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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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                      Published on September 21, 2018

                      11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

                      11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

                      Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

                      Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

                      If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

                      For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

                      1. Find your community and ask for help

                      As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

                      Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

                      Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

                      After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

                      If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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                      2. Make peace with the past

                      Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

                      You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

                      3. Make plans and set goals

                      The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

                      In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

                      Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

                      4. Look for role models

                      A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

                      It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

                      5. Rethink your priorities

                      Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

                      Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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                      Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

                      6. Make time for me time

                      Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

                      If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

                      Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

                      Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

                      7. Stay organized

                      With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

                      Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

                      8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

                      Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

                      When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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                      For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

                      Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

                      9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

                      Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

                      You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

                      Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

                      10. Live within your means

                      When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

                      If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

                      Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

                      After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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                      Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

                      11. Spend quality time with your kids

                      The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

                      Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

                      When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

                      Final thoughts

                      Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

                      Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

                      Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

                      Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

                      Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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