My sweet little munchkin is growing up so fast. I cannot believe that 10 months ago we were in the hospital meeting her for the first time. Now she’s moving and grooving all over the place. I feel so blessed to be able to hold her every day and snuggle with her every night. Even though she’s still not sleeping through the night, I count my blessings that she’s happy, healthy, and loved by so many.
James and I were talking only two days ago about how we cannot believe it’s barely been a month since we took her plagiocephaly helmet off. It seems like so long ago. This is the first full month she has not had to wear it at all. I think it’s noticeable in her photos how much rounder her head looks, too. I’m still so glad we made that choice. You can read more about my reflections on the helmet if you’re interested, otherwise, scroll down and see how she’s grown!
Summer’s here in Texas which means it is HOT! I mean, I debated baking cookies in my car today because it was so warm. I may have to try that one of these days, but not today. Anyways, with the weather warming up we have started taking Maddie to the pool. We’re lucky to have one within walking distance. It’s much easier to walk than carting around a baby and a car seat and possibly a stroller. Now that we’ve gone a few times I’ve scaled back the amount we bring with us and have listed for you the eight essential items you need to take with you. Want to keep your first trip to the pool with baby easy? Follow my list and pack light for a fun, safe trip to the pool with you little one.
This is probably the most obvious one, but this will definitely derail your trip if you leave it at home. Sunscreen is essential. Look for a high SPF and reapply it as much as every 15 minutes, especially if you and baby are super pale like our family. We use a non-baby sunscreen, but we haven’t had any issues with it. The ingredients are the exact same as the baby sunscreen and it cost less. Do your research before buying one, but know that some companies label the exact same sunscreen as baby sunscreen and then charge you more for it. Also – don’t forget to cover your baby’s head with sunscreen. The scalp directly faces the sun and is often forgotten about.
The pool can be bright, especially with the sun overhead. Protect both your eyes and your little one’s eyes with a nice pair of sunglasses. We use a shaded toy so Maddie doesn’t always need the sunglasses, but we pop them on her when we take her out of the toy.
- Swim diapers
Whoever invented these deserves a prize. They’re a little more difficult to get on to a baby because they’re a little sticker, but once they’re on you don’t have to worry about baby having an accident in the pool. Let me tell you, no one wants to be that mom who’s baby pooped in the pool so everyone has to get out while it’s cleaned. Having a good swim diaper is a life saver. Take a couple and a few wipes, in case you’ll have to change your baby, but these little things are absolutely a necessity.
- Safety equipment
Depending on how you plan to swim, this can vary. We use the flotation device above for our baby. If she’s not in that then she’s being held by us. Some parents use life vests, and some buy swimwear with the life vest built into it. Whatever you prefer, be sure to bring along something to keep baby afloat. Our daughter LOVES the flotation toy we have. She can splash the water from in it and still see us, while being shaded from the bright sun overhead. Even if you feel as though your flotation device is secure, NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED in the pool. Maddie has tried to flip her toy a few times and if we had not been there, she might have. The number one piece of safety equipment when swimming with baby is your eyes. Be on the lookout, always!
At some point in time pool time has to end, and when it does you’ll need a towel. If you’re like me, I share a towel with the baby. Once I’m dry I’ll dry her off and leave the towel with her while putting back on a swim cover-up. It’s much easier than carrying around two bulky beach towels. If you’re driving you can’t leave the towel on the baby in the car seat, so then you can use it to keep your car seat dry. Can you survive the pool without a towel? Of course – but it’s not very fun to be dripping wet all the way home.
As I’ve stated before – I’m big on experiences and making memories. Baby’s first time at the pool is quite an experience so bring your camera. You never know what baby will think of the water. Our daughter is a little water baby, she absolutely LOVES splashing and playing and meeting other kids at the pool. The photos we took were adorable. But, they would have been just as adorable as if she hated it and made faces. Now we can always look back at the photos and remind her she loved the water when she was younger.
- Something to drink
The pool water is not potable, and baby may get thirsty with all the playing around. Be sure to bring something to drink for them (and yourself). Maddie is old enough that we bring a sippy cup with some water. For younger babies you may need formula or breast milk. We do our best to keep Madison hydrated so she doesn’t overheat. On days when it’s high 90s or low 100s even in the pool it can be hot.
All babies learn best from watching others. If you’re afraid of the water you may teach you child to be afraid, too. Be sure to make your baby’s first time at the pool a fun one. Smile, giggle, and go slow. We played a lot of peek-a-boo around her swim toy to help her to feel comfortable. Once she was okay with the water we slowly dribbled a little into her hand and on her shoulders. We want her to grow up with a healthy fear of water, but also knowing that it can be incredibly fun to swim. Part of this is teaching both sides early on, we balance all of our safety equipment with fun and giggles!
