4 Moms Q&A: Must-have baby equipment and other nitty gritty stuff

Welcome back to the weekly 4 Moms post, in which 4 moms with a collective total of 35 children share our knowledge, experience and and helpful tips in maintaining health, order and sanity.

This week we’re going to answer your questions.  This is my favorite post of the month because it feels like 5 or 6 posts in one, and I didn’t have to think up a topic for a single one.

  • Connie at Smockity Frocks
  • Headmistress at The Common Room
  • Kimberly at Raising Olives
  • Or you can start here.  That’s fine too.  In fact, I’m flattered, unless you’re the sort that saves the best for last.  In that case, starting here means you don’t really like my blog and just want eat your vegetables first so you can move on to dessert.


    I am having baby #7 (at 42 ) yet am  starting over as there is a 6 year gap between 6 and 7  and so we got rid of most of our baby items.  Space is limited and the budget is low.  What are your top 5-10 products that you just can’t live without?  Do you use a full size crib?  Any advice would be appreciated.


    Congrats on baby #7!  Isn’t it amazing how each can be just as exciting as the first?

    I gave up the full size crib a long time ago.  Now I love to use a travel bed while the baby is small enough, then move up to a Pack-n-Play when it becomes necessary.  Those 2 items are at the top of my list.  I think a changing table is utterly unnecessary, as is an extensive wardrobe.

    Here’s my full list, off the top of my head.  If anyone thinks I missed something crucial, feel free to speak up.

    Must Have Baby Equipment

    1. Infant car seat –  I love the standard bucket style with a separate base, so it snaps in and out.
    2. Travel bed – Much smaller and more portable than a playpen or crib, and good for several months until your baby can pull up, sit up, or becomes otherwise mobile.
    3. Portable playpen – I’ve always used a pack-n-play but there are other brands available.  This takes the place of a full size crib beautifully if you don’t mind bending over.  If you use a travel bed, you won’t need this until later.
    4. Drawstring gowns – Not as cute as fun jammies but infinitely more practical.  These make diaper changes so much faster and easier in those early days, especially when you’re working around an umbilical stump.  I wish I had discovered these several children earlier.   I find that just 5 or 6 is usually plenty.
    5. Blankets and burp rags – Babies may not need a lot of clothes, but I do find we go through a lot of these.  Plain cotton diapers make nice burp rags, but it’s even nicer if a friends wants to give you some cuter ones.
    6. Diapers and wipes – Cloth or disposable, but one way or another you’re going to need them.  Don’t waste time or money on a fancy wipe warmer; just warm it in the palm of your hand for a second if you’re concerned.  You’ll probably find your baby doesn’t acknowledge the difference either way.
    7. Ergo baby carrier – Yes, there are a million choices out there and most are cheaper than the Ergo, but I wish I had discovered this one back when my first was born.  No learning curve, and no aching back or shoulders no matter how big your baby or toddler is.  I’ll never love another baby carrier again.  I own another less expensive carrier with a very similar design and much cuter fabric, but the quality just isn’t the same.  You get what you pay for; buy an Ergo.


    How do you manage to use the bathroom?!?
    I’m having a hard time just sneaking away for the one single minute it would take me to use the restroom and then I get frustrated and irritated because for pity’s sake I just need to use the bathroom and I keep getting called away to take care of needs even more urgent than my own.


    When all my children were young, I resigned myself to using the bathroom with the door open so that I could address problems while taking care of personal business.  Just think of it as one more way that God uses children to sanctify us and keep us humble.  This too shall pass.  Once they get old enough that modesty becomes an issue, they’re old enough to live without you for 60 seconds, right?


    I’d love to see you elaborate on the nitty-gritty of how having all of your kids in one room actually works. For instance, do you have any little ones who wake up much earlier than the others? And how to do get them (especially young toddlers) to stay quiet so as not to wake their siblings in the morning? Are they allowed to leave the room as soon as they get up, or is there a certain time they need to wait for? What age does the baby move into the big kids’ room? etc….


    We don’t worry about some children waking others.  While we do require some basic courtesy (keep the lights off and the noise level low when others are sleeping) I tend to believe that if a child needs the sleep, she’ll sleep through whatever is going on.

    Of course this takes a little patience; at first they were more sensitive to noise and activity, but we have found it surprisingly easy to adapt to new surroundings and situations.

