December 6, 2012

Siblings Class at the Hospital

waiting in the lobby for class to begin!

I first heard about this from a friend who's hospital offered this class, so I asked my OB if ours did. The date it was offered at our hospital didn't work for both hubby and I to attend, so we found one (looking online) at another local hospital we could attend.

I think this was more for parents than kids, but for an hour or so of our lives, it was worth it. M brought his own baby doll (the one that my dad balked at me buying for him when hubby and I found out we were pregnant).

We started with a tour of the maternity ward - got to see some brand new babies through the glass getting their first baths. The instructor talked about how this would be where mommy would come have her baby.

holding a shirt for his baby
Then we walked to the classroom to watch a video, Silly Siblings (got some giggles from the kiddos)

Some of the highlights were:
- baby will enjoy watching you dance
- you can help with the baby (bring things to mommy or daddy, bathe)
- babies only drink mommy's milk, or formula (this got some "ew's" at the breastfeeding scenes)
- babies cry - a lot
- feelings (briefly) and what you might do (safely) to express them

Then the kids got to take items out of a diaper bag and talk about what they were called and what they were used for (wash cloth, nose bulb, diaper, baby wash, clothing, teething toy, rattle).

They got to practice holding a baby (sitting, with crossed legs, pillow in lap, mommy brings baby to you, use gentle touches). She pointed out how heavy the baby was (demonstrated with a weighted doll)

taking off a diaper

The kids also got to practice helping with the bath for their babies.

The instructor pointed out that us parents should cut our kids a good amount of slack in the first while after baby is born. She equated it to getting a new Sister Wife (you know, like the TV show?), and having her wear your clothes and use your kitchen - how would you feel at first?
- don't expect a kid under 5 to behave and reason like a 7 or 8 year old
- don't always resort to time out for minor infractions or as a first reaction
- greet your older child first (and without the baby) in the hospital when s/he comes to visit, and when you get home from places. This goes for visits from grandma and grandpa - and others - too. Even though the excitement is around the baby, greeting the older child until their attention wears out won't really take long. Then see the baby.

- keep a few small toys, wrapped, on hand in case a guest brings something for the baby, but forgets something for the older sibling (they are too young to really appreciate why this is)

holding the real-weight, real-sized baby,
while sitting cross-legged, with a pillow...
 supporting her head (sort of)

- get something for the older sibling as a gift from the baby on the first visit to the hospital

- Expect some regression - potty habits, wanting to use a bottle, asking to nurse. These will all be short lived, especially if you don't make too big of a deal about it.
- Learn to talk to your kids so they know what they expect, and you don't have to be threatening.
- She recommended reading the book, Siblings Without Rivalry. Its on our wish list!!

- Also, the 'new' thing is to care for the umbilical stump by keeping it clean and dry, and not by rubbing it with alcohol (which is what they told us to do for our son, two and a half years ago).

December 1, 2012

Must Haves for Baby #2

So I admit, I am writing this post more for me than you :). It's crunch time and I am starting to nest, and I want to make sure I am thinking of everything I need to have on hand for Baby Sister, but of course, I have much less time to daydream about (er, obsess over) than I did with my firstborn! Please let me know if I have included anything ridiculous, or left out anything obvious!!

Baby Tracker - we used this pretty religiously for the first 2-3 months until we got our rhythm.
disposable diapers and wipes (if you plan to use them),
new nipples for your bottles
storage baggies for breast milk
replacement parts for your breast pump (new tubing? any other parts that need replacement... you may have to contact the manufacturer for this one)
baby wash and lotion and cream (especially if you have favorite brands by now)
nursing bras (I wore my old ones out - I wore them through the second half of pregnancy and for a year of nursing. I figure with what I saved on formula and replacing regular bras during that time, it's totally justified.)

All their own.
-Get another of anything you had monogrammed or personalized for your first child (that you actually liked/used). For us, we love these handy bottle/cup labels for daycare, so we'll be getting more for baby #2.
-Also in this category are loveys that won't be passed down, and maybe even 'coming home outfits' (depending on if you are in the camp that 'each child should have their own' or the 'my kids will wear the same dressing gown my great great grandfather wore'). For us, this also includes a new kids Nalgene bottle, since we feel our son is pretty attached to his. Oh- I guess this also includes the growth chart I hand painted for M. Now to brainstorm design ideas for Baby Sister... And a hamper.... and a trash can to replace the diaper genie... (I guess as I keep moving things from M's room to Baby Sister's I will add more here, too)

The 'other' gender gear -  do you need to shift from blue to pink (we do!)?
- Luckily our main gear (car seat, stroller, bedding, most blankets) is gender neutral, but if yours aren't you can buy or make covers for these things, or trade in your versions for a discount on something more fitting.
- clothing. I think people tend to like to gift clothing for cute little babies, so its probably best not to spend a lot of time adding what you think you might like here, because people will likely give you whatever they want, anyway. If you are IN LOVE with something jot it down, of course. However, in case I am wrong, and no one gives you a single stitch of clothing, make sure you have a few plain white onesies on hand. Or keep your daughter in her brother's clothes, but wrapped in a pink receiving blanket at all times (this is our plan, anyway).
- cloth diapers. We used cloth diapers with our son, so of course we have zero pink diapers in our 'stash' as they say. I think I'd like at least one or two... :)

You wish you had more ___
... and just never bothered to get it. Now's the time to build in convenience, and since you don't have to invest in ALL new baby gear, you may as well splurge on a few backups to make your life easier. For us, we loved our newborn swaddle, but only had one of them, so I think we'll get a second this time. Also, it will be nice to have a few more hooded baby towels (for some reason we have a plethora of washcloths, but never enough towels! And for now, we are still using the ones we can find with the toddler). Also this means a second camera for the baby monitor. Though I have a friend talking me into replacing the whole monitor with webcams. We'll see how she likes hers first...

Cool, New and Improved.
Anything that is the new, cool must have since your last kid was born. Or a splurge you didn't get with the first baby. I will say I am willing to shell out for a good, fast, forehead or behind-the-ear thermometer. Because, I admit: I never actually personally took my kid's temperature rectally - and I really really really don't want to. Also my friend is telling me these rock n play things are where it's at these days... but I am skeptical.

Some suggestions from our readers:
- The rock n play got several thumbs up, especially for fussy/colicy babies (who need to be slightly inclined), or those with medical issues. I guess we'll see if Baby Girl is as 'textbook' as her brother.
- The Go Pod (available in other colors, though I do like orange...) for a quick thing to pack up and take to the beach or a friend's house (I can see this being less intimidating than an entire exersaucer!)
- If you don't already have a good baby carrier, the ErgoBaby is recommended (and comes in many color and fabric options). We do have one-and love it, too! We haven't tried it on anything smaller than a 1 year old, though. I will report back first hand :)

Double stroller? I am not sure if we need this or not... feedback? If we do need one - what kind?! Hubby and I are very divided.
Reader feedback - the Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon as an alternative to a double stroller.

This is all I can think of for now. Y'know, before Baby Sister actually arrives. I may be totally off - and I'll update this post a few weeks after she arrives, if so :)

Oh - and if you are like a dear friend of mine, and this is your second kid but you adopted an older one the first go round, you can consult my other post about baby registry 'must haves' to cover the basics.

Please leave any feedback/comments!! Thanks!!!