With each new baby, I have to remind myself of what my go-to products are that make life a little easier in the first days/weeks/months/year. While some things are purely personal preference, I highly recommend this list to any mother-to-be who is emotionally entrenched in the nesting phase of pregnancy, desperately searching for the answers to, “What will I really need for baby,” and, “Which brand is the best”. Beyond baby essentials, this is my list of 10 Favorites for Baby. I thought that if my new little one sucks out all my remaining brain cells or my other three decide to go through exciting, new phases around the time of the birth (they all have impeccable timing) at least I can look back at this post and remember what I like as I zombie walk through the aisles of stores. It was crucial that I wrote this list down before the baby arrived so I could be prepared. But here I am typing it up as I rock my newborn, who is sitting in her bouncy seat, with my foot. This is what motherhood looks like with baby #4, folks. But I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I mean, look at these cuties!
1. Badger Baby Balm: My first midwife gave me some of this stuff when my sweet Jenkie was born. I don’t really ever put lotions on my babies because of all the chemicals and perfumes that are in them. I have not done much research myself on the reasons not to put lotion on babies, however. But I just like the idea of using things as natural as possible. This stuff gives all the moisturizing a sweet little one needs and it smells heavenly. One tin of it can really last you a long time and can be used for lots of things like diaper rash (though sometimes I need something a little stronger) and cradle cap (if you follow application with brushing with a soft brush or lightly with a comb). Baby Badger Balm is definitely a must. Other Badger Balms that I like for myself are the Sleep Balm which I personally love because of the lavender and the Healing Balm for hard working hands which I use when my hands and feet get dry in the cold weather. Works like a charm! Click on the picture if you want to get the Baby Balm!
2. This book is absolutely amazing! It gives a detailed description of almost every type of sickness, rash,disease, or ailment your child may catch. Each ailment has a description and then lists all the different ways of treatment from conventional to home remedies. I love this book because when my kids come down with anything, I can look up all the worse case scenario diseases and rule them out without calling someone for advice whilst in a panic. Most of the time, the ailments are pretty easy to identify. In general, I tend to have one foot in the natural-remedy-granola world and one foot in the conventional medicine world. I don’t want to neglect or rule out either of them completely; putting my child in unnecessary risk in the process. I can first try the natural remedies that the book suggests after I have identified what is most likely going on with my kid. If that doesn’t work, I have a heads up on what the doctor’s treatment will most likely be or what he/she will suggest. Knowing what to expect if I do decide to take my kids in to see the doctor takes a huge load off my mind. But many times, my kid’s symptoms clear up in a day or two and life moves on. Regardless of which way you tend to lean toward, this book is awesome just so you have easy access to information on what may be going on with your child. I try to avoid googling symptoms because of the images that pop up, forever burned in my memory.
3. Gripe Water: So I don’t like to try new things. Several different people told me to give my babies gripe water when I mentioned that they seemed to have a lot of painful gas. With a newborn, I don’t like the idea of anything going into their mouths other than breast milk. So I never tried the gripe water until my third child. It was pretty awesome and worked really quickly. I was amazed. This is the brand I used.
4. Lansinoh lanolin: You don’t need a lot but if you need something to put on those chapped nips if you don’t want to hate your life. This stuff is 100% lanolin which is completely natural and safe for your baby to nurse on after application. If you are like me and don’t know, lanolin is a wax produced by sheep. It helps water to roll off their wooly backs. It has a ton of uses and is in many products that you may use everyday.
5. On Becoming Babywise: I know that every mother has their own opinions of sleep training/scheduling and what not. I know it can be quite controversial. With that being said, I love this book. It is meant to be a guide and not to be followed to the nth degree. My children are all very different sleepers, they each require a different amount of sleep, and some form habits quicker than others. This guide worked for at least the first three (we shall see about the newbie). My newborns were sleeping through the night between 8 and 12 weeks of age. They still all sleep well (some better than others) getting between 9-12 hours of sleep at night and all take great naps (though my 5 year old only takes a nap about every other day now).
6. Baby bath chair: I gotta be honest, bathing a new baby is not my favorite thing. When they start to get some solid weight on them and don’t look so frail, I enjoy bathtime much more. But newborns always look cold to me and the last thing I want to do it take all their warm clothing off and put them in water. Plus they can be quite slippery. If they are screaming, I start feeling a little dizzy (am I the only one?) so bathtime seems particularly dangerous. This bath chair helped me get over some of my fears. It is also easy to store, unlike some of those big plastic baby baths.
