Living Magazine
Getting Ready For Baby

When a little one is on the way, a lot of feelings surround the parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles-to-be excitement, nervousness and anticipation are just a few. One thing is for certain, the better prepared you are for this new little life, the easier future months will be. Rhesha Landers, baby planner extraordinaire shares some advice gleaned from person experience and from working with many expecting mothers.

Rhesha's Tips

" When you first find out you're going to have a baby, buy yourself a gift card to your favorite shopping spot to accumulate funds for diapers and unexpected baby needs. Open the card with $20. Add $20 a week on the card. You will have accrued over $700 in just those few short weeks!

" Don't buy too many of the same brand diapers. Consider diaper rash control and leakage issues. Your baby might do well with one specific brand. Just because one child responds well to one brand, doesn't mean they all will! So, limit your supplies and wait to figure out what's best for your baby!

" The diaper bag-whether it's your first or third baby, keep in mind that times do change and diaper bags have become a trendy and/or functional accesory. Jot down some functions that are nonnegotiable, and don't settle for less than the best for you! For example: Do you like backpacks? Would you prefer a bag that could be a backpack and a shoulder bag? Will it slip off your shoulder? Does the diaper-changing pad contain memory foam to ease baby's pressure points? Is it easily cleaned? Are the bottle pockets insulated? Is it multi-functional? Can it easily convert to a large carry-on bag for travel?

" Keep safety in mind. The JPMA, Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, is a great resource for safety standards and recall information to insure your baby's protection.

" Functional nursery design and furniture.This is where the most money is spent. So, the time you spend making that decision should be well thought out and discussed. The infamous question of, 'Will the furnishings grow with my child?' is a good one, but don't stop there!

" Crib-safety first! Round cribs offer the most safety. Babies have been known to shake the crib and fall backward, causing injuries to their little heads. A round crib is three inches wider, making the chances less likely for an accident of this nature to happen.

" Changing table-again, safety is key. Remember your baby will begin to turn over and reach for things that can injure him or her. Instead of having powder, wipes, Q-Tips, etc. in baby's reach, try finding a nice metal or wooden shelving unit that hangs high enough that only you can reach it. Attractive shelving will not only be functional, but will add a-Wow! every time a guest enters the nursery. I personally use a tray that has three tiers, one for diapers, one for wipes and powder and one for a stuffed animal. Don't forget to plan where the soiled diapers will be placed. If your changer comes with a tray, check to see if it removes easily to function as a dresser for later. Keep all furniture away from windows and window treatments.

" Bedding-again, check the JPMA for safety standards (length of ties, contents of bumper fill, etc.). Look beyond themes. Look through magazine photos and pull pages that make you stop and take a second look. This will help you choose your perfect colors. Teddy bear and froggy themes will be outgrown soon, so go for color. For a classy nursery, you might want to use baby's photos in black and white, framing them in the same style and color. If you prefer themes, add stuffed animals, decorative pillows, canvas art and even watercolor art from family and friends. These items can easily be changed out to grow with your baby.

" Don't be afraid to say, no! to hand-me-downs. If an offer becomes available to you, be picky. If you won't use it, don't take it. Remember, it's easy to fill a baby's room full of unnecessary toys and lightly stained clothing. Now is not the time to feel obligated to accept handouts.

" Onsies! Whether you keep up with the latest trends or enjoy simple living, everyone needs onsies. Make sure you have a few from size newborn to six months. With southern weather often being cold in the mornings and evenings and hot during the day, it's always good to have a pair of Baby Legs available. These are not limited to cold weather, and they act as shields for babys knees by protecting them when they crawl and learn to walk. They're also precious beneath long dresses for girls and make diaper changing a breeze. Boys look trendy with the shorts and flame Baby Legs!

" Look up recalls on everything from swings to strollers. Just because it's new, doesn't mean its the safest on the market!

" Find a stroller that works for your needs. If you and your spouse vary much in height, try a stroller that has a handle that can extend. Eat out a lot? You might desire your stroller to act as a highchair. Will your stroller of choice fit neatly and easily into your particular vehicle? Avoid the color black when choosing a stroller. Southern heat can be extreme. If a baby is placed in a black stroller with a canopy pulled over him or her, she can get very hot very quickly, causing irritability and who knows what else! Remember, your newborn won't be a newborn for long. You will be toting around a toddler far longer than an infant. Focus on the long-term usage of your stroller and don't limit your shopping to an infant. Search for simplicity now.

" Lastly, you get what you pay for. The more custom the design, be it bedding and furniture or painting and decor, the more you'll appreciate the nursery. Finer fabrics last longer and can become heirloom pieces that can be passed down and appreciated for generations.

Advice from Sleepeasy Solution Authors Jill Spivack and Jennifer Waldburger

If the baby is under four months old, there are NO bad habits, so brand new parents can take the pressure off by feeling free to rock, bounce, feed or do whatever is necessary to help the baby sleep well. Young babies do not always have the ability to self-soothe, so it is important not to impose a sleep or feeding schedule until about four months old. At this age, babies reach a significant cognitive milestone that then allows them to do some self-soothing and to remember, from one day to the next, how to do that. If a baby isn't sleeping well at that point, parents can then take the lead in helping their child learn.

May 2007 Issue

Written by: Abby Hoeffner