Becoming a new mom was going to be an easy transition.
I read the books. I consulted with friends. I thought through a million different scenarios and felt they were all thoroughly sorted out.
I was wrong.
On one hand, there are so many things that I bought or was gifted before my first baby was born back in 2011 that turned out to be completely UNNECESSARY. They were overkill or redundant. They were nice to have but not essential. We even bought a “helmet” for our firstborn when he was learning to walk. It was great in theory, but he couldn’t stand to keep it on his head!
A few ESSENTIALS did emerge through the first few days, weeks, months, and even two-and-a-half years later as I’m preparing for my third child’s arrival. If you have a baby on the way, just had a baby, or know of someone in need of a sweet gift, consider these six AWESOME TOOLS.
Six Mommy Must-Haves:
(for smart devices and especially new moms)
The need for this app arose when I couldn’t keep the numbers straight in my head. Had I nursed one hour ago? Two hours ago? Had he pooped twice today? Was his last nap at 4? 5? 3? Nursing moms have trouble getting just a simple REM cycle in at times, and this app helped me amp up the side of my brain that needed to keep track of my baby’s stats. I still use it now as my babies have become 1 and 2 years old, but mostly for entering their height and weight stats at doctor’s checkups. Total Baby has a great tracker for this info with charts and percentages for those interested in knowing that. It is not a free app but well worth the $4.99 that iTunes charges for it.
Kids make messes when they eat. At some point, though, you have to start letting them use a plate or bowl instead of eating off the table or out of your hands. This was another lifesaver that almost always kept that bowl or plate from flying off the table. Two suction cups stick to the table and the third suction cup sticks to the plate or bowl on its bottom side.
- Pros – It works on any table with an even surface, works on any plate or bowl with a flat bottom side, awesome for real dishes (even better than plastic dishes!), portable (restaurants, road trips, visits to friends and family)
- Cons – It has left some suction cup marks on certain table finishes, is sometimes stuck on so well that it makes us parents struggle to take it off (also a PRO in my book)
- [Lil’ Diner Mealtime Survival Kit]
- [Lil’ Diner Baby Diner Dish Holder]
We received this as a gift from my aunt after my then six-month-old son and I visited her in Austin and he was climbing out of restaurant high chairs or sitting in my lap for meals, all the while gathering mysterious germs from highly used meal seats. This new toy was a game changer for meal time! My husband and I got the craziest looks from people at restaurants, which then usually turned into comments about how cool the chair was and how they had never seen anything like it before. On several occasions, waiters would come over and make sure our child was safe in his “floating chair” or push a bigger chair under him just to be sure.
- Pros – The chair appears to defy gravity, but is very securely clamped tight around the tabletop with screw-able couplings. The best part was the chair is light, portable, and my son was finally so happy to sit and eat his meal. It only had his germs, and it worked on most restaurant tables and even our table at home.
- Cons – Things to note – this chair doesn’t work well on round tables or tables with aprons below if they are close to the edge. The apron needs to be set back at least 4″-5″ for the chair to be securely in place.
- [Find it on Amazon here]
4. Zippered Jammies
This one is easy, and more of a guideline for clothes. Clothes are a huge area of enjoyment when it comes to little kids. We love seeing our handsome or darling little ones looking cute as buttons while we have autonomy over what they wear. Clothes can also post a huge obstacle and source of frustration in some cases. We (speaking for my husband, too) found that our squirmy little baby boys were really challenging to dress ESPECIALLY into outfits studded with BUTTONS. Four up each leg, three in the diaper region, another four up to the collar. It looks cute, but the reality is I began to dread using the button-up jammies. Now I swear by zippers or two-piece pajamas (once they’re a little bigger).
This is a recent find and one I wish we had come across long ago. I have two small children, both boys. Boo boos seem to happen ALL THE TIME with these little dudes and their active lifestyles. In the past we’ve tried ice wrapped with a napkin in a plastic bag, big gel ice packs, and little kid gel ice packs, but they are either too cold, too bulky, uncomfortable, or perhaps too scary for my little ones to keep on for very long. Then my son got a boo boo at a fellow-writer’s house and she whipped out her vintage ice bag. He might have taken it home with him if we weren’t looking! Ordered it that night, and it arrived by midday, ready for the next bump, bruise, or sore.
6. Baby Carrier
Whether it is for an outing at the park, in a big city, or just around the house, a wearable baby carrier can be a wonderful piece of equipment to have around. I used a Moby wrap first, which was fun because there were so many different ways to put it on and it was adjustable to my baby’s size. It also kept him very warm in the winter when he was just a few months old.
For our summer trip to Boston, we needed something lighter and easier for both of us to use. We settled on the Baby Bjorn and have never looked back! It is so easy to wear and very secure for baby. It also has versatility – baby can face toward or away from you. The straps are easy to adjust, which helped since my husband and I switched off wearing it for long walking days around the city.
When my second was born, I kept it in my car at all times and used it frequently for grocery shopping. The baby was in the carrier on me, and his older brother was in the shopping cart seat. I can’t imagine what life would be like without it!