By Ash Stevens
So, we all know expectant mamas need diapers, bottles, clothes, and car seats, but that ain’t the half of the baby essentials. They may not be on every list of baby basics, but they can save you and baby hours of pain, discomfort, and aimless sleepwalking. And without having to drink a single bottle of wine! Check it out….
Babies come with a 100 percent guarantee of countless spills, messes, and snot-slimed faces. Paper towels, wipes, and Kleenex can help with this, but a wash cloth may be a mama’s best ally. Aside from working for eco mamas as well as busy mamas, wash cloths are crazy versatile. They can be used as booger rags, hand wipers, breastmilk catchers, spot scrubbers, emergency bibs, and more. Once you have a baby, you can never have too many washcloths. Just try to run out of ways that you can use them. I dare you.
If you didn’t already know, babies tend to scream and wail when they’re displeased. Somehow, this displeased crying seems to always happen at night. This is why hot/cold compresses may become your top three parenting must-haves. Heat is a natural healing aid that works by enhancing circulation and relaxing muscles and organs. When used at a safe temperature, heat can ease belly aches, gas, and growing pains. It can even help exhausted babes that struggle to fall asleep by providing them a warm and relaxing change in focus.
Eco and DIY mamas that opt for a homemade rice pack can make themselves a budget-rific pack that’s earth friendly. The rice can offers the benefits of heat (via microwave) and cold (via freezer). Major bonus: mamas can use these too! They are nothing short of magic when used for labor pain, postpartum healing, and menstrual cramps. Especially with they’re paired with massage, a pan of brownies, and/or wine.
With parenthood comes full initiation into all sorts of new and wild baby matters. Sometimes, these matters may warrant antibiotics and creams with unpronounceable ingredients. For the times they don’t, you can get aid from Mother Nature.
For common afflictions like thrush, cradle cap, and diaper rash, you can turn to herbal salves like Green Goo’s Baby Balm. For colic — another common baby issue that can turn moms into mombies — try catnip and fennel extract. If you want to make your own basic baby products, check out Wellness Mama’s favorite baby care recipes. And while you nursing mamas are shopping for herbs and salves, don’t forget to get a little something for yourself. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s nipple butter and Milkmaid tea can keep both you and baby happy by getting milk flowing and easing nursing pains. Honey and Sage Co’s herbal postpartum box is pretty fab too. The thought of spending money on yourself may freak you out, but if there’s a time to give yourself special treatment, this is it. Your baby will only ever benefit from having a happy mama.
So, you’re going to need a baby carrier. I mean, those of you who are multi-millionaires with a cook, maid, personal assistant, and a nanny can probably get by without one. However, the other 98 percent of us will need one so we can accomplish half of our daily tasks.
But with so many carriers out there, which should you buy? If you want to give your newborn a cozy place to lie, there’s a stretchy wrap, ring sling, or woven wrap for that. If you want a carrier that can be used for impressive feats of hiking or dishwashing, a soft-structured carrier like Beco, Lenny Lamb, and Ergo will do the job. These carriers generally don’t work for babies under three months, but if you get yourself an adjustable carrier like Tula’s Free To Grow carrier, you’ll have a carrier good for babes as little as seven pounds.
Co-sleeping has become a hot issue because young babies aren’t compatible with soft mattresses, cushy pillows, and heavy blankets. Room-sharing, however, has benefits that may be worth your while. For starters, you can hear baby’s cries and soothe them or feed them without even having to stand up. Considering all of the soothing and feeding you’ll be doing during baby’s first year, this can make the difference between being a mom and a mombie.
There’s also this little 2016 study from American Academy of Pediatrics which concluded that sharing a room with baby their first six months can reduce SIDS risks by 50 percent. If you want to keep a close tab on your sweet little babe, check out side sleepers like those by Arm’s Reach and SwaddleMe. They let parents keep baby within reach while providing baby a firm and safe sleeping space that’s their very own.
Baby Proofing Gadgets
This one is obvious, right? The trouble is, us parents may not realize it’s time to babyproof the home until our wee one suddenly takes up army-crawling — towards an outlet! When it comes to babies, it’s best to follow the saying, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” So, get a safety gate for the stairwell, lock up cleaning products, plug up outlets, and take care of all tables holding heavy items like TVs and books. Whether you buy new or used, go plastic or eco, or you keep it simple or devise a DIY project, every home will need some sort of babyproofing. It’s worth it’s weight in gold for your sanity.
Swings & Things
Being a hands-on parent is great. However, there will be times where you can’t be so hands-on. Like, say, when you’re using the bathroom. The gentle rocking of baby swings are great because they give us a chance to do just a little less multi-tasking while keeping baby happy. Swings can also work major magic with getting babes to sleep. And sleep is a very precious commodity to parents.
As great as swings are, they can be expensive and eat up batteries as quickly as I put down a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. If that’s a concern, then rocking chairs or bouncers and rockers may be your best alternative. Should you be an eco-mama interested in a less-plasticy option, look into baby hammocks. Their movement and womb-like feel can be both entertaining and nap-inducing. Used safely, hammocks even have a reputation for helping babies with colic and reflux.
That’s our list of must-haves for every variety of mother hen. Is there something you’d add to this list? Be sure to share your advice with others mamas in the comments below!
Ash Stevens is a gardener, a writer, and a fan of all things green. Her love for health and sustainability began with her journey into motherhood, and it’s grown exponentially ever since. She’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle through gardening, cooking, and spending time outdoors. If she isn’t writing or reading up on exciting green trends, she’s probably playing Connect Four or swimming in the river with the kids. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.