New Baby Checklist, Part 2: The Checklist

Welcome to part two of my New Baby Checklist posts!  As I mentioned in part one, I had a friend ask me for help and suggestions as she started her shopping for her upcoming December baby. I put together a list of things that I found helpful with L and that I find people seek out at the store where I work.

Please note: This post is not sponsored, however some links will be amazon affiliate links, as well as links to stores that I love. 

If you would like me or my family to review a product, or would like to send us something, please shoot me an email at inamongtheheather@gmail.com

header image for the new baby checklist

Here is the pdf copy of the list, to print and bring along with you shopping. Personal recommendations are only found on this post, not the pdf.

Nursery/Bedroom

sleeping

  • Somewhere safe for baby to sleep. Refer back to Part One here. For the sake of argument and simplicity, let’s go with what is most common here in Canada: A crib. I recommend something sturdy that has the option to convert into a toddler bed down the line. If that’s too far our of your budget, IKEA Cribs has some beautiful modern options.
  • Mattress for crib. You want something firm and, ideally, water resistant for quick clean ups.
  • Sheets for Crib (3, so that if one is in the wash or if baby is sick, you’re not screwed). I prefer flannel, as it isn’t as shockingly cold when you put baby down
  • Mattress cover if mattress isn’t liquid resistant or proof.
  • Baby Monitor. We kept it pretty simple. I wanted to be able to hear baby clearly. We really like our Avent monitor, though they don’t seem to be as easy to find these days. You can splurge on a video monitor or try a cheaper alternative of a webcam that has night vision (we picked up a cheapie from walmart that works great).
  • Glider/Chair/somewhere to sit while nursing or settling baby for bed.  We splurged here and got a La-Z-Boy recliner/rocker, similar to this one. It is the best thing ever.
  • Storage for Clothing and baby stuff. Old dressers work great, or closets.
  • Swaddle blankets if you plan on swaddling (said to help baby sleep better. Aden and Anais muslin blankets are great and have many uses beyond just swaddling. We have several of them. You can also go with an actual swaddler like a Miracle Blanket or a Woombie)
  • Humidifier. We have a Crane one.
  • A wet bag for cloth diapers or a garbage/diaper genie for disposables. My favourite wetbags are the Rumperooz Kanga Care or the Planet Wise bags.
  • Black out curtains
  • White noise machine or something like a twilight turtle/sleep sheep/whatever

Clothing

clothing

Make sure not to just get newborn size stuff. Some babies don’t stay in NB for longer than a couple weeks!

Diapering

diapering

  • Diaper Bag. Your diaper bag really depends on you. I know plenty of people who just use a MEC messenger bag or backpack. Some people want something unisex that both you and your partner can carry. Other people want something that looks more like a purse, or maybe something budget friendly, or maybe something that is really durable and has a life time warrenty. I have a collection of diaper bags, and each option has it’s own pros and cons. This is what I use: Timi & Leslie Abby for every day use (click here for my video review), Timi & Leslie Marie Antoinette for every day use, Ju Ju Be Be Prepared for longer outings/day trips, Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxt Back Pack when babywearing.
  • Changing station or change pad (many diaper bags will come with a pad. We use our Ju Ju Be change pad for most of our bum changes)

Either:

  • 24 Cloth Diapers in either one size or size 1
  • 3 big wet bags, one small
  • Wipes (disposable or cloth)
  • Cloth friendly bum cream (Substance, or Earth Mama Angel Baby)

OR

  • Newborn Diapers (1-2 boxes…babies bust out of these pretty quick)
  • Size one Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Genie (we have two, one for each floor) and refills
  • Bum Cream (some people swear by Zinc based creams like Sudocream or Grandma El’s. I prefer cloth friendly creams. L always had bad reactions to Zinc based creams)

I will be posting all about cloth diapers in the near future, so let me know if there are any specific brands you want to know about or questions about cloth you’d like answered.

Here is my first post on Cloth: Why Cloth.

