Two words: stroller fan.
If you’re building a baby registry, add one for the baby and one to point back at yourself.
We met up with a friend for a stroller walk in the high noon heat of July, and their baby had a little stroller fan pointed at him. I thought, “Oh, to be part of the uppity, high maintenance stroller elite who require a fan for their sweet babe.” Reader? I am an idiot. I needed 18 stroller fans just for myself. Global warming!
My son rarely wears anything except for a diaper these days, and I always have a straw cup with water to offer him hydration breaks when we’re out on walks. We try to go first thing after his breakfast before the Midwest humidity absolutely murders us, but even then, I’ve had to deal with the judgment of neighbors commenting, “Kinda hot out for a baby, eh?” Kindly shove your head up your own butt & mind your own beeswax, MA’AM.
Baby will be eight months old next week which means he’ll have been eating solid foods for half his life. Below is some advice I feel I can give based on our experience. Per the recommendation of his pediatrician, we started introducing purees when he was four months old. This will differ for every child, so please trust the advice of your doctor instead of a random person on the Internet.
We made the decision to start him at four months because baby was getting very interested in what we were eating, was able to sit up with assistance, and just generally thought he was a way older baby so wanted to eat solids NOW, dammit! He’s been a champion eater since he came out of the womb, and his journey with solid foods has been no different. If it were up to him, he’d be bellying up to the table with us at every meal and have kissed bottles good-bye already. We have yet to find a food that he won’t eat (seriously) including fish, mushrooms, beets, corn on the cob, tikka masala… he’s a goat. A really cute, messy goat.
- The Internet can be a scary place when it comes to information about introducing solids. Some people get absolutely militant about baby led weaning (BLW), some people are terrified of their kids choking and only feed purees for the first year, some people read about all the metals found recently in baby foods and put off introducing solids as long as possible. Protect your mental health when sourcing info! Make sure it’s coming from a reputable source, make sure you’re truthful with your doctor and aren’t afraid to ask questions, and be prepared to unfollow the trendy baby food Instagram accounts, if needed.
- I wish we had registered for those silicone bibs with the built in food-catching trough. I figured “meh, a bib’s a bib” but WRONG-O, new mom self. The journey from spoon or hand to actual digestion is a chasm greater than the Grand Canyon. The more comfortable baby gets with non-purees, the more food will end up in their lap, on the floor, and under the cushions of their high chair. The more you can catch in their bib, the less you’ll be scraping off the floor after baby has gone to bed. Still pregnant Natalies, add these to your registries!
- Incorporate baby’s food into how you already eat. If you loathe cooking, don’t put the pressure on yourself to make all of your kid’s food homemade. If Friday night is sacred pizza delivery time for you and your partner, start letting baby suck on the crusts or pick off a few olives and squish them up for baby to try. If it’s daunting to think of new foods to puree, or you don’t have a food processor, think of already soft foods you don’t have to transform after you get home. Items like avocado, ricotta cheese (lower in sodium than other cheeses!) canned pumpkin, yogurt, etc. are baby friendly right out of the package & you can eat them, too.
- I won’t be giving any advice on introducing allergens because that’s medical grade info I’m unqualified to preach to you about!
- Start with a little, then add more if they eat it. If you scramble a whole egg for baby, only put a bite or two on their high chair tray. If they eat it, give them some more. Until you know they’ll eat the whole thing, you end up wasting a bunch of food because it’s not that appetizing to eat the remainder after a baby has glommed all over it. Similarly, I’ll plan my breakfast and baby’s together. If I know he’s good for half an egg, I’ll set aside the other half- not covered in baby drool- to eat with my toast. If your baby is like mine, they’ll be more interested in eating if they see you eating along with them.
- Pack snacks in your diaper bag when you’re going on outings. Even if you read Bringing Up Bebe and don’t believe in giving kids snacks between meals, as they get more active, they’re harder to keep entertained at a restaurant booth or in the car. Have some rice teethers, one of those puree pouches, or even pickles (our kid loves sucking on pickles on road trips) packed with you to give them something to work on. They’ll develop hand-to-mouth skills and keep quiet for longer!
