Friday, April 16, 2010

Back to (Baby) School!

Bordeaux "Better than Bootties" Baby Socks on Ronnie's back

I may be extremely pregnant, but I'll let you in on a little secret--I know NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING about babies. Sure I've read lots of books on the subject, and held the occasional little cousin at a family gathering... but I can count the times I've changed a diaper on one hand. My brother is only three years younger than me, so I was never really old enough to help Mom out when he was tiny. And Masheka is an only child.

So we've been going to baby school. It sounds silly, but I do feel slightly less clueless than I did before. For the past five weeks we took an intensive childbirth class running Wednesday nights until 9:45 p.m. Last night was breastfeeding class; next week is infant care class and an infant safety/CPR workshop. And then there was the Babywearing 101 workshop where we learned to safely use all the fabulous carriers my mom has sewn for us (our tentative verdict--mei tai carriers are way easier than ring slings or wraps). And don't forget the cloth diaper workshop where we'll learn some strategies for using our 67 cloth diapers (also made by Mom). Keep in mind we live in an apartment without a washer/dryer).

And then today we have a mandatory all-day orientation and class at the birth center where we're hoping to deliver the little girl.

Whew! I'm already exhausted!

And in case you're wondering, since I never do image-free posts, the above is the very first thing I made for Cartoonist Baby, a pair of "Better than Booties Baby Socks" (free pattern by Ann Budd downloaded from Knitting Daily). Modeled on the back of my cat Ronnie, for no apparent reason.


  1. Cute socks!

    I was baby-clueless at the birth of my first. The postpartum nurse was the one who showed me and Hubby how to change diapers - neither of us had ever done that (or any kind of infant care) before.

    I strongly recommend the book Baby 411. Essentially, it will tell you when to panic and when not to. We found it very, very valuable.

    Also, we swaddled tons, and I think it was very helpful. We used the Miracle Blanket, but anything will work, as long as it's tight. We even swaddled her in old t-shirts when the blankets were dirty.

    And one other thought - if your birth doesn't go as you plan or hope, try to focus on the "healthy mom, healthy baby" outcome. I was kind of bitter about my birth experience for a surprisingly long time (and to this day still wish for a do-over). But my girl was unharmed, and I eventually healed, so that's what I try to remember first.

  2. What sweet little socks!

    I was so clueless with my first child... Sometimes I wonder how we both survived! You'll catch on pretty fast so don't worry! ;-D

  3. EVERYONE is clueless. We had both helped raise much younger siblings, and it really didn't help! (Except we did at least both know how to diaper!) Just remember that you know lots of people who have done it before and they'll all be glad to answer questions! (In fact, I'm sure you guys are already flooded with more advice than you can even I won't give you any more! ha!)

  4. Cute socks! Where did you find classes that included information on babywearing and cloth diapering?

  5. The first few diapers are pretty comical...
    The classes are so helpful--it was the first time that I was like--hey, I CAN do this!

  6. So... what are the tricks for using cloth diapers in an urban apartment without a washer/dryer? I've pretty much reconciled myself to using disposables for that very reason.

  7. We were pretty clueless too and took an infant class. My mother thought it was hilarious that we were taking a class, but we learned about diapering, bathing, etc., which was useful! I agree, though, most people are pretty clueless in the beginning, but you'll catch on quickly, out of necessity! Cute socks!

  8. Kathy and anonymous--the BabyWearing 101 class was a free workshop at Metro Minis in Manhattan (as is the cloth diaper workshop which we will be taking in another two weeks). They have similar classes in Brooklyn at Boing Boing. There are also tons of resources online for cloth diapering and babywearing...

    As for using cloth diapers in an apartment--we haven't taken the class yet, but from what I've read, it's very handy to attach a diaper sprayer to the toilet tank--you can get most of the gunk out of the diapers before putting them in the pail. Then every few days you take them in a wet bag or dry bag to the laundry (there's a pay laundry in the basement of our apartment building).

  9. Its great that you have access to classes like that. What a great service. I took childbirth classes, but was completely clueless about the rest. On the upside, you do learn REALLY quickly!

    I gave my sister-in-law one of the diaper sprayers you mention. Funny kind of gift I know, but it was fantastic!

  10. Re the diaper sprayer - we use the "Potty pail" system (, NAYY). See if you can't jury-rig something similar, it really helps contain the poo splashes. If you're planning to wash only every couple of days, tell your mom to crank up diaper production! LOL. We had 24 diapers, I think, and that *barely* lasted 2 days when my girl was a newborn.

  11. By the time my 1st son was born, I was an absolute expert in childbirth and nursing. I was NOT however an expert in childrearing. The night I brought Gus home, I looked at the baby and decided I didn't have a clue what to do with him, outside of feeding him (thank God for boobs!) I made my husband rush out to an all night drugstore to find a child care book. He brought home an ultra conservative Christian book that talked all about making sure you looked decent for your husband when he came home from work. We laughed until we cried. I said that was fine as long as he dressed up for me when I came home from work. Thankfully the book did have some good bathing and basic medical tips to calm me down. Thankfully human babies are hardier than they look.

    On another note, I am a sling girl all the way. If it is properly adjusted, it is incredibly comfy. My 3 kids adored it. My husband or I wore the kids for 6 months straight until they graduated to a backpack.

    Enjoy the time with the baby, it goes so fast....

  12. First, I apologize. I am a Knitting Geek. What is that fabulous yarn? Love the colors!

  13. Oh, I should have said. It's just KnitPicks Essential Kettle Dyed sock yarn, left over from a pair of socks I made for myself!


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