Winter Gear (depending on your climate. I’m having a December baby in Ontario)

winter

  • One thicker snowsuit for being outside in colder weather, where you might have baby in a stroller. Columbia is my favourite bunting suit.
  • Thin fleece suit that is safe for the carseat (here’s a great one from Columbia). Please read this amazing post by The Car Seat Lady for everything you need to know about keeping baby safe and warm in the car.
  • Thumbless mittens, Hat. You can find some adorable and toasty options out there. For hats, I would recommend something with ear flaps or that is long enough to cover baby’s sensitive ears. Babies sometimes hate mittens, but I have had good luck with keeping mimitens or stonz mittens on L when he was bitty.
  • Warm Legs through leggings, legwarmers or wool. L wore a lot of baby legs as a wee babe. Merino Wool is a great option too, as it helps keep baby warm without overheating. Bumby is a great option.
  • Footwear. For tiny babies, I would recommend something warm and soft, rather than a soled boot. You don’t really need solid boots until kiddo is coming in contact with the snow/ice. A popular option here in Ottawa is Padraig slippers with Stonz boots, We used winter robeez with L with warm socks and found it was enough.

Feeding

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If Breastfeeding:

If Formula Feeding:

  • Bottles and Nipples
  • Sanitizing Tray
  • Formula
  • Bottle Brush
  • You can get fancy with bottle warmer, neat formula mixing bottles (Like the Mixie) or the formula Keurig like machines out now (Baby Brezza is the name I see most).

Travel

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  • Car Seat. The great debate, of course, is bucket versus convertible. I went with bucket, so that I could bring in a sleeping baby and use the bucket seat in our stroller. We love our Graco Snugride, as we tend to make big babies and wanted it to last. Diono Radian is also highly regarded, as is the Clek Foonf or Fllo.
  • Stroller. Another one that is really dictated by your lifestyle and needs. We wanted something that would do well in the winter, on the trails at the dog park and would retain it’s value. We chose the BOB Revolution SE.
  • Mirror for the car so you can see baby in the back.
  • a couple car seat/stroller toys
  • A carrier (Stretchy wrap like a Moby or Boba for the early days, and then a structured buckle carrier for when baby is a bit bigger. We loved the Beco Gemini). A full babywearing post to come!

First Aid and Safety

safety

  • Nasal Aspirator (Nosefrida is gross but awesome)
  • Hydrasense Spray
  • Infant Tylenol/Tempra/Advil/Motrin/whatever (I recommend dye free)
  • Infant Ovol/Gripe Water
  • Baby Nail Clippers
  • Baby thermometer. We love this one by Braun.
  • Baby Gates and Baby Proofing Stuff (mainly outlet covers, cupboard locks)
  • Small first aid kit

Toys

playmat

Bathing

bathtime

  • An infant tub or the kitchen sink
  • Gentle baby wash (I love Original Sprout or LiveClean)
  • Soft Face cloths
  • Hooded Towels
  • A few bath toys

Other Gear

highchair

  • Pack and Play
  • High Chair
  • Bouncy/Vibrating Chair or a Swing
  • Soothers (Avent were the only ones that worked for L and we tried SO MANY. Wubbanubs and Gumdrop are super popular too)
  • Receiving blankets (act as burp cloths, swaddles, blankets, nursing cover, you name it!)

Great Books and Apps:

  • Wonder Weeks app and Book
  • Baby Led Weaning book
  • Baby Connect App
  • Happiest Baby on the Block book

Please note that these are just my personal recommendations. In no way do I guarantee or represent these products.  Please do your own research and use your own judgement when purchasing and using any products for your family.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

New Baby Checklist, Part 1: The Basics

Babies are expensive. For such tiny little creatures, many retailers would have us believe that you need a whole lot of stuff to survive those first few years. I work at a baby and maternity store, and with Baby M on the way, I have really been thinking about what we need versus what we want. Of course, having done this all once before has been a huge help, and we definitely have a better idea of what worked for us and what was a waste of time and money.

