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Life with a newborn is full of happiness. Wait! Whoever said that must not be the newborn’s parents! After having my precious baby girl in October and proudly becoming a parent for the first time, I can tell you that life with a newborn is full of stress and tiredness. However, there are some must haves for newborn babies that can help make your life easier.
The biggest fear every first-time parent has is that we don’t know what we don’t know. After we finally put the crying baby to sleep and get a moment to use the bathroom and maybe have a minute or two to check our phones, we are no longer browsing Facebook or Instagram. Instead, we Google. “How to calm down a crying baby?” “What are the ways to interact with the baby?” “How to increase breastmilk supply?” “What are the signs of postpartum depression?” We are desperately in need of help.
With the limited help we can get from our friends and family, we have no option but to look for things we can buy and hope that they really work. We start reading blogs after blogs, checking out reviews, posting questions in our support groups. We just want to make sure that whatever we buy is useful, worth the money, and most importantly, safe.
After having gone through this myself, I understand all too well the challenges new parents face. The first two weeks for me were extremely chaotic. There was no routine or schedule. When the baby cried, we dropped everything to attend to her. During our most difficult times, we were very lucky to have had my mom here to help out. She is literally a superwoman. However, we also came across a few items that really worked wonders. I am listing them here hoping that it can help other parents like us.
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We all know that we should not share the bed with the baby, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that parents share the room with the baby for at least the first six months. It makes it easier for the mother to nurse the baby at night. It also helps the baby to get used to the new environment outside the womb. Instead of investing in a full-size crib right away, we bought the Mika Micky Bedside Co-Sleeper. My daughter has been using it since the first night she got back from the hospital. We can’t be happier with this purchase. If you are planning to bring crib or cosleeper for traveling by air with the baby, be sure to check out things to consider when evaluating a portable crib before you spend your hard-earned money.
What I Love About It
- Easy-open side panel that can fold down: New babies lack a sense of security. They want to be held or be around their caregivers all the time. No matter you had a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section, don’t expect to be able to climb on and off the bed swiftly right away. Your body will be weak and most likely be in pain for at least 4 weeks. One of the great benefits of this bed is that the side-panel can be taken down. That way, getting the baby in and out of the crib requires much less effort. If you are ordered to bed rest by the doctor, you probably won’t have much strength to walk around or carry the baby. Then you can set the sleeper to a similar height of your bed and put it adjacent to your bed. This way, you can look at your sweet bundle of joy and pat her to sleep while lying in bed.
- Built-in wheels with brakes: If you are lucky to have someone like your parents to care for your baby at night, make sure that the bassinet can easily move from room to room. Unless you plan to buy two. For the first month, our daughter would sleep with us for three nights and with my mom for four nights. The built-in wheels on the Mika Micky run very smoothly and quietly on carpets and hardwood floors. It’s much easier to just move the crib than picking up the baby and carry her to another room.
- Adjustable heights: Just like I mentioned above about moving the crib to different rooms, also make sure that the height of the crib you buy is adjustable. Not only because the crib needs to accommodate the height of different beds, but also because it gives you the flexibility to reach the baby in different ways. The Mika Micky has seven different height positions from 18-in to 26-in. To make the adjustment, compress the two handles on the side to lift or push down the crib. One additional benefit I found out is that to ease the baby’s stomach reflux or milk spilling, you can set one side of the bed a little higher than the other, and then place the baby’s head on the higher end.
- Compact and lightweight: We travel to our in-laws almost every other weekend. My husband is responsible for packing all the big items. He is quite impressed with how easy it is to pack and unpack the crib. It fits into the trunk of our regular-sized sedan nicely and it weighs only 25 pounds. It also comes with a travel bag for easy transportation.
When evaluating the baby monitor, my husband and I had a long debate on whether we should buy a video one or an audio one. Privacy of the baby? You must be joking! Under my strong instance (which proved to be wrong), we bought a video monitor. It turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. No one in the house wanted to have it in their room. We eventually had to replace it with an audio monitor. To my surprise, the audio monitor is much easier and more convenient.
What I Love About It:
- Up to 1000 feet of range: The reception of this monitor is amazingly good. We can hear the baby from every corner of our four-bedroom house. We even take it with us to the backyard. My husband recently set up a home karaoke system in the basement. We take the monitor with us during our family karaoke parties. The sound of the baby monitor is powerful enough for us to hear above the loud music.
- Talk-back through walkie talkie: This feature is especially useful when you have to keep your voice down when the baby is asleep. Since our daughter was born, we have gotten used to whispering to each other most of the time. Before buying this monitor, whoever is carrying the sleeping baby had to get out of the coach and walk to the other person. We are so relieved after start using the walkie talkie feature on this monitor.
- Great sound quality and adjustable volume: This monitor picks up the slightest sound from the baby’s room and the sound quality is fantastic. We can even hear it when our little cupcake is squirming around. There are five levels of volume to choose from. Adjusting the volume is pretty easy due to the monitor’s simple design.
