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Top 10 Baby Must-Haves For First-Time Parents

Top 10 Baby Must-Haves For First-Time Parents

Being first-time parents can be a nerve-wracking prospect for clueless couples who are caught unprepared with the ordeal of parenthood. If you’re one of them, knowing about these baby must-haves will make parenting easier for you.

Prepare your baby must-haves in advance to save yourself some headaches. Not knowing your baby’s sex is not a reason to stop you from shopping for baby must-haves before your child is born. Opt for neutral colors so you will prevent instances where you have to cloth your baby boy in girl clothes or vice versa, or be forced to shop again for appropriate things for your baby to use.

Make a list of things to buy that include the 10 baby must-haves (listed here in helpful categories) that first-time parents should prepare.

Here are a couple of items that will help in feeding/nursing.

1. Milk Bottles and Bottle Warmer

Although you would want to breastfeed your baby, you still need milk bottles to store breast milk when you go out. It would be awkward to whip out your breast to feed your baby or suffer milk leakage on your clothes. BPA free milk bottles are safe.

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Milk Bottles and Bottle Warmer

    A bottle warmer is also handy for warming up milk as microwave heating is not advisable to prevent the possibility of scalding baby’s mouth with very hot milk.

    2. Breast Pump and Accessories

    Electric Breast Pump 1

      Breast pumps can be a lifesaver when you encounter nursing problems. Some babies do not latch on the breast right away, so you need to pump the milk out into the bottle for the baby to feed on.

      Here are a couple of items that will help with bathing.

      3. Bath Tub with a Sling

      Bath Tub with a Sling

        Newborns are very fragile and have no neck control, so it is important that the bathtub is equipped with a sling. Sponge bathing your newborn using warm water and washcloths is recommended for the first month.

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        4. Cotton Hooded Towel Set and Cotton Washcloths

        Cotton Hooded Towel Setand Cotton Washcloths

          The washcloths will be used to sponge bathe your baby. Babies shiver easily so you have to wrap your’s in a hooded towel to transfer the baby from the bath into the room. Cotton is the recommended fabric because it is gentle on the baby’s sensitive skin.

          Here are a couple of items that will help with health and safety.

          5. Thermometer

          Thermometer

            This is a thing that you should not go without. Buy a set of thermometers to measure your baby’s body temperature like the one pictured above.

            6. Infant Nail Cutter

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            Dreambaby_Premium_Nail_Clippers_with_Magnifier_xl2

              Don’t attempt to use your own nail cutter for your baby. You don’t want to harm them in anyway. Pick one made especially for babies. If you have vision problems, you can choose a nail cutter with a magnifying glass to help you get a clearer visual of your baby’s nails.

              Here are a couple of items that will help with playtime.

              7. Baby Swing

              Baby Swing

                Babies can be fussy sometimes. Instead of calming your child down by carrying them in your arms, use a baby swing. A baby swing with music and motion can entertain the baby and lull him to sleep. It is also great for feeding when the swing motion is off.

                8. Baby Gym or Activity Mat
                Baby Gym or Activity Mat

                  Keep the baby entertained by buying a musical baby gym or activity mat. Toys with sounds and mirrors will keep the baby occupied so you can attend to some chores or just relax.

                  Here are a couple of items that will help with travelling.

                  9. Car Seat and Stroller System

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                  Car Seat and Stroller System1

                    Having a car seat for the baby will keep them safe and secure in the car while you drive to travel anywhere that you need to go. Whether you are shopping for things in the mall or just want to take the baby out for a walk in the park, a stroller system will make things a lot easier for you and more comfortable for your baby.

                    10. Baby Carrier or Sling

                    Baby Carrieror Sling

                      If your baby is old enough for a carrier or a sling, then ditch the stroller. It is safe, reliable, and will make navigating the crowd easier for you. Having a baby carrier is also handy when you go to establishments where elevators or escalators are not present.

                      In Conclusion

                      Buying baby essentials will put a hole in your pocket if you don’t know how to cut costs. Look for great things on sale or use coupons like eBay redemption codes to get savings on must-have baby stuff.

                      Featured photo credit: Baby Carrieror Sling via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on June 18, 2018

                      Parents Are Their Own Worst Enemies

                      Parents Are Their Own Worst Enemies

                      The pressure to be a good parent is real. All this pressure comes at us from internal and external sources that converge and make a perfect storm for parents to lose any confidence they had as parents. We, as parents have the power to overcome our own worst enemy, which is ourselves.

                      Video Summary

                      As parents, we encounter messages on a daily basis that tell us how we need to do things in a different or better way. We hear messages that we need to expect more of our kids, we need to not be so hard on our kids, we should vaccinate, we shouldn’t vaccinate, we need to be involved with our kids, we shouldn’t be helicopter parents, we need to help our kids with their homework, we need to let our kids do their own homework, and a plethora of other mixed messages. All these messages turn into self talk one way or the other.