A girl from my due date group is having her first and is overwhelmed by options. I sent her a list I put together and thought that maybe it would be helpful to others. When I think about where we are now, compared to where we were when I was pregnant with L, I realized that a lot has changed. With L, we were both working and had decent savings. I had paid maternity leave coming up. This time, I work part time, with no paid mat leave and practically no savings. I know how important it is to know what your options are for different budgets, as well as an idea of what you actually NEED versus what you might just want. So, before getting to the checklist, here is a break down of what a you need for a new baby.

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Note: This post is NOT sponsored. I have used these products and love them, that’s it. I am not being compensated in anyway for talking about them. 

So, what do I actually NEED to keep this baby alive?

Let’s break this down to the very very basic stuff. What are the things that a human infant need to live?

  • A safe place to sleep
  • Clothing to protect them from the elements
  • A food source
  • A plan for their waste products
  • Something to safely get them from A to B.

That’s it, really. One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned about having a baby is that you can make anything as simple or as complicated as you please. This applies to everything, for the most part, and is especially true when it comes to baby gear. Baby Stuff is a huge industry and if we believe what advertisers and retailers tell us, we need ALL THE THINGS to be successful loving parents. I couldn’t disagree more. I think every family is different, has a different home,a different set of priorities, a different style and a different budget. I also think that there is nothing wrong with anyone one that scale, so long as the child is having their needs met.

To start, I’m going to talk about these basic needs and then I’ll get into options. Eventually, I’ll get into the actual checklist, I promise. Stay turned for Part 2.

A Safe Place to Sleep

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So, this really depends on you and your comfort level. Bedsharing, Co-Sleeping, a laundry basket, a large box, a bassinet, a floor bed, a pack and play, or a crib. You have options. And yes, those are all real options. You can use a combo of these, change things up as your family’s needs change.

I don’t claim to be a sleep expert or a baby safety expert, so please take all of this with a grain of salt and follow your own gut and comfort level. From my own experience and reading, a safe sleep space basically means a place where baby can sleep comfortably, without anything that become an obstruction to breathing or that may pin baby in a position where they cannot breathe. A firm mattress or surface is recommended, with no blankets, pillows, or stuffies. The concept behind the laundry basket, the box, bassinet, pack and play and crib are a seperate baby-only space. With bedsharing, I stress that is not recommended for those who are very heavy sleepers, who take medication to help them sleep, those who drink or do drugs before bed or those who move around a lot in bed at night. Floor beds are essentially a mattress on the floor for baby to sleep on, which requires a safe room (furniture anchored to the wall, cords out of reach, etc…) in case baby ends up out of bed.

As you can imagine, these options range from free (sharing your own bed), to cheap (repurposed laundry basket with a soft surface) to more expensive (cribs really can range from hand-me-down to custom and extremely expensive).

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What we do: We did a combination of things. For a while, L slept in bed with me. Eventually, we added a pack and play and a hand me down cradle for naps. He then moved to a crib in our room (considered co-sleeping, and is recommended by Health Canada) for all sleeping when we found he slept better on his own. For his first birthday, he was gifted a custom montessori style bedframe (basically a floor bed with a low frame to encourage him not to roll out) by his Nanny and Grammy, and so we moved him to his own room. We plan on doing basically the same thing with Baby M. The crib is all set to go beside our bed, the pack and play is ready for main floor naps and I expect to have him in our bed for the first couple of months.

Clothing to protect them from the elements

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This one is pretty obvious. Naked babies are adorable, but tend to get chilly and cranky. Depending on your climate, you need different things for baby. I don’t want to get too far into the specifics here, but I think the key is that every baby is different. I run cold, pretty much all the time. My kid, on the other hand, is a freaking furnace. As a baby, he was miserable when he was too hot. The best way to prepare? Layers. Diaper Shirts/Onesies, long sleeved and short. Leggings, sleepers, socks. That will pretty much get you through. Don’t spend a tonne on newborn sized stuff, as you have no idea how long your kiddo will actually be in them. For L, it was about a month. He stayed in 3-6 month stuff a bit longer, and lived in 6-12month stuff a bit longer.

For the great outdoors, your climate will dictate your needs. Car seat safe snowsuits, hat, mitts, boots for us winter folks, Sun hats, breathable layers for those of you who live in the heat.

