It’s amazing how marketers and on-line catalogues start sending promotional deals for baby stuff the very minute the pregnancy tests pops up positive. I know it happens to everyone. And for a newly pregnant mom, it all can be overwhelming.
With my first daughter I had fun shopping boutiques and catalogues for the perfect nursery set up and baby gear. We had a specialty round crib, gliding nursery chair, perfect cozy rug, baby toys galore and a Bugaboo stroller that was the must-have item of 2004.
The nursery became a well-decorated storage room. After three nights of sitting in that nursery chair breastfeeding a newborn all night long, I decided sleeping with my baby was more my style – where I could actually sleep. As a result our daughter never slept in her crib. And I returned to the same boutique to buy a co-sleeper. Which was stocked away in the back room, not up front with the pretty nursery chairs and the books of upholstery choices that went along with them.
The co-sleeper became one of our must have baby items that I tell all new moms to get. A good, solid changing table is also worth it’s weight in gold. My dad made our changing table especially for us, with my exact needs and height requests (we are tall parents).
For the thousands of diapers I have changed and countless outfits I have wrestled onto wiggly babies – that changing table was perfect. Standing there, looking eye-to-eye with my babies provided many bonding moments, so many times a day.
For our second and third daughters we set up the nursery in our room, learning there were only a few real necessities when it came to babies. Streamlining baby items leaves us with less stuff to keep up with, and more space in our hearts and minds to focus on the little people growing up around us.
Three children later we never needed a crib, or even a bottle (I breastfeed exclusively). The Bugaboo stroller is still going strong, even though it didn’t get used often during the baby days with my third. Wearing my baby was more convenient, leaving me with two hands to deal with my other two young children. Plus the calming affects of baby wearing left us all in a more peaceful place.
Being overwhelmed by all the baby stuff out there can be anything but peaceful, especially when you just want what is natural and pure for your baby. I tell all soon-to-be new moms they don’t need all of the stuff they see in an average baby store that sells a football field worth of products trying to make parents think their item will make life easier with a new baby.
With my third baby, I took great joy in sewing homemade items for her. Such as a floor quilt I started when I was labor with her, cloth letters spelling her name hanging on the wall, a mobile made of small silk dolls, a newborn swaddle wrap, a boppy cover, burb clothes, bibs and the outfit she wore home from the birthing center after she was born.
My favorite sewing books for babies are Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Maria Horner; and Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby: 24 Easy Projects for Newborns to Toddlers.
Other things featured in nursery side of our room for our third daughter was an antique armoire from my husband’s family, the changing table stocked with cloth diaper supplies and poem I love.
The poem hanging on the wall was from Song for a Fifth Child. It says, “The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,? for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.? So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.? I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”
Newborn days are my most favorite times of life. Nothing in life is sweeter, and it really does go by soooooooo fast. My third baby is three now, sleeping in a big girl bed, sharing a room with sister and is anything but a baby – hardly even a toddler.
In the beginning of motherhood I never thought I would sleep with my babies and forgo a crib. I had no idea what kind of mother I would become, or that I would end up going on vacation with cloth diapers and spend seven years breastfeeding babies and toddlers.
There is no guidebook telling us what type of mothering we will do. There shouldn’t be a guidebook to designing a nursery without listening to our hearts.
I would have been much better off in the beginning to skip all the wants, waiting to see what I really needed once the baby was born. Because it turned out, it wasn’t much at all.
About our guest…
Rebecca Simmons writes the blog Simply Natural Mom. She has three daughters, ages 3,6 and 8. She became interested in natural living when she became a vegetarian in college. After an empowering birth experience with her first baby, she became an advocate for natural birth and women’s care. She served for five years on the Board of Directors at the Lisa Ross Birth and Women’s Center and was one of the founding members of her local Holistic Mom Network.