Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Organising for babies

Today I'm 16 weeks pregnant with twins :)

We are very excited about the babies but with that, we had a bit of an EEEK moment when we realised we'd have to find space in the house not only for the babies, but for all the baby stuff.

We plan to convert the guest bedroom so we need to find space elsewhere for all the guest stuff, extra blankets, etc.

All of these shelves had things on them before I started moving things around (I forgot to take a proper before picture).

The aim is twofold:

  1. eventually move all the guest things to our second bedroom/ study
  2. have only baby things in this bedroom
A tall order!

Things I've realised:

  1. I have too many guest items considering we only have guests a couple of times a year
  2. We have absolutely no clothes for the babies - will have to do the gift registry thing soon
  3. I need to seriously declutter my study and get rid of all my workshop stuff

What I did

  • I moved everything baby from other places in the house to this room. Basically there were books, toiletries and some towels.
  • Then I started categorising - toiletries and other baby stuff, and baby vs parenting books

Here is part 1 of the organising project

on the left, baby books and on the right, parents' books

starting to sort the toiletries...
Will keep you informed!
In the meanwhile, which baby accessories should I absolutely not get and will be a waste of money? :)

E.g. at a multiples seminar we attended, one of the mothers said you can use a rolled-up towel instead of buying a cot wedge.


Emily said...

Never use my baby tub (have 1 children) and a wipes warmer and bottle warmer were not needed either!

Ila said...

Congratulations, and welcome to the adventure! My twin sons are 20 now, so things may have changed somewhat.

I bought a freestanding playpen at a rummage sale. Never put the kids in it, but put the stuff they needed to be kept out of: Christmas tree, cat food, etc.

The best advice I ever received was from Mother: for the first 2 months, you should sleep any time you can when the babies sleep.


Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Don't know about what not to get, but my baby sling was my absolute life saver. I would have left home without diapers before I would leave home without my baby sling!

Whenever he was fussy or I needed my hands free, I would pop him in and he'd be as content and comfortable as could be. Manuevering a twin stroller can be tricky, but if you're each "wearing" a twin, you can move easily through the most crowded store and have your hands free.

Anonymous said...

I bought a baby tub and never used it. I also bought some of those baby wash cloths but ended up using regular wash cloths as the baby ones were too thin and small. I also made my own cloth baby wipes, but I only have one and we cloth diaper as well.
Oh and a travel system. Those strollers and carseats that fit together. I wish I'd spent the time trying out different strollers that weren't part of a system, we ended up buying a new stroller.

Marcia Francois said...

Ila, thanks for commenting!

I think your advice about sleeping is very good.

Momnibus, I've made careful note of the things not to get because as you know, I'm all about no clutter!

Adrian, I already have my eye on a nice sturdy baby sling.

Emily, thanks for that. My "to not buy" list is growing beautifully.

Laura said...

Ahh such an exciting time! When I had my third we pretty much kept to the basics and/or borrowed from friends to save money.

Carmen said...

Congratulations! :) Oh, my - twins! You're going to have your hands full. I'm not a mommy, so I have no suggestions...just wanted to tell you how happy I am for you!

Carolyn, Calm the Clutter said...

Congratulations:) I'm so pleased for you. What fun. I have two children - but had them one at a time. What I realized was a) how much baby stuff you DON'T need b) how much help from friends and family you DO need. Resist the temptation to stock up on anything including diapers. Babies change size and needs SO quickly you may be changing diaper sizes weekly for the first little while. I'm envious - you have so much to look forward to. It only get's better everyday.

Jessica said...

Congratulations! Twins, that's a double blessing! Sorry I don't have any baby wisdom to share, but seems like there's plenty of others around here who do!

DemMom said...

The wipe warmer is an absolute DO NOT NEED! Get those "sleep sacks" because they make diaper changes easier. Definitely try out slings/carriers, there are so many different ones and each person needs something different to be comfortable. I went through at least 5 different ones, with 2 kids.

