Ok, so now that I’ve gotten through the important stuff (AKA, the things that make “momming” a little easier – read that post here) I thought I’d share a few things that in the beginning, really helped keeping a little human happy (ok maybe some of these helped keep mommy happy and sane). I see a lot of posts on this and I spent a little bit of time (ok A LOT) reading peoples’ posts on what their baby “must haves” were while putting together my registry. Now, this is where that age-old cliché “Every baby is different” comes in and I certainly found there were lots of things that were super amazing and other things that have been less than wowing (Sophie the Giraffe – why is everyone so amazed with you anyway?). So here’s a few that I am very thankful for, and a few that I wish I had right off the bat (that’s why people have a second child right?). I had lots of lovely baby washes, swaddles, clothes and the like (the fun stuff), but these are a few items I felt like made such a difference in keeping everyone happy.
- Medela Harmony Hand Pump – I chose to try and exclusively breastfeed, which thankfully, I was able to do. As much as I was very thankful I could, I was a little overwhelmed the first week with the feeling like I couldn’t nap or go shower or spend a minute to myself incase baby cried and I needed to feed her. Later that week the doctor was a little concerned with Finn’s weight gain (oh the irony) and suggested this little number right here. It was great because I could nurse on one side and pump on the other (efficiency for the win!). It was definitely the cheapest pump option as far as the Medelas go, which turned out well because I had really hoped to get an electric one, but for the amount I was having to pump (maybe one or two bottles a day), I definitely was glad I didn’t waste money on an expensive one and used that moo-la else where. Also, (at least in Victoria) if you buy it at the public health nurse – there’s no mark up on it and it’s like 20 bucks cheaper than any store! Plus the nipple on the bottle is designed to mimic how babies latch, which helps avoid nipple confusion in those early days. Once I got in the groove of pumping it was so helpful that Jordan could get up and feed our little night owl or I could leave for a couple hours and know she would be well fed! Freeeedom.
- Adain & Anais Dream Blanket – This is a good demonstration of the usefulness of the mom-blog village. I had read a few mom-blogs raving about this blanket, so I put it on my registry. I actually didn’t realize what it was (nor did I realize the price, but trust me, it’s an investment piece of good quality.) I thought it was a swaddler until I received one as a gift. It’s a bit heavier than a swaddler – more quilt like. Since we were going through a bit of a cold snap (cold for Victoria, I know it’s not cold in general, relax) when we brought Finn home, it was perfect to tuck into her car seat to keep her cozy. But it really began to be my favourite thing a week or two into the whole parenting thing. To be honest, I didn’t catch the sleep sack train fast enough (again,that’s why you have more children right?) and it was so cold in our house in those first few weeks, we started swaddling her with it at night. Since it’s natural bamboo fibres, we’ve continued to use it in the warmer months because it breathes (update – the very warm months we’ve switched to a swaddler). It’s also been a great thing because without actually knowing it, by using this same blanket consistently when we put her to bed (we panic a little bit if it didn’t get washed before bedtime), we’ve created a bit of a routine signal that it’s bedtime and this is her sleep blanket. Also – it’s also been wonderful because it’s not one of these teeny baby blankets they grow out of after a couple months. There’s still tones of room to swaddle at 9 months!
- Caldrea Organic Stain Remover – O. M. GEE. If there was ever a gift that I will always buy for new mamas – it’s this. It was given to me at my shower and it has saved us from so many poo-namis. PLUS it smells good (truth, I’ve had people use my guest washroom and compliment me on my wonderful smelling hand soap – oops). Just use a little dab with a scrub brush and voila. (Trust me, we had a white pants in a jolly jumper explosion once – they were still white afterwards thanks to this stuff).
- Boba Wrap – This is one of those “doesn’t have to be this specific one, just make sure you have something like it” items. A wise, experienced mother told me to wear this at church the first month or so, because babe would be secure and snuggled in close to me, but people could see her and would most likely keep their hands and temptations to ask to hold her to themselves since she was strapped to me. (And with almost two thousand sets of hands around the place – it definitely worked well!). Not only for church, but fussy days around the house, grocery shopping and cold winter walks were also much easier with one of these bad boys. The one I have is definitely a warmer, cozy fleecy fabric, which was great for the winter months – but I’d definitely like one of these in a lighter fabric for summer.
- Fisher Price Jungle Swing – This is one of those “it doesn’t matter which one you have, just get one” items. We borrowed this from my good from Kels (actually, when we were in the hospital, she broke in and set it up and had it all ready for when we got home – all the friendship points go to her). This swing was so helpful from week one when you have a nice sleepy newborn that wants to be in motion all the time but you would like to shower for five minutes. It’s super handy because you can just plunk them down in it, it’s not a complicated process Now that’s she’s bigger, I can keep her entertained with a few toys while sitting in it…though I feel it’s days are numbered – she’s discovered the jumperoo.
- The Wonder Weeks App – This app is hands down one of the most useful tools out there (Seriously, how did moms do it before technology?) This app goes by your baby’s DUE date, not their birth date (which apparently makes a difference) It tells you when they’re going through what, why they’re going through it and how long you can expect them to be going through it (seriously, like – it has chart for fussy and happy times and its ACCURATE.). Example: “Oh my gosh, this baby has been more of a diva than Mariah Carey. She doesn’t want to be put down and I have so many things I’m trying to get done. What is wrong with my usually happy, peppy valley girl baby?!” The app says “She’s learning the stage of relationships, now she knows when you are far away and therefore might be more fussy till she understands you’re coming back” (Not a direct quote, just the Amy Baker paraphrase). Seriously, it has brought me so much comfort when I can’t understand why Finn reacts the way she does at certain times.
- The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer – I know, cheesy title, but you guys, do yourselves a favour and go and get this book right now. I so wish I had read this earlier. It just makes so much sense! I’ve only just started applying these things to Finn and I feel like I just decoded baby language. Why didn’t I do this earlier?! I could have saved so many bald patches on my head! If you don’t want to go the cry it out route but you don’t want to have to be attached to your baby forever when they are going to bed – this book is the perfect balance. Not just sleep but general (flexible!) baby routine-ing.
Well there you have it – these were some of my most used things besides the Diaper Genie (Holy cannoli, I cannot believe what a difference that thing makes as far as “room aromas” go. I left the lid open one day and I suddenly understood why this thing is so magical.). Also, I should say, new mamas and mama-to-be, don’t panic. There were a lot of things I thought I needed or look back and think “that would have been nice” but do not fret – your baby needs food, diapers, and some loving arms.. oh and maybe some clothes. If you don’t get something you think you NEED at your shower – check Varage Sale or a used site. We’ve gotten tones of stuff off there for a fraction of the price, and keep receipts for everything. There was so much stuff I thought we’d use and then never opened – return it and get those things you now realize you do need!
Hope this is helpful..happy mom-ing 🙂