Tuesday, 31 January 2012
As a first time parent, I was surprised by the amount of time and money spent on babies, and the amount of products out there for new parents (that they may or may not need). I knew having a baby could be expensive and would change our lives, but the extent of both was surprising. Did we really need all those must-have baby items we read about? Did we really need to spend so much time when using products that were supposed to make parenting easier and more convenient?
My husband and I were on a mission to keep things as simple as possible, to only get what we really needed and spend money on what we really needed to have. It doesn't matter what your stance is on breastfeeding, daycare, or the best time to potty train. It doesn't matter if your baby is fussy or if you have the mildest tot in the world. There are some products that all parents of newborns (especially first time parents) should have to make life easier, and for us, these are it:
1. A transportable infant car seat - it should attach to a base in your car, be removable so you can carry it around, and also be able to attach it to an infant car seat carrier or travel system. Otherwise, every single time you move your newborn baby in and out of a car seat or stroller you risk waking him up or frustrating him, and wearing yourself out in the process. Newborns usually need lots of sleep, but you have things to do and places to go, so an infant car seat that can be transported is on our Must Have list.
2. Sleeping blankets - These are essentially blankets that your baby wears to go to sleep. We love them because they are safe (no getting tangled up in dangerous, loose bed sheets), keep baby warm, and easy to use (put baby in and zip up). They make them for newborn to 2 years old, so you don't have to struggle with getting your baby into pj's, waking them up if you need to change them while they are sleeping, or even spend money on night clothes. There are light cotton blankets for warm weather, and heavier knitted sleeping blankets for cold weather, and we bought a few of each. They grow with your baby and are usually sized 0-6 months, 6-12 months, etc so you get a lot of use out of them. As first time parents, we wanted convenience and easy routines. Sleeping blankets made getting dressed for bed a snap.
3. Zip sheets - These were a surprise find for us, and they are genius (I can't believe they aren't more well-known). Essentially, the top of the bed sheet zips off from the base, so that if your baby has an accident, something spills, or you simply want to launder the bed sheet, you can zip off the top only (where your baby sleeps), toss it in the laundry, and zip on a new one. The only company I'm aware of that currently makes these is Clouds and Stars (QuickZip Sheets), and if you don't want to face nights of waking up baby to pull the mattress out of the crib to change the sheet, struggling with a heavy mattress (near impossible if you are pregnant again or simply tired), or layering on (potentially dangerous) sheets over the spill until you are able to change the sheets, you will love these zip sheets. It's another item I asked for as a baby gift, and it's such a time saver.
4. A temporal thermometer - We use one by Exergen and we love it, because the only other method of taking your baby's temperature that is as accurate is rectal, which not all parents are fans of this. It's also invasive, so lots of children don't like it either. It can be difficult (read: impossible) to get a baby to keep an oral thermometer in its mouth, and pulling on your child's earlobe to use an aural scanner to take her temperature if she has an ear ache can cause her pain, plus it's not accurate unless done perfectly right. A temporal thermometer is accurate, and can even be used while your baby is sleeping (and can be used on older children and adults as well). If you have a baby registry, this is a great item to request for when your baby is sick.
5. No-drip and no-leak bottles, cups and containers - Otherwise, you are going to be spending a lot of your precious time and money cleaning the carpets and upholstery in your home and car, and this is no way for a new mom to spend her time. If their bottles and cups drip and your baby realizes it, it may become a game for them to keep spilling, and unless you plan to only offer them clear liquids (and follow them around with a sponge), it's worth stocking up on cups and containers that don't spill, even when turned upside down or shaken.
I hope you find our must-have baby items useful, and that they save you a lot of time and make your life easier as well. I'd also love to hear what others think- what are your must have new-baby, new-parent items?
Penelope is a New York City mom blogger with one little boy, and another on the way. She writes about family, marriage, homemaking and beauty tutorials at Penelope's Oasis.