When I was starting my baby shower registry I remember posting on Facebook asking mom friends for suggestions. Reason behind reaching out for some help were 1. I was still in shock we were expecting at all as Lola was a surprise! I had not even given a thought about what life with a baby would be like until that pink line showed up. 2. HOLY HELL what is the baby market?! There are literally a billion baby products available and how are you supposed to know what you need?
Luckily I know a few moms and got to know a group of even more amazing moms that helped me figure out what I might need when we brought Lola home. Other than an IV of caffeine, $1000 in Skip the Dishes credits, and all the ice cream in the world, these were my go to’s to help me help Lola survive the newborn phase!
Snuggle Me Organic
Ok this first item was a game changer! I so wish I would have had this item since day one but alas I loved it from the time we bought it to the time Lola decided to launch herself out of it *cue sleep training in her own crib*. Like many newborn babies that have been evicted from their uterine homes of 9 months, Lola did not want to be put down to sleep. Combine that with a broken collar bone and acid reflux, I was constantly holding and soothing Lola. I had even resorted to the super unsafe practice of holding her in my arms while we both slept on either the sofa or the rocker in her room. Mamas out there gotta do what mamas gotta do to survive!
I had heard about the Snuggle Me from a fellow new mom and immediately ordered it online. This was the first thing I could put Lola down into and she wouldn’t instantly fuss. It’s the perfect lounger that can be used anywhere in the house as its easy to take with you. The Snugge Me works so well because it cradles your baby and helps them feel like they are being held. It’s also nearly impossible for your baby to roll and have their breathing obstructed by the sides. It was so handy to have a place I could easily put Lola down into that I knew she liked and was safe. I mean just look at how comfy cozy she looks!
This is a far less glamorous essential. Newborns are notorious for having gas problems. Between a brand new digestive system and all the crying, there’s a lot gas build up. My maternity doctor was actually the one who suggested we try Ovol drops at our 2 week check up. They are safe to use before or after a feeding, can be given daily, multiple times a day, and come with a handy dropper.
Now that Lola has started solids, she has been struggling with passing regular stools. I give her Ovol drops every night before bed and there has been fewer and fewer wake ups because of painful tummy issues. I also love that you can find these pretty much anywhere for around $10 - just look for the packaging straight out of the 90s.
This particular product can be a hit or miss for newborns. You just never know what your baby is going to like until they try it. We had purchased a different rocker/swing for Lola before she was born and she HATED it (see picture below). We really struggled to soothe Lola and so we were desperate for something we could use to help us. I had known about the mamaRoo but hadn't brought it up to Samir due to its price - $400 for a baby swing?!
We were walking around Buy Buy Baby and he pointed it out to me and I immediately agreed we should look into getting one. Still not thrilled to drop that kind of dough on it, we started our search on Kijiji and found a second hand one! If you are at all hesitant purely because of price, I would strongly suggest you check out places like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or auctions as you can find second hand ones in great condition at affordable prices.
Lola loved it from the first moment we put her in it. I was finally able to get a little bit of a break during the day. The motion settings are great, you can adjust the angel of the seat and it comes with built in sound. You can also download their app and control it that way. One con is that the balls on top could be more interactive. Lola still loved the swing well into 5 or 6 months but we had to start hanging toys from it as she started to get bored of the patterned balls.
Muslin Swaddle Blankets
Swaddle blankets were one of the first and most repeated suggestion I got on my Facebook request for help. A mom of 4 was the one to direct me to Aden + Anais swaddles in particular. Again, the price was a bit of a turn off but once I had some in my possession, I understood what why she loved them.
The size of the swaddle blankets are generous and they come in so many great patterns. The best part of having muslin swaddles, as told to us by the public health nurse, is that if they did end up on a baby's face, they would still be able to breathe. The swaddle blankets were also perfect to use in the stroller and car seat as Lola was born in the middle of summer. I have also used them as a nursing cover. Overall, they are a great versatile blanket that we made sure to pack in our hospital bag.
We also received muslin swaddles from Amazon, so if the price of Aden + Anais turns you off, you can definitely find a similar product elsewhere (the two blankets in the last picture below).
Side note: Aden + Anais also have thicker muslin 'dream' blankets. We were gifted one and its the perfect blanket to bring out with you if you're going to put your baby on the floor (ex. at baby rhyme time or play dates).
Let's just start out by saying I believe fed is best regardless of how you manage to keep your newborn fed. I was fortunate enough to want to and be able to breastfeed. However with Lola's broken collar bone and my larger sized chest, that was really only possible with the help of my nursing pillow. The nursing pillow really allowed me to get Lola is the best position for feeding and feel comfortable holding her while getting my breast out to nurse.
This pillow was used for so much more than just feeding Lola. As mentioned, newborns and especially our Lola, do not like to be put down. I would use the pillow to support my arms as I cradled Lola for hours in the first few weeks of her life. Later, when she would only nap in my arms, I used the pillow for HOURS a day (so much so I needed a neck pillow too)! I can also see how this would come in handy if you're using bottles as it made holding my newborn so much easier. I could only imagine how handy it would be if you had a c-section. Lola is 7 months old and we still use it! I brought this pillow with me to the hospital and on our first flight with Lola. More recently we have even used it to help Lola to learn how to sit up on her own - it truly is so handy and versatile!
The pillow I use is called The Baby Buddy. I love how big it is and how its not a traditional U shape. I was concerned, being plus size, other types of nursing pillows wouldn't properly fit around me. I do not have this problem with this pillow. I love the minky fabric and it comes in many colours. I have washed both the cover and the pillow multiple times (babies are gross). One of the best thing about this pillow, its manufactured by a local Calgary company!
While I know these items are not essential to keeping a baby alive, they were so helpful to have during those first few weeks with Lola. And we all know us new moms need all the help we can get!