No one ever told me what the practical things every new mama needs were.
Before we had our first, we had a couple baby showers. We got so. much. stuff. And, sad to say, quite a bit of the stuff ended up not being practical or useful for us. (Who has time or memory to plug in a wipe warmer?)
Firstly, we got tons of cute newborn baby boy clothes. They were adorable!
Then our baby boy was born, all 8 pound 8 ounces and 21 inches of him, and newborn clothes didn’t fit him. Obviously, all those clothes were washed.
So with Baby Girl we made sure to only get 0-3 month clothes. (I did however buy one pack of (cute) newborn size diapers). When she made her whirlwind entrance a day after her due date, all 6 pound 12 ounces of her needed newborn clothing. Thank God for loving in laws who ran to Walmart to grab some newborn clothes before heading to our house. 😉
Things We Couldn’t Live Without
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Some of these things might seem obvious, however I want to add in our experience on each of the products. Certain ones have been awesome, some were just ok, and others – the extreme opposite of awesome.
This one is a mostly favorable review. Graco has been pretty solid for us. This swing (ours was the style Winslet) we started using with our first, almost 3 years ago. Day 2 after his birth, when he became very fussy and we were at the beginning of our rocky breastfeeding journey, this swing became a huge part of our lives.
It’s been a trooper for the most part. We stored it for maybe 3-4 months before needing it for Baby Girl, however when we brought it out after her birth, we found it wouldn’t turn on. Long story short, after a mini anxiety attack from me, Hubby called Graco and they overnighted us a new rocker head free of charge. (Thank you, Graco, for taking seriously a mama’s dilemma). Our children have both needed swung or bounced hard to relax, so this swing has been well-used.
That said, we are a little disappointed that it’s on it’s last leg. The motor still works like new, but the electrical part is glitchy. If the cord coming out of the leg isn’t just right, it won’t turn on. Also, even though neither of our babies have been over (or even near) the weight limit, apparently the time frame of holding weight is about at the end. The swing sits close to the floor, inches lower than it’s supposed to and almost rubs the ‘feet’ of it.
Overall, for the respectable reputation of the company and the versatility of the product, we loved this swing. However, unless you’re ginger in your care of it, or your littles are extra lightweight, don’t unrealistically expect it to make it to Baby #3.
I’d say just about every new mama ever has some kind of vision of herself rocking a sweet sleeping baby at night. It’s the best place in the world to soak in all the baby cuddles and reflect on life as this precious baby clings to you nursing or sleeping in your arms.
That said- GET A GOOD ROCKER.
Yes, I just yelled that at you. 😉
Hubby and I spent over $300 on a non-bottom of the line Shermag rocker similar to this one (only at Babies R Us) before our little boy was born. Barely over 2 years ago.
That rocker is toast.
With our first, I hardly used the chair at all. He preferred bouncing so I used my exercise ball for him. Baby Girl started to like being rocked around 6 months old. She’s barely over a year now. I’m not a big woman. I’ve gotten back to my pre-baby weight both times, pretty quick, putting my 5’5″ frame in the middle of the normal BMI chart. My 6’1″, 210+ pound hubby never sits in this chair.
Yet this cushion is so flat it feels like you’re sitting on a grill. Seriously, it makes you feel like a hamburger that needs flipped. And then it spontaneously locks, slamming you stopped, most often waking the baby you JUST got to sleep, and requires the use of one of the hands you’re holding (now screaming) baby with to unlock it. And lastly, randomly one day we found tiny, greasy balls on the carpet under the chair. Apparently a bearing broke and now it snaps when rocking back.
As I said, this was a lightly used chair.
Then Hubby got me another for Christmas. Another Shermag. It came cracked and clearly returned (the Glad freezer bag of screws and parts kind of gave it away). Shermag wanted to have us buy paint from them to cover it up. Hubby said no way, it’s a CRACK. In the wood. Finally they told us to return it to Amazon, even though their paperwork says in big, bold, bright red letters “CALL US FIRST”. (Amazon handled it very well).
We wrote Shermag and gave them our well-documented experiences. That was months ago, and we never heard one word back in email or phone format. If we ever do hear back from them, I will update this post. At least until then, we highly DO NOT recommend any of their products.
So my heartfelt advice to you is, if you’re willing and able to invest in something for baby – invest in a good chair. We will be getting an Amish built, hard-wood, solid, with-a-warranty and super thick cushion, rocker soon. If we would’ve just spent the $450-500 (that we spent on Shermags) on that chair in the first place, I wouldn’t be writing a bad review right now. 😉
Hubby insisted I add this. “It was a LIFESAVER“, were his exact words. As I said above, our first needed bounced, not rocked. All the time. If the swing worked it had to be on the highest speed, but mostly he just liked to be bounced. Hard. To get him to sleep at night, we would strap him in and bounce him as if our lives depended on it. (They might’ve actually). This little $50 contraption would then keep the bounce going for 20 minutes (the new version linked goes 30 minutes!) so that he could get to a deeper sleep.
Life. Saver. Not an understatement.
Also, this bouncer isn’t stiff. It cradles Baby nicely, has a cozy, soft padding and cover, and lays back. We ignorantly bought this Bright Starts one for Baby Girl (so she had something pink and girly, yes, I know – lame reason) and have seriously regretted not spending the extra $10-15 on another Ingenuity. It is very stiff, sits more awkwardly forward, and doesn’t cradle her at all. She actually hates being in it, so it’s gotten maybe one actual use.
Definitely, definitely get the good one, Mama.
This is something where Bright Starts came in handy. After Baby Girl was born, we had this right beside our bed and it did us well for months. It cradled her comfortably, had a soft liner and mesh sides for airflow and visibility. We do co-sleep with our babies, when it’s something they need (or Mama needs to be able to sleep). Otherwise, we keep them close with something like this.
