If you've ever prepared for a baby to join your family, you know exactly how overwhelming the task can be! Most baby stores will encourage you to build a registry the Kardashians would envy - and yes, there's a good use for much of that list. Some gear, however, is the cream of the crop. I've put together a few of my personal favorite baby gear items to share with you. What's that one item you tell every new mom about? Share with me @pi3sugarp3 on Twitter.
Rock and Play
This thing is a game-changer. Rory is a stage five clinger, and when I need to have my arms free, this is basically the only way to comfort her. When I was pregnant with Shep and asked for must-have gear suggestions from the experienced moms I knew, the Rock and Play was a clear favorite. The Rock and Play is easy to travel with because it folds flat. It's also built for easy cleaning - the seat detaches easily so you can address any messes. Fisher Price even made a high tech version that you can control from your smartphone. Whatever you do, make sure it's the version that rocks on its own for eight hours. Yes, you've just bought yourself eight straight hours of peace and quiet. You're welcome.
Our son wouldn't take any of the pacifiers we had bought before he was born. That is, of course, until we found the Jollypop. Commonplace in hospitals or medical offices, parents can buy Jollypops directly from their website. Designed out of one solid piece of silicone, Jollypops are easy to wash and sterilize, and they don't have hard pieces that poke baby's face. What I like most is that they come in multi-packs. As a parent, finding something that works for your kid is enough of a victory. Learning that you can buy it by the dozen? That's winning Parent Olympics Gold.
Personally, I'm pretty carrier brand agnostic. Lots of parents find their favorites and some even collect them (My friend Maria owns several Tulas and babywears every day.) I've tried Baby K'Tan, Ergo, woven wraps, ring slings, and a few other styles. I'm currently digging my Wildbird Ring Sling but have also used an Ergo since my son was born two years ago. Babywearing allows you to have a hand free while keeping baby calm. I have been known to cook, wash dishes, and even get a pedicure while my kiddo sleeps on my chest. You don't need to be a die-hard attachment parenting mom to appreciate the benefits of babywearing, that's for sure.
Ok, so I feel like there are three main camps in the land of breastfeeding pillows. There's the Boppy folks, the Brest Friend folks, and randos that like some alternative. I'm a Brest Friend person. With it properly strapped around me, I can nurse a sleeping newborn while I walk, and I only need one hand to hold up the pillow. I also love the attached pocket - I store nipple shields, ointment, and lanolin in it. The only upside the Boppy has (and it's a respectable one!) is that it can easily be a baby pillow to prop up a little one. I don't think there's really a right or wrong here, but those are the main differences I have noticed between the two.
I actually used Lansinoh's Therapearl packs, but my lactation consultant swore by the Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes. These are clutch in the early days of engorgement, or if you suffer from clogged ducts or mastitis. Pop them in the freezer and they provide cooling relief for chapped nips. Or, if you're trying to relieve a clogged duct, warm them in the microwave and wrap them around the clog. Bonus: Booby Tubes have herbs inside so they provide aromatherapy while you use them. Who doesn't need a little lavender in their life?