Expecting your first baby? Congratulations! With your new bundle of joy comes great expectations, wonderful new beginnings, and…many expenses. We all want the very best for our little one, but the global baby-appliance industry made 44.7 billion USD in 2011 (and in 2017 is expected to increase sales to 66.8 billion USD) and is filled with items you don’t really need, along with some must have items that can make the beginning of your journey to parenthood a whole lot easier.
Here are four tips/must-have items that have helped me out during my postpartum period (and still are!) and that are relatively cheap or don’t cost anything.
One of the biggest fears of any new parent is no doubt the Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS). However, the risk of SIDS can dramatically decrease when putting babies to sleep on their backs rather than on their stomachs. In fact, SIDS rates dropped heavily in countries where public health campaigns advocated for back sleeping.
Ironically, most parents attest to the fact that babies tend to get fussy when sleeping on their backs and many sleep deprived moms and dads succumb to putting them to sleep on their tummies, albeit the connection between tummy sleeping and SIDS. One of the benefits of swaddling your baby to sleep is that she gets to sleep deep, quality, noiseless sleep while still remaining on her back. As most parents begin to realize just how beneficial baby swaddling is for their baby (and for their sleep deprivation), the demand has brought about the growth of many swaddle brands, selling swaddle suits for up to a hundred dollars. However, an excellent swaddle can be made just by using a baby blanket that you have in your house. Just keep in mind that once your baby begins to roll over, leave his arms open when swaddling.
This was my number one lifesaver during my postpartum period. Heck, I’m bouncing on a yoga ball right now as I’m writing this, my seven month old baby asleep on me via baby carrier. Something about the soft bouncing and gentle balancing really helps soothe my baby and put him to sleep in record time. Plus, it has helped me regain my balance after my pregnancy, made me stronger, and helped get my body back in shape. They are relatively cheap and are very practical for the postpartum mom.
Some of the most attractive things you’ll see in baby stores are those colorful, interactive activity mats, of all shapes and sizes. Aside from promising to help your baby reach his full potential, they are also safety necessities for when putting your baby on her tummy or when she begins rolling over. The mat softens the impact during tummy time and when baby flips over. While these activity mats can sell for over a hundred dollars at the store, why not go to your local upholsterer and have him create a regular, standard mat, which is just as safe? You can choose the size and color, and it will cost you half as much than any other mattress branded as a “baby activity mat”. Once you put some toys on the mat, your baby will get just as interactive as she were to get with a branded activity mat, only you wont burn a hole in your pocket to get her there!
Don’t Buy Too Much Toys
This is something that is easy to say, harder to do, and it really reflects my individual parenting philosophy. You will no doubt receive a lot of toys for the birth of your baby and be tempted to buy a lot on your own. DON’T. First of all, every parent can attest to the fact that babies prefer playing with everyday items that we all have at home (plastic bottles, socks, old calculators) rather than fifty dollar plastic dolls (go figure). These everyday items are also beneficial because they encourage imagination building and creativity. Fewer toys build longer attention spans, they don’t distract babies growing minds, and, down the line, they will teach children to take care of their things. It is really in their favor – and yours- to minimize their toy collection. So it’s really a win-win situation.
Experienced mommies – what are some of your must-have baby items and parenting hacks that have made your lives easier?