Hey there! I’m Morgan–proud wifey to my husband, Clyde, and an even prouder mama to our three-month-old daughter, Ruby James. I am a high school counselor on maternity leave. Due to COVID-19, I am getting an additional few months at home with my sweet baby girl 🙂 This has given me time to share some useful advice with new mamas out there! I have a Master’s degree in School Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, but I have learned more about motherhood and babies over the past few months than I did from all of my textbooks combined!
I have recently found myself overwhelmed with many thoughts and emotions, and friends and family have lots of opinions to share! I hope to provide my honest, raw, and *real* advice about all things motherhood.
Here we go!
Swaddle–We were given a Halo sleep swaddle at the hospital when our baby was born. We continued swaddling her at bedtime (the tighter the better!), and she has been a pretty decent sleeper ever since. She can’t grab her hands or put her fingers in her mouth, so she dozes off easily. I highly recommend the Halo brand.
We tried a few other brands, but our baby was able to break out of them in the middle of the night (meaning mama and daddy were woken up around 2 am). Additionally, something about putting our baby in the swaddle signals “bedtime” for her. We do not use it for naps during the day- only when putting her to bed for the night.
Pacifier Clip–Pacifiers fall on the ground left and right. Having a clip attached to the pacifier gives mama more to grip, making pacifiers more difficult to drop. A clip also helps when a baby discovers their hands and starts grabbing at things. We got a cute personalized one with our baby’s name on it from a local boutique (shameless mom splurge!). This Itzy Ritzy clip is an inexpensive option that does the trick just as well. We also love their pacifiers!
Comfy Onesies and Sleepers–Our baby wore onesies and sleepers exclusively for the first three months. Babies need comfortable clothes since they are held lots and sleep most of the day. Cloud Island (a Target brand) makes great, affordable clothes for little ones. I am not a big gown fan… I find that they ride up on the baby because of the elastic at the bottom. However, some moms swear by them! So choose whatever your baby is most comfortable in 🙂 This is not to say that you shouldn’t splurge on a few adorable newborn outfits! I am 100% guilty of this! Just be sure to do it in moderation. I bought a special outfit for my baby to wear home from the hospital, as well as one for her one-month photography session. These are outfits I will save and cherish forever. For the other days, throw a onesie on your baby and call it a day.
Books–Reading books to babies has many benefits. I read to my daughter every night before bedtime. Sometimes it takes reading 5 or 6 books before she’s dozing. Although your baby may not notice that you are repeating stories, mama sure will! The more books the better so that you can keep yourself semi-entertained while rocking baby to sleep. Some great book options for little ones are The Wonderful Things You Will Be, The Little Critter series,This Moose Belongs to Me, and Corduroy.
Wipeable Changing Pad Cover— There are many options out there for changing pad covers, but a wipeable one is your best bet. Babies have some nasty diapers, and it is easiest to just wipe off the mess instead of throwing the whole changing pad cover in the wash. We have loved this changing pad cover from Target. I even bought one for my expectant sister-in-law!
Burp Cloths–We have at least 4 burp cloths within arm’s reach at all times. Babies spit up with no warning, so the more (burp cloths), the merrier. This is one baby product you can buy inexpensively… just make sure you get lots of them!
Diaper Storage Container–Every mama needs some sort of storage organizer for diapers, wipes, medicine, lotion- all the little baby things! It is best if this is located on the changing table or somewhere nearby. We used something similar to the Munchkin Portable Diaper Caddy Organizer.
Portable Sound Machine–This has been a lifesaver for us! Our baby loves to doze off to the sound of a trickling stream or a lullaby. A portable sound machine is easy to clip on to a carseat, and we have found that it often soothes our baby to sleep while we are traveling. I have also used it when rocking our baby to sleep for a nap, and I can transfer it to different locations easily. I recommend the Project Nursery Portable Sound Soother. It has saved us from some whiney car rides!
Car Seat Cover--It’s always a good idea to keep baby covered when taking them out of the house- even when we are not in the middle of a pandemic! This protects them from germs at the grocery store, doctor’s office, etc. We have two car seat covers- the Milk Snob Cover and the Cozy Cover. Milk Snob Multifunctional Cover is lightweight and easy to drape over the car seat. It also doubles as a cover for mama when breastfeeding. We love to use the Cozy Cover when it is cold outside. It is lined with fleece and creates a cave-like environment for babies. We clip on the portable sound machine, and our baby sleeps long enough for us to get through a meal at a restaurant! My husband and I joke that we want a Cozy Cover that is our size! It’s ideal for snoozing.
Play Mat- Once babies get past the initial few weeks of being held and swaddled, they want to stretch and move those growing limbs! I put my baby on a play mat with toys hanging within reach, and she kicked, grabbed, and smiled at the movement and sounds. This gave me time (about 15 minutes, max) to put myself together and get some small things done around the house.
It’s the small wins! Just be sure that the baby doesn’t have anything around them that they could choke on (bibs, blankets, headwraps, etc.), and keep an eye on them! We love the Bright Starts Hug-n-Cuddle Activity Gym. It makes fun noises when the baby kicks and grabs the toys and arches.