1. SIX WEEKS & COUNTING
First off, I can’t believe we’ve had Owen now for six weeks; that he’s been living on this planet for a month and a half; it’s just incredible. And when I think back to how he’s changed from the wriggling, helpless newborn to how he is now, it dumbfounds me. Here’s a photo of Owen at one week and a photo of him at six weeks, just to give you an idea.
One week Owen:
Six Weeks Owen:
Around two or three weeks Owen decided he wasn’t a huge fan of being swaddled and lying flat on his back in his crib for sleeping, and so began his long night of very little sleep for all of us. The day granted us little sleep with Owen also and after doing some research, we discovered what he needed was a baby swing.
We fortunately were able to track a used one down through Craigslist and purchase and pick it up that same day. That night we fed him and then set him down in his swing, set it to swinging and playing music and then he fell asleep and then we too were able to sleep.
The baby swing has been a sort of miracle for us, as we regularly use it every night with Owen and it works well at getting him down and sleeping much quicker than any of our previous methods. This is the Fisher Price model we have:
It has the option to swing three ways, has a cute little mobile, has eight different songs to play (though we know them all very well now), as well as other various sounds, and a number of different swing speeds. It’s also pretty portable, though because it becomes quite awkward to maneuver up and down stairs , so we actually got ourselves a second swing through Craigslist of the same type, though like the first, nowhere near the retail price.
And now we can barely imagine a time without the swing. In two or three months, we expect to gravitate Owen back to the crib by slowly weaning him off the the swing by not swinging him as much, and just keeping him in there, and then transitioning to the solid crib bed once more.
2. BABY APPS
Obviously the world continued on quite normally before the invention of the Smartphone and applications or apps for said phones, but since we are now in possession of smartphones and can acquire these various apps, we’ve discovered a couple that we use that have proven most useful for pregnancy and raising a newborn.
There are a number of contraction counter apps out there, but we found the one we preferred was actually a German one called Wehenschreiber, though the app was in English and allowed us to time each contraction, how long they were and the duration between them. It would then give you a little graph and a time bar that would rise up as time progressed and you’d be able to estimate when the next contraction was due depending on the duration.
It proved very useful on the day my wife went into labor, as I was able to see with the graph and the time bar when the next contraction could be expected, let her know, and we could prepare for it.
Now with our little newborn, an app we use literally all the time is called Feed Baby. You get a one- or two-week trial with the free “lite” version, but it’s worth paying for the pro version. It allows users to time feedings, what breast the feeding is on, to edit feedings, manually add them, or continue them if the little guy decides to take a short break in between. There’s also a diaper section for recording poops and pees, a sleeping section for recording when the little one sleeps and for how long, as well as options for pumping, solid foods, medicines, as well as changing theme colors, and recording weight and height details. If multiple phones have the paid for app, you can also sync between them, as well as backup data. There’s even a journal option if you want to record thoughts and ideas.
Like I said, we use this app all the time, and it makes it very useful knowing how much Owen has been feeding, sleeping and pooping, and what’s to be expected from him.
Our final app that we use quite often is the Baby Shusher app. One of the ways getting a newborn to calm down, relax and go to sleep is to shush him, and when he’s crying at the top of his lungs, you need to actually shush him at the same volume, which can be tough to do, and at the least can quickly make you feel like your hyperventilating and pretty light headed.
The Baby Shusher app fixes that for you, with the touch of a button your phone will start shushing your baby at the volume of your choosing. You can set it to equalize and increase in volume as your baby cries louder, and you can even record your own shushing voice so that your baby recognizes.
Now we never go anywhere without our handy dandy shushing app.
There’s this great site called Craigslist where you can look for things like jobs, or real estate, or personals, or certain kinds of help, and you can also find stuff people want to sell.
You know, things like . . . baby stuff!
While my wife was pregnant we started our early scouring of Craigslist for cheap baby things we were looking to purchase. Why pay full price when you can get it much cheaper in a slightly used condition? A lot of the items we’ll be getting we won’t necessarily be using for that long, so why not?
I was able to pick up a Baby Björn for $15, and then we hit the jackpot with 80 items of clothing including onesies, shirts, pants, hats, shoes, socks, a lot of them high quality Carter’s items which would’ve cost us an estimated $400-$500 for the lot, and we were able to acquire it all for a mere $50. Many of the items looked like they’d barely been used.
Some of the items we’ve actually started putting Owen in already, because he has my long legs (like me), and apparently sizes aren’t completely standard for babies, so some newborn stuff Owen has already outgrown, while others fit him okay; some three month old stuff is just too big for him, while others fit him nicely.
Craigslist was also where we acquired our baby swings, which retail at $160 and we got for $50 and $40 respectively.
We also plan on getting an electric breast pump through Craigslist eventually, as we were able to get the replaceable tubing and cups through Kaiser Permanente, which we should be able to get at a fraction of the price.
And I’m sure for years to come we’ll be hitting Craigslist for more items, acquiring them at a much cheaper price.
4. PROJECT DICKENS
I’ve started a little routine with Owen that I plan to continue for years to come. Now, obviously he has little to no grasp on language at the moment, but it’s still important to talk to him and to read to him and to help him make those synaptic connections and neurons with regards to language development.
So I thought about what I could read to Owen that we would both enjoy and to help stimulate this and decided on one Charles Dickens. I possess a complete collection of classic hardcovers dated in the 1880’s and while I’ve read a couple of them I’ve been meaning to just go through them and read them all.
And what better time than to do it now, by reading Dickens to my son, just as it was originally done and intended in Dickens’ time. I’ve started with The Pickwick Papers, Dickens’ first published book and plan to progress through his books chronologically, reading to him as much as he wants.
So far we’ve had a couple of sessions of a couple pages and Owen has watched me and paid attention each time until he starts to get distracted or hungry, and then I stop.
I plan on saving the classics like Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and David Copperfield for when Owen is old enough to appreciate Dickens more. And my hope is we’ll get to a time where he enjoys, looks forward to and appreciates these special moments when we reach the great Charles Dickens together.