Marcia Francois said...

Thanks Jessica, it is a double blessing for us too.

Carmen, thanks. Yes, my hands will be full but so will my heart LOL

Carolyn, thanks. And you're right - I already see people with so much stuff for babies and they need so little.

Laura, I really want to keep to the basics but I fear that because they’re twins people will go overboard.

However, someone emailed me a great minimalist baby shower list (like meals, etc. ) No clutter – yayy!

Demmom, I'll definitely try out a few slings. I thought a sling is a sling is a sling but I guess not :)

Meryl said...

Would love to see that minimalist list!

annie said...

I used my baby tub a lot for all the kids, but didn't use the diaper genie. It was a pain. I used a porta crib for each baby to sleep in our room until they were sleeping more hours.

se7en said...

Congratulations - Oh how lovely and daunting at the same time!!!

I am writing as a follower of your blog and I was so excited to see your post...

I have written a couple of baby posts :

Including baby products we never ever used... you are welcome to come and have a visit if you are interested! They may be a bit extreme for
a mom of twins!

I think the most helpful parenting tip I ever got was sleep when your baby sleeps (don't try and catch up with chores they will get done
eventually anyway!) ... right now you will have to master the art of rest so that you are well practiced by the time they arrive...

I would also also recommend getting hold of your nearest La Leche League, it will be on the web or in your phonebook... it was the friendliest baby place for me to go to meet other moms in the same boat - real moms (adoptive, multiples all sorts of moms!) as opposed to magazine moms who have everything perfect!!! Also all there advice and help is free, not much else to do with babies is!

Take care and all the best with your babies... if you have any questions ask away!

Marcia Francois said...

Meryl, if you click on se7en's link and look under baby shower gifts, those are exactly the type of gifts I'll be asking for, plus just the necessary clothes

Southern Mom said...

Congratulations!!! Babies are quite an adventure. Everyone is different so it is hard to say what you don't need. We didn't use a bottle warmer or diaper genie with either. We used a portable changing pad instead of a changing table - saves space. Good luck to you!!!!!!!!!

Marcia Francois said...

Southern Mom, you are so right in that we're all different. Thanks for your thoughts - they're in my notebook :)

Anonymous said...

Buy it AS YOU NEED IT, instead of trying to anticipate what you will need. The baby marketing madness is out of control, and you will get a lot of gifts even if you don't register.

IMO you NEED diapers and diaper cream, a few onsies, a few blankets, a lot of burp cloths and washcloths, and a method of feeding (preferably the ones that came with your birthday suit...less clutter, better for all involved). Everything else is gravy, although I'd also vote for good slings or wraps as essential. Check here for a LOT of good information!!

Oh, and a couple of good books (ie, ones that DON'T start with "what to expect when"....)

Rachel said...

One thing I know - what one person "can't live without" another "never uses". I've got 3 kids and one on the way, and helped raise 10 neices and nephews, and taught preschool/toddlers for 25 years, anyway - never used my crib - but loved the pac'n'play we used with my son, it was compact and had a changing station on top. I DID use a little tub, after nearly drawning my 4 week old daughter in the sink. My sisters and best friend all prefer a big sponge thing that the baby lays on instead - but I like the tub since I can set it in the sink and not lean over the tub.

Diapers - shop around till you find what you like, borrow if you can. We used cloth when small, and Luvs in public and once they outgrew the cloth ones. But I have one sister who loves Pampers and a friend who won't use anything but Huggies. They are all shaped different (babies and diapers) (that includes the cloth types) and what works great on one persons baby, might not work on yours -and most of the cheapest disposables either had to be changes 4 times as often or caused rashes.

Never used lotions or oils or patrolium jelly. I used olive oil if the skin was dry, Vit E mixed with lanolin and bees wax and olive oil for diaper rash - worked great. ... And I discovered the hard way - often a daiper rash is a signal that the baby is allergic or not digesting something. It took me 6 months to realize that my dauther only got a rash if she ate a milk product. My second daughter got rashes with oranges until she was about 15 months old. She couldn't digest the acids properly.

