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An expectant mother - what does she need?  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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I have a very close friend who is trying for a baby. She's a city girl trying for a natural lifestyle. So for example, she hopes to use cloth diapers about 95% of the time, but be flexible and use disposable ones very occasionally. She values handmade things and is a textile artist herself. She's also asked me to help as much as I can with teaching the kid about where food comes from and supplying home grown healthy food. I'm glad to do it. I want to do more.

What kinds of things is she going to need once the 'bun is in the oven'? Is there anything I can make for her? What can we do to help make this more affordable for her? Is there something I can sew or weave for her?

I have absolutely no clue what is involved here. Where do I start?

 
John Weiland
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Have no kids.....but I was one once.

The following book should be taken as a *start*, not an end nor a "guidebook", for the exploration of motherhood/parenthood. But IMHO it should be on the top 10 list for potentially expectant parents to read.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0201050714/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

 
r ranson
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Interesting looking book. I'll see if the library has it.

I think what I'm more interested in is physical things that I can make or find (and repair) for her that make her motherhood easier and fit with her goal of natural lifestyle (and my goal of moving her towards a permaculture lifestyle). She has some very strong ideas already on how she will raise the child, so I see myself more as a support person with the ulterior motive of training the kid to be future help on the farm.

For example, cloth diapers made from ethically sourced materials are really expensive. Maybe, instead of her paying top price, we can go in together and buy some organic cotton, I'll borrow a surger and make her a bunch. Is it possible? Could I do it on my straight stitch sewing machine? Would that be more affordable than buying the pre-made diapers? I don't know. How many diapers do they need? I'm guessing at least two a day... plus time for the diapers to dry, so 5? 100? I haven't a clue.

Another thing she is interested in is avoiding plastic. So instead of a plastic highchair, maybe I can find an old wood one for free on usedanywhere and refinish it for her? Is that something useful to new mothers? Or would that be overstepping the mark? She said she wanted help.

Sometimes mums have this wrap-cloth that they use to hold their baby against them while they do things. I thought to buy one for another friend, but it was over $100 for a bit of cloth. That seemed a bit much for something that I could probably weave myself. Is there something special about it other than the price tag?

And what about during pregnancy? Mums need stuff then, right?

I want to help her stay away from the commercial aspect of being a parent, but there are some physical objects she's going to need. What are these things and how can I help her meet her goal of living a low impact, healthy lifestyle while not breaking the bank?
 
John Weiland
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Baby Sling....good idea! Photos below....is there a baby-daddy in the equation?

If you could either knit or produce a hand-made baby sling, I think that would be a great gift. Some are pretty "natural" looking, but others use Velcro fasteners....don't know what the consensus is out there regarding easy of use and comfort for baby and parent. Others with direct experience will likely weigh in.....
BabySling.JPG
[Thumbnail for BabySling.JPG]
 
James Smartt
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Diapers: Cloth get changed more often than disposable, I would think closer to 5 or 6 per day, with a minimum of 1 weeks worth, so that puts you at 42 (round up to 50). Diapers can be sewn on a regular sewing machine - http://www.diapersewing.com/

Items to refurbish: Crib, Rocking chair, cradle

Things for the baby: Bottles, smaller diaper cloth pieces to replace baby wipes, soft flannel/cotton baby gowns (can be used for boy or girl) to replace the common "onesie"

For the mom: maternity clothes, regular pants can be fitted with triangles of elastic fabric to make maternity pants, natural creams/butters/oils to rub on belly to prevent/minimize stretch marks.

There are many things missing here, but that should give you some starting points.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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For a baby wrap, weave it yourself, and stitch it up. This is the "pattern" I used. I used 44" side fabric. It was wider than I needed. I used 2 1/2 yards for a long tail to hide that I was nursing him. I carried my boy in it from infancy, and when out and about when he tired until he was 3 years old. It was good to have two free hands. It was also long enough for 6'6" Daddy to wear him when desired.
Follow the link to ring and fabric FAQs, they offer to sell rings too.
http://mayawrap.com/n_sewsling.php

The term cloth diapers may no longer means a rectangular piece of cloth. There are a variety of differant terribly expensive options. Find out what she means by cloth diaper. Here is an alegedly free pattrens site for a bunch of knock-offs. As to how many? Two a day is not enough. Six? Maybe.
http://www.diapersewingsupplies.com/free-cloth-diaper-patterns/
 
David Livingston
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Moses basket
Very useful.
Cage ..... Er sorry play pen Made of wood
Stair gate ditto
Nighty with the bottom that buttons up like a bag .
 
chip sanft
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James Smartt wrote:
Items to refurbish: Crib ... cradle


Good friend just had a baby not too long ago and she said that according to her research, the safety standards on cribs and the like have changed much over the years. She didn't want to get a used one because of that. Maybe this is one place where a new (or at least newer) item might be preferable.
 
James Smartt
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Very true, I would certainly not try to refurbish anything that has been manufactured in the last 10- 15 years, I was thinking something quality built when people/companies actually built quality products.

chip sanft wrote:
James Smartt wrote:
Items to refurbish: Crib ... cradle


Good friend just had a baby not too long ago and she said that according to her research, the safety standards on cribs and the like have changed much over the years. She didn't want to get a used one because of that. Maybe this is one place where a new (or at least newer) item might be preferable.
 
Tracy Wandling
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What a great idea for a thread!

Definite yes to the baby sling. Invaluable, and you can make it yourself. Maybe make two, so one can be washed while she uses the other. (Babies are messy things, especially if she uses cloth diapers.)

Cloth diapers - yes, you can make them. My mom made some for me. But I mostly used the square cloth ones that you fold up. Easy peasy once you get the hang of it. Much less expensive. And you don't need different sizes as the baby grows - they're one-size-fits-all. (When women found out that I used cloth diapers, they always asked me how I kept them white. I was like, "Uuuhhh, white? They poop in them, for cryin' out loud. What do they need to be white for?")

Really good rubber pants to go over the diapers. Make sure the leg holes are nice and elastic-y, but soft for those fat little legs. You'll need quite a few of these, too.

A nursing chair, with comfy cushions. Wonderful things.

A baby monitor - excellent purchase if she's a nervous mother. Peace of mind is priceless.

Baby carseat - definitely buy new, or recently used, as regulations are very strict. But get the ones that have the handle that goes length wise, rather than across. MUCH easier to carry.

Instead of a regular high chair, see if you can find one of the ones that just hook onto the table. Takes up much less space, and she can take it with her.

Lots of soft cloths of different sizes, for: wash cloths, baby wipes, burping clothes, and general baby maintenance.

Baby nighties with drawstring bottoms. Great things.

~

Okay, gotta go to bed. But I'll keep reaching into my past to see what else I found invaluable - or wish I'd had.

Again, great idea for a thread.

Cheers
Tracy
 
r ranson
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Wow, these are really good ideas.

I'm glad to see there are lots of practical things I can help with.

