Becoming a new mom is like starting a new job with no prior experience. But, you’ve accepted the position so now you have to go in and give it your all, “winging” it if necessary. Although you have no prior experience, lucky for you, there are plenty of more seasoned moms that do. Who better to seek out for advice, tips, ideas, and suggestions to make your transition into motherhood as smooth as possible, than other mothers who have already walked in your shoes and been where you are now-clueless. Talking to other moms can be the most valuable resource you have to help make the first year of your new “job” the most satisfying and rewarding position you have ever had. Here is the list of must-haves that I gathered for myself when I was “hired”. If you’ve ever wondered “What are the best items for new babies?”, here is my list to help get you started.
Snuggle Nest: The Snuggle Nest is like a little bassinet for your bed. In the early months, most new moms want their baby right next to them or at least in the same room. Having the Snuggle Nest will let you have that option and is also a great way to co-sleep with your baby without the fear of rolling over on him. It also helps keep your baby properly positioned. It is a bit pricey and does not last very long since your baby will outgrow it quickly, but again, a good investment for your piece of mind. A bonus is that it has a removable LED nightlight, which isn’t bright enough to wake the baby, but is bright enough to turn on if you need to check your baby in the middle of the night which you’ll probably do often. It folds up for easy storage and provides an incline if your baby does not like to lie flat or has acid reflux.
Swaddle Blanket: After you give birth, typically you have help from the wonderful nurses assigned to you during your hospital stay. They will help you with feeding your baby whether you choose to nurse or bottle feed, show you how to properly bathe him, clean his (or her) “private” parts, care for and clean the umbilical cord, change diapers, and swaddle him. If you are new to the whole swaddling thing like I was, this can prove to be an extremely difficult feat when you are recovering from birthing your baby and realizing what the true meaning of sleep deprivation is. I’m here to tell you…unless you know what you’re doing, swaddling can really stress you out when your new bundle of joy is screaming his head off after surviving your first attempt at diaper change (which can seem like a 10 minute process in itself). His screaming then gets louder and longer while you are wrestling with the blanket trying to swaddle him again after one of your nurses did it previously and made it look so darn easy. NOT!
Trust me on this-I know what I’m talking about…go get yourself a couple of the SwaddleMe blankets BEFORE your baby is born and bring them to the hospital with you. They take all of the guesswork and unnecessary stress out of what could be a swaddling nightmare disaster for you. All you have to do is put your baby’s feet right there in the pre-made pocket where they go, and fold over the other two side to meet the Velcro. Voila! You have a nicely swaddled baby with no crying…yours or his! Get one! They come in sizes large, small, and preemie and are available in a variety of colors.
Video Baby Monitor: Summer Infant Deluxe Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor was a lifesaver for me. I only wish I had it when when my first son was born. The first monitor I had was just a regular one where if you could hear past the constant static it put out, you might have been able to actually hear your baby if he needed you. Plus I couldn’t see my baby so I wasn’t completely satisfied unless I went into his room to see him and not just hear him. When I had my second son, I got this video monitor and I LOVED it! What a huge difference for my piece of mind. It is in color, has a 2.5 inch screen, has great reception and best of all, you can buy another camera for it and use it with the same monitor! I put a camera in my new baby’s room and another camera in my older son’s room and by sliding the switch on the monitor, I was able to see both babies sleeping…or not, and I didn’t even have to leave my own bed! It has night vision and works incredibly well in the dark as any little available light will help make a difference in the picture clarity. The closer you can place it to your baby the better, but it works well even from across the room. I HIGHLY recommend this monitor. We got years of use out of it and the ability to add another camera really makes it worthwhile if you have more than one little one. It is on the top of my list of MUST HAVES!
Baby Sling: What would I have ever done without my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder? Definitely a MUST HAVE! This sling saved me time and again. I had an extremely colicky baby who always wanted to be held and my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder made it easy on the baby and my back! It was great to often be able to do things and have both hands available while I was still carrying my baby. An added bonus is that you can nurse discreetly while wearing your baby which I loved. Wearing this sling enabled me to keep my baby calm, cozy and close to me in the natural position that he was used to being in for the 9 months he was growing inside me. To this day I still don’t “get” those other baby carriers where the baby’s legs just hang out. To me, it just looks very uncomfortable. With this sling, there are a number of different ways you can use it to carry your baby and it comes with a video to show you how to use it. There are now several different types of slings on the market, but this one has a lot of padding which makes it more comfortable on both you and your baby so keep that in mind if you look at other slings.