    To answer some of your specific questions, some of our younger ones are often the first out of bed, and if the house is quiet they usually come straight to my room.  If it’s too early to get up, I just send them back to bed.  If it’s a reasonable rise hour, we all start getting up one by one as we’re awakened.

    The babies usually move into the big kids’ room(s) as soon as they reliably sleep through the night.  While most of my babies begin to sleep through the night at a very young age, I don’t consider them reliable sleepers until much later, usually some time around their first birthday.


    As a couple who have decided to allow God to do your family planning, do you ever have trouble relating to other Christian couples who do not share this vision? We don’t regularly fellowship with anyone who shares this vision and it breaks my heart to hear the way many Christian women talk about children as though they’re such a great burden… I often feel that I would like to share the joy of remaining open to pregnancy but I don’t know how without sounding “holier than thou” or judgmental of their choice. Is it best to just keep your mouth shut, smile and let your life speak? We only have three, at this point, under the age of 5 so it isn’t immediately apparent what our birth control philosophy is.


    While we are not shy about expressing our views, we do tend to keep our mouths shut and let our life speak, as you put it – until somebody asks a question.  Then all bets are off!  As you mentioned, in the earlier years your birth control philosophy isn’t immediately apparent, and we have many friends whose position we don’t know.  However, it is always a joy to find others who share our view or at least are interested in hearing and considering it.

    I am much less shy, though, about addressing hormonal birth control, which can act as an abortifacient.  I haven’t found a good way to bring it up myself but when the subject is broached I don’t mince words.  It breaks my heart that so many Christians are aborting their own children for want of knowledge!


    I have six daughters and would be very interested to know how you handle contention between daughters. How do you handle bossiness? Or do you even have that problem???


    What’s your take on dealing with bickering, fighting children? Some days I want to pull out my hair at the cycle of pester…scream…pester…scream…etc. That the oldest two get into. They can play wonderfully together at times, and then at other times just seem to spend all day getting under each other’s skin. How do you maintain (relative) peace and keep the bickering to a minimum?


    Actually, I don’t really have the answer to these questions.  Yes, we have our share of bickering and bossiness.  I like to think our children are best friends and get along wonderfully, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.  They do bicker and squabble over the most ridiculous things.  They remind me of a couple of other people I know, whom the children also happen to look like.

    The important thing is that they also admit fault, ask forgiveness, and keep being best friends.

    That doesn’t mean we tolerate or condone strife and contention.  We try to nip it in the bud, and we emphasize that one person’s sinful attitude does not justify the sins of another.  We are each responsible for our own sins.  At the same time, when arguments happen I try to impress upon each child that she probably could have ended or defused the situation by exercising humility, and her pride led her sibling into sin as well.


    I would love to know what type of vehicle everyone drives, and what everyone has driven as their family has grown. We have four children, all still in car seats, and our minivan is absolutely FULL.


    Faced by the prospect of outgrowing our 9 passenger Suburban with the birth of our 8th child, we ruled out a 12 passenger van because it has absolutely no cargo space unless you take out a bench, and then you’re back to 8 or 9 seats.

    Instead, we moved directly up to a standard issue Ford 15 passenger van in white.  It’s a very common vehicle for large families, Baptist churches and smugglers of illegal immigrants, especially after the windows are darkly tinted.

    I love my big white so much that I’ve been considering a post titled, “Top Ten Reasons to Drive a 15 Passenger Van.”


    How do you take such great photos? Not the posed photos but the ones of the kids in action – playing, cooking, making faces, etc. Of course all the photos are great, but I can’t seem to get the right light and focus with my natural setting photos. I assume you have had loads of practice and could share a few tips. (and help me save money on professional photos).


    Thank you!  Most of our best photos are taken by our older children.  We have some very accomplished photographers with a lot of natural talent.  One resource that has really helped to develop that talent is Me Ra Koh’s instructional videos.

    I love the title of the first, Refuse to Say Cheese.  It’s all about not collecting endless photos of people smiling woodenly at the camera.  I credit that simple phrase with much of the charm of the photos my daughters take – they really capture the young ones’ personalities and emotions by catching them in the midst of real life.

    Beyond the Green Box goes into more depth about the technical details of the camera and using more advanced features to really get the effect you want, but Me Ra does a good job of keeping it light and goes easy on the math.


    How do you manage to look after your own health while looking after a large family and staying within a tight budget. I have 4 children between 7 and 1 yo and am having health issues from neglecting myself for too long. How do you do it?


    I try to eat a healthy diet, take a good quality prenatal vitamin, and maintain a basic level of activity.  I know getting enough sleep is very important, though I don’t always do it.