Originally, I thought about sewing a doll, but then I stressed out about all the choking hazards and remembered that my last friend to have a baby got loads of toys but not many practical gifts.

How does one use cloth square diapers? Any more affordable sources of organic cotton cloth that would be appropriate for these? I'll have to double-check with the mum what shape diapers she wants, but I think this would be the easiest and most affordable kind to make.

What makes a nursing chair different than a regular chair?

I have an old (like 75+ years old) but very solid wooden high chair for when the baby-to-be gets big enough to sit up on his/her own that the mother-to-be likes. The thing is, these days there seems to be some sort of seatbelt like a crash harness on child chairs. I'm guessing it's important to strap the kid in so they don't take a tumble, but is the full harness necessary? The paint on the chair tests negative for lead, but I want to strip the paint just in case - however, this seems to require nasty chemicals. Is there a way to remove paint without stinky goo? Are there other toxins in old furniture that can hurt a child?

 
Andrea Redenbaugh
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I can give you an "in the trench" opinion. My son (number 5) will be one on July 4. A sling or other soft baby carrier is a life saver. I made my own sling, it is just a length of cloth with a ring or other fastener on one end.

As far as diapers, I think I have about 15 in rotation now and I wash every other day. When he was small I washed every day. I use prefolds and flats. Prefolds are a rectangle of birdseye diaper fabric sewn with a thick pad down the middle. Flats are a 30ish inch square of flannel folded to for. I made my flats from thrift store flannel sheets with the scraps made in to wipes. If you have a zigzag machine you can just zigzag the edges otherwise you can hem. For covers I have used rubber pants but did not like them. I make my own from polyurethane laminate fabric. They look kind of like disposables and close with Velcro. I have heard good things about wool soaker pants but have no personal experience.

For Momma, I would suggest reusable bra pads and sanitary napkins. Both things I wish I had thought of.

I will look for some links with patterns and how-tos. My computer quit so I have to Google them up again.
 
Ruth Gregory
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I like your ideas. If you make the diapers, that would help out a lot. Babies can go through sometimes 4 - 5 diapers a day. You could gift her 10 or 20 as a starter gift.

I noticed you like refurbishing old furniture. Well, if you can find an old rocking chair, you can breath life back into it for your friend. I know my rocking chair was a blessing. I would rock my children to sleep many a night or just hold them.
 
r ranson
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What about bibs?  Kids eat messy, right?  How many of these would she need?  What age do they start using bibs?   Would linen be okay fabric?  Tough wearing, easy to hand or machine wash, air-dry quickly. 
 
Laura Emil
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Moses basket - YES!  I'd almost forgotten!  (it was borrowed, and then passed along... ) with hood, made it wonderfully easy to turn as needed to keep my boys shaded.  Lambskin rug was also much used - and continued to be useful even after babies outgrew.  The playpen was used most for laundry, but an 8 sided adjustable 'cage' came in very handy at home and visiting.   I rarely caged the boys in; instead, I opened it accordion style across and/or around the 'stay away from' areas of their exploratory range... (30 years ago, it was mostly mesh, on a vinyl covered light metal tube frame, very lightweight.  Two could even be clipped together for larger space.  Can't find them now- hmmmm, were there design flaws?)
 
Andrea Redenbaugh
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R Ranson wrote:What about bibs?  Kids eat messy, right?  How many of these would she need?  What age do they start using bibs?   Would linen be okay fabric?  Tough wearing, easy to hand or machine wash, air-dry quickly. 


YES!!! Bibs are an excellent idea. Different sizes as they grow. Some kids need them from birth, depends how drooly or spitty they are. I don't know about linen. Does it absorb well? If so, then it would work.

I am having a hard time finding good links. I will take some pictures and notes later to post
 
Ruth Gregory
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Bibs are great and a must with babies almost from the get go. A few (3 - 4) personalized bibs are usually enough.
The cloth diapers I used were rectangle shaped and padded in the center. I also used the plastic snapping style pants that go on over the diapers. They cut my changing time down quite a bit. : )
Another idea for the mom to be is a hand made gift basket filled with items such as cocoa butter oil to soften the skin; herbal teas for relaxing and sleep; soothing natural bath soaps, luffa sponge, and or scented lotions with lavender or other pleasant smells she might like.
 
r ranson
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I like the gift basket idea.  Skin care for when they are pregnant, or after, or both?  Do the hormones affect skin? 

What else do they need while they are expecting? 

How about when they first come home?  I was wondering if I made some of her favourite meals and froze them in one size servings, would this be useful or too much bother for her?  She's trying to stay completely away from pre-fab foods and I don't know how much her hubby cooks. 

What about morning sickness.  Is it like regular nausea and all strong smells make you hurl? 


I know I can't do everything for her, but I thought maybe if I made a big list of things I'm willing and able to do, she can decide which are most helpful for her.  Is that something a mum-to-be would appreciate? 

Sorry if my questions seem foolish, I know so little about this.  I'm really grateful for your help.
 
Andrea Redenbaugh
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R Ranson wrote:I like the gift basket idea.  Skin care for when they are pregnant, or after, or both?  Do the hormones affect skin? 

What else do they need while they are expecting? 

How about when they first come home?  I was wondering if I made some of her favourite meals and froze them in one size servings, would this be useful or too much bother for her?  She's trying to stay completely away from pre-fab foods and I don't know how much her hubby cooks. 

What about morning sickness.  Is it like regular nausea and all strong smells make you hurl? 


I know I can't do everything for her, but I thought maybe if I made a big list of things I'm willing and able to do, she can decide which are most helpful for her.  Is that something a mum-to-be would appreciate? 

Sorry if my questions seem foolish, I know so little about this.  I'm really grateful for your help.


Your questions are far from foolish. I can only wish I had a friend as thoughtful.

Needs during pregnancy in my experience are few. Sleep, food, and more sleep were my main desires. The first time can be kinda scary so some reassurances may be in order. Pampering is nice.

Hormonal changes affect everything. Skin hair and nails are usually the most noticeable.

I think making a list for her to choose would be good. My only concern would be that you make it clear how much or how many things she should choose.

The highchair you mentioned - is the paint peeling or otherwise damaged? If not, and it is not lead based, I would leave it on. Like you said, paint removers are nasty. Also paint is easier to wash than raw wood.
 
Galadriel Freden
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When I was pregnant, I made myself a set of washable sanitary pads--you are not supposed to use tampons/cups or anything else "up there" for six weeks after birth, and there will be a lot of blood during this time!  My mother sent me a set of washable breast pads, and a friend gave me a tube of lanolin, which was so helpful for sore nipples in the first weeks. 

I really liked having a baby sleeping bag for the first year:  baby gets zipped into it and can't wriggle out of/under the covers.  So helpful. 

We used flat fold diapers, which were basically big squares of terrycloth--we learned different ways of folding them online.  We bought something called a Snappi to fasten them, which was much easier and safer than pins.  I bought used wrap covers off ebay, and I also made my own covers out of felted wool sweaters. 

