Monday, October 20, 2014

Preparing for Baby #2

      Even though we're still very early in the pregnancy with baby #2, my mind is in full prep mode. We were completely caught off guard by Tennyson's nearly two month early arrival, and had next to nothing for him. I remember being in the hospital and thinking, "I don't even have a crib for my baby to sleep in!" Nor did we have diapers or clothing. The funny thing is that I had made out a list of the items we needed to get and penciled in on a calendar when we would get what. He arrived the next morning. So much for that plan! Instead of relaxed and paced shopping, it was a few frantic and stressful shopping trips to get everything as fast as possible (and likely at a higher cost).
 
      With this pregnancy, I fully intend to be as ready as possible as soon as possible. I intend to have everything purchased and ready before the 20 week mark. The last thing to purchase will be clothes if we find out at that time that the baby's a girl. (We didn't find out gender with our first pregnancy, but this time I want to only for the reason of having clothing and any thing else needed prior to delivery. I don't want to have to scramble for such things again).

     I will also probably start preparing freezer and/or slow cooker meals. We ate a lot of cold cereal and sandwiches initially as we adjusted to life with a demanding preemie. I want real food this time! I will probably also starting making a list of easy recipes or collecting them together. They'll be good for me to quickly pick a meal if I feel up to cooking, or for anyone who may come to help us transition to know what to prepare.

      So, as I said my list of items for the baby, myself and our home as already been forming in my mind. Time will go fast, and so my desire is to start now.

Baby
 
*Crib and mattress- IKEA trip! My in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving in Nov., and we may ask them to drive their truck so we can pick up the crib. Can't wait to see both cribs set up in the kids' room!

*Swing- I took a very minimalistic approach to baby gear with Tennyson. One reason was space within our home. Another reason was that we had to purchase nearly all of our baby items and expenses add up quickly. I thought a swing would be nice, but we made it just fine without one. As our only child, we were able to hold him a lot and honestly didn't put him down that much. With a second child, I'll need to put him/her down occasionally so that I can better care for his/her brother or whatever else I need to do. I'm hoping to find a smaller size swing so that it doesn't totally overwhelm our space.

*Baby bathtub- I skipped the baby bathtub with Tennyson because of it's size. We only have one full bathroom in our home, and a baby bathtub would take up so much space in the bathroom. Instead, I bathed Tennyson in the kitchen sink for months. When he outgrew the sink, we moved to the bathtub. We just always keep one hand on him. With two little ones to bathe, however, a baby bathtub will be essential. I can bath both children at the same time. I found a collapsible and gender-neutral color tub that will probably be the one I purchase.
Rumparooz  Lil•Joeys Newborn Diapers 2pk*Preemie/Newborn cloth diapers- I was advised that cloth diapers for a newborn may not be worth the money since they grow out of them so fast. Plus, many of the bigger size diapers start at 8-10lbs. I agree with this recommendation, but because we have preemies we stay in that smaller size much longer making cloth a worthwhile investment. I only purchased one-size diapers for Tennyson, but this was plenty of expense as it was much less to add another set for another size. We have a few prefolds and covers and a few pocket diapers, but our favorite is the all-in-one diaper. I'll probably try to find a way to resell the prefolds, covers and pockets. Cloth diapering with an AIO could not be easier, and so that's the only style I'm interested in purchasing more of. The only issue we've had with AIO was that they're bulky, especially on a slim baby. Even though he was at weight for them, they were still massive on him. I looked and looked for a AIO preemie size cloth diaper and found Lil Joeys. They range from 4-12lbs which is perfect for a preemie and slim 10-12lb baby! I'll probably purchase a few at a time this time around so that we're not looking at the total cost all at once. (Though I do believe they pay for themselves in the end). I'm by no means a cloth diaper fanatic, but will admit that I'm excited to see colorful cloth diapers in a preemie size!

*Clothing- if it's a girl, then we'll need all new clothing. It will be nice to already have clothes for him/her during the NICU stay. We could occasionally dress Tennyson while in the NICU, but since we didn't have clothes yet we used their freebies which were newborn size not preemie size. Clothes meant for a 8+ lb baby just doesn't work for a 3lb baby. (Just a side note- NICUs accept donated baby clothes for instances in which the baby arrives prior to the parents being fully prepared (like us!). If you ever want to donate to a cause, then donating preemie clothes or hats to a NICU is such a blessing! It really helps Mama & Daddy have some sense of normalcy during an abnormal baby arrival).

*Car seat- We'll obviously need a new carseat. Even though Tennyson can still fit in the infant seat, we'll probably get him the appropriate next size carseat and have the baby use the infant seat. No real sense in having two infant seats.

