Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Maternity Leave Essentials: What Makes Life Easier for Newbie Mommies

I'm about to head back to work soon...scary how fast time has gone by and can't believe my sweet darling daughter is almost a year old! Looking back on what got me through this past year, there were a few essentials things that just made life much easier (as "easy" as mommyhood can be...*please note the sarcasm here*). Here they are: (If you're pregnant and you run into me, I would tell you to get these)

1) Diaper Pail
I know lots of people think you don't need one, and heck I didn't think I needed one either. I'm a capable person, why can't I just take out the diaper garbage at least once a day? Well, even though I can, when I'm bone tired from all the changing/feeding/pumping/whatever-other-household-things-that-need-to-be-done, taking out the garbage is LOW on the priority list. I lived for 2 months without a diaper pail before I put aside my previous expectations/assumptions of myself and I got one, and it made such a difference!

2) ExerSaucer/activity centre
Although you can't start using this until the kiddo can sit up and it's not one of the cheaper things on this list, you need one of these.  The kid sits in it and there's toys all around to play with. To top that off, the kiddo is pretty safe inside it and can't go anywhere, which means mommy can supervise from a distance. Why would you want to supervise from a distance? Well let's see...there's cooking, dishes, eating, getting dressed, putting on makeup, the list could go on. So this is a win-win: kiddo gets to play, mommy gets to do her stuff and watch from a distance while knowing the kiddo is safe!

3) Playpen
Or otherwise known as a "pack'n'play". Functionally, this was similar to the Saucer for me, it's a safe place kiddo can play while I need to take care of something. If you get one with a napper, kiddo can also nap in it before they turn 3 months. Playpens can also be checked in with your luggage while travelling. My dog also liked to watch my daughter play inside; so it entertains both my babies, bonus!

4) Baby carrier/wrap/sling

Sometimes you need to carry your baby (really).  Most moms enjoy carrying their babies of course, and the carriers/slings make it much easier to do that and still be able to do something else at the same time (and we all know there's a million things to do). My daughter liked to fall asleep in the carrier and it was perfect for me to put her in and walk the dog.  If you have a dog and plan to walk your dog and baby together as I did daily, the carrier is also much easier than the stroller.  Put baby in, leash the dog, and go! On the days I used the stroller, it was more like: put baby in safe area (Saucer/playpen), bring stroller out and set it up, bring dog out and leash dog to stroller (mine will take off if it sees a squirrel), go back and get baby and put into stroller, lock the door, off we go.  See how many more steps that is?!

5) Lightweight stroller

Strollers come in all sorts of sizes/models and at all sorts of price ranges.  I've tried quite a few as we got a few hand-me-downs from kind neighbors and friends and then bought one of our own. Other than safety/stability for the baby, what made each stroller likeable or not for me was the weight. We mommies already have to carry and lift a lot of things (heavy babies included), and a heavy stroller just doesn't need to be one of them! Personally, I found the frame stroller the most helpful from birth until the kiddo outgrows the stage 1 carseat.  The frame is super light, and I just snap the carseat out of the base and into the frame at my destination. It's also very compact, which means when you're browsing stores with those darn-tight aisles, you may actually be able to fit into it and continue browsing while other giant strollers will not! 

Ok so you might need some other things like a crib, car seat etc. Those are of course necessary but they don't really contribute to making your mommy-life easier. For more resources on other essentials, I found Babycentre.com a great resource.

Most importantly though, apart from all this "stuff" that you could get, is feeling and being LOVED: by God, your spouse, your family, and friends.  They will help carry you through those nights when you feel like everything is falling apart and you're about to break down.  You'll need to get that love to then dish it out to your your baby with everything you've got.

Hope this post has been helpful, if you have other items you feel are must-haves to make mommy-life easier, please share them with me in the comments!

*Disclosure: none. I'm not promoting/endorsing any specific brands and the photos in the article are from non-copyrighted internet images. I'm not associated with any of the brands shown.

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