While my family is eagerly anticipating the placement of a foster care child, we have begun to get ready. When I was pregnant with my two children, I called this period my “nesting phase”. It is a little weird knowing that I am preparing a place for someone that I myself am not carrying. There is also the doubt and fear of never having a child placed in our care (which would be a very good thing if it meant that there would be no more child abuse and no more need for foster parents). However, as we do with everything, we are leaving that in God’s capable hands.
So, I have been doing a lot of research, and it seems that in the thirteen years since I gave birth to my last child….a lot has changed! Of course, there are a lot of things that are exactly the same too! I have visited a lot of blogs and websites that offer advice on how best to take care of baby. It wasn’t the new fandangled contraptions or the new safety guidelines that surprised me the most, it was the behavior and comments from the mothers who were offering their opinions. Wow, when did veteran mommy’s get so angry, and why do they not allow new mommy’s to do what work’s for them? Everything from breast feeding, diapering, strollers, slings, and cribs, these mom’s believe there is a best way and no other way is acceptable. I kinda feel like I’m going to let them down before I even get started, but I’m going to do the best I can . Everything that I have purchased, I purchased used, and all at great prices. Here is what I have bought and what I have found out:
1. Cribs. Yep, strike one for me. Both of my children were in cribs, with crib bumpers, and this little wedge thingy that kept them sleeping on their sides (we are talking the mid to late 90′s here). They both hated the wedge, and they always found a way out of it, and ultimately laid on their stomachs. The mama’s in my homeschool circle are suggesting a pack and play, and bypassing the crib altogether. The blogs and websites are saying co-sleeping instead of a crib. I am telling you right now, I would never co-sleep with a baby. My husband and I would squish that poor child flat. We are both all over the bed at night in our sleep and we even upgraded to a king size bed so that we could have more wiggle room. I am definitely going to invest in a cradle, because the co-sleeping mom’s have very valid points. I want to be able to hear if the child is struggling with their breathing or if they are in distress. I just feel that it is better to hear the distress, than cause the distress by mushing. I am still on the fence about the crib though, or if I will use a pack and play (which I will get for downstairs anyway).
2. Breast Feeding. This one cannot really be strike two for me (yeah!) because I will not be giving birth to this child. Someone told me that I could take medicine to lactate, but it is very important to remember that these are foster children. While I am so excited to help a child and their parents, the ultimate goal is to have the children reunite with their families. We are more than willing to adopt our foster children if reuniting with their biological family is not possible, but that could take years. So, I am off the hook on the breast feeding thing. I will say, that if I were to have a child biologically, I might breast feed this time. I didn’t do it with my first two, and I have to say, I didn’t feel bad about it. It was just not something that I could do, but I think it is a beautiful thing. I have gotten oodles and oodles of Avent bottles, so hopefully the baby will take to them. Otherwise, we will try a different brand.
3. Formula and Feeding. Carnation Good Start is not on my Wal-Mart’s shelves and this sort of baffles me. That was the the only formula that my children could take, and even then I had to put a small amount of Karo syrup in it to help them poop. I now hear that the formula’s have improved and the Karo addition is not necessary. I will be consulting my pediatrician to find out his recommendation, because I haven’t a clue as to which one is the best. I am going to do the home-made thing this time with the baby food. My kids grew up on Gerber Rice cereal and Gerber stage food. That’s it. My daughter’s favorite was banana’s and my son loved the sweet potatoes and peas. Nowadays, there is some ice cube tray thing, and I want to give that a whirl. You blend the food (I will be looking for a baby food cookbook so I do not do something that will upset their tummy’s), you add the food into the trays and freeze, then break them out and put them into Ziplock bags. Wha-la…..instant baby food. I wonder if I need a contraption called Bullet Something-Or-Other that I have been seeing? We’ll see, but at least I won’t get any strikes from those super mom’s….right? Right??
