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Katy England Katy England
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Help that helps

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When someone you know is having a baby (or two or three)

It may be coincidence, but it seems when one friend gets pregnant, the delicate condition spreads like wildfire. Suddenly half the women I know or just come in contact with are having a baby (or babies).

This of course makes me oddly nostalgic about the time when my kids were babies. Yes, they will always be my babies, but I've acknowledged the fact that they are toddlers now (a.k.a. that horrible in between phase). 

I posed the question of what is most helpful to the parents I know (parents of singletons as well as multiples). And here are the results of my entirely non-scientific or well-researched survey:

Friends and family are key, especially if there is more than one child in the picture (i.e. multiples or other young children).

People willing to wrangle children while you shower, eat, or nap are invaluable during those first sleep-deprived months. Sometimes, telling those same friends and families exactly how they can be helpful works. One Facebook responder said that visitors knew in advance that they would be folding laundry and cleaning rooms in the house if they were visiting her twins.

Another responder said a friend gave her the gift of time, literally, for a Baby Shower gift. She arrived at the house every Monday for her 12-week maternity leave, allowing the mom to nap, go shopping solo, help clean the house and more.

Meals for mom: Food is something that can take a back seat (for the adults, not so much for the kids). Finding the time to cook and not burn your house down when your brain is the consistency of oatmeal can be difficult. Another reoccurring vote was for people who brought food. 

During the first year of triplets, I had a guardian angel who delivered care packages of food to my doorstep. She would do ninja-drops, just leaving it there so I wouldn't feel obligated to visit. (Though I did grab her a couple of times and make her hold a baby or two).

Parenting groups: Great minds may think alike, but it's always nice to hear what other people in similar situations are doing. Sometimes you just need to know if you're going crazy or if it's something normal that everyone is going through.

Life partner: Many people cited their husbands or partners as some of the best support they received. 

A girl also needs to have gear - beyond the wonderful support of family and friends and a warm meal. There are some items that local moms have said truly made their lives easier. 

Swings when you're at your wit's end with a crying baby, sometimes a swing is the only answer.

Bottle warmer Whether it's for formula or expressed breast milk, having a way to quickly warm up your baby's meal is priceless.

Boppy The group was actually pretty split on the Boppy pillow (the curved pillow that some people use for nursing or tummy time). Some people loved them and used them every day; other people never used them.

Moby-wrap/Boba carrier Hands free baby-carriers are great. The Moby is a cloth wrap that you can, well, wrap around yourself in different ways to create a sling for your child as she grows. The Boba carrier is a front or back carrier that also adjust for a growing kiddo.

Vibrating chair Some mamas claimed this was the only way to get to sleep.

Next week we'll talk about some of those gift ideas you may want to skip.

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