Leaving the hospital after the baby was born was both incredibly exciting and incredibly nerve-wracking. Having a team of medical professionals around for any tiny question that might come up is a rather comforting experience. However, I knew I wouldn’t miss the noise and frequent interruptions and couldn’t wait to be in my own space again. Once home, we quickly realized how valuable all that help was though there were a few products we were extremely fortunate to have and helped make our lives much easier and a bit less stressful.
- Angelcare Monitor – This is an amazing device. We have the audio version, which is more than sufficient in our tiny house. It’s a monitor that also has a panel that fits under the crib (or cradle/bassinet) mattress which alerts you if the baby stops moving for more than 15 seconds. As I’m sure many new parents can attest, one of our biggest fears was that something might happen during the night while we’re sleeping and we would have no idea. The peace of mind this monitor affords is fantastic. We tested it ourselves before the baby arrived and it’s amazingly responsive even under a thick crib mattress. Like many new parents, the first few nights home we had the baby sleeping in a cradle in our room. The baby did fine…but we barely slept a wink. A few days and a hurricane later, we moved the baby into her crib. Having the monitor made this transition much easier and we’ve been sleeping much sounder ever since! One minor problem we had was that the monitor creates some white noise/static when activated by the baby’s noises. As a result, I was waking up for every minor grunt and groan if the monitor picked it up. Eventually I realized you could turn the volume down slightly which eliminated the static and now I only wake when the baby is fussing or crying to the point where I’d want to check on her.
- SwaddleMe Sleep Sacks – During the first week or two, we used the hospital blankets and receiving blankets to swaddle our daughter at night. She definitely loved the swaddle and slept much better having it. We perfected the folding and tucking but this turned night feedings and changings into quite a production and the baby quickly learned how to free her arms. Once she was free, she’d wake more frequently and not sleep as well as she might have. My cousin had given us some of the SwaddleMe sacks and once we pulled them out, this changed everything. The velcro tabs make changing a breeze and you can cinch the sack quite snugly to avoid little hands and arms from wriggling free.
- Cloth Diapers/Burp Cloths – There are a whole slew of burp cloths out there but nothing stands up like these do. They’re large and very absorbent. Once the baby started spitting up quite frequently, these were invaluable. We still go through about 8-10 per day but I can’t imagine what my laundry pile would be like without them! There are a few varieties with varying weights of material. I prefer the thicker, padded variety as they’re softer to the touch and seem to be the most absorbent.
- Boppy Pillow – This is great for breastfeeding and bottle feeding. At the beginning, I’d settle the baby right on top while feeding which worked great. Now that she’s a bit bigger, I can prop it under my arm and elbow on whichever side she’s nursing from. Our baby was also a bit gassy so after feeding, she’d get uncomfortable if we put her down flat right away. We quickly learned that the Boppy kept her at enough of an incline when we placed her inside the U shape with her head well supported on the cushion. This is also a great position for awake time as she can look around easily. I would definitely not leave her unattended as the baby can wriggle around and eventually slide down into the center of pillow. However, it’s great for those times when you need your hands free but can keep a constant eye on the baby!
- Medela breast pump – Being able to nurse is an amazing bonding experience and has been very rewarding for me. There are times though when you need the freedom of giving a bottle. This bump has been very easy to use and has made life much easier. We decided early on that we wanted to give our baby a bottle a day so that she’d get used to it and this has worked very well for us. My husband has a chance to bond with her every night and I manage to get a few consecutive hours of sleep. It has also made it possible for us to visit family or run errands without worrying about finding a place to feed the baby. It has a battery pack for pumping on the go and a cooler bag for storing and transporting milk. There’s even enough room in the bag for a few extra items like a nursing cover, extra bottles etc. They have some other handy products as well, such as microwaveable sterilizing bags, lanolin, milk storage bags and more.