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New Parent Recommendations

I had no idea about anything that I needed for a baby when I got pregnant. I didn’t have any younger brothers. Or sisters. Or cousins.

I had bought a few gifts for my friends when they had babies, but I bought directly off the registry and was pretty clueless.

And things change. When my crazy friend had her son, she had a special support contraption to help him stay on his side when he slept. Five or so years later, the recommendation was to have babies sleep on their backs instead.

When it came time to pick out items for my baby registry, I went with all the staples. I feel in love with some cutesy, expensive things. It always helps to remember that other people will be showering you with these things using their money, not yours.

One thing I fell for was the matching crib set. I found this super-cute woodland-creature themed set. Which was perfect, because my husband and I were waiting to find out if we were having a boy or a girl.

I believe I used giftcards to purchase the set of the matching crib sheet, comforter, bumpers, and dust ruffle. They were so cute to set up the crib with ahead of time. But they weren’t cheap.

Carter's Woodland Critters, or something like that...

Carter’s Woodland Critters, or something like that…

Waste of money. The dust ruffle became too much to bother with with frequent sheet changes (my son was a power pee-er). My husband banned the bumpers for fear my son would suffocate himself on them. The comforter is very stiff and not real good for a tiny baby. We use it now that my son M is a preschooler as a top blanket over something fuzzier.

In that same woodland design, we had also received the lamp, diaper holder, receiving blankets, basket, and fleece blanket, for which we have used all of them for varying degrees of time.

But the crib set. Man, there are better things to spend your money on. Things you would never even think about.

Like hearing protection.

“What?” you say.

Last year, when my son had just turned three, I wanted to take him (OK, really I just wanted to go) to a monster truck show. So, I went online, did lots of research, and ordered him a pair of hearing protection muff things.

They worked great for the monster truck show.

Watching Grave Digger

Watching Grave Digger

And for fireworks the next July.

Chicks did boys with hearing protection

Chicks did boys with hearing protection

And for dulling the sound of the yard blower and leaf vacuum last weekend.

No more crying when Daddy starts the leaf blower.

No more crying when Daddy starts the leaf blower.

For around $15, I was able to get something for my son that, while I don’t use it every day, when I do need it, stops him from being upset, having extra anxiety, crying, and possible hearing damage. Here is a link to the ones I ordered: 3M Peltor Junior Earmuff Blue #970239

Two tricks to this being useful:

1. You have to buy ear protection that fits.

I ordered mine off of Amazon.com, and I carefully read all the reviews for each model I was interested in to try to get the perfect size. Sometimes how the manufacturer describes it is not how it actually will fit your child.  Some are made for adults, some for teens, some for tiny babies.

If you shop for them in a hunting/sporting goods store, you might be able to try them on before you buy.

2. You have to predict when you will use them, and have them with you.

Some people are better at this than others. Pretty much, I am just obsessed with getting $15 worth of use out of them before my son outgrows them. So, I am always thinking, “Should I take his ear muffs with us?”

It might seem silly, but I know that if we wanted to go to a concert or something, we can just grab them and M and go.

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