This post has been sponsored by Baby Orajel™, however all opinions are my own
I don’t want to brag or anything, but- I was, quite frankly, the best mom EVER. For a really long time. Almost 31 years, in fact, give or take the few I was too young to understand what having a kid meant. I READ THE BOOKS. I talked to other moms. I schooled myself on the internet. I was prepared and well-armed to take on the challenges of parenting. Of course, then I HAD a baby, and became a parent, and as the Fresh Prince one sang…
My life got flipped turned upside down.
And we’re still flipping, almost 11 years later.
Here’s the thing, you guys. Your life will get flipped and turned upside down. Sometimes more than once over the course of a 24 hour period. You’ll have your highest highs and your lowest lows and maybe everything in between. There’s really nothing that can prepare you for parenting.
Because kids are all different. That exersaucer your sister’s kid loved for so long may be YOUR baby’s worst nightmare. That mobile may soothe other babies, but it makes yours think it’s party-at-the-club time.
Yep. You can register. I did. 80% of the stuff we registered for was suggested as a must-have by the registry store (sorry, all of you baby registry places, but it’s time we come clean on this). In the middle of the night, it really doesn’t matter if those wipes are warm when your baby has pooped all over themselves, their crib, their cosleeper, your bed, YOUR sheets, and your pajamas. What will matter is having something to get the baby poo off of YOU and off of the baby. The end. If your wedding dress is what’s in reach, well, that may just be used too. Desperate, under-rested parenting can do that to a human. (Disclaimer: No wedding dress has been used in this house for wiping baby poo, but I promise, had it been the only thing in arm’s reach, I totally would have).
Babies have to sleep, eat and snuggle…and relieve themselves. As they get older they will want to play, which can be part of the snuggling. You can decide if you want to keep a constant watch over them (like with a baby monitor) or not… but at some point, they will eat and they will sleep.
Things to know about being a parent
As babies get older, things change. They start getting control of their body parts. They smile. Sometimes they smile and bop you in the face. Those tiny hands can hurt when they hit your nose at just the right angle. It’s all good.
Before you know it, your toothless little baby will show signs that his or her teeth want to descend into their gums and show themselves to the world. This can, in fact, make your baby’s personality do a 180 switch. It can make them drool enough in a day to fill a small swimming pool. It can make them crankier than you thought possible and you will want to find SOMETHING to make them feel better. There are, I estimate, no less than 31421758395713 teething toys on the market. Some folks will tell you to freeze a washcloth (which does work, but after less than a minute, we’re at room temp and that doesn’t help anymore). If your baby eats solids, frozen fruits in a mesh feeder can help, although they are super messy (blueberries were my kids’ favorites).
But teething doesn’t just happen at awake time or meal times, so it’s not always the most convenient time to access a frozen washcloth or a toy. We always kept some teething relief products on hand, like Baby Orajel™ Homeopathic Teething Gel.
Before those little chompers come out, you actually *do* want to clean your baby’s gums. It’s good to start this process early or you will find yourself threatening to sit astride your two and a half year old son to hunt for hippopotamus families on the loose in their mouth and the only way to save him is to brush them away. (This actually doesn’t work for long, no matter how funny you say it. Just sayin’). Obviously once the teeth are peeking out, they need to be brushed. Find something you don’t mind the smell of, because this should be a non-negotiable activity in your house for the rest of their lives.
First steps in brushing your teeth are not easy.
Teeth need to be cleaned and cared for. Your child will likely go through times where the very mention of having to brush their teeth or have them brushed will send them into a fit of rage. Mine all have. But it’s important, so you have to solider on through. All tooth products, like diapers, are actually meant to do the same thing: to clean teeth and gums. If they are baby/toddler targeted products, they are meant to clean the teeth and gums of babies/toddlers. Tooth and gum cleansers for toddlers should be something that can help you get your child to want to brush or tolerate you brushing. Listen, you guys. I was not ever a Dora the Explorer fan. Not for one minute of my life. But when my kid got a Dora toothbrush at the dentist and was happy to brush, well, Dora became my special friend. MY brushing ally. Of course, once I got 4 more of the same toothbrush, she moved onto Princesses and left Dora in the dust, but whatever. If it makes then open to the brushing then LET THEM CHOOSE. Let them have the characters and the favorite friends on the tube of tooth cleanser. I promise you, the painless brushing time or at least the less-painful-for-adults brushing time will be worth every penny.
Here’s a fun tip: tooth & gum cleansers for kids make GREAT stocking stuffers/ Easter basket fillers/care package ideas. If they love Thomas the Train, get the Orajel™ Thomas & Friends™ Fluoride-Free Training Toothpaste- your little one will be delighted and hopefully brushing will be more fun than not. LOTS of fun characters can be found like Elmo and My Little Pony to name a few.
All diapers are totally the same and also totally different.
Why yes, I did just contradict myself. But that’s what parenting can be. Natural, organic, disposable, cloth, hybrid… diapers are meant to not get the above-mentioned poo on YOU. Whether or not the baby feels the moisture is really dependent on the diaper. But this isn’t something I knew ahead of time. I thought a brand or a style of diaper mattered. Guess what? I’ve used almost every single diaper option around. More than once. I had 3 kids in cloth. By kindergarten? 99% of kids were potty trained and no one cared if they had been peeing in the potty before 2 or staying dry overnight by 4… and mostly parents were happy if their kid didn’t have any poop accidents at all. So find what you like or feel comfortable using and go with that. THAT’s kind of an important thing to know about parenting.
Your baby will need to sleep. A lot, and then as time goes on, less and less. Maybe they’ll be like the Martin kids and sleep like never, but that’s what coffee is for. They’ll wake up hours before you want to be awake and want to play and have fun and mommy why are you sleeping again!!! while pulling your eyelids back open. No matter how much or little, or what time they wake up, they will need to sleep.
No matter how adorable most pajamas are for babies, they really just need to be in a safe place for sleeping, where they can’t roll and get hurt or stuck in between things. What they wear is kind of not important. We loved sleepy sacks and swaddle blankets for very different reasons, but you have to find what makes your baby feel secure enough to sleep and keep them at a comfortable temperature. Blankets CAN be very dangerous, so sleepy sacks were a great option for us- the blanket that they wear….and swaddling kept our little ones from flailing themselves awake all night long.
However your kids go to sleep- being rocked, laid down awake, snuggled in bed with a parent… they need a place to sleep. Above mentioned things like diapering and teething can put your sleep routines in haywire mode, so always have something to clean up within an arm’s reach (for infants) and something to soothe teething pain.
Also, if your baby spits up a lot, and you rock them back to sleep in the middle of the night, wear a shirt. Dads, this one’s on behalf of my husband, bless his heart, who got a whole bottle spit up right down his shirtless back one night….with a baby who took a really long time to settle. A shirt could have been a barrier.
Oh. Eat. Babies have to eat.
When you have an infant, there are, for the vast majority of us, 2 main options for feeding. Breastmilk or formula. Whatever works best in your house with your family is what’s best for you. Breastfeeding is great when it works or when it’s safe for mom and baby but that’s not always the case. Whatever works for your family IS what’s best for your baby. It’s not an either/or. My kids all had both. They’ve thrived thus far in life, and one has surpassed the 10 year mark.
There are tons and tons of kinds of bottles. If you use a bottle, find what your baby can drink from that doesn’t upset their stomach or give them gas, and use those.
As your baby gets older and ready to start solids, talk with your pediatrician about what to start with and when. You can make all of their baby food or buy it all- you will know what is going to work for your family. 🙂
What important things to know about being a parent do you have to share?