First I need to add a couple of things about the high chair.
You probably already have a thousand thin flannel receiving
blankets -- if you don't now is a good time to go get some,
or better, find a friend (or an aunt with a friend) who has
a serger, and get them to make you a bunch of two foot by
two foot squares of flannel.
Once you have your pile of blankets, fold one up so that it
lines the high chair under the baby. Then when the
inevitable explosive poo happens you will only have to
wash the blanket, not the entire high chair cover. Repeat
as necessary for bouncy chair, car seat, stroller, etc.
You'll also need a rolled up hand towel to prop next to
the baby in the high chair, so she doesn't topple over
I haven't come across a brand of diapers which isn't perfectly
adequate. They all seem to do the trick, store-brand or name-brand
alike. Huggies are a little nicer in that they are softer and
stretchier, but they don't objectively function any better. Pampers
are just weird because they are scented: why? If you get
on Huggies' mailing list they will send you big fat coupons on
a regular basis, so you can feel a bit better about spending
huge piles of money on diapers, but I'm not sure how I got on
the list. Maybe just email them and ask?
Wipes, on the other hand, are not all created equal. The cheap
brands all seem to be smooth and thin and useless at sponging up
poop. We stick with Huggies-brand wipes when we're out, and wet washcloths
when we're home, which you probably won't want to do unless you
launder your own cloth diapers. Huggies are more expensive, but
since you probably use twice as many of the cheap kind maybe
it works out in the end. There might be other good brands out
there, but I'm warning you, buy a small package to start off
with because you don't want to be stuck with 200 lousy wipes.
I don't think you're using cloth diapers because you're not
INSANE, but if you do and you wash them yourself, let me tell
you the big secret: use Tide. There is all sorts of advice
out there to have two diaper pails, or to soak overnight, or
to rinse with vinegar, blah dee blah dee blah. I just stick
the diapers in a pail all by their smelly selves, and then
dump them in the washer on a heavy-duty hot cycle with Tide.
Voila, fresh, stain-free diapers.
Incidentally, in other laundry news, most stains ever encountered
by man or baby can be removed with an overnight soak in a wash basin with
hot water and some Oxy-Clean. I just used it to get some thirty-year-old
stains out of a hand-me-down blanket from when Blake was a baby.
If you're nursing, the best advice I can give you is to sleep
with your baby. I've slept with both of mine and I had to nod
politely through all those conversations with other mothers about
being so sleep-deprived, because I'm just not. Baby wakes up, you
offer the boob, baby nurses while you drift back to sleep.
And sleeping with your baby is just nice. It's lovely to be
able to smell her soft round head in the middle of the night.
I don't know if I would try it if I were bottle-feeding, though,
because breast-feeding mothers actually sleep more lightly than
normal people, so you're less likely to squish your baby in the
night. Also don't sleep with your baby if you smoke (!), or if
you've been drinking or taken medication which makes you sleepy
like Neo-Citran. Also the baby should sleep next to you, not
between you and your husband, again because of the rolling-onto
issue. We have a bed rail on my side of the bed but it's just a
technicality, because your baby will glom onto you like a remora.
It's astonishing how quickly a supposedly non-mobile baby will make
her way across a bed to the nearest warm body.
(Having said that, I still think the bed rail is a good idea.
And don't put the baby on the bed between you and a wall, there's just
too much scope for disaster there.)
You'll also want another one of those receiving blankets under
your baby and your boobs, to catch poop and spit-up and spilled
milk. It's a lot easier to change a small blanket than your
entire bottom sheet.
Blake's advice for dealing with a crying baby is, do everything
you can think of. Then do it again. Eventually something will
work. My advice is, do all the sensible things (feed, change,
burp, rock, etc) and if nothing works, take off all her clothes.
Ostensibly you're looking for rashes or irritating tags on her
clothes or whatever, but I find babies just like being naked.
Remember crying peaks at six weeks, so this won't actually go on
forever. And if you have done everything you can think of and
she's still crying (and you don't think she's sick), remember to
keep cuddling her. Even if you can't make her stop crying at least
you can give her comfort. (Unless you think you might throw
her out the window; in that case, put the baby down (somewhere
safe) and back away (maybe into the shower or something) -- give
yourself a time-out.)
Another thing you might do, although I don't remember doing this
with Delphine, is go out for a walk. Fresh air usually settles
babies down and if she's tired the stroller will help her sleep.
Our midwife told us about a 24-hour drugstore where there are
often groggy parents doing midnight laps with their babies in
One thing that helped me when I felt like a lousy parent because
I couldn't stop Delphine from crying was to think about people with
sick babies. Blake was really sickly when he was a kid and he must
have spent HOURS of his life crying, and it doesn't seem to have
done him any harm. I have a friend whose baby had open-heart
surgery at six months -- he must have cried so much, and there was
nothing his parents could do, but he is a perfectly normal and
happy kid now. So don't put too much stock in the crying -- it's
upsetting to you, the parent, because it's meant to be, but it
doesn't always mean something is horribly wrong that you can