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Everything and Anything About Being A Parent And Raising A Child

An Aunt With Hand-Me-Downs

Melinda Byam

When people say that it takes a village to raise a child, I think they mean a lot more than what immediately comes to mind. I originally thought of all the other people that surround the immediate family as being the Village; the babysitters, the other role models, the teachers (in and out of school), really the people that give their time and are physically around the child and family for extensive periods of time.  Now that I have a child, I am realizing that the Village extends even further beyond that.  I know my Village is extensive and I will forever be grateful for that.                    I recently found out that my favorite brother and his fiance will soon be parents to a baby boy, I will be an Aunty, my son will be an older cousin.  We will be willing, necessary and active parents in another Village.   And as a mother to a two year old boy, I not only have recent, more contemporary advice to give than some others in the Village, I have Hand-Me-Downs! My first act as a Villager is to bestow on these new parents clothes, toys, furniture, and most importantly my view on these things.  Here is what I had to tell them:                                                  (Disclaimer: 1.All items discussed below were either purchased by myself or given as gifts, I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies. 2. I tried to add a link to each item, some of the links go to the more updated item and not necessarily to the exact model that I used)

Baby Bargain

The first thing you should do is buy the most recent Baby Bargain book, this book will tell you exactly what you need to buy and what is unnecessary. It is a complete consumer guide with professional reviews, and the real ins and outs of the baby industry! This will be your baby registry/nursery prep bible! Do not attempt to go into any baby store without at least glancing at this first, you will be over whelmed.

4Moms Mamaroo - Plush Infant Seat

I know some people love this thing, it definitely looks cool.  My son only occasionally used it, and preferred his cheaper rockers by far.  I have heard that some babies absolutely love this chair, and some babies cry the minute you put them in it.  Its definitely yours to try out. I do have quite a few baby chairs/rockers.  You might think you don't need that many, but my suggestion would be to have someplace to put the baby in every room that you spend time in. That way you don't have to carry the baby and a chair as you move around the house.

Graco Pac N Play with Reversible Napper

I loved this pac n play. It has a "bassinet" which is pretty much just a raised level, and a reversible napper/changing station.   I hardly ever used the napper, but the changing station was very handy.  I have another pac n play at Mom and Dads, that one does not have a napper. I got two at my baby shower, so I left one at the grandparents so I didn't have to travel with someplace for the baby to sleep.  Two is definitely a luxury and not a necessity, this Pac N Play was very easy to fold and unfold, and was literally designed to be easy to travel with.

Fisher Price Newborn Rock-N-Play

This was my sons favorite place to take a nap (even long after he out grew it).  This is the rocker that I kept at Aunty A's and was always down stairs.  It has a music function and a vibrating function.  But honestly just the simple rocking motion was enough for my son. You can rock it by hand, and then I noticed that as my son tossed a little as he slept, the rocker would rock him back to a sound sleep. I Love This Thing!  There was a recall on it before my baby shower. The recall was about mold growing on the plastic base if water/condensation collected and was not removed or cleaned. 1. I got this after the recall, and 2. I never had this problem, the cover was washed as needed and dried out completely before reassembling.

Key FIt Reg 30 Infant Car Seat

I know car seats are one of the iffy things when it comes to getting hand me downs.  But you are more that welcome to it.  I do suggest whether you take it or not to 1. have 2 bases for whatever car seat you do get, and 2. have a back up car seat to begin with.  Neither my partner or I own a car and we still managed to have times when the car seat was not available when one of us was trying to go somewhere with our son. I had no issues with this car seat, I generally picked it for the price, the weight, and because my stroller had an attachment for it, oh and most importantly for the height and weight limit.  My son technically only outgrew this car seat in January or so, even though we bought a convertible car seat for him in October, in other words he outgrew it at about 22 months.

Grace 4-in-1 High Chair Seating System

I had no issues with this high chair, its a high chair and got the job done.  I did not use this with my son as a baby.  The chair does tilt back for bottle feeding/napping.  At two years old my son is still using the base, the part that you attach to the chair.  The  Speaking of the tray, that is one feature that I really like.  The tray is 3 parts, the top of which I believe is dishwasher safe, but either way have 3 options makes clean up easy, and if the baby makes a mess while eating you can swap out the tray very easy..

