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OK, so time is moving faaaaaaast right now. How can the Little Miss be 15 months old – a toddler with attitude – already? I am trying (through the sleepless nights and the teething and the weird fussy food moments) to soak up every moment of her little-ness. I don’t want to forget! She’s the precious completion of our family so I don’t want time to get away from me and then I’m suddenly a mother of teenagers and I’m like WTF JUST HAPPENED? I mean, I know that will still actually happen, but I want to remember the ‘little’ moments well.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned about having babies/toddlers. I have wanted to record some of the stuff that’s been useful to me before I forget it all! I figure it might be useful to somebody else and it’s a good record for me of what’s helpful and what’s not. Sometimes people ask my advice and I can see that soon some of the stuff I know so well NOW might not be easy to pull out of my busy (read: scattered and tired) brain!
So let me get to it. Here are 5 things that I have found really useful when you have a little baby housemate…
Zips are LIFE
Little sleep suits/onesies are a big staple of a new baby’s wardrobe. There are so many adorable things out there, but let me tell you – if you can pick zips (even better is a double zipper for easy nappy changes – especially when it’s cold), life is so much easier than dealing with 15 buttons on that adorable designer onesie you couldn’t resist! When you’re tired and it’s the middle of the night, you do not want to deal with that! Same goes for if you’re out and about and have to do a quick nappy change somewhere awkward with a wiggly child!
In time a 2 piece outfit will be even easier, but those first few months, zips are essential!
A shout out also to the short legged or legless onesies that have only about 3 buttons at the bottom for quick fastening! Maybe splash out on 4 if something is so frickin’ cute, but trust me, those ones where the buttons go all the way up one leg and all the way around the other leg…not convenient!!!
Another zip tip (oh god that’s lame – I apologise a little bit) is for sleeping bags and swaddle bags. It’s so much easier when there’s one central zip that goes right up the middle at the front. I’ve tried sleep bags where you have to do up two snap buttons on each shoulder, find the zipper and pull it up around the side? Not as easy.
Splash out on a forehead thermometer
You know those fancy ones the doctor’s use? The ones they just hover near someone’s forehead for like a second and suddenly they give you a reading and you feel like you’re living in the future?
You will want one of those. They can cost anywhere between $50-$100ish depending on what model you buy (I got one at the local pharmacy) but they are so worth it. The underarm ones can make a distressed baby go mental and it takes so long to get a reading (especially if they keep moving). The oral ones – well, don’t even try it. Trust me. Even my 7 year old has trouble keeping it in his mouth (under the tongue) long enough. I had to take my temp for ages when we were trying to conceive and that sucked for me – a grown adult.
Getting a reading in 1 second when you are worried about your baby’s temperature/health is so reassuring. It reduces the stress just a little. No need to upset your little human more than you need to when they’re already likely feeling poorly.
I only just bought one and wish I’d done it like 7 years ago. It’s amazing!
Buy lots of the same comfort item for your child
I’m serious. The Little Mister only had one ‘Giraffey’ blankie and it was very stressful! It was a very treasured baby shower gift and silly me didn’t think to ask where it was from until years later when nobody could remember and it probably wasn’t even being sold anymore. By then, the Little Mister knew what was up and would not have accepted a substitute!
The Little Miss is all about the jellycat bunny. She has two and we plan on increasing her collection as needed! It’s a widely available (and beautiful) product and it’s so freakishly popular with the baby/toddler crowd! We rotate them around so she doesn’t get used to just one and so far so good! If she loses one, we know we have back up. Such a relief.
If you get a special comfort item for your baby, buy like 3 or more – not kidding haha. If it’s a baby shower gift, ask right away where it’s from and how you can get more!
Use service station fuel payment apps
I used to stress out about filling my car up with fuel if I had a small child in the car. I would wait until my husband could assist (so I could fill up child free or he’d run my car out while I had the kids at home) and I hated the idea of removing them from their car seat just to run in to pay. If it was a warm day it would feel wrong to leave them in the car even for a second and if it was a cool day, a million other things would freak me out like stranger danger or a fuel station explosion or a dickhead from the general public reporting me for leaving the car for two seconds (even if it was parked right outside the door and everyone was happy) or my child bawling because of separation anxiety or something.
Since the Little Mister was little, there have been great developments! I have been able to use phone apps to pay for my fuel and it’s a game changer! Caltex and BP have them available and I am sure there are plenty of others too. I can fill up without ever leaving the car and pay really quickly without wresting any small people haha.
A baby carrier for school drop offs and pick ups with your big kid!
I know, I know. Most people have carriers. I just want to recommend a carrier to use in a specific situation: when you have to do drop offs and pick ups with your big kid at school. I know some people carry their little precious baby in their arms. I know some people will pop a quick-to-assemble stroller up and walk in that way. But let me tell you something: the carrier is everything.
When it’s raining (and it always rains during drop off and pick up time – am I right?) and you need both hands to hold an umbrella and also help your school child carry something (perhaps a ridiculous creation they are so proud of that they made with a bunch of frickin’ cereal boxes) or to be able to get them moving quickly, heavy school bag and all, because it is raining after all.
I found that was by far the best, quickest method for keeping everyone dry and happy.
Of course, the quick pick up and drop off lanes are a blessing but sometimes that’s not an option if you have little ones who are considered too young to do this or if your school doesn’t have the option or if you’re a sufferer of mum guilt and feel like you need to show your face more at the classroom door haha.
Of course this probably doesn’t just apply to the school context. It’s also useful any time you’re ducking in and out of places quickly and need an umbrella!
I don’t know if these tips are too obvious, but they are things that I learned the hard way a few times so I figure they are worth mentioning (before I become a mushy mess as I think about the bittersweetness of knowing that soon this stuff won’t apply to me anymore)!
I hope these tips are helpful and if you know anyone who might like this advice, feel free to share the link this post around!
Do you have any advice on more useful stuff that’s changed the game for you? Or stuff people shouldn’t waste their money or time on?