For many first-time parents the registry list is a mystery. What do I REALLY need for the nursery? How many clothes will my baby need and how fast with he grow out of them? What travel system do I need? What’s the best way to organize the closet/feeding accessories/toys? This list is going to be different for every parent, but here’s what helped us survive the first six months as new parents. Some of these sound ridiculous and aren’t always material things. I assure you, they were necessary in our house.
10. A Boppy. I know, obvi, right? Boppies are ultimately a U-shaped pillow (sometimes closed, sometimes not) that are meant to comfort both you and your baby during feeding or lounge-time. I fully believe we have turned into marshmallow people since humans no longer physically farm their own food and live relatively sedentary lifestyles, so these days, when you are holding an infant to breast or bottle-feed, your arm will go to mush. Your child will also become uncomfortable at some point in this position. The boppy solves these issues and is a pretty standard object that most new mothers will need.
9. Boogie Wipes. Babies have boogers. They don’t have the motor capability to wipe their boogers so there is a constant a.) Either shoe-string of snot dangling from their face, or b.) Dried boogie crustiness sometimes as far as the nape of their neck. When you’re constantly wiping their face, your baby’s sensitive skin becomes chapped or raw and Boogie Wipes help that. They look a lot like regular wipes but are hydrated with saline solution, so they are all-natural and are soothing to the dermis.
8. An Automatic Rocking Bassinet. This is not a necessity but a novelty item. Any parent who can move back and forth can rock their baby to sleep. This is just something that made life easier on us. We had the bassinet on my side of the bed so I could tend to him easily in the middle of the night for feedings, and revert him back to a rocking motion quickly without expending the energy myself. That makes me sound really lazy, but when you’re sleep-feeding, and bleary-eyed, you’ll get it.
7. Clothes in a Range of Sizes. As much as your doctors will give you an estimate of how big your baby is going to be, there is always the possibility of being thrown for a loop, somewhere in the birthing process. Our baby was measured as “the most average baby you will ever see” through the whole pregnancy and then was born in the third percentile. Clothing does not need to be new – sometimes they only wear it once and then it’s in the donation or consignment bin. Have one of the following on hand when the baby is born: a newborn outfit, a newborn pajama, a 0-3 month outfit, and a 0-3 pajama when you go to the hospital. Otherwise, size 0-3 socks, and a hat. And the same goes for diapers – some newborn diapers and some size 1 for the baby bag in the hospital. If your baby is a preemie, cross that bridge when you come to it.
6. Freezer Meals. I’m a working mom. The last thing I have is time. The easiest thing I have is a list of Pinterest moms who have already done the food prep research for me and I just have to steal from their recipe playbook. Make at least a dozen freezer meals on a rainy Saturday. When you’re on maternity leave, only had two hours of sleep, didn’t shower and started your day with spit-up in your hair, pull a meal from the freezer. By the time your family gets home, everything will appear to be under control. Fake it. And then do it again the next day.
5. A Big, Freaking Glass of Wine. I’m not saying you should handle your child while intoxicated. Central Penn Parent does not condone the promotion of alcoholism or irresponsible supervision in any way. But LET’S. GET. REAL. You need to breathe every now and then. And you can’t do that without some time to yourself. If sitting down and cruising through Facebook with ONE glass of wine relaxes your mind, take some time and sip away while someone else is watching the babes. If your “wine” is binge-watching The Bachelor for one hour a week, do it. If walking away for thirty minutes to do some yoga stretching does it for you- imbibe, my friend, imbibe. You will feel more productive coming back refreshed, relaxed and ready to mom – if you treat your soul to a glass of wine every now and then.
4. A Sense of Humor. Did you have the perfect relationship before the baby came? You’re going to snip at your partner because you’re tired. You will be judged by other moms. So find the humor in the situation and clap back with a laugh. Remember the time your baby poo’ed in the tub and you were annoyed you had to clean it up? It still was pretty funny that the baby giggled at the whole thing.
3. Mylicon or Gripe Water. Our baby is an insanely gassy creature. I didn’t even know what Mylicon was before my baby shower and a friend of mine gave me a bottle in her new mommy gift basket to me. I laughed at first…I will never laugh again at parents who need any sort of gas relief for their spawn. Your child’s discomfort can be heartbreaking, and this product is one thing that alleviated that suffering for us.
2. A Grasp on Reality. If you’re a neat freak, hold the phone, because your world is about to get messy. Things are going to get sticky. Laundry will pile up. Don’t bend out of shape because you’re life isn’t pristine anymore; prioritize instead. Is everyone warm, dry and fed with a roof over their head? The little things are not worth freaking out over.
1. Muslin Swaddling Blankets. For swaddle-challenged parents like my husband and me, muslin swaddle blankets are where it’s at. Yes, they must be muslin. They are made of a breathable material, so they prevent the baby from getting too hot, they are able to be drenched in water for hot days where you need to cool the baby down outside. They are stretchy, which makes for much easier swaddling. They are aesthetically pleasing, so other moms will be jealous of your things.
Carley Lucas is a working mother of one hysterically giggly 6-month-old. She, her son and her husband live in Central PA and firmly believe a household of laughter is the best form of medicine for any situation.