It comes in a ton of different colors and patterns to choose from too so you aren’t limited to just one. Various online retailers carry different patterns so you should look to find one you like. We had a good experience with SlingBaby.com and I’m sure there are many others out there. Just make sure it is an actual Over the Shoulder Baby Holder sling. Love, love, love this sling! In fact, I was sad when my kids outgrew it.
Buggy Bagg: If you’re a shopper then this is a MUST HAVE for you! It keeps your baby cozy and clean from germ infested shopping carts. Since I got my first Buggy Bagg Shopping Cart Cover 6 years ago there have been a number of other shopping cart liners that have become available but in my opinion, none of them can compare. I will say that it is a little pricey but this is an instance where you really do get what you pay for. It is extremely well made, is very padded, and comes with a detachable pillow that most other shopping cart liners do not have. It fits great on any shopping cart as well as the larger carts from Costco, BJ’s or Sams Club. The pillow is a good addition too because at 4 months (the recommended age for use of the BB) you can actually lay your baby horizontally inside the Buggy Bagg while in the front seat of the cart and have his head rest on the pillow while his body fits perfectly across the seat. My babies have often fallen asleep in there too which was very nice because I could get my shopping done and not have to worry about how I was going to fit all of my items in the bottom of my stroller! Another added bonus of the BB is that you can also use it to line the inside of restaurant high chairs which we all know can be extremely dirty and disgusting! Like the sling, the Buggy Bagg also comes in a variety of patterns and colors to choose from. I know that Babies ‘R Us carries at least one pattern but there are others out there you can find online.
Snap and Go Stroller: Oh how I loved this stroller! Although it won’t be your only stroller once your baby outgrows his infant car seat, it is well worth the $60! IF you are using an infant car seat that doubles as a carrier, than the Baby Trend Single Snap N’ Go Stroller is a MUST HAVE! It makes life so much easier because there is no need to transfer your baby from his car seat to a stroller-especially if he’s sleeping! In the early months, being able to do this is a huge plus for you and for baby! Oh and let me not forget to mention how incredibly light the Snap N’ Go Stroller is! Once you place the car seat back in its base, the only thing to pick up and put in the trunk is the frame which IS the Snap N’ Go Stroller. So so light and easy to transport and even better…SMALL! It takes up very little room in the trunk so you have plenty of space left. Did I mention how much I loved this stroller? Another item I was sad to see go when my babies outgrew their infant car seat.
Cloth Diapers: I know what you’re thinking…I’m not going to spend all my time washing cloth diapers, not to mention dealing with the hassle of trying to put them on my baby and keep them on. Well, I agree! I’m sure the tree huggers out there say they are better for the environment and will prevent cluttering our landfills, but they just weren’t going to be an option for us. So why am I recommending them? We bought a couple of packs of these cloth diapers because they have a million uses around the house for when you have a baby, and well after your babies have grown. We’re still using them 6+ years later. They are very soft, padded (make sure you get padded ones) and absorbent so you can use them as burp cloths, changing pads, wiping dirty faces and noses, cleaning spit up, wiping diaper rashed bottoms, etc. It’s also a good idea to keep one or two in the car for the same reasons. You can’t have enough of these things lying around. Once you start using them, you’ll be amazed how many different things you can use them for and you’ll be washing them constantly to make sure you have clean ones available.
Boppy Nursing Pillow: The Boppyis a great item for nursing/feeding your baby and also for sitting or lounging around the house. It helps support your baby while you are feeding him which makes it easier for both of you. It also helps to support him while he is learning to sit up. It makes it easy to put your baby on the floor in the middle of the room so you can keep an eye on him. The Boppy comes in a variety of patterns and the covers are washable. You can buy a Bare Naked Boppy (just the pillow itself) and then purchase the slipcover(s) separately if you desire to have different patterns or more than one so you can wash one and still have one available to use. Their website Boppy.com has a lot of information on the different ways to use it and pictures of the many different patterns available.
These were some of the best baby items I used with my kids and I hope you’ll find some of them as useful as I did!