Motherhood is a wondrous, yet exhausting thing. It has taught me more about myself (my strengths and weaknesses) in a few short months, than I have learned in years. One thing that has drastically changed during the last sleepless and joyful months are the things I cannot live without. I remember the days where my must haves were based solely on interest or enjoyment, like a good book, flower gardens or travelling to a new place. In the past three months of motherhood my must haves have evolved, or maybe adapted, and I find a common theme, BABY! Whether to calm a baby, capture a baby moment, put a baby to sleep or distract a baby, these items have become the most important in my life – and I’m not the least bit disappointed. My life has changed, my priorities and my needs changed, and I’m a little surprised how pleased I am with the change and how easy it was to put my past needs and loves on hold. Here are items that aid in my success as a mother, my sanity, and my happiness. Owen seems to like them too! To note: these are not all your typical diapers and wipes like everyone knows you need, these are my personal product favourites outside of the obvious essentials and I guess a couple that are obvious too.
My Mum Must Haves (Bee and Lil Bee style):
1. Graco Swing – Although the swing isn’t a guaranteed happy or sleepy baby maker, it has given me more peaceful, hands free moments than anything else. It is a nap time essential, and allows this mum to usually have an hour or two a day to catch up on household chores, me time or naps. Although we didn’t purchase this model from a store, it was a hand me down from friends, you can find a newer and almost identical version of our saviour swing at Toys R Us.
Here is the link to our saviour swing – Graco Swing
2. Summer Sleep Systems (By Your Side Sleeper & Bassinet)
Summer by Your Side Sleeper – this foldable, portable bassinet comes in a close second to giving me hands free moments of sanity, right behind the swing. Where it excels is in the fact it can easily be moved from room to room, and any other home or place you visit, unlike your swing or full size bassinet. This item gives my lil bee a little piece of home and comfort when snoozing just about anywhere he goes. This also helped our little man transition into his full size bassinet, when we thought it would never happen. By placing him in it during nap time in our room, he quickly got used to the area and the feeling of the bassinet and transitioned into our permanent bedroom bassinet at bedtime easily.
Summer Bassinet- in those early weeks of frequent feedings, it’s not only comforting but convenient to have your little one so close. This bassinet is affordable and stylish, and has some fun features to boot. With built-in sound enabling you to play music, outdoor sounds and even womb sounds your little one is sure to fall asleep. Although we didn’t use it many times, there is even a sway function to help rock your baby to sleep. Until I moved our little Owen into his crib, I never realized how wonderful it was to have him only an arm’s length away.
You can find this nap time traveller at Toys R Us by clicking the link – Summer by Your Side Sleeper
Here is the link to our bassinet we picked up at Toys R Us also – Summer Bassinet
3. Keurig – coffee?!? Ummm, YES PLEASE! There are no two ways about, I need my coffee! Whether I’m sucking down my caffeinated Starbucks Pike Roast to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning, or fooling myself into thinking there’s caffeine in my Tim Hortons Decaf Coffee, these taste sensations give me the get up and go (or fool me into finding my get up and go) to get me through the late nights and long days of motherhood. My Keurig makes the perfect cup of coffee every time, quickly and efficiently , just like I need it in those rare and short-lived hands free moments with a newborn.
You can buy a similar(but better) Keurig model as ours at Best Buy. Take a look at the link – Keurig
I learned quickly that I had no idea what a lot of laundry was until I had a child. There never seems to be enough of what you need, sleepers, receiving blankets, onesies nowhere to be found when you need them. Babies are messy, pooping and spitting up on everything; sometimes getting the irremovable stains out is easier than finding the time to get the laundry done. Our recently purchased washer and dryer team are a God send and a power couple I love having my back. Plus, they serenade you with sweet songs at the end of every wash or dry cycle. We could all use another reason to smile, and clean clothes and sweet songs make me happy. To note: our dryer has a steam function which doesn’t require being tied into a water line. Simply refill the water jug and start the cycle and you clothing is steamed fresh or sanitized and comes out wrinkle free – AMAZING!
Follow the link to find our laundry team at Lowes – LG Washer & Dryer
**Bees’ laundry secret – use Oxi-Clean gel for all your baby stains. Whether your washing out stubborn stains immediately or days later, this product is amazing! It will save your adorable outfits from begin sent to the trash after just one wear aka one spill. Thank you for introducing me to this product Aunt Mary.