Clothes are very much appreciated.  I sometimes had to change baby's clothes multiple times a day because of diaper leaks or other accidents.  Things like sweaters, socks, and booties too.  They grow quickly, so it's good to have several sizes--probably up to 12 months.

I carried my baby in a ring sling when he was little and later a mei tai--both of which I sewed myself.  I liked having a stroller if I took baby out by myself, as I could put the diaper bag in it too.

Speaking of which, a good diaper bag is a must!  Plenty of pockets, easy to carry, enough room for the essentials, and hopefully stylish too   I still use our old one as my work bag now.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Sorry if someone else mentioned this. I did not read all comments.
I have good experience with diaper-pants knitted of 'raw' wool. I mean: wool I spun myself, right from the sheep's fleece, not washed, so all the natural lanoline was still in it. The knitting pattern is very easy. I searched for pictures of it ... the closest one I found was this unfinished cotton one for a doll

After closing the seems, take all stitches around the leg holes and knit rounds of 1 k., 1 p. for almost an inch.
Make these pants high, they must go way over the diaper. The fat wool keeps humidity inside. So baby will get wet and start crying ... and then you'll have to change. But baby's clothes and bed won't get wet. Even poop is kept inside the pants (and my baby did poop a lot!)
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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R Ranson wrote:I like the gift basket idea.  Skin care for when they are pregnant, or after, or both?  Do the hormones affect skin? 
Oh sure does the pregnancy affect the skin, of the belly! Because I did not know what to do back then, the 'striae' are still a little visible (after over 30 years). Maybe that can be prevented by using a mixture of coconut oil and pure aloe vera juice (daily, on the belly).
 
Honorah Mellarick
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One thing not mentioned-She needs support in  breast feeding! There is much separating moms from doing this basic need for babies.  ALL modern women need help, need encouragement and need practical support to keep this up first for three months, then for six months, and then for the two to two and half years a kid can really use it.    For some this is identifying a lay or pro lactation coach. for my busy daughters, breast pumps were necessary. All used the really cool breast feeding pumps that are made now.  Some pumps are electric, and some are a manual suction, but all are TONS more effective than the stuff I failed at using in the 80s.  Two of my daughters needed to return to full time employment, and these nursing pumps allowed their baby to be fed on breast milk.  In Michigan, there is help for lower income moms with formula, and if you are nursing, the state will provide you with one of these pumps.  There is however need to have clean plastic bags, and bottles to store the breast milk in the freezer, and a magic marker.  So your friend needs to identify what sh e will likely use, and research what is available for her.  Then when she identifies the system, help her with the cost more than you believe extras that make the difference in actually using them. Give her the best in this area!  Also a small osterizer, blender or food processor suitable for baby food.  Babies eat things like Avocado now first, and are started on food so late that except for convenience during travels or at caregiving, they eat family food ground up.  Yes, I know an Amazon River tribal woman would just chew up the food and spit it in the baby's mouth, but a new momo cannot do this with skeptics in the house!  Little storage containers, and strategies are important!  Maybe some really safe and wonderful dishwashing liquid. Never forget sippy cups.  there was a time when babies spilled their milk, but now it stays in the cup!

Expensive baby shampoo and wash usually comes in large bottles.  Moms have various preferences, but it all goes down the drain too fast in a big bottle. New moms seem to use this stuff like water! Encourage her to keep a tiny bottle of soap, such as they give in the hospital, and transfer the big bottle to the little bottle.  Only a tiny drip of soap is needed for that little messy baby and that large old bottle can take her/him through the twos if there are not great spills down the drain.  Or make a pump bottle with DILUTED baby shampoo.  Less soap, less rash on baby.  Laundry soaps need to be thought through.  In every thing, go less allergic, and milder and then use LESS.  Keep a small quarter or eighth cup measure with that laundry soap and in baby clothes LESS is more, especially when the less is directly applied to the problem. Learn to rinse with a bit of vinegar or washing soda but do not crust the clothes with detergent. By the way they will be washing way more laundry.   Access to a dryer and washer are so important.  A laundry set up for clothes lines, inside and out, will help with all these extra washes but absolutely you will need a dryer.

Two of my daughters used the NEW kind of velcro fastened cloth baby diapers. These are easy to put on a baby, even the first time.  The one purchased a dozen diapers and four stretch vinyl velcro pants.  At that time she had a weekly amount of money for diapers.  She would use the cloth diapers as much as she could, wash and use them again.  In between she used paper diapers. When she saved money in the diaper fund each week, she put it to buying more cloth diapers.  With two babies in diapers at that time, she ended up paying for a complete set and mostly used cloth diapers. She did this to get out of a financial hole, and it was really admirable.  Her sister sewed extra flannel diapers for these sets.  We had a pattern, and I helped.  We bought used flannel sheets to make these diapers and garage sale thread.  ALso made flannel wet wipes that were kept in old wet wipe boxes. I believe she made flannel nursing bra pads out of layered cotton flannel.  We generally used patterned flannel sheets.   These were washed with the diapers or towels (pads).  Most babies had special baby towels, but used regular terry cloth most of the time.   Spray bottles of water Once even had a spray bottle of water for the bum in the diaper basket.  All these efforts with cloth diapers  ended for "my girls" (sophisticated educated young women) as time went on.  When they felt so busy they expected to need to hire a helper to keep the diapers washed, they sold the diapers or gave them away, and went to the paper diapers and wet wipes.  TIME is a resource that is in short supply with all young parents, and needs to be respected.  Whether they used the cloth or paper has never been my business but it is interesting to observe that the same struggles and challenges come up. It takes more than one person to raise a child, usually, as it is a lot of work.   You always strive for perfection in the beginning of parenthood and end up just trying to survive and be sane, which is usually a humble good place to be. Amazon prime diaper delivery seems to be where the last two babies have been supplied with diapers.  Hard to beat diapers on your door step.

What new moms really seem to covet are those expensive trendy slings for holding big healthy breast fed babies.  Now there is a also neck scarf that doubles as a nursing hideout for baby.  There is a pillow in a moon shape everyone seems to have for supporting a newborn baby with the first difficult latchings and comforting a tired mom with a big hot sticky kid on her lap later.  Breastfeeding is what baby really needs, whether mom is a crunchy hipsters or an exec or someone juggling an older child's soccer schedule, or all three!    I would say encouragement and help for breastfeeding is the most important gift you can give this new tiny person and the mom.  There are moms that cannot breast feed for some serious reasons.  That is true.  For the other 98 percent of babies our culture needs to help mom give this important gift, even this right, to her babe. Sometimes it seems that it is just plain a tough job, with coworkers attitudes, and maybe a case of the flu.  Really the intelligence and health of the baby may depend on her sticking it out.  Especially in this modern world, where every other kid is allergic to wheat or milk or something.
Grandma of 11 kids who are all bright stars like most breastfed babies.
 