    Over the years I have done some intensive exercise for limited periods of time.  Some cost money, some were free, and some even made money: a year of karate, a summer of lawn-mowing, a gym membership, a year of bicycling, several months of weigh-lifting, etc.

    But I have to give God the glory.  He has chosen to bless me with sturdy health so far which has enabled me to do all these things.  Indeed, every breath is from Him!

    My husband also takes his role seriously and takes care of me in every way he can think of, including my health.  He knows when I need more sleep and does his best to help me get it.  He reminds me to take my vitamins because he knows I’ll forget.  He encourages me to exercise because he knows I dislike it and will procrastinate, but he also knows that I like the results and will thank him when I’m done.

    Likewise, I know that it pleases him for me to take care of myself and so I do it not just for myself but for him.  Sometimes this is more motivating than my own desire to lose a few pounds or have more energy.  Sometimes I’m lazy anyway.  🙂

    Do you have a question you’d like to see here next month?  Ask in the comments on this post and I’ll give it my best shot.

    Upcoming topics for 4 Moms 35 Kids:

    • February 3 – Teaching reading, because it’s so much easier than teaching them to use the toilet.  Do not request a 4 Moms post about potty training, do you hear me?
    • February 10 – Cooking with little ones.  With, I said.  Not Cooking Little Ones.
    • February 17 – Spending individual time with your children: isn’t the very topic enough to make you feel guilty?
    • February  24 – Q & A.  Got a question?  Leave it in the comments on this post.  Or you can email me, but I promise you right now I will lose your email and forget to answer your question for 15 months.  By then, you probably will have found your own answer.


    1. I would love to hear more about how you find friends/families that are okay with your large family? Not sure if that makes sense. lol We only have 4 right now but are planning to adopt in the future. We have lost some friends because well not sure why on all of them but one friend said something along the line of its just to hard to be around all those children. Others have just kind of disappeared. Sigh… With so many kids, homeschooling, etc I am finding it hard to find time for connection with other women in my (new as of Feb) church or homeschool community as everyone has kids in school and all the activities that go with that or only have one child (don’t know why this is an issue), so am feeling really lonely lately and the kids are really wanting some connection outside of their siblings. Does this make any sense? 🙂

    2. My question is with the ever rising price of groceries, gas, utilities and just about everything elase, how do you budget enough to cover this cost of food. I know a while back you said you spent minimal amounts on food and I am wondering if that has help up over the last couple of years. I would be very curious to know how much is costs to feed a family of 12.

    3. Dear Kim,

      my question would be: how do you normally spend the first week after the birth of a new child? Do you prepare your home and family for this particular stage and if so, how?

      I can imagine there’s a huge difference between how you do it now and how you did it when your other children were far younger. For me it would be most helpful if you could also share something on those earlier years, should you pick this question (since we do not yet have a bunch of young girls eager to pitch in :-)).

      Thank you for the time you dedicate to your blog, it’s certainly inspiring.



    4. I would really like to hear about your lunch time meals–I’m struggling with lunch a lot and trying to find things that are fast to prepare but also easy for toddlers to eat.


    5. I was just curious about your bunk-bed idea and whether or not you had been able to build them yet. I was really intrigued by your idea and they sounded very cool and if you do have them up I would love to see some pictures! If not, I was curious what your family was doing in the meantime and if the idea had been case aside or was still a plan for the future!


    6. Sorry… new reader, so if this has already been addressed please tell me where =)

      Did you always know you wanted a big family?

      The reason I ask is because I’ve known since I was little that I wanted a big family. I’m the youngest of 7, and my hubs is in the middle of 11 children. We want a big family but have yet to conceive in the year and a half since we were married. Someone recently said that you can’t know before you have kids that you want a big family…but I truly do feel that I know that I want a big family.

    7. I would like to know what other large families do for dishes (ie. plates, bowls, etc). I am currently using a set of white stoneware from my wedding gifts (years ago), and now with 5 children and guests every few weeks, and many broken pieces, I’m running out. Replacement costs are ridiculous. Do you use disposable paper, plastic picnic-ware, Corelle, mix-n-match thrift-store finds, wait for dept store sales, or just wash after every meal? I’m trying to figure out where to go next. Thanks!