5. Receiving Blankets – Like I mentioned, things get dirty when babies are around, and receiving blankets are at the top of the dirty pile. These seemingly simple bits of flannel are my most used baby item, and there never seems to be enough of them. Whether they are protecting your clothes or your little ones clothes, sopping up messes or swaddling your baby to sleep, these receiving blankets are lifesavers. Added bonus, they come in the most adorable prints and patterns. Find the receiving blankets that suit your needs and style at Carters or Toys R Us like I did. Their supply is endless and off the adorable meter.
Here is my favourite and my Lil Bees favourite receiving blankets too. Click the links to witness the cuteness –
Bees’ Choice – Nautical Receiving Blankets
Lil Bees’ Choice – Wolf Receiving Blankets
6. Devices – Whether I’m reading the latest post from babycenter.ca on my iPad (it’s an old model that does the trick, but you can always use an update) or taking pictures of each precious baby moment on my Samsung S4, these two devices get me through the never-ending fussy days. Addiction to technology maybe, but when your baby is screaming mad and refuses to be anywhere but on you for an entire day, you’ll enjoy these tiny electronic distractions and any form of contact with the outside world. I use these devices most for communicating with family, working on my blog, surfing the web for answers to my million baby related questions as a new mum, and sharing my motherhood adventures and pictures with friends and family. The most important reason to own my Samsung is for contact in case of emergency. Although there are cons to an addiction to your devices, technology can bring you peace of mind, a glimpse into the world beyond your walls, and educate you on any matter you could ever think of, if you use it correctly.
Click the link and find your own electronic freedom with an iPad from bestbuy – Ipad Air 2
or your new Samsung phone at Koodo like I did – Samsung Galaxy S4
7. Frankie the Fox & Sleep Sheep from Cloud B – Sleepy baby? Cranky baby? Happy baby? Whether your soothing a grumpy baby, putting him to sleep or just filling your day with kid friendly tunes, Frankie the Fox or the Sleep Sheep from Cloud B are a cute and cuddly way to add music to your day. We’re able to choose from music, ocean sounds, birds tweeting, womb sounds and more, and no matter what Owens in the mood for, he’s surrounded by beautiful sounds, which means I’m surrounded by the silence of a happy baby. Add the sweetest sounds to your life with one of the Cloud B critters.
Click to see our household critters from toys r us –
8. EZ Glide Rocker – Admittedly these babies are an investment, they don’t come cheap, but man are they worth it (in my opinion). When you have a baby that’s unable to be soothed without motion, the idea of walking and bouncing a baby for hours is exhausting. Many days when at my wit’s end, I made my way to my rocker screaming baby in hand and rocked my little monster for hours and eventually to sleep. Those late night feedings or soothe sessions, yep, you can find me in that rocker. I may not get there every night, but there are plenty of nights I wouldn’t have made it through without it. To note – this rocker puts parents to sleep as easily as babies and it’s darn comfortable!
Our rocker and foot stool were purchased from Leon’s, but can’t be found on their website. Here is a similar item from Toys R Us – EZ Glide Rocker
9. Nursing pillows – my Brest Friend & Comfort and Harmony – I use this product so often I’ve got two! After carrying around a baby all day, anything that takes the pressure off your back and arms is appreciated. So much time in your day is spent nursing and it’s really nice to have use of your hands during this time, not to mention they are nice cozy beds for your little one. The Brest Friend is perfect for those late nice feelings that are short and sweet. It snaps securely around your waist for back support and comfort and is easy to use. The comfort and harmony pillow is great for those longer day time feeds on the couch, and even has a soft or firmer side and a vibrating function to sooth your baby. It also can be used as a back support for your baby as he grows and works on sitting up on his own. Owen often falls swiftly to sleep on his nursing pillows and they bring comfort to both our lives, something I could use more of.
Find our favourites at toys r us by clicking below –
10. Books – Whether I’m reading the classic children’s stories to my Lil Bee, or trying out a new tale given to us from friends, our story time together is one of the happiest and most treasured moments in my day. I cannot seem to read enough to Owen, and my happiness grows with each of his smiles that beam from him during our endless adventures together.
