just want a healthy house again!

We took Oscar for his 4 month vaccinations last week and he did a lot better than the first time. He still cried of course, but it was quick and afterwards he was fine. Now that he is so interested in his surroundings, it’s easy to distract him from what’s going on.

And on that note, Oscar the grouch has just awoken.

Before I go, here are some photos of our sick but gorgeous babe.

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Once a stranger

This morning I’ve been scrolling through photos from Oscar’s first week at home. The older he gets the more he feels like a stranger in those newborn photos. A beautiful stranger, though a stranger nonetheless. It’s odd to feel this way because I pretty much spent every waking moment gazing at his face and bonding silently with him. In those first few weeks, that’s all you can really do.

I feel so overwhelmed when I do think back a few months to that time. He slept so often back then but I remember feeling so much more exhausted and emotional than I do these days.

Yesterday marked 4 months since we brought him home from hospital and he is so interactive now. He is ridiculously aware of everything around him and it’s really quite impressive. He knows now when he hears the bath tap running that it’s his favourite time of the day. He senses when we aren’t close enough to him. Just in the last week or so he has become aware of our 2 dogs and his eyes will follow them with interest around the room. Little does he know that those dogs are destined to become 2 of his first best friends.

The tiny stranger in the photo below has now transformed into someone I know so very, very well.

He’s such a happy, gentle and chilled out baby.

We absolutely hit the jackpot.

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At 1 week old above and 4 months old below.

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