Never, ever will we have a newborn sleeping in a different room (at night). Not only is it not good for them to be immediately separated from Mama, but it makes NO sense if you want to get any sleep. Yes, midnight feeds are something to cherish, but the waste of time and precious energy getting up and walking to a crib numerous times a night is a contributor to postpartum depression and at worst, dangerous for both of you.
Now I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s mainly because I have found it to be 110% true that no matter what size of bag you have, you never have enough room for what you ‘need’.
However, in this case, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives and I’ll list them out for you. (This is specifically about the one linked to)
- There is a wipe dispenser pocket built in the side (this is worth the weight of this diaper bag, packed, in gold, silver and chocolate)
- You can have BOTH hands free to do anything else needed with baby/babies (this is worth the same amount of weight in gold, silver, chocolate and icecream)
- There are a ton of different compartments with zippers to separate things so you don’t have to sift through everything to find something
- There is an insulated pocket for warm or cold items
Really I’ve only found one:
- In our bag, there’s not enough room left for miscellaneous things we need to pack in and go (our previous bag we could pile extra things (water bottles, coats, etc.) between the straps and hope they stayed till we got to the truck) – keep in mind, we are packing for two littles now
Standard diapers bags seem to have more ‘cute’ options. (Currently. I imagine this is going to change with popularity). The bag linked is still nice looking and the color choice works well for us for 2 reasons. 1) Hubby will still carry it. 😉 (In other words, it’s not pink. Or purple, or otherwise extra girly.) 2) It’s not boring, blah black. 😛 And it has all the positives I listed above, which are immensely more important than color or style. You’ll see, I promise.
For Two Toddlers
Before Baby Girl was born, Hubby was trying to convince me that we should buy a double stroller. I loved our first single Graco similar to this one (ours was the older, less fancy version) and was afraid a double would be like pushing a semi.
Sure enough, it is. 😉 However, it is a lifesaver.
Long story short, Baby Girl was born and we decided to go out. We also decided to use our son’s stroller for her car seat and carry him. Bad idea. Apparently he loved his stroller even more than I did. Next stop was Babies R’ Us for the Graco Modes Duo.
- It’s smooth
- You can take turns super easy, meaning it gets out of tight spaces like a pro
- You never find yourself being pulled in whatever direction the stroller decides it wants to go, like you do with the double wheeled strollers
- It has a thousand different options for seating, including a sit/stand area for an older child
- Storage is as good as any double you can find
- The umbrella covers actually cover a fair bit while still leaving visibility for your littles
- Even though storage is ok, it’s hard to get to when you have a car seat clicked in and a toddler in the seat closest to the handlebar
- The adult cup-holder easily gets bumped off and the child ones don’t fit a Klean Kanteen
- The adult storage area is non-existent (I loved having two cup-holders and a place for my phone in the single stroller)
- The sit to stand ‘floor’ has two little wheels under it that click as you walk on sidewalks
Ultimately, until we can afford the Baby Jogger City Select (which my sis in law LOVES), this Graco will continue to be used and appreciated. 😉
Things We COULD Live Without
Ours was a GMC – in other words: nice, but not a Cadillac like the 4 Moms Pack N’ Play (I want this someday!), and not a Cavalier like bottom of the line options. (<-That one still has good reviews!) Ours had the diaper caddy on the side (it was very awkward and didn’t work well). It also had the insert to bring the bottom up higher for a newborn/baby. The changing table that flipped to be a newborn sleeper was a great idea – in theory.
In reality, it was this bulky piece of furniture (practically) that you couldn’t break down into anything smaller, or do anything else with.
We live in a modestly sized house that we added tons of storage to, yet this whole thing was too much to deal with. It was a big process to get it open, closed and packed. The insert and changing table piece had no way of storing with the main piece, so they just awkwardly sat around unused. Maybe if we had good attic or basement storage this wouldn’t be such an issue, so I imagine it could still be a helpful tool for families that do.
Moral: if you don’t have a lot of extra space or storage – don’t buy this one.
This was also nice – in theory.
In reality, new mamas either want their feet up on the padded stool that came with their rocker, or don’t care where they are. Most don’t have energy or desire to have their feet perfectly together on a little wooden stool. 😛
I’m most often found sitting cross-legged on the floor to nurse my sweet girl. God made our laps perfect to nestle our little ones. Except, of course, when you’re 9 months pregnant with a little sibling. 😉
Last Couple Practical Things Every New Mama Needs
These couple things didn’t make the ‘lifesavers’ list, however they did make the ‘made-our-lives-easier’ list, which is pretty darn important too. So keep these things in mind if you financially can. Heck, use a grocery bag for the last one if needed. 😉
Some Mamas say this is a waste of space.
I say if you get the right one it’s not. Get one that can convert to just a dresser, with lots of storage beneath and preferably to the side so your wipes, diapers, ointment, etc. are handy.
Some Mamas say it’s just as or more easy to change baby on the floor.
I say, I might’ve agreed with that – before I had Baby Girl. She will squirm, kick, flail, whine, scream, throw a fit, or anything else you can think of if I try changing her on the floor. Putting her on the changing table changes something with her and I don’t mean the diaper. 😉 She still throws a fit once in a while, but it’s much less often on the table, and the curved sides make it much harder for her to get away.
We I use baskets for anything and everything baby related. I store and separate their toys, hold clothes and books, and organize diapers/wipes/ointments/etc. in baskets. Before we had our first, I put wicker baskets (with liners) full of diapers on each floor of the house. I’ll tell you, it was hugely helpful.
So this was my non-inclusive list of practical things every new mama needs. Don’t ever say I didn’t tell you. 😉
Do what it takes to make your life easier, Mama/Daddy. That way you can enjoy this precious new time in your lives.