Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sometimes More is More

If I had to condense what I've learned about parenting in the last 2 years into just a few nuggets, one would be that sometimes more is more when dealing with baby gear. I'm by no means saying you need all those gadgets and toys out on the market. Instead, I would suggest that sometimes having more than one of an item works to make your life easier.

Some examples:
  • Its easier to have tissues, baby wipes, and trash cans in all the rooms you frequent with baby in your house.  When you have a handful of spit up or a child with jam coated hands, its hard enough getting a few yards, let alone across the house. 
  • My BIL used to have to bring the diaper bag in from the car to do a diaper change. Its much easier to have them separate. In fact, we find it easier to have three diapering stations and two diaper bags.  We have one diaper area in each of the kids' rooms.  Natalie's is only used before bed so its on the floor, but we have a changing table for William that was used a lot when he was a newborn.  The  living room is where most of our diaper changes happen.  We have a blanket on the floor, a tub of wipes, and an organizer holding a stack of diapers for each of them.  As for diaper bags, I have a huge one I bring with us daily.  It has diapers for both, wipes, changes of clothes, snacks, books, toys, hats and gloves right now because its winter.  But, we also have a second smaller bag for when Mike takes Natalie out alone ready to go.  This is far easier than worrying where the diapers and wipes are in the house and cuts out the step of packing a bag when we want to go somewhere.
  • More toys can be good, too, but you have to use them right. Spread them out so that there are toys in the car, kitchen, bathroom, diaper bag, etc so that you only need to worry about moving toys sometimes. Also, if you have many toys, you can rotate them. Keep in mind, toys don't have to be expensive or big: you could have several teethers for baby or different colors and accessories of Play Doh for toddlers. Right now, we have toys for William to play with at the kitchen table while we eat.  When Natalie was crawling, I kept a little tub of toys in the bathroom so she could play when she followed me in there.  Natalie has this one camera toy in the car that still entertains her after a year. 
  • The same with books as with toys.  We have books in both kids' rooms (though we never use the ones in William's room yet), the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the diaper bag.  We spread out the favorites and the new library books so that there is always something good to read in each location making it a lot easier than having to run around the house looking for a book.  Also, you and your child are much more likely to read if there are books everywhere!
  • When you have two kids, two monitors is very nice.  When Natalie started crying a lot in the night, we got a video monitor for her room.  Then we can look in to see why she is crying without going in.  Having two monitors means that I can monitor both kids throughout the day without moving the transmitters or going into their rooms chancing waking them up accidentally.  I rarely use both monitors at the same time right now because they often aren't napping at the same time.  
  • Because I nurse, I have two Boppy pillows.  With Natalie, we had just one.  I had to move them back and forth throughout the day.  But keeping one in the living room for during the day and one in William's room for at night has been very useful.  And, you can get a Boppy pillow used and wash it, so you don't have to pay the full price even once if you don't want to.  
  • We had two car seat bases for our infant car seat.  They weren't that much more money and there was nothing to change between the cars for the first year.  I also liked having a mirror in each car to know if baby was sleeping for example. 
  • If there is another person's house you visit a lot, its nice to have extras of the essentials.  For us, this is my mother's house.  We have a pack and play for William, a crib mattress for Natalie, and a booster seat for Natalie.  We also have a variety of toys and dishes and diapers.  When we visit, we don't have to pack these things each time.  
There are lots of baby items you don't need at all (sleep positioners, fancy bedding sets, wipe warmers) and even more you don't need two of (bottle sterilizers, slings, swings, Bumbo seats, exersauces and activity centers), but having duplicates of some things really can make your daily life a little easier.

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