Friday, January 11

This is not a mommy blog, really.

But a friend of a friend is having her first child and asks, "what 'thing' was most essential as a new mother?" She's not talking sleep or a sense of humor, she kinda gets that (or she will soon, except for the sleep thing) but she feels a great sense of pressure to buy her way out of first mother anxiety and would like to avoid that.

My advice is a fold-upable port-a-crib. We used ours more than anything except the car seats.

And then there's Blue Gal's Patented Feed Your Child Flow Chart:

If you have any thoughts about what you really truly need to own when you're a new mother leave it below she knows where to look for it. And thanks.


  1. The only "things" I had when we had our first child were diapers, a car seat, some clothes and a sling. The rest is just "bling"

    But if I had to choose something besides that, I'd buy comfy pillows or a boppy for comfortable nursing.
    A VERY comfortable chair to feed and rock baby in.
    A housecleaning service.
    Stock the freezer with easy to prepare meals for the first month or two.

  2. Anonymous7:22 PM

    Your friend of a friend needs a "sleep machine", an alarm clock that can be programmed to give an hour of the sound of waves or rain. It's really critical -- not for baby, but for her. It's hard for many to just drop off right away until they're so tired they can't stand or think.

    My first daughter was colicky, and me and the missus shared the nightly walks. It really helped both of us get back to sleep.

    I'm not sure this is a good idea, though, if baby is sleeping in the same room.

  3. My advice regarding co-sleeping, sharing rooms with a newborn, etc...

    Cut that shit out. Seriously. Stop it.

    First babies you do insane things like that. After the first one, I slept with the baby in a room away from my husband until they were ten pounds which with the full-fat ready whip comin' outta my boobs was about three weeks for both girls. Once they're ten pounds they can sleep through the night so I put earplugs in and got up early.

    Meanest mommy? Damn right.

    Sleep is the most important thing a first-time mother can have. Everybody says it and no first-time mother believes it. Believe it.

  4. Anonymous9:06 PM

    My father's, The German Engineer's, Guide to Parenting?

    "Keep one end wet
    and the other end dry."

    (To which his childless, Al-Anon alumna daughter adds:
    "And the wisdom to know the difference.")

    Sorry, no great advice. Just anectotal humor from this end.

  5. Anonymous9:43 PM

    As an aunt, not a mother, I can't share a personal experience, but my sister-in-law and others believe in taking a nap when the baby finally sleeps. And when they are older, read to them and have them watch you read. That will instill the love of reading for a lifetime.

  6. Anonymous1:05 AM

    Wrong! Take out the earplugs and listen to your baby. They, and they alone will tell you exactly what you should do. Don't let our society's preconceived notions about conditioning babies (and mommies) to conform to some silly sleep schedule nonsense. Sleep when baby sleeps, nurse when baby wants to nurse. Listen to your baby, they are wise.

  7. Voting with Carla, but from a different angle:

    You want a friend for life? Bake a shee-whack of casseroles (and keep them varied), freeze them, and hand them over before the shower.

    If the freezer is full, get them a microwave. They'll need it.

    BG -

    We had a friend over a few years back, when our neighbour knocked on the door to say hi and hang out for an hour or so. Our friend was shocked, as the neighbour had a baby a few days prior, and was amazed with the recovery. The amazement was greeted with a shrug.

    "It's my third," came the explanation, "and I know enough by now to tell mom to come over when I need a breather instead of waiting for her to ask."

    Difference between first and third, eh?

  8. Hi,

    I am not commenting on your last blog, I was thinking u might find

    interesting. I read crooksand very often, found u there.

    Good luck

  9. There's a cool modular car seat/stroller thing one of my friends has for her wee one. The kid stays in unit A, but unit A can then strap into either the stroller or a pre-secured car seat. It makes things easier, because you don't have to keep undoing and restrapping in the kid.

    Other than that, it's the big bag o' stuff, most of all sippy cups and handy wipes, I guess. But I'm sure parents know more cool loot...

  10. bg

    you deserve a break today

    (boy my mother sat me in front of the television wasy too often)

  11. anarchist mom this is not an argument either of us is going to win, but let me clarify. I was not saying you should conform your baby to anything, but that once a baby weighs ten pounds they are physically capable of sleeping 6-8 hours without a feeding, just like we all (hopefully, sometimes) do.

