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As a recovering germaphobe, I try not to go too overboard when it comes to sanitizing my world. Still, newborns have tiny, fragile immune systems, so I made a point to leave a bottle of gentle hand sanitizer in every room. As my newborns turned into solid, chubby babies, I grew more lenient, but no newborn needs to gnaw on public-transportation fingers. (Ew!)
Nursing is one of those things that seems like it should be so natural and easy, but the truth is, for many moms (myself included), it isn't. Using this ultra-supportive nursing pillow will help — so much so that I went and bought one myself after testing it out, even though I had received a similar product as a gift. Newborns nurse all. The. Time, and the Brest Friend was what helped me stick with it.
I pretty much wore one of these nursing tanks nearly every day for my entire nursing career. (In an act of serendipity, I'm wearing one now as I type.) I chose to breastfeed on the go, and wearing this under my clothes made me feel sufficiently covered without feeling restricted. The comfortable support is nice, too, since if you're like me, your girls will grow about three sizes post-baby.
As my body was first adjusting to nursing, I turned into a ravenous eater. I could match my husband, who's got a whole foot on me, bite for bite and still be hungry, so I ordered cases of energy bars (White Chocolate Macadamia flavor, please) to keep the hunger pangs at bay. I even kept a stash in the nursery, where I was known to put one (or two) away during a 3 a.m. feeding.
I'll just be blunt here: Nursing made my nipples feel like they were going to fall off. It got better, but not without a few sessions with a lactation consultant, lots of practice, and gobs and gobs of this soft, velvety nipple cream. It offered instant relief, and I didn't have to take it off before nursing again, which is no small victory: Rubbing cream off of cracked, bleeding nipples is not something I'd recommend. Trust me on this.
To binky or not to binky: It turns out that's the real question. The answer is going to be different for every baby and for every family, but for those who opt to use a pacifier to, well, pacify their crying babies, a Wubbanub just may be your favorite thing ever. The cleverness lies in the attached stuffed animal, which both entertains and weighs down the pacifier, making it harder for a baby to spit it out...again and again and again.
There are many different ways to parent, but one thing that should be non-negotiable is creating a safe sleeping environment for babies. At the newborn stage, that means no loose blankets, stuffed animals, loveys — anything that poses a suffocation risk. I dressed my boys in these muslin swaddles to keep them warm and snug, and the fact that they looked like little baby burritos made it even better.
I sobbed — sobbed — that first night at home as a new mom. I was terrified that something would happen to our son, and I spent those first few weeks compulsively checking the video monitor and sneaking into his room to make sure he was okay. Then, someone told us about this monitor, which is placed under the crib and sounds an alarm if it no longer detects movement from the baby. It's important to note it's not a medical device, but it provided us the peace of mind we needed to sleep soundly (or as soundly as our newborn let us).
Babies need so. Much. Stuff. If you followed every registry suggestion religiously, you'd likely need a bigger house to stash all your gear, which I why I opted for pieces that served multiple purposes whenever possible. These muslin blankets fit that bill: They can be used as a swaddle, a play mat, a burp cloth, a sun shade and bug shield, a nursing cover...the list goes on. Stash one in your car, one in your diaper bag, and one in every room of the house.
Some people swear by a silent room to ensure a silent night. I am not one of those people. Each of my boys has had one of these dual-speed sound machines in their room since birth. The gentle, adjustable whirring lulls them to sleep, and unlike other sound machines, they don't shut off after a set period of time. There's nothing more depressing than a baby woken prematurely (thanks, mailman), so this is essential in my book.
To me, there's nothing sweeter than a squishy, happy baby wearing a plain, white onesie. The challenge, of course, is getting the onesie to stay white when formidable forces like spit-up, drool, and yes, even poop try their hardest to keep my whites from looking pristine. I buy about a pack or two of these in every size from newborn to 24 months and use them almost daily.
Oh, the Whoozit. I suppose there are other products that perform similar functions, but this silly-faced plush toy has always been a favorite of my family's. It squeaks, it squishes, it rattles, crinkles — in other words, it entertains. The bold black-and-white pattern on the back appeals to newborns, and the danglies and doohickeys are fun to explore as a baby grows. I've been known to tie a Whoozit in with the ribbon on baby-shower gifts in hopes of spreading the Whoozit love.
I remember the exact moment my first son noticed these playful stroller toys dangling over his head. I had attached them to his car seat handle before he was born, and then one day, we went out for a stroll and I realized he was just staring at them. The New York skyline didn't impress him, and he found views of the Hudson a little lacking, but these toys? It was like they were the most amazing thing he'd ever seen.
My sleeper pick for baby essentials has to be these textured, colorful, plastic links. They're the sort of thing you can never have too much of, which is good since you'll probably lose them all the time. (Or was that just me? Hmm.) Use them to attach toys to car seats, strollers, activity centers and more, or just play with them on their own. I like to connect them in rainbow-ombré order, which my sons never fully appreciated, but it made me happy, so...it's the little things.
Between bottles, pacifiers, and chewable, plastic toys, that's a lot of things for Mom to keep clean. Yes, you can certainly fill a pot with 800 gallons of water, wait 10 years for it to boil, and try to take the items out without scalding yourself, or you can just buy a box of these sterilizing bags. Simply drop the items you need cleaned, add in a splash of water, microwave, and voila, you're done. Each bag can be reused up to 20 times, which should at least get you through the first day or two of motherhood.
Like many baby items, an infant tub isn't technically necessary — you could just use the sink like your mom probably did with you. That said, it certainly makes life much easier, which I'm all about these days. Do whatever works for you, though, because at the end of the day, don't we all just want to make sure our babies are happy, healthy and (relatively) clean?
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