So You’re Having a Baby: Five Surprising Must Haves

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First shot of baby Bug poking out

It has been exactly a year now from when my baby bump was first spotted.  My husband and I had just arrived in Kaua’i for our delayed honeymoon.  Exhausted, we stopped at the first restaurant we found to grab some dinner.  It was there that the busboy approached us, requesting to ask me a “personal question.”  “Are you pregnant?”  Both Jesse and I thought it was an odd question to come from a stranger, but it turns out that the boy’s girlfriend recently found out she was pregnant and he was pretty nervous about becoming a daddy.  It was also during that question that the pregnancy became very real for me.  Up until that point, I was the only one to notice the weight gain–now strangers were noticing the almost-overnight arrival of my bumped belly.  Once that pregnancy became “real,” my type-A personality took over and I began preparing for a future wee one

Initially I was excited to create a registry for all the baby essentials we would need.  Five minutes in, I was overwhelmed.  There are thousands upon thousands of “Baby Must-Haves” out there and more than a few different brands or styles of each product!  I managed to keep from drowning in baby essentials by consulting some of my mommy friends (a huge shout out to Lindsey, Adri, and Rachel for your help!).  Armed with their advice, I once again attempted to tackle my baby registry.  After reading countless reviews (yes, I’m very thorough) and many weeks (probably at least a couple of months), my registry was complete.  For anyone interested, I have everything for which I registered (and/or received) cataloged in an Excel file–just ask.  My registry was mostly no-nonsense and only for the gear I knew would be essential.   I wanted to make sure we were fully prepared before money was spent on  less essential “fluff” gear.  However, now that my baby is almost 8 months, I’ve discovered that some of the “fluff” has actually been crucial in maintaining a happy baby and a happy mama.

This list is for the soon-to-be-mamas (particularly you, my granola girl! wink wink).  You can probably figure out on your own the primary essentials that you need, but here are some of the less obvious “must-haves.”

1. the Podster Infant Lounger

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My guy rockin’ out in his podster

I registered for the podster because of marketing.  It claimed to help prevent flat-head syndrome by distributing the baby’s weight.  Like any first time mama, I decided it might be a good buy lest my little one have a flat head.  It turned out to be a GREAT product for other reasons.  When Bug was brand new, he wouldn’t sleep in the co-sleeper during the day–he had to be around me.  The podster allowed him to have a comfy, EASY TO TRANSPORT sleeping spot.  I could carry it as I moved from room to room and he’d snooze all day long.  Heaven forbid I leave him alone long enough to take a shower–he’d start screaming the second I left the room…but if I brought him into the bathroom and put him in the podster, he’d sleep through it all.  The kid napped in that thing until 4, maybe 5 months old.   Additionally, the podster has been a lifesaver when Bug has been congested.  We had nights where he’d scream because he could not sleep because of nose drainage.  We’d prop him up in the podster, problem solved.  With his head elevated, the icky snot could drain properly and he could breathe again.  The podster has also been pretty helpful during days that I babysit another infant.  While I nurse my little guy, she sits in the podster with her bottle.  Everyone’s happy.

2. the Sound Machine

Honestly, I probably would have never sprung for a sound machine. But my dear friend Lindsey was sweet enough to give us a Cloud B Sleep Sheep–and boy, are we thankful!  While our sleep sheep can play four different sounds (from babbling brooks to whale songs), we only use one sleepsetting: the ocean.  Our reasoning behind this setting is that the shwooshing of the waves sounds quite a bit like what the umbilical cord sounds like in-utero.  Anyone familiar with the 5 S’s of the Happiest Baby on the Block, knows that “Shhhushing” is a very successful technique to calm a crying newborn.  Our sleep sheep does the shhhushing for us.  And now that Bug is a little bit bigger, he understands that when the sheep goes on, it’s beddy nigh night time.

3. Crocs

Mama, go out and get a pair now.  When I was pregnant, my feet hurt ALL the time.   As you can guess by my blog’s title, I prefer to gcrocso barefoot (in fact, I only wear shoes when it’s cold or required) so I really had no desire to put supportive, yet hot (I was preggers during the summer), sneakers on my swollen feet.  In an effort to find some sort of relief without having to stuff my feet into constricting tennis shoes, I donned my Crocs.  By Crocs, I mean lime green, original style Crocs.  I love them but I won’t pretend that they aren’t ugly.   As it would turn out, they were the only pair of shoes that did not make my feet ache.  Embarrassed to be wearing lime shoes all the time, I sprung for a less catchy looking pair of Crocs flip flops.  They looked better and felt great.  They’re a good investment if you’re pregnant (sometimes you can find them marked down a great deal at Zulily.com).

4. an Adjustable Nursing Bra

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Flaunt that belly, ladies!

I suspected that I was pregnant when I noticed my chest had doubled in size. It continued to grow all throughout the pregnancy…and beyond.  With the amount of growth I underwent, I ended up spending a lot of money on bras.  I attempted to only buy nursing bras but even the local Motherhood Maternity didn’t have one large enough to fit me.  I ended up springing for a couple of special order bras…which I grew out of before the end of my pregnancy.  I had to invest in ugly bra extenders.  And then, eventually, more bras of the nursing variety.  It was only until recently that I discovered that the La Leche League sells an adjustable nursing bra–I bought it.  I will confess that it’s a little bit of a pain because you have to close several snaps each time you put it on.  HOWEVER, the snaps allow the band to grow (and shrink!) with you and you won’t have to waste your money on multiple bras each time you change sizes.

5. Nursing Tank

Overall, I hate nursing bras.  They’re generally not attractive and they’re either too thin or they get lumpy.  Thus, most days, I elect to not wear one.  That’s where the nursing tank comes in.  All winter, I wore a tank under my top.  Because they’re less bulky, I felt more attractive (even with baby weight).  Because of the tanks, I have successfully discovered how to nurse in public without a cumbersome cover yet without flashing the world.  You just unhook the tank, pull up your other top, and let the wee one latch.  Your belly is covered by the tank. Your chest is covered by the other top and your baby’s head.  Perfect.

I’m sure there are other unexpected baby must-haves out there, but these five are key in my life.  Feel free to share what has helped you maintain a happier baby and a happier mama!

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