Sunday, December 27, 2009
Raising Kids: Stuff you need and stuff you DON'T
When we found out we were expecting our daughter, Andrea, six years ago, we were completely unprepared for the choices and options for baby "stuff." We were quickly lost in the baby superstore. We knew we wanted to do things as naturally as possible but how?
Needless to say, parenting is a learning experience. We have learned TONS with each of our three blessings and hopefully will continue to learn - and hopefully with more kids! Each child is dramatically different but has the same basic needs and we have come to the conclusion that less stuff is definitely better.
If I had to do it all again I would only have acquired the following:
1.Baby legs - As modeled so cutely by my Ethan in the photo above. We just discovered these and I am hooked! They are simple and make diaper changes and potty stops extremely easy is our cold weather climate. They go great underneath snowsuits or outfits. I buy gender neutral classic solid colors that go with multiple outfits. Honestly, Ethan only wears babylegs now. No snaps except for on the diaper itself. And now he wears underpants part-time, because we practice Elimination Communication (a fancy way for saying we take our baby to the bathroom when he needs to go!). More on Ethan's potty routine to come...I love not washing diapers because he simply uses the potty. Hooray! Side note on the babylegs, the off brands are not as good. We also follow the instructions and hand wash. Actually my older kids wash them in the bathtub. Loads of fun for all. This is a "I can't live without them" item!
2. Cloth diapers - yes I would start there. I have used both disposable and cloth, on newborns even! I still hold that cloth is easier and tons healthier. Why subject sensitive newborn skin to a list of toxic chemicals all day long? I never have to run to the store and the cost savings is tremendous. We have paid off our college loans! Not even kidding. I like the mother-ease one size fits 8 - 28 pounds. We bought several of all 3 sizes of their waterproof covers and found we didn't need all of them. I bought 2 dozen used off ebay so the cost was minimal.
3. Dr. Bronner's mild organic baby soap - We use this for everything. We cut up cloth for wipes and use water or a little of this great baby soap for the messy diaper changes. We use it for shampoo and body soap for all the kids and for hand soap, too. I must confess we buy it by the gallon!
4. Baby Bjorn Potty - This large size potty is worth the price. It worked for my newborn as well as my 5 year old in pinch (we only have one lovely restroom in our sprawling 1200 square foot duplex). I absolutely wouldn't live without this potty, especially since we spend a lot of time with three children in that particular room of the house.
5. Baby K'tan carrier - Again, this carrier is worth every penny. My husband is wearing Ethan in it for the main photo on the blog. It's hard to see and I'll try to post more because it is well worth the effort to learn how to use its multiple holds. It is cloth and goes over BOTH shoulders - read saves my poor aching back! I use it grocery shopping and around the house. He is a slight 17 pounds at 6 months so I need all the help I can get.
6. Double Jogger stroller- This is last but not least! We literally have gotten rid of one vehicle but I still use my jogger stroller even in December. I may have put more miles on it than on our new van, I'm not certain. It's close. We have the luxury of living in town and everywhere we want to go is in a 2 mile radius. Now that I have three, I have Andrea walk or I carry Ethan in the K'tan and she rides. We obviously go slower now with three children but it is still invaluable. Our brand is now out of production but there are tons of great brands of double joggers.
This is my top list of cannot live without items. Add a few gender neutral shirts that match the babylegs of course, and you'll be all set. We have chosen to naturally feed our children from birth, so bottles have been very ignored. We likewise think pacifiers can become tragic ways not to listen to baby's attempts to communicate. Toys are very unnecessary at first and then kitchen items and households things get played with far more than the high tech toys. We do have a book addiction and cannot live without hundreds and hundreds of them! We still have tons of toys. A pink castle is currently blocking our front door, so please, if you come visit you'll have to hurdle a few princesses! But we are trying to learn to live simply and teach our children as Jesus taught - that we love people, not things. We are keeping our baby's life simple from the start this time. Especially with two older ones, it has been a matter of survival for us. We found immense peace in keeping the "stuff" to an absolute minimum and enjoying the roar of children running and shaking our house!
What are some ways or items that you've found of keeping baby's life simple from the start? I'm still learning and so I'm all ears.....