I am a firm believer of the old saying, "It takes a a village to raise a child." In this country, we pride ourselves on our independence. In our culture, living with one's parents after the college years is considered an embarrassment and purchasing one's own home is the epitome of achieving the American dream. This is all fine and good, but then, it's time to have babies, and our husbands go back to work and we are left all alone in our big quiet homes, looking at our fussy babies and thinking guiltily, when can I put you down and take a shower/go to the bathroom/read a freaking magazine?
This independence that we've worked so hard to achieve can sometimes leave us feeling isolated when we're raising a child. I'm certainly not qualified to make this kind of diagnosis, but I have a hunch that the prevalence of "baby blues" and mild post-partum depression are actually exacerbated by this sense of isolation. Way back in the day (and still today in other countries), there were grandmas and cousins and aunties a-plenty in the same quarters, all arms-extended and ready for hand-off when mom needed a moment to make dinner or finally clean out the hideous maternity clothes from her out-of-control closet. Now I know that having extended family staring at you 24/7 has its serious down-sides as well, but I'm just saying, being home alone with a baby, while it can be equally fulfilling and rewarding, can also be totally overwhelming and lonely at times- especially if it's your first.
So- thank heavens for Babies R' Us and Giggle and Amazon.com- and all other purveyors of baby gadgets that, while certainly no replacement for Grandma, make raising babies a little bit easier (while never passively suggesting all of the things you are doing wrong). Below are a few of my newborn necessities - some trusted classics and some new to me the third time around- but all totally awesome.
1 & 2. California Baby Diaper Rash Calming Cream and Diaper Area Spray Wash. This line of baby products is my absolute favorite. The diaper rash cream has a subtle lavender scent and the Spray Wash is the perfect solution for poops that need more than a wipe, but less than a bath.
3. When the bath is necessary, pop 'em in the Puj tub. Unlike cold, hard plastic tubs or flimsy mesh tubs- this super soft but sturdy foam sink insert, folds together easily and hangs flat to dry on a wall suction hook- taking up absolutely no room in a small bathroom. Frank, as you can see here- is never happier than in his Puj tub.
4. We are forever losing binkies in this house. My house is to binkies as socks are to the dryer- they just disappear, never to be seen again. Our paci of choice is the hospital recommended Soothie, and Wubbanubs, which are Soothies with an adorable little plush attached to them, make losing your binkies just a little bit tougher.
5. I have spent countless nights rocking all three of my boys to this awesome music box rendition of Cold Play's greatest hits.
6. The Marpac Sleep Mate White Noise Generator makes their room sound a little bit more like the womb- and is also great for drowning out noisy brothers in the hallway. This thing travels everywhere with us.
7&8. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets are perfect for a tight, but incredibly light and soft swaddle for the first few weeks of life. Because the Tank certainly lives up to his name, we've upgraded him to the more Houdini-proof Miracle Blanket. We call this thing the "strait jacket" and little man's eyes start to close the minute I wrap his first arm.
9. The swing. I honestly don't know how mothers get by without these. All three of my kids have spent hours sleeping blissfully in perpetual motion.
10 & 11. I was pretty grossed out at the thought of literally sucking snot out of Frank's nose with my mouth- but after just one use of the NoseFrida, I was a believer. Lightly scented saline Boogie Wipes are another booger nose must for both the babies and the big kids in this household.