The baby product scene is wild. There is so much stuff you are told you need to buy and it is all so expensive. I remember when I was shopping for a stroller and car seat for my first child, and the options ranged between $150 and $3000. It really wasn’t clear why the more expensive options were that much better either. Then there is the added pressure of wanting to do right by your children, making you a vulnerable target to advertisers and baby store salespeople. It’s a hard consumer space to navigate, especially if you have a limited budget.
The thing about babies and by extension early parenting experiences is that they are all different. So a product that was useful to someone else may not actually be helpful to you. So I thought I would frame these recommendations in terms of the problems they helped me solve. If you run in to the same issues, maybe these things will help you too.
Problem: you have a koala/velcro baby (won’t be put down, won’t sleep alone) or a heavy baby.
If you have a high needs baby that won’t separate from you, I’m sorry. I know what that’s like! This baby carrier saved my sanity when my first baby wouldn’t nap horizontally for months on end. I would wear them while I got some cleaning jobs done. I would wear them while I worked on my computer at the standing desk or kitchen island. I would go on trips out to the shops or the zoo just for my own enjoyment while they snoozed away. My second baby is more independent but at the 99.8th percentile for weight so they’re literally too heavy to carry in my arms all day. The carrier works great for that. The brand you use is less important than making sure you have it on tight enough and at the right position. Make sure you follow the babywearing T.I.C.K.S and if possible find a babywearing consultant in your area who can show you how to wear it properly. You want it higher and tighter than you would first think!
Problem: your baby hates being swaddled arms-down.
My youngest loves to suck on their own fist all day and night. When they were first born I tried swaddling them with their arms down and they really hated it, and didn’t sleep. I couldn’t leave them unswaddled though because the moro reflex would wake them up aswell. I put them in these sleeping bags which constrained their overall movement to make them feel snug, but they could still get their fist in to their mouth for comfort. They slept really well from then on. Plus zip-up bags are so much easier to deal with than a traditional swaddle.
Problem: your baby spits up a lot
When I was pregnant with my first baby a friend gave me a 12 pack of these old-school cloth nappies and said they are handy to have around. Wow was she right. Both of my babies have been champion spewers. Until they start solids I am getting thrown up on every day multiple times a day. I have 24 of these cloths/towels and it’s great to know there will always be a fresh white towel available for any messes that crop up. There is a lot of laundry when you have a newborn and the last thing you want is to be reusing some gross dirty towel cause you’ve run out of clean ones.
Problem: disposable wipes bum you out.
Disposable wipes are expensive and don’t wipe very well, as well as make me feel like a real scumbag with the amount of waste they produce. When I’m at home I just wet these little washers and use them for cleaning hands, mouths and bums and wash them in the washing machine. You can hot wash and bleach if the thought of poo germs grosses you out. Our Queensland sun is so fierce it bleaches the shit out of them while they are drying. Thanks hole in the ozone layer.
Problem: you have major letdown/leakage on the other side when feeding
This thing is sooo handy if you leak a lot while feeding. I pop it in my bra and it not only prevents me from having to churn through breast pads but I can collect so much milk I can create a decent breastmilk stash in the freezer without having to make the effort of pumping.