- Plan to have the baby shower at least two and a half to three months before your due date. This will give you plenty of time to both get organized and relax before baby comes. Remember you are working with a limited energy supply!
- When addressing shower invitations keep all records on the computer and print them on address sticker labels. Print a second set for later for the Thank YOU cards. Save this information on the computer for additional use with the Birth Announcements.
- Keep a detailed written record of all the gifts that you received. Fibro fog, as well as, pregnancy fog can sneak up on you!
- Registering online saves time and energy. Call the stores ahead of time to find out their return policies. Some stores that have items available online only, if returned, need to be shipped back to the store with the shipping and handling charges billed to you!
- Save all gift receipts from items you receive, especially the larger ticket items. You might get doubles. Most stores have a 30 day return policy after your shower date with the receipt.
- When buying baby clothes; buy larger sizes. Not only will this help you save money, it will also make changing baby easier on your fingers, hands, and wrists.Onesies, sleepers, and sleepsacks are must have daily clothing items. In fact, they are all you will need for the first four to six months depending on the season when baby is born. . Halo Innovations makes a sleepsack/sleeper combo that zips from the top making nighttime diaper changing simple. Available online at www.walmart.com. Halo Big Kid’s sleepsacks are wonderful for when baby is bigger. Available online at www.Target.com.
- Choose zippers over snaps –never buttons--especially if you are like me and have the fibro in your fingers, arms, hands, and wrists. However, if you do buy snap clothing, look for a simple snap outline near the diaper area with a curvature of the snaps that leads down the front of the torso and tummy areas all the way down to the diaper area. This design makes taking the feet out for diaper change much easier on your fibromyalgic fingers and hands. You will exert too much energy otherwise trying to button or snap. If you buy the snap sleepers; be sure that the snaps are around the diaper area for easy access. Make sure that the snaps are not just down one leg. When baby becomes a bit older and starts to kick and to roll over on the changing table—a trick I use is to keep snapped one or two snaps at his ankles. Take his feet out of the sleeper but keep these snapped. This allows for a good “latch in” when dressing baby.
- Invest in a digital camera and a camcorder. Buy the DVR’s before you go to the hospital and pack them in your hospital bag. This was one item that I overlooked that I now regret as I don’t have newborn film footage. At the time, I couldn’t imagine having the birth filmed so I didn’t think ahead about filming the baby at the hospital.
- Make sure that you choose some heavy duty baby photo albums and put them on your Baby Shower Registry. If you don’t’ end up getting them at your shower, be sure to buy them before baby arrives. Buy more than you think you will need. Get organized and label them with large address sicker labels ahead of time. You will thank yourself later. I didn’t do this and ended with 11 months worth of pictures to sort though and file!
- If you are using disposable diapers, the Diaper Champ is wonderful. You can use regular trash bags with it. It is my pick over the Diaper Genie.
- If you are breastfeeding, Bravado bras come in plus sizes too and they (online) are wonderful. Their washable breast pads are the best too!
- When you buy the car seat--make sure you buy the travel system with the stroller. I bought the Graco Snugride and LOVE it! You will use the stroller almost as much as the car seat. Realize that due to your fibromyalgia, and depending on your vehicle you may have to position and place the car seat behind the driver’s seat side or directly behind the passenger’s seat side; instead of in the middle of the back seat, for easier access. Also, to avoid more muscle pain and fatigue, enlist others to carry the baby in the car seat to and from the car. You will get plenty of chances to carry the baby throughout your day.
Baby Registry Must-Haves for the Fibromyalgic Mother-to-Be:
On a budget—www.craigslist.org sells gently used baby gear;
www.freecycle.org lists free items ready to be discarded
(Copy this list, take it with you, and use it as your guide.)
Remember to register for larger sizes too. This will make changes easier on your fibromyalgic fingers, hands, and wrists. Also, babies grow quickly, and you might end up with a nine-pound-plus baby, like I did, who was wearing a size twelve months at six months!