Parents are always paranoid about anything that can potentially hurt our babies. I took away the big lamp on my nightstand right after coming home from the hospital. I know it may sound a little paranoid but I was worried that it might fall down and hit the crib. My friend recommended me this cute little nursery lamp. It became a must-have for all my night nursing sessions.
What I Love About It
- Eye-caring LED light with two colors: My husband hates it when anyone turns on the light while he is sleeping. Now with a baby, I have to be even more careful. This lamp has two colors: soft white and warm yellow. To my surprise, both colors are brighter than I thought, yet they don’t shine on your face to annoy the heck out of you at night. It has the perfect brightness for night-time diaper changes and nursing sessions. In addition, little infants are naturally attracted to lights. That is why our little girl always stares at the lamp when I am feeding her. Therefore, you want to make sure that the light source you use is soft on the eyes and is safe for the baby.
- Easy and quiet to use: No one likes to search for the light switch in the middle of the night while half asleep. “Click! Click!” It is super annoying. This lamp is very quiet because it doesn’t have any switch. To turn it on and off, just double-tap the top with your palm. To adjust the brightness, just hold your palm on it. It is so easy that it can be used as a toy when the baby is bigger.
- Great battery life and super portable: Many of us always underestimate how many things we pack for travel. With a small baby, be prepared to give up at least half of the space in your luggage. Maybe not so many people will want to pack a lamp for travel, but this lamp is so small and convenient that we carry it with us everywhere. It charges by putting it on top of the base. You can plug in the cable on the bottom of the lamp itself. It has an 80-hour dimmed light battery life. If you are just going for a short trip of a few days, you don’t even need to worry about charging it.
Yes, you love your little bundle of joy, but holding her all the time in your arms? Probably not so much. Carrying the baby in the carrier saves you from sore arms and back pain. In addition, studies show that babies who are carried more during the day cry less at night. According to Dr. Campbell, when you carry a baby around, it makes them feel more secure. Using a carrier also allows more physical contact between you and the baby. She can feel the warmth of your body and hear your heartbeat.
What I Love About It
- Four ways to carry the baby: If you expect to use the carrier for a long time, make sure that they can be used in multiple ways. Newborn babies usually prefer to face inward. When our daughter turned two-months-old, she became very curious about this world and only liked to face outward. She enjoys exploring new things when we carry her to grocery stores or shopping malls. With this carrier, you can also carry the baby on the back when they get bigger.
- Easily adjustable straps: Most baby carriers have adjustable straps, but you definitely will appreciate one that is easy to adjust. I wouldn’t say that the straps on this carrier are quick and smooth to adjust but on the other hand, I would be worried if they were – they are supposed to be sturdy and durable. Considering the safety requirements, it is relatively easy to adjust the straps on this carrier.
Pumping is hard work! If you think that you just sit there and chillax for 20 minutes and the breast pump will do the work, then you are wrong. Other than the actual pumping, there is disassembling, washing, sterilizing, drying and assembling the parts, as well as carrying the pump to work every day. When I was looking for ways to make pumping easier, I came across the Elvie wearable breast pumps. Because of the price tag, I didn’t buy it right away. It took me a while to decide to give them a try, and I am so glad that I did. I love them! They are a game-changer. I’m no longer stuck to the wall with my other pump. Now I can finally save some time by working at my laptop or doing some light house chores while pumping.
What I Love About It
- Wearable and cordless. Why do traditional breast pumps have to be so huge? Holding my Spectra feels like holding a bucket. The biggest thing I like about Elvie breast pumps is how small they are. They fit in my regular nursing bras nicely. While pumping, I sometimes read a book, do some work using my laptop, wash the dishes, and yes, go to the bathroom for an emergency trip!
- Super quiet. The motors of the conventional breast pumps can be quite loud. To not wake up my husband and the baby, I used to go to the home office to pump at night. Now with Elvie, I just sit in the bed and play with my phone.
- Portable and light-weight. A nursing mom can barely go anywhere without the baby. This is something I didn’t expect when I was pregnant. Going without nursing or pumping for three hours you will end up with rock-hard boobs. If you don’t pump in a timely matter, you may be prone to an infection or mastitis. Elvie gives me the freedom of being away from home because carrying them is so easy. Each pump only weighs 8 oz. I was able to take several day-trips to New York City while my mom was taking care of my two-month-old. To find a place in the City to pump is not difficult. I used a location app to find a Mamava lactation room. There are quite a few of them in the city. They are private, clean and free.
People say it takes a village to raise a child. The effort and sacrifice a mother takes are beyond measure. However, I am thankful that we can take advantage of many useful tools today. I certainly want to spend most of my time and energy enjoying my sweet baby. What are your favorite childcare tools or gadgets? If you have come across anything that is very useful, please share it in the comments.