Fancy clothes are a waste of money. Buy a couple of "show off" outfits, but baby is going to be MUCH happier with onsies, sleepers, and other soft and warm type clothing - and they grow SO FAST, expect to go through sizes very fast - but every child grows differently. Avoid clothes that snap up the back or do not have enough openings. Once your baby has their first "blow out" you'll be glad you don't have to fight a poop filled outfit over a baby's head! And 2 piece outfits can be work much longer than one piece - as well as being able to change the bottom or top alone instead of the whole thing.

Couldn't live without my sling. My girls LOVED their swing - my son hated it.

An exersaucer was a HUGE benefit - I could set them down inside in the room I was working in - and they were happy for up to an hour, didn't get into trouble, and I could get tasks done (like supper, or clean the kitchen, or other chores.) My kids used thiers from 5 monthes to about 10 months, though my son was content until nearly 15 months. I would constantly talk to them and goof off with them, so they really did enjoy it.

Don't buy anything until you decide you really do need it. Fancy things like warmers, most toys, mobils, fancy blankets, are just money wasters. I found a big pile of receiving blankets was great - they are very absorbant and can clean up messes very fast and wash well. Because babies have problems regulating temperature - I would wrap them in 5 or 6, remove outer layers as they got warm, and add one big blanket if they got colder. Don't buy the tiny baby blankets - go ahead and get a toddler size. I've never regretted that. I could wrap my baby in the bigger blanket, and then my kids used it/them until they were 8 or so. Towels can double as a blanket when baby is sick and throwing up a lot.

IF you do think you might want something extra - first see if a friend has one you can "try before you buy" for a week. You might find you and baby don't like it after all.

All babies really want and need - a full tummy of mommy milk, snuggled and loved by mommy and daddy (and grandma and grandpa ...), stay warm and comfy, and sleep.

At some point they will add - opportunity to learn from the primary snugglers (watching you talk, cook, clean, learning about life and how things work), and to be entertained (learning social skills).

All 3 of my kids are very smart. I think a LOT of it stems from the running conversation I had with them from day one. No baby talking. In a high sing song happy voice, "Hi sweet Kendra, Mommy loves you. Do you have a dirty diaper? Yes you do. It's all icky. ... Look, see the nice PINK sweater. Let's put it on you. First goes in your head, now your right arm, and now your left arm. Now you are nice and warm." .... And after teaching school and preschoolers for so many years, I had a LOT Of songs, so for lullabys, I sang the ABC song, counting songs, color songs, you would be surpirsed what they can absorb this way. Joel knows more than most kids starting kindergarten at 3 1/2. Kendra had a 200 word vocabulary at age 1. I attribute it to the "conversations" I always babbled at them (pointing and showing if I could. ... Look, this toy is a red ball. It's shaped like a circle. See how round it is?" And people thought I was nuts saying it to a 2 month old!
Never underestimate what a baby or toddler can learn.

Now you've got a nice little book. Hope something in it is different or helpful. Congratulations and I'm so excited for you!

Marcia Francois said...

Rachel, I loved your “book” and especially this nugget

"IF you do think you might want something extra - first see if a friend has one you can "try before you buy" for a week. You might find you and baby don't like it after all.

Do you know that Kendra is one of our favourite names? Of course we don’t even know if one of these is a girl!

Kate Davis said...

Congratulations on your baby news. I gave birth in November and having previously spent little time with babies I had no idea what to get. I asked the readers of my blog and you may find some of their comments useful

My advice is to do your research and if possible buy second hand. If you are thinking of buying something but you aren't sure, don't buy it. There will be plenty of time to buy it later.

There were a few things we knew we had to buy new such as car seat and mattress, but almost everything else was from ebay or loaned to us.