This morning my daughter and I have been baking homemade graham crackers. What fun! What a mess. My kitchen now looks like a flour bomb hit it but it was so worth it. We both ate more sugar and dough than any health conscious mom should ever allow their child in one sitting. We both tossed flour and sugar into the mixer (and on the floor). And we both pounded the dough with our hands to flatten it out for baking. It’s amazing what a 16 month old can accomplish. When we were all done I got out my washrag to wash hands and low and behold, Peanut comes out with yet another word: “Yucky.” Ha! Usually when I wash Peanut’s hands I say “yucky” but this time I didn’t so she said it for me. So cute.
This is what Baby Balance is all about–creating those opportune times to spend with your baby. Not all will have a direct purpose. Not all will meet unfound success. Some will just be in the normal activities of life such as when you change a diaper or feed her or rock her to sleep. And these are just as important as any other.
Probably the best advice I ever received while pregnant was, “you can never love your baby enough.” In essence what this woman shared with me (and I later read) was that babies under a year cannot be held, kissed, or hugged enough. They need physical love to grow. In fact, there are studies popping up all over showing how America’s society is one of the few who do not encourage this (at least outwardly) in our baby behaviors and gadgets. With our strollers, cribs, floor mats, hospital nurseries, and the like there are so many objects out there to keep a baby “educationally” and “safely” occupied that many babies receive very little direct contact with their parents. Now I’m not saying these things are bad. Definitely not. Peanut used most of these items daily. What I am saying is that nothing compares to physically loving your baby.
When a mom first discovers she’s pregnant, one of her first inclinations is to make that shopping or gift registry list of everything she thinks she’ll need. Diapers, bottles, and bedroom furniture needs usually make the top of the list followed by blankets, clothes, binkies, and other similar items. While I in no way want to provide a lengthy list of registry needs or wants (you can search many of those lists online for yourself), I do want to share a few items that you may want to consider in regards to creating opportunities for endless love as well as those you may want to avoid. Again it’s all about balance and discovering what works best for you and your child(ren).
Top 5 Things to Get that Most People Fail to Mention:
1. Some type of sling, moby wrap or backpack that will allow you to hold your child close to you during the day. This allows your baby to feel loved but also frees your hands so that you can also get some chores done, if needed. During Peanut’s first six months of life we never used or even had a stroller. If we needed to go somewhere we walked and Peanut was right by my side…literally.
2. Book: ”The Happiest Baby on the Block.” Historically, culturally, and personally educational. Definitely a must read, especially for a first-time mom.
3. Book: “Slow and Steady Get Me Ready” by Oberlander. This is one of the best activity oriented books I’ve found. It’s not as overwhelming as some as it only has one activity for you to do with your child per week. The nice thing is it grows with your child, meaning that there is an activity for every week of your child’s age from birth through 5 years. Each activity is physically oriented, meaning that it is an activity for both the parent and the child to do TOGETHER.
4. A nice glider or comfortable rocking chair. You’re going to spend lots of time in there.
5. A Boppy. If you’re nursing this is a must. It’s so helpful in making your baby just the right height without wearing out your arms.
Top 5 Things That are Totally Not Worth It:
1. A bedding set that includes a comforter, dush ruffle and a bumper pad (only exception would be one of those breathable bumper pads). All you really need for the crib is a mattress cover and a sheet. The rest is just for looks. Is that $100+ bedding set really worth “just for looks”?
2. A wipe warmer. Had one. Used it…for awhile. Ended up burning half the wipes or drying them out. Yes, wipes are cold in the winter but at least they are still useable.
3. Baby oil and baby powder. A baby’s skin is naturally moisterized. It doesn’t need any extra oil or otherwise. In fact, studies are now showing extreme uses of lotion and oil in the early years may be a cause of dryer skin in later years. In addition oil, and baby powder are now often not recommended for use on a baby for safety reasons (baby powder is not good for a baby’s lungs and baby oil contains petroleum). If you want to give a massage or have that baby fresh smell, stick with a mild baby lotion and use only on special occasions.
4. Gas relief drops. Even Peanut’s doctor says it’s a toss up. Most moms end up buying some just so they feel like they are doing something but medically, there is no proof that they really help anymore than helping your baby to burp.
5. Baby shoes: Until they are beginning to walk, what’s the point? Okay, they’re cute. Buy them if you want but only for the cuteness factor. Other than that they are totally unnecessary.
Next Post Topic: Baby Balance, Part 2: Spending Time