Oxo Bottle Drying Rack

Its yours if you want it. Not my fav, I found the tray between the spindles hard/annoying to clean.  It may be dishwasher safe, if it is that would have made things easier.

Summer Infant Bath Tub

I have this bath tub in blue (without the warming wings --I am not sure what those are).  This was a decent place to bath Kem as a newborn, bending over while the chair was in the tub was a little tenuous on the back, I am not sure if other products are better, or if a sink bathing system would just be the best for a newborn.

Bright Starts Baby Bouncer

This was a great addition to Kem's baby things.  It was a great place to put Kem when I didnt want him moving around, most often when I was cooking or having a shower. He is still fond of it and tries to play with it whenever he sees it in the basement.

Bumbo Seat and Play Chair

I only used this for a few months before I bought the high chair. It was just a good place to put Kem once he was sitting but not quite able to hold himself up.

Happy Baby Registry Shopping!!

Advice For A Young Working Mom

Melinda Byam

A friend of mine recently told me that she and her husband were thinking about having their first child and asked what advice I had for a young working mom.  So here it goes:

Support System

Im not going to lie to you, being a working mom is definitely tough and draining.  I would start figuring out your support system now.  I was lucky enough to move in with my aunt and uncle temporarily when I was pregnant, so when my son was born I had them, my boyfriend, and my Mom (Mom was there on and off for about 3 months).  When my son was 5 months we moved next door to my aunt and uncle. So I had 5 months of real support where my only duties were going to work, coming home and taking care of my son. My situation also allowed me to keep my son home with members of my family for his first 6 months. This is the biggest piece of advice that I can give to you:  as soon as you start considering bringing a child into this world, explore your options for a support system.  Talk to your family, your friends, hopefully some of whom already have children, find out not only what they did in terms of support, but also find out who would be willing and able to help out in those first couple of months. 



The other thing that makes a big difference in the life of a working mother is how your work views "family life”.  My office, although its small, is very understanding of what happens to your life when you have a family.  Babies get sick (which is scary the first couple of times), they have quite a few doctors appointments, etc.  How your office views these things doesn't change anything in the way that you care for your child, you have to take care of your child regardless, but I think it effects any stresses that might be attached to these things that happen.  If you are worrying about the health of your child, you should not have to worry about how being absent is going to affect your job.


If you end up choosing to aware that pumping sucks! However breastfeeding and bonding with your baby is amazing. Before I go any further, let me note now that I am not a medical professional, I am not a nutritionalist.  But in my personal opinion I believe that in an ideal world breastfeeding is best, unfortunately the world we live in is far from ideal.  Most women in the US are not able to stay at home with their babies and devote a majority of their time to not only feeding their baby but also feeding themselves so that they have the necessary nutrients to pass on to their baby.  Breastfeeding is a full time job. As a mother you have to make the decision to do what is best for you and your baby in your current situation, only you can determine that.  Keep in mind that just because breastfeeding might be best, that does not mean that formula is bad.  This is not a black and white decision. But once you make whichever decision you make, surround yourself with people that support you enough to trust that you are making the best decisions for you and your baby.  

Personal Time

Remember to take care of yourself, and find time for yourself.  Im still struggling with this. After a long day at work there is truly nothing better than getting hugs and kisses from your little one, I found and sometimes still find myself getting caught up in that and forget to take some time for myself as well.  So finding that balance is a way to not loose yourself in motherhood.  Whoever you were before becoming a mother, is still who you are.  You are still a wife, a girlfriend, a friend, an athlete, a dance, a brunch eater, a social butterfly, it is important to try to find time for those other things while still handling all the responsibilities of being a mother. For me I found that my son was changing so quickly those first couple of years, being at work all day, I felt like I was missing things that I did not want to extend the amount of time I was away from him.  At the end of the day the best thing for your child is a happy and healthy you. 

I hope that helps some, and didn't scare you too much.  Babies really are amazing. And no matter how bad work is, a hug and a smile will make you forget everything.