Budgets get a lot of room here. You can buy new, at top end stores for those who want to and can. For those with tighter budgets, become familiar with your local consignment stores, join freecycle or buy nothing groups, ask friends and families for hand-me-downs. Those of you in the middle can shop sales (there is always a sale around the corner! Talk to your parent friends or  online groups. Often parents already have an ear to the ground),

babyclothes

What We Do: I work in a consignment store, so I stalk the super cute clothes and shop the sales (last night I snagged some clothing for L off our dollar rack). When money was a bit better, I shopped the sales at Children’s Place, Old Navy and Carters. Buy Nothing groups have been a life saver for finding baby clothes (we sold off a bunch of L’s stuff, and most of it was the wrong season for our upcoming winter baby).

A food source

foodbreastfeeding

Humans need to eat. This is as basic as basic needs get. Thankfully, we live in a time where we have safe options to choose from to suit our lifestyles, budgets, health restrictions and unique families. For those who choose to, there are many formula options out there. Catered to specific dietary needs and sensitivities, there are many ways for you to feed baby. Many formula companies will send you free samples and coupons, and I know that bulk stores like Costco or price matching at Walmart can help you get the best price.

Breastfeeding is a great option for those that can. It’s free, made by your body and is the perfect food for your baby. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes requires lots of support and guidance, but it is an option that is worth considering.

Like with all parenting choices, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can breastfeed and supplement with formula. You can breastfeed for a few months and then switch. Do what is right for you and your baby.

What else do you need? Well, for the first 6 months you will need your food (formula or breastmilk). Breastfeeders may also choose to supplement or pump. In that case, you will need a pump (manual pumps are cheapest, electric pumps are easiest), bottles, and milk storage (bags or trays). Anyone who feeds with a bottle with need, of course, bottles, a bottle cleaner brush, something to sterilize the bottles (a large pot of boiling water, or a sterilizing bag or tray), nipples for the bottles. Bottles range from relatively cheap to pretty expensive, with different features and options.

Formula feeding parents can also get some gadgets to make life a bit easier. Bottle warmers, automatic formula mixing machines (similar to a keurig), special bottles for formula mixing and storage, etc…

Breastfeeding parents may seek items to make things easier and more comfortable. Nipple creams, breast feeding pillows, breastfeeding covers, breast pads, nursing bras, nursing clothing, breast pillows or gel pads, lactation foods or teas. At the end of the day, the only thing you really “need” is your breasts, patience, support and knowledge. Breastmilk works as a soothing nipple treatment, any pillow will work in a pinch, clothing can be made to work.

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What we do: I approached breastfeeding somewhat selfishly. I had read, several years ago, that breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer for both the parents and the child. Seeing as how my mother died of breast cancer, this was a major concern for me. Also, I’ve heard that it can help prevent digestive issues. Both Pat and I have suffered with a variety of digestive problems over the years (he is undiagnosed, I have IBS). So, my plan was to give it a shot and hope for the best. My goal was 6 months. Well, here I am and I still nurse my 3.5 year old. It has been a life saver for us. Thankfully, it came easily to me. I have always had an oversupply and my little dude was dedicated to the cause, despite a bad lip tie. We worked through it and had some great support to pull us through. I plan to continue with Baby M. I love how easy it is (I can’t imagine mixing bottles in the middle of the night), how it got me a bit more sleep and rest in the middle of the night, and how soothing it was for L when he was hurt or sick.

I do have a nursing pillow that I love (hand me down), I used breast milk as a nipple cream, I used a pump (electric) and breastfeeding friendly bottles. I had a cover, but I hate it. I got it for free on a cheapie web deal. I shop sales for nursing bras and nursing tops, as well as used clothing sites and consignment stores.

