Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Advice for New Moms: Emily A. Clark


Today's sage advice on motherhood comes from Emily of Emily A. Clark, interior decorator, mommy of three, and DIY-genius. I'm particularly grateful for all the "what not to waste your time/money on" advice that's been featured in so many of these guest posts (including this one!). In fact, I'm off to delete some more items from my registry now.

* * *

I'm so happy for Averill and her husband on their impending new addition.  It's hard to believe that in six short years, I've become the mother of three.  Watch out, Averill!  While I still don't feel like I exactly know what I'm doing, I have learned a few things along the way that I'm happy to share. 

My favorites:


Baby Gap's "favorite bundlers" are the absolute best, softest gowns I've found.  My babies lived in these for the first few months of their lives.  They are extremely washable and so easy for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes.  I would highly recommend stocking up on these.



I started off with the deluxe, super-padded highchair for my first baby.  By the second baby, it was a nasty mess and so bulky that it was always in the way.  When my third baby was ready to sit and eat, we ditched the big highchair and went for this small, sleek model from IKEA.  You can buy the padding, if you want it.  I use it without so that it's even easier to wipe down.  It's lightweight and small enough to tuck away in the corner. 



Let me start by saying that not one generic diaper or wipe ever touched my first baby's bottom.  Name brand all the way.  Fast forward to my third baby, and I'm not sure she's ever seen a real "Pamper."  It's definitely an individual decision, but for me personally, I can tell absolutely no difference in the generic vs. name-brand diapers--except for the price.  I'm still using Parent's Choice (Wal-Mart's brand) diapers and wipes with my third, and it hasn't seem to slow her down :)



Bumbo Baby Sitter Aqua #B18-A - High Chairs & Booster Seats

The "Bumbo" seat was a lifesaver for me.  As soon as they could hold their heads up, I popped them in one.  We kept it on our kitchen counter (this is technically against the rules!) while they were really little (always supervised, of course) and even took it out to eat with us.  The baby is happy because he feels like he is up and a part of what's going on.  Mommy is happy because she actually has both hands free to eat/cook/etc.  It's a win-win!


While sippy cups won't come into the picture for a while, these by Gerber are my absolute favorites.  We've gone through lots of cups in our house, and these are the only ones I've found that don't leak and hold up during lots of dishwasher cycles.

I Could've Done Without. . . .


I was adamant that I had to have a $25 wipe warmer on our first baby registry.  In truth, I used the thing for two weeks and threw it out.  It dried out the wipes and the baby didn't seem to care either way.  I think he just wanted a clean diaper. 



While some moms swear by a changing table, I never had one. I just felt like it was another piece to take up space and I honestly ended up changing my babies on our bed, the floor or (gasp!) our living room ottoman.  If you feel like it's necessary, I would go for one of the covered, contoured pads that you place on top of a dresser so that you could remove it later.


My best advice. . . .


When I was pregnant with my first baby, I thought it would be a great idea to pre-invite everyone from work, neighbors, friends, etc., over to see the baby as soon as we got home from the hospital.  Little did I know, I would be a hormonal, emotional, nervous wreck.  I was exhausted but felt like I had to clean the house, put on make up, and wash my hair every time we had another round of visitors.  Oh, and did I mention I was also struggling with feeding the baby?  I was a mess and definitely learned my lesson.  With my second and third babies, I turned off the phone, stayed in and spent the time getting used to our new family.  It's a precious time and one that you should cherish with your husband and baby. 

Best of luck, Averill!  You'll be a terrific mommy.

36 comments:

Tiffanie said...

Great post! Thanks you two for sharing. Off to return that wipe warmer...

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

I just have to laugh about the wipe warmer. My dearest friend used one and couldn't believe I didn't. Each to their own, I just was laughing (to myself) about the standard this set for the future and couldn't go there!

Great tips Emily! And Averill, how are you feeling?
Janell

Christy said...

Totally awesome advice! I second the idea of NOT inviting people over until you're settled in at home. Have your mom over, and people who can see you at your worst. Wait for the rest! The baby won't mind, and you'll be sooo glad you did! Fabulous advice all around in this one, Averill!

Jenny at LGN said...

I second all of this advice!! Great post, Averill and Emily!!

Karena said...

How wonderful, I know Averill will appreciate your tips! They are great I loved your story about the baby wipes warmer!!

