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guest blogger: The Everyday Mother
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Hello! Jackie here, from The Everyday Mother. When I was pregnant with my son - our first child and the first grandson on both sides of the family - I was constantly fighting the urge to buy EVERYTHING ADORABLE or anything that claimed BABY WILL SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. I had a baby registry filled with more gadgets than I could ever imagine, and I began having anxiety about where on Earth I was going to store it all. We don’t have a tiny home, either.
But that all changed on May 26th, when I was 26 weeks pregnant and had to deliver my son after I developed HELLP Syndrome, a potentially fatal pregnancy complication that can only be cured by delivery. Suddenly, that absolutely essential (and expensive) baby swing was no longer so essential. My son was born weighing 2 lbs 2 oz, and we spent 99 days in the NICU. We learned so much about babies during our NICU stay, and I remember my husband and I looking at each other and wondering how non-NICU parents know what to do with their babies (don’t worry, if you're going to be a new parent- we know you know what to do, we just doubted WE would know what to do!).
One thing we learned quickly in the NICU was that you really don’t need fancy this and fancy that for your baby. What you do need is to test out a few things and figure out what works for your family and your baby. So, essentially, the purpose of a baby shower, I guess, is for everybody to buy you everything so that when baby comes home you can test a zillion things you already have on hand, and then discover the 5-10 things that work best for you and keep them really close ALL OF THE TIME.
Here are the 9 things we couldn’t live without, and why:
1 – The Everyday Mother.
I’m not just saying it because I created it. I created it first and foremost because I desperately needed it, and it turns out lots of other families agreed with me, which is why they’re being gobbled up the way I gobbled Italian bread and meatballs when I was pregnant. The Everyday Mother is a tracking notebook with super simple templates to document the essential baby routines – feeds, diapers, naps and when mom last showered. I cannot tell you how many times our son would cry and my husband and I would look at each other and ask “He’s hungry! When did he last eat?” Instead of trying to use whatever brain cells were left in our sleep deprived heads to remember when he last ate, we’d simply flip open our Everyday Mother and look to see. So beyond easy. Get one. Thank me later.
2 – Breathable blankets.
There are so many things to worry about with a newborn and of course I have a son who likes to have his face covered while he sleeps (sorry, can you wipe the sarcasm dripping from my face?). One of our NICU nurses recommended a muslin, breathable blanket while our son was in the NICU and we now have around 800 of them. Ok, maybe only 40 (not exaggerating). We love Little Unicorn because of their stinking adorable patterns and Aden and Anais blankets are also great and easy to find.
3 – Dockatot.
There's something called a Z-Flow in the NICU which is essentially a foam cocoon that simulates the womb for the teeny tiny micro preemies. It helps babies feel nestled and comfortable and I almost cried at the idea of not being able to take one home with us because our son LOVED it. Luckily, we found and fell in love with Dockatot, which is similar to a Z-Flow and has now turned us into walking Dockatot spokesmen.
4 – Swaddles.
Apparently there are some people who are of the camp that swaddling is bad. We are of the camp that SWADDLING IS WONDERFUL (but, if you’re concerned, check with your pediatrician). We love the SwaddleMe brand because their stretchy, lightweight and velcro swaddles come in a few sizes and are super easy to use.
5 – Rock N Play.
Our son spends an embarrassingly large percentage of time in his Rock N Play. Your child probably should not spend as much time in theirs (seriously, apparently spending too much time in it is bad for baby’s head shape. Oops.) This Rock N Play sleeper from Fisher Price is a favorite among new parents.
6 – Old fashioned cloth diapers.
Huuuuhhhh? Use them as burp cloths, and trust me on this one. They’re made to be absorbent and are so much better at handling spit up than anything else out there that we’ve tried. We have several dozen of these Gerber Heavyweight Cloth Diapers, as do our parents. We also have some that were given to us as gifts and were embroidered. Adorbs.
7 – Wubbanubs.
You’ve probably seen them and not understood the hype. But when you have a baby you'll want to kiss the sweet ground that the Wubbanub inventors walked on. We have two and it’s a full on crisis if we cannot find one.
8 – BabyBum.
This is something I saw pop up occasionally and I wasn't until I had the constant stink of butt paste under my fingernails and in my wedding band (how did it end up there, I have no idea). This handy little butt paste spatula thing is one of my favorite inventions ever and I am so thankful that somebody thought of it.
9 – Munchery
We were gifted several meals from Munchery and we really, really loved it. The food comes pre-prepared, so you don’t have to do any cooking or cleaning. You just order the dish you'd like, set the delivery day and time, it gets dropped off, and then you heat it and eat it. Yum and done.