Mama
 
*Hands-free pumping bra- There were times with Tennyson in which I had to pump after his feed but he also needed to be held upright to ease reflux symptoms. I couldn't hold the pump in place and hold him. If we encounter a similar situation, I want to be able to have my hands free to hold the baby or interact with Tennyson as well.

Add a cami and a cardigan for a
 modest and comfortable post-C-section
 nursing outfit! Source: Old Navy
*Maxi skirts, tops, maxi dresses, diy nursing cami, and cardigans- I wasn't in the least prepared for an early delivery, much less a C-section. I had to scrape together any sort of clothing I could wear afterwards. The seam of my maternity pants hit directly on my incision, and so those were no longer an option (and I essentially only purchased and wore these two pants all pregnancy). Many of my shirts were not nursing-friendly, and I didn't care for having to nearly completely disrobe in the open NICU every nursing session. It was also freezing cold (as in negatives temperatures!) at that time. I wore two non-maternity maxi dresses, one maternity maxi skirt, an one or two maternity shirts for the entire two week NICU stay. Oh, and I wore my open Crocs with socks because my feet swelled so bad I couldn't fit into anything else (thanks, i.v. fluids). I already felt rough during that time, and not having any proper clothing  or shoes made me feel so much worse.
        After surgery, I didn't want anything to touch me, and so maxi dresses and skirts are perfect. Fortunately, right now summer maxi dresses are going on sale. The typical low neckline makes these great for nursing. I will simply add a diy nursing cami and cardigan to make them more modest and warm while maintaining accessibility for nursing. I also plan on having a few maxi skirts with a couple of matching tops each. I hope to put together enough of a mix-and-match collection for at least a two week NICU stay. We'll be shopping at an outlet mall during an upcoming family weekend get-together, and this  "collection" will be my mission. After Thanksgiving Day sales will be my other time. Fortunately,  all these items are non-maternity and so they'll be able to be worn when not pregnant or postpartum. I'll probably also be able to wear most of them throughout my pregnancy.
       If I was home postpartum with my baby, clothing would probably not be as important. Since we'll be spending some time at the hospital once this baby arrives, I do want to help myself feel somewhat better by at least looking presentable.

*Belly band- This would have made my first C-section recovery so much better. I badly wished I had had one! A belly band functions like the abdominal muscles used to in holding everything tightly inward. Without it, the forward and downward pull of the abdominal contents places a lot of pressure on the incision, especially when upright. My recovery was quite slow last time, and this time I'll need to help myself along a little faster since I'll also have a toddler to care for.

*Snacks for hospital stay- Amazingly, you're given heavy pain meds following a C-section and yet all they offer you to take them with is a cup of water and a pack of crackers. These are also all that's available between meals, and if you're breastfeeding then you need much more than three meals plus crackers in a day! I plan to have more substantial snacks on hand like granola or protein bars, and anything else I can think of that would be easy to have while in the hospital myself or visiting the baby in the NICU.

* Ring sling carrier/ Ergo infant insert- I'm considering selling my Moby wrap for an easier carrier. We couldn't use the wrap while he was a preemie, and then he hated it past the newborn stage. I didn't care for it much either as there was so much material to manage and how tight or loose I got it was always variable. A few friends of mine use the ring sling and rave about it. It would be one of the few carriers that could accommodate a preemie. Another option would be to get the infant insert for the Ergo. We love the Ergo! However, we'd have to wait until the newborn stage (8+ lb) before we could use it, and it takes a while for a preemie to get to that weight.

Home
* Toy storage- We currently have a basket for all of Tennyson's toys that sits on one of the end tables in the living room. We've chosen to be rather toy limited, and so this has been sufficient. However, has he gets older (and we pass a Christmas and birthday), he'll come to have more toys and larger toys. I personally do not want our home to look like a playroom. Not only is our home much too small for a bunch of toys scattered everywhere, but I don't care to have to maintain the mess. I also don't want to be tripping over toys in every room while carrying a baby.
     My current idea is to use a small cube shelf and a plastic tote or two. A limited number of toys will be stored on the shelf, and all others will go in the tote. Periodically the toys will be rotated from tote to shelf. This will keep the toys new and exciting to him, and the mess minimal for me. (There will still be messes, but not near the level as if all toys were out at all times).

* Clothing storage- We will need a dresser or the like for keeping clothing and cloth diapers for two children. The dresser we have for Tennyson is rather small and at capacity with diapers and his clothing. I'm thinking of moving our dresser and nightstand to the "kids room" and then finding us something else (Craigslist!).