Come and enter my New Giveaway from Empress of the Eye. You will love it!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Chassity (Look Linger Love) said...

Great post Emily. I can relate to so much of this. My baby turns 1 tomorrow, but even i learned something! I need to try that sippy cup!

Anonymous said...

About the wipes: yes it can dry up but all you do to avoid that is pour 1/2 cup of water over it and you are good to go! Of course, you don't *need* it but if you live in a cold place like I do then they are nice I'm assuming for the baby

Courtney {a thoughtful place} said...

Fantastic advice {glad we are not the only ones who used the ottoman at times}. I was cracking up when I read, "No generic wipe . . " I was thinking, oh boy, that's all we used! Good luck and enjoy the magical time. I like Emily's advice of retreating into your own little family for a while. You'll never get that time back and it will make life so much easier.

Natalie said...

Just found your blog thru Emily and I love it! Totally agree with all of Emily's choices! My baby is 8 months now, Im definatley going to try out that sippy cup! I never used the wipe warmer, and as for diapers the Costco brand id great and a great deal! Just signed up to be your newest follower:)
http://designerbagsanddirtydiapers.blogspot.com

That one girl said...

Yeah, the wipe warmers are stupid. We also barely used our bassinet. Save $150 or more and just use the pack and play with a bassinet option. We however, LOVE the changing table. It's grand central station around here. Babies are sooo fun, congrats!!!

Cassie {Hi Sugarplum!} said...

Great post and advice...as a mother of 2, I second everything Emily said!

coolkids said...

great post! fun2bkids.blogspot.com

KJJ Houston said...

Yep I agree on it all!

KJJ Houston said...

but I still use name brand diapers :)

Erin @ Domestic Adventure said...

Such great advice, Emily! I'm glad to see I've managed to avoid some if the "not necessary" items you've mentioned!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

I agree 100% with everything! The wipe warmer, especially ... AND it sometimes lightly shocked me when I would grab a wipe. FAIL.

The one thing about diapers is that they are individual to the baby a lot of times. We used the Wal-Mart house brand with our first, but our second and third leaked out of them all the time. They also leaked out of Luvs and Huggies, so eventually we wound our way around to Pampers. I'd definitely try the store brand first, but keep trying until you find one that works for your baby's thighs. ;)

Ari- Audrey Onassis said...

This is wonderful advice! I'm several years from parenthood, but I'll be sure to remember Emily's great advice.

Good luck, Averill!

Averill said...

It seems that diapers ALWAYS spark quite the debate! And just to throw another wrench in there, I'm actually thinking about using cloth diapers! I've been reading a lot about the potential benefits (earlier potty training, cost-savings, eco-friendly) and think I may give it a go.

Anyone else out there go with cloth?

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

Sounds like great advice, Emily!

Torey said...

Used regular diapers with my first two and am trying cloth with baby #3. So far so good. Got a great deal on brand new cloth diapers off ebay. . .seller is mayflower garden. Much cheaper than the name brand cloth like FuzziBunz. Anyway, I vote for cloth!

Anonymous said...

I used cloth diapers with both my girls, almost exclusively with my first. The things that made it work for us was using a professional diaper service that laundered and delivered clean diapers, and cloth/velcro diaper covers. I had an inventory of about 5-6 covers in each size, and a friend and I passed them back and forth them as our children needed different sizes. After they were potty trained, they used them for their dolls!

Kathysue said...

Very good advice from Emily. I love these post Averill, you are one smart expectant Mom to do this. Research , research!!! Hope you are feeling well and glowing!!! Kathysue

Daniela said...

Should I make a banner for the post? I didn't, but I could give it a try....

Amy Sue said...

I must recommend the Puj tub. I bought one for my second grandbaby and my daughter in law loves it! http://babybathtubs.com/

Cristin said...

Loving her advice... I actually like the wipe warmer though :-)

And, yes don't invite the world over to see the new baby. You will be exhausted!

xo,
cristin

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Great advice from Emily! I'm very glad I never got a wipe warmer (or bottle warmer, for that matter). We're all about room-temperature at our house, which makes it so much easier for travel. Good to know about generic diapers. We shell out the big $ for Pampers, but for wipes we use a wholesale club's brand. They're thinner, but work just fine - no diaper rash in our house!

Fran said...

