I am a devoted minimalist. While pregnant I refused a lot of different items because they seemed like gimmicks that would clutter my tiny apartment.
However, after having a baby and actually dealing with the daily habits of taking care of her, I found there are 10 things I absolutely couldn’t live without:
As I sat in the hospital with a fussy, fed baby that still could suck the paint off the walls, the nurses suggested a pacifier. The sudden shift from screaming to silence was all I needed to continue implementing this little piece of rubber magic.
Recommended Brand: Avento Soothie $3
Why: The shape of the Soothie most simulates that of a breast – with a wide base and cylindrical shape – reducing the chance of nipple confusion.
Buy the Avento Soothie on Amazon.com
When babies cry, their arms flail – and a lot of times this causes even more crying! Babies love to feel like they are back in the womb – a room with a snug fit – keeping their little arms safely tucked in. Ahh… so soothing! A “must” for helping little ones get to sleep.
Recommended Brand: Swaddle Me $15
Why: The lightweight, stretchable fabric makes it perfect for enveloping baby tight in any climate. The bottom velcro closure allows for easy diaper checking without an entire unwrapping.
Buy the Swaddle on Amazon
3. Baby Sling
Babies want to be held. Period. And in an idea world, we would all sit around for the first three months with our sweet, content babies and nothing else in the world to do. Back in reality we often need to keep moving with one – and sometimes even two! – hands free. I don’t know how people even manage to raise babies without using a wrap.
Recommended Brand: Baby K’tan $50
Why: This wrap is super easy to put on, looks stylish, requires NO tying of knots, and doesn’t end up with long pieces of fabric hanging over your legs. Yay!
Buy the K’tan Sling on Amazon
4. Rocking Chair
True Story: I didn’t have a rocking chair for the first eight weeks of my baby’s life. I found myself pacing the floor of my 600 square foot apartment every night at 3 am trying to get her back to sleep before I thought “Hmm… perhaps I should try a rocking chair.” And yes, it changed my life. Or should I say, it changed my nights. So much better!
Reccomended Brand: A big, fat Lay-z-Boy. $350
Why: These things rock without giving you motion sickness (I’m looking at you, Glider) and when the little nugget finally falls asleep, you can just recline that bad boy and doze off with her.
Buy the Lay-Z-Boy on Amazon
5. White Noise Machine
Emulating the sounds of the womb is key. Unlike adults – a quiet room makes babies unsettled. Recall how small babies can sleep during a loud movie or room full of people – the noise comforts them. The same happens when it’s time to sleep – a soothing noise similar to that of the womb (which can be as loud of a vacuum cleaner!) helps baby relax and drift off to dreamland.
Recommended Item: High-Quality Room Fan $50
Why: Digital white noise and sound machines made for babies can have a tin can sound to them and you can often audibly hear the “loop” nosie. In addition, these are assaultive to adult ears – and once baby is done with them – that’s $30 – $50 you’ll never see again. Instead, we like the idea of purchasing a nice quality room fan instead. Not only will this fan drown out the outside noises that could wake your baby, but it also circulates the air in her room, leaving things feeling a bit “fresher” than before. It’s a Win/Win!
Buy a Vornado fan on Amazon
6. Breast Pump
Weather your trying to increase your supply or save up a supply of milk for the future, a breast pump is essential. Women with low milk supply should pump after each feeding for 10 minutes on each side to stimulate milk production. Women with a normal/ high supply can pump after each feeding to store milk for future use.
Recommended Brand: Medela Symphony $1,500
Why: This pump is smooooth. Other pumps can suck so hard on the nipple that by the end of the pumping session it’s bright purple and bruised. The Medela cruises along, getting the most milk without giving you additional nipple trauma. And who needs more of that?!
Buy the Medela Symphony on Amazon
7. Vibrating Seat
Okay, to be fair, it took my baby until she was 8 weeks old to sit in the seat and another 2 weeks to enjoy it. It takes some getting used to and I recommended putting the baby in it for just 5-10 minutes at a time in the beginning. Now she LOVES the seat and the lightweight version allows me to move it all around the house without any problem. I put it in front of the shower, on the kitchen table, in the laundry room – anywhere I am.
Recommended Brand: Fisher Price Soothing Vibrations $35
Why: Unlike the pricey, bulky competitors, this chair is lightweight and easy to move. It also have a vibration mode that is just right and not too intense.
Buy the Fisher Price Soothing Vibrations on Amazon
8. Car Mirror
What is your baby doing while facing backwards in a car seat an arm’s length away from you? You wouldn’t know unless you were willing to pull the car over and look or risk getting into a collision trying to crane your head back to find out. These handy devices require only a glance in your rearview mirror to see if your little nugget is content, sleeping, or unhappy.
Recommended Brand: Diono Mirror $8
Why: The simple installation and extra large size of the mirror make it super easy to use.
Buy the Diono Car Mirror on Amazon
9. Portable Noise Machine
Okay, yes, this is another one of those baby gimmicks I swore I wouldn’t use. But let me tell you, it made such a difference with car rides and airplane trips. The soothing sounds help baby relax and feel secure while drowining out all the junk noise in the background.
Recommended Brand: Sleep Sheep On-the-Go $25
Why: First of all, it’s so cute! Second, my baby LOVES the babbling brook setting. Third, the handy velcro loop on the back makes it easy to attach to a car seat, stroller bar, or carry-on bag for no-worry transport.
Buy the Sleep Sheep on Amazon
10. Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play $80
The mack daddy of baby sleeping accommodations. I tell you, my life changed when I bought a Rock n Play and began using it for bedtime. It was recommended to me (by name brand) by my lactation consultant to deal with my daughter’s maddening acid reflux (it sits at a slight angle), but I found it’s highlights went beyond spit-up.
Buy the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play on Amazon
Click here to read the full article on why the Fisher Price Rock n Play is amazing.
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents
Roxann is a new mom, graphic designer, and contributing author for Head & Heart Parents. In her spare time she likes to sleep. You can learn more about her at www.roxannblue.com