Jessie Twinn
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James Smartt wrote:Diapers: Cloth get changed more often than disposable, I would think closer to 5 or 6 per day, with a minimum of 1 weeks worth, so that puts you at 42 (round up to 50).  Diapers can be sewn on a regular sewing machine - http://www.diapersewing.com/


Um, a newborn can "go" up to 8 times a day! Not to mention bub will need diapers until probably 2 years of age minimum (kids can need them until  4 or even 5 overnight) and a 2yo is a very different size to a newborn. Look for adjustable sizing for modern cloth diapers.

A bucket for soiled and wet nappies is a must have, lots of burp cloths (an old folding nappy will work just fine), and for pregnant mumma an oil for rubbing into the belly is always nice (keeps down stretch marks too). There are heaps of commercial ones out there but many are petroleum based. Coconut oil is natural and very effective. And probably cheaper too!


The list of things Mumma and Bub might need can vary tremendously. For real basics check this out. http://www.finnishbabybox.com/ I'm not suggesting to buy one but it might give you some ideas. And in order to protect Gaia and the old hip pocket, check out 2nd hand. Babies grow so fast that newborn clothes are barely worn.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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SO many, many good ideas here!

The sling - yes, yes, yes. I had just a simple rectangle that I knotted together at the ends and put my son in it. All. the. time. I could even nurse him in it, walking in the grocery store, without most folks even noticing. Without a ring, without padding, without anything, it could fold up much smaller and would double as a light blanket, or picnic blanket when not in use. I gave my mom the dimensions (can't recall what they were - it was 22 years ago! though see the link next), and she finished the edges for me.

I'd thought I would use the rectangle in multiple ways to "wear" my baby - see this How to Carry Your Baby African Style instructables page for excellent examples (one of the pics following), but somehow my babies were so big and fat ( !) that it seemed they needed more head and neck support at higher weights than most, and their legs seemed more easily squished somehow.  Or maybe that was just me, I dunno.



So, I mostly just used my rectangle cloth for a sling around the front, which I loved.

Diapers
I loved using cloth diapers for both of my kids. For a while, especially when recovering from the birth, and since I was in the suburbs where this was available, we paid for a diaper service. Today, I would not opt for that because they use a LOT of bleach, but it was an incredible luxury to have someone else pick up the dirty diapers and drop off clean ones in their place. And the cost was surprisingly reasonable when you compared it to disposable diapers.

Lots of great suggestions here on making "prefolded" or what to use for "unfolded" diapers. It's funny how old school it seems now, in the age of the ubiquitous disposable diaper, to know about folding diapers or using a diaper insert in the foldable kind. The "prefolded" kind used by the diaper service were very high quality and stood up to some serious abuse. They were really heavy-duty cotton, made very thick in the middle section with multiple layers sewn in, and yet silky soft to the touch. They would sell their tattered ones at great prices for cleaning rags. Best window cleaning rags ever.

Diaper covers
So many, many choices with these. I tried the "pinless" kind (albeit this was over 20 years ago) that close with velcro or whatnot, and somehow, if the diaper got really soaked, it had a way of sliding around in there and leaks (of all kinds - ahem!) were far more common out the leg openings. Which is why I agree with a previous poster that good rubber (nylon?) diaper covers were my favorite for my kids. I had a lovely wool diaper cover or two (expensive!) though they were the velcro kind. I took to pinning diapers, even under the "pinless" covers, and when used with the wool cover, that was probably my favorite since the wool was more breathable, and would wash and dry out even more quickly than the rubber covers (the heavy-duty elastic in the legs and top of the rubber covers stayed WET a long time!).

"Receiving" blankets
Most new moms and babies are gifted a lot of baby blankets, which is good, because babies leak, in one way or another, on everything, so having extra blankets is quite wonderful. I never understood why "receiving" blankets were a thing until I had kids of my own. These are the thin, flannel, or perhaps cotton jersey, blankets that seem rather plain, boring, or even a bit useless as a blanket because they are so thin. Until you need a burp cloth on your shoulder. Or you need to line the carseat with at least some kind of protection, or you want to put the baby down on something that might be covered in cat hair, or you don't have a changing table or changing mat handy, or you need an extra layer on top of baby or on top of the crib sheet...it's really pretty endless how these help!

Wash cloths
Here's hoping your friend just says "no" to disposable baby wipes! It's so easy to use cloth instead. Really it is. In the past (I'm really not sure if this is still a thing) some folks used fancy-pants baby wipes warmers. I've known folks who would put moistened, reusable wash cloths in those things instead. It's kind of luxurious to have warm, ready to use cloth wipes (in cold climates/seasons any way) when there is a mess that you want to clean up immediately without having to wander about the house wetting (and warming) a wash cloth.

Creams/cremes
I second the recommendations, too, for creams both for mom and babe. Some of us have skin that is prone to scarring, and our birth marks on the belly become a badge of honor no matter what potions we rub there (me). Others, do nothing and their bellies are nigh unscathed (achoo-bitches! ). In any case, there are lots of weird things that happen with the hormones and some serious skin stretching that creams are lovely for the mom, and help care for her and fete her, when there is a huge amount of focus and energy going toward the babe.

Conventional baby ointments (baby products in general) are scary. There are some lovely, natural calendula ointments that are wonderful for diaper rash. I always say, if I wouldn't eat it, I won't put it on my skin. I think that goes 100-fold or more for baby skin!

Teas
There are wonderful teas that help the mother in many ways. Though with any herbals, use with caution and only if an individual is confident they are not contraindicated for that individuals particular circumstances.

raspberry leaf - not usually recommended during pregnancy (though it is in a widely available "Pregnancy Tea" sold by Traditional Medicinals) but excellent right after to help the uterus contract and return to it's previous size. Promotes uterine toning, and can also slow down loose stools or diarrhea - so do not use if constipated (another common issue during pregnancy!).

fenugreek - this is in the Traditional Medicinals "Mother's Milk" tea as it's supposed to encourage milk production. Folklore has it that beer encourages milk production, too. I don't know much about fenugreek in tea or otherwise, though with the amount of breastfeeding mothers who leak milk everywhere - especially at night! - this might not be a very common need.

Waterproof or water resistant mattress protection - for the parents' bed!
Most crib mattress protectors have this, but the mother's mattress needs this, too! There is the breastmilk leakage, plus, if you are breastfeeding baby in bed, there can be diaper leakage, plus more. To really drive this home, there was that one evening my toddler climbed up on top of my prone form on my bed because she wasn't feeling well and barfed on my neck. It turns out the neck doesn't catch or hold barf very well!

Nursing support
A six or even an eight pound baby seems like not much weight to hold...for half an hour. Just picture holding said baby up to your breast, for hours on end, every day and into to the night, breastfeeding. Unless you're a fitness queen, it can be hard for the arms to catch up to that kind of use and (limp/dead) weight, and babies typically double their birth weight by six months, so it's a running challenge. My babies were 10.5 and 11 pounds at birth and 21-22 pounds at six months, so I whined a lot about this.

