When I was growing up, I thought my parents had all the answers. And as I got older, anyone with children seemed to know what they were doing. After being a parent for 8 months I feel like I am winging it. Every single day. I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but in the short time I have been a mama I have learned a few valuable things.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Baby Cubby and may also contain affiliate links. The opinions are all 100% mine.
1. Buy Quality
This is something my husband has taught me. I’m the kind of person that always wants to find a good deal on something, or will wait for it to go on sale. I still think you can do that, but it has become clear that there is a difference between things that cost a little bit more. I was recently introduced to The Baby Cubby, and a little disappointed I didn’t know of them when we were registering last summer. We spent a lot of time researching exactly what items to purchase when it came to cribs, strollers, carriers, carseats, and everything in between. The great thing about this company is that they have already done the research for you, and only sell the best products. I had to laugh when I saw their Just Add Baby Gear Bundle. We own 6 of the 11 things that are included but spent hours doing a ton of research to decide on those products. It would have been so much easier- and less stressful- if I had known that there was a website that has already done the research and price matching for me. In their own words-We carry only the highest quality and safest gear so that you can shop confidently (we spend hundreds of hours researching so you don’t have to). They also match competitors coupons and price match (even Amazon!). Win win.
A few of my favorite quality items that we own (and love!) include:
- For Moms Mamaroo– this was something my husband saw when we were out registering, and I was adamantly opposed due to the high price tag. We talked about it for a while but I wasn’t willing to budge. After 2 days at home with a tiny baby who wasn’t big enough for her swing or carrier, I finally caved. Yes, it is expensive- but this thing is amazing. Our daughter loved it and it was great to have a place to put her when I needed to take a shower or fold laundry. I love that you can control it from an app on your phone, and it quickly became her favorite napping place. We used it frequently for the first 6 months and have since lent it to a friend who just had a baby. If I were to do it again, I would have had this ready and waiting when we got home from the hospital.
- Owlet Monitor– this was another thing I thought was unnecessary. That is until we brought our baby home and my husband nudged me every 15 minutes to ask Is she still breathing? I think this is normal for new parents, but after two days at home we ordered this. It’s a small sock that goes on her foot at night and monitors her oxygen level and heart rate. If either of those go above or below normal, it alerts you through the monitor and on your phone. It has made us both sleep better knowing that if anything was wrong we would know within seconds.
- For Moms Breeze– I love how modern all of the For Moms products are, and their version of a pack n play is no different. This is what our daughter slept in for the first few months, and what we travel with. It’s not as light as a few of the other pack n plays, but it is incredibly easy to set-up and take down and you can’t beat the quality.
- Baby Jogger Stroller– many people recommended this since we live in the city and will be using a stroller a lot. I had originally registered for the Baby Jogger City Mini, but when we went to look at it in the store we upgraded to the Baby Jogger City Mini GT. They have recently come out with the City Select LUX and I am a little bummed this wasn’t available last year at this time. Whenever I saw double strollers I thought twins! It never occurred to me that if we have a second child we would need a double stroller. Duh. I absolutely love our stroller, but if I were to do it again, I would have gotten a good quality stroller that can convert to a double stroller.
2. Returning to Work is Really Hard
My mom was a stay at home mom, and I will be the first to admit that that is a hard job. But can we give it up for working moms? Seriously- these people are superheros. I had no idea how difficult it would be to go back to work after a few short months at home with a newborn. Not only are you sleep deprived and exhausted, but add emotional and broke down crying when I left her at daycare to the list.
If you will be returning to work, I would recommend talking through expectations with your spouse. Who is going to pack the diaper bag, get bottles ready, and get baby dressed and in the car seat each morning? Also know that it will (probably) be really hard the first few weeks, but I promise it gets better. Planning ahead and doing as much as you can the night before is also very helpful. It took me more than 2 hours to get out the door the first morning and I was exhausted by the time I got to work at 8am. Now I do as much as I can the night before so that getting everyone and everything ready in the morning isn’t nearly as exhausting.
3. Prepare for Pumping
If you plan on pumping at all, order your pump now. I planned on pumping when I went back to work but needed to start sooner and am glad I already had everything. If you can, I also recommend buying two sets of pump parts. After forgetting them at home one day I purchased another set to leave at work. Now I only have to bring the actual pump with me every day. I would also invest in a good pumping bra. I own this one and love it.
If you are exclusively pumping, you are a rock star. Also, Lauren McBride has a great post that I would recommend. This was incredibly encouraging to me during the 2 months I was pumping/bottle feeding. Know that you are not alone and this will not last forever. My husband did a wonderful job reminding me of this often, and is the only reason I didn’t give up long ago.
4. Exercise & Be Social on Maternity Leave
I am a hard core introvert, so one of the many things I looked forward to during my pregnancy was knowing that I would have 12 weeks at home alone with my daughter. Looking back, I wish I would have gone out more and used that time to keep active and be a little more social. I think it can be easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when nobody expects you to be going anywhere and you are constantly exhausted. I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but my goal most days was to be showered/dressed and have eaten breakfast before The Price is Right came on at 11am. I met this goal about half of the time. Also, I watched The Price is Right everyday.
Seriously though, it is amazing what a little sunshine and exercise will do for a person.
5. Take Offered Help
Many people will ask you what they can do for you before and after baby arrives. Take them up on it! We had so many friends stop by with dinner during the first few weeks- it was a lifesaver. Who has time to think about dinner when you are exhausted and taking care of a tiny human for the first time? You just had a baby for crying out loud- let people help you! After all, it takes a village.
6. Start Your Baby Book NOW
I received this beautiful baby book at one of my showers and packed it away to start once little girl arrived. I didn’t realize that there were pages I could have completed beforehand which would have made it a little less daunting later on. Now I block out 2 hours every month and go to a coffee shop to work on it while my husband watches our daughter. Things change so quickly and I don’t want to forget things, or try to remember things that happened months ago. So far this has worked great, and it’s a nice little date with myself that I look forward to. I also keep a list of things she’s doing/new things she’s learned in my phone for each month so I can quickly reference it when I sit down to work on the book.
7. You Can’t Do it All
Let me say that again- you can’t do it all. Someone told me this shortly after I returned to work and it was one of those things that I think I just needed to hear someone say out loud. There is so much pressure to be a pinterest-perfect wife/mom/co-worker/friend that it can really start to beat you down. Instead of trying to do everything somewhat well, figure out the things that are important to you and hand off the rest. My daughter is only awake for about 2 hours after we get home during the week, so I try really hard to be intentional and present with her during that time. That means cooking dinner or picking up the house are things that I don’t do until she goes to bed. Or not at all- let’s be honest. But I’m ok with that because she is already growing up too fast and I don’t think I will look back on these years and regret that my house wasn’t clean or I microwaved dinner again.