12 Must Have Baby Items (That Will Make Your Life Easier)
Life with a newborn can be quite exhausting. There are the sleepless nights, frequent feeds, heaps of diaper changes and evenings where nothing seems to calm bub down. Especially, when your are a first time mom things can get a little difficult at times. That is why, it is even more important to have the right baby gear to make everyday life a lot easier. When creating your baby registry, make sure to add life saving must have baby items you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Honestly, I did not expect how hard the first weeks with a new baby could be. Soon, I started to appreciate the value of a few very handy things helping me through surprisingly stressful times. These items proof to be real life savers. Here are 12 must have newborn baby products that shouldn’t be missing on any baby registry.
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When I was expecting, I was so sure that I did not want or need a bassinet. I had a cot. Most new cots are complying with the Australian Safety Standards, while there are none for bassinets. So it seemed like a no brainer. What would you ever need a bassinet for? Well, where do you put your newborn when you have to go to the toilet/ start cooking/ do stuff during the day? A good bassinet on wheels with breathable mesh sides and a snug fitting new mattress is the best solution. The baby can safely lie on the back, stretch out and snooze close by while you have your hands free to do whatever you need to do anywhere around the house. A bassinet turned out to be the baby item that I do not want to miss. For some reason, at first my baby even seemed to have a better sleep in the bassinet at day time than in the cot at night.
Gosh, do I love my change table! Despite many peoples opinion that you won’t need one, I depend on this thing. Since I thought change tables are overrated, I did not want to get one. But I was given a hand-me-down and now I really appreciate having it. First of all, my change table holds everything that I need in a convenient place right at hand: Not only nappies, wipes and grooming items, but also change clothes, towels, blankets and even books. By now, all my baby’s clothes have wandered from the drawers to underneath the change table as it turned into a mobile pit stop. During the day it will be in the living room and at night it follows us into the bed room. Furthermore, with a change table you can change your baby at a perfect height without putting a strain on your back by bending down. Apart from that, I wouldn’t want to change my baby boy anywhere else, since he prefers to pee and poo as soon as the nappy comes off.
3. Swaddle Up
Way back in school, I learned about the dangers of swaddling: Deformed body parts, hip dysplasia, difficulties to breath deeply and inhibited circulation. Instead, I bought cellular blankets, but it turned out that I was too afraid to use them, because I feared they could become loose. Plus, the startle reflex woke my baby as soon as I put him in his cot. For the first week, I did not get any sleep whatsoever. My niece recommended the Love To Dream Swaddle Up. It was live changing! Since I have been using the Swaddle Up and later the Transition Suits, I get the best sleep. From three weeks on my boy would sleep 4-5 hours uninterruptedly. These swaddle bags are a safe, very quick way to make your bub feel secure and warm during the night. The best part is that the baby can sleep in a very natural position in contrast to regular swaddles. A Love To Dream Swaddle Up allows natural self-soothing behavior without letting the startle reflex get in the way of good sleep. (Read more about the startle reflex).
4. Play Mat
If you have a playful baby like mine, you definitely want to have a play mat. Bub can lie and play on it safely without being able to fall off somewhere. Furthermore, lying on a play mat is more comfortable than a towel on the floor. Play mats are gentler under baby’s head, while not being too soft and therefore potentially dangerous. All in all, a play mat is a safe place for letting bub play with toys or discover the own little hands and legs. You can even lie next to your baby while reading a book together (Read here about 5 Awesome Books For Babies). For practicing tummy time a play mat is essential. And if you chose an activity gym as a play mat, the dangling toys will help your little one developing and strengthening motoric skills, too. There is a whole heap of different play mats and activity gyms to chose from, but all of them guarantee a stress-free and safer play and learning environment.
For a mom whose baby is suffering from reflux, a bouncer can be a huge helper. Less due to the bouncing function, but more due to the baby’s inclined position. Since infants with reflux have a hard time lying down on their backs, a bouncer can be a great way to keep bub in an upright angle. (Read more about Infant Reflux here). When I have to hold my son upright all day, which makes it impossible to interact properly, he gets bored. With the BabyBjorn Bouncer this problem was solved. Bub can even use this bouncer seat up to 2 years of age. Yet, newborns can safely sit in it while you have your hands free. Due to an ergonomic design the head is well supported and doesn’t awkwardly (and dangerously) lie on the chest. This happens in many other infant seats/bouncers/swings I tested. Even if your baby doesn’t have reflux, a baby bouncer is a must-have item that keeps baby entertained close by while mom can have a well deserved shower or relax a little.