7. Bouncy seat WITH vibrations: So the bouncy seat that I am using this moment to rock my newborn to sleep is the very one that I was given at my first child’s baby shower. I didn’t even register for it. A sweet woman who knows what new moms need gave it to me and I am forever grateful. I don’t usually go for all the baby equipment that just sits useless most of the time except that one month or two that the kid is at the right age to use it. But this thing is worth it. The vibrations are just what a baby needs to get out some gas or to sooth them into a sweet sleep. The picture above is not the seat that I use but it is similar and is Fisher Price. It is easy to take from room to room or even outside. When I go on the patio to sit and watch my older three play, I like to bring the bouncy seat out with me in case there is a situation when I need to put Faye down quickly. What kind of a situation, you may ask. Catching Pammy who is teetering on the edge of the fort or pulling a potentially poisonous mushroom out of her mouth, or shuffling one of the boys to the house from the trampoline who has to go potty but doesn’t have time to put his shoes on and can’t walk on the grass for fear of stickers. You know, every day emergencies. At one point in my early mothering days, I thought this seat needed to be with us at all times. I remember taking it to an In and Out Burger because we didn’t know where our first newborn would sit in a restaurant and we also didn’t know how to eat a messy burger and hold a baby at the same time. We were new parents. If you keep the seat at home where it belongs, you will be glad you go it.
8. A new show to binge watch: So I included this in my other list: 10 Favorites for Pregnancy. Remember, you will be sitting down a lot to feed your baby and you need to have something that can distract you from the housework and the fact that you are so so so tired (don’t worry about losing sleep. It gets better). And a hilarious new show is just what the doctor ordered. I am watching Raising Hope right now and it may be the hormones/baby blues or lack of sleep, but I think it is the funniest thing I have watched in a long time. And I always end up crying at one point… that is probably the hormones. I wish I was as cool as Virginia.
9. A new hobby: Totally kidding. The newborn is my new hobby. I love creating things and when I am nursing in the middle of the night, I love to dream about all the things I want to create. It keeps my mind occupied but it can also feel like I have all these desires but I am stuck on a very strict schedule of feeding a baby every few hours, trying to get the baby to sleep when I am not feeding her, feeding the other kids and myself, changing lots and lots of diapers, and trying to get a few hours of sleep in when I can. But the truth is I am not stuck doing anything. I have the privilege to tend to these sweet kids and this is the life I chose. My crafts can wait and so can my daydreams. I am living the best dream right now. Its not always glamorous and I don’t always feel awesome about my parenting or how my kids react to my parenting. But there is a reason why I can’t get anything done right now. Young kids and babies require us to slow down and go at their pace. I need to be soaking up every minute of this phase of life because when it is gone, I know my daydreams will be to relive these precious moments.
10. Siblings: I remember when I was about to have my second, I was really worried about how Jenkins, my then two year old, would take the presence of a new kid in the house. I devoted every moment of my day to Jenks and now he was going to have to share me. Now that I have four kids, I think about how lucky my newest baby, Faye, is to have three older siblings. She has three more people in her life to love and adore her. It is amazing to see the love between my kids. Almost every day, I over hear a conversation between my boys talking about how they will always be brothers. Pammy literally can not keep her hands off of Faye. Every time she looks in Faye’s direction, she has to run over and lightly put her hand on Faye’s head or back. What a gift it is to love these little people so much and to see them love each other.
Bonus Favorite: So this is not for a baby in the first year but it is still pretty awesome. We have finally had tremendous success with Delly’s potty training! It has been a tough road but I will spare you all the nitty gritties. This potty seat wasn’t the factor that changed everything for us but its pretty cool and super convenient. Del has gone 8 days in underwear (even through naps and nights) and no accidents! Two weeks ago, I could barely get him to sit on the potty. If you are at your wits end and think you child will be the only teenager not potty trained, hang in there! One day, things will just click. Even if there is no evidence that they are getting better with potty training. Be encouraged! Nothing lasts forever.
Thanks for reading! What is a baby-must-have that you love? I love finding new things that make life easier with a baby. God bless!