A plan for their waste products

diaperssposie

What goes in, must come out. If your my kid, this is true from the very moment he was born. He peed on the nurse and had pooped in the womb. Yep. So, where do you want that waste to go? You have a couple of options, There are disposable diapers, reusable/cloth diapers, and no diapers (elimination communication). Obviously EC would be a free option, and is considered the norm in many different cultures. For those that this doesn’t suit, there are diapers. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of diapering just now, as that would take a whole other post to get through. So, to sum up: Cloth is the cheapest option in most cases, though there are some expensive fluffy butts out there. Disposables are more expensive, though there are budget brands. In each case, there are accessories that you can add for ease and comfort. Special bins, air fresheners, wipes, creams, organization, you name it. You can honestly get by with just a diaper, and something to clean the baby’s bum (disposable wipe or reusable cloth with water) and somewhere to put the mess (either garbage or the wash).

diapercloth

What we do: L was in Pampers until he was around 1. We used Pampers sensitive wipes, occasional bum cream, and diaper genies. At that time, I got a job at the store and started using Cloth part time. I used a mix of different brands and types, for about 6 months. We then switched back to pampers full time. We are in the middle of potty learning now. The plan for Baby M is to use cloth during the day (part time, when Daddy is away), and disposables at night or when we are out for extended periods of time. Pat is not pro-cloth, but is down with me saving us some money by using my stash when he isn’t around. Hopefully this will save us some cash as we shouldn’t need very many sposies. I will get into the specifics of my stash another time, but for the most part it is a mix of brands, hand-me-downs and types (prefolds, hybrids, all in ones, pockets, fitteds)

Something to safely get them from A to B

stroller

This one is pretty straight forward. Do you have a car? You need a car seat. Do you take the public transportation or walk? You might want a carrier or a stroller. Your car seat needs to be up to current safety standards and should be installed properly and used safely. There are a millions resources out there, from free to paid, to help  you keep your baby safe in the car.(Check out The Car Seat Lady and S.E.A.T.S) I will say, very strongly, that is is IMPERATIVE that you use your car seat correctly. It is the difference between life and death. Really.

Strollers are like freaking cars these days. You can buy a cheap beater or an expensive Ferrari. You can buy used, you can find them free online, or you can buy one pretty much anywhere. Your budget and needs really dictate what stroller will work best for you.

Carriers. Man, I could go on forever for carriers. They are a life saver in this house, so I will keep it brief: They help you get stuff done, they are great for being out and about, and they help with bonding and breastfeeding. There are a tonne of different kinds and brands. I will post about this later. You can get them cheap or insanely expensive.

babywearing

What we do: All of the above. When L was bitty, we had a bucket seat that we will be reusing for baby M. We paid full price at Toys R Us for it (We got the Graco Snugride 35). We also bought our Stroller at Toys R Us but then later won the exact same stroller in a contest, which I then sold, so it kind of paid for itself. We wanted something that could do well in the snow, and at the dog park, that worked with our bucket seat, had a good long life and a decent resale value. We ended up with a BOB Revolution SE and we love it. It was definitely a splurge. As for Carriers…well..I have many. I will say that for baby M I plan on using a stretchy wrap (Boba and Moby, one gifted and one bought new). Ring Slings (new custom conversions) and a woven wrap (a beater Girasol bought used online and a Didymos that was gifted to me) for the early days.

So, there you have it. The basics as well as some insight into what we’ve done for L and plan to do with Baby M. The next post will be about specific products and will include an actual checklist of things I recommend. If you have any questions, please ask away! As you can tell, I am a baby geek. I love this stuff. I especially love helping people figure out their own personal needs.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

Rhythm – An update

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Ottawa. I’m trying to get some cleaning in before the end of the weekend.

Today we are heading over to visit Liam’s Nanny,  Grammy and Aunties. We haven’t been able to visit them as much as I would like. Between busy weekends,  illness,  and pat’s classed we’ve been averaging maybe once a month.

I’ve been trying to establish more of a routine for Liam. I’ve talked about the Waldorf concept of rhythm and routine before. I think we’ve finally found a very casual rhythm that works for us:

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Mondays: Cleaning,  meal planning, groceries
Tuesdays: Arts &  Crafts
Wednesdays: Baking and tidying
Thurdays: Outdoor play
Fridays: Friends
Saturdays: Errands, tidying
Sundays: Family

We’ve also developed a bit of a routine for the day to day as well,  though this changes depending on our plans.

