Hello Everyone! How’s your week going? Mine started out rough, but it’s looking up!
If you saw my last post (see it here), you know that we just celebrated Livi’s first birthday — I still can’t believe it’s been a year! I’ve learned so much over the last 12 months, and I got to thinking that it would be helpful to share some of the little tidbits I picked up with all the new mommas or soon-to-be mommas out there. Your baby’s first year is no doubt one of the few times in your life when you’ll undergo tremendous change. It’s a stressful time, but also one filled with more joy than you’ve probably ever known 🙂 My goal is to help make it a little less stressful, so you can enjoy all those magical first moments with your little angel.
Every one of the products above are what I would call “essential”! There are the obvious ones — a car seat, a stroller, etc. But don’t overlook the others — trust me, when you just want a break or need a smooth diaper change in the middle of the night, they really matter!
Welcome Home Outfit — Have fun with this one! This is the outfit you get to dress your little angel in for the ride home from the hospital. It’s the perfect opportunity to take pictures that you’ll cherish the rest of your life. Put some thought into it, but also make it comfy for baby (no tutus or baby bug costumes — save those for a photoshoot a few weeks later). There’s a great gender neutral option above, and girl and boy options here, and here.
Swing — OMG, if you purchase only one product from this entire list, get this one! This swing saved my sanity, my job, and my marriage. Seriously, the best purchase of the year! When your baby won’t sleep, and won’t stop crying, and you just desperately need a break, this is your lifeline. Jacob and I were able to enjoy many nights relaxing with dinner and a glass of wine over a movie, despite being parents of an infant, because of this swing! And if Livi just wouldn’t sleep in her crib one night, we’d strap her in, start the swing, and get a good night’s rest. We still use it some nights! Above is the swing we chose, but there are a few more options here, and here.
Nursing Pads — You’ve seen the movies, you know leaking happens. And trust me, it does, most often when you really don’t want it to! 🙂 These will save you from many embarrassing social situations when the girls just aren’t cooperating. You have a few options here — disposable or re-usable. The re-usable pair I chose above worked ok after I found a rhythm with Livi’s feeding schedule. But I found that the disposable ones (love these) were just far superior early on when your body is still adjusting, and much more apt to leak more frequently and in larger volumes.
Baby Carrier — This was my next favorite purchase after the swing! Every woman is different, but for the first 9 months of Livi’s life, I carried her everywhere — even on long walks. I rarely used the stroller, except for running. The Bjorn above is by far one of the most popular, but here is another more budget friendly option (I loved it, I still occasionally use it, and every time I wear it I have moms come up to me and ask where I got it! And, it’s only $30!).
Car Seat — This one speaks for itself. If you have a car and you intend on bringing baby anywhere in it, you need one. In fact, you’ll need one to bring baby home from the hospital — in some states the hospital won’t discharge baby unless you have one, and they’ll require you to listen to a brief car seat safety presentation. The one above is the one we purchased for Livi, and we love it. It’s got a great safety rating, and she always seems comfortable in it.
Baby Soap and Lotion — So, I wish I would have been warned by the doctors about the potential for skin issues with Livi. She has very fair skin, which is prone to irritation, and she had more than her share of rashes (heat rash mostly) during her first year. Aveeno makes wonderful body washes and lotions to help soothe these types of conditions. This wasn’t a tough call for me, I use Aveeno body lotion myself, and it’s lovely (I wish they’d bottle their lavender scent into a perfume!)
Running Stroller — So, this purchase is just as much for you as it is for your little one! I’m a big proponent of staying active. I worked out all throughout my pregnancy, maintained a health weight, and was able to drop back down to my pre-pregnancy weight only a few weeks after giving birth to Livi. Yes, I ate healthy, ignored the whole, “you’re eating for two,” nonsense and ate a sensible 300-400 extra calories a day during my pregnancy. But I was also very active, and I wasted no time getting back on the saddle after Livi was born. I’m a runner, so a running stroller was a must for me, but I really found it to be a fantastic stroller all around for anyone. Even if you’re not a runner, after you welcome your little angel, get back out there! Go for walks, the fresh air is great for you and baby. Even when just going for walks, this stroller is fantastic because it’s got an incredibly smooth ride, which is nice when baby is so tiny and vulnerable. It’s sturdy, and glides over bumps and cracks effortlessly. And I love the extended sun shade — so important to keep baby’s sensitive skin out of the sun.
Nursing Cami — These are wonderful for nighttime — my go to PJs for Livi’s entire first 6 months, when I was still breastfeeding her at night. One quick snap and Livi could eat in a flash, and when she was finished, another quick snap and it was back to bed 🙂 So easy, and really comfortable. A few more options, here and here, that I also really liked.
Muslin Swaddles — These are incredibly versatile little things — I loved them! I admit, I didn’t technically use them to “swaddle” Livi much — either she was incredibly crafty and amazing escape artist at birth, or I just sucked at swaddling (I’ll go with the former 🙂 ) — but I could never get her to stay in a swaddle of any kind. But I used them for a wide variety of other purposes! They make a great lightweight, breathable blanket (I always had one in my diaper bag), sun shade, nursing blanket, changing mat (since I would frequently forget my portable changing mat!), or burping cloth. There’s a great gender neutral option above, and pretty ones for girls here, or boys here.
Diaper Bag — Yes, something for you (well, kinda!). Truth be told, I had my Kate Spade diaper bag several years before I got pregnant with Livi! I bought it as a travel bag (looooved it!), and then after having Livi used it for it’s intended purpose! I love the one by Kate Spade above, and there are a few more in other colors here and here (love this floral one, and it’s on sale!). For some additional options at different price point, check out this one and this one!
Halo Sleeping Swaddles — Remember what I said about Livi being an escape artist? Well, not in these babies! One tricky thing about keeping baby warm when he or she sleeps is that you can’t use a regular blanket because it’s a suffocation hazard. So, how do you keep baby warm, cozy, and happy? With one of these. It’s almost like a wearable blanket that zips up, and then it has two flaps that wrap around baby, acting like a “swaddle,” helping baby feel tight and secure. And it’s sooooo much easier than using a standard swaddle and learning the “burrito wrap” that they teach you in the hospital. You’ll learn very quickly once baby arrives, the quickest way to keep him or her calm and happy is the swaddle! This type of tight wrapping seems to simulate the snug feeling they grew so accustomed to in your womb. If you just can’t get baby to stop crying, wrap him or her up in one of these and I guarantee it will have a calming effect. And rest assured when you sleep, that baby is safe and secure in his or her little halo! I included a good gender-neutral option above, but if you want something gender-specific, I love this one for a girl, and this one for a boy 🙂
Zippered Onesies — Yes, you’ll need a handful of these! I know, you want to put your little angel in all sorts of cute outfits, and these are, well …. boring. Ok, I hear you. And feel free to dress up baby for outings, pictures, etc. That’s half the fun of being a new mom! But, for sleeping, you NEED these. And, the zipper part is critical. I learned the hard way, waking up multiple times a night those first few months, trying to feed and change Livi in the pitch black, when I was exhausted, and I had to mess around in the dark trying to correctly snap her button-up onesie. It may not sound like a big deal to you now, but when you’re that tired, your patience is short, believe me. And for some reason, I tend to mis-button those button-up onesies in broad daylight when I’ve gotten a full eight hours of sleep! Attempting to button them in the middle of the night when I’m dead tired? I was over that one week in. I included one option above — for a few more, check out this one and this one.
And there you have it — the 12 essentials for baby’s first year! Is there anything else you’d add to the list? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you 🙂