I call myself a veteran mom, but realistically, I’m no Michelle Duggar. However, I did roll out three children faster than New Line Cinema rolls out trilogies. And as my fellow vet-mom Angie once told me over milkshakes at midnight in a burger joint in Washington, DC, “Just like anything else, you get better with practice. You can get better at parenting.” Take heart, new mom. It is so true. I recall staring at newborn Rembot, hyperventilating slightly because I had no former experience with babies, and I was surely going to injure her while getting this teeny tiny onesie over her teeny tiny head.
Not quite four years later, I can change a newborn diaper on my lap in a pitch dark room while reciting the Preamble to the Constitution and pedaling a recumbent bicycle. NBD. Not that I’ve perfected it all (points to unfolded laundry; gestures towards toddler dancing on coffee table), but what little wisdom I have, I’m happy to pass along.
I’ve compiled a list of things that you MUST MUST MUST HAVE if you’re planning on having a new human any time soon. I’ve pared down a lot and I avoid buying something just because a parenting magazine or a convincing Babies R Us employee swears I need it. Baby bathtub? Don’t have one. I just bring Minnie right into the shower with me. Special diaper genie? Nah. I just throw it in the garbage and we take the garbage out daily. Super heavy carseat into heavier stroller system? No. I’ve saved my back and my spine by forgoing these.
These things I list below? If I had to, I’d give up my next three meals for them, and I’m not one to pass on a meal… ever.
*Note. No one has paid me for inclusion. They don’t even know that I’m writing about them in this post. These are items I’ve seriously tried and seriously loved. Edit: A year later, and this article is still going strong. While no one has paid me for inclusion, the below links have been updated to include affiliate links. :)
Okay, here we go.
1) Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle. Three kids in, and I’m terrible at swaddling. This thing is beautiful. It velcroes right into place and keeps babers warm at night. I’ve purchased fleecy ones for winter time, and cotton ones for summer.
2) Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse. What? Someone gave this to you at your baby shower and you chucked it somewhere in your basement cause you deemed it to be kind of creepy looking? No no no no no nooooo!! Quick. Run down to your basement, retrieve the seahorse, say you’re sorry, and then offer it a Slim Jim. Love this seahorse and it will love you. More likely, it will emanate a soft glow and play gentle music. Your baby will look lovingly at it and then ZZZZzzzzz. I love you, Baby Seahorse. Please stay in this crib and never ever leave.
3) White Noise. Yes, your babies should get used to sleeping through noise, and Minnie certainly will snooze while her sisters are tap dancing to a Bruno Mars song (don’t ask; it’s Lola’s fault). Buuuuuut, white noise has saved my life a few times, so I’m not about to kick it out of bed. We’ve used white noise in all forms. 1) A purchased white noise machine. 2) Jack did an audio recording of our vacuum cleaner, looped it, and then burned it to a CD. 3) A 12 minute track of ocean waves purchased from iTunes, then burned to a CD. Edit: Now we use the White Noise app for the iPhone.
Love them all, and now I use it to sleep, because I find that Mommy Spidey-Senses will pick up every.little.noise. My girls are notorious for being loud breathers (they snore while they’re awake.. it’s a harmless larynx condition.. we’ve seen an ENT, don’t send me any hypochondriac emails, please, I love you), so this helps me fall asleep.
4) Wubbanub. Whatthewhat? WUBBANUB. It’s a stuffed animal attached to a pacifier. The stuffed animal provides a teeny bit of weight so the paci doesn’t fly across the room all the time. And it’s cute and it’s extra cute when Minnie clutches it. I chose a cat. Why a cat? Because after the Scratchy incident and the home intruder incident, I feel like it’s only appropriate that a cat becomes an indentured servant to someone in my household for the next year or so. :D
5) A carrier that won’t kill your back and doesn’t take five years to strap onto your body. I’ve used several kinds of carriers before. Slings didn’t cut it for me, and neither did Baby Bjorns. Lately I have been loving the lillebaby carrier, because it has a sweet little setting for newborn carrying. As in, I brought Minnie home from the hospital, slapped this puppy on and carried her around, arms-free. It straps around my hips for extra support so it’s easy on my back. And now I can do dishes, or, more likely, eat chili dogs. Update: Still love the lillebaby for newborns, but now that Minnie is bigger, I am hopelessly devoted to the Ergo.
There. My five must-haves. Get them; buy them; love them. Come back and hug me.
What would you add to this list? Do you like onions on your chili dog? (The correct answer is yes.)