Here are a few of our favourite stories from Chapters –
11. Lorex baby monitor – This monitor is amazing, I only wish I had a second camera (which you can easily do, I just haven’t got around to it yet). This baby has been a lifesaver, giving me peace of mind when transferring Owen from his bassinet to his crib to sleep at night, or for giving me the freedom to do the things I love, like gardening outside, or crafting or writing in another room while he sleeps soundly in his swing. Being able to see and hear my little man no matter where I am in the house or the yard lets me feel at ease knowing he’s safe, while allowing me the opportunity to get the rest I need or the time to focus a few hours on my hobbies. This one item is essential for my work on finding myself and ensuring my own happiness. My favourite features – the range is excellent and the night vision is so clear! You can easily add additional cameras and can even speak to your little one through the monitor or play lullabies to soothe your little one to sleep.
Here is the model we currently use – Lorex Baby Sweet Peep Video Monitor
12. Peg Perego Car Seat Stroller Travel System – As you know, I love the outdoors, working in the garden, hitting the trails and taking adventures with my dog Ruby. Whether Owen, Ruby and I are rolling down the sidewalk, on a trail system in Brant, travel is a breeze and so stylish in our stroller. The car seat looks so comfortable I wish the company made adult furniture, and I feel great knowing our Lil Bee is safe. The car seat transfers from home to car (into a base) to stroller with ease, and the stroller folds into a portable size with easily, quite literally a squeeze of a hand. This makes my daily errands like grocery shopping, or trips for baby gear at Toys R Us easy. When you’re out and about with an infant, the last thing you want to be difficult is your baby travel gear. Again, this is a pricy purchase, but it was worth every penny. This stress free, stylish car seat stroller combo was one of the best baby purchases we made. You can’t put a price on safety, and the freedom to explore I’m given is crucial to my happiness. Keep in mind that even though the car seat can only be used until your baby reaches a certain size, the stroller can be used for years! I love that!
Get out and about with our stroller car seat combo from Toys R Us by clicking here – Peg Perego Travel System
13. Spoka LED Nightlight – This adorable little panda look-alike saved me many stumbles in the night trying to move baby from bassinet to feeding area and back again. Although darkness is preferred during nighttime feedings, this little fellow shines just enough light on the situation to keep my Owen dozey or asleep, making the trying task of getting a little one back to bed much easier. This light gradually changes from blue to green and in the day time also entertains my Lil Bug too!
Click here and pick up your own adorable nightlight from Ikea – Spoka LED Night-Light
14. Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures – This is something I never could have guessed would be essential to raising my baby boy. His fascination with our ceiling fan began immediately the day arrived home from the hospital. He would stare at it for hours until he would drift off to sleep. This obsession with our ceiling fan/light fixture soon grew to every light in our kitchen, and a deep love of our IKEA Hektar floor lamp began. Nothing has come close to the love my Lil Bee has for his ceiling fan and Ikea floor lamp. He beams bright with the biggest smiles and shrieks as he stares at them everyday. There are days he would scream endlessly while rocking in his swing, then you’d turn him to have a clear view of his lamp and fan and he would instantly quiet and gaze upon them until he fell peacefully asleep. These two items are god sends in soothing and entertaining my Owen alike. Sometimes the silliest and most unexpected items end up bringing the most joy, and peace and quiet to your busy baby life.
I’m not going to say your baby is going to love our lamp as much as Owen does, and I have no idea where our ceiling fan is from, but here is link to this stylish beacon of light from Ikea, should you like to try. Hektar Floor Lamp
15. Skip Hop Diaper Bag – This bag has completely erased my need for a purse. It’s always stocked with my Lil Bees essentials, from diapers to wipes, clothes to soother, and it’s with me wherever we go. This bag is more adorable and stylish than almost all diaper bags on the market, and it’s utility is unmatched. This diaper bag is so cute, I’d use it as a tote bag even if I didn’t have a baby.
Click the link and find this shockingly stylish diaper bag at Toys R Us – Skip Hop Diaper Bag
There you have it, the 15 things that helped get me through my first three months of motherhood. Although the list is constantly adapting alongside the growth of my Lil Bee, these items will always be my most important during this time and I’m thankful to have them. Some are so good, I expect them to stay around as essentials for months and even years. I hope these items help new moms or moms to be in their endless decision-making while preparing for, or dealing with a new baby. Remember that no matter what items you choose, your life with baby will be the most memorable and rewarding experience of your life. You will never be happier or more challenged, and I hope my Lil Bee and I can help you through a few of your more challenging moments. Enjoy your journey with your beautiful baby, may the changes to your life and your list of must haves be as inspiring to you as they were to myself.