Nicki - posted on 10/16/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )
I have some very good friends that are pregnant for the first time or have just had new babies themselves, and although I'm still new at this and learning more every day, in some ways I feel like the old pro. So, I started thinking...there are some things that I just feel that a new mom should not live without, and many of these no one ever told me about, so I feel that by passing it along hopefully I can make at least one new mom's life a little less hectic and a little more convenient...
10. Bottle Sling: I never actually got this one because I just found out about it, but MANY times when I found myself traveling, cleaning the house, trying to make dinner, or take a shower when the baby decided he was hungry, I would think to myself, wouldn't it be cool if there was something you could attach to the carseat to hold the bottle for you? Well, guess what...someone else thought of that too! Now that my little one has fewer feedings and can hold it himself I don't see the need to get it, but ESPECIALLY my friend who is having twins should check it out...www.bottlesling.com
9. Video monitor: This is one that also I have yet to buy, but it will be my next purchase. I laughed at my friends who lived in tiny houses that bought a video monitor before their first child. I said it was a waste of money because you are going to be right there anyway and if you do feel the need for a monitor, just get a regular old audio monitor because you will definitely be able to tell what they need by hearing their specific cries. Besides, if their babies are as loud as my son...you don't need one at all to hear him all over the house. However...now that my lo is 7 months old, he is pulling himself up and trying all sorts of new skills in the crib. Many times he will wake up without making a sound and I will find him playing away all by himself, without every hearing him on the monitor. I want a video monitor primarily for my entertainment to see what he's actually doing in there, but to also make sure he isn't actually mastering the skill of climbing out of the crib when he's being so quiet. Sometimes, also he randomly wakes up in the middle of the night, and I'll hear him, but if I leave him alone he'll soothe himself back to sleep, but if I walk into the nursery, as soon as he hears me coming and sees me, he's reaching for me to get him, so forget about leaving that room without a fit. So, I think the video monitor would also be good to check on him without going in their in the middle of the night to see if he's just making noises and still lying down or if he is in fact up and awake. They are pretty expensive though, so that's why this is #9 on my list...compare top 10 monitors at http://babyproducts.about.com/od/sleepbe... ($99-$229)
8. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Lullaby Sea Horse: We found this at Wal-Mart when we were trying to train Gabriel on sleeping through the night. It lights up like the old fashioned GloWorms that I remember as a kid, and it plays lullabys. It is set to automatically shut off after 5 minutes, which pediatricians will say is the magic time when it comes to letting your baby "cry it out" when trying to get to sleep. We will lay him down when he is awake, but full, and tired, and if he fusses, we'll push the seahorse, leave the room and with the music and ocean sounds, plus the soft light that catches his attention, it helps to soothe him right to sleep. If, after it shuts off, he is still fussing, we know it has been 5 minutes, so we will go back in there, but we tried this for 3 nights and that's all it took to get him to fall asleep on his own and sleep through the night...and almost every time he stopped and fell asleep before the seahorse stopped. The only downside is that if your lo rolls over and turns it on in his sleep, the music is a little loud, so it could do the opposite effect and wake him up. I would definitely recommend it, though. There is NO better thing than when your baby starts sleeping through the night! http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=2... ($12.99)
7. Precious Planet Car Mirror with Remote Control: This one we also found at Wal-Mart and it would be EVEN better if we would keep the batteries charged. First of all, you can find mirrors everywhere that allow you to see your lo in your rear view mirror when he/she is in a rear facing carseat, so you need one of those, but a brilliant addition to that is the colorful safari animals with lights and music that Fisher Price has made WITH A REMOTE CONTROL! Genius! You put the remote on your sun visor and when you are all alone in the car and your baby decides to start screaming for no reason, push the button and the music and lights start. Push it again to stop. This will hopefully entertain your baby...for a little while, lol! This is great because you can keep your eyes on the road, where they need to be and your hands on the steering wheel for a safer ride, and with your baby calmed down, you will be much less distracted. http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=7... ($20)
6. Powdered Formula Dispenser: Sometimes if you are out for a while, one bottle just won't do, but you don't wanna make more and have them ruin if you don't have a way to keep them cold. An entire can of formula takes up too much room in your diaper bag, and everything else I tried would either spill out or I wouldn't remember how much was in it. So, a friend of mine told me about this...should have been a no-brainer. Something so simple, yet it made my life so much more convenient. A little plastic container with three compartments that measures exactly 8 oz of formula in each, with a secure, snap on lid and a spout. It's super handy to have for mixing a bottle in a hectic situation...if you are bottle feeding, YOU NEED IT! You have 3 feedings there...on the ready. Add water and you are good to go. I just have it filled all the time in my diaper bag so no matter where I am, I don't have to worry. http://www.munchkin.com/products/detail.... ($2.99)
