Your first few weeks with baby at home is a blur of feeding, burping, changing, bathing and some sleeping. It is exciting but exhausting because you also have to do other things like have a shower, do the laundry and get dinner ready. However, it mostly works out, maybe not in the planned order, actually definitely not in the planned order and slowly some kind of pattern emerges.
And it is during this period that you really get to know which products you need and what is really useful and what is not. The only issue is that as a mother-to-be we would like to have bought all of that in advance so we are ready! so I’d like to share my experiences to help you sort through the masses of products that are available – lots more than when I had my children – some of them better but some of them definitely not.
First thought is where is baby going to sleep in the daytime? My obvious answer is “in their bed.” I think that a calm quiet space is best and with a monitor you will easily hear when he/she wakes. Maybe it also is better for you not to be checking on him/her all the time and you can think about something else for a while. I know that I turned on the vacuum cleaner more freely knowing that my baby was asleep in the nursery, not around the corner.
If, however you prefer to have baby closer by, a bassinet would be the traditional choice. You may already be using one for overnight sleeps. If it is on castors you can bring it into the living space during the day but if it is upstairs, you will pretty soon find that a tiresome exercise. Investing in two bassinets? I have seen several lounge rooms with a Leander Cradle either suspended from the ceiling or from a tripod and it looks fantastic but you may not be able to justify the expense.
You could consider your pram as an option. If it stands in the hallway and is fitted with a carrycot it is a handy spot for a nap. It also means that baby is ready for a walk when you are.
Alternatively, is there a spare bed downstairs where you can create a “daybed”? While baby is not rolling place a Moses basket or a baby nest on it for daytime sleeps. Or is there another secure are you could use?
In Denmark a playpen with a raised floor is a common spot for naps, safe from siblings and/or pets yet in the living room. Fantastic for twins as there is plenty of room. You would then have the play pen for later use too when the child(ren) is(are) mobile and you just need to get something done.
Do any of these options appeal to you? I still prefer the nursery option with the occasional nap in the pram ready for a walk.
Time goes on and things starts to change a bit. You are still feeding lots and baby sleeps heaps but there is more “awake time”. You introduce baby to floor time – lots of time on the tummy is really important for the development of the back muscles – and at least here the product choice is simple: just a soft blanket. Phew.
But as baby gets older and is awake for even longer there are times where you where you need something else. You could be having visitors over or simply want to change things up a bit. A bouncer is a really good investment as it is a nice soft and supporting seat and it works a treat for the first early spoonfuls of solid food too. There are many, many bouncers to choose from. Some move really easily, others hardly respond, some are mechanical and move the child rather than the other way around but the one thing they have in common is that they are all up to approx 6 months old. Except a few and here I have to mention one of our brands because I think it has some features that are really unique and useful.
The Bamboo bouncer has a harness that will secure even a 9-month old and as an added bonus, the harness is fully removable and turns the bouncer into a small armchair for your toddler. Initially you may think “but why? There are so many other sitting options for a toddler.” Yes, there are but I like that I can continue to use a product for longer and trust me, if your toddler is on the couch watching TV you would be reluctant to hang the washing out because he/she could tumble off any second. The Bamboo bouncer suits your child up to approx. 3 years old so its time in use is much longer than most other models.
Another vital but often overlooked item of initial importance is a good feeding cushion. Your shoulders will turn into hard rocks if you don’t have some support under your lower arms and this is important whether you are bottle feeding or breastfeeding. There are lots on the market in various shapes and sizes and it can definitely be hard to predict which one is going to be the best for you. In my mind the best one are quite pliable, like a small bean bag. That way you can generally get the support where you need it and you can reshape it for the bigger baby. Again I take the liberty to mention one of our products – at least you can see that we select them carefully and love their function – and that is the Mini Sackjack from Done by Deer. Shaped like hippo it is filled with micro beads and is soft and cushion-like. As baby progresses to time on the floor the Mini Sackjack is a great cushion to put behind the back for support and later on this cute hippo becomes your child’s most treasured friend. Longevity is the key which comes from the design but the quality also has to be such that the product will actually last the distance.
That is it from me for now. If you have read this to the end, thank you. I hope you found it useful. If not, that’s OK too as there is no shortage of advice from other mums. Trust your gut instinct and chances are, you’ll get it right. If not, put it down as experience and move forward from there. Sleep well.