I couldn't agree more with Emily's last piece of advice. And, I've used Costco (Kirkland) brand diapers & wipes and they were great. I usually got the coupons to go w/them so we could save on buying bulk.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Great advice & tips from Emily. With child #4, I worked @ the hospital where I gave birth. With each child labor & delivery became harder & with this one it was no picnic. I had co-workers that wanted to 'pop-up' to see me. I made a few enemies for saying no (but kindly). But, in the end, I did what was right for me. I worked full-time and was taking home a baby to now be a family of 6. I savored each & every second ALONE!

I hope your feeling good Averill? Glad I'm not the only hooked on House Hunters. If all the shows were HH International I'd be really happy!
Take much care!

aemcneill said...

Hi Averill, I think you and your little one will both appreciate the wipe warmer! It doesn't really heat them so much, as it keeps them more moist than they would be in the package. As long as you add water to the container during each refill (usually 1x a wk), they will not dry out. As far as diapers, we tried kirkland, parent's choice and a few others, but my son did best in pampers. The 12hr pampers are great for when they start to sleep through the night. I agree with the sippy cup, they are good, but you may want to check and make sure you get BPA free.

Rene said...

Wow does this ever bring back memories. I totally agree with Emily's last point about having company - at home or in the hospital. It's just too much.

-Rene

aneyefordetail said...

Oh such great advice here!
One of the most important things for me was to have a single bed in the baby's room. That was where I changed diapers, and would sleep in there many a night while nursing, or just to sleep! And then eventually, of course, it was her bed.
Also, have a nice, thick carpet in the room. Muffles the noise if you're trying to leave quietly (!) and makes a perfect impromptu nap area. My daughter ended up, at about age two, taking all her naps on the rug! We put a pillow down, blankie and stuffed animal: happiness!

Megan {Honey We're Home} said...

Averill- congratulations! I'm a first time new mom so it was great for me to hear Emily's suggestions- she's got me seriously questioning the diapers I use . . .hmmm.

Robyn said...

I'm over from Emily's blog. She is so right on just about everything. Babies don't know the difference between a warm wipe or not. They really don't care where they are changed. They just want to be changed. I never had a changing table. We just put one of the curved padded things on top of their dresser. It made it easier for my mother-in-law to change them. Most of the time I just changed them on the floor. Especially when they are moving around. If they are already on the floor, they can't fall off when they are wiggling.

Congratulations! Remember just to go with it. You won't damage them for life if everything isn't perfect. Oh, and have fun. They are only little for so long.

Anonymous said...

We use target brand diapers here and they work great! We didn't switch to them until size 2, but we've never had any leak problems. I started out with pampers and my son would soak right through a brand new one so we switched to huggies supreme. I don't know how pampers didn't catch the tee-tee, but they didn't. I think it just depends on the baby's shape when they are little bitty, but once they start filling out the lesser expensive did the trick just fine. We do use huggies overnights for bed time though.

As for wipes, we use huggies. I tried generic and pampers and they were much too rthin for my liking buggies are by far the best on the market in my opinion.

And we never had a wipe warmer either. We also used a dresser as the changing table by just putting one of those changing pads on top



As for

Sarah Klassen said...

What a wonderful post -- extremely helpful! I am going to send a link to a friend of mine who would also appreciate this...

Anna said...

I was adamant that I would not use a change table when pregnant with my first (no idea why, I just decided they were completely unnecessary) but when I bought my cot off Ebay it came as part of a set. Fast forward 15 months and it is one of my most used pieces of furniture - more so than the cot!

For those mothers wanting the convenience of disposables but the more earth-friendly and lower chemical version I use Moltex nappies (they are from Germany - the carbon for the transport of them is offset on the packets I buy here in Australia) and I LOVE THEM. I have used them from day 1 and they have suited my daughter perfectly. She has never had any major rash or leakage problems. For people in the US I think Seventh Generation does something similar but we found those nappies weren't as good a fit and the brown colour put me off. They are dearer but I think my daughter and the planet are worth it!

Another thing I couldn't live without as a new parent; a mechanical swing. Not all babies need them, not all respond well to them but when you have a baby that refuses to sleep unless they are being held or rocked they are an absolute lifesaver in those first few months. My daughter spent her first 6 weeks of life either in someone's arms or in the swing. She absolutely refused to be put down otherwise and would scream herself hoarse.

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