5. Bumbo: My mom wanted to get this while Gabriel and I were visiting in Tennessee this summer, and I had no idea how expensive a piece of rubber could be. I told her it was unnecessary because he would be sitting on his own by the time we visited again. She, being a grandma that spoils my son, insisted on getting it, and now, it's on my top ten list. I LOVE it. He got a point at around 3 months where he didn't want to lie down anymore. He had to see what was going on. Trying to prop him up with pillows in his bouncy didn't work and he was always wanting to sit straight up. I am so glad she got it because we've definitely gotten out money's worth. We used it for feedings, and for watching cartoons, and it is so light and handy to take along when you need to go to a restaurant and your baby doesn't wanna stay in the carseat/carrier, but is too little for the high chair. He can climb out of it now, so never set it on an elevated surface unless you are right there, but he still loves to play with it and uses it for feedings sometimes still. We loved it so much, we shipped it back to RI from TN, instead of leaving it at grandma's. http://www.bumbobabyseat.com/ ($40)
4. Baby Bjorn: These last four were super hard to prioritize because I WOULD NOT live without any of them. The Baby Bjorn is expensive. We got lucky and found ours at a yard sale for $5. There are similar (and probably just as good) baby carrier products out there for less, but the concept of a baby carrier is the ultimate point. We use it for everything. It has great support, so we don't even feel like we are carrying 18+ pounds. It is easier to use and you can use it for a LONG time. As a newborn, use it with baby facing you, with the head support flap up. After he/she gets older, turn him around and fold that flap down, and then he/she will be as happy as can be in looking around and feeling close to you. It works with babies from 8-25 lbs and is machine washable. You can get things done, and it's easier than the stroller sometimes. We have used ours at the beach, grocery shopping, gardening, cleaning, in the airport, and walking all around New York City! http://www.babybjorn.com (Around $80)
3. Baby Einstein DVDs: a.k.a. baby crack, lol...Get one or get them all, I don't really have any particular favorite, but I love every one that we have, and we have several. They have all kinds of themes like Baby Beethoven, Da Vinci, etc. It doesn't matter when or which one, but every time I put one in, my fussy, restless baby immediately stops everything and stares at the TV screen. By no means it is a substitute for parenting, and it is still up in the air on whether or not children actually learn anything from the videos, but I think everyone would agree that these videos are mesmerizing, even for adults. Created by a mom, these DVDs are each designed for specific ages, beginning with newborn, and are mainly just images flashing on the screen of shapes, toys, puppets, and photos of real babies and real animals, along with classical music in the background. They are thought to stimulate your child's brain, thus making him/her a "baby Einstein," lol. We even found our lo interested as young as 4 weeks old, and now at 7 months old, it is part of our daily routine, and no matter how many times he has seen one of them, he still sits and usually watches the entire thing (approx 26 min) without interruption. He is watching "Baby Monet" right now while I do this. As I said, it is not a substitute for YOU...you shouldn't just plop your baby in front of the TV and do nothing else, but we busy moms know how hard it is sometimes to do laundry, cook dinner, etc, while the baby is awake, so anything to keep my lo entertained for this long is definitely a must have! http://www.babyeinstein.com ($15.99)
2. Itzbeen: I don't use this much anymore, unless I'm administering medications, but even still it is right up there in my recommendations. I will never forget how overwhelmed I felt coming home from the hospital with my new baby. I had read the books, I had the notebook handy to document feedings, diaper changes, etc, and I thought I was ready...but then the "mommy brain" set in, with the anxiety, the tiredness, the hormones, and you forget EVERYTHING. The Itzbeen is so easy to use and it is an absolute necessity in my opinion for new mommies. It is a little electronic, battery-operated device that you can clip right to your diaper bag that has 4 buttons and a small screen. The buttons are for feedings, diaper changes, sleeping, and other (like medication). You push the button when baby begins a feeding, gets a diaper change, etc and it resets and displays how long it's been, so you don't have to try to remember! GENIUS! There is a digital clock at the bottom of the screen, and a night light as well. You can even set an alarm if you need to give meds every 4 hrs or whatever you want. It is so great! If you are nursing, it has a button at the bottom that you slide to L or R to indicate which side you last nursed on. Trust me, when you are super sleepy and waking up in the middle of the night, this is your best friend. You will take it everywhere and not have to worry about relying on your memory or keeping track of your notebook. After a while, you will learn your baby's routine, and not need it anymore, but I still think it should be on every new mom's baby registry!
1. Mommy's Bag of Makemehappy's: This is my name for it...derived from my goddaughter's name of her favorite Mexican restaurant which she refers to as "Makemehappy's" because her Daddy would say, "Fine we will go there if it will make you happy!" lol...Anyway, I put together this little bag of goody's for two of my good friends when they were pregnant because everyone want to buy "cute" things for your baby shower and these are things you are going to need, but you won't know that you need them until you NEED them, and chances are, no one is going to buy you these practical products at your shower. I carry around a little "emergency kit" in my diaper bag with Mylicon (gas drops), Baby Tylenol, Baby Motrin, and Baby Orajel (for teething). I also have a small bottle of Germ-ex in there which I use for EVERYTHING. Can't ever be too careful with bacteria when you are out. Sometimes you've tried feeding, changing, rocking, bouncing, and NOTHING works. Gabriel had horrible gas pains when he was a newborn and we didn't know what was wrong. Mylicon was our best friend. Now that he's teething we do not leave the house without Orajel (for the instant fix) and Motrin (for the longer term relief). Keep these things in a little bag ready to go in your diaper bag with a medicine dropper and you will hopefully have a happy baby, which in turn means...happy mommy! http://www.mylicon.com, www.Orajel.com/Baby, www.tylenol.com, www.Motrin.com (around $5-11)
Every parent is different, as is every baby, so you will find what works for you, but I hope that I hope you found this helpful! I am going to be more than likely updating this list more and more as the needs of my lo change and I learn more of what is out there. If there is a product that you can't live without, post it and let me know!
Good luck, Mommies!