It seems like, as a new mom, we are inundated with product recommendations and mountains of stuff. As a new mom, you don't need a bunch of junk lying around. What you need is a manual that teaches you how to communicate with this tiny little human! Babies can't tell you what they need. So you have to learn their cues, and do your best to give them what they are (sort of) asking for!
Over time, you develop a kind of dialogue with your baby. You learn what her cry sounds like when she's hungry, or how to lull him to sleep easily. You learn which toys will light her up and delight her. And you learn what she needs in order to be soothed when she's fussy, tired, or crabby. These mamalogues are like a secret language that only you and your baby share!
Some products on your registry will become indispensable in helping you create your mamalogues, and managing the four main activities of baby life: eat, sleep, play, and soothe. All babies, and all mamas, are different, so what works for one mama may not work for you and your baby. But if you're wondering what items were crucial for my and my baby in our mamalogues, read on!
I'm sharing my registry most valuable players (MVPs) for eating, sleeping, soothing, and playing! These are all items that we use every single day that have enabled me to connect with my baby, and give her what she needs.
Baby Registry MVPs
It's no secret that breastfeeding has been a real journey for Sammi and I. Even on our best day, she is not exclusively feeding from my breast. Because she started out in the NICU, she was given bottles from birth (usually it's recommended to wait until 4-6 weeks to introduce a bottle, in order to avoid nipple confusion). We've had to experiment to find the best bottle for us, one that mimics my natural breast as much as possible so that we could succeed with breastfeeding.
When I brought her to my breast in those early days, I could tell she was frustrated that my nipples were so different, and required her to suck so differently from the single-use hospital nipples she was used to. I worked with a lactation consultant and tried many different bottles, positions, and techniques to get her to take to the breast. I also tried 4 or 5 different types of bottles.
I will never forget the first time I brought Sammi to my breast, and she actually latched! It was about three days after I brought her home from the hospital and had transitioned her off of the standard, single-use bottle nipples to a natural nipple bottle. Finally, she able to feed off my breast! Finding the right bottle nipple was crucial to the success of this mamalogue.[HC1] Because the Philips Avent natural nipple is ultra soft, and looks and feels like my natural breast, it helped Sammi make the transition.
Sleep: Sleep Sheep
We are so fortunate that for the most part, Sammi has always been a pretty good sleeper. But even she needed some help soothing herself to sleep when we entered the phase of taking actual naps, not just falling asleep after feeding throughout the day.
The sleep sheep is an awesome tool for this. It's a cozy toy that also plays soothing nature sounds that are scientifically proven to promote better sleep! Our nap routine is, at the first sign of tiredness, to snuggle her into her crib drowsy-but-awake, turn on the sleep sheep, and tip toe out of the room. They key is to turn it a little louder than you may think it needs to be. Babies really like to jam out to their ambient noise!
Usually, she falls asleep within five minutes. The built-in timer on the sleep sheep runs for either 23 or 45 minutes. I have it set to 45 minutes, which is about the length of a baby's sleep cycle. So if she stays asleep until the sleep sheep turns itself off, I know she's gotten a decent nap! The sleep sheep is a great registry item to pull out when you feel like your baby is telling you she needs white noise in order to fall asleep.
Once your baby is out of the newborn stage, she starts to wake up to the world and become more aware. Suddenly, laying around on her back is no longer amusing enough. And as she begins to hold her head up, she won't be content to lay in your arms anymore. She wants to sit up, like a big girl! It happens way too quickly, and seemingly comes out of nowhere.
Especially because I still have to stop and pump several times a day, being able to set Sammi in the play seat and know she'll be amused for a few minutes is indispensable. The time finally came at around four and half months where I felt like she was telling me she didn't need me to lay her down during pumping anymore, as I had been doing. And she was definitely over the toys I'd been throwing her way. "Time to step up your game, Mom!" she seemed to be saying.
Enter the Jumparoo. This activity station gives baby the freedom to bounce, swivel, and swat at a few different toy vignettes. She can spin freely in the seat to transition from one vignette to the next without getting bored. And she's sitting up, seeing the world from a different vantage point. Your baby will let you know when she's ready for this transition. Which is why it's a great item to register for, so it's right there, ready to go when the time comes!
Soothe: Philips Avent Free Flow Pacifier
Much like with our quest for the right bottle, Sammi and experimented with many different pacifiers before we found ones that seemed to work for her. After successfully getting her to breast feed, there was no way that I was going to throw just any nipple shape at her when it came to pacifiers.
I found the Philips Avent Free Flow pacifiers because they an easy transition between pacifier, breast and bottle, especially since we are using the Philips Avent Natural Bottles. When you're in the car, on a plane, in a public place like the grocery store or the bank, or even just in the middle of a good, old-fashioned baby witching hour where they seem to be wailing for no good reason, having a pacifier on hand that you know your baby will accept is crucial.
Our mamalogue around pacifier use has been pretty straightforward. When she cries, she appreciates the pacifier (or a finger, or my knuckle, in a pinch) as a way to soothe herself. It's not like she wants to be crying and unhappy! If she doesn't like the pacifier, she spits it out. If she's cool with it, it stays in. Sammi takes the Philips Avent pacifiers without any issue.
What About You, Mama?
There are so many products out there, and not every product works for every mama and baby, but through trial and error, you'll get a feel for what your baby is asking for. I've found the support of friends who are willing to lend, swap, barter, and borrow different items to be very helpful in not breaking the bank in our quest to get the right configuration of items together for Sammi Girl!
What about you? Share your own mamalogues experience with me by posting to social media using #mamalogues. You got this, Mama!