Nursing cushions or the arms of chairs at the right height are a godsend. As are little stools that the mom puts her feet on to bring her knees up to further support that hungry mass on her lap.

A few more comments:
I also like the washable pads for the mom. The hard part about that is, I like to soak them in cold water until washing, which then means I prefer to wash them each day so they don't turn rank. So just doing some wash or cooking or all the wonderful ways you're considering supporting this new mom is truly wonderful.

That uterus that just expelled a baby is prone to infection if the mother doesn't recuperate and rest well after the birth.

Breastmilk production can slow down precipitously if the mom isn't getting enough rest or gets ill.

So anything you do to help her revel in that new babe, and let her body recuperate, is a huge, huge gift.

Oh, and food that is able to be eaten with one hand (while nursing) is a bonus.




 
Mercedes Brian
Posts: 4
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
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I never got the hang of the ring slings, but I'm a slight, short, person. The baby always ended up head-down, and one memorable time, almost flipped out of the ring sling and into the outhouse toilet before I caught him. I've used an Ergo carrier since then and highly recommend it. The stretchy wraps that parents use look really good. A stroller with big wheels is really great for naps on the garden.
We didn't use baby food, high chairs, or bibs. A cloth napkin with a cloths pin is always easy to find, baby sits on our lap, and a little adult food mushed up with a fork is great for first food. Nourishing Traditions author sally fallon has great suggestions for first food. Our babies started eating when they could handle food and were reaching for it from our plates.
I used cloth squares for diapers. Later I had 12 fitted diapers and used the squares as back-up and washed every day. That's the minimum number with a dryer just in case. Double without a dryer.
A sheepskin is lovely and if washable, will be used a long time.
Janet Lansbury Elevating Child Care on Facebook is great to monitor to learn respectful, effective, communication. Kids don't need much. They are built to find just about everything interesting.

Except an approved car seat. They need one of those!
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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A massage doula can be a great help. Se if you can find one that will teach you. If you are doing it as a friend and not for pay you do not need a licence just a good knowledge and caring. I don't specifically do prenatal massage but my specialty of posture distortion pain often brings expectant moms to me.  Understanding the changing weight distribution which is different for each mom and each pregnancy may need a keen observer and coach.
I worked late into the night so I was handy for nap time while mother was finishing entures and delivering them to the dentist. Grandfather carpenter built the lab benches so she could work at home and grandmother tended the gardens and milked the goat if I was getting behind. I am glad I was a second generation homesteader.
 
Ruth Gregory
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You are not being foolish with your questions. How are you going to learn about what goes on with expectant mothers if you don't ask questions? As for morning sickness, it is different for each expectant mother. The one tried and true help for it is a cup of hot tea and soda crackers. Oh, and removing the offensive item causing the nausea or removing the mom to be helps too. I remember being nauseous over scents and visual items like someone eating a sloppy sandwich, lol. Just be supportive and she'll appreciate it.

Your idea about making a list of things you know you could do and letting your friend pick a few things she would feel that would be most useful/helpful, is terrific!  From what I have read here, you are a great person and a wonderful friend to your friend. Go ahead and make the list. There is a lot of good information here as well as suggestions that you can use for your list. Let us know what she picks from your list.
 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 165
Location: Slovakia
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I wish my wife's blogs were also in English, not Slovak.  She has written a bit on her experiences with three babies (so far).

Before #2 came, I bought and read the book "Husband Coached Childbirth" by Dr. Bradley.  It is filled with good advice from a perspective of a doctor who worked all his life to change the practice of hospitals and prepare parents to give birth without the doctor being involved unless absolutely necessary.  #2 and #3 were both born in the car on the way to town, and his advice concerning what to do during contractions at different stages of labor was both the opposite of what my wife was told in the hospital for #1, and more importantly, correct.

More than anything else, breastfeeding is most important.  And avoid pacifiers at all costs for the first months.  A couple of months before the birth of #3, some friends (two large families) were visiting us, and one of the mothers had a fairly young baby with a pacifier.  She was also still breastfeeding, and assured my wife that it didn't interfere.  So when my son was a couple of days old, and we had to be driving somewhere my wife started already using the pacifier, which calmed him down.  But it also reduced the amount he was fed.  The first month was full of many things-- my mother coming from the US, baptism, baptism party, friends visiting, driving half-way across Slovakia for something.  When the one-month checkup came, our doctor informed us that he hadn't really gained much weight at all.  Then there was a lot of stress getting him to nurse more (fenugreek was taken, as well as nursing herbal teas, and many other things I don't remember), my wife was emotionally upset because we realized we'd not focused on the baby, etc.  The act of sucking releases hormones in the baby that calms him down and gets him to sleep.  The only pacifier he should have at first is the nipple. 

Of course there is much more about nursing, and I'm not the expert at it, my wife is (now).  There are plenty of resources, like La Leche League, to help with the details, but one important thing is that the mother has help to reduce her responsibilities enough that she can give the infant enough time.  So like doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. for her.  Making meals and freezing them for her is an excellent idea.

My wife never really had morning sickness.  She read that it is caused by the body running out of nutrients at night.  She often would keep a glass of raw milk by the bed to drink some during the night.

We inherited the crib her parents used for her, but she co-sleeps, so the crib is just in the kitchen and used as a cage for baby when she's preparing food, washing clothes, etc.  We also got an old play-pen.  It is simple wooden construction, there are a couple of metal parts, but I think the idea could be copied and made better without them.  The rods with the red balls on top go through the holes to put it together, otherwise it is in four panels, as shown in the photo.  The design forces it to be put together at right angles, but slight changes could allow for a more practical system of panels.  We just use it outside once the baby can crawl.  There are specifications that can be found concerning what the maximum side of openings should be to prevent infants getting their head stuck between rungs.  If you have a drill press, it shouldn't be hard to make something like this.
babycage.jpg
[Thumbnail for babycage.jpg]
Czechoslovak baby play pen.
 
Jenna Ferresty
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I spent many years teaching pregnant and parenting teens before having kids of my own. Here is what I send to my pregnant friends when they start to feel overwhelmed by impending motherhood. Perhaps it will help you for perspective.
Baby essentials:
1. A registry so other people can buy you stuff that you will like and use for the the baby...
2. Car seat. This is the only thing that really has to be new.
3. Place for baby to sleep. You can do the whole cradle/bassinet/basket thing when the baby is little or you can skip it and go right to the crib, which you will need anyway.
4. Diapers. Cloth diapering is more expensive short term, but much less expensive long term. If you do disposables, you will go through several thousand of them before the baby is potty trained.
5. Clothing. Get a few things in tiny sizes but restrain yourself. I know they are super cute, but, really, the baby grows so fast that they out-grow stuff within a few weeks at the beginning and within a few months later.
6. Feeding stuff. Strictly speaking this isn't essential unless you like sleep. I recommend glass bottles with silicon nips. Get a breast pump if you want to eventually breastfeed while still having a life. (Note: I didn't have much of a life.)
7. Receiving blankets. These are wonderful for swaddling the baby when they are first born and need the comfort. They will also keep the baby warm.
8. Toiletries. The baby will need nail clippers, a soft brush, thermometer, etc. You can think about towels and wash cloths, but a newborn will fit in a hand towel just fine. As the baby gets older, he or she will need toys, books, dolls, blocks, etc, but they will mostly just lay there for the first few months, so the other stuff can come later. For a while, the dog had more toys than the baby and everyone was ok with that...

