Somehow our littlest guy, Isaiah, turned 7-months-old this week. Seriously, time has FLOWN by.
And yet, it’s still gone slowly enough to remind me that life with a newborn or infant can be challenging. What was once normal and routine gets thrown out the window as everyone in the family adjusts to all the transitions.
Preparing for all the changes in addition to planning to care for a new baby can be overwhelming, whether you’re welcoming your very first baby or you’re an experienced parent.
While I’ve shared with you a few new tips and tricks we learned with Isaiah, I realized that there are some products and ideas that we have been using over the last seven years – and for all three babies – that also helped make the adjustment to life with a little one a bit easier.
(This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the link.)
One thing that EVERYONE knows, whether they have children or not, is that babies and sleep don’t always go together. Sure, some parents are blessed with better sleepers than others, but all babies will, at some point in their infancy, have Mommy, Daddy, or both of you up in the middle of the night.
While we’ve never had horrible sleepers – Isaiah’s been our toughest night owl – we’ve also never had babies that easily slept through the night from a young age. (For tips on that, you might want to check out this post from my friend Denise Renae: How I Got All 5 of My Babies to Sleep Through the Night)
However, we have found a few things that helped our little guys sleep better and longer when they finally did go to sleep.
For starters, as I mentioned in the tips and tricks we’ve learned with our third baby, a good sleep sack can make an amazing difference. We always thought that any sleep sack was as good as another…until we learned differently with Isaiah.
He slept fine in the handed-down ones we had from our first two boys, but he was a bit smaller than they had been, so I ordered a new HALO Sleepsack Microfleece Swaddler in the newborn size. The difference was notable and impressive, and all those other sleep sacks were left in the drawer while our little guy slept longer in his Halo than he had since coming home from the hospital. Hallelujah!
2. Nightime Soothers
The other thing that all of our boys have had is some type of musical nightlight soother. For Elijah it was a Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse , which played a lullaby and glowed. He used it until he was at least 2 years old. (He liked it so well that we also gave a couple as baby shower gifts.)
Josiah had a similar cuddly animal, a Fisher-Price My Little Snugamonkey, but it alternated playing soothing nature sounds as well as a couple classical songs. After years of listening to the seahorse’s lullaby over the baby monitor, rainforest ambiance was a welcome change!
For Isaiah, we took my brother’s recommendation for a plug-in night time soother from Skip Hop (the Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother Elephant ) that is very customizable. It projects a starscape on the ceiling (also adjustable), plays either nature sounds or lullabies, and has a nightlight feature as well.
My brother had purchased one for his older boy, and the family liked it so much, that his little brother wanted one, too. Since both my nephews had the owl version, we opted to get Isaiah the elephant. We love it, and I especially love that I can crank up the volume on the sounds during nap time to drown out Isaiah’s noisy brothers playing downstairs.
It seems that when it comes to baths and water, either baby loves it or he hates it.
Thankfully, with all three of our boys, it’s been a love affair from their very first times in the tub (even though Elijah didn’t really enjoy getting water in his face.)
I think part of our bath time success was due to an awesome baby shower gift: a bath cozy cover.
I’d never heard of one, but my cousin found it at the store and went off-registry, and we have been very glad she did.
The cozy cover is kind of like a giant washcloth that you dip in the warm water and cover your baby with during his bath. It keeps him warm and soothed, so that bath time becomes a calm, fun experience.
You can always use an actual washcloth or maybe a hand towel in a pinch, but I did find something similar to ours (which is, again, over 7 years old) online.
The other thing you quickly learn about baths and life with a newborn is that as a new mom (or dad), it can be difficult to get that spare minute to get *YOUR* bath or shower.
One of the best pieces of advice I found online when preparing for our first baby was to buy and put up a clear shower curtain for your shower. This allows you to have the baby in their bassinet or swing in the bathroom with you. You can see them, and they can see you, and you can get all clean and refreshed without the stress of worrying if baby will wake in his crib before you finish.
We also installed a double shower curtain rod so we could have a cloth curtain and a clear curtain. I chose a curved curtain rod because that gives you a little more room in the shower in those last months of pregnancy or when you inevitably end up showering with your baby or toddler.
(And when you need to clean that shower quickly and easily, save time and money by using this safe 2-ingredient homemade tub & shower cleaner. I love it!)
It’s probably no surprise that the mom who chose to give birth to all three of her babies as “naturally” as possible without pain medications (although Isaiah’s story was a little off my birth plan) also chose/chooses to breastfeed those babies. In fact, we’ve rarely had to use bottles (Isaiah just plain refuses them.)
5. Nursing-Friendly Tops & Dresses
For me, I’ve needed things that make breastfeeding easier, such as good nursing-friendly tops and dresses, nursing bras, which are not always so easy to find. Sure, you can look for button-down shirts or tops with elastic necklines, but sometimes you want something easier.
Latched Mama: They have a fun selection of more casual style tops, dresses, and pajama sets. I especially love my Latched Mama nursing hoodie sweatshirt! (They were available on Amazon, which was great for our Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping, but they don’t currently have anything listed.) Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Milk Nursingwear: They have more varied styles for how you access the nursing areas of their clothes, and they have more selection in dressier styles. While they can be a bit pricier, when you shop directly through their site, you can earn 5% back on each order, plus you can check out their sales. Or you can go through my Amazon link below and use your Prime shipping. 🙂
Of course, a good foundation is also important, especially when you’re nursing, so I had to replenish my stash of nursing bras and tanks, too. That’s when I found Kindred Bravely. Nursing bras and tanks are their specialty. They also sell maternity/nursing pajamas, nightgowns, and panties. You can use the Amazon link below or use this referral link directly at Kindred Bravely and get $10 off you first order of $50 or more.
For nursing in public, I’ve always used a cover from Udder Covers (because they sent me a coupon for a FREE one, and I just had to pay shipping). I love the special stiffened neckline that allows me to see my baby – and him to see me – easily.
(And despite what you might read about nursing in public, I’ve never gotten any bad reactions. Actually it’s been quite the opposite, whether I’m at a restaurant, church, or at the park with my boys)
—>PLUS: I have a coupon code for you to get yours FREE ($35 off!), just pay shipping & handling. <—
Use coupon code: EAEBF0
Of course, if you’re nursing, you need nursing pads, and my absolute favorite ones are Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads. With Elijah, I used the regular disposable kind from the store, and they were uncomfortable. I had all kinds of issue, including clogged ducts – OUCH! When I was pregnant with Josiah, I heard about Bamboobies from a post online, and I was determined to try them out. The difference was amazing. They are incredibly comfortable, don’t leak, are washable (saves $$$), and I haven’t had another issue with clogged ducts or the like since.
(They were also one of things that were a must in my hospital bag!)
OTHER HELPFUL ITEMS FOR LIFE WITH A NEW BABY
With Josiah, I discovered the joy of baby wearing, but my carrier was more heavy duty, for outdoor adventuring and walks. Plus, I had a horrible time getting it on without someone to help snap the back clasp.
So, for Isaiah I knew I needed something lightweight that I could get on quickly and without help. That’s why I went with a Baby K’tan Original Carrier. It was easy and quick to put on, whether it was for just around the house, a trip to the grocery store, or a hiking outing with our whole family.
10. Baby Care Tracking App
One other thing that has helped us keep up with life with a baby has been a Baby Care Tracking App. These apps work like a daily log for baby’s sleeping, feeding, diaper changes, and more.
With both Josiah and Isaiah, I’ve used the iBaby app on my Android, but there are quite a few options, most of them free, out there.
What items did/do you find helpful with your newborn/infant?
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