Following the Top 10 Items a New Parent needs, other items came to light that I’ve thanked my lucky stars for when it came to me or were items I’ve sent to friends that also added a new family member.
I received this gift from one of my BFs a little after my LO was born. She technically didn’t miss my baby shower – I just didn’t have one (except for the surprise one my coworkers threw me!). I didn’t really know about these activity centers enough to appreciate it and she’s seen her friends get some good use out of theirs. When it came, it was such a relief to have a place to lay my LO down while his vision developed through the early month – I remember when he first saw himself in the mirror and he just stared and when he first made contact with one of the activity center animals. Priceless. It was something for him to focus on as his vision allowed him to see further and further and I felt better that he had something to look at if I needed to walk away for a few minutes. He wasn’t crawling yet so at this point, this is just what he needed.
If you have carpeting, this probably isn’t as a big deal, but when I snooped and found my neighbor’s baby registry and saw they had these mats, I was wondering if they saw our LO’s room. We had a similar set in our LO’s room because his room was originally our workout room. If you don’t have a soft surface to lay down your activity center, and these aren’t available, you can also lay down towels (beach towels work great because they’re so wide), other blankets, or yoga mats. I didn’t think twice that this was a good idea after I saw my LO fall and face-plant himself onto the cushioned surface – he didn’t flinch and didnt get hurt. I wish i could cover my living room with them!
My in-laws bought a walker for my LOs visit and though his feet couldn’t even reach the ground at ~6 months they used some scarf to pull/tour him around the house. This was definitely one of the main items that helped him learn to walk and spared my back a bit. Be careful about those who have stairs in the house though! Our walker would stop being able to roll around if the wheels hit a lip (i.e. T-molding at the entrance of our kitchen). Another item that was great was a little horse that my LO learned to lift his leg to get off and on on. It was easier for me to bring that back and forth to my parent’s house than the walker, which was more cumbersome.
Once you have a LO it’s hard to find time to cook (AND clean, and sleep, and shower(!), and anything!) especially if you’re trying to be a natural mama. At our prenatal classes they recommended stocking up on freezer meals for those early months and at some point my parents started stopping by once a week so that I could get some rest and get a good meal in. I also got these lactation cookies for myself (and for my neighbor because I knew she planned to nurse) because, in the middle of the night when mom is up to feed the LO, you won’t believe how ravenous mom will feel. These were a Godsend for me. Though I’m not sure they helped with my milk supply, it was great to know I was getting some good vitamins and nutrition. Even my doula stopped by our house a couple of weeks postpartum and she brought a dozen bagels to get us through the week.
I always thought these take up too much room but definitely was /is still useful. Even when one needs to go to the bathroom, they can plop in there toddler for a few minutes to ensure he/she doesn’t get into trouble. 🙂
So this helped me pass the hours and the soft plush ones are great and lighter on trips as well as the Indestructibles. Outside of those, I have several cardboard bound books that I think are awesome.
Carrying/hovering over the LO will lead to an achy back – even while sitting to hold their LO. What better reason for mom to get away for a few hours to get herself taken care of!. They also have baby massages they teach the parents – if your lucky, you may find a “gas button”!
Their LO may be too small for them to leave with you alone, but a friend of mine is accustomed to stopping by her girl friends’ houses to watch their baby so they can do things like SHOWER! This is more appreciated when the mom is on leave and home alone all day long. They will also appreciate the adult conversation. It will help to be a mood booster to get some outside interaction.
The Keurig for Baby Formula (!) (Instant Formula Maker)
I never had this but this is genius! When your infant is crying hysterically that bottle of formula can’t come sooner (if you go the formula route or some combination). I believe I saw this at a Baby / Toddler Expo and the Baby Breeze was the brand there, but it appears that there’s several brands that have created similar machines. Probably not necessarily a necessity, but more of a luxury for those that can afford it.
Magic Bullet (Blender)
For those who want to make their LO purees of fruit, veggies, or grains, I have used this almost everyday, multiple times a day, for the first 14 or so months before the LO started turning away purees or being spoon-fed. I had this 201 Organic Baby Puree book that helped me start on that journey and be ready for the 6 month mark when I planned to start him on solid foods.
I am sure there are a few other items that I found critical but as I start to remove the items the LO outgrew, some of these items were fresh on my mind.
So, what about you? What were the gifts received that you didn’t know you needed those first 12 months gifts that you gave that were clutch?