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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things you'll need to survive the first year (or so) of motherhood:

Baby Signing Time. Seriously, find it at the library, or buy it used on Craigslist, or buy it on their website... whatever it takes! Get it. Use it. Your baby will not only communicate with you in the CUTEST way, but you'll also get an extra bonus out of it: enough time to shower. It's entertaining enough to keep your baby occupied for at least 15-20 minutes.

A baby swing. If you're deciding between a pack-n-play and a swing, or something else like that, choose a swing. If your baby has trouble sleeping or won't allow you to take a shower, you will thank the lord for your baby swing.

Flannel sheets. Cotton sheets are cute and cheap, but they get cold to the touch. Just when you rock that baby to sleep and feel like you could finally lay down for some rest, you transfer your baby to the crib and find the baby screaming from the change in temperature. Flannel sheets don't get so cold, and they're softer, so I found they help the baby transition from my arms to their bed. On the rare occasions that actually happened. ;)

Bouncer.
There are a lot of big baby items you definitely don't need. This is NOT one of them. If you ever plan to have a shower again, this is a must-buy item.  Try to find one with a vibrate function. They love that.

Spend your entire pregnancy learning how to tie one of those amazing slings around your body and baby. I don't have any idea how people do that, but every time I see a mom wearing her baby and her arms free to do other things (like shop, or scratch her nose), I think about how incredible it would have been. SERIOUSLY. Not all slings are created equal! My mom bought me a sling when I had Max, and I was so excited, but it turned out to just make him mad (and we started too late; he was already used to being free).

Gripe Water.
Not every baby gets Colic. But mine did, and Gripe Water seriously, seriously helped! Calmed my baby's tummy and helped him go to sleep when NOTHING else, and I mean NOTHING else would work. Think of it as your cup of hot tea. It's herbal and helps soothe without any chemicals, and I found that the baby liked the taste, too.

White Noise Machine
Some people (like my friend Jenn) have babies who sleep from the very first week they come home from the hospital. This is obscenely offensive to people like me who never got a moment of rest! If you find that your baby doesn't sleep well, the VERY first thing you need to buy (don't buy one before you know if your baby will have this particular issue, you might not need it!) is a white noise machine. My mom bought us this $25 one when Asher was a baby, and I cannot even tell you how it changed my life. He was particularly fond of the cricket noise... which drove everyone insane except me. To me that sound meant sleep, and I would gladly listen to it for months on end if it meant I could rest. Babies are used to hearing the constant swooshing of your bodily fluids, so a constant sound is seriously soothing to them. A quiet room is much different from what they're accustomed to.

Sleep Sac
I can't rave about this enough! The link here is totally random; I have no idea if that's a decent price or not, it's just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about. The sleep sac is a snuggie for babies. It's amazing. If you're like me, you'll spend sleepless nights worrying about your baby's safety because of the risk of SIDS. Every time I put a blanket in my baby's bed, I felt guilty because I knew it could suffocate him. The sleep sac is pajamas AND a blanket in one, without the risk of slipping up over the baby's face. Seriously amazing. I only bought one, you don't need a lot. Onesie + sleep sac is perfect for babies under a year. (After the baby can stand up in the crib, he won't want it anymore. It'll cramp his style! But by the time he's standing, he's pretty safe from SIDS anyway, right?)


The manufacture/advertising industry takes full advantage of moms-to-be. They have us convinced we need every little gadget and toy they've ever made, or our child will be fundamentally flawed in some way. As a poor mama, I am going to share some secrets with you.

Things you think you need but really don't need: 

A baby head rest. You know, it looks like an upside-down U and goes in the carseat? It's actually against SIDS recommendations to use them because babies can turn their head and stop breathing. I don't recommend this, and it voids your car seat's warranty as well, should something happen.

A cute diaper bag. You'll end up using whatever you can grab quickly anyway. If you insist on buying a cute diaper bag, buy it to match YOUR wardrobe, not your baby's. You're the one who will be hauling it around, not the baby. And if you expect your spouse to carry it around sometimes, it had better not be all pink and flowery.

Diaper warmer, wipes warmer. I never bought one of these, but when I asked Twitter what items they found were unnecessary, this is what I heard. My friend gave me a wipes warmer a while back, and I've got to admit, Max appreciated the lack of freezing cold wipes on his bum! But it's really, really not necessary. Again, we're talking about pinching pennies here.

Crib set. SIDS recommendations state that your baby should not sleep with bumper pads, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc. They are not only unnecessary, they are dangerous. I KNOW you want that adorable crib set. I know it's fun. I know it totally makes your nursery theme complete. Skip it anyway. 

Boppy. Unless you're breastfeeding twins, this will probably just take up space.

Bumbo. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome; I had one with Max, but it's really only worthwhile for about 2 weeks. If they're too small, they will slide right out. The minute they get too big, the bumbo is useless. For me this period only lasted a couple of weeks and then we sold it.

A crib. I know, I know, I'm kidding. But seriously, though, you picture yourself bringing your baby home and putting it in the crib and it's going to look so cute in there sleeping... in reality, your baby won't tolerate a crib with cold sheets for quite some time, so if you really can't afford to buy a crib right away, don't!

High Chair. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But if you're short on space and money, this is a definite SKIP. The bouncer works just as well for feeding little babies their baby food, and babies hate that high chairs anyway.

This is JUST my own opinion!!! I'm not paid to say any of this, and of course different things work for different people. Did I forget something? Add to my recommendations! Comments are so helpful to the new moms reading this. 
See also: Aubrey's Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth

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