Projects
* Clean out second bedroom of non-kids items. (We've continued to use part of the room and closet for storage since Tennyson isn't actually sleeping or playing in their yet).
* Set up room to be the kids' room- Create curtain rods and purchase curtains, set up both cribs, fix and move rocking chair into room etc
* Create lots and lots of independent play and busy bags for Tennyson (Pinterest!). I will need to occupy Tennyson during feeding sessions with the baby. I can't have a toddler running around unattended while I'm seated with the baby. We're going to work on "blanket time" but will probably still utilize the pack n' play quite a bit each day. We're still resolved on our children being screen free until two years old, and so that means we will need to proactively have means of entertainment for him.


    I think that's about it for now. I may adjust it here and there, and will refer back to this page often as I complete the list. I don't think that's not too bad of a list for a second baby. So many of these items have been placed on my mental "next time" list. ("Next time, a belly band is a must. Next time, a bathtub would be nice. Next time, postpartum clothes would be a great help. Etc etc.). When you have your first baby, you really are just guessing at what you might need. We chose a minimalist approach, and have done quite well. There are just a few things I'd like to pick up for this second pregnancy and baby.  

5 comments:

  1. I was saying "amen" the entire time I was reading your list! I also did not plan well enough for the postpartum period (you had mentioned something to me before I had the baby about it, and I prepared a little, but definitely not enough). Some quick resources that might help you: http://www.littlenaturalcottage.com/how-to-wear-maxi-dresses-when-youre-breastfeeding/
    This is a great post that helped me in the postpartum period. She bought halftees to use under maxis, which can be purchased in any sleevelength. They have been such a big help for me with nursing, and I still wear them out and about under surplice-style tops so nursing can be done quickly and discretely. The band on them really keeps them secure under your bust, and I love that it is reversible for different necklines.
    Also, I went to a baby store to purchase a belly band after having my baby. I had a pretty severe diastasis and knew belly bands help heal those. I ended up buying a bamboo belly bandit. They are pricey (you can get them with coupons at baby stores, though), but the bamboo one is incredibly soft. The lady at the store told me it is their most popular for c-section mamas because it irritates the incision so much less than regular belly bands made of elastic and cotton. I had a good friend who said her belly band was so uncomfortable, and said she wished she had bought the bamboo one. I loved it and used it a ton, so it has been worth the price for me. And it is SO soft, which is useful when you wear it almost 24 hours a day.
    We were also not planning to get a swing but ended up being given one and it has been a lifesaver for our baby, who didn't nap well from the beginning. I've actually been able to use it as a tool to teach her how to fall asleep on her own. I highly suggest the fisher price swings, as they are so cozy for little babies and adjust to a seated position as baby gets older. They do take up space (we live in a small apartment too), but it has been worth it.
    Looking forward to seeing the updates!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link! I still have a hard time with the price of a halftee. I'm looking for a more inexpensive route considering I'll want to have quite a few. (Milk supply was plentiful last time and I soaked shirts constantly). I've found a pretty neat diy nursing cami idea that I'll post later.

      Thank you so much for the recommendation of a specific belly band. There are so many kinds, and I'd be so disappointed if I purchased one that wasn't as comfortable or supportive for a C-section. I definitely consider a high quality band well worth the investment! I plan on wearing that thing out!

      I'm still searching for a swing. I'd like to find something that will accommodate an infant through older child. I've either found the infant only cradle style or older child only bucket seat style. What particular swing do you have? :)

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  2. I'm four months pregnant now, and we haven't done anything to prepare for the arrival of baby yet. I want to make a list like this and start on some of the items soon! Which crib were you going to buy at Ikea? I was also looking at a crib at Ikea. I love Ikea (most of our house is decorated with things from Ikea), and I love the style and price of their cribs.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations! I HIGHLY recommend being ready as soon as possible. I kept waiting and waiting to prepare with my first baby, and he arrived before I had anything at all. So stressful! I learned my lesson and intend to be fully ready by the end of my second trimester this time. haha.

      The above list is for our second baby, so there's just a few items needed. I still have the list I made for our first baby. It's a minimalist approach and covers only the necessities. I can post that if you're interested.

      We have the "Sundvik" crib from IKEA for Tennyson. We'll simply purchase a second one so that they'll be matching in the room. (We originally purchased a crib mattress from IKEA, but it was terrible. It was so flimsy that it folded when a sheet was on it. I quickly bought a standard mattress from Target. Just an FYI.). I LOVE Ikea and would certainly have my house look like the showroom if I could! :)

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    2. I would be interested in seeing your list for the first baby! We definitely want to take a minimalist approach because our apartment is a one bedroom and we just don't have space.

      Thank you for mentioning the crib mattress because I would have bought one at Ikea. I will avoid that now! I was looking at the Gonatt crib in grey. I would love to have my house look like the showroom too!

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