Becoming a mother is the most miraculous feeling a human being can experience. During pregnancy and delivery your body is put through the ringer, but the second you hold your newborn baby, it’s all worth it.
I’m not going to lie. Being a mom is no easy job, especially if it’s your first time having a child. Luckily, there are a lot of products that have made motherhood a whole easier. Here’s a look at some of my favorites:
Products for Building an Essential Breastfeeding Kit
In recent years, a lot of new information has come out about the importance of breastfeeding. While it can be a pain in the boobs at times, it’s much healthier for your baby. The good news is there are a lot of products that make breastfeeding more convenient.
The most important product is a good breast pump. There are two versions you can choose from: a manual hand pump or an electric pump that does the work for you. Whichever you choose the two most important features are durability and portability. Two brands that are worth considering are Avent and Medela.
rel “nofollow”>BabyCubby.com is a great one-stop shop for putting together a breastfeeding kit with everything you need. They have an awesome selection of individual pumps and entire systems plus a whole lot more. Additional products that are essential to making the breastfeeding experience easier include:
- · Storage bottles with nipples
- · A breastfeeding pillow
- · Cloth sling
- · Nursing pads
- · Nursing bra
- · Burp cloths
- · Bag to keep everything in
Don’t forget to pamper yourself a little. Breastfeeding is deceptively exhausting and at times painful. There are a number of products that are specifically designed to keep your nipples healthy. A soothing, all-natural nipple cream is a must. Hot and cold gel pads can also provide much-needed relief.
Products for Creating an Awesome Diaper Changing Station
Most new moms are surprised by how much time is spent changing a newborn’s diaper. They usually go through 10-14 a day. Since you’ll be changing an ungodly amount of diapers, a highly functional diaper changing station can save a lot of time.
Just about any flat surface can double as a changing table as long as you have a cushioned pad to lay your baby on. There are also cribs that can convert into a changing table as needed. If you can afford one, a purpose-built changing station is the best bet since it has storage for keeping all your diaper products and rails to keep your baby from rolling off the table.
Whichever option you use, make sure a few drawers are within reach and cleared out. In the top drawer keep the following:
- · Diapers
- · Inserts if you’re using cloth diapers
- · Wipes
- · Diaper cream
Right next to the changing station have a diaper disposal can ready and waiting. These are a great place to keep used diapers before they get tossed or washed because they keep the odor from escaping. Keep additional can liners in one of the changing station drawers.
Your setup will differ slightly depending on whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers. I personally prefer cloth diapers because they are much more environmentally friendly than disposable diapers. Cloth diapers will cost more upfront but they will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run.
A great diaper bag is another must for taking your changing station on the go. It should be large enough to hold literally everything but not so large that you can’t hold it along with a car seat/carrier.
Products for a Quick and Clean Bath Time
Newborn babies get their bottoms cleaned many times a day, but a full-on bath is only needed every other day to prevent dry skin. Thank goodness, because baby bath time not nearly as simple as hopping in the shower. However, I came up with a system that made things much easier and enjoyable for baby.
A cushioned pad that can be laid out on the counter or changing table helps to contain the water and makes the bath much more comfortable for your baby. You can also use a thick towel. Once I’ve got that laid out I’d grab my shower caddy with the must-have baby bath products:
- · Gentle baby shampoo
- · Mild moisturizing baby soap
- · Soft sponge
- · Small bowl for clean water and rinsing
- · Wipes
- · Hooded baby towel
- · Clean diaper
The caddy makes it quick and easy because everything I need is already there. Leaving baby mid-bath just isn’t an option, so you’ll also avoid having to stop and swaddle your baby back up.
If you aren’t bathing the baby right by the sink you’ll also need a plastic or inflatable baby tub. Some moms also simply prefer a tub. One that looks really neat is the 4Moms infant sink tub, which lets clean water in and flushes out the dirty water. A baby tub that goes in the bathtub can be convenient since splash over won’t have to be cleaned up. If you’re bathing in the tub a cushy bath mat is a knee saver.
There you have it – three systems and the corresponding products that can make motherhood much easier on new mothers and their newborns!