    8. Mother of five says:

      I have a question ( actually a million but lets keep it at one ) . I have 5 kids the oldest 7 years and the youngest is 6 months old, i do not home school but where we live ( not in the US ) the children get a lot of home work and spend very little time in the classroom so it’s somewhere in between i guess, anyway what i want to ask you is how do you get the older ones to do their work? Sometimes they have work that should take them half an hour and i need to keep with them to finish it every 5 seconds the get up , look up the just seem distracted so quickly especially my 7 year old son he is not at all into learning, and has trouble reading untill now because of this…how do you keep them at their assigned work also with playing little ones around?

      I love your blog by the way, thank you so much for your efforts sometimes the really help me through the day…

    9. Hello! We have 8 boys and are currently expecting our first girl! (due in few weeks) What are some great Mom/daughter books that you recommend and what are some good little little girl toys that you would recommend?

    10. To Sarah…I have voracious readers, too, ages 10 and 6. I would love to see a post and follow-up comments on great books for different ages. Just quickly…we enjoyed “The Doll People” by Martin and Godwin and the two books more that follow it. (Some issues of disobedience to parents, but it makes for good discussion.) Also enjoyed the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren, Sugarcreek gang books by Hutchins, Black Stallion series by Farley, and “The Castle in the Attic” by Winthrop. Also, the originial Dr. Dolittle and the follow-up, Dr. Dolittle’s Circus, by Hugh Lofting, are treasures! This is just a few and I hope you can get them from your library or wherever. Happy reading!

    11. A question for the next Q&A –
      I would love some practical advice on how to help siblings to be best friends. I only have 2 girls (almost 4 and 6) and am finding it tough right now. Unfortunately it is not possible for me to homeschool – much as I have the heart to do so – and as a family we are under a certain amount of stress due to my chronic pain/occipital neuralgia.
      I feel it is so important for siblings to be friends – and although they are social at school/preschool we don’t socialize much after school. So how do you handle bickering and competition? They each want to be the leader in that particular imaginary game. I think it’s the 4 yr old that is struggling/challenging. Any hints and tips, books or verses????

    12. My Boaz's Ruth says:

      How long do your babies sleep in the pack and play?

      Where do they go afterward?

      • That depends a lot on the baby’s temperament and sleep habits, but most sleep in the pack and play until 15-20 months, then move into a bed with an older sibling. Of course the baby always sleeps on a low bed and on the inside edge to prevent falls. It’s an easy transition because our babies’ naps often take place on a bed with an older family member long before they transition out of the pack and play.

    13. I really enjoy your blog. I have seven kids ages 11 to three weeks old. I liked your preschooler books post, and I would love to see all of you list books for older children. My 11, 9 and 8 year olds (one boy, two girls) are running out of books to read at the library. They recently fell in love with the Hardy Boys books, and they were reading them as fast as they could get them checked out. I thought they would be a safe series, and did not pre-read them (I was majorly pregnant, and probably taking a nap). There are “new” books in the series that read like an episode of CSI–not good! Grisly murders in gory detail in a book I thought would be okay. Major guilt! So now I need some help. Kim Brenneman mentioned in Large Family Logistics how she makes scope and sequences for age groups, and includes books that are must reads. I would love to do this, but am not sure where to start. Thanks!

    14. Thank you, kim, for your answer on contention! Very biblical advice, and a good reminder that we parents aren’t all that perfect either:-). Sometimes though, it’s soooo hard to see your own sins magnified in your daughter (s)! Any old how, i appreciate your honesty!

    15. Lisamarie says:

      Oh, the bathroom thing! I can completely relate to that! I’m hoping my days of sitting my two down just inside the door so I can take care of things without a meltdown (or mischief) just outside the door are almost over. 🙂

      And potty training… haha. We all struggle with that one with at least one child, I hear. God gave us our difficult one first. I washed out accidents at least three days a week for over a year before she started ‘getting it’. And you know what ended up being her motivation for success? When her less-the-two year old sister started having success without any “training” on my part! She’d ask to go, go, and then get super excited. 🙂 Usually the older helps the younger… God had fun when he gave us our girls! 🙂

    16. Thank you so much for the photography video recommendation. I ordered both yesterday, can’t wait to spend my evenings learning how to really use my camera!

    17. Kim from Canada: Older siblings definately should be on the list of best baby equipment.

    18. Totally agree with limiting baby ‘stuff’ to necessities – which does include some convenience items for a mom. Though I had to point out as a driver of a small vehicle ( I only have 2 kids) that the snap in car seats do not work for these cars. The base is convenient, but when we use it, the front seat has to be pushed so far forward it is uncomfortable to ride. Thankfully, it didn’t take much to train the older child to buckle up the baby seat.

