Hello all expat mommies out there! I'm a bit embarrassed to post this, but then again I thought, what the heck?! Isn't that what we're all here for, exchanging advice and information, tips and counseling? And you've all been such a great resource in the past...
I've made it clear already in several of my posts how pathetically unprepared I feel about this whole mommy thing, and I imagine I'm not the only one out there, but no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get on the ball. One thing is certain: I've been getting in quite a lot of rest over the past few days, since I officially started my maternity leave on Wednesday -- or that is, my congé pathologique, which is apparently systematic in France these days if you're working and particularly if you're commuting to work, as I've been doing for months now. So my maternity leave started just a couple weeks earlier than originally expected. Admittedly the trip back and forth was becoming a bit tiring, although honestly I know it could have been a lot worse too. But now that I'm home, I know I have a million things to do and get done, and yet I don't even know where to begin! And seriously, a lot of you North American gals would probably be shocked if you knew how very little I have done at this point... I'm seriously flying off the seat of my pants here! (I have no idea how many times I've said that in the past few weeks, but it's true...)
I was just wondering if any of you all had some advice in the equipment arena -- I know there's always eBay, but I'm a complete novice in that department, and I just don't know how I feel about ordering stuff on there at this point. My one sister-in-law is going to be passing on quite a few things to us secondhand, which is one of the primary reasons why I haven't really bought very much yet. We'll be getting a transat from her, as well as lots of things like blankets, etc... She also promised us a bassinet or berceau of some kind for the first few months, but now, as it turns out, she may not make it up here in time before the birth to bring us the baby bed (she lives near Besançon). So I'm trying to consider all my options and make a kind of quick, last-minute decision... I'm getting mixed signals about Ikea -- I know some gals out there have found some nice things there, but just the other day I was told that their baby furniture/equipment selection is pretty limited. Plus, I'm not too keen on white furniture, which seems to be what they primarily have in stock -- but I guess that's just me!
I did end up ordering that little green dresser from the French Vertbaudet website, and hopefully it will be shipped to us in a few weeks' time. That will cover me for some clothing storage, at least for a start... And I think I can even use it as a changing table of sorts, as I can put a sort of changing pad on top of the dresser. Then again, I'm not so sure about the height of the dresser itself... Will have to see once it arrives. But is there an all-in-one place/shop where I can pick up basics like a changing pad, etc.? And as I know the French summer sales are starting soon (officially June 25th, if I'm not mistaken) I'm also trying to hold out to see if I can get some deals -- although that will also be cutting things close, with my due date set for August 5th...
I guess my big question is this (And I imagine a lot of you are going to think, isn't this all listed in a bunch of baby books out there? And maybe it is, but I also have to sheepishly admit to the fact that I have only read the bare minimum, as every time I got to reading the baby books, my stress levels would only skyrocket more... So the next few weeks may or may not be spent catching up on my baby reading!): what baby equipment/material must I absolutely have on hand for the birth, without question? Obviously I know I need the basic newborn onesies, and I've got quite a few of those, as well as diapers (and that's another big question mark, as I want to do cloth diapers but haven't sufficiently researched the subject yet either...)... A few months back I bought a few used items, including a Baby Bjorn, a bottle sterilizer, a manual breast pump (as I want to breastfeed and have no idea yet whether I will be able to do so!), and some other small items, but that's about it! Andie told me a bit about BumGenius cloth diapers, and I'm wondering whether I should order a few on Amazon as a start. If I want to try to do a combination of both cloth and disposable at the beginning (as I have no idea whether my boyfriend and I will be able to handle the maintenance and responsibility of 100% cloth), how many cloth diapers should I expect to have on hand? And which ones do you gals all recommend, besides the BumGenius kind?
I belong to the Paris chapter of Freecycle, and I'm planning on perhaps making a callout for any newborn baby equipment, as well as cloth diapers, as I've seen quite a few other gals make this request in recent times... I have some things of my own to give away, and now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I want to be sure to share the things that we have that we no longer need, which include an extra iron, and an older Senseo coffeemaker that still works, but not very well... I also have quite a few clothes, shoes and books that I think could find a new home, so I want to go through those and try to pass them on as well.
[Also, I need to get back in touch with another Freecycle member who offered me a baby bath a few months back; I need to try to pick that up as soon as possible, if it's still available!]
Any and all advice is totally welcome here, and I would be extremely grateful for all you can share with me. And again, I apologize if this seems like a crazy thing to post! I just want to find a starting point, or maybe some firm footing at this point, as all I'm thinking about these days is how much I haven't done instead of all I have perhaps done, or the simple fact that the pregnancy has been going well so far... And I do hope and pray it will continue to do so! I guess I just feel a bit at loose ends here, because even though I have a few really great expat friends in the area, I just hate to pester them all with my questions and fears...
Thanks so much in advance for your advice, tips and input!
P.S. ~ A great American colleague of mine also told me about Message months ago, and silly me, I put off sending in the membership form. I've got that on the way now (quite late, I know!) and I realize that this organization is also an excellent resource, particularly for breastfeeding, so I'm hoping to touch base with them at least a few times before the baby arrives. I also met a breastfeeding consultant at a recent event I attended through my SCBWI participation, and I'm looking forward to speaking with her in the future about breastfeeding as well.