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Baby Lessons

Love Objects; The Right Stuff; Time to Eat

Love Objects

"We would have kept my son's blankets and stuffed animals in his bedroom. The sacred items are less likely to get lost this way  -- and when they're missing, bedtime's a nightmare."

-- Patti Naim, Brecksville, OH

"I'd have taken Brooke's pacifier away before she was a year old. While it was great for when she was cranky, now that she's two, we have a big problem. She's really addicted to her Binkies and has ten in her crib alone. If I had taken them away when she was younger, she would have cried and gotten over it. Now it's going to be a long haul to get rid of them."

-- Randi Kamer, Chappaqua, NY

"I would have given my son more time to play independently. From the start, I was in his face, singing, playing, or talking just about every moment he was awake. Now Joseph is three and still very dependent on me and my husband: He often says, 'I want you to do it, Mommy,' when he's trying to put a tower of blocks together or find a particular toy. I think there's a better balance of playing with your baby and letting him be alone a bit too."

-- Holly Schmidt, Bay Village, OH

The Right Stuff

"I didn't need to run out and get every baby gadget on the market. I used to buy everything, from self-feeding bottles to special pacifier cleaners, and carry it all around in my diaper bag, which weighed three hundred pounds. But after using each item once or twice, I realized that most of them weren't helpful."

-- Hillary Steinberg, Briarcliff Manor, NY

"When I received clothes for my newborn, I shouldn't have taken the tags off until I wanted him to wear something in particular. Instead, I washed them all and hung them in his closet right away. Austin grew so fast that he got to wear every outfit only once  -- or not at all. And by then, it was too late to exchange them for a bigger size."

-- Kim Menard, Oviedo, FL

"I wouldn't have bought so many toys. They wound up all over our house, while our daughter ended up playing with things like tissue boxes. Often, all babies really want is to play peekaboo and patty-cake  -- anything that lets them interact with you."

-- Mary Fosnow, McHenry, IL

"Instead of waiting five months, I would have bought a Baby Björn carrier as soon as my daughter was born. It's the best product: Your arms don't get tired and you can do anything  -- eat, clean your house  -- with the baby right there. My husband and I wore that thing out and never had to use a stroller."

-- Trish Barnard, Orlando

Time to Eat

"I'd have served Emma whatever my husband and I were eating for dinner rather than make her a separate meal, so she could get used to the spices and sauces. Now she'll only eat things like plain noodles, hot dogs, and special veggies, while my youngest eats whatever I've cooked because that's what I've always given her."

-- Lisa Cohen-Dumani, Gaithersburg, MD

"I should have taught my daughter that dinnertime is family time  -- meaning we sit at the table together. I was so obsessed with Elizabeth's lack of eating that I would put her in front of the TV and hand-feed her until she finished her meal. Guess what? Three years later, I still often have to do the same to get her to eat."

-- Nancy Hessler, New Hyde Park, NY

"If I had contacted La Leche League, an international organization of breastfeeding mothers, sooner, I could have avoided some basic nursing difficulties, like cracked nipples and trouble latching on. I went to a lactation consultant who charged eighty-five dollars, but I could have gotten the same information free."

-- Natalia LaDuca-Aparicio, Newtown, CT