Did you or someone close to you just have a baby?
Congratulations! Your life will never be the same!
Even if it’s not the first child, every new baby brings new challenges – and joys! – to the family and the household. If you’ve been out of the loop for a while, it’s easy to forget just how much stuff a brand new human being needs.
I speak from experience. My first child will turn seven next summer, so it had been a while since I had to worry about burp cloths and strollers, but then my second child came along to refresh my memory. Fortunately, advancements in child raising never stop so there are constantly new products being developed and brought to market to help parents keep their sanity.
Everyone knows the basics: diapers and bibs and pacifiers, even a pack ‘n play, a car seat, and a diaper bag. But what about the stuff that is supposedly unnecessary but adds so much value to a parent or grandparent?
Below are six that I believe fit that criteria. Not all of these are new and maybe you have all of them or maybe they won’t work for you. All I know is that all six have helped us immensely in just the past two months.
The greatest improvement to my life – aside from the actual baby, of course – the Baby Brezza makes the 3 a.m. feeding much more tolerable. Just fill it with water and formula beforehand and all you have to do is place the bottle and hit one button. Ten seconds later, a warm, perfectly mixed bottle formula is ready to go. It’s like a Keurig for bottles, but even faster. The inventor of this device deserves a Nobel Prize.
It’s confounding how something so small and cute can create such odors. Babies know how make a mess and putting diapers in the kitchen or bathroom trash will just stink up the joint. Diaper pails have been around for a while, but improvements keep coming and now they are compatible with refill bags that you simply snap close. No ties or strings. They’re easier than my regular kitchen bags. The scented puck also prevents your nursery or living room from smelling like a rest stop bathroom.
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Everyone (hopefully) knows that you should never put the baby in the bed with you. There are plenty of heartbreaking stories of exhausted parents rolling over onto their children in their sleep or shifting in such a way that blocks the baby’s air passages. So what can be done? With our first child, we set up a pack ‘n play at the foot of the bed and that worked fine, but most infants make plenty of noises in the night – grunts, squeals, sighs – and having to drag yourself out of bed to check every ten seconds can ruin your night (or month or year). This time, we have the sleeper that goes between us in the bed and makes all of it – checking on the baby’s position, reinserting the pacifier, getting up to feed her before the crying reaches the four-alarm stage – so much easier. And the support rails all around protect the baby from wild sleepers.
We have amazing technology available to all of us, but sometimes simplicity is still best. This looks like something put together in Home Ec, but it works so damn well. Babies sometimes get legendary boogers and extracting them can be extremely tricky, but through the power of suction, this snot sucker is like if the baby could blow its nose. They may wiggle and cry for a minute, but when it’s over they breathe so much easier and you’ll be able to relax…at least for a minute.
In the first few weeks, it feels like pacifier falls out of the kid’s mouth every three seconds. Your life becomes a Sisyphean task of retrieving it and reinserting it, always on guard and hopeful it doesn’t fall on the ground so you don’t have to go rinse it off. That’s why pacifier clips are so clutch. Attach one to the kid’s clothing and while it won’t keep it in her mouth – you’ll need duct tape for that – it will prevent it from falling on the floor or getting lost in the couch cushions. They come in extra handy when you’re out in public and don’t even want to think about what’s on the floor of that mall bathroom.
Any parent that has ever done a baby’s laundry knows a few things: 1) for being so tiny and not having to go many places, they go through a ton of clothes; 2) it takes hours to fold those tiny clean clothes; and 3) trying to keep track of socks is hard enough for grownup clothes, let alone the miniature booties that babies wear. A laundry bag won’t help with the first two, but it’ll certainly help with the third. Keeping socks – or really whatever you choose – both separate from the rest of the load and together with its compatriots will save you incredible amounts of time and aggravation.
Those are the six “unnecessary” things that help keep my sanity with a newborn. What did I miss? What are yours?
Christopher Pierznik’s nine books are available in paperback and Kindle. Check out more of his writing at Medium. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Medium, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
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