A few weeks into this new mom all over again thing and I think I'm finally getting a handle on it. My first batch of kids are all teenagers now and while I thought I knew exactly what I was doing, turns out I don't know much. Our first night home, about two in the morning, my husband and I looked at each other and said "What are we 20? Did we forget everything?" Now I realize this post is going to sound somewhat commercial but I am just sharing what I learned since I had no idea what to buy till after little one was actually out and buying wasn't so easy then. Maybe this will help you out.

I couldn't get any sleep. Even when the baby slept I was hovering over the crib making sure he was breathing. His crib is at the foot of my bed. I remember doing this with my other kids, but I also slept alone then, so bringing them to my bed was no big deal. I also wasn't bombarded with messages like this. Back then, the only warnings people gave you about co-sleeping was that it made your child spoiled. The answer was The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper. My husband brought this home to me on day 4 and I slept like a baby… for three hours at a time… all night long. My son now sleeps between us at night and I pop him out of his little snuggle nest for nursing and right back in again when he's done. I can then drift back off to sleep and check on the baby whenever without actually moving or even fully waking up. This only worked for a the first month or so though. He was too big for it after that.

Another new favorite toy is the Moby. It's a loaner from a friend who wants it back when she has another baby. She likes it because it doesn't go between the legs like other carriers and her son had some complications with his boy bits that made that a very desirable feature. It took awhile for me to get around to using it because I had a C-section scar to contend with, but once I started experimenting with it, I love it. It allows me to do all sorts of things, like blog, that are not so easy when little man isn't strapped securely to my chest. Now the Moby takes practice and a little work to get it right. I studied the website for days and had lots of practice runs before I was fully functional with it. It's easier than it looks and it's harder than it looks all at once, if that makes any sense at all.

I had a C-section, which is something I was completely unprepared for. First, I couldn't drive or lift anything heavier than the baby, including the baby in the car seat. So everywhere I went I needed a driver/baby carrier person. Then I could drive and lift, but carrying became a painful problem. All of my helpers were back home or back to work, but my son and I still needed to go to doctors' appointments and to the lab for blood work. So my husband, the solver of all problems, bought me a Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Stroller (since we already had a Graco Snugride carseat). Awesome thing. I just pop the seat out of base in the car and into the frame of the stroller, snap it in and go. Doctor's visits have become manageable and I am less crabby. Graco also has some more elaborate travel systems which would probably have been more useful over the long haul, but they cost more so we chose the least expensive option for a quick fix. They're also a bit bigger and heavier and I have no abdominal strength for the time being and a very small car so this is the best choice for us right now. This stroller fits snugly in the space between the back seat and the drivers' seat and folds up super easy (unfolds slightly less easily but not too bad).

Speaking of carseats, the first time we tried to jam our stiff snowsuited baby into a carseat was a nightmare. He screamed and wailed like we were torturing him and the buckles just didn't fit right once we finally got him in. The nurses standing by didn't bother to mention to us that we weren't supposed to put him in wearing a snowsuit, we learned that from the internet. Later on, as I was examining the Kiddopotomus Swaddler my mom had given us as a gift and discovered a little hole in the back. My husband joked that it was for the monkey's tail and suddenly a lightbulb went on. It's for the carseat buckle! So I stuck that swaddler right in the carseat and now instead of fighting to get baby into an icky uncomfortable snowsuit that makes the buckles fit wrong, I tuck him into the carseat with the swaddler already inside, the buckle poking through the hole, buckle him in and swaddle him up over the buckles, snug as a bug! Warm, safe and comfy. This thing is genius! I have a cotton Summer swaddler for indoors as well. I realize it looks like a baby straight jacket, but he really likes it, I swear. Of course, he is getting bigger and more active so it'll be all over for the swaddlers soon, I fear.

And now that I've listed some of my favorite things, let me tell you about stuff I wasted money on.

First, the Onaroo PBA, what a useless thing. I wanted to keep track of baby's eating, sleeping, diapers, etc. It's important when you're breastfeeding and he had some health issues we wanted to keep a close eye on. So we ordered the handheld PBA unit to go with the website. It worked well for three days and then the battery died. We changed the battery and the unit stopped saving any new data. So we reset it and started from scratch after uploading all the existing info to the website. After the reset it seemed like it was working okay, saving new info, but when we went to upload it didn't upload anything new. Also, after installing the software for the upload, my computer started acting strangely. It was getting stuck on startup and I had to run a system restore to get it working. Twice. It was shortly after Christmas and the big kids had installed video games as well, so I can't be sure the Onaroo was to blame, but it is on my short list of suspects. Not pleased I spent $50 on the stupid thing. I wish it worked, it would be my favorite thing if it did.

If you have favorite (and least favorite) baby stuff, please share! I am always looking for new stuff.
(1/27/12)

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