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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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How to make a new family's stay more comfortable

Uploaded: Mar 19, 2018
Yesterday my brother asked me a pretty simple question: What could he buy for his home to make a new family's stay more comfortable?

At first I thought this would be a very simple question to answer. But then I found myself repeatedly saying "if." If baby sleeps well on their own, they might appreciate a pack-n-play. If they are co-sleeping, they might appreciate having sheets and blankets that are easy to wash. If baby spits up a lot, carpet cleaner and paper towels can be helpful.

After chatting with him on the phone, I realized that he could make a new family's stay quite pleasant without buying much.

1. A place for baby to sleep: pack-n-play or easy to wash bedding.

2. A place for baby to eat: bouncer or high chair in an area that is easy to clean. Or a place for mom to sit while nursing or bottle feeding.

3. A place for baby to be changed: It's simple enough for new parents to bring along a changing pad, wipes, and diapers. But it's very helpful to point out whether it's best to change baby on the floor or if another location is available and where to dispose of soiled diapers.

4. Stain remover: When baby spits up or milk spills it's nice to have a simple way to tackle it. Having paper towels and/or stain remover easily accessible is great.

5. A place for baby to play: Many household items can turn into baby toys. If you have balls, Tupperware, a blanket, or other items baby might enjoy, definitely let the parents know. But just offering up some space in the living or family room so baby can roll, sit, or crawl is great.

6. Baby proofing: If baby is mobile, it can be helpful to baby-proof a little, especially for an extended visit. I doubt anyone is expecting the home to be completely baby-proof, but it's a relief when expensive, fragile, or sentimental items are out of little one's reach.

6. Snacks: If mom is breastfeeding or the parents are frequently waking up in the night, it's helpful to know where to find simple and easy snacks. Trail mix, granola bars, water bottles, etc.

7. A break: I really appreciate it whenever someone offers me a break. Whether it is offering to hold baby while I eat a meal or entertain baby while I take a shower. Or even offering to babysit while my husband and I enjoy a dinner out.

8. Sleep: If baby isn't sleeping well, it's wonderful when someone offers to watch baby in the middle of the night, early in the morning, or during the day so mom and dad can rest.

9. Shopping: It's easy for parents to forget a thermometer, Tylenol, nail clippers or other items that are infrequently used at home. A quick offer to run an errand can be a huge help. When I visit my parents I usually have an Amazon box (or more) sent to them filled with food, diapers, and other items we may need during our trip. But they are also very kind and offer to pick up extra food, medicine and anything else that baby needs.

10. Time alone: When we are on vacation, I do appreciate it when we have some down time to just let our kids relax. A new home filled with new faces can be quite overwhelming for little ones. Letting a new family have some time alone can give everyone a much needed chance to relax and enjoy the trip.

What would you add to this list?
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:12 am

Quite a list. I doubt very much my parents or my in laws would do half of that for us. My mother did find a place where she could "rent" a high chair and pack N play but that was about it.

Things I would add to the list. Things like grapes (which I cut in half before giving to a young child) and bananas. I find young potty trained children are easily constipated when away from home - combination of unfamiliar toilets, unfamiliar routines, and different food served in a way they find unfamiliar. Plastic cups for drinks so that there is no fear of breakages. Plenty of dish detergent, unscented laundry detergent and toilet paper. It is amazing how much toilet paper gets used with a few toddlers around, constant washing of everybody's clothes including those that live in the home as well as towels and the number of cups used for drinks for everyone.

What surprises my family when we visit is the noise level and space we take up so I find that we have to take the family out for a while each day to give them a break. They are not used to such a whirlwind of activity from morning until bedtime. They also like to be able to take a nap or shower without small people around or toys in the tub, so I am constantly picking our stuff up. This can be difficult when older children are sleeping on airmattresses with sleeping bags on the living room floor.

It is no wonder to me that when I return home from a break to see family I need a rest. It is such hard work trying not to be a burden when we visit so that we will be asked back again.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Great point about the space and noise level. Smart to take the kids out for a bit so the hosts can have a break too.

Posted by A few other thoughts, a resident of another community,
on Mar 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm

A few other thoughts is a registered user.

When I have little ones visiting, I try to baby proof the room we will spend the most time in (in our case, the family room and kitchen) and I use a gate to close the area off. This keeps us from having to say no all the time! I also use rubber bands on the cabinet handles (attached to the closest ones) to keep the cabinets safe. A couple of fun toys for the backyard (sidewalk chalk, a small bucket and paintbrush to "paint" with water), etc. When my kids were little a number of my mom's friends picked up a pack n play, small high chair, etc. at garage sales and shared them when they had grandkids come to visit.

Your brother is a thoughtful man, what a nice thing to think about!

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

A few other thoughts - Thanks for all of the tips. I enjoyed painting with water as a kid. My parents had a boat in their backyard that we must have painted hundreds of times. Great baby proofing tips and backyard fun ideas.

Posted by ashleyterr, a resident of Juana Briones School,
on Apr 2, 2018 at 1:37 am

ashleyterr is a registered user.

Mother of 3, I should say it's quite an impressive list of tips to use. Thanks, Cheryl. Your brother is proactive and shrewd as for such matters. [portion removed].
Warm hugs,

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