      HEy…maybe that should be in the list of the best baby equipment! Older siblings!

    19. How do you deal with interrupting? What can you expect from a 3.5 yo and a 2 year old in terms of not interrupting? I don’t want to be too hard or too soft but I’m not sure what’s legitimate to expect developmentally, and what to challenge them on.

    20. Thank you so much for all the answers! I’ve only got one little little one so far, but I’m hoping that collecting advice early will help me out 🙂

      I am wondering, though, what is a “drawstring gown”? Is that like a hospital johnie? It sounds quite interesting, especially since we have some troubles with leaky diapers with certain types of clothing pulling down the diaper (gross, I know). Maybe they just don’t have them up here in the North East.

      Since you sort of hinted at the topic, one thing I’ve been wondering about lately is what to do when your child does wrong in a certain area that you yourself have or have had weakness in.

    21. Hello, I’m one of seven. What are the ages of you children?

    22. Ah potty training! Exactly what I was going to ask you about! Thanks for reminding me! 😀

      Actually I’m potty training my second right now and it’s not going too bad. He’s not sure how to stop or start on purpose yet but having the diaper off seems to be helping him learn that. Albeit making alot more work for me to clean up all those lovely yellow puddles… But hey we’ve had 2 yellow puddles make it into the potty chair in the last 2 days so I feel encouraged. 😀

      Using the bathroom has gotten alot easier for me since we put the changing table into our tiny bathroom. Our bathroom is very very tiny. Barely enough room to turn around in there now. But when I have to go, I strap the baby to the changing table and go. And keep my toes curled up so that when the other two figure out I’m missing and inevitably barge into the bathroom they don’t rip the skin off the tops of my toes with the door. Once, before the baby was born, my older 2 were 1 and 3, and I was late for a prenatal and went for a lightning-leak. When I got back, somehow my 3 year old had found a Sharpie… there was such a… bright red mural on my wall. I’ve had nightmares about going to the bathroom ever since.

    23. Yes, you missed baby carriers! We like the Moby Wrap for newborns and the Ergo for when they’re a little older. I still carry my 2 year old on my back sometimes, and my 6 month old pretty much lives in the Ergo while I keep up with the older kids. It is pricey, but totally worth the money, especially if you can find one used! Mine is over three years old and still holding up like new, although the fabric is a little faded.

      Also, I wanted to mention that if your kids tend to be long or heavy babies, the Chicco Keyfit 30 is a great infant carseat. It is super easy to install and adjust, and it works up to 30 inches tall or 30 pounds. My first outgrew the Graco carseat at 6 months, but my next kids stayed in the Chicco for over a year!

      And yes, I’d love to hear a post on potty training! Like some of the previous posters, my daughter has demonstrated that she’s totally capable of going on the potty, but she WON”T. I put her back in diapers because I couldn’t keep up with cleaning up all those accidents when she doesn’t even make an effort. Any advice?

    24. The biggest things you missed are baby carriers. 🙂 I love to have a variety to allow me to easily carry baby in different ways and in different situations. I felt liberated when I learned to put my youngest on my back. I wore him everywhere, had a happy baby, and still had my hands free for the rest of my little guys.

    25. I have seven kids. Our space was very tight when #3-6 came along. We lived in a two bedroom, one bath house while adding on a third bedroom. I only used a carseat (can be used like a bouncy seat, too), a real crib (which I used as a play pen also – the pack n plays get torn up by the bigger kids who jump in them), and…that’s it. Oh, and a stroller which can be used like a bouncy seat. Ok, and a high chair, or one of those travel seats that straps to a chair, with the reclining feature. Just moving baby from place to place is a new thing to him, and the floor with some bins as barriers from other spaces works for playing and learning to crawl and walk. Blankets work for nursing covers (although you might have to tuck it under your bra as they get older and try to pull it off). Garage sales are awesome for baby clothes as the babies outgrow them so quickly that a lot of clothes are nearly new.
      I, too, have the white Ford 15 passenger van. Much easier to maneuver in than the 9 passenger Suburban we had. I love it!

    26. I know you said no to potty training– but please post this!! I am a new mom– with a 2 yr old, 1 yr old and one on the way! And I have no idea how to potty train our 2 year old. I would love to have her potty trained before this next baby arrives… so please give some tips and ideas– I would greatly appreciate it!!

