New Parent: A List of Things That Were ACTUALLY Helpful
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You know, I read so many articles, blogs, or Pinterest info graphics preparing us for parenthood. They had all this STUFF that we NEEDED in order to be good parents. If we didn’t have everything on their list then we would fail! Many of these lists were long and arduous, and to be honest, freakin’ expensive. They had like gold covered teething rings, and diamond studded pack and plays. That shit’s for the birds. Here’s a more realistic list of AFFORDABLE and useful things you will TRULY be grateful for as a new parent.
Ok, so I know that Binkis are a “faux pas” for breast-feeding moms. All the articles I read said they were a NO-NO because they cause nipple confusion. That may be the case for some people, so it is really important for you to consult your lactation consultant first, but for us that was not true. Baby Bear has had reflux pretty much since month one, and a pacifier has been essential for us. The sucking reflex is really comforting, and the saliva it causes helps sooth the esophagus, keeping the reflux at bay. Also, many babies will spend time at the breast sucking just to suck because they find it soothing; using a pacifier will help baby learn to self sooth. But to be clear, make sure that you feel comfortable with your milk supply, and knowing your baby’s cues for hunger vs fussiness. Finally, using a pacifier for sleep has shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, so pacify it up in my personal opinion. We really liked the Free-Flow Avent Pacifiers, you may need to try a couple different brands/nipple shapes to find the kind that your baby likes best. I have heard good things about LATCH and MAM brands too!
Ok. So babies produce A LOT of fluids. Spit up, throw up, snot, drool, etc. Burp cloths are essential. They are literally strewn about in every room in our house, just in case. I don’t do well with drool, it totally freaks me out, so burp cloths have been my saving grace. Now, when I say burp cloths, I literally mean cloths to clean up throw up….so those super cute ones that cost an arm and a leg….Screw em.’ (granted we have a few really cute ones for show because…well, hedgehogs.) But we consistently use THESE, they are cloth diapers/burp cloths in one, they are WAY more absorbent and versatile than the run of the mill burp cloths. (We have used these as changing pad liners also!)
I’ve read some moms hate on the Boppy, and I really don’t understand why. I LOVE my Boppy, we are almost 5 months in, and I still use it all day every day. Obviously, people use it as a nursing pillow (which I totally still do every time I feed at home), it’s also just super helpful to hold baby so you can cuddle but still have some free hands to read/eat/text/crossword etc. Also, as baby gets older you can use it to prop them up while you play with them, to sit them somewhere while you pee. Baby Bear likes to take quick cat naps on her Boppy too. Not to mention, it helps not so experienced baby holders feel more comfortable supporting an infant’s floppy head!
Ok. So as a NON mom, I was like, “Ok, bibs. Babies use bibs right? But not until they start eating, so lets just buy one pack.” AHAHAHAHA I now say to that Me, “You idiot!” Babies drool, a lot, like a lot a lot, and unless you feel like reenacting the Oscars with multiple wardrobe changes daily, bibs are necessary. Now, let me be clear, NOT JUST ANY BIBS will do the trick. You MUST buy the drool/bandana/hankerbibs. Why, you ask? 1. They are WAY more absorbent. 2. They have snaps, so they wont scratch the back of baby’s neck, and they can’t tear them off once they start grasping. 3. Um, hello, they are adorable! These are adorable, and probably will be my next purchase.
So, babies play way earlier than I expected. So we had a few “toys” but mostly just had teethers, which aren’t super fun. We were given this one toy, which we have affectionately named Mothra…and Baby Bear loves it. It has so many different sensation activities on it, and she has been playing with it for a couple of months at this point. It squeaks (and not an obnoxious squeak either), crinkles, there’s different textures, a mirror, a bell, and some teething rings, it’s really an all-in-one toy. I also recently bought this adorable Hedgehog toy the other day (I’m kind of loving the whole hedgehog thing), and its super cute and Baby Bear loves it. The last toy that Baby Bear loves was also given to us as a gift, and has made tummy time so much fun. This turtle projects stars and changes colors, Baby Bear loves watching it and try to reach for it and grasp it all the time, we love it.
So, the swing is more expensive than the rest of the stuff on this list, and is not NECESSARY, but definitely very useful and if you have the opportunity The swing has been a life saver. Baby Bear’s Godmother educated me about swings prior to us purchasing one, and I am forever grateful, and I would like to pass this information on to you lovely people. Buy a convertible swing. “say whaat?!” Yes, we have a swing that the rocking portion is removable and can be used as a rocker/bouncer. We LOVE this thing. The swing is great to help Baby Bear take a nap, or keep occupied while we eat dinner. But the portable rocker has been so helpful because if she falls asleep we can bring her with us to other rooms, so we can keep an eye on her. Specifically, this has allowed me to continue to take showers daily! I bring Baby Bear in her rocker into the bathroom so I can shower and keep an eye on her. Bonus: the sound of the shower keeps her nice and calm, and sometimes puts her to sleep!
This was the first place Baby bear “played” she laid on her back and gazed in wonderment at all the fun toys hanging above her. My best friend got this for us because of all the developmental fun it has!! Now that she is growing up a bit (::sobs uncontrollably::), she is now doing tummy time and rolling over and is getting to play with the fun stuff ON the mat! We spend a lot of time on this, and have definitely gotten the money’s worth out of it.
I got one of these free with a coupon prior to even getting pregnant, and I’m so glad. We get compliments on it constantly, and since Baby Bear was born late Fall it was super helpful in keeping her nice and warm. If I’m being honest, it has also kept the nosey lookie-loos away too! Papa Bear and I are relatively private, and not a huge fan of strangers wanting to take a gander, let alone touch our little Baby Bear, so the cover has been really helpful on many occasions.
Infants poop, a lot, and it does not matter WHERE you are in your home, sometimes you have a blow out that needs to be addressed immediately and you DO NOT want to walk downstairs to change Baby if you are hanging out in your bedroom. We have a basket that we fill up daily with Baby’s essentials (Diapers, Creams, sucker, thermometer, Tylenol, etc), and bring it with us to the room that we are hanging out in. That way we always know its full, and we always have stuff readily available in case of an impromptu Baby Blowout!
So these are really called “sleep sacks” or “swaddle sacks” but Papa Bear has affectionately called them Swaddle Jawns for quite some time, and I can’t imagine calling them anything else. Swaddling is now considered best practice for sleeping for babies, especially newborns to help keep them snug and bundled mimicking the womb to help them sleep and STAY asleep (that darn startle reflex!). That being said, I personally was just not a fan of the swaddle blankets. Papa Bear definitely preferred them, but they just made me anxious. (Not to mention I was just never good at swaddling…you should see my Christmas presents…looks like the job of a drunken T-Rex had a field day). I was always afraid she would bust out of them in the middle of the night and smother herself. Which is why I preferred the Swaddle Jawns. They were simple to put her in, easy for late night diaper changes, and kept her nice and snug so we never had to worry about them coming un-done. Once she got a little older we started to use the more versatile version of these, and we really like those too, especially now because her arms are no longer swaddled but she still feels nice and snug!
Now, these items are all ones that worked for our family, and hopefully our experience can help you adjust to new parent-dom quickly and comfortably! Do you have any other must haves for new parents? Share you lived experience here for the readers of Memoirs of a Mama Bear!
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