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Katy England Katy England
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Unhelpful

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Unhelpful help seems to be a contradiction in terms, but it isn't. It's an old concept. I mean, which road is paved with good intentions, after all?

We have all received items that were useless, redundant, or so complicated that the item which was supposed to help ended up simply getting in the way.

Blankets were the number one item on the list. Piles and piles of blankets. Outside of a good swaddling cloth, newborns don't really need blankets. 

In fact, the microwavable bottle sterilizers were also on the list.

The pee-pee teepee was also seen as a waste of time (seriously, throw a wipe over them and move quickly).

Shoes for newborns: A FB mom said that as cute as they are, they're useless. Personally, my kids spent much of their first years either in footie PJs or a diaper depending on the weather. 

Bottles may not be needed if the mom happens to be breast feeding.

Another mixed blessing is newborn clothing. New parents may end up with a metric ton of infant clothes. So many, in fact that there are whole seasons worth of clothing that they didn't end up wearing. Partly it has to do with timing (e.g. winter clothes too big for their first cold snap are too small by their second cold snap), and partly it has to do with sheer volume. If you have time to dress your newborn in a different, coordinated outfit every day of the week, you might have a chance to wear the entire wardrobe. But realistically, most newborns are in one full-body outfit or onesie most of the time. When it got really hot at our house, we'd just throw them in a diaper and call it good. Plus, once they outgrow these clothes you still need to get rid of them. 

If the material in question is in good condition, you have options. Other pregnant friends are good. But area charities and parenting assistance programs are also looking for clothes of different sizes all the time. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at EMMC can always use newborn/preemie clothing for the kids in their care (make sure they are clean and in good repair). Check with your local daycare center, because having extra emergency outfits is handy for them as well. But make sure you ask first, no matter where you're bringing them.

One gift that is never welcome is a cold or the flu, as one of my multiples moms pointed out. If you are sick, or have been sick, stay away. You add up the lack of sleep, dealing with changes and feedings, and all around fussiness then throw in a sick baby (or babies), not to mention a sick parent or two. You will not be welcome.

The idea that 'they have to get sick sometime' is a joke. And having a newborn with an illness isn't funny. It means trips to the hospital, administering painfully exact dosages of medicine, getting even less sleep than usual. It's awful.

There is so much personal choice involved in raising kids, so what worked for me may not work for my best friend. What worked for my mom might work some days and not others. It doesn't mean you're doing it wrong, you're just doing it differently. And that's fine. 

And let's remember something else that new moms really don't want: bad advice. 

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