    27. Mom with only four here: the bouncy seat was a LIFESAVER for me with all four. They also have to have a soft, LARGE blanket for heavy swaddling that can be used when they are more “mobile” too–secret to sleeping long periods of time for my three younger ones.
      I really enjoyed this post!

    28. Ok, totally kidding! Or maybe not. I thought I had this thing under control. Our first three were girls and all potty trained on their own by 2 1/2. Number four, our first boy, didn’t potty train until nearly 4, right around the same time as his younger sister, who was nearly 2, started. We have been having issues with the littlest lady for a few months now. I am finding it difficult to keep my frustrations at bay. Quite frequently when she needs to pee, she waits until the very last second. She will be holding herself and start crying for someone to help her because she needs to go so badly. Other times, she will simply go in her pants and not tell anyone. Who knows how many times she pees or how long she keeps those clothes on before someone notices how awful she smells. A few days ago I gave up. I started putting her in diapers again. She pees in them all day! I am changing her diaper more times a day than her 1 1/2 year old brother! Help!!!

    29. Could you please do a post on potty training?

    30. I have 5 boys, and the first 4 slept with my husband and me so we didn’t have to worry about blankets in a baby bed. Number 5 was a preemie and, so as to not tell my whole story, I’ll just say that he slept in his own bed. I discovered the Sleep Sak. It’s the blanket that zips up and has no sleeves so you can still dress the baby how you want. In fact, if the one that asked this question would contact me through my blog I would be happy to send you a couple of them (US, of course).

    31. HI! Thanks for all these answers.

      I am Mom to 4 children — ages 9,7,6 and 2. I especially love the comment on the bickering. The behavior issues with my oldest three have been HUGE lately. Disobedience, disrespect, lying, fighting.
      I am desperately trying to figure out how to “re-do” things so that we can quell some of these things. I KNOW that they will never be perfect (we are all sinful people who cannot be perfect) but I know that this is too much right now.
      I appreciated your thoughts!
      THANKS so much!
      in HIM-

    32. HeatherHH says:

      I’m a mother of six children, ages 9 years down to 4 months.

      ***Must have baby items:

      Infant carseat- I like the real infant carseat’s because I think the convertibles seem too big for a newborn. Also, it’s nice to be able to carry inside when going somewhere and baby is asleep or when going shopping. This lasts our children until about 10 months when they get too long for the height restriction, and then they switch to convertible.

      Pack ‘n play- for the first month or two baby is in our bed, and then usually in a bassinet by the bed, but the bassinet is an optional step. After that I like a pack’ n play. Takes up less space, portable and cheaper than a crib.

      Bouncy seat- I love this for a place to set baby down from about 6 weeks to 5 or 6 months. Walker is nice when bigger, but I view it as less critical.

      Baby blankets- I have several of these, both warm ones for winter and lighter ones (receiving blankets in multi-pack at Walmart) for summer. I use these to keep baby warm, but also as a nursing cover.

      Burp cloths & bibs- For years, my burp cloths were extra tea towels that I’d been given, though real ones are nicer. I use small cloth drool bibs from about 3-4 months on so that I’m not contantly changing clothes for drool from teething babies, start earlier if they spit up a lot.

      Sleepers- I cannot stand the gowns. I don’t really find it much harder to unsnap or unzip a sleeper, and I find the gowns get pulled up above legs and a baby left cold when siblings are holding. So, I personally have sleepers only.

      Bunting/zip suit- For winter babies in cold climates, it is really nice to have a bunting or zip suit to just zip their whole body up in. We prefer the ones with legs or the buntings with slits for carseat buckle, because then you can put them straight in the carseat.

      *** Going to the bathroom. I have never understood this frequently cited problem. If I need to go, I go. And it’s rarely a problem. Even showers, I just go and take them. When I had only one child under 2, they were in the bathroom with me during a shower, and when I had the next baby, she was in the bathroom in a bouncy chair because I couldn’t trust the 2-year-old, but after that, no problems.

      *** Family planning. We find it discouraging to hear people talk about being glad to be done having children or that they’ll get their baby fix holding mine so that they don’t feel a need for more. When I hear it from parents of 1-3 children, it’s more understandable. What really gets me is when a family of 6 children talks about being thankful to be done, and a couple children say they’d like more and others chime in no way. Just sad. Yes, a family of 6 at least understands being happy with a “big” family, but so often they don’t understand just letting go and being happy with whatever God gives you….

    Don't just think it: say it!

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