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Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Daughter Was Born
by Kay Shapero

The following has been one of my standard baby shower gift accompaniments since my daughter arrived in 1986. I'm posting it here in the hopes that it may be useful to others...

Congratulations on being about to receive one of the the most strenuous blessings God bestows upon us... Before Vicky arrived I read a number of books which were very useful, but didn't quite cover everything. A few tips which might be helpful:

  • Unless your changing table is in the bathroom, keep a thermos bottle of warm water on it, along with a box of tissues or some washcloths, for use in washing the baby's behind whilst changing diapers. Not only does this avoid startling the kid with a cold baby wipe on the rear at 3 AM, but if you also place a basin nearby you have something to wash your own hands with.

  • Especially at first you'll find yourself washing your hands more in one day than you used to in three. Try using baby bath soap; it helps keep them from drying out as much.

  • For the first 6 weeks it appears to be impossible to have too many receiving blankets.

  • Regardless of what type of diapers you plan to use, buy a package of unfolded cloth diapers. They make excellent burp cloths, dust rags, makeshift receiving blankets, wash cloths, towels, baby carriage sun screens, emergency head-scarves...

  • And speaking of diapers, one more advantage of a diaper service besides the ones you've doubtless already heard is that extra cloth diapers are the best thing I've found to clean up baby bowel movements (even better than washcloths, and there's the added advantage of not having to clean the things yourself!)

  • That little squeeze bulb ear syringe they send you home with along with slightly unnerving instructions about what to do if the kid develops a clogged nose is perfect for rinsing off the baby's hair after you shampoo it.

  • If you're breastfeeding, wait until almost the last minute to shop for nursing bras. Find one that fits perfectly, then buy one or two one size larger. These should do for the hospital; you'll have a better idea later what size you will actually wear. (And avoid the EVENFLO nursing shields; they're thick, round, and clearly visible through your blouse. Try the thinner, horseshoe-shaped ones. I got mine from the MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY chain; I don't know who else carries them.

  • If you aren't given a baby bathtub, buy one. It'll save you no end of aggravation...

  • Expect to wash baby clothes almost daily. It's amazing what a mess someone shorter than your arm who sleeps most of the day can make!

  • You will probably be given a ton of samples of baby powder, lotion, oil and so on for use in changing the baby. Most of this is superfluous - all I ever needed with Vicky was Vaseline (most of the time) and Desitin ointment (when she had diaper rash.)