Being a new mama is so many things – exciting, amazing, emotional, terrifying and overwhelming just to name a few of these new feelings. All of a sudden your mind becomes consumed by this tiny human that never existed before – and I’ve heard that that never goes away! I’m always wondering if I’m doing what’s best for Henry with every decision and I think I’ll do that for the rest of my days. When I was pregnant, I read so many articles and blog posts on the quest for the best products for new moms and newborns, but I never really felt like one single post had everything I was looking for. So now that I have (a little) experience under my belt and somewhat of a routine in our newly adjusted household, I figured this was the best time to share what products and gadgets are working for our little family!
1. DockATot Deluxe:
I had seen this product on Instagram and around the internet long before Henry arrived but really couldn’t justify spending almost $200 on a “pillow.” But when Henry arrived and I realized just how precious sleep was, I quickly changed my mind! So when Cyber Monday rolled around, I bit the bullet and ordered our first DockATot. Let me tell you, this thing is a lifesaver and not just a “pillow!” The first night we used it, our little babe slept SEVEN hours straight at just 6 weeks old. I’m a believer!
2. Baby Bjorn Bouncer:
For Henry’s first five weeks of life, this chair sat in the corner collecting dust. Until one day, not even the Mamaroo could make the little dude happy, so we had to try something new. We pulled out the Baby Bjorn chair and it has quickly become our household favorite! While Henry can’t bounce it himself yet and we do have to sit there and bounce it for him, he absolutely loves it and is so peaceful when he’s bouncing away. When he has better head/neck control, he’ll be able to bounce it on his own. In the meantime, it’s a mini workout for mom & dad.
3. White Noise Machine:
Who knew that babies loved sleeping to such weird sounds like white noise and vacuum cleaners?! From the very beginning, after reading books like Moms on Call and the like, we knew we would need some type of sound machine. Not only does it comfort our baby, but it also drowns out any noise we might be making in the other room (ie a clumsy mama in the kitchen!). We use this one and it hasn’t let us (or Henry) down, but there are a ton out there.
4. Halo SleepSack Swaddles:
We all know how important it is to swaddle our babies when they’re born – it keeps them cozy and reminds them of their first home in our bellies where they had tight quarters to say the least. However, during those middle of the night feedings when you’re a total mombie, it can be tough to swaddle a flailing baby well. So whoever invented the Halo SleepSack, I thank you. You put your babe in and pull their arms through the openings, zip it up, and then use the velcro panels to swaddle your little one tight.
5. Audio Only Monitor:
Of course we purchased the fancy video monitor before our baby arrived just like everyone told us to. But what they didn’t mention was that if you use a white noise machine, either you have to listen to said white noise ALL NIGHT LONG while you’re trying to sleep or risk not hearing your little one cry by turning the volume down too much. After some research, my husband found this VTech audio monitor that allows you to change the sound sensitivity so that it will only alert you when your baby is crying and completely drowns out your sound machine! Genius! So now we can see him on the video monitor and hear him on the audio monitor.
6. 4moms Tub:
The 4moms baby tub takes all the guess work out of determining whether your baby’s bath water is too hot or too chilly because it comes with a built in thermometer! It’s a little on the large side, so we use it in the regular bathtub where it fits perfectly. We purchased this insert to go inside so it’s a bit more comfortable for him and it helps prop him up a bit more while he’s still small.
7. Moms on Call:
If you’re like me, you thrive on routine. Getting my baby on a schedule was always a priority to me and I knew this long before I ever experienced my first 4am feeding. While Henry was napping one day, I downloaded this book to my iPad and started researching how to best get him on a schedule. This book, which relies on a beginning and end of the day set feeding time, combined with our new DockATot has really improved our sleep around here! Another helpful book is Baby Wise – whichever one works best for your family.
Some other tips I’ve found very useful:
Sleep ‘gowns’ are amazing. While the zip up pajamas and onesies are great and cute, the bottomless gowns are the best during those late night diaper changes when you don’t have to deal with zippers and snaps in the dark.
Don’t waste your money on a bottle sterilizer. Whether your significant other is helping out with feedings with your expressed milk or you’re formula feeding (or both!), you can simply use a large bowl and fill it with hot soapy water to clean your bottles. These sterilizer bags are also great and each bag can be used to to 20 times in the microwave.
You can’t have too many burp cloths.
Always have the next size diaper on hand. They grow out of that newborn size quickly! Our little guy is already bordering size two.
I’ve been peed on a handful of times already. Always cover your babe’s “spout” if you have a boy on your hands! Of course, it has happened twice in public. While many people said Peepee Teepees are a waste, I’ve found them helpful for this particular reason.
Keep late night feedings boring for your baby. Keep the lights dim (or off if you can), don’t change their diaper unless necessary (and use nighttime diapers that last longer!), don’t chat them up, etc. That way, they won’t be too riled and will hopefully fall back to sleep easily. If I have to change the diaper, I swaddle him right after instead of waiting until I put him back in the crib. Sometimes just swaddling him will wake him a bit and doing it ahead of time makes the transition from feeding to bedtime easier.
If you’re pumping, order extra pump parts! It’s so helpful to not have to continuously wash the parts. You can also keep them in the fridge and reuse them a couple times without washing them. I have a set for daytime and a set for nighttime. Anything that saves time is worth the investment.
Go for walks. During those first few months when you can’t tote your baby around Target, walks are a lifesaver. Not only will you get some fresh air and exercise, but your baby will enjoy it (or nap) too.
When friends, family and neighbors offer help, take it! We need it! If grandma offers to babysit for an hour just so you can get out and run an errand or hit your local Starbucks, do it. As much as you don’t want to leave your little one, a happy mom equals a happy baby. And cabin fever does NOT equal a happy mama!
I’ll be doing a post soon on my favorite new mama must-haves! Stay tuned.