                      Everyone has a running conversation of self talk going on in their own head. As parents, our self talk can revolve around our abilities as parents. Are we doing things the best way for our kids? Are we doing thing that we think are good, but could in fact be harmful? We have so many messages coming at us in all directions that it becomes easy to question every decision we make as parents. Thus, it becomes far to easy to be hard on ourselves as parents.

                      Parents Are Their Own Worst Critics

                      Your own worst enemy in life is yourself. Typically there is nobody who will say more negative things to you than you will to yourself. It is the self talk that goes on in your head all day long that provides for the negative commentary to yourself. You need to stop the negative self talk today as it constantly breaking down your confidence as a parent. There are tips further in the article that will help empower you to overcome this negative self talk.

                      Are we good enough?

                      As parents, one thing we are constantly asking ourselves mentally is are we good enough and are we doing enough for our kids. Any good parents wonders this from time to time. Self analysis is helpful at time. However, if we are doing it too often, we begin to doubt ourselves and second guess our decisions as parents. Allowing negative self talk that undermines our skills as parents can hinder our confidence as parents. In turn, it makes it more difficult to parent when we are always questioning our capabilities as parents.

                      Are we doing things the best way possible?

                      We, as parents, need to let go of perfect. Perfect is unattainable. The pursuit of perfect leads to frustration and defeat. Instead of pursing perfection, we need to chose a good path for parenting that is best for our own family and let of trying to be the best and do the best. Let it go and instead just be present.

                      Are we comparing our kids and ourselves to others?

                      We live in a culture where it is extremely easy to compare ourselves to others. You only need a few minutes on social media to compare yourself and your life to hundreds if not thousands of others. The problem is that what is portrayed on social media is not the whole story. Our tendency to compare ourselves to others leads to discontentment. When you feed yourself messages of discontent on a regular basis, you will begin to feel like a defeated individual and parent, as you can never measure up when compared to others.

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                      If you feel like you or your children will never live up to the level of how others live, then you won’t. The real problem is that you are ignoring your individuality as a family. Each of you is unique, as is your family. Don’t compare yourself to others, because its like comparing apples and oranges.

                      Be a Confident Parent

                      The best way to overcome the greatest enemy in your life as a parent is to become a confident parent. Easier said than done of course. However, there are some things that you can do to become more confident in your parenting and the feedback in your head can become more positive and encouraging. Below are some ways that you can create more confidence in yourself regarding your parenting abilities.

                      1. Become your own encourager through positive self talk

                      To become more confident, you need to start shutting down that voice in your head that says that you are not good enough or you are doing enough for your child. For some moms, this is the “bad mom syndrome”. It is that voice in your own head that says you are a “bad mom”. It often comes from building a list of all your mommy failures so you feel an overwhelming source of guilt which leads to this “bad mom syndrome”.

                      Saying this to yourself will not make you a better mom. It will only make you feel like a failure and defeated. You are not defeated. Those discouraging messages are not helpful to you or your child. It is ok to have uncertainty from time to time. However, it is not ok to allow yourself to feel less than adequate for your child. If you truly feel inadequate get some professional help from a counselor. They can help empower you as a parent.

                      You need to make yourself aware of negative self talk and change the course of the message while it is happening. For example, you may scream and yell at your child for forgetting to turn in their homework. You then start beating yourself up about the yelling because you know you were wrong to react that way. Instead of internally beating yourself up, stop the negative self talk as soon as you know it has started. Look at it as an opportunity to recognize the triggers that led to the outburst, perhaps you had a bad day at work. Then tell yourself you will do better next time. You also take the time to think through how you need to approach your child and apologize for the yelling and then discuss calmly why they didn’t turn in their homework. This method of thinking of solutions and encouraging yourself that things can be worked through is growth as a parent. It is also a way of shutting down the negative self talk and replacing it with solutions and/or positive messages.

                      PsychCentral made a great point about self talk and the power we have in ourselves to change these thoughts:[1]

                      You can test, challenge and change your self-talk. You can change some of the negative aspects of your thinking by challenging the irrational parts and replacing them with more reasonable thoughts.

                      2. Reduce stress and fatigue in your own life

                      Parents are better parents when they are less stressed out. When we feel stressed out as parents, we sometimes take it out on the ones who are closest in proximity. If you are at home in the evening with your kids and you have a mile long to-do list along with lots of other external stress going on, it becomes difficult to be kind, calm, and loving to our children. Our children are precious and impressionable. They don’t deserve unkind words or treatment because we are feeling utterly and completely stressed out and overworked.

                      Research by Your Modern Family looked at what children want most from their parents. The results from their research showed that the number one thing kids want from their parents is for “their parents to be less stressed and less tired”.[2] This is quite telling. It shows that we need to dial back things in life that cause extreme stress and exhaustion. It may be difficult to do this for some, as it can require a major overhaul in your life structure and activities.

                      For other parents, it can be more simple solutions, as suggested in the Modern Family article including: getting on a schedule, having kids help with chores, getting things ready the night before, waking up before your kids, doing meal plans that work for your family, getting organized, planning ahead, and laughing. Start finding ways to reduce stress in your life and you will see that your children are less stressed and happier as well.

