However, there are many products that have made my life as a mother immeasurably easier in the last thirteen months. I went back and read my previous post on this topic, prepared to be rather red-faced at what I thought was an essential as a mother of a barely 2 month old. I was pleasantly surprised (whew), and stand by all those suggestions.
(For those who have c-sections:)
1. Belly Bandit- most importantly, kept my incision secure, but also helped my posture, and tightened my tummy.
2. My Brest Friend- stupid name, wonderful product. Keeps the baby off your incision while nursing. If you have this you do not need a Boppy. Return them all.
Pre-baby, it seemed like six months is an eternity. Then it flies by, and you have all this gear cluttering up your (attic-less, in our case) house. "Keep it simple" will be my mantra next time around. The Baby Whisperer repeats in her books to start as you mean to go on. The more options you have for your baby, the more options he or she will demand. Wouldn't you? Now, when you are dealing with a baby who won't quit crying for no discernible reason, you will buy some crazy shit to try and get that baby to stop. I took Miss Priss to a chiropractor because I read it could help with reflux in babies. I was desperate for anything to get that sweet girl to stop crying. I would have bought everything in Babies R Us for her to just settle down. However, it would not have helped, and my house would look like a hoarder's idea of a third rate daycare.
Anyway, with my next baby, this is what I will keep in my house:
1. Swing- thank you Little Lamb swing for allowing me to prepare meals. Any swing will do, but I would get one with a cord and batteries. Ours was battery operated only, and there were definitely frantic, sweaty emergency runs for batteries.
2. Rock and Play Sleeper- Miss Priss never slept in our room (in my household, a well-rested husband is a happy helpful husband, so she was always in her own room. I nursed, so there was nothing Morgan could do in the middle of the night. Plus, I was on maternity leave, and he was working.)
However, this was our go-to for reflux sleeping, since her head is elevated. It is also ideal for travel, during those first 6 months, as it folds with one hand, and is far cozier for a wee one than a pack and play. Oh, it is magic- when the baby become agitated the sleeper will begin to rock and soothe that child right to sleep. I wish they made them in adult size, quite frankly.
Any sort of travel crib/rocking bassinet could take the place of the Rock and Play. I just have used and loved it- ladies, please share any other recommendations for similar items!
3. Zip-up PJs These were not an item that I received at showers, but Miss Priss lived in them. When you are changing diapers constantly, living vampire hours, and in your pajamas yourself a good portion of the day, you gotta have the footies without snaps. Snaps are anathema to a husband learning to change diapers. Zip those babies up!
4. Activity Mat/Gym: They call these things gyms, which is hilarious to me. It's just a colorful slightly padded mat, with a bar with thing-a-ma-jigs hanging down. My kind of gym. Anyway, they help with tummy time, and preparing dinner time, (until your baby starts sitting up. Then they are waaayyy too cool to go to the gym). Some of them are really fancy (and pricey), and some are reasonable. Get the one that you like the best- color/design wise. You will be staring at it more than the baby. The baby is an infant. It will not care, I promise.
5. Swaddle/Sleepsack- I loved the Miracle Blanket. Miss Priss possessed super human upper body strength/determination and busted out of every permutation of a swaddle I tried. She did not bust out of it until she was 3.5 months old. It was time to retire the swaddle at that point anyway. I stressed about that change greatly, but tried a Halo Sleepsack. She slept great! I was agonizing over nothing. Once you get that baby sleeping, it is terrifying to mess up the routine. I treasure my sleep. I need it.
Speaking of sleep, the following materials helped me sleep train my little one.
The Baby Whisperer series
12 Hours in 12 Weeks
Moms on Call (online seminar)
Miss Priss was a good sleeper. It took discipline on both of our parts to get her there, since naps and night sleep are so inextricably linked. Also, as Peg (mother of triplets) told me, sleep in not a continuum. The baby will sleep through the night for weeks on end, then hit a growth spurt, or start teething, or just feel ornery for more weeks on end. Just know that it is just a stage, and as long as you stay consistent, it too shall pass. Another good sleep resource is the lactation consultant at your hospital or pediatrician. Our pediatric lactation consultant is the most comforting woman on the planet. Just hearing Deb's voice on the phone calms me right down. I have never actually met on her in person, so my image of Deb the Lactation Consultant is a beatific deity, warmly consoling me as I fret about early morning waking.
7. Bumpo- this is a great baby "holder". Watch your child, and don't put it on high up surfaces. Duh. Of course, we all say "Duh", then end up putting the baby on the kitchen table in this thing (closely supervised, of course).
8. Baby Oxiclean. After it was given to me, I now give this at every shower. It is an absolute necessity. Your child will spit up, and have blowouts. It is inevitable. This will save those precious outfits from ruin. I have the spray and the powder.
9. Ultimate Crib Sheet- saves you time/effort when the above happens.
10. Tommy Tippee bibs- soft cloth for before solids, then the plastic ones with the pocket for later.
Honestly, that's pretty much it (other than the obvious, i.e. crib, glider, carseat, stroller, diaper pail, baby carrier (like a Baby Bjorn) pack and play). I have a jogger, and an expensive heavy stroller that worked with the carseat. In hindsight, I would have gotten whatever cheapo light stroller that went with my carseat, because once I could use the BOB at about 5-6 months, I have rocked it out. However, the light stroller is necessary for the mall, or other travel.
Now, if you live in an enormous house with multiple levels, ignore this advice. If like me, you live in a normalish house, and mainly really use 1 or 2 living areas, then here's a secret that I have learned the hard way. You don't need all the stuff. It's a big business, and it preys on people like me who are suckers for marketing (seriously, my friends made fun of me in college about it. It's why I majored in advertising).
Things that I had that I didn't need (in no particular order)
- The Padalily, or its permutations- um, this is not helpful. Please haul around 30 pounds in the crook of your arm, and see if a little cushion helps. Clue? It does not.
- Wipe Warmer- yeah, your child is eventually going to feel a cold wipe. Better to let him/her face reality from the beginning.
- Bouncy Seat- something to trip over on our way to the swing
- jumperoo/exersaucer/doorway jumper thing/walker- Pick one. Take your baby to the store and play with all of them. Try to figure out which one he/she likes best. Purchase it, take it home, realize your sweet child no longer has any affection for the massive piece of plastic residing in your living room. Repeat, and repeat again. Dell Harper was fickle, and I was gullible. Just pick one of the above HUGE (besides doorway jumper) items of equipment and stick with it.
- Those grocery store cart/high chair cover things. Now, when Miss Priss first began sitting in a high chair at restaurants, this was very helpful, because it cushioned her when she was a little small. She grew, and I haven't seen it since. Trying to fit it on the buggy, while holding on to a wiggly baby, my purse, and my sanity just wasn't happening for me. If you are a big germaphobe, I am sure this is good. I was not, especially my the time my baby could ride in the buggy at the grocery store.
Things I didn't have and didn't need:
- Boppy Newborn lounger- how many things do you need to hold the baby? It will be in your lap most of the time, anyway. The baby, not the Boppy.
- Nap Nanny- borrowed one, Miss Priss hated, and I think they are illegal now anyway.
- bottle warmer- I just used warm water from the sink, and conserved my precious counterspace.
- bottle sterilizer. The dishwasher did just fine. See above re: counterspace.
Alright, mamas. I'm wrapping up this longwinded post and opening to discussion. What do you think is necessary? What am I missing/completely off base about? How do you keep your house from resembling a day care center (I'll tackle toys at a later date- they deserve their own post)? How do you keep it simple?