Car seats:
The first thing to remember is that your child will need more than one in a lifetime. Regardless of what you buy for your infant, you will have to buy a bigger one some time later when the child grows. (This is not strictly true anymore, but I still really like a detachable infant carrier.) I strongly recommend that you get an infant car seat with a removable infant carrier (one that snaps into a base that stays in the car). The newer ones have weight limits that go up to 25-35+ pounds (which generally translates into about 18 months to 24 months). We got one carrier and a base for each car. These are the things that I looked for when I was shopping: an infant carrier that can be taken out of the car; a car seat with a removable, washable lining; and a carrier that had the highest weight limits available. I ended up buying a second liner for the car seat so I could wash one and still be able to leave the house. Here are a few websites that explain the different types of car seats without trying to sell you a particular one: http://www.childrensfurniture.com/html/carseattypes.htm http://www.car-safety.org/basics.html http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token The most important things about buying any car seats, though, are to buy a new one and to check to make sure there aren't any recalls on the model. This is a good place to check for recalls: http://www.cpsc.gov/

Bottles: We decided to use glass bottles because even the newer plastic ones without BPA will still have something in them that is taking the place of BPA. I personally tend to believe the multiple European studies that link BPA to hormone disruption rather than the one US study that says it is fine. We used Dr. Brown's brand glass bottles, but all of the glass bottles will work. The only thing I would suggest is that you only buy one type so that the nipples and tops all fit all of your bottles. By the way, we have used glass for over five years and have never had one break. The trick is to treat it like a glass pie plate: if it is cold from the refrigerator, warm it slowly; if it is warm from being used, let it cool slowly. Finally, don't try to dry the bottle while it is hot.

Food: I don't know if you have thought much about what you will feed your little one yet. I breastfed my kids. If you are able to do so, I strongly recommend breastfeeding because it is much healthier for you and for the baby. However, the down side is that you will be up every few hours to feed the baby for the first few months. Gradually, you will get more sleep. Even if you only breastfeed for the first 6 weeks or so, the baby will get the benefit of your immune system and will be much healthier in the early days. La Leche League has lots of good information on breastfeeding on their site, http://www.llli.org/, and there may be a chapter near you if you want help once the baby is born. If someone else will be feeding the baby, and letting you sleep, you may want to buy a bottle warmer and a breast pump. http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/index.htm This one is about making baby food. American Association of Pediatricians recommends exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months with supplementary breastfeeding for a year or more. World Health Organization recommends breast milk until 2 years or more, with solids introduced no earlier than 6 months.

Diapers: We use cloth for many reasons. We use cloth because it is better for the environment to not have disposable diapers in the landfill, because cloth diapers are less expensive over the long term, and most importantly because my daughter gets a rash if she is in disposables for more than a day. From what I was told in our parenting class before my daughter was born, it is actually the disposable wipes that are more of a problem because they tend to cause bad reactions. The hospital where our daughter was born actually provides paper wipes that do not have any chemical moistener on them because of the problems with regular disposable wipes. They use plain water to wet the towels. At home we use flannel squares; although, I know many people who just used baby wash cloths. The cloth diapers of today range from what our grandparents would have used to modern fitted cloth diapers. The down side to cloth is that it makes a few more loads of laundry every week. We have been using both with Evan. There is really good information on this page about how cloth diapering systems work. http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/newmom.htm.

Bumpers, blankets, etc: The Centers for Disease Control advises against putting anything in the crib other than the baby and the fitted sheet covering the mattress. For the most part we followed this advice; however, our daughter's room got quite cold over the winter, so we did use a blanket over her while she was swaddled. Once she was out of swaddling, and I saw that she could and did kick the blanket off herself, I figured it would be alright to cover her with it at night. Bumpers are dangerous as they can suffocate the baby. However, once the baby starts moving, the baby may get hands and feet stuck between the bars of the crib. We found some mesh bumpers that kept her feet from getting stuck, but they were open enough that we were not worried about her suffocating in them. When you find a crib and/or a bassinet or cradle you like, make sure the mattress fits snugly inside. If you can fit your hand easily between the mattress and the side, a baby can get a hand or arm, etc. stuck there. It is amazing how small their little parts are. Depending on what your house is like, you may want to find some mosquito netting to go over the crib. If you use it, just be sure the netting is completely outside the crib and out of the reach of your little one. The netting is good for taking the baby out for fresh air, too. We still use our netting for walks by the river. Finally, it is important to keep fluffy objects like pillows and stuffed animals out of the crib. When you give your little one stuffed animals be careful of the eyes; button or shiny eyes can come off and be a choking hazard; the ones that are embroidered, thread eyes are much better because they can not cause choking.

Here are a few other, related websites you might find interesting or fun. http://www.slingbabies.co.nz/Site/Home.ashx This has lots of information on different styles of infant carriers for hands-free baby wearing.
http://www.visembryo.com/baby/index.html This one is about how the fetus develops.
 
Carol Oliver
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On the subject of diapers.  As a mother of four who ALL wore cloth diapers, while those around us were scoffing that they didn't have to rinse out dirty diapers with their disposables, I can give you a bit of insight:
- If you're trying to save money and time, prefolded diapers are okay but realize that all those layers make it take far longer to dry, and once baby starts to be mobile having all that padding between their legs is not the most efficient method of locomotion
- also things tend to soak in to those layers making them far harder to wash them thoroughly.
- I would go with cotton not-quite-gauze and fold them myself.  That said there are two different sizes of cloth diapers.  The square ones which you fold to look like the prefolded padded ones, and the long rectangular kind which you fold in half and then sort of like a kite.  Either way, no need to hem them all.  Invest in a good pair of pinking shears (or borrow a pair from your friendly seamstress) and just cut the diapers with the shears.
- For many reasons, I preferred the rectangular ones, not the least of which is that you won't need to upgrade to a larger prefold once they're a toddler.  You can fold them to the exact size of your baby.  (used to be made by Curity and you can still find them on the web sometimes).  They're about 18" x 36" or so.  I have a cartoon tutorial somewhere on how to fold them.
- It may seem like folding diapers is one more unneeded chore.  But a line of white diapers that are not prefolded dries outside in less than 15 minutes with a breeze.  And when you bring them in and sit down with baby to fold there are SO many imaginative ways to make it fun.  Nothing more beautiful than a baby in a basket of diapers.  Folding diapers is somehow very therapeutic.
- As baby grows, they are easily doubled to provide more absorbent padding.
- as for quantity, when we had two in diapers (one doubled and one not) at our maximum we had 5 dozen.  I think that 3 dozen is enough for two days plus an extra in case something comes up and the laundry doesn't get done on the second day.  No one can stand the smell of a diaper pail for more than 3 days.  Most people wash them every other day. 

