Life with a baby is obviously different but what I really find that affects me the most is having less time – not because of the baby but because of all the stuff during the day you have to do for the baby! I spend hours more a day cleaning up the house, kitchen, her room, the bathroom, bottles, pumping gear etc and it all adds up to less time I get to spend with her. This coupled with the fact that when you do spend that quality time with your baby you want her to be happy, smiling and having fun and you want to be your best as well not frustrated and tired.
So here is my list of things I have discovered (buys) or made up on my own (hacks) to make my life a little easier and hopefully eliminate some of the adult tantrums or frustrations that can come out when you’re sleep deprived, stressed and things don’t seem to be going your way.
BINKY HOLDER – I bought a clip on one but those don’t always seem to work. I’ve also seen those stuffed animals attached to the huge binkies (dummies) and I’m not a fan because it looks like the animal is attacking the baby’s face. The one I really like is Bunnies by the Bay Silly Buddy because it’s more like a stuffed animal without the stuffing that happens to have a velcro tab to hold the binky. So it’s easy to hold your baby and have part of the bunny under your hand so it doesn’t fall and it’s a nice comfort factor because I tuck the bunny next to her head. It’s also easy to wash just throw it in the washing machine.
CRINKLE TAG TOY – I bought this for her for Christmas on Etsy here as a sensory toy and this is one of my best buys. She absolutely loves it no matter how many times she sees it she’s excited. She loves to touch the tags and put her fingers through them and eat the whole thing. This toy is also very easy to wash in the machine as well. I have seen other ones since I bought mine and I still prefer mine because it’s from Etsy I got to pick the color and fabric, I know it’s coming from another mom with love, the fabric is usually better and not sprayed with tons of chemicals, and I love supporting small businesses.
BOTTLE HOLDER – my husband searched for a gadget to help her feed herself and found this one online Lil Helpers it’s available in the US or on Amazon for international orders. Although I was skeptical about this at first, and thought it was mean to not want to feed her, she actually enjoys it and it has helped us many times in situations. She can sit in her bouncy chair or sitting up in her pram near us and feed herself so we can hurry up and get ready to go. It has also really helped when we are in the middle of a store or in the car where we aren’t able to pull over and take her out of her car seat or there is nowhere to stop and sit to feed her.
WHITE NOISE – really helpful the first three months to calm your baby and also provide enough noise while they are falling asleep so that other household noises won’t be so loud and wake them up. I really like my Cloud B Bunny because it can velcro to the side of the bed and has four different white noise settings (baby laughing, rain, ocean, musical song).
FITBIT– it has an alarm that you can set whenever to buzz your wrist. It’s brilliant for needing to wake you up and no one else. This was necessary when my baby slept in our room as I often would need to wake her up but wanted to be able to get up first and go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. Now she’s in her own room it’s still helpful because she often sleeps in and I sleep until I hear her so it helps wake me up so we can stick to our schedule.
EXERCISE BALL – I know a lot of us have good intentions and have a ball just floating around a room taking up space that you don’t want to deflate because then you’ll really never use it. Well put it in the baby room! I had mine there because there was nowhere else to put it and suddenly one night I was standing hunched over my crib (cot) with my back hurting and my legs getting stiff and I turned around and the ball was there. This exercise ball will be your godsend – don’t pick up your baby just silently roll the ball over and sit on it next to the crib for as long as you need and then you can silently roll it back to where ever it goes – brilliant! I bought a Manuka non-toxic one so it doesn’t smell funky or give off harmful fumes.
NIGHTLIGHT– for the first four months she was in our room next to our bed in a co-sleeper Snuzpod with the flap down. When she cried I could easily touch her to comfort and drag her close to me. However our room is dark with no light to the point you can’t see anything. When she cried in the middle of the night or I needed to feed her I needed to see her and what I was doing. So we put an LED nightlight in the corner of the room that cast enough light that I could see her clearly but not too much so we all could fall asleep. A nightlight also eliminates you having to fumble in the dark, make unnecessary noise and turn on lights that will wake everyone up and prevent them from returning to sleep easily. We got ours on Amazon but you can get them at any Lowe’s, Home Depot or even Lakeland here in the UK.
BUTT SHIELD – aka the organic washable wipes I bought strategically placed. I decided against using them as actual wipes instead I clean her first and then hold this cotton cloth over her bum while removing the dirty diaper and replacing with the clean one. That way there are no accidents across the room, on the changing table, or you and I dry her off completely with the wipe to help prevent diaper rash.
DIAPER FLARES – diapers (nappies) only work when you put them on properly so make sure that the gathering of fabric that goes around those chubby legs is all sticking out – if it’s tucked inside then there is no barrier to stop anything! Ours have two so we have to make sure that we stick our hands under and pull both flares out around her legs.
BINKY METHOD – (dummy) if your baby uses one you’ll always need to have one to hand and it’s often hard to remember where you left them. So to eliminate wasted time looking for them and the frustration of not finding one I have a binky method – basically every binky has a home. Night time binky never leaves her bed, binky always in her diaper bag (nappy bag), one downstairs attached to her binky holder that roams.
BUCKET– I put a plastic bucket in the bathroom ready to pre-soak any clothes that happen to fall victim to leakage or an explosion – it’s much better than putting them in her room in the laundry basket contaminating everything else and we don’t have laundry rooms here in the UK the washing machine is in the kitchen!! I know it makes no sense to me either but that’s an entirely different rant 🙂
BATHROOM STORAGE– I kept forgetting towels and wash cloths that I had hidden away in her room when she was getting a bath, so I bought a bathroom storage caddy and now all my hooded towels and wash cloths are within arms reach.
BODY PILLOW IN CRIB– I have a Widgey body pillow from when I was pregnant and also used it to help me breastfeed in bed. Now that she sleeps through the night and in her own room the crib (cot) is much larger. To make it feel cozier and to also help her feel swaddled, without the actual swaddle, I place the body pillow in a U shape around her head. It works brilliantly as she loves to feel ‘hugged’ by the pillow and it contains her arms – if they move to much or do the startle reflex it wakes her and the pillow prevents this.
TUBES – pumping connector tubes, they get condensation inside them – instead of removing and cleaning them only to get more water in them I disconnect them from my flanges first and let the pump run for 30sec-1min to help dry them out. I also hit them against my leg or the bed to get the water out as well.
BREAST HEAT PADS– no matter if you breastfeed, pump or are trying to dry up your supply these are a must. They feel great and help you to relax, release more milk and help you to unclog.
What cool stuff have you found or hacks that you have created? Let me know below!
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