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As the day’s crept closer to my baby’s due date, I felt as if I was fully prepared. I had read the books, and I scoured the internet for all the must haves. Every article that I read on baby products led me to Amazon. I was going to have all the supplies I needed when baby arrived.
After baby was born, I quickly learned that every baby is different. Just because a parent swears by a product doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a must buy for your baby. I wasted a lot of money on products I didn’t need.
As I got to know my daughter a little better, picking out items that would help both of us, became much easier. Yes, it’s important to be prepared, but sometimes waiting to see what type of baby you will have may save you a little money. As parents, we all understand the importance of conserving cash.
There were, however, some products that I swear by. These helped my child, and me, be more comfortable in our brand new surroundings.
Easing the Sleep Concerns
Being a new mom is the most frightening experience I have ever felt. I lost a lot of sleep in the beginning months because I was overly obsessed with SIDS. The fact that she has made it to her first birthday has been such a relief for me. I am no longer obsessing about her sleeping situation. When I was, however, these products helped ease the worry a little bit.
Halo Sleep Sack – This wearable blanket let me know that baby was both warm and safe in her crib. The sleep sack kept her snug without concern of loose fabric blocking her breathing. My little one wore these right up until nine months. (The recommended sleep safety with a blanket is after 12 months)
V-Tech Baby Video Monitor – Our baby has been sleeping in the room with us since day one. Even with her being so close, I still kept the monitor on my night stand. I could glance over through out the night to make sure she was sleeping well without having to get up. My husband made fun of me for this, but it eased my anxiety. Having this monitor also allowed me to get things done during nap time without having to continually check on her. A quick glance at the monitor eliminated any hazardous attempt to creep into the room quietly. Equipped with a microphone, I was able to hear my baby cry out for me if I walked away from the monitor.
Going Hands Free
If your baby is anything like mine, then they want to be held all the time. Putting my little one down was a tough job, and usually took multiple attempts. Getting anything done was out of the question. So, I invested in a couple carriers.
Moby Wrap – This wrap was perfect for my baby’s first couple of months. It swaddled her against me, where she felt safe and secure. She would fall asleep snuggled against my chest, and I could walk the dog, do the laundry, wash dishes, and work on my writing.
Infantino Carrier – This carrier was perfect for my baby as she started to grow out of the wrap. I could carry her facing me with her butt and legs supported. As she got bigger, I could flip her around to see the world. This was great for carrying groceries in the house, taking the dog outside for a quick break, and checking the mail. As my little one grows bigger, she can still be carried on my back with a quick switch from front to back.
Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges
Unfortunately, we ended our breastfeeding journey when my baby was 3 months due to lack of supply and lactose sensitivity. However, I still got to experience breastfeeding long enough to understand just how incredibly hard it can be. These tools helped me stay afloat for a little while.
Spectra Pump – Pumping sucks, both literally and figuratively, but it was great when I needed a break or had to utilize a bottle. The Spectra pump was easy to use and made a newbie pumper like me feel like a pro. Cleaning was a breeze.
Medela Ointment – Whether you pump or specifically breastfeed, those nipples can get pretty sore. Some days I felt as if I could not possibly breastfeed any longer for that reason alone. They were hitting their limit. Once I invested in some good ointment, however, it was a game changer.
Lansinoh Nursing Pads – If you’re nursing then there’s a good chance your going to leak a little bit, if not a lot-a-bit. Nursing pads where a great way to save my clothes from the blotchy patch work of the leaking breast milk. It also kept the ointment off of my bra.
Lounge-wear Bralettes – When it comes to clothes, I have learned to only purchase items that I am going to get multiple use out of. So, I didn’t spend a lot of money on maternity clothes, and I refused to buy nursing attire. I had comfortable and loose pieces already in my closet that were great for breastfeeding. One thing I did purchase were lounge-wear bralettes. The pads stuck wonderfully to them, and they were so comfortable I could sleep in them. They were super stretchy and easy to maneuver. I still wear them today.
