One thing I didn’t realize before having a baby is that I would need so much gear. Almost as much as the baby, or at least it feels that way! As the primary caretaker (while on maternity leave) and the sole food source for Baby P, I discovered that the right items could make all the difference for keeping everyone happy. It turned out that those things were almost as vital as those MVP baby items I chatted about last time! Things like...
1: Lily Jade diaper bag
I’ve already enthused at length about my Lily Jade diaper bag, but I just have to mention it again. It is super dang expensive, especially for someone who usually buys handbags at Target, and even then only on clearance. Still, the main reason that I wanted it – that removable insert – has worked as well as I could’ve hoped. I never have to carry two bags – when I’m with him, the insert goes in, and I know I have all my belongings too. Now that I’m at work, most days I carry the bag without the insert, and it’s big enough that I can fit my bag of pumping supplies inside it. Or I’ll fit my lunch in there, or my laptop. Or all of it. It’s a huge mom purse, yes, but it’s so much more stylish than a diaper bag quilted in bright colors. It boils down to this: it’s a classy (but functional!) bag and it makes me feel like a classy mom. That is super important for self-confidence on days when I’ve been barfed on multiple times before 8AM. Love it.
2: H&M nursing tanks
Just like maternity clothes – which are actually totally worth having if you find flattering ones – nursing clothes have a huge markup. Apparently those little snaps on the tank top straps triple the cost of production... or so they’d have you believe. So I was super happy to find nursing clothes at H&M, where they’re relatively inexpensive. My favorite are these tanks, which are extra long and roomy around the belly, and reasonably priced at just $15 a pop. The only downside is that their nursing clothes aren’t sold in a store near me, but a free shipping code helps! (It expires in just a week, so act fast!)
3: Gilligan & O’Malley sleep nursing bras
Sorry everybody, but... I need to take a moment to talk about undergarments. Here’s something I didn’t know until I had a baby: I’ve had to wear a bra (or something with a built-in bra) 24/7, because I’ve had to hold nursing pads in place somehow. (Nursing pads! Something else I didn’t really know about until having a baby!) Over time, though, I got tired of fiddling with the little clasps in the middle of the night and longed to just wear a dang t-shirt to bed again. These v-neck nursing bras were the ticket! I really like the overlapping cup design (no fiddly clasps!) and they’re comfy under t-shirts. Bonus: I feel super sporty, like I’m going to go work out instead of go check the fridge for extra dessert.
4: Lanisoh milk storage bags
Because I knew I’d be a working mom eventually, I hoarded milk whenever I had some to spare during my maternity leave. Even now, if there’s a surplus of fresh milk, it goes in the freezer. And so I’ve already become well-versed in different brands of milk storage bags, and these ones by Lanisoh are my favorite. They seem unnecessarily large at first, but the big size means you get a really thin bag when you lay it flat in the freezer, rather than a bulky block of frozen milk. There’s also a double-zipper so NO LEAKS, which has been a problem with other bags. Perhaps it seems dumb to put a particular brand of breastmilk storage bags on a list of MVP mom items, but if you are giddily happy every time you open the freezer to see plenty of food for your baby, then you understand.
5: Motherlove nipple cream
OH MY GOSH SO MUCH TALK ABOUT BREASTFEEDING. Yes, well. It’s basically all I did for weeks, which is why I ended up needing this particular ointment. Lanolin is nice and all (it makes a great baby chapstick!), but when my nips were cracked and bleeding in those first few week, THIS is the stuff that fixed them right up. It’s a little pricey and the name feels like it might vaguely have something to do with Buster Bluth, but you just have to get over that and get some. The 1-ounce jar was far more than I needed (it worked so well, they healed right up!), but I found that it was great for helping heal other sore spots, like scratches on his face or my dry winter skin. I consider this a must-have.
6: Glider + ottoman
I admit it: I totally thought we wouldn’t need a glider. We had my grandma’s old rocking chair if he really needed to be rocked, but if we could just hold him and bounce him, why get whole other special pieces of furniture? I’ll tell you why: mama gets tired. That’s why I put this item on the “mom” list instead of the “baby” list: he doesn’t care how we’re rocking/bouncing him, but I prefer the kind that involves sitting and armrests. Mr. P got this glider and ottoman set for my birthday this year, and because the man knows me super well, he picked one with a small profile, padded armrests, and the ability to remove and wash all the upholstered parts. Once it was assembled, I basically started spending all my time in it. So yes, that is why we needed a whole other special set of furniture. Lesson learned!
Whew! Sorry for all the words, but I honestly didn’t know about half of this stuff or thought I wouldn’t really need it. Hopefully this post can help a new mom find a few things to make her feel better! And also: it’s totally normal to buy as much gear for yourself as for the baby. You’re both new at this and you both need some help!