Making your own baby food can sound a bit overwhelming, but with a little planning, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your baby. Baby food is simply grown up food that’s been smashed or ground up so that the baby can eat it. They can eat what you eat if it is prepared for them. It is much cheaper and healthier than buying up little jars of mystery slop with questionable ingredients that many babies don’t care for anyway.
There are many benefits to making your own baby food. If you’ve looked at the price of baby food lately, you might be surprised at how high it is. Making your own food eliminates that cost and the need to recycle all those little jars. Want organic? If you want your food to be organic and not full of preservatives, you have to pay more at the grocery store. No problem, making your own baby food can be the solution you are looking for.
Most of the equipment you need is probably already in your kitchen. Adding what is missing is not expensive and may actually save you money in the end when you factor in the cost of the commercial food you won’t have to buy.
Things you’ll need:
– Food mill, blender or hand blender (I like the Vita-Mix)
– ice cube trays to freeze extras – Unless you want to cook up food for your child everyday, freezing is the way to go. Instead of having to make new, you can just pop it in the microwave and be ready to go in no time. Ice cube trays are a great way to store food and make convenient portion sizes.
– freezer storage containers
– storage jars or containers
– vegetable steamer – Don’t boil baby food; it takes away nutrients from your baby’s food. You can get an inexpensive steamer that cooks quickly and leaves all the vitamins and minerals your baby needs
– pots, pans, colanders, etc.
A portable baby food grinder will help take the hassle out of eating at a restaurant or at grandma’s. They are inexpensive and easy to use and most restaurants will be happy to bring you a plain baked potato, sweet potato, or steamed veggies. Then you just grind and serve. Easy peasy.
Infants often start out eating cereals and pureed fruits and vegetables. The first step is to wash and skin fruits and vegetables then cut them up into small pieces. This will make them easier to use later. Steaming the veggies makes them soft and easy to smash and retains vitamins and minerals lost in the boiling process. Once you’re done steaming, keep the water. You can add it later to thin out your food to the right consistency. If you’re preparing meat or pasta, just cook it on the stove as normal, but don’t add any oil or spices.
As baby grows, she can eat the same meals as the family, just mashed or pureed to her needs, allowing her to learn the family’s tastes. There won’t be any issues introducing table food to her since the flavors will match what she’s eaten all along, not the flavors of the little jars in the grocery store.
After your food is prepared, pour it into the ice cube trays. Once the cubes are frozen, put them in a separate freezer storage container and put them back into the freezer. When you’re ready to go, just take a baggie out of the freezer and warm it upon the stove; simple as that. I don’t use a microwave but that is an option as well.
Making your own baby food is a rewarding and fun experience. Knowing that you are in control of the product and your baby’s nutrition will make the small hassles worthwhile. You will know EXACTLY what is in the food and that is comforting. When you make your own baby food, you always have options.
I am a big advocate for cosleeping. I shared a bed with all three of my kiddos and I found the benefits for both mom and baby to be without measure. This is especially so with infants and babies who are still breastfeeding but the benefits easily extend to toddlers as well. It makes for healthier and more attached and secure children. And another big bonus: It’s free! No need for a pricey crib which might just be recalled a year or two down the line anyway.
For more info check out my article on Co-Sleeping Safely With Your Baby and enjoy the infographic below!
Image from http://afterschool.ae/
You seem to hear about baby wearing everywhere these days. Moms at the park are talking about it and everywhere you turn a new celebrity mom or dad is wearing their baby and making it the next “hip” thing to do. So what is all the buzz about? Only the latest, greatest, way to carry your baby. Or actually a time honored tradition passed on from moms of old…
Natural families often practice some method of attachment parenting and wearing your baby close to you in a sling, wrap or other baby carrier is often a big part of that. In ancient days women wore their babies to keep them close and safe while they traveled, hunted, foraged, or farmed. Natural moms of today also carry their babies close to them while they work and play. Even breastfeeding is made easier when your baby is cuddled against you in a sling or wrap.
