Geek Mom’s Top Ten Must-have Newborn Items
Once you find out you are expecting your first child, you run into two types of people: those with children and those without. And both will be quick to give you advice. As someone who is entering into unknown territory, you would think that advice is always welcome. But it soon becomes absolutely overwhelming! Your family, co-workers, friends, the lady at the gym, strangers passing by–they all have something to say, whether you want to hear it or not. Some of this advice is based on experience, some of it is based on fact, some is based on what the experts say, and some is just plain wrong. So what do you do, how do you filter out what works from all the rubbish?
I actually stopped listening to people unless they had some resource to back it up. I started consuming every book possible on infant care, sleep, feeding, etc. thinking I would let the experts guide me. The problem is, many of the experts disagree too! So what do you do? You wing it like the rest of us and try out different things until something finally works. After many failed attempts with many items that seemed great, but ended up useless, I have devised a list of the top 10 must-have Geek Mom things for a new baby. I have chosen to omit some of the no-brainers like diapers, and onesies, instead I have included some items that I found invaluable that may not necessarily be at the top of your baby registry.
So just when you thought you have heard all of the advice you needed, Geek Mom speaks:
10. Desitin Creamy: OK, I know you may think that this item should be considered a no-brainer, but I am actually partial to this particular brand. It’s inexpensive, it works, and it goes on (and off) very easily. Don’t be conned into buying anything more expensive: they all do the same thing (they are moisture barriers) and are mostly the same ingredients–either zinc oxide or petroleum-based. This one just happens to also have the added benefit of being a nice easy spreadable consistency–it’s like whipped frosting-and trust me, when your baby actually gets a rash, you want cleaning the area as easy and non-abrasive as possible.
9. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter: A girlfriend who is also a mom bought this for me and mailed it to me insisting that I needed to read it, and she was absolutely right! Ellyn Satter, the author is a renowned nutritionist that covers all aspects of feeding from pregnancy to childhood. She not only discusses different foods and when to introduce them, but how to establish a good feeding relationship between child and parent. Food is an essential to life itself and a fundamental responsibility for parents. This books helps guide you with food choices, nutrition, safety, and creating a good “food relationship” with you child.
8. Baby Bottles: Even if you are planning to breastfeed, get yourself at least a couple of bottles as back up. We are told from the beginning that breastfeeding is best, but we are not warned against the many possible complications (or at least I wasn’t). What if your milk comes in late? What if the baby doesn’t latch properly? What do you do if you baby is hungry at midnight and breastfeeding isn’t working? You get out a bottle and either pump some breast milk or give them formula and you need bottles to do this. Many breastfeeding moms will never need a bottle, but they are not expensive and having a couple on hand will save many tears and stress during an already sensitive time.
7. Amby Baby Hammock: I see the eyebrows raise everytime I mention that we used this item, but it was an essential for us in the beginning. We had a baby who would not sleep on his back or in his crib and we were against co-sleeping for many reasons. I found that my infant would sleep in a sling great, which was wonderful during the day–but we were stuck at night, not wanting to co-sleep. The hammock not only helped our son easily sleep through the night but also allowed him to learn to take naps with ease. This is a pricy item and we bought it in lieu of a bassinet and used it until he was 6 months old where he transitioned to the crib easily. Is it for every baby? No…but if yours is having problems sleeping on his back, or has colic or is diagnosed with any sort of acid reflux disease, it is a must.
6. Happiest Baby on the Block (book and DVD): There are so many books out there about babies and sleep, and let’s face it, sleep is one of the most important things we are worried about at first (both for us and the baby). This book/DVD is the 0-12 week handbook on soothing a baby and the techniques truly work. The best part is that is available on DVD so you don’t have to try to get your significant other to read it–you can both sit down in front of the TV and see how Dr. Karp amazingly calms crying babies–it’s like watching a magic show, but he show you how he does all of his tricks!
5. Fisher Price Papasan Baby Swing: A swing is another must when it comes to an infant. Though our son didn’t like it at first, he did by about 4-6 weeks. Swings allow the baby to be soothed while freeing up our hands to make dinner or take a shower, or do many of those basic things we can’t seem to get done after a new baby enters our life. I particularly like the Fisher Price ones because they are secure, have different speeds and can swing both front to back and side to side. This is my favorite since the seat is a papasan and seems more comfortable then one that is upright.
4. White Noise Machine: Let’s face it, infant do 3 things, sleep, eat, and cry. And if they don’t get enough of the first two, then they will do more of the third. So if we feed them properly and teach them to sleep, then they really do cry less. White noise is a good way to help your baby get sleep and sleep longer–especially if you have other children, a small house or live where there is outside noise. The white noise drowns out everything and allows them to sleep better. Try one out for yourself–you will be surprised. I could put ours on and get both the baby and my husband to sleep in no time!
3. Miracle Blanket: Swaddling is another essential skill to learn to learn with newborns. The problem is that it is hard to find blankets big enough to properly swaddle a baby and the “Swaddlers” they sell at stores really don’t wrap them tight enough. The Miracle Blanket is by far the best swaddler I’ve ever used. It allows you to easily wrap your baby in a tight burrito, which (if you read/watch the Happiest Baby on the Block) you will find is a key to soothing an infant.
2. Boppy Pillow: The thing I like about the bobby is that it has so many uses! Breast feeders can use it as a pillow to hold the baby, as can bottle feeders, it can also be used as a place for the baby to lie on his back or for tummy time. It comes with covers that are easy to throw in the wash and it’s not so big as you can’t take it with you.
1. The Baby Whisperer Books: Back to sleeping and eating, I found myself innundated with different methods and books that taught parents how to get their babies to sleep and with my own experience and talking to many many other moms, the Baby Whispers approach is by far the best. Not that there are not other books that take similar approaches, but I found her book the most straight-forward. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, setting up your child on a routine is one of the most important things you can do to make your baby’s and family’s life better. Babies and children thrive on routines–knowing what comes next gives them a sense of security and reduces frustration for both the child and parent. Setting them up early on a feeding and sleeping routine will carry over as they grow into more complicated routines such as those before bed (bath, brush teeth, story) and during school. Routines are how school teachers are able to handle so many kids at once. They know what to expect and what is expected from then at a particular time. I particularly like the baby whisperer because the author takes into consideration that not all babies are the same or have the same temperment, so some may sleep easily while others need some soothing and others need to be left alone. Yes dhe narrows it down to 6 categories, but you will find your child falls into 1 or two of those and be able to adjust your technques and expectations according to those personalities. Also check out her second book too (The Baby Whisperer Solves All of Your Problems…)–I found it quite valuable with many tricks and techniques that she does not discuss in her first book. And if you don’t like the Baby Whisperer, find another “routine” plan such as Babywise or Good Night Sleep Tight. Trust me on this, this was one of the single most important things I did for my child and family.
So there is my top ten. I only focused on newborns because as they grow there are a slew other other must haves and must avoid products out there. Please feel free to add anything you think I’ve missed or comment on the products I mentioned!
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