Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My, how baby care basics have changed March 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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One of the many baby items my daughter and son-in-law received.

One of the many baby items my daughter and son-in-law received.

AFTER WATCHING MY DAUGHTER and son-in-law open gifts at the baby shower I hosted for them recently, I’ve concluded it takes a lot to care for a baby now days. A lot of equipment, that is.

When my daughter told me she and her husband were getting a Jenny Lind crib for their baby girl, I reacted with enthusiasm. "That's the kind of crib I wanted for you," I said. My daughter was surprised that I knew about the Jenny Lind style.

When my daughter told me she and her husband were getting a Jenny Lind crib for their baby girl, I reacted with enthusiasm. “That’s the kind of crib I wanted for you,” I said. My daughter was surprised that I knew about the Jenny Lind style, which has been around for decades. It was the dream crib I never had for any of my children. They slept in generic garage sale cribs.

When I delivered my three babies 30, 28 and 22 years ago, the essentials included a crib, changing table, diaper pail, high chair and car seat. Nearly all items were second-hand, purchased at yard/garage sales. The crib wouldn’t meet any safety standards today. I doubt the car seat would either. But we managed with what we could afford and what was available. It was better than nothing.

A niece slept in a dresser drawer as a newborn because her mom couldn’t afford a crib. I shopped garage sales to clothe my kids. I used cloth diapers not only to save money but also because I didn’t want a zillion diapers going into the landfill.

Another baby care essential which the parents-to-be received.

Another baby care essential which the parents-to-be received.

Times change. If they didn’t, we’d still be setting babies on the floor of the car, like I did my niece once. Now I shudder that I ever did that. How irresponsible.

If improvements hadn’t been made in cloth diapering methods, parents would still struggle with diaper pins, trying to avoid jabbing the baby. We’d still have bumper pads cushioning cribs and teddy bears stuffed in corners. We’re wiser than we once were about safety issues.

Yet, one care essential remains unchanged. It’s the most important. Babies still need love. Lots of love.

TELL ME, IF YOU’RE a parent or grandparent, what baby care product/products did you find especially valuable?

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “My, how baby care basics have changed”

  1. Thread crazy Says:

    As a grandparent. We found the jumping seat that could be placed on floor, valuable for our babies. It allowed them the independence they wanted, and provided security and entertainment that we wanted. Yes, times have changed, why that dresser drawer makes a wonderful bed!!!

  2. My middle nephew aka Animal was a mover and shaker and could not sleep unless he was in constant motion. I broke down and bought him a swing and boy did we all sleep better. I am sure having him sleep in a swing was not safe and I amazed his neck is not permanently crinked, but you do what you have to do at times. Those swings were not cheap and really could not find a used one that worked properly for his needs. I bought a lot of clothes for the boys at Savers or garage sales and luckily there was 3 of them, so hand me downs happened quite a bit too. My Goddaughter loved her walker and would scoot everywhere in that thing. This brings back so many loving memories of watching those kids grow up into young adults. Yes to giving them a lot of L-O-V-E too 🙂 Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

    • A friend’s son was the same way. He couldn’t sleep without being in motion, thus a swing. But then the swing broke and they couldn’t find a duplicate. I can’t recall what, but something about the swing made it different than others. Not sure how they resolved this.

      You sound like one generous and loving aunt.

    • I would have loved one of those Rock n’ Play Sleepers in the first photo. I love being an Aunt and having the opportunity to help co-raise my 1st nephew aka V Man for the first 4 years of his life. I have nicknames for my nephews to prevent strangers knowing their names and that they knew I was the only one who called them by their nick names too. My middle nephew would have gone with anyone and made friends with everyone and everything he came into contact with when he was little. A little scary at times for Auntie!

    • My son (2.5 months) basically sleeps in the swing every night while I sleep on the couch. Until he’s a bit older it’s the only way any of us get any sleep!

  3. Ashley Judd Says:

    I’m 25, no kids, but I plan to use cloth diapers when I do have children. I plan to save as much money as I possibly can so I can put it towards a good Christian education for them.

  4. Jackie Says:

    We had the “Johnny Jump up” that you attached to a door frame, it was a little soft seat that hung on springs, the little ones feet barely touched the floor so they were able to jump and and have lots of fun. My son and his wife had one for Scarlett, she loved it 🙂

  5. Don Says:

    Oh my, lets see now, baby wipes (lots of them), baby diaper bag, non slip rubber mat for a bath (sink and later when bigger the bathtub) breast pump, formula (we did both breast milk and formula so mom could get a break via baby sitter ), stroller, swing, carrying harness to carry baby when hiking and not using stroller, lots of bottles for formula and breast milk.

    One of the best things my wife did was get a video camera! She would take a 5 to 10 minute video every week or so. Now we can (and so do our kids) appreciate that! If we were to run the videos in a constant stream from infant to teenager we see all the subtle changes and activities of their lives! And pictures (i’m sure you can relate to this Audrey) are so important too! My wife and I can spend hours looking through them and reminiscing. My kids do this too.

  6. We bedshare and don’t even have a crib. We recently received a hand me down changing table, which is rarely used. It is hard to say which is the most valuable item I own but I may place my bets on the Moby wrap. It has allowed me to go outside and have free hands for my the two (ages 4 and 2). Without it I would either be confined to the indoors or having to confine my baby to the stroller (also from my first born). It is really a wonderful thing. My daughter wears a lot of my son’s hand me downs, and my baby, who is a boy, has a pink car seat cover for those tricky cold months. So many people think the boys need the boys stuff and the girls need the girl stuff and if you have a boy first and then a girl you need to buy all new stuff because the girl can’t possibly sit in a jumper that is blue. It is very wasteful.


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