Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber
As I've developed a mother, my children's environment has become an important consideration for me. Steingraber gave me my education in bioaccumulating toxic chemicals and the importance of keeping our food supply, drinking water, and household items free from toxins. In large part, this is the book that convinced me on organic foods, gardening, environmental activism and limiting the amount of plastics in my home. This books also makes a strong case for breastfeeding. If only I had know about this information before I ever got pregnant, or if only my parents and grandparents had known about it...
Baby Matters: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby by Linda Palmer
This book emphasizes the primary importance of attachment parenting (specifically babywearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping) and bolsters a parents' confidence in these parenting practices. Palmer addresses the opposition to these practices with convincing evidence to their benefits. She also provides compelling information on the common cultural practices to avoid like crying it out, formula, antibiotics, etc. Since I already had naturally gravitated to attachment parenting, this book gave me some evidence to cite in support of my intuitive beliefs. Its making this list because I wish I had known how to articulate the findings of this book at a time when I could only express an affinity towards the mindset.
Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Janet Zand, Robert Rountree, and Rachel Walton
I found this early in Willem's life so it doesn't exactly fall into the category of what I wish I had known, although I wish I had a greater working knowledge of homeopathy and herbalism in my younger years so it wasn't new to me when I became a mother. It has been a very valuable resource in helping to care for him when he's ill. It offers explanations of childhood illnesses and provides sections on conventional medicine, homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine, accupressure and comfort measures/ prevention tips for each illness. I refer it to first when either children are ill and I've really enjoyed learning about alternative medicine and what I can do at home to help my children feel better when they are sick. Evidently Willem has learned from me because he has told me that he really believes in the body's ability to heal itself because he often refuses medicine and instead like to take the wait and see approach.Then comes the area of motherhood that doesn't involve knowledge, but requires stuff, or better known these days as baby gear. I have a list of "If I could do it all over again" with the baby stuff too.
Economical in the long run, worth the upfront cost, especially with the One Size options and bulk packages discounts available, better for babies skin, respiratory systems and the environment. In home washer and dryer recommended, however. I started out knowing I wanted to cloth diaper and bought a cloth diapering system. If only Fuzzi Bunz had been making the adjustable One Size diapers when I first became a mother. I could have saved possibly $800.T-shirts instead of onesies (long and short sleeved)
I found I really don't like onesies for diaper changes, even though they are good for covering the low back when picking up babies. Especially with Elimination Communication, I find that a shirt that isn't held together at the crotch is quicker and easier for potty times (and diaper changes for that matter.) My babies just do not lie still long enough to snap a onesie bottom. Not only do I wish that non-onesie t-shirts were more commonly made for young babies, I wish I had known to stock up on them when I found them from the beginning.Pants with feet
I wish I had another 4 or 5 pairs of pants with feet. I only have one pair, it was a gift and I've never seen another pair. They are great, because they keep the bottom half of the baby warm and I don't have to wrestle socks on baby's feet, or keep pulling socks up as they slip off, or keep having to replace socks after they've fallen off and gotten lost.
A hooded bunting
For newborn babies and until crawling, a hooded bunting is a cuddly, cute and easy way to keep a baby warm in cold weather. The hood is easier for me to deal with than a hat because if it falls off, its not going anywhere. I don't even know how many hats we've lost.Moby Wrap for small babies until toddler
I found that the Moby is most supportive and versatile babywearing device for newborns. The baby can be worn cradled or upright. While many people really like ring slings, I find that the weight on one shoulder is not as comfortable over hours of babywearing as having the baby's weight equally distributed across my back, shoulders and hips. Its also very good for older babies, provides a fun way for them to face out for short periods and can be used through toddlerhood. I did discover this early on but for the sake of having a complete list of baby items, I'm adding this too.
Ergo for babies beyond newborn and for backcarrying
I mainly use this for backcarrying or when my older infant/quasi-toddler is sleeping. Its still great to wear my three year old on my back. Paired with the Moby on the front, double babywearing is possible and very comfortable.
A manual breast pump for engorgement and occasional times when separated from baby
If mom is going to be staying home to care for baby, its still useful to have a manual breast pump to express milk. Having a stockpile of milk in the freezer is comforting, and can be shared or donated to babies who are not exclusively breastfed. If mom is going to be in school, or working part-time/full-time, an electric pump is recommended. I had use of an electric pump when Willem was a baby because I was in school 40 hours a week when classes were going on with my graduate program, yet with Belle, I've only used a manual pump a handful of times. I was given a manual pump as a baby shower gift and it was a good one.
A side car crib
A side car crib is more worthwhile, in my experience, than a co-sleeper, bassinet, cradle, etc. Not only does it ensure a "cage-free baby," it can be set up when the baby is small and used until the child moves out of the family bedroom. I could have saved some money if we had put the side-car crib up instead of buying the co-sleeper.
A boppy (when learning to breastfeed)
Boppies aren't just for helping hold the baby when figuring out a proper latch for breastfeeding, they are great backrests in pregnancy, sitting supports for babies learning to sit up, nap nests for little babies, especially when they are congested. And just a fun toy for older children too. This is something I did have from the beginning and it was really worth it, especially since I got it off craigslist for cheap.
I've learned that receiving blankets do not equal swaddling blankets and that not all babies, at all stages in their infancy like being swaddled. For both of my children, between 6-10 months, swaddling became a very important and useful of helping them get to sleep. I'm glad I figured swaddling out, but I wish I had had some good-sized and light-weight swaddling blankets from the beginning.
For the sake of a complete list of what is needed for a baby, a car seat needs to be on the list; however, this is one area that I haven't explored to a great extent so if I could do it all over again, I'd know more about it already and not be showing off my ignorance here. There's a chance with the next baby, I'll look into a rear-facing convertible car seat from the beginning, just for the convenience and money saving. Most importantly is knowing how to properly install the seat and position the car seat straps. Thanks to my friend Jennifer who taught me the trick of sitting on your knees in the seat to adjust the tightness against the backseat of the car.