When baby is young it forces caretakers to actually sit down for the time it takes to fold the load.  It's a chore that is very easily shared.  Mama might be leery of others doing things elsewhere at home but anyone can sit and fold diapers (or hang out a line of them or bring it in).  It's a great task that almost always needs doing and is the perfect answer to the people who show up and want to have a peek and ask "what can we do?"  When baby gets older they LOVE to help try to fold them.  Endless games of peek-a-boo with something so light they can get it on their own head pretty easily (as well as pull it off) but it's also pretty see-through so no dark under there.  When they're older they will love to pass you the didie, or play tug of war for the last one in the basket.  As well as using them for a cape or a flying pair of wings. 

As for wipes,  we just took a couple (actually more like three) of baby washcloths with us in a zip lock bag.  We put them in there pretty wet and then wrung out the water before wiping.  The wringing out heated them up enough to not be a shock to baby's skin.  You only need about 7-8 inches square.  When you squeeze the water out the warmth of your hand heats the cloth.

Hope this helps.
 
Joy Oasis
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  Sometimes it is hard to say, what mother will like. We had a crib (with expensive organic mattress), which I ended up using as a laundry folding station, because my son wanted nothing to do with it. He slept in our bed, so I got this thingie, that has some harder sides for him to be in. I forget the name of it. I would have never rolled onto the baby, because mothers have instinct to hear baby's every move or sound, but I wasn't so sure about dad.
We used cloth diapers (except for travels), and I tried all kinds of versions. All in ones are convenient, however after some months they build up the stuff and start stinking no matter how you wash them. Then I switched to prefold and a cover. Fleece, while not natural, felt a bit more breathable than plastic versions. Then I made my own pull on wool covers from felted soft wool sweaters, which I used mostly at night, because they were a bit bulky.
  There is one more thing, that could be useful - cover up thingie for nursing in public. It is not just to protect sensitive individuals, who prefer seeing prostitute photos on billboards than mothers nursing their babies, but also to reduce distractions to babies as they get really curious from 4 months or so, and keep turning around to see everything, sometimes with mom's breast still in their mouths - ouch!
  I also second cloth pads for mom. She can use them later too.
  Toys - taggie blankets (babies love ribbon tags, so someone invented small blankets with colorful tags all around) , wooden spoons, and anything, that is unbreakable, not to small to choke on and can be chewed.
  Diaper rash lotion is very easy to make yourself - just use some kind of nice oil - coconut, jojoba or other and add some non nano sized zinc oxide. I use this to this day for myself as a deodorant, and it can also be used as sun lotion.
   Lip balm might be nice too, and you can maker it very easily too with some oil and beeswax with a few drops of favorite essential oil. Or you can make it into the lipstick with some beet root or hibiscus powder (powder has to be grind very fine.)
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
Posts: 1529
Location: Pacific Northwest
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There are quite a few things you can make for baby, especially with your fiber skills!

Diaper Changing Mat: I made one that could be rolled up, tied with a ribbon and stuffed in my diaper bag. Having something soft and washable is great, especially if any mess made on it won't leak through. I made mine with PUL fabric (plastic, but I didn't know that at the time) stuffed with batting. My mom made mine out of a towel fabric on one side and a tightlywoven fabric on the other. (I can post pictures of mine and my mom's if you like, after my toddler wakes up)

Wool diaper covers: I would love to get into making or buying these, as they supposedly allow for more air circulation than typical (plastic/PUL) covers, while still containing messes. The ones I saw that seemed really neat were the felted "one-size" covers. They're often made by felting old sweaters and adding snaps or velcro (snaps are so much nicer, in my opinion!).
https://www.etsy.com/listing/33546839/mamabear-one-size-wool-diaper-cover-wrap

But, you might want to find out what type of diapers she plans on using. There are SO MANY options out there, and everyone has an opinion!


Bibs: I never actually used bibs, but something made out of terry/towel material with a tighter weave backing should be great. Bibs with sleaves are also amazing in my opinion. They can double as paint/craft smocks, and actually keep the whole shirt clean, rather than just under the chin (because babies do not care about keeping messes contained). Here's one tutorial on how to make them: http://doityourselfec.blogspot.co.id/2008/04/shirt-bib-with-free-pattern.html



Washclothes/Reusable Wipes: These are invaluable, as I didn't want to use disposable wipes and I was washing diapers anyway. I made mine out of old tshirt fabirc as well as washcloths. I found the soft terry/towel fabric was marvelous for cleaning poop, and a larger size was quite nice (washcloth size, at leas 8x8 ).

Swaddle Blankets: Recieving blankets were pretty much useless for me, as they didn't stretch. I often just folded them and stuck them in covers as back up diapers! BUT, nice, big, stretchy swaddle blankets were my saving grace. My son didn't sleep unless swaddled, and I wish I had gotten more swaddle blankets. I used the traditional, rectangular swaddle blankets, as well as the "Swaddle Me" variety. Here's a link to some tutorials on how to make the latter: http://www.babysavers.com/how-to-make-a-swaddle-blanket/


Boppy/Breast Feeding Pillow: These were my saving grace. My son nursed a LOT, and nursing in a sling/carrier didn't work due to my breast size being gianormous. But, the pillow allowed me to nurse and hold him while he slept, pretty much hands-free (this meant I could type on the computer, eat, read books, etc), and my back didn't hurt. The thicker the pillow, the better, so that it raised the baby up to breast-height without the mama having to lean over. Here's a tutorial I found, though the pillows don't seem nearly as tall as I preferred, but it gives you the general idea: http://backtoherroots.com/2014/08/27/tutorial-diy-nursing-pillow-slipcover/


LANOLIN!: I don't know if you can harvest lanolin from your wool, or how that all works out, but I know lanolin is great for sore nipples. BUT, we're often warned against using it because of the pesticides people supposedly spray on wool that gets in the lanolin (http://mamavation.com/2014/08/the-dangers-of-lanolin.html). But, if you have organic, pesticide-free lanolin, it will likely be an amazing gift for your friend, especially as she just begins to start nursing and her nipples are sore. Heck, if you can extract lanolin from your permie sheep, I would love to buy some from you! You could probably sell it, too, on your etsy page for good money!

I hope that helps!
 
Susan Wakeman
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A lot of this discussion has focused on the material items a young mother needs.

I have found the most important for me was a support group of other mums which can learn "mothering" together!
 
r ranson
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Bumping this to the to because I just discovered that another friend is expecting.  This looks like an expensive gift giving season coming up.  Need ideas for actually useful things I can make myself.
 