Boppy Pillow – This pillow saved my life. I just wrapped it around my waste and stuck my little darling to my boob. If she fell asleep, she would be comfortable and I was hands free to use the remote to binge my favorite Netflix. I continued to use the Boppy during bottle feedings, and it was even a great prop for baby while she learned to sit on her own. At one year old, she still uses it to relax on.
From Trash to Treasure
Hitting on the point where every parent and baby are different – There were a few products that made my life easier, which many parents have stated were useless in their own parenting endeavors.
Bathtub – Many parents that I have spoken with have said that their baby tub was useless. They never even used it, or they used it once and then never again. The baby bathtub was a great investment for us. As a new mom, a baby in water can be nerve wracking. The tub gave us piece of mind with slip free features and it adjusted as baby grew. At 12 months we have ended our journey with the Boon Soak 3-Stage Bathtub and have graduated to the “Big Girl Tubby.” Our new toddler is excited for the foam letters and tub crayons, and I cry over the memories of the baby tub.
Jogger Stroller – I’ve heard a few mom’s say that the jogger was worthless and not worth the money. As a runner, however, I completely disagree. The shocks on the Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller are amazing and it is supper easy to maneuver. Her transition from attached car seat to big girl stroller was a breeze. She giggles when we take it out for a jog. I could not love this thing any more than I do, and swear that it was a great investment.
Sit-In Walkers – Our little tyke was not a tummy gal, but was impatient to explore the world. Once she was able to sit comfortably with support, we plopped her in a sit in walker and there was no turning back. Sit-in walkers can be incredibly dangerous when you are not supervising your child and some studies have suggested that walkers can actually reduce an infants development to walk, so I could understand why some parents were against it. For our little one, however, the Baby Einstein Sea & Explore Walker was a delightful change of scenery, and it helped strengthen her core. As soon as she started pulling herself up, we took it away and introduced the push walker. At 13 months, she is walking just fine.
Spending all day with just your mom, with no siblings, and no near by extended family, can be difficult for ones social developments. So, separation anxiety struck us, and it struck us hard. We brought her to a specialist for some expert advice, began baby classes at the local library, and we introduced the Lovey
Blanket Buddy – It’s amazing how much power one little blanket pal can have. This thing has done wonders for our little gal’s development. She’s learning to work through her frustrations and fears, all with the help of this adorable little guy. She doesn’t go anywhere with out it, we’ve had a few close calls with losing it, but it has gotten her through some pretty tough nights and has taken her out of her shell. She went from cocooned caterpillar, to little social butterfly.
Money Down the Drain
In contrast to items we swear by, some products that most parents use religiously just didn’t work for us.
Bassinet – Hated it. Wouldn’t sleep in it! Thank you, Next! (Ariana Grande reference). Thank goodness we went for a simple, not so expensive one because it was a waste.
Pack and Play –“ Yeah right, mom. I am a wild flower. You are not leaving me in that junk!” Placing our little tornado in the pack and play required ear plugs. I never got the hot shower while the little one played peacefully in her pack and play. Nor was I able to get things done around the house while she stayed busy in her little room of excitement. She refused to sit in it, and she definitely would not sleep in it.
Swaddle blankets – Thankfully these were later used as regular blankets. The second our little bean found her hands it was bye bye swaddle. She did not mind the Moby wrap against my chest, but any attempt to wrap her in a swaddle, and the neighbor was calling the police. “Hello, 911, I think there’s a child in trouble.” No, that’s just my screaming burrito.
Shoes – First of all, as an infant they don’t really serve a purpose other than looking fricken adorable. Unfortunately, our little Thornberry is convinced that they don’t belong on her little feet. As soon as you put them on, she kicks them off. As her walking legs develop, it has been a fight trying to get her use to having paper weights on her feet. Socks have a time limit before they are torn off, but shoes. Nope, not on her feet.
Adjusting to my new life as a mother was difficult for me. I loved my baby more than I could possibly love anyone or anything else. Yet, I just couldn’t figure out the whole mother thing. For my beautiful baby, I did my very best. By her first birthday, I finally began to feel more confident in my own skin and in my new role. That is why I swear by the products that helped me survive my first year. It made my transition into motherhood so much easier, especially during my time of struggle. I would absolutely recommend all of these products to any mom, feeling a bit like a mess, her first year.
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