When I was pregnant, I loved reading blogs that talked about the must-haves for new parents. Being pregnant for the first time is like walking through a dark cave with only a dim light, and it was comforting to me to know that if the baby arrived that second, I would be prepared with the basics (according to the general consensus). Everyone has a different perspective and opinion on what is a necessity, and here is what I would suggest as you dive into parenthood!
This is the best product to help soothe irritated skin. It does not matter if the skin is baby skin, teen skin, or adult skin, it just works. This also has no irritated any of the sensitive skin in our family. Win. Buy this by the bucket, you will not regret it.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
Boudreaux’s is the best diaper rash guard product that we have used. It lasts for a while, and it gives great protection. I love that this does not leave a gross, chalky residue after it dries (a la Desitin). It goes on smoothly, and it disappears quickly. It also does its job, which is to provide a barrier between the baby’s skin and any moisture.
Pack ‘n Play
Oh, how I love the Pack ‘n Play. It’s one of the few baby products that we are still using at 18 months. Early on, it serves as a changing station. As the baby gets older, he/she can sleep in it. When the baby starts standing and getting into stuff, it can be used as a baby holding cell. Finally, it can be the mobile toddler sleep center when you travel away from home. This is an all-star in the baby gear department. Another nice thing is that you can really choose what options you want. I chose a model that had a changing station up top, so that we could change the baby downstairs without having to run upstairs every time we needed to change a diaper. There are many other options for the Pack N Play, and the prices vary accordingly.
Wearable Baby Carrier with Buckles
As one who tried a lot of the tying baby holders, I can assure you that they are more trouble than they are worth. Just buy one that has buckles, and you will not be sorry. The tie ones look great, but most of them require two adults to successfully don and tie it with the baby in the correct position. That means no wearing it unless 1) the husband is home 2) you have a friend over or 3) you sprout a third arm. Chances are you will be waiting for help. Not cool. I used the Infantino Flip 4 in 1 Convertible Carrier, and it worked so well for us. I was so sad when the baby got too long for it. Alas, all good thing must come to an end. Stroller it is, buddy boy.
This is an item that typically appears on many “must have” lists, and for good reason. It is so upsetting/frustrating to have a little baby with a stuffy nose (can’t sleep, isn’t happy, is uncomfortable, etc), and there is nothing that you can do about it. Those nose bulbs never worked for us, but the Nose Frida sure did. There is a filter in it, so you will not be coming into direct contact with what comes out of the baby’s nose. However, it is still be sucking snot out of their nose. I can promise you that will not be the grossest thing you will have to do as a parent (ha!)
This goes hand in hand with the Nose Frida. The saline drops help to loosen up any thick mucus prior to the suctioning. The babies obviously do not like it, but it makes the suctioning much more productive, which makes everyone happier in the end. You will want to be careful to not do both nostrils at the same time, because that will make it harder for the baby to breathe.
Early on in your child’s life, you will be spending a lot of time sitting down while feeding them or putting them to sleep. These things are done around the clock, so you will need a place to be comfortable. The recliner will allow you to rock them to sleep after you feed them without any positional transition from you. This will be vital for your child’s first few months of life, as they sleep lightly, and any extra movements will increase the probability of them waking up. It is a borderline 007 mission to get the baby to sleep at night (ha!).
While Aquaphor is great for soothing irritated skin, Vaseline is great for preventing it from getting irritated in the first place. There will be a bit of overlapping with these two products, but I still think it is good to have both. Vaseline is the cheaper option, with a good-sized tub being about $3-$4. You will be surprised at all of the uses you find for Vaseline. It is also great for lubing up a rectal thermometer, which brings me to my next thing…
Well, there is no way around this, it isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, but it is very important. A rectal thermometer is the most accurate way to measure your baby’s temperature. When a few tenths of a degree can make a difference between infant Tylenol and a MD/ER visit, you want to be confident that the reading is accurate. The infant bulbs are shorter or they have a stopper that prevents them from going too far, which is confidence inspiring. That plus Vaseline = a smooth process. Also, make sure it is a quick read thermometer, for obvious reasons.
