When you’re pregnant or have a new baby, suddenly you start receiving advice from every angle. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s incredibly annoying. Then you get three months into having your own little one, and that advice starts pouring out of your own mouth. It can’t be helped. Sometimes the advice is really good!
So let’s get it out of the way…here’s my best advice for pregnancy and having a new baby:
- Don’t be surprised.
- Do whatever works.
- Trust your gut.
- Trust your partner.
- Be prepared for lots of bodily fluids.
- It’s okay to cry.
- It’s okay to think your baby is a miracle.
Alright. Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to try and share something that’s actually helpful: PRODUCTS! Babies come with lots and LOTS of stuff you can buy. We haven’t stopped plunking down our credit card since the day our daughter arrived. Let the sharing begin!
Stuff We Couldn’t Live Without – or, “please don’t tell me that’s our last Wubanub”
We are super, super into baby wearing. It’s kind of a crunchy, earth mama thing, and I don’t do it for any of those reasons. I just have a baby who loves being held, and I love holding her, but I also love having the use of two hands at one time.
When our daughter came home, she was just 5 pounds. We wanted to do skin to skin a lot but she didn’t fit into any of the standard carriers. The NuRoo Pocket is a carrier that’s perfect for the tiniest babies, and is great for doing skin to skin. It is our only “trump card” when she’s super fussy, and she will sleep in it while I wear her for hours! It looks weird to wear out of the house, but I didn’t get to leave the house for quite a while anyway. Now that she’s bigger, the Moby Wrap is great, and the Ergo is the easiest to put on (and the one we can use the longest in terms of size).
- The Mute Button
Lots of people don’t use pacifiers. Our daughter had a rough start to life and was in the hospital for a long time. When you think your baby might not make it, you sweat a lot less over things like “pacifier or no?” I fully support those who eschew the paci, because it totally becomes the petty tyrant in your house, with all comfort depending on whether you have the right plastic nipple at the right time. But if you do head that direction, the Wubunub is RAD and we love it as an integral part of our pacifier selection.
It is perfect because it has a little stuffed animal attached so you can prop it into the baby’s mouth and keep her/him from forcefully ejecting it every 2.5 seconds when they’re fussy. Our baby is funny like that: she wants the pacifier, but also can’t help spitting it out. It’s a vicious cycle. We have named her current Wubanub Antoine, he’s a Cajun elephant and he’s happy to hold that pacifier in her mouth for us indefinitely. I will share that our dog (who has a taste for pacifiers and will eat the whole thing) consumed our last Wubanub a month ago and I actually cried because I didn’t know how we’d make it through the night. I couldn’t find any in town, so we ordered a bunch just in case the Pacifier Bandit strikes again.
- A Crib? Ha!
Before I had my daughter, visions of crib-sleeping danced in my head. I lovingly set up a freaking adorable nursery for her, with a perfectly appointed crib. I figured she’d snooze in the co-sleeper until she was ready for it. But a co-sleeper is just a small crib stuck to (or on) your bed. Both require sleeping flat. I was unprepared for the fact that my little one would heartily disagree with all my plans. The MamaRoo saved my life. To be fair, the MamaRoo doesn’t work for every kiddo. I have a friend who returned theirs right away, and I even hear there are kids who sleep in cribs.
We persevered with the co-sleeper for several nights (or was it weeks?), descending into deeper and darker levels of sleep deprivation. Then, I remembered Awesome Advice #2: “Do whatever works” – so we put her down in her MamaRoo and never looked back. If you’ve never seen a MamaRoo it’s a Jetson-esque baby pod that bounces and sways “just like mom.” Our second mom got us through some tough nights, and now at 16 weeks the baby is starting to nap in her crib. We used it with the infant insert, which incidentally is also awesome for adapting other swings and strollers.
I’ve heard from a lot of moms who also use the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper for brand new babies. That looks awesome too, and doesn’t make all the mechanical humming all night.
- The Baby Burrito
There’s nothing funnier or cuter than doing a full-body binding on your baby. It also makes them easier to handle. But those darling receiving blankets you are given by the dozen don’t work so well for swaddling when baby gets spunky and escapes them. This started happening pretty early for us. We made extensive use of the pod swaddles (I love saying that) and the Velcro swaddles.
- The Bottle Warmer
We couldn’t breastfeed (more on that some other time), so at night we had to get bottles ready quick. We groggily struggled with warm tap water and bowls of water everywhere until we wised up and got a bottle warmer. It keeps our tiny master happy and saves our eardrums in the wee hours. If you’re bottle feeding, this is a must-have.
In later posts, I hope to speak with some amount of clarity about my experiences as a feminist mom. But for now, I will touch on one thing…all the products above probably make it clear that having a tiny baby leaves only a little room for ideals. You really do whatever works, whatever makes you happy – and you pick your battles. Babies are unpredictable and lovely and sometimes the right product or gadget makes them even lovelier because you are less tired or less frustrated and can just plain enjoy them more!