My friend Dana posted this recently:
A while ago, I did a post called Parenting Picks and Pans, Part I.
Now I'd love to hear from you. What are your indispensible products, tools, ideas, or rules that help keep peace and sanity in your home? Even if you have older or grown up kids, I want to hear from you!
So, back to Melissa speaking: I decided I'd post my "Parenting picks and pans" on here, so as to share what we've found works/doesn't work for us:
-Lanolin oil cream for sore nipples during 1st week or so of breastfeeding. Made of pure lamb's wool oil, I believe. Not everyone gets sore nipples, but if you do this stuff is gold.
-Sandy's cloth diapers, terrycloth. The latest cloth diaper craze is fleece, which is also supposed to be superior but which I've not yet tried.
-Bummi's diaper wraps. Cover for cloth diaper that is breathable yet waterproof. Best one IMO.
-Soothers. There is controversy surrounding soother use; why use artificial nipples when nature made the best nipple out there and attached it to mom's body? Also, soothers are frequently recalled for safety malfunctions. They are made of plastic and rubber/silicone. They can interfere with breastfeeding mechanics and milk production if introduced too early. They can interfere with speech development if used too often too long. They can interfere with jaw development if used too often and too long.
YET--the sucking reflex is a physical as well as an emotional need, and some kids just want to suckandsuckandsuck! I couldn't be Ayden's only nipple. I love to breastfeed but seriously, people. Sometimes I just needed an alternate nipple. Thus, the soother.
Washed in the dishwasher daily.
Cleaned (NOT by mouth but with soap and water) if dropped on floor.
And eventually restricted to sleepy time.
Giving up the soother at 2 1/2 years of age was incredibly easy for us (not all people find this to be the case), as we 'gave' Ayden's soothers to a friend's newborn baby, because soothers are for babies and Ayden was now a 'big boy.' He never looked back or complained.
-breastfeeding pillow. Not all women find this helpful. For large breasted women they are a lifesaver. I dragged my breastfeeding pillow with me everywhere for the first 4 months of Ayden's life (I don't have 'breasts,' I have 'large watermelons') and my back killed me if I went without it.
- pouch sling. I got this when Matthew was 2. He currently weighs 22 lbs. He weighed 23 to 24 lbs at that age. I LOVE my pouch sling. Love slings in general, but this is custom fit for my body and folds up into my purse. Didn't have a sling before this due to financial reasons.
-wooden train set with tracks that link together and trains that stick together with magnets. Hours, and hours, and HOURS of peace have been gifted to me by this train set. Also hours of me on the floor with my kids, building and driving trains. Seriously, tons of imaginative, constructive, fun potential here.
-Toddler sized lego for the same reason, only with even MORE imaginative potential
-Wooden blocks made with love by my dad, for the same reasons as above
-BOOKS; what parent can raise a kid without books?! Best authors:
Roald Dahl of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James the Giant Peach
and Max Lucado, among others
-finger paints and a big roll of newsprint type paper that we tape to the table/floor/wall
-leap pads for car trips. Not so interesting around the house, but imperative for car trips.
Things for which we had little to no use:
-bottle bits and gadgets and sterilizers; breastfeed, and you will need very few if any bottle type stuff. If you like/need to pump to get out/work/etc, your basic bottle and nipple (BPA free, of course; many parents are using glass these days) will do but not until your baby is older. Many of my friends have never used bottles with their babies. They are marketed as a necessity but they are not. Any bottle given to your baby that is not filled with your pumped breastmilk compromises your milk supply because milk production is a supply and demand system. All the sterilizers and gas reducing gadgets and the bottle cleaning brushes and dryer racks andandand...they are gadgets for which we had no use. Bottles themselves we used minimally before I went back to work, and then slowly my milk was replaced by the bottle until I had no more milk. It's okay, I was ready to stop, but next time I plan to nurse for much longer, so I don't think we will use a bottle much if at all. After I stopped nursing I loved having my boobs back for about a month, and then I grieved that nursing relationship for another 18 months until Ayden was about 2 1/2.
Anyways, my point is this: minimal, if any, bottles and bottle gadgets were useful for us.
-excessively genderized toys. I hate these.
-baby swing. Both my kids preferred to be held. I preferred to hold them.
-nursing capes. One of the things I loved most about breastfeeding was the eye contact and visual connection between me and my child. Nursing capes are supposed to help one be modest. I don't think breastfeeding is immodest so I naturally didn't care for draping a cape that would cut out eye contact and visual connection between me and my child over my shoulder and my kid's head. Besides, it's too hot for both mom and baby. Older babies pull it off. What use is this, I ask?
-breastfeeding clothes. My breasts are too big to allow me to unzip a breast pocket without half of my 'watermelons' spilling out. That was immodest even for me. Shirt pulled up worked best.
-battery operated toys in general, and especially remote controlled cars. The boys prefer to use their IMAGINATIONS and fine motor skills and voices when playing with toys, particularly vehicles.
The leap pads are an exception to the battery operated rule.
Imperative Non Object Parenting Tools;
-Trust in one's own instinct. We're hard wired to respond to our babies and kids appropriately. Trusting my instinct is paramount and got me through those first bumpy, full of learning years.
-Prayer. I pray for them, for my fears, for their future spouses, for insight into their temperaments and learning styles, for PATIENCE, for their nightmares and friends and little pets and little tragedies.
-Gentleness and forgiveness for myself, when I make mistakes, which I do. Each day starts fresh for me, releasing the errors or grouchiness or impatience of yesterday and embracing all the laughter, energy, love, and GOOD moments I had yesterday to build upon today. (Generally tough if one snaps at one's three year old before breakfast, just for being perky first thing in the morning, but still...I can't survive if I hold onto my guilt).