                      We are all better parents when we are less stressed out. Do what it takes to reduce your stress as it does in fact affect your child’s mental well-being. Kids are smart, intuitive, and sensitive to the emotions of their parents. Don’t go through life pretending not to be stressed. Take action today to reduce stress in your life. Sometimes the solution is saying no and reducing activities. Do it for the sake of your children. It is the one thing children want most- less stress, less tired parents.

                      3. Simply be present for your kids and let go of perfection

                      Allowing yourself and your children to be something other than the best can be empowering. It allows you to be present with your children and embrace them for their own uniqueness. It also allows you to accept your circumstances for what they are, which is likely not the best or perfect.

                      One of the best thing you can do for your kids is simply be there for them. Kids yearn for time with their parents. They may not always say it or express it, but they want their parents. It is difficult to create family memories if you don’t spend time together. Make the time to be with your children. It doesn’t need to be a special occasion or a Disney experience either. Just sitting together to have dinners as family and talking to your kids is what they need for positive memories to be made.

                      Knowing that their parents are there to talk with them and to listen to them, is a wonderful gift to your children. In our era of busy lives and trying so hard to be the best parents we often overlook the most important factor in parenting, which is simply being present in our child’s life. Sometimes we need to dial back the schedule so that we are spending time together. Taking them from one activity to the next is not quality time together. Allowing for time to be home and interacting with one another, without distractions, is quality time. Be present to allow for open conversations to occur.

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                      Pscyhology Today discussed the topic of being a parent who is present and gave some specific tips. One of the top tips they provided was to stop multitasking.[3] This article stated,

                      “The first thing to recognize is that, try as we might, we really can only do one thing at a time, so we ought to do that thing wholeheartedly”

                      When you want to be present with you children, then don’t text, do other tasks, or work on other projects. Devote your attention solely to you child.

                      When you allow yourself to be fully present with your child, it becomes easier to appreciate the small things in life. Your child will grow up fast, you hear it from other parents quite often how they grow up too fast. Take the time to appreciate the precious little things in life, such as watching your child become overjoyed because they won at a board game you were playing, or watching your child teach their new puppy how to sit, or watching your child successfully ride a bike for the first time. All of these small things in life end up being the big things in life. Be present with your child so that you can enjoy and appreciate the small things in life.

                      4. Don’t get pressured into taking bad advice

                      Everyone has an opinion these days. It doesn’t mean that you need to heed the advice of everyone. You have permission as a parent to disregard the advice of others, including from loved ones including your own parents. Their intentions are good. They want to help you and your child be successful and happy. The problem is that the methods your parents utilized 20 or 30 years ago may be outdated. They didn’t know better. Now we have research on virtually any parenting issue there is out there.

                      Do your own research, so you have peace of mind that your selected parenting methods are what is best for your child. It is also nice to have this research in your back pocket so when someone questions your methods you have research and data to prove your selected ways are best. It’s hard for someone to argue with science. They can try, but facts and data are truths at the end of the day.

                      5. Don’t compare yourself to others

                      Don’t allow yourself get sucked into the comparison game. A lot of this has to do with the self talk in your head. You have the ability to stop the self talk and change its course to something that is more positive. When you start comparing yourself or your children to others, stop and replace that self talk with thoughts about how you are all unique, special, and gifted in different ways than any other family.

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                      Along with comparing your children includes the topic of managing your expectations. If your child is an average student, then don’t expect them to get into the gifted program at school. Be realistic with your child’s abilities. When you have unrealistic expectations it puts pressure on both you and the child. This pressure is not needed in life, as it will only bring disappointment when the expectations are too high and can never be met. Keep it real, and allow yourself to see that your child may not be the best or the brightest. They are unique and special in their own way, but it doesn’t mean that they are going to be the very best at everything or anything at all. Let them know that its ok because they are loved for exactly who they are and special because of their uniqueness.

                      If you have friends who like to play the comparison game, then don’t hang out with them. They will not help bring you up as a parent. Their goal is to make comparisons so they can feel better about themselves, their life, and their abilities as a parent. Their goal in no way involves helping you feel better or lifting you up and encouraging you as a parent. Cut the negative thoughts out, especially if they are coming from another person. You are doing yourself and your child a disservice by spending your precious and limited time with someone who is using comparison to bring you down in order to bring themselves up. Life is too short, find someone who wants to be a true friend.

                      Parenting Is Hard Work, Take Time for Yourself

                      Parents need a break from time to time. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself while in the midst of your parenting experience. Take time to do things that you enjoyed doing before you had kids. Keep up with hobbies and things that you enjoy doing. Allowing time for your hobbies and taking care of yourself allows you to be more relaxed, less stressed out, and happier in the long run.

                      Of course, there is moderation for everything. I am not saying leave your family every night to work out at the gym for three hours. Your family takes priority over your hobbies. However, in order to be a well balanced and happy individual you need to schedule time each week for your hobby, whatever that may be. Which is exactly why my kids are at home with a sitter every Friday afternoon and I am sitting at Starbucks right now, sipping my favorite Chai Latte, listening to music on earbuds, and typing this article.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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