Ring slings and wraps are adjustable, allowing the most flexibility and freedom in how you wear the baby. They can be easily worn by people of different heights (and widths) making it easy for dad or grandma to wear the baby too. You can even get shorter or longer tails depending upon your size. Wrap slings are simply one panel of fabric that is wrapped around the body and tied (or tucked) creating a pouch for baby. The baby can be worn in front, in back, on the hip, facing in, facing out, or lying down. Ring slings are wrap slings that secure by threading one end of the sling through a ring, like a belt, instead of knotting. Some ring slings come with padding on the edges (also called rails) so that the baby doesn’t get red marks on their legs and to provide greater stability. It is easy and discreet to nurse while wearing a ring or wrap sling though it can take a little bit practice to learn how to adjust and wear, but instructions and even video tutorials are available.
Pouches and tube slings have less of a learning curve. Slide it over one shoulder, slide the baby in, adjust the sling so that baby doesn’t fall out and so all the fabric isn’t bunched on your shoulder, and you’re off and running. Pouch and tube slings are not adjustable as they are one or more pieces of fabric sewn together into a single unit. Baby can still be worn in all the ways as a wrap sling, though baby may outgrow the sling before mom is ready to stop. But what mom needs an excuse to have more than one sling or wrap right?
Asian style carriers use less fabric. The baby is supported in a rectangle of fabric and it is secured to the body with four straps: the two at the lower corners tie at the waist and support most of the baby’s weight and the two at the upper corners cross around mom’s shoulders and tie in front. Baby can be worn facing in or out and on the back, hip or front. As there is less fabric, nursing may be more problematic but they are very stylish.
There are many choices in which type(s) of sling is right for you. Try them on at stores or ask your friends if you can try theirs out for a day or two and see which feels comfortable to you. Ask family and friends and online acquaintances for recommendations. There are even discussion forums and groups dedicated to helping you find the right sling for you. It just couldn’t get any easier.
For more reasons why babywearing is awesome check out my previous article… 10 Amazing Benefits of Babywearing. Enjoy!
Which is better…disposable or cloth? The diaper wars have begun and you must choose sides….muhawww.
New parents are faced with many decisions, one of them choosing whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. There are advantages and disadvantages for each diaper type. This issue can be a hot one among parents, a part of parenting politics so to speak, and it seems that you must choose sides. What side of the fence will you choose to be on? Either you’re gonna be a tree hugging, diaper-washing hippie or a landfill-filling, Pamper camper. You’re a pawn in the diaper war…it’s your move.
But perhaps you have decided to compromise and use a combination of both and maybe even throw in a third diaper type for kicks…the more environmentally friendly disposable diaper or the flushable diaper.
Cloth diapers are better for the environment as they don’t end up choking landfills. Deposits can be shaken out into the toilet and processed properly instead of leaking into the ground. There are styles with Velcro fastening diaper covers or snaps meaning more comfort and fewer leaks. Some are “all in one” and resemble a disposable in ease of getting on and off baby.
But, you’ve got to wash them. When you’re out and about, you’ll have to carry the soiled diaper with you instead of pitching them in the closest trash can. The initial cost can be expensive, though you’ll save money in the long run. If you elect to use a diaper service, that will cost you money but there’s an environmental cost to consider as well with the use of bleach and detergents on such a grand scale.
In addition to being used as burp cloths and washcloths, prefold cloth diapers can be used for other things such as dust cloths, hand & kitchen towels, to wash windows and cars, and to polish silver when your baby is done using them for diapers. Obviously, get rid of the worst looking ones. Considering dyeing some of the others for variety or to match your décor.
You can’t beat disposable diapers for convenience. Use it. Toss it. If you’re visiting a new location and run out of diapers at midnight, most corner stores and gas stations will have them for sale. Though there are more and more options for local cloth diapers too. I heard that infamous big box store has them.
Disposable diapers use up space in landfills adding plastic, chemicals, and sewage often wrapped in another plastic bag. They are also expensive and since they are often purchased at grocery stores, the cost is hidden in the grocery bill. Children wearing disposable diapers often potty train later, which increases the amount of diapers the child will wear through infancy.
There are pros and cons for both but in the long run cloth comes out ahead if you care about saving money, living with simplicity, and protecting resources and planet. If you don’t care about any of those things you may be reading the wrong blog. Just sayin. ;)