4. Swings. If this is a strike then I’ll take it. My daughter did not like the swing, but my son? I would not be here today if it were not for the swing! I think that what these veteran mothers are not telling those new mom’s, is that babies are not always sweet and cuddly and they don’t always stop crying if you offer them food, a dry diaper, or hold them. My sweet son was almost three months premature, and his care was extremely challenging. While I loved my baby, of course I did, he cried for the first four months of his life….literally. Reflux was the root of his colic and his stomach hurt all the time. When I could not rock him any longer, the swing rocked him, and gave me a chance to go into the other room and scream into a pillow. No matter how much you care, no matter how much you love them and feel for them, you still need a break to refresh yourself, so you can go back and put in another two or three hours. The day we switched him to cow’s milk he stopped crying. You should have seen the horrified and judgemental looks I used to receive when I disclosed that he was on cow’s milk. I guess those Negative Nellie Mama’s have always been there! Still…..I love the swing.
5. Slings. I have to admit, we didn’t have these; and if they were available, I didn’t know about them. I love the idea of ‘baby wearing’, which is what I think it’s called. I bought a hip holder device? and a front loading infant carrier, but I haven’t yet come across a sling yet. When I do, I will definitely get one, and I am really excited to use it. There is a woman who lives in my neighborhood, and she is always walking with her baby in one of these. She looks so peaceful and natural and mother-earth-like. Yeah, I want some of that!
6. Bouncer. I did not have one of these for my first two children either, but I just bought one for $5. It is really sweet, and it vibrates. I am not really sure that I needed it, because the Pooh swing that I bought also vibrates. Shoot, it reclines, vibrates, sings and swings. Why can’t adults have these too?
7. Exersaucer. Now this I remember. My son had a ‘walker’. You know, the kind that they could have ‘walked’ right down a flight of stairs? Ooooh, like that commercial, remember? The baby is in front of a camera, it’s zooming around in it’s walker, while some crazy fast music is playing? I loved that commercial! By the time I had my daughter, these walkers morphed into exersaucers, which were essentially ‘walkers’ without wheels. My daughter loved that thing. I recently purchased one, again for $5, and it is practically brand new and has all sorts of activities attached to it. However, I must admit that this was not really the one I wanted. I wanted a Jumperoo, which has bungee cords attached to it, and when the baby starts jumping they start flying. I guess it is no secret that it was me who wanted one, no so much for the baby .
8. Clothes. You never know what age you will get, or if you might get several children at once. Therefore, I have purchased a set of 10 outfits per age group, along with 10 sleepers per age group. Onesies, socks, coats, hats, mittens, buntings, shoes, blankets, etc. were also purchased. At twenty-five cents per piece, it is better to be prepared. Needless to say, I have a whole lot of banker’s boxes filled with every baby stage and toddler stage, but I’m ready.
9. Diapering. They might have clothes to wear, food to eat, and a place to play and sleep, but until I make a major decision, things could get messy! I am pretty much completely sold on cloth diapers. However, there are many options to consider. Right now, I am thinking prefolds, home-made diaper covers, and Snappis. My diaper pail is going to be a covered 5 gallon bucket filled three quarters with water and a quarter cup of borax (poopy diapers will be washed out first), then dirty diapers will go in. I will wash these every other day by pouring the diaper pail contents into the washing machine (yucky water and all), set on the spin cycle. Then I will wash it with hot water on regular cycle. Everything will be line dried. I learned this in an awesome book that I found at a thrift store called The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. She has six kids, and all of them were diapered with prefolds, diaper pins, and nylon pants (her book has so many awesome ways to save money). As my children were Pamper’s Babies, this is very new for me. I have received some very good advice from another homeschool mom as well, and she uses Bumgenius. I think I might make a few myself, order a few Bumgenius’s (they have second’s) and go from there. I will also be making my own cloth wipes and wipes formula. I still have to invest in a few disposable diapers, because when the baby has visitation with their parents, disposables will be necessary.
10. Carseat. No brainer, I will buy new.
11. Stroller. I purchased a Chico umbrella stroller because I saw the neatest thing. People put their infant carriers over top of the umbrella stroller, and they instantly have a stroller ‘travel system’. The umbrella stroller has these cool shoulder harnesses instead of just a lap belt, and the wheels will rotate better than an average stroller. Pretty cool huh?
Well, that is my list of baby gear. Next up on the agenda is baby-proofing the house to get ready for the home inspection. Things may have changed a little bit in the baby care department, but those sweet babies haven’t, and I cannot wait to meet that precious little one whom we will be showering with love and attention, whether for just a few months or for a lifetime!
I would love to hear any advice or opinions, but those perfect mom’s who believe there is only one way of doing things need not respond. I already know I will never live up to perfection, but my God loves me anyway