Did I miss any other must-haves for your first time bringing the baby to the pool?
What do you pack when you’re taking your baby out?
It’s not often we have absolutely nothing to do over a weekend. Typically, our weekends are filled with catching up at work, going to events, seeing family or friends, cleaning, and trying to do a bazillion loads of laundry. This weekend was a different story. I managed to both clean and do a majority of the laundry throughout the week. Once Saturday hit, we really had no plans. We haven’t had that happen in so long that we honestly didn’t know what to do. So I suggested we take Madison to her first zoo trip. I cannot wait to continue to add more ‘firsts’ as Maddie grows and we watch her experience more of what life has to offer.
The zoo in Dodge City, Kansas is not a big one. You could probably manage to walk through the entire thing in 15-20 minutes, however, it’s hours of entertainment for a little kid. We anticipated being there for 30 minutes or so with a baby. I was hoping she’d be intrigued at the animals. Our first stop was to see the goats. Sometimes I laugh at what animals you can find at smaller zoos. I’ve seen a deer in a zoo in Emporia, Kansas before and I remembered thinking you didn’t need to be in a zoo to see a deer, they are all over the side of the road while you’re driving. But, I guess they’re the cool thing in small town zoos. I had the same thought about this goat. Goats are very common in the city and on farms around the town, but they’re in the zoo, too. I’m not sure Madison knew what to think of this goat. She stared at it, but did not want to get too close.
We continued to walk around the zoo and showed her a bear, cougar, wolves, raccoon (weird animal to have in a zoo) and a buffalo. She showed absolutely no interest in any of them. She mostly looked confused every time we stopped. Almost as if she was wondering why our walk was taking so long. I did manage to snap a few selfies of us as a family on our first zoo trip together. I know it seems small, but I cannot wait until she’s old enough to truly have fun at the zoo. I have great memories of my parents taking my sister and me to the zoo when we were younger and I want Maddie to have the same memories as she grows.
When we got home we decided to make some vegetarian spaghetti. We often experiment with our sauces and put in extra ingredients to see if we like it better than the canned version. This time it didn’t turn out so well. We opted for a garden veggie Ragu and added in olives, balsamic vinegar and spinach. My husband really like it; to me it was okay, but nothing better than okay. Maddie didn’t know what to think. We’ve never let her feed herself before, but she enjoyed the experience. I knew it was going to make a mess, but since we really had no other plans I didn’t mind the extra laundry or giving baby a bath that night. She sure had fun. It’s the longest she’s ever sat in her high chair without getting fussy. When she smiles it makes us smile. She may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love our little munchkin and watching her experience new things is one of my greatest joys.
What things have you watched your child do for the first time?
Do you have great memories of the zoo with your family?
This past week our baby girl, Madison, got her for ear infection and it was a doozy. After arriving back from Colorado on Sunday evening we noticed her pulling on one ear. By the time I made it to the doctor for an appointment on Monday morning she had begun pulling on the other ear, too. The doctor confirmed my suspicions – she had a DOUBLE ear infection from the change in pressure between Colorado and Kansas. We were given medicine and told to take 4mL twice a day. The pharmacist questioned the amount the doctor prescribed, but the doctor said it would be fine. We were told make sure she takes it with food, because it will cause stomach issues. Boy were they right.
Fast forward to one hour after giving her the medicine and she threw up all over the carpet. My poor baby had never vomited that much, but we cleaned it up and put her to bed. She seemed fine the next morning after we gave her more meds, so we took her to daycare and went through the work day. When I went to pick her up after work the daycare said she had just finished cleaning up vomit. I felt bad, but was hoping that would be it. Nope, she wasn’t done yet. She continued to throw up all night and started diarrhea at the same time. Isn’t parenting fun, right?
By the next morning the poor tired kiddo hadn’t eaten or drank very much, so we went back to the doctor. She prescribed a much lower dosage of a different medication. This time she only needed 2mL once a day. I started to wonder if maybe the dosage of the first medication was the main issue. The doctor told me Maddie probably had gastroenteritis (i.e. a stomach virus), however, after one day of this all signs of vomiting and diarrhea ceased leading me to believe the first medication was the issue, not a stomach bug. Either way, the illness left me with a lot of firsts. First trip to the doctor for a sick baby. First time cleaning up baby vomit. First time doing multiple loads of laundry between the hours of midnight and 3am. First time wondering/googling symptoms of baby dehydration. First time wondering how such a tiny baby can have so much poop in her body. And first time feeling as though I deserve an award for surviving.
Yes, I’m a millennial and I admit it. I want an award for surviving all of those firsts. So, I made myself one. Maybe you need this award this week, too. Or maybe you’ve already survived all of these firsts and know what the feeling is like. No matter what happens I know I can face it. We’ve all got this motherhood thing down even when baby gets sick.
Anyone else helping their sick kiddo this week?