This is one of those things that you will not think about it until its 1 am, your baby is inconsolable, and you really need it. Be prepared and have it on hand before your baby is sick. You will be grateful that you planned ahead. I have always had much more success with the grape flavor vs the cherry flavor. Tylenol is also really useful for teething pain. Some babies do not seem to be bothered by teething, but I think most babies experience varying degrees of fussiness and discomfort during this time. I have used it a handful of times when the baby was really cranky and obviously teething. It helped us all get a better night’s sleep.
A jogging stroller is a stroller that has three big wheels instead of four small ones. I cannot sing enough praises about our jogging stroller. This thing goes everywhere with us. It has gone to Disney, the NC State Fair, outdoor parks with mulched walking paths, countless walks, and the list could go on and on. It also helped me train for my half marathon earlier in the year. There is nowhere this stroller cannot go! The big wheels make varied terrain a non-issue, and the three wheels are so much more user friendly than the four wheeled strollers. We have a BOB Revolution, and I absolutely love it! It carries everything, it is a dream to push (turns on a dime, no resistance, etc) and the baby is very comfortable it. A few things about the BOB Revolution:
It is not light. It weighs approx. 25 pounds. Getting it into/out of the car requires some strength, but to me, it is well worth the effort. However, this might be a deterrent for some people. It folds down easily, but it will take up a lot of trunk space. Again, not an issue for me, but I can see how this could be a deterrent.
The seat does not come all the way upright. I’d say it comes up to about an 80 degree angle, which requires the baby to sit up mostly unsupported if they are really interested in their surroundings. My baby does not seem too bothered by it, and he will just sit up if need be. I believe this may have been rectified in later models. The seat does recline to a nearly horizontal position, which is great for when they fall asleep in the stroller
A consumer warning went out recently about the front wheel turning suddenly while running, which causes the stroller to stop without warning. This can cause injuries to both the runner and the child if the runner falls over the stroller. The official solution is to lock the front wheel into a fixed position, which is what the manufacture recommends. However, if it is fixed, that makes turning very difficult. I don’t know about you, but I do not run in straight lines; there is usually a lot of turning involved. My solution is to run with the wheel unfixed, but I am always in control when I run (ie, no sprinting). I focus on being balanced enough that I could stop suddenly if needed. I have put a lot of miles on the BOB, and I have never had an issue with the wheel suddenly turning and stopping the stroller. While my solution may not be advisable for you, there are a few options available for negotiating this issue.
It is not cheap. These jogging strollers can be quite expensive, but I can assure you that it will be a worthwhile investment if you can swing it, or if someone wants to buy it for you. Don’t be afraid to look around for these things. I’ve known people who have found their jogging strollers at secondhand stores!
Another thing that is important to note about this stroller: it is a great tool for getting a new mom and baby out of the house. If you have to fight with an unruly stroller, you will be even less motivated to go out. You are exhausted and generally bewildered at your new life responsibilities — make it easy on yourself to get outside! This stroller can go nearly anywhere with you, whether it be for a slow walk up the street, or 13.1 miles with hills, valleys, and rough terrain. This guy will be a great friend to you and your baby!
A Cheap Vacuum
This will be important later on in your child’s life. When they start eating solid food, it will end up all over your house. Literally everywhere. If you have a nice vacuum or vacuum that you really like, do not use it to pick up your child’s leftovers. It will stink, and it will become super nasty really quickly. Those hoses are very difficult to clean, especially if you are dealing with food like eggs and cheese, which we eat a lot of. Get a cheap vacuum that you only use for this purpose, and you will not regret it. A more cost-minded person might suggest that you just wipe it up with a paper towel or a Swiffer, but trust me, that takes a lot of time. When you have a busy toddler that is demanding your attention in some way, it becomes apparent that you need to have a quick solution to clean up all the leftover bits of food on your floors, wall, and cabinets. This way, you have a designated food vacuum, which cleans up the stinky stuff. The other vacuum can be used for the rest of the house, and you don’t have to worry about stinking the place up every time you want to use the vacuum.
Upstairs and Downstairs Changing Station/Baby Mobile Command Center
If you live in a place that has two levels, have a baby center on each level. You will be surprised how nice and efficient this is. The Pack ‘n Play can be used for the auxiliary baby mobile command center, which is what we did. Having baby stuff readily accessible on each level is really nice, and it will make your life a lot easier.
I hope you enjoyed my necessities and niceties for the new parents! What are some of your must haves for new parents?