Simple Things That Made My Life Easy As A New Mom
When the sudden surge of emotions and happiness came down post delivery, it suddenly dawned on me; I hadn't a clue as to handling a newborn! I was always told it would come to me naturally when I became a mom, but some things just didn't strike me at all. There, I said it. I'm sure (or at least I hope) there are many others like me out there.
I don't have a mom who could guide me through, but I do have a supportive mother in law who was very patient with me, and of course my husband. But so much time had passed since she too had handled a small baby, that there were huge information gaps that needed to be filled.
My husband and I both mastered the “what-the-hell–is-going-on-look' those days, and we held on to each other (and our son) and stepped on to a roller coaster ride of coos, and burps, spit ups and loud bawls in the middle of the night.
So the first few days (or rather a couple of months) was literally a live and learn phase. Yes, we survived beautifully (and might I add, it's always going to be a live and learn life with your baby)
There are some truly helpful gadgets out there, that make life so much more comfortable for the mom and the baby, which I thought would be useful to share.There are too many self-help books out there to confuse you. And of course, Dr.Google ;) With a new baby in your arms, you wont get time to look at anything else.
Here's my two cents. No order of importance..they're all equally important!
Hope it helps:
1. Feeding Pillow
This one saved my back, literally. My baby had trouble latching on, and the pillow gave me enough support so that I could concentrate on the latch rather that doing both – holding the baby and latching on. It is really tiring to feed simply by holding your baby or keeping a normal pillow underneath. Not only do the stitches hurt, the back does not heal properly in the process of being stiff as a log!
I recommend the Mom &Me feeding pillow, for which I got changeable covers made from the local tailor. Helps in keeping the pillow hygienic.
2. Baby Monitor
Loud doorbells, banging doors, trucks honking their highway horns, pressure cookers, ringing mobile phones, mixies…yes, its a lot for a small sleeping newborn infant to startle awake to.
My brother in law gifted me a baby monitor, which allowed me to shut my room door and curtains, to provide my baby with sound sleep and lesser, if not muffled noises. I would step into the room only if the baby woke. Less disturbance, better sleep! I would stay away from video monitors though. They just tend to get a little too much. You can't help but keep staring at it!
3. Diaper Changing Basket
It's a simple thing that helped me change the baby anywhere around the house. I just bought a simple deep plastic basket, and put all the changing essentials in it. You can just lift the basket and take it to any room, rather then keeping everything on your nightstand. Simple organization.
4. Portable / Travel Changing Pad
This product is the best invention since sliced bread! It is NOT available in India, but it's totally worth spending on. One single, foldable pad, which has pockets for diapers, cream and wipes. Fits into your purse, or husband's bag pack, or your wrist or your stroller!
I recommend the Skip Hop changing station. Good, durable material.
5. Baby Carrier
Once again, can't thank the inventors enough! Not only is wearing your baby good for bonding, its such an easy way to keep your hands free for other work around the house! Small babies are so comfortable snuggled up against your chest. When I husband and I used to step out for a walk, our angel used to enjoy the warmth and sometimes-just drift off. Later on, I would take him grocery shopping too!Its quite useful until much later too. Worth investing in. TRY IT ON BEFORE BUYING!
6. Infant Car Seat
This one's not seen a lot in India. I wish it were compulsory from birth. Holding a child in a moving car is extremely dangerous and unstable, given the condition of our roads. Not only are they comfortably snug, they're safe from being jerked around, and of course, God forbid, accidents. They also double up as rockers. Just un-buckle the seat and take the infant to the restaurant and eat at peace. Or go visiting to a relatives place and not worry where to put the infant. (You do know its OK to not hold your baby 24 hours a day! Give those loving arms some rest)
7. A Good Diaper Bag
When I mean good, I mean lots of easily reachable, organizer pockets, good quality material and zips. This one's going to be your friend for a long time to come. Slowly, you'll let go of your purse and carry a diaper bag instead. Don't just make do with a big satchel and dump things in. You need to access stuff with one hand when changing a baby, and a good diaper bag will make this very easy! And now a days, there are some awesome designs which are on the eye too :-)
I have one with a wipes dispenser, so that I don't have to reach for wipes in that deep well of innumerable baby things, especially when a volcano of poop has erupted! Infant poop is as watery as it gets.
Some good recommended brands are Fisher Price and Skip Hop.
8. Baby Rocker / Seat
When you're alone at home and want your baby around while you do your chores, just putting him in the rocker with some music and hanging toys will do the trick. It's a change of scenery for the baby as well as you! Also, they might just nap well in it too. A rocker will come in use from birth until they are able to sit properly. Infact, I fed solids to my baby in that very rocker that became a belted seat.
9. Sleep Sack / Swaddle Blanket
Not much heard of here. You want to keep your baby warm, but it keeps throwing the blanket around! Scary part is, I once found the blanket on my baby's face! Extremely scary. They can do that even when they're tightly swaddled. I don't know how, but they can!
Sleep sacks eliminate the dangers of blankets flying around and keep the baby warm and snug. Buy cotton for warm climates or fleece for cold, they're an absolute must have in my book.
Halo is the best know company for sleep sacks.
10. Nail Scissors
The day after my son was born, we awoke in the morning to see, that he had managed to remove his mittens and scratched his face. They were of course, superficial scratches, but baby nails can cause damage. Don't use a nail clipper because their nails are too tiny. Use scissors to navigate around tiny fingers.