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-wake up
-take care of animals
-breakfast
-TV time
-play
-lunch
-nap
-activity
-make dinner
-eat dinner
-play
-bedtime routine

I’ve been trying to integrate gentle transitions to help with these changes. So far Liam has really responded well to them. The one issue we are having is bedtime. Suddenly,  he will not go to bed for me. We are playing with the bedtime routine to see if we can’t find something that works better than what I am doing.

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I can’t believe that in less than a month my baby will be 2. Where has the time gone? We have no real plans for celebrating. If the weather cooperates we will go to the park with his buddies. If not,  I may just take him to the museum and maybe a diner for dinner. Simplicity is our motto these days (she says,  despite the pile of birthday gifts upstairs.)

In other news,  my health journey is going well. I’ve lost a total of 8lbs and 11 inches, and feel great.  With the exception of my diet coke love,  I have been really good about eating much better. I no longer crave chips or candy (I do occasionally desperately want a burger and fries). I am not starving myself and am learning about balance. I have been less sore and my digestive health has been so much better.

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Kaitlin is trying to convince me to train for a marathon (you crazy woman). We shall see ;) I haven’t done much exercise since catching my cold. I have to get back to activity before I start thinking about a marathon.

I do have some news to share,  but I’ll save that for my next post.  Here’s a teaser: My good luck has served me well again and I’ve won another contest. More details to come :)

The fabric that binds us

I’m exhausted. I wish I could curl up and sleep for a day, but I can’t even imagine the damage my child would do while I slept and I have to leave for work in about an hour. We are still struggling with sleep in our home. Liam has transitioned to his room, but so have I. We’re working on it, but it’s been making for some long nights for me.

Add to that being out of the house all weekend and taking a course for the first time in YEARS, my brain is toast. It was so very worth it though. As of Sunday evening, I officially became a certified babywearing educator!

My love of babywearing was not something I was raised in to. As most of you know from my previous posts, my parents were away more often than not while I was growing up. I was raised by a series of nannies and babysitters until I was 12.

Liam’s birth was long and traumatic, leaving me physically limited for weeks afterwards. One of my dear friends, Kit, had gifted me with her old snugli when I was pregnant. When I could barely manage walking out of the house, it gave me the ability to carry my child and even go to the Stars and Strollers baby movie days. My love of it lead me to try a Moby, buy my first Buckle carrier (my beloved Beco Gemini) and eventually my first woven, my Gira Amitola. In addition to those, I also have a gauze wrap and a toddler tula. A girlfriend has leant me her maya ring sling and is talking about letting me keep it :) Why? Why do I love babywearing so much? Why do I need more than one carrier?

Well, let’s start with why I love it. To me, it’s more than a method of carrying my child. It gave me the physical ability to get out of the house during a really difficult time. The exercise I was able to get, as well as the human interaction and the sunlight I was able to enjoy really helped me work through my post partum depression and severe anxiety.

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A tiny Liam in my gifted Snugli

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He would sleep in it. It was such a big deal for me!

I joined babywearing groups (which was a natural progression for me. Keep in mind that I am a club person. I used to run the ottawa knit nites in University and I had a Sailor Moon fan club when I was a tween), which introduced me to some of my current support group and lead me to find like minded parents who have assisted me in sticking with my parenting choices. Having not had my parents around to provide me with parenting help, these people were anchors for me. It also helped me interact more with mommas in my Due Date group, who have now become my best friends (I’m looking at you, Lindsay, Crystal, Krista and Jenn).

Me in my Seven Slings pouch (we both hated it and gave it away)

Me in my Seven Slings pouch (we both hated it and gave it away)

It helped support my breastfeeding relationship, and helped me develop a relationship with my son which might have been very different without my carriers.

Me and my Moby

Me and my Moby. God knows what the hell I did with that tie….I think this was the very first time I tried wrapping. Thank god he didn’t fall.

Aside from the parenting related benefits – I am a huge fiber and textile geek. Babywearing has introduced me to a whole knew world of textiles. On top of that, my love of social history, women’s studies and anthropology relates to babywearing so very much. I can’t help but completely geek out on the subject!