Bolded items are my “Best Baby Invention” must-haves, and I have rated my top ten for you.
· 6–8 Sleepsacks by Halo Innnovations. (These are usually part of the Layette, but not always. They are a must in the prevention of SIDS. (My #1 Best Baby Invention!) Available at www.target.com or www.walmart.com. Also available in larger sizes for toddlers too: Halo Big Kids.
· 2–4 Snack Catchers A special cup with a toddler-friendly lid and handles used for holding Cheerios and snacks without spilling or a parent’s help. Available online at Amazon.com (My other #1 Best Baby Invention.)
· Graco Snugride Car Seat Travel System or the like. (Make sure that you buy the car seat that snaps into the base and the stroller that goes with the car seat. The stroller will double as a high chair in restaurants when baby gets older and can sit up. If buying used, check expiration dates. Regulations change and car seats expire every six years.) (My #2 Best Baby Invention.)
· Crib Tent if you have cats for crib and playard. (My #3 Best Baby Invention.) Available online at www.walmart.com.
· Graco Pack N Play—Great for travel and Grandma’s house. Can be used as both a changing station and a bassinet. (My #4 Best Baby Invention.)
· Breathable Bumper—instead of traditional bumpers. This bumper will grow with your baby when he or she starts to flip over onto his or her tummy, and you won’t have to worry about baby getting caught under it. (My other #4 Best Baby Invention.)
· Diaper Champ (My #5 Best Baby Invention.)
· 2–4 Munchkin Food Bags (My # 6 Best Baby Invention.)
· Playtex Insulator Sippy Cup After trying several. This cup holds up when thrown and doesn’t leak. (My # 7 Best Baby Invention.)
· 2-Sassy Teether Car Keys (My # 8 Best Baby Invention.)
· 2–4 Sassy Mirrors for the crib and the changing stations (Best Baby Invention.)
· Appliance “Locks” Self-Adhesive Locks that won’t damage paint and can be used in place of other cabinet and drawer locks. (My # 9 Best Baby Invention.) Available at Target.
· Monkey Backpack Harness (My #10 Best Baby Invention.) Available at Target.
· The First Years Night and Day Bottle Warmer Used for heating up bottles and jars of baby food. Includes a cooler. (Best Baby Invention.)
· Straps for attaching bookshelves and other large furniture to the walls. (Best Baby Invention.)
· Electrical Outlet Covers (Switch Plates) that move. (Best Baby Invention.)
· 2–4 Sippy Cup Leashes available online at Amazon.com (Best Baby Invention.)
· Exersaucer for when baby is around 6 months. (Best baby invention.)
· Diaper Backpack Land’s End or Dad’s Gear (Best Baby Invention.)
· Crib that meets today’s safety standards.
· 4–6 crib sheets.
· Bassinet—on a budget, the Pack N Play is sufficient until baby reaches recommended weight.
· Changing station or two. (Make sure that they have drawers instead of shelves, as baby will pull everything off of the shelves when he or she learns to walk. And you will be out buying another station. Also, check the weight limit of the changing table. Some tables are made to hold only twenty to twenty-three pounds.) On a budget, the Pack N Play is sufficient until weight requirement is met.
· Nightlights for bathroom, hallway, nursery.
· Fifteen-watt baby lamp for nighttime changes that won’t wake baby.
· Swing, the Fisher-Price Take-Along Swing is wonderful.
· 2–4 Layette sets—(The layette set usually includes a onesie, a hat, a sleeper, and a sleep sack. Sometimes it will include a bib and booties.)
· 4 packages of onesies—any brand. All sizes. (I prefer Gerber, as they are stretchy, easy to put on with my fibromyalgic hands, and they grow well with baby.)
· 6–8 receiving blankets.
· Package of newborn diapers.
· 10 sleepers—zippered are best for fibromyalgic hands.
· 2 packages of washcloths.
· Gerber baby feeding spoons.
· Madela Hand-held Breast Pump Starter Kit (I also purchased the Madela Electric Pump.)
· Lanolin—if breastfeeding.