Tip #1: Don’t pay full price for diapers
The best deal I have found is through Amazon. Use Subscribe and Save to have diapers shipped to your house and save 15%. Sign up for their new program, Amazon Mom for an additional %15 off. That’s a total of 30% off.
Second best is place to buy diapers is Toys-R-Us. If you become a member of their points program you get a free case of diapers when you buy 9 cases. Plus, they have diaper deals almost weekly that give you savings and gift cards when you purchase a particular brand. If you go this route I’d suggest purchasing Pampers since they have a points program too. I started out with this plan before discovering that I could get Nature Babycare diapers (our favorite “green” brand) from Amazon.
Tip #2: Buy diapers in bulk
Don’t mess around with packages at the grocery store. Buy your diapers by the case and shop ahead so you can wait for the best deals. By the time Kaylee was born I had 3 cases of size 1, 4 cases of size 2 and a case of size 3. Also, don’t pre-buy a case of newborn size diapers because most babies never wear them. Kaylee was the exception to the rule at 6lbs. She wore newborn diapers for 3 weeks. We ordered a case from Amazon the day we got home from the hospital – it was on our doorstep the next morning.
Tip #3: Get useful gear
Every family is different but there are definitely some things that are generally more useful than others. We wouldn’t have wanted to live without the Pack-N-Play, exercise ball, and swaddle blankets. See My Amazon list of the baby stuff we actually used the first months. There are a ton of items marketed to new parents, you don’t really need most of it. And, if you think about it, it makes much more sense to put the $20 you’d spend on a bottle warmer that you don’t really need and will only use for a couple of months at most anyway, into a college fund. Your baby will thank you for the tuition money when they turn 18, you probably can’t say the same for the bottle warmer (or wipes warmer, changing table, way more cutsie outfits than they’ll ever wear, and all the other gear that you will trying to sell off for a fraction of the cost garage sale in another year…).
Tip#4: Take care of yourself first
This took me a while to get the hang of. In the early days, as soon as Kaylee would get fussy at night, I’d get up and go to her right away to feed and change her. Sometimes hours could go by before I got a chance to pee or get a drink. I couldn’t focus on her as well because I had not taken care of my own needs. Now, when I hear her fuss in her crib I take a few moments to use the bathroom before I pick her up just in case I’m held hostage for longer than I expected. I also keep a container of snacks, drinks, and nursing supplies (pads, creams, etc) under the rocker in her room.
Tip#5: Sign up for every store card you can
They’re free and they give you stuff for being a loyal shopper. We have cards for every store we shop at that offers them. The ones we use most are Panera, Toys-R-Us, Jewel Osco, Regal, and CVS. We’ve gotten free movies, food, diapers, and formula this way.
Tip#6: if you want the guy in your life to read something, put it in the bathroom
Tip#7: Don’t make bottle feedings more inconvienent than they need to be
Don’t bother with a bottle warmer or microwave, let your baby get used to drinking formula or expressed breast milk at room temperature. You’ll save yourself a lot of drama if your child is less picky about their meals, particularly when you’re on the go. Someday you may want to leave the house and it’s so nice to be able to do that without planning around mealtimes because you have to heat a bottle up first.
Tip#8: Put your baby down sleepy, but awake
I know it’s hard when thery’re itty bitty and smell so nice, but do yourself a favor and don’t rock your baby to sleep all of the time. If they are awake, but sleepy after a meal & diaper change, put them down and let them fall asleep on their own (swaddling and a pacifier help in our case). You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache later. We are learning this one the hard way. When I was home on maternity leave I would often let Kaylee sleep on my chest or in my arms. And, Scott always rocks her to sleep at night after her feedings. Yes, we all bonded, but now we have a 2 and a half month old who can’t get herself to sleep when we put her down for a nap without our help. And, even when we put her down asleep now, she cries out for us to come soothe her when she inevitably wakes herself up with her uncontrollable arm and leg twitches. This adds an extra 20-60 (sometimes painful) minutes onto our nap routine, precious time when you’re running on empty as it is. We’re trying to ween her of this by her 4 month checkup – where the doctor has warned us she is going to have us skip Kaylee’s 1am feeding and let her cry it out. I’m not looking forward to this and for me, I know it will be a lot easier to deal with one drama at a time.
Tip#9: Buy Used
Garage sales, eBay, and consignment sales are a new parent’s best friend. Yes, your baby is precious and deserves the world on a silver platter…but let’s face it, kids grow so fast in their first few years that they hardly get a chance to wear everything in their closet or play with all of their toys before they outgrow them. Often times you’ll even find brand new items at consignment sales and resale shops.
- Kellymom – lots of great advice for breastfeeding and parenting
- Parent Hacks – filled with tips and advice about parenting by parents
- Rookie Moms – ideas and inspiration for activities you and your baby can do together and apart
I read a ton of parenting books but we only own two. The first was recommended by our pediatrician, Caring for your baby and young child: birth to age 5 and also Hit The Ground Crawling which I purchased for my husband. They are both worth having around to reference now and then when the Internet just won’t do. The rest I check out from the library and almost never feel the desire to purchase my own copy after reading (or skimming) them once.
Prepare for postpartum recovery:
A list of items I used to get through the first few weeks after delivery.