My First Year with Baby Must-Haves

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I remember feeling fairly confident going into motherhood though I was told soon before my daughter’s birth that nothing can truly prepare you for the challenges of parenthood – you just have to experience it. While the parenting book I read did give me some idea of what I was doing, this was accurate – I mostly learned as I went. It was stressful at times during the first year, but along the way, I found a few items that my baby and I loved. Maybe they can help you and provide some comfort on your parenting journey!

  1. Baby Dove Tip to Toe Body Wash Sensitive Moisure and Baby Dove Face and Body Lotion Rich Moisture

When my daughter was a couple of months old, patches of eczema started showing up on her limbs and torso. After doing some research and reading tons of reviews, I decided to try these Dove products that I saw many moms raving about. I used Dove products when I was younger because of my sensitive skin, so I figured it might be more gentle on my baby. We use these a couple of times a week and my daughter’s eczema has decreased dramatically. I’ve since heard of several other eczema products that mamas swear by but these provided a quick fix for us!

2. Silicone Bibs

Starting solids is an exciting time, but it is also an extremely messy time. When Cora started finger foods, I would watch again and again as she practiced her pincer grasp, went to put a piece of food in her mouth and then dropped it before it got there. While we were using normal bibs when feeding her pureed foods, I bought a couple of silicone bibs to try because I liked the idea of having a little pouch to catch fallen food. It worked! Now when Cora has eaten all the food on her tray, those sticky fingers grab pieces of food that fell in her pouch (instead of falling on and staining her clothes). I also appreciate how easy these are to clean!

3. Silicone Fruit Teethers

The silicone fruit teethers aren’t a necessity, but they were a favorite in our household! I found as we were transitioning from pureed foods to finger foods, these helped her get more texture out of fruits that she couldn’t easily pick up and chew yet, but could smush around in one of these teethers! With these, she was still able to get some mango, peaches, etc. in her diet while getting used to eating foods with more texture.

4. Sleep and Plays

With how much Cora hated to change clothes and how wiggly she was from the get go (coupled with my fatigue), I really didn’t have much energy to put her in anything but sleep and plays for the first month or two. Zippered sleep and plays kept her warm, provided easy transitions when changing diapers or going into naps and came with cute designs!

5. Hatch Sound Machine

We LOVE our Hatch sound machine. It also acts as a night light and time-to-rise, but we only use it for the sounds and lights. I love how you can customize your favorite sound and light pairings to find something that soothes your little one best. We like to use the rain sounds at night and the waves for naps!

6. Portable White Noise Maker

If you want to visit a friend, go for a walk, or go on a car ride and you know your baby will need a nap somewhere in there, this portable white noise maker can help make them feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar place. When Cora was still sleeping in our room, we put the Hatch by her bassinet and used the portable white noise maker for naps in her crib.

7. Blackout Curtains

So many articles will tell you to make your baby’s room as dark as possible to limit any distractions that might keep them awake at night or during naptime. These work so well – better than the blackout curtains I bought from a department store for our room.

8. NoseFrida

This is not a glamorous topic, but at some point, your baby might catch a cold. The usual nasal aspirators were difficult for me to use. Even with as a gross of a concept as this is, the NoseFrida worked so well for us. Even the pharmacist said she loved it for her grandkids over the bulb syringe.

9. Stroller Fan

It stays hot in the South for a looonnngg time. This stroller fan brings relief on our trail walks and on car rides!

10. Halo Swaddle and Sleep Sack

A local pediatrian recommended the Halo Swaddle for us during our first visit. At almost a year old, Cora still uses Halo products but is now in the sleep sack. It’s like a wearable blanket. With the Halo swaddle, we liked that it was designed in a way that you didn’t have to buy another product when transitioning your baby to arms-free sleep.

11. The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies

This is a bonus item! The days are long but the months are short, and pretty soon, your baby burrito will be an always-wiggling, never-sitting-down, picking-up-every-crumb toddler who will want to explore everything. And you know what? It’s an exciting time as a parent. You’ll still be tired but you’ll be watching your toddler’s personality bloom as they experience so many firsts.

