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Dude. It’s just a baby.

June 7, 2013

momdrinksonesieMy friend Ashley is pregnant with her first baby. Although several best friends have gone before her, she didn’t ask many questions. In typical Ashley fashion, she didn’t pay much attention at all. She held everyone’s babies, and she has been great with them as they’ve gotten older. She missed the details. Now that it’s relevant, she has requested some clarification.
“Do I really need a fancy car seat?” I don’t know the actual answer to this question. The car seat I chose was made by a major manufacturer. Most importantly, it was cute. I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t put my first born bundle of joy’s safety first when deciding on a restraint system. I’ve never read a safety review. I blindly assumed that the seats they sell at the huge box baby store would be safe. There are exceptions to the rules, I guess. Before the 90s, babies rode home with in the front seat. On mom’s lap. My adorable and practical black and white hounds tooth car seat/stroller combo seemed like an upgrade.
“Should I carry a diaper bag?” Never did. I didn’t even own one. The Boy had a little bag we used for the church nursery and Grandmama’s house, but otherwise I used my purse. I needed a onesie, a couple of extra diapers, some wipes, a snack, and a bottle or cup. Anything more than that, and I packed a suitcase. I can’t remember a single time in 10 years when I didn’t have what I needed. I’m not a fan of bags with bears on them.
“Which video monitor should I buy?” I know many of you out there love to watch your baby all the time. I’m not criticizing or judging you for it. All I know is this: we didn’t have a video monitor, but the regular, noise-only monitor drove us crazy. Babies are noisy. Also noted is the fact that we lived in an 1100 square foot house. If we had the monitor on, we could hear the baby in real time and through the speaker. Overkill. Given my fascination with mine as infants, I would’ve stayed up all night watching a video screen. We got rid of our $20 model and never looked back.
“How do I keep my baby from sucking his thumb? Which pacifier do we choose?” From an orthodontic standpoint, we all wish our kids wouldn’t be thumb suckers. Besides that, putting their grubby fingers in their mouth during cold and flu season is a recipe for the barfs. At some point, quitting is going to be a challenge. Short of amputation, you can’t exactly take a thumb away. However, in the middle of the night, when your precious cherub wakes, long before the alarm, he can always find the thumb. Pacifiers get lost in the dark. Who do you think they’ll call for help?
At 7 months, The Boy voluntarily gave up the pacifier. We were shocked and pleased. That didn’t last long, though. About three months later, he started sucking his thumb. He sucked his thumb until he was at least 6. He wasn’t allowed to put his thumb in his mouth unless he was resting or in bed. If he tried to talk with it in his mouth, we asked him to remove it. He needs braces, but given his genes, they were inevitable.
As far as breast feeding, cloth diapers, and crying it out, you’ll have to decide for yourself. There are way too many strong opinions (and crazy moms) out there for me to even touch those (in public). You need to figure out what’s best for you, your baby, and your family. Don’t stress too much, though. Unless it is related to your baby’s health, you’ll find that it’s not such a big deal. My kids had the cheap car seats. They slept in a basic wooden crib. My mother in law sewed beautiful nursery bedding for The Boy, but The Girl used it, too. I bought whatever diapers and wipes were on sale. After skimming What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I realized it was scarier to know what all was out there. I found a doctor I trusted to answer my questions, and otherwise, well, we winged it.
What do you think people did back in the days before the TV and the instant internet? They relied on family and friends. They also figured it out. You’ll figure it out. By the time you do, the schedule will change, or the kid will suddenly stop eating THAT.
Enjoy your baby. That’s my biggest piece of advice. There is much to fret over. There’s so much more to enjoy, like a newborn’s sweet smell, toothless smiles, and the first full night’s sleep. You don’t really need our help. Just like the millions of moms before you, and without reading any safety report or how-to book, you’ve got this. Oh, and keep a corkscrew within arm’s reach. Wine. Definitely wine.

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