Homes 203: Preparing For Children

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Homes 202: Marriage

Having a baby is one of the most rewarding and difficult things you can do

  • A parent will become a Level 3 Leader and later a Level 4 Leader with much more nurture involved
    • You’re going to make dumb decisions, learn to accept them and move on
    • It can be easy to become lazy with the marriage relationship or parental responsibilities, but that’s where your ability to lead will show itself
    • As issues come up, it can be tempting to be passive about dealing with them, but the issues will become much bigger later on
  • You cannot be over-prepared for raising children
    • Your patience and limits will be tested, since children are high-maintenance, constantly needy and will try to push every boundary you have
  • As soon as you’ve conceived, start stocking up on what the baby will need
    • Health and hygiene needs
      • Brush, comb
      • Cotton balls, cotton swabs
      • First aid supplies, baby pain reliever, medicine droppers, nasal aspirator, teething medication, thermometer
      • Humidifier or vaporizer, vaporizer fluid
      • Find a good pediatrician
    • Bath needs
      • Baby lotion, baby soap and tearless shampoo
      • Soft bristle baby brush
      • Various washcloths
    • Clothing (at least a dozen or so outfits)
      • Baby caps (for the first few months), hats
      • Booties, socks
      • Coats, jackets, sweaters, shirts
      • Gowns, stretchies, one-piece footed rompers
      • Receiving blankets, sleeper outfits
    • Food needs
      • The food itself
        • Bottle feeding route: baby formula (a large supply), bottles, bottle warmer, bottle sterilizer, bottle brushes, bottle drying rack, breast pump
        • Nursing route: nursing pillow
      • Absorbent bibs (at least a dozen), drop and burp cloths
      • High chair
      • Infant spoons, plates, utensils, spill-proof cups
      • Pacifiers
      • A lot of dishwasher detergent or dish soap
    • Diaper and waste needs
      • Baby oil or rash ointment, baby powder, wipes
      • Diapers, diaper bag, diaper pail
        • Eastern cultures don’t use diapers and instead hold babies over a toilet when they need to go, which works for some people in the West
    • Nursery needs
      • Crib blankets, sheets, changing pads
      • Changing table, dresser
      • Crib or bassinet or rocker, crib bumpers, crib mattress, crib mattress pad
      • Playmat, rattle, teethers, simple baby toys, swing
    • Safety needs
      • Baby car seat (if you have a vehicle)
      • Bumpers for sharp edges, cabinet door locks, electrical outlet covers
      • High-quality vacuum
      • Safety gates
  • Baby needs can be met through more creative solutions or are not really necessary
  • Adjust for a pregnant lifestyle
    • Don’t go anywhere without bringing some food and water along
    • Always keep bags for morning sickness around
    • Adjust the physicla exercise regimen to allow lower-stress workouts
  • Get a schedule to plan for the baby
    • A baby incubates in about 40 weeks, though healthy births can vary up or down by 2 weeks
    • Get an ultrasound 6-12 weeks in to diagnose any early problems
    • Get another ultrasound at about 20 weeks if you want to find out if it’s a boy or girl
      • Many times, the mom can accurately sense the gender of the child
    • There’s no specific time to announce it
      • If there are complications, you will have to tell everyone, which can be either good or bad depending on who you are
      • The earlier you announce the less excuses for pregnancy you have to make (declining alcohol, exhaustion, etc)
      • The simplest way to go is to tell people as the conversations happen
  • Research ahead of time about babies
    • There are hundreds of good parenting books that teach what you need to know
    • Read articles on BabyCenter for answers
    • Volunteer in a church’s childcare or daycare to be more exposed to small children and babies

Babies grow faster than you think they will

  • They will start developing basic motor skills and focusing on people within the first month
  • Between 1-3 months they will start tracking other people, making noises and responding to people
  • At 4 months they’ll start moving on their own, distinguishing emotions by vocal tone and putting things in their mouth
  • At 8-12 months they will be sitting up on their own and grabbing things properly
    • They should start eating hard foods at 8-9 months, either by baby-led weaning or spoon feeding
      • Baby-led weaning should involve them being able to grab larger items of food and give them the freedom to make a mess, and may involve them choking a bit
    • They will make noises that sound like words and body language gestures
    • They’ll socially start being anxious about being alone and will be shy around strangers
  • By their first birthday they’re usually about 1/3 the height of an adult and started interacting directly with others

There are a lot of small tricks to make raising babies easier

  • Help you and them sleep better
    • Get the baby used to sleeping in different environments that don’t involve you
      • Sleep with the baby blanket for night before giving it to the baby in order to get your smell on it
      • Have lots of noise while sleeping to help them sleep more deeply
      • Try pacifiers to help them get to sleep
      • Get them to fall asleep on their own by having their bed next to yours
    • Set rituals to get them to go to sleep at the same time every day
      • Get a predictable nap routine in place during the day
      • Carry them around more during the day if they have a hard time getting to bed
      • Adapt the schedule as they grow and change
    • Sometimes they may have allergies to synthetic sleepwear or airborne irritants
  • Carry the baby with a sling or a back-mounted sling instead of simply holding them
    • Alternately, you can stuff them inside your jacket once they’re big enough
  • A baby in your arms can sleep in any position
    • Eat on top of the baby, since they can sleep with a plate on their back
    • Learn how to hold the baby with only one arm or get a sling for them
  • If you’re going anywhere, plan ahead
    • Bring everything the baby might need to keep them from crying too much
    • On a long airplane or train ride, give out gifts with an apologetic note to each of the passengers who will hear the baby crying
  • Instead of pushing around a baby in a stroller, roll them around in a wagon behind a reasonably strong remote-controlled car
Next: Homes 204: Parenting