The Montessori Toddler taught me the benefits of letting my child lead. It reminded me that when we let a child try and try again, get messy and explore the world around them on their own terms (with the limit’s of their safety and the safety of others), instead of rushing them through the process, they can actually learn to be more independent. I believe that mindset can help strip away any perceived frustrations of parenting a toddler. I’m excited to try out the suggestions in this book as my little girl grows into toddlerhood.

Every mama has her own tried-and-true products that she loves. What were yours? If you are a mama-to-be (congratulations!), what is on your registry that you are excited to try?

1st Year With Baby: Things You Need to Know that Aren’t Talked About

My first year as a mom was full of learning experiences. I read baby books and thought I had a good grasp of what to expect, preparing my husband and I as best as I could. But, the old adage remains true: You won’t know until you experience it. Here are some things I learned THE HARD WAY. I’d like to save you the trouble.

Where Woman Wanders Founder Photo
  1. Every baby is different, but mine would often refuse to take the bottle for various reasons. As a new mom, it took me a long time to figure out why. Here is what I learned with feeding that will hopefully help you if your good eater suddenly refuses to feed.
    • When our daughter was 3-weeks-old, she suddenly stopped wanting to feed – from the bottle or from me. When bottlefeeding, I would see that she took an ounce and would immediately pull off, cry and arch her back. We were worried that it was reflux, but our pediatrician didn’t seem that concerned. After a couple of weeks of this, I finally called the nurse’s line and received helpful advice. We switched to a sensitive baby formula and I cut dairy out of my diet while breastfeeding because my baby was lactose sensitive.
    • When you become a parent, you will soon learn that these tiny humans have PREFERENCES. Keep all of the baby bottles you received from friends and family at your baby shower, because the standard baby bottle might not suit your baby. You might end up with a graveyard of bottles as you work to determine what your baby likes the most (at least I did), but it will be worth it. My daughter actually preferred these Nuk bottles until I stopped breastfeeding and she decided it was time for Dr. Brown’s bottles at 5 months.
    • If your baby all of the sudden stops finishing a full bottle after a couple of months or downs a few ounces and pulls off and on the bottle, you might need to choose a faster nipple flow. My daughter would usually transition to a higher flow about every 3 months. However, some babies are content with keeping a slow flow for many months.
    • Your baby will likely eat less when they are sick. To get the calories in them, offer smaller, more frequent feeds. If your baby has recently had a cold, seemed to recover and then gives you trouble with the bottle again, you might want your doctor to check for an ear infection. Helping a baby through an illness can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are a parent who fretted over your baby’s weight gain like I did. If you EVER feel concerned, call your doctor. You will not be a bother, you will not sound silly. They are there to help.
  2. As soon as you are home with your baby, get some noise going. Get your baby used to sleeping while you are drying clothes, washing dishes, or having a conversation in the background. This was golden advice from my mom. Our baby could sleep through sounds of lawnmowers, cats knocking glasses off shelves, tornado siren drills, construction in the neighborhood – you name it. While you’re at it, get a sound machine. We loved our Hatch, which acts as a sound machine, night light and time-to-rise.
  3. Something I’ll try with future babies down the road – sleep training from the time they are newborns. Sleep training from early on will be helpful during those oh-so-real sleep regressions.
  4. I received golden advice from a friend when it comes to diaper rashes. When your baby has a diaper rash, you’ll often be recommended to leave them diaperless as long as possible to get air on the rash and dry it out. That’s great advice, but where do you put your bottomless baby in the meantime? When your babe isn’t old enough to move around the house, buy puppy pads and stick your baby on it. It’s easier to clean up accidents as you give the rash time to dry and heal.
  5. I can’t stress this one enough. When help is offered, take the time for yourself. As a new mom, I tried to do as much as I possibly could during those first weeks when my mom and mother-in-law were here to help. They both said they could have helped more, but I was determined to do it all – already feeling the mom guilt if I took what I considered was too much time for myself. But, having an hour to myself in the morning to shower, have breakfast and get ready felt SO good. I also wish I would have taken more naps. You can never have enough naps.

These are just some lessons I learned in my first year as a mom. Every baby is different, but maybe this will spark an idea for you when you experience a rough patch. What is some advice you’ve recieved that you actually found helpful? Did you learn any lessons the hard way with your baby?