Baby Must-Haves: 10 Products that make Life as First Time Parent Much Easier

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Being a 1st time parent can feel overwhelming and even impossible. I cannot even imagine how my parents (and their parents) managed to bring to life and raise children without diapers and mattress protectors. How were they even sleeping at night without a baby monitor?

In all seriousness, today’s life seems so much easier when it comes to child care. There are certain products on the market that simply make my life as a mom less challenging. And today I’ll be sharing my favorite 1st time mom must have products, I’d recommend to any of my friends.

Nipple Cream (Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream)

Use:

  • Cracked and sore skin on breasts
  • Baby Diaper rash
  • Baby Drooling rash around mouth (due to teething)

One of the products I swear buy is the Lanolin Cream. At first I used it as intended – sore, cracked skin. Then when some bad baby bottom rashes kicked in, I read almost every. single. article there is on the internet and the Lanolin wonder kept coming up. So, we gave it a try – and the rest is history as they say.    

Cradle Cap Shampoo (Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns)

Use: Remove cradle cap from baby’s head

 My mother in law used olive oil against cradle cap with success. Following historic advice (and wanting to use natural products on a newborns skin) I tried oil after oil but nothing seemed to work. Then, I discovered the Mustela Shampoo. It can take time to get those nasties off, especially when they have been there for quite some time. If used consistently over a period of time (say 2-4 months)  – results are evident (at least in our case).

Nipple Shields (Philips AVENT BPA Free Nipple Protectors)

Use:

  • (prevention of) cracked, sour skin
  • Easier latch-on (when experiencing breastfeeding challenges in the early stages)
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Another product that has been a lifesaver for me and D. is the Avent nipple protectors. Most people use them to protect sensitive and cracked skin. However, in D.s case they enabled successful latch-on in the beginning. D. had a tongue-tie, which prevented him from being able to get the milk he needed (and wanted so badly). Now, I recommend these to every friend and family member who’s expecting a baby.

Experiencing breastfeeding challenges? Check out this article. You may find an answer there. 

Baby Comforter (Sterntaler Baby Comforter Anton – 2 sizes available)

Use:

  • Encourages independent sleeping habits (complements the NO-cry-it-out method of sleep training)
  • Provides an easy to use comforting solution (that is not mommy or milk or pacifier)

One of the best baby gifts we ever received is the Sterntaler’s  Comforter Monkey – Anton. There is a lot of contradicting advice on the Internet if a comforter should be used or not. If you choose to introduce a comforter, make sure it’s a safe (reputable even) toy for your little one (see sample recommendations here). What I particularly like about Sterntaler’s Comforter is that it makes a slight noise when you shake its head. That way D. finds it more easily in the darkest of night. Also, it domes in 2 sizes (S and M) which makes it easy to use for both baby and toddler (and beyond) stages. We already are the proud owners of 3 Anton toys.

On the road towards sleep training? Check these Articles – Sleep Regressions , Sleep Training Mistakes to avoidSleep training methods.

Ergonomic carrier (Ergonomic Carrier)

Use: carrying around baby (inside and outside the house) with ease

Baby Carriers are another product that deserves five stars. It’s not a necessity – you can always use a stroller or a baby swing (see point below).  But if mommy wants to do things hands-free with baby cuddles against her – a carrier is a must have. We got most out of our carrier until D. turned 6 months or so. By that time he was curious enough to want to roam around freely and oppose anything tight and movement-limiting.

Breast Pump ( Manual: Philips Avent Breast Pump or Electric: Philips Avent Electric Pump)

Use:

If one plans on breastfeeding a breast pump of any sort is a must have for a number of reasons. I’ve had my manual breast pump ever since D. was born. I’ve carried it everywhere with me and it has served a good purpose. It even helped me prolong breastfeeding when D. refused to wait for the milk to come down – hungry babies learn fast, you know. If you are looking for an electric pump –from a friend’s experience I would recommend this one.

New to breast pumps: FDA offers a good guide to the different types of breast pumps. 

Digital Thermometer (Digital Thermometer)

Use: helps measure baby’s temperature quickly and painless-ly.

Every mother (mother-to-be) knows a good temperature measuring device is a must have around the house. Many people say electronic thermometers cannot provide complete accuracy compared to mercury-containing thermometer. However, measuring the temperature of a crying and wiggling baby seems an impossible task using the ‘old-fashioned’ ways. Especially when there are good alternatives on the market – measuring temperature on forehead, under arm or ear. We bought our head thermometer 6 months into parenting and I do regret we did not get one sooner.

Scratch mittens (Mittens or Baby Socks)

Use: prevent baby from scratching itself in the newborn stage.

There are a lot of ‘’avoid-scratching’’ solutions on the market. Some prefer to use a jumpsuit that has mittens attached. Others might prefer the classic scratch mittens or even socks. I never bought the jumpsuit options, so cannot vouch for them. The scratch mittens we had always seemed to fall off 5 min after I managed to put them on D.’s tiny little hands. Then my mom suggested we use SOCKS. May seem weird at first, but baby socks were an effective (and cheap) alternative to scratch mittens in our case.

Baby Swing (4moms mamaRoo)

Use:  may help extend  baby sleeping time during day/night.

Some babies like spending their free time in a swing, others strongly oppose it. A good rule of thumb many of my friends (and me) followed is to wait until baby is born and choose a swing (no swing) afterwards. As D. was a very colic-y baby who had no appreciation of sleep, I was in desperate need of any extra rest-hour I could get. After extensive research we (read me) decided to give the 4Moms Mamaroo a try. We bought it from a store that allowed testing all swings before buying – which made my choice easier.  Thanks to the Mamaroo I was able to get some much needed extra sleep (between 2 to 4 hours a night).

As the Mamaroo is a pricey option (see other swing alternatives on Amazon), I’d recommend testing it first (at a store or borrow from a friend). Another alternative is to buy second hand.

Postpartum Belly Wraps for Mom (Belly Bandit)

Use:

  • Helps organs return to normal position after C-section and gives feeling of security
  • May help belly shrink faster (aesthetics)

When I gave birth (C-section) to D. my doctor put a simple postpartum wrap around my belly right after the operation. It helped my wound get more protection and prevented my organs from (literally) falling off. Then I send my husband to the local pharmacy to get me one for when we get home. I wore my belly wrap for months (day and night) after giving birth – for both the medical and aesthetic reasons.

What are the must have products you use? I’d love to hear some new/or old/ recommendations in the comments below.

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