Unconventional must-haves for new parents

As rookie parents, Brian and I relied on books, blogs, and advice from fellow parents to navigate the maze that is a baby registry. Thanks to these aforementioned resources and the generosity of family and friends, we had everything Bridget could possibly need and then some when she arrived.

Aside from the obvious necessities, there are other must-haves for new parents; those items that can’t necessarily be wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow.

Here is my ever-growing list:

Thank you cards and stamps: I was overwhelmed by the generosity of family and friends when we brought Bridget home. Meals, clothes, baby blankets, etc. Since it’s difficult to get out of the house during the first few weeks, keep thank you cards and stamps on hand to easily pop in the mail.

Vacuum cleaner: The loud, obnoxious buzz of a vacuum cleaner works wonders against crying. I caution that there are two downsides to this remedy: 1) you have to turn it off eventually, and 2) your electric bill.

Fan: Not only does a fan produce the best form of white noise, but studies have shown it also reduces the risk of SIDs by as much as 70 percent.

Darkening shades: Our nursery is decorated in gray, white, yellow, and green, so to coincide with the color scheme, we bought white blinds and light green curtains. Cute, right? Yes, but not practical when you have a baby born in May! Until our trip to Lowe’s for darkening shades, a dark blanket and tape to hold it up did the job.

WD-40: There is no better sound to wake a sleeping baby than the creak when opening and closing doors. Buy a can for a quick fix.

What To Expect – Baby app: The What To Expect – Pregnancy app was fun and informative during pregnancy, sharing health tips and estimated weight and size of your baby at each week. The What To Expect – Baby app is even better. At the hospital, you’ll track your baby’s feeding times and diaper changes on paper. When you get home, a paper and pen isn’t always handy, but your iPhone probably is. The app tracks feedings, diapers, sleeping, and vaccinations. If you were in a normal state of mind, you might be able to remember this information, but when your days and nights run together, it’s a welcome help.

Three sleeping bras: Fellow new Mom and friend of mine, Carrie, told me to have plenty of nursing bras because breastfeeding Moms wear a bra 24/7. During the first few weeks, I rarely got dressed during the day (sorry, Brian!), so wearing a normal bra with snaps and straps was unnecessary. I found sleeping bras at Babies-R-Us for $12.99 and they’re like cotton sports bras but more comfortable and much easier to maneuver. Having three has served well: one to wear, one in the wash, and one clean for back-up. Save the real bras for when you venture out of the house.

Ambiance iPhone app: While this app didn’t cut it for Bridget when it came to the vacuum cleaner or fan, it mimics the “sshhhh”-ing sound relatively well and lends a break to your exhausted lungs. There is a free version of the app but you can upgrade for access to thousands of sounds for $2.99.

A fully stocked medicine cabinet: Although there isn’t much you can safely give a newborn, there are a few must-haves that you should have handy. Our first use for all of these required a late-night run to the corner CVS. Save yourself the hassle and extra stress when your little one is sick:

Gas drops
Tylenol
Nasal saline
Nasal aspirator
Thermometer
Humidifier

Pinxav: I had never heard of this nor seen it since, but for our baby shower, a guest bought us this diaper cream. It works magic on a diaper rash. Which is why we still have most of the original bottle left because we haven’t had to use it very often.

What are your must-haves for a baby?

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