Kate Muller
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Lanolin is great for new mothers and babies unless they are allergic to it.  It is a more common allergy than most people realize. 


My sister in law is expecting her first baby and I am making a bunch of gifts for her. 
100% cotton baby quilt with an animal theme.
flannel and terry bibs and burp clothes in several different sizes. 
I also cut down a super soft towel into baby wipe/wash cloths and zig zag stitches the edges.

I love the idea of the sling and I will most likely make one or 2 of those too. 

I don't know what style of cloth diapers she will prefer so I may hold off on making them till she tries them out.


 
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Two things that I did not receive at my Baby Shower was a Diaper Bag and a Diaper Stacker so I made them myself.  The diaper bag I made like the shopping bags that they sell in most store.  The Diaper Stacker  I made was like this:

Diaper Stacker

Another item that I made was a mobile to go over the crib.
 
Lorraine Storch
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Carol Oliver wrote:On the subject of diapers.  As a mother of four who ALL wore cloth diapers, while those around us were scoffing that they didn't have to rinse out dirty diapers with their disposables, I can give you a bit of insight:
- If you're trying to save money and time, prefolded diapers are okay but realize that all those layers make it take far longer to dry, and once baby starts to be mobile having all that padding between their legs is not the most efficient method of locomotion
- also things tend to soak in to those layers making them far harder to wash them thoroughly.
- I would go with cotton not-quite-gauze and fold them myself.  That said there are two different sizes of cloth diapers.  The square ones which you fold to look like the prefolded padded ones, and the long rectangular kind which you fold in half and then sort of like a kite.  Either way, no need to hem them all.  Invest in a good pair of pinking shears (or borrow a pair from your friendly seamstress) and just cut the diapers with the shears.
- For many reasons, I preferred the rectangular ones, not the least of which is that you won't need to upgrade to a larger prefold once they're a toddler.  You can fold them to the exact size of your baby.  (used to be made by Curity and you can still find them on the web sometimes).  They're about 18" x 36" or so.  I have a cartoon tutorial somewhere on how to fold them.
- It may seem like folding diapers is one more unneeded chore.  But a line of white diapers that are not prefolded dries outside in less than 15 minutes with a breeze.  And when you bring them in and sit down with baby to fold there are SO many imaginative ways to make it fun.  Nothing more beautiful than a baby in a basket of diapers.  Folding diapers is somehow very therapeutic.
- As baby grows, they are easily doubled to provide more absorbent padding.
- as for quantity, when we had two in diapers (one doubled and one not) at our maximum we had 5 dozen.  I think that 3 dozen is enough for two days plus an extra in case something comes up and the laundry doesn't get done on the second day.  No one can stand the smell of a diaper pail for more than 3 days.  Most people wash them every other day. 

When baby is young it forces caretakers to actually sit down for the time it takes to fold the load.  It's a chore that is very easily shared.  Mama might be leery of others doing things elsewhere at home but anyone can sit and fold diapers (or hang out a line of them or bring it in).  It's a great task that almost always needs doing and is the perfect answer to the people who show up and want to have a peek and ask "what can we do?"  When baby gets older they LOVE to help try to fold them.  Endless games of peek-a-boo with something so light they can get it on their own head pretty easily (as well as pull it off) but it's also pretty see-through so no dark under there.  When they're older they will love to pass you the didie, or play tug of war for the last one in the basket.  As well as using them for a cape or a flying pair of wings. 

As for wipes,  we just took a couple (actually more like three) of baby washcloths with us in a zip lock bag.  We put them in there pretty wet and then wrung out the water before wiping.  The wringing out heated them up enough to not be a shock to baby's skin.  You only need about 7-8 inches square.  When you squeeze the water out the warmth of your hand heats the cloth.

Hope this helps.
As a mom of 5, all of whom were put through old-fashioned flat-fold diapers, safety pins, and rubber pants, I agree with all said, other than, your suggestion to "pink" the edges of the diapers. Actual pinked-edge diapers went out with the 70's. Flat cotton diapers, the ones you can get today are all selvedge hemmed, so taking a pair of pinking shears to them would cause the diapers to fray and come apart, thus ruining them. 
 
Lorraine Storch
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R Ranson wrote:I have a very close friend who is trying for a baby.  She's a city girl trying for a natural lifestyle.  So for example, she hopes to use cloth diapers about 95% of the time, but be flexible and use disposable ones very occasionally.  She values handmade things and is a textile artist herself.  She's also asked me to help as much as I can with teaching the kid about where food comes from and supplying home grown healthy food.  I'm glad to do it.  I want to do more. 

What kinds of things is she going to need once the 'bun is in the oven'?  Is there anything I can make for her?  What can we do to help make this more affordable for her?  Is there something I can sew or weave for her? 

I have absolutely no clue what is involved here.  Where do I start? 

Keep it simple... just the basics.

- plain old-fashioned white crib
- 3-4 dozen flat fold cotton diapers
- diaper pins
- rubber pants
- plastic diaper pail
- 2-3 baby sleepers
- 6 bottles (4oz size if you can find them)
- a couple of plastic baby bibs
- 2-3 changes of crib bedding
- 1-2 soothers
- socks
- one or two pyjama outfits
- rubber crib sheet
- mild baby shampoo

As for other baby needs, those can be purchased as the mother gains her energy back and as the child needs them.
 
r ranson
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Two baby blankets woven.   I used commercial cotton because it's more durable in the washing machine than my handspun at the moment.  Also commercial cotton has colours that are bright and vulgar - just what a new parent wants. 



I wove it on my Ashford Table Loom (a review on that loom to come) which is a very versatile loom.  The ducklings slept at my side the whole time. 



Not a very good picture I know, but here's my weaving set up at the moment.  You can see the flax harvest off to the right, lots of windows for light, baby ducklings, a woodstove if I get cold, an old music stand I found in a free pile to hold my weaving pattern, and on the table near the window, a little loom someone donated to the Flax to Linen project which I'm in the process of repairing. 



When weaving, we can make different edges.  Sometimes we leave a fringe, but I guess that's not so good for babies.  I decided to hem it instead.



Here's a close up of the texture.  I was worried that the baby's fingers might get stuck in it, but once it was washed, it tightened up like this. 




I'm a bit concerned about the size of the blanket.  I made it 30x30 inches.  I imagine it would be big enough to put on top of the baby but I'm told parents like bigger blankets to wrap the baby up tight so it cannot move!  Really?  Don't babies hate that? 

That's one parent taken care of - now to figure out what to make for the other.  We've decided on a diaper making day but she doesn't know what sort of pattern she want's to make.  I also want to make something special for her.  Maybe she could have one of these blankets, but I think these colours are too much for her. I'm looking to source some very strong, very fine cotton or linen yarn to make a wrap for her.  Organic yarn would be best but I don't know if I can afford that on my budget.  Perhaps handwoven would be enough?
 
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