Things You Forgot While Baby Shopping

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After I found out I was pregnant with Olivia, I spent the next 8 months planning for her arrival. Yet despite being scarily organized, there were a few things I didn’t think of which would have made my life a little bit easier through that grueling 4th trimester.

A Dimmable Lamp Or Nighlight

I breastfed my daughter until she was 2, and she shared a room with us until she was about 1 year old. During that time, I used everything from a spare sock, to a leg warmer, to an unused nappy to dim the bedside lamp I had. Partly because I felt so bad waking my husband up every couple of hours to a rude bright light, and partly because I hated said rude bright light myself.

All I wished for through those breastfeeding nights was one of those dimmable touch lamps that my mom had when I was a kid. I highly recommend a dimmable bedside lamp, because whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, the best thing you can do at night is keep the light dim and conducive to sleep.

A Boob Bangle

For the breastfeeding moms. An elastic bangle of any design which you can easily switch from wrist to wrist to keep track of which boob you finished on. Basically, when breastfeeding, you always start on the breast which you ended on your previous feed. Seems easy enough. But at 3am when your newborn is crying for milk and your eyes can hardly open, that bracelet will be a God-send. Every time you finish a feed, make sure your bangle is on the wrist on the same side as that breast, so that when you start your next feed, that’s the side you start your baby on. Make sense?

Side-note – after a few months, once your milk has calmed down a bit, you’ll be able to ‘feel’ which was your last breast simply by how full they are, but for those first few months when you are brand new to the whole thing, this is a really great idea.

Side-side note – FED IS BEST! So if you plan to formula feed, supplement, or you try breastfeeding and it isn’t for you – good for you mom, as long as your baby is fed, you are doing a great job!

Pop Socket Or Phone Ring Holder

No seriously, hear me out! How many times have you been lying in bed and you’ve dropped your phone on your own face? Now imagine your face is the sweet face of your suckling new born… sounds pretty terrible right? I know it seems ridiculous, but often the only thing to keep you awake while your baby feeds through the night will be your cellphone, and tired hands can truly benefit from a little help in holding that bad boy up. Invest in a pop-socket if you can, or a phone ring at least.

Block Out Curtains

Anyone ever told you ‘just sleep when the baby sleeps’? A million times a day? Yea, they do that. But seriously, it’s not bad advice.
On those days when you can ignore the pile of laundry or the fact that you would kill for 5 minutes to be a human being, and you actually want to close your eyes and catch an hour of sleep, block out curtains are going to be your best friend. And as your baby gets older and the light effects his/her sleep, those curtains are going to be even more helpful. Hell, when Olivia moved into her own room those curtains moved with her, because the darker her room, the longer she slept, and the longer she slept the longer I slept.

Sleep Sack/Growbag

Whatever you call them, once your baby transitions from swaddling, a sleep sack is the best thing you can invest in. They are expensive brand new, but you can often find them second hand in good condition. If you haven’t heard of a sleep sack or growbag, it’s basically a sleeveless sleeping bag, fully closed at the bottom, which zips or buttons up to keep baby snuggly warm while they sleep.
They are great because they eliminate the need for a blanket which is a SIDS / suffocation risk, and they improve sleep quality. Olivia is almost 3 and she STILL sleeps in her sleep sack during winter (only because we are in a warmer climate, my niece sleeps in a hers year-round!).
They come in different ‘thickness’ measurements, usually called a ‘tog’, basically .5 tog is for warm weather and then 2 tog is for cold weather. Make sure your baby’s head can’t slip through the head-hole, and that they have enough space to stretch their legs, and always read the safety instructions on the packaging. If you do that, I highly recommend them!

An insulated reusable water bottle (for you, mommy!)

If you’ve ever spoken to a mom of any age, you will have heard the lament that a cup of coffee always ends up cold and tossed out, because moms are busy ya’ll! But now, we have amazing technology which can keep that cup of coffee hot all day (or that ice-cold water, ice-cold!). If you are breastfeeding you will soon learn that thirst is a very real thing (I’m talking oh.my.gosh I will die if I don’t drink water RIGHT NOW kind of thirst), and if you aren’t breastfeeding you will still be too busy to finish a cup of tea or a glass of water in 1 sitting. Trust me, invest in a sturdy thermal drink bottle, for your own comfort and sanity. (Plus it helps keep unnecessary single-use plastic water bottles out of the environment. Yay!)

BONUS - A Second Cot Mattress

I added this as a bonus because it may not seem useful now, but it will later. We got an extra-large camp cot as a gift, with a lovely bamboo mattress. But around the age of 2 the mattress started to get soft in the middle (not bad after over 2 years hard use!), and around 3 years when she had her first nighttime ‘accident’, a second mattress would have really come in handy. By that time, we couldn’t remember the measurements of her cot and also it seemed silly to go out and buy a new mattress when she would be moving to her big girl bed in just a few months. If I’m honest with myself though, I should have changed out her mattress a year ago, and if I’d had one, I certainly would have. It also would have been a huge help to have a second mattress for nights out - I had a friend who would bring a camp cat mattress everywhere, so if they stayed out a bit later their toddler could just sleep next to their table or in a spare room – genius! So I recommend getting 2 mattresses when you buy your cot, because ‘just in case’ becomes ‘thank goodness we thought of that’ real quick.

I really hope this list has something on it that helps you, something you haven’t thought of. If you read it and, at any stage say ‘why didn’t I think of that!’ please let me know, it would be awesome if I helped even one new mommy on her journey!

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