My beloved Beco Gemini <3

My beloved Beco Gemini <3

Beco Gemini - "Omg! I can put him ON MY BACK?!"

Beco Gemini – “Omg! I can put him ON MY BACK?!”

It got me my job. Yep. My babywearing sister in law let me know about the job opening at her local babywearing and maternity store. I applied and included an introduction letter including my personal experiences with babywearing. I was hired on the spot because the girl who knew woven wraps was leaving Belly Laughs, and I was the only person who had applied that knew anything about them (In fact, I had included a picture of me wearing Liam in my Gira in my application). Through that job I have met some incredible people and have learned so so much. Through this job, I was able to take the course this past weekend.

My very first woven - Size 6 Girasol, Amitola.

My very first woven – Size 6 Girasol, Amitola.

My first attempt at a back carry with a wrap.

My first attempt at a back carry with a wrap.

The course was held by the Canadian Babywearing School. It was level one of the Babywearing Educators program (I am praying that we get the opportunity to do level two as well!). I feel so incredibly proud to be able to call myself a Babywearing Educator now. I feel so much better about being able to help other individuals and families in my community with something that I know completely changed my world for the better.

My second woven, a gauze wrap for the summer

My second woven, a gauze wrap for the summer. A terrible wrap job again…jesus, and I’m an educator now? 

The only downside – I am OBSESSED with babywearing again. My poor pinterest peeps must be so bored of all the carriers I’ve been pinning lately. I want ALL THE PRETTIES. Sorry y’all! It’s not going to get any better any time soon!

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I’m probably going to ramble on about babywearing in the next while. Sorry about that. I just can’t get over how much I love it, even when my guy is so freaking in love with running and walking that he won’t tolerate it.

In our newest carrier, our toddler Tula in Ikat.

In our newest carrier, our toddler Tula in Ikat.

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I was that Mom

It started innocently enough. My little guy had a good nap and I had some jogging pants to return, so I figured we’d have an afternoon out at the Kanata Target. I got us ready, loaded into the car and off we went. Liam seemed in a good mood. I strapped him into my Tula at the store, but quickly transferred him to the cart at his request. We did some shopping and found some great deals (All Btoys are on sale for incredibly low prices). I picked up a couple groceries and then Liam started to get bored.

I stayed calm and I kept him engaged for the most part. We tried walking, we tried babywearing, we tried the cart. Eventually, I became that Mom. I had a screaming toddler who was lashing out at me physically. By the end of the trip, I was exhausted. My hair, so recently cut and made beautiful, was frizzy and all over my face. I was sweaty, and my clothes were disheveled from toddler wrangling.

photo

I remember a time before I became a mother where I wouldn’t leave the house without make up. I was horrified at the idea of looking less than my best in the public eye. I couldn’t imagine being the mom with the tantruming child. I would have better control of my kids, oh yeah.

My kid is not a robot. I don’t bark commands that he blindly follows. He’s a learning and growing child, who is just beginning to deal with his emotions. I am fine with that. I mean, it’s exhausting and annoying, especially when it happens in public, but it doesn’t defeat or shame me. (I also accept that my child is a child and will be a child in public) I could give two craps about my hair or my clothes after an incident like that. I’m primarily concerned with Liam being ok, calm and safe. I was surprised by some of the looks though. That I clearly came out to this mall simply with the plan of annoying these people with my unruly child. Then there were the looks at my carrier. I heard one woman say to her friend that it was no wonder my child was unhappy, as I was forcing him to stay attached to me. How selfish I must be. How would he ever learn to walk?

Luckily, there were some amazing people who made up for it. One man helped me with my groceries and the doors. One man made my son laugh and was kind to me. Another man smiled and complimented me on my carrier.

The point of this rambling is that I realize how much I’ve changed and that I am going to do my best to be supportive when next I come across that Mom or Dad who is in that spot. Today, I was that mom. I was harried, tired and doing the best I could. A smile and a kind word made all the difference for me.

I now have some tea, a hearty cheesy pasta dinner and a great article to read before I break out the knitting. Liam is curled up on the floor playing “Vet” for some stuffies. It’s been a long day, but a good one.