- Your dining area will get messy. Your kid will get messy. There will be food waste as your child learns to not open their hand over open air and let food fall. You’re gonna need to breathe and try to accept these things. You can look at this as a fun opportunity to teach baby the lifelong skill and enjoyment of eating! You’re both learning together. There will be times when baby grabs the spoon and really wants to feed themselves, but ends up with peanut butter yogurt in their hair, or rubs their sleepy eyes with a hand covered in applesauce. Accept that there are a lot more baths in your future, and keep some baby washcloths near the sink so you can do a post-meal wipe down.
You know what you don’t need? Baby towels.
Sure, they’re adorable because they come with little corner pocket hoods that make your kid look like a duck or a dinosaur.
But you know what I bet you already have? Towels. Regular-sized towels that won’t outgrow your kid in six months.
Take baby towels off your registries, still pregnant people, and add wipes (can never have too many) or restaurant gift cards for you or straight cash money instead.
Desitin smells like dead fish. Don’t buy it. There’s plenty of other types of diaper creams.
There’s only a billion lists already in existence of things to put on your registry, so I figured the Internet could use one more. Much like the pregnancy resources post, I’ll edit this one as I think of more things, and your comments are welcome on what your baby has loved since mine is a diva and doesn’t care for most of the things we were told he would. Below is what, three months post-baby, we’re glad we ended up getting or have used way more than we expected.
- Boppy Lounger: Every parent I asked said to get the Boppy Lounger instead of the regular Boppy, and they were right. (Boppy Lounger is a place to put them vs. Boppy is a breastfeeding pillow thing that’s supposed to wrap around you.) I actually purchased this item very late into my pregnancy because I had a registry discount to use. I was very, “I’m a chill mom and don’t need things and can totally put my baby on the couch or floor, why would he need a special pillow?” Turns out babies don’t really love being put on the floor! You need a supportive place to put them. Even at three months, as he’s getting kinda long for it, we’re sucking every last day of life out of this Boppy. I almost wish we’d have gotten two so we weren’t carrying it up and down the stairs with us, depending on where the baby was lounger (champagne problems.)
- Nose Frida: We have a congested kid. Due to reflux + winter + genetics, this baby is not short on snot. I first used the Nose Frida about a week after he came home from the hospital, and we haven’t put it down since. You probably won’t use it 2-3 times a day, but we do & have started buying the replacement filters in bulk. If you have at least a two parent household, one of you will likely become the Frida parent (me) and one of you will be either grossed out by it or a very dainty sucker (husband.) Always use the spray saline first– it does help loosen nose gunk to make it easier to remove– and if you burn through that bottle as fast as we did, your pediatrician should have some free saline tubes to give you. Pro tip if you have to use it as much as we do: wait for baby to sneeze, then pounce on that as your golden Frida opportunity.
- Some type of swaddle. My kingdom for a simple swaddle solution out of the gate!! You can absolutely swaddle baby in a blanket– ask the nurses to show you before you leave the hospital– but it’s 2021, honey, and the world has better solutions (and you’ll be less likely to be awake in the middle of the night wondering if they’ve suffocated themselves in the blanket if you get a wearable one.) If you have friends who have babies- ask to borrow some swaddles to see what works for your kid. Our kid is the world’s youngest Cirque de Soleil performer and can get out of absolutely anything. We thought Velcro swaddles would be a solution, but he was absolutely irate to be so pinned down (but only at night! sometimes they worked during naps?) But then he came back around and they became a magic sleep solution for a couple weeks during his third month?? There is no one perfect solution for every baby, so be prepared for some trial & error.
- Musical mobile: I forget why I was on the fence about getting a mobile (as any expecting parent reading this already knows, there IS such a thing as too much research– I’m sure I fell down some dark web rabbit hole about Illuminati mobiles.) We ended up registering for this one from Target because I thought it’d look cute in his dino-themed room. It absolutely doesn’t help our kid go to sleep, but it does buy me 10-15 minutes of alone time when I can lay him in the crib and he’s fascinated by it. I would recommend getting a moving musical one for maximum distraction effect and not one of those twee Pinterest ones you overpay someone to make with branches from their backyard.
None of the above links are affiliate links because I’m too lazy to even figure out how to do that.