Thursday, March 25, 2010

Advice For New Moms

Congratulations to the women who recently had children or are about to give birth. This Mother's Day you've earned the title of "mom."

Becoming a mother can be a wonderful, if not nervewracking, experience. You want to be sure you do everything right by your baby. However, with mixed messages from experts and well-meaning friends and family members, it can be confusing. Plus, with so many baby products on the market, many new moms wonder what they should buy, and what they can pass up.

Based on advice from veteran mothers, here are some tips for surviving those first few months with your new baby.

What to Buy

When stocking up on baby essentials, here are the items you will likely use again and again.

* Infant sleeping sacks: It is recommended to place your baby to sleep on his or her back and in a place free of items that can potentially smother the child. This also means blankets. Therefore, skip the package of receiving blankets and opt for zip-up sleeping sacks instead.

* Bassinet or co-sleeper: Your baby spent over nine months nestled inside of your womb. Once born, he or she isn't going to appreciate the wide expanse of a crib. A smaller area in which to bed down will create that safe environment desired. Plus, a bassinet can be kept in your room while you sleep or on another level if you don't want to disturb other members of the household when the baby awakens to be fed.

* Diaper bags: You may want to invest in two sizes of diaper bags. Pick a large one for when you're going to be out for a while and need to pack a change of clothes, toys and other essentials. A smaller bag will be good for quick stops to the store or if you're just running out for a few minutes and need to bring along the basics.

* Anti-colic bottles: Splurge a little on the bottles and/or nipples that are supposed to reduce the amount of air ingested while bottle feeding. Instead of buying bottles after bottles in search of one that works, go straight to the top and avoid the hassles. These also can be beneficial to breastfeeding mothers who may want to share feedings with a spouse or family member.

* Entertainment: As your baby grows, he or she will want to try out new tricks. Simply being placed on a blanket or in the crib will not suffice. A swing can be a good way to have your hands free for a while. Today's swings are innovative in that they offer vibration, music, lights, motion in different direction, and many other bells and whistles. You can also invest in an exercise saucer. They're safer than walkers and can be used with babies who are able to hold their head up adequately (from about 4 months on). This gives the child the feeling of being vertical and enables the child to stretch his or her legs.

* Smaller sized bags of diapers: Babies grow very quickly. If you stock up on cases of one particular sized disposable diaper, chances are your little one will out grow the size before you use up the hundreds of diapers. Some manufacturers now offer dual-sized diapers, meaning they stretch the weight limit a little so you can get more use out of a particular size.

What You May Want to Pass On

Here are a few items you can probably live without.

* Bottle warmers: Some mothers swear by bottle warmers, while others simply swear at them. Bottle warmers often work by placing a small amount of water in the bottle of a heating area. The water creates steam, which heats up the bottle. It takes a precise amount of water to heat the bottle accurately -- something that is often tricky when you're sleep deprived and doing the warming at 3 a.m. It is not essential to heat baby bottles. There are no health implications if you give a baby a cold bottle. Heating is more for comfort. Running the bottle under hot tap water or microwaving a plastic container of water and then placing the bottle inside is equally effective.

* Wipe warmers: Sure, the thought of wiping your baby with warm wipes seems very appealing. However, as your baby grows, you will be changing him or her on the go or in other areas of the house; not necessarily in the nursery where the wipe warmer is located.

* Fancy bottle sterilizers: You can sterilizer bottles by boiling them in water or running them through the dishwasher.

* Video monitors: Sure the thought of seeing your little one while he or she is sleeping can be reassuring. However, is this more of a novelty than a necessity? Did you know that much like a cordless phone signal can be accidentally shared by someone on the same frequency, so too can the monitor? It's possible for someone crafty to tap into the signal and "see" inside of your house. If you don't believe you will be using the monitors that frequently, chances are you can simply use the audio models instead.

* Babies only detergent: Laundry detergent marketed to parents of infants tends to be some of the most expensive out there. There are other brands available that are free of dyes and preservatives that may be more affordable. Plus, you won't have to worry about doing separate batches of laundry from your own.

CAPTION: Welcome to the world of motherhood. There are a lot of things you will learn as you go along.

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