    Don't get me started about "They, and they alone will tell you exactly what you should do." In my house? I'm the Mommy. They try to tell me what to do, sure, and very very often they succeed. But I'm the Mommy and the firm unconditional fierce love that comes with that territory includes just a bit of authority. pfft.

  12. Anonymous8:45 AM

    We followed the BG prescription for our second daughter, and it worked well. Our first, though, was just plain miserable for over two horrible months. Colic is a real problem, and not just a learned response.

    Walking her helped mostly because my wife could sleep through the crying, knowing the baby was in good hands. I don't think the baby cared too much -- she was in too much discomfort.

    I was kind of wondering if anyone had any suggestions on using the "sleep machine" for a colicky baby -- whether it was a good idea, or might inhibit mental development. I've heard the white noise of waves or rain is suggested as a means to help colicky babies sleep. To be honest, I originally bought our "sleep machine" to try it on our first daughter to see if it would help. But the missus thought that might be a bad idea. We ended up chickening out, and just using it for ourselves.

    It did help us. And neither daughter turned into a zombie or axe murderer. Just normal teenagers.

  13. I have 4 kids, so here are the things I couldn't live without --

    * lots and lots of one-piece baby suits
    * a boppy pillow with washable cover
    * a really good breastpump (if you're nursing) and the ziploc-style milk bags for freezing
    * a pizza cutter (once the kid gets able to eat solid food -- it's great for cutting up food into toddler-size bites quickly)
    * a Maya wrap or similar baby sling (I had several different styles and used them all like crazy!)
    * a port-a-crib with removable co-sleeper (probably the most useful thing EVER!)

  14. Anonymous8:04 PM

    What is so magical about 10 pounds? Sounds pretty arbitrary to me. It sounds just as arbitrary as sleep schedules, feeding schedules, and the like; which really is about conforming.

  15. Anonymous10:15 AM

    It's just about getting back to a semi-normal sleep schedule as soon as possible, anarchist mom.

    Ten thousand years ago we were all jibbering, illiterate hunter-gatherers walking around in a semi-stuporous state because we couldn't get a good night's sleep. We spent all night trying to keep an eye on the cave entrance, startling at every sound and hoping we wouldn't wake up with a limb in the mouth of a sabre-toothed tiger.

    Of course, some beautiful crone cave woman got the idea of trying to domesticate some of the wolves that would come near the fire for warmth and scraps. Thanks to her, wolves were domesticated and became dogs. The men and women of the cave got a good night's sleep for the first time in their evolutionary lives, because the dogs would give a warning if the bears were at the door. The result was the ability to sleep at night and think during the day, and civilization as we know it, both good and bad.

    I spent months in that semi-stuporous cave person state with my first daughter, anarchist. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

    And kids do respond to some structure. Kids need a stable framework to build on.

  16. Ah... I know that semi-stuporous state well. :) I have a 2-year-old who simply doesn't need more than 6 hours of sleep... tops. Seriously. And I'm really an 8-hour person.

    I can't wait until he's old enough to make himself a peanut butter sandwich and turn on a video by himself. Sorry... I know I sound like a bad mom... but if he's naturally hyper and I'm naturally not, I gotta do what I gotta do, yanno?

  17. I slept with one toddler and one newborn under each arm for a solid year. It was a great way to get some distance between me and my asshat (now ex)husband.

    I don't understand why people have such a problem with co-sleeping or whatever you call it. The baby wants food, give it the tit. Baby shuts up and goes back to sleep. Nobody has to get up or do anything. Nice.

  18. Anonymous10:39 AM

    I guess I don't understand why 10 pounds is a magical weight after which it is 'okay' to condition your child to conform to our cultures norms of sleeping and waking. Children will adapt to ANYTHING. Because they can doesn't mean adapting them to ANYTHING is okay.

    I highly doubt cave dwelling moms lost much sleep, they co-slept. And with a boob handy, night feedings don't require hardly waking at all. Channelling Dr. McKenna anyone?

  19. I think a new mom should have a rocking chair. so nice for mom and baby!

    also - this may sound weird - but think about a fishing vest. 1000 pockets for everything you need to carry and your arms are free! plus it's a different kind of fashion statement. but free arms are really the thing....


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