Responsibility, Part 1

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about parenting lately. How raising a child is very much about raising yourself beyond your childhood. One of the things I struggle with is responsibility. I grew up with almost no responsibilities until suddenly, I was the primary caregiver for my terminally ill mother, a home owner, a fiance, a pet owner and an employee all at once. While the topic of responsibility is a huge one for me, I want to focus that topic into that of money for a second.

 

When I was a child, I had an allowance. Usually, allowances are a payment for chores done around the house. In my house, chores were few and even more rarely enforced. We were given money without having earned it. My mother and father weren’t great with money. My mother had a bit of a gambling problem, and my father liked to collect everything he was interested in to the absolute extreme. They had limited savings and kept up the appearance of being stable.

When I was a teenager, I stole from my father’s wallet to fund my anime obsession, and when caught, he increased my allowance so that I could afford it myself. When I threw myself into a substantial credit card debt in my 20s, my parents bailed me out without asking for any pay back. When my living arrangements didn’t work out, they always welcomed me back home. I never know how tight things were until after my mother died and I learned that she had borrowed against her life insurance policy simply to pay for her groceries and utilities.

They taught me I was loved. They lifted me up when I fell. They showed me I always had a home and could always count on them. They didn’t, however, show me how not to fall in the first place, or how to pick myself up. They didn’t tell me what to do when that home was no longer mine, or what to do when they were gone.

It may seem odd, talking about this. Especially because finances are one of the true taboos of our society, I think even more so than politics or religion in some ways. It’s important though.

Having a son and trying to figure out how to raise him has made me realize that so many parents miss an important step. They raise their chicks into birds and teach them to fly, but they don’t follow through. I want my chicks to not only fly, but to be able to feed and care for themselves and their own families.

When Pat and I decided that I wasn’t going to return to work full time after Liam was born, I was scared. I was scared about being able to afford our home and our life. I was scared about budgeting. Recently it occurs to me that Liam needs to see this. He needs to see and understand the struggle. He needs to understand its importance. I want him to see it, to participate in it and learn from it.

A few recent changes:

-Try to live more simply. I am guilty of shopping when sad, disappointed, etc… It’s a major lesson for me to only buy what we need and not what I want. We have so much stuff. Too much stuff. (Follow my efforts here)

-Eat healthier foods. In the long run, it’ll save us money and make us healthier. Instead of buying random veg at the grocery store, I joined a CSA and make more of our plates full of veggies instead of carbs and more expensive meats. I want Liam to try new foods and new flavours.

Our first CSA haul

Our first CSA haul

New meals this week included grilled summer squash and zucchini with haddock, grilled chicken breast with local steamed beans, local boiled potatoes and corn. Local salad greens with roasted local beets and heirloom tomatoes.

-Make more, buy less. Pat has been eating at subway and local sandwich shops every work day for lunch. You can imagine the cost of this. So, I suggested making subs. Well, the sub breads we were buying weren’t lasting the week and were expensive, so I decided to try making my own. It was a huge success! Not only was it cheaper, but it was a fun activity for me and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment.

Homemade bread dough rising

Homemade bread dough rising

I’m trying to make more of our meals so that we aren’t eating out as much. I hope to do a bunch of freezer meals for those lazy days that I inevitably encounter.

-Buy second hand when we can. Thankfully, I work at a consignment shop two nights a week so most of Liam’s clothes and cloth diapers are 2nd hand. He gets to dress super cute (which makes me happy), but it only costs me 1/3 of the retail price.

-Reevaluate our needs vs. wants and work within those as best we can. I may not NEED television, but I want it real bad. As a compromise, Pat and I dropped cable and now just have netflix. Our phone costs were high so now we just have our cellphones and VOIP. We love pizza, but can’t afford take out so we enjoy pita pizzas now. Instead of a daily starbucks, we got me a Keurig and some great kcups.

Anyway, I plan on writing a lot more on the subject, and sharing our bread recipe. My kid is chasing our dog with a plastic cup so I need to intervene :)