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10 Things I Wish I Did With My Babies

Photograph by Twenty20

There is nothing like having a newborn, but they don't stay small for long. Now that my kids are in their teens and 20s, there are a few "must-do" things I wish I could go back and do with them. If only I knew! If you're knee-deep in the baby stage, or are expecting a little one soon, you might want to consider some of these tips:

1. The "baby feet" picture

I can imagine tiny little baby feet cradled in Dad's hands, or maybe the whole family's bare feet nestled together. My feet aren't anything to write home about, but those tiny baby toes and squishy feet don't last long. And I wish I had cute pictures of them.

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2. Picture in the same place every month/year

My friend Katie has the cutest teddy bear—a huge one—that her baby girl sits next to for a monthly photo. It's adorable, and the perfect way to see how much she's grown. I still have a tiny rocking chair from my childhood, which would have been perfect for pictures like this, if it had crossed my mind.

3. Take a bath just to play

Babies always seem to need a bath, whether they are covered in smashed peas or just dripping with drool. But bath time can be fun, too. There is nothing cuter than a happy kid splashing in the water. But in my haste to stay on task and get my babies dressed/fed/to bed, I rarely let bath time linger longer than necessary.

I should have let go of the reins a bit more, and let other people who cared about my kids spend some time in charge. Really, it's OK.

4. Oh-so-cute baby Halloween costumes

I nailed this one with my son—he was the cutest 5-month-old Superman you've ever seen. But for my daughter's first Halloween, she was only 2 months old, and we were so preoccupied with my son and his trick-or-treating that we just bundled her up and walked the neighborhood. I can only imagine how adorable she would look dressed like a pea in a pod!

5. Blow bubbles

Babies love bubbles. Such a simple thing, really—but they smile and laugh as they try to catch them. I guess I thought bubbles were kind of messy or too much work, because they only came out on special occasions. If I could go back, bubbles would be a staple.

6. Mom in the picture

When the baby is a newborn, we are in most of the pictures because we're holding her. But the focus is most definitely on the baby, so it seems OK. Then as our baby grows we stay in the picture less and less, opting to stage the photo rather than participate in it. I wish I stayed in the frame more to look back on our baby-mom moments.

7. Let other people take the reins

I might have been a bit of a control freak about my babies. I truly felt like I was the best person to care for them. We never even hired a babysitter when ours were small—ever. Sure, we swapped childcare with friends and had family members watch them once in a while. But I should have let go of the reins a bit more, and let other people who cared about my kids spend some time in charge. Really, it's OK.

8. Leave them overnight

And speaking of letting other people care for them, what about those overnights? Tiny babies seem like so much work to leave with a friend or family member all night long. I wish I had known that it would be such a treat for us and for the caregivers to swap roles once in a while. A good night's sleep for Mom and Dad is the best gift ever. I should have accepted it more often.

9. Document random days

Some of my favorite video clips are of random days at home, maybe sitting at the dinner table listening to the kids chatter or tell silly jokes. I don't have as many of these when they were little, probably because I couldn't manage holding the baby and the video camera at the same time without dropping one. I simply can't remember what a routine, regular day was like with either of my babies—and it would be so fun to see it now.

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10. Cuddle more

I can't stress this one enough. I miss the baby cuddles. So while I didn't forget to cuddle my babies, I totally wish I had done it more. Cuddle them now, moms. You'll be glad you did.

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