Musical Mobiles are great! They are more versatile than you might think. First of all, musical mobiles can be very soothing and therefore, calm restless babies down. Watching the animals move in circles while listening to the classical tunes or lullabies can put babies to sleep. If your baby is in a playful mood, though, it can keep your little one entertained in his/her bassinet net to you, while you can get things done. Furthermore, a mobile has developmental benefits. Trying to reach for the dangling, moving figures can improve an infants hand-eye coordination. While trying to focus on the moving, colorful objects can foster visual development. And who knows, maybe the classical tunes will turn your little one in a virtuoso or even enhance the brain development.
I know, a lot of people swear by bathing their babies in the kitchen sink. But I am not a fan of that. A drain’s sharp metal edges or a hard plug near a baby’s bum and a tab lingering close to the head just doesn’t seem very safe to me. I definitely prefer a baby bath tub for several reasons. Not only can a proper baby bath tub be the safest option, but also the handiest. As you might have noticed, mobility is an important factor to me when it comes to baby gear. A baby bath tub can be placed wherever needed. This means, in winter I can place it in the coziest corner of the house. Baby bath tubs don’t have to be expensive. A cheap, safe baby bath tub will do the job, too. Though there are luxurious baby bath tubs with awesome gadgets, like a scale, which can become extra handy.
Considering that some babies are born with teeth, it should be no surprise that some babies start teething very early. My boy, for example, started teething at 9 weeks old. You really want to be prepared for this event, as your baby gets really fuzzy and is in a lot of discomfort. Most babies won’t start teething until 4 to 5 months of age, but it can’t hurt to have a teether ready, just in case. A teething baby will appreciate a good, soft teether. There are many different styles. For the early stages, the softer the teether, the better. Make sure you look out for non-toxic material. I highly recommend Sophie La Giraffe by Villu. It is an awesome, soft, non-toxic teether. You can get it in the classic shape or different ring shaped ones. Those can easily be held by very tiny hands. Keep away from teething gels and powders, as they can cause harm, especially in very young babies.
If you’re breastfeeding, a good nursing pillow is an absolute must-have. A proper nursing pillow gives you and your baby great support during feeding sessions. In the early phases, when feeds can be really long, nursing can put a strain on your shoulders. A nursing pillow prevents tension and pains in your arms and shoulders while feeding. Since baby is in the perfect height and position, a good nursing pillow allows you to nurse hands-free from time to time. Given, your baby cannot roll off and you are watching! Important is that the nursing pillow is safe. It should be firm, so your baby can’t sink in, prevent baby from rolling off, and put bub at the right height. Nursing pillows come in all shapes and sizes. I found the original Boppy Pillow is the best. It fulfills all the criteria mentioned above and is not too bulky. It can be used anywhere and on the go. As soon as the baby is old enough, it can also be used for propping bub up, tummy time and as support when sitting.
10. Night Light
For nightly feeds and quick checks on baby, a night light is a great thing to have. Bright ceiling lights are likely to wake the baby and to make it harder to fall back to sleep. It is important for infants to experience a clear difference between night and day. A soft, dim light creates a calmer and less stimulating atmosphere. Therefore, it can help to establish a better sleeping routine. Furthermore, night lights can support visual development. When your baby wakes up, it is not as strenuous on the eyes as a completely dark or completely bright environment. A dimmable, warm light is recommendable, because you can adjust it to your needs. Additionally, a night light like the GroEgg, lets you keep an eye on the right room temperature, so you can assure that baby is going to have a good and safe sleep. Generally, this is a great purchase, because your little one might appreciate sleeping with a child proof night light once she/he is older, as well. I am using this one.
One of the scariest parts of having a tiny human, is probably cutting the nails. With a wriggly baby that has jerky hand movements you don’t really want to use those nail scissors or clippers. I bought a baby nail grooming set. Trying it out, I noticed that it is actually a lot sharper than any adult nail clippers and scissors I ever owned. That scared me too much. So I only used simple files which were honestly pretty bad, took ages and made me think that I probably ruin my babies nails. But then I came across an electric nail file for babies. It’s safe, quick and quiet. While your baby is asleep you can quickly trim those crazily tiny nails in a safe way that doesn’t mess with the nail structure. This is the best baby grooming tool ever!
I should have bought The Wonder Weeks way earlier! When my boy was about 5 weeks old, every night at the same time he started crying for no apparent reason. My husband and I were trying everything to calm him down, but nothing worked. My aunt (a mom of a 2-year old and an infant) recommended The Wonder Weeks. When I read this book, suddenly everything made sense. It guides you through the different developmental leaps, gives advice on dealing with those strenuous, crying peaks, and suggests games and toys to encourage baby’s development. Most importantly, it helps you understand your baby and her/his view of the world. You even can get The Wonder Weeks App, which makes a great addition to the book. The book itself gives you good, detailed insights and therefore, better understanding than the app only. The Wonder Weeks book can really safe your sanity during the tougher times of parenthood. A definite must-have item for parents with children up to 20 months of age.
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