What Preparing For a Baby Really Taught Me About Parenthood
I thought I was prepared for a baby. I’m a planner, and an obsessive list maker. When I was pregnant, I made a spreadsheet of all the items I would need: crib, changing table, car seat, stroller, baby carrier, breastfeeding pillow and dozens more items. I researched every item and color-coded my list based on reviews, priority, where to buy and purchase dates. I spent countless hours decorating the nursery until it was the picture perfect place for my baby to rest his head. I packed my hospital bag with all the suggested items that could make labor more tolerable: pajamas, robe, iPod loaded with soothing music, heating pad, lavender aromatherapy—check, check, check and double check.
On my due date, my water broke and I headed to the hospital with my suitcase fully-equipped to endure hours of labor. It turned out that I had to be induced and received an epidural right away. Right after getting the epidural, I fell fast asleep. I didn’t need to relax by the scent of lavender in the air or be lulled to sleep by my carefully curated iPod playlist. I slept through the night and woke up fully dilated and ready to push. I never needed to crack open my carefully packed “survival bag.”
When I brought my baby home, it was back to square one. Realizing it was much easier to have my baby close to our bed rather than go into the nursery for every late night feeding and diaper change, we moved all the baby essentials into our room turning it into a baby headquarters. Our son didn't sleep in his own crib or even see the inside of his room, which I had spent months obsessively decorating, until he was four-months-old.
A complete wardrobe of my baby’s first year was organized and labeled by age in the closet, but not a single onesie fit my tiny man. Everyone had told me not to get newborn-size clothing because babies grow out of them so quickly, so the smallest clothes I stocked were zero to three months. My son was born average-sized, but he was swimming in every onesie in his closet. I should have had at least a few newborn clothes for the early days even if he would grow out of them in just a couple weeks.
I had test-driven every stroller on the market and decided to get the Bumbleride Indie. It was beautiful, functional and a smooth ride. It came with a car seat adaptor, so I figured it would be the only stroller I would need. On my first shopping trip with my baby, I strapped the car seat into the Indie and set off. I couldn't see beyond the front of the stroller and kept bumping into everything and everybody. I got so frustrated navigating the shopping aisles and apologizing to everyone in the store, that I immediately ran out and bought a smaller stroller, much to the objection of my husband who complained, "How many strollers do you need?" It turns out, I needed three: a Snap & Go for easy in and out car trips, a lightweight and portable Maclaren, and a jogging stroller for wide open adventures.
The first couple weeks of motherhood is a special time adjusting to a new life with a new little person. For me, it was a shopping frenzy for all new baby gear as I sent my husband on daily runs to fetch me things I needed that I hadn’t anticipated. Despite all my planning, it’s impossible to fully prepare for the unknown. You can read the baby books, talk to experts, do your research, make your shopping list, but the best preparation is to be ready to throw all your plans out the window.
By Catherine Lo
Catherine is a mother of two small children and lives in the beautiful Bay Area. She loves sharing her thoughts on motherhood, food and crafts on her blog pochedemaman.wordpress.com.
Need to stock up on baby essentials? Check out our slideshow above for top of the line baby gear.