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I work 40 hours a week in a hospital as a clinical laboratory scientist, then come home and work the other 128 as a mom to a 4-month-old baby boy. Time is now extremely valuable, so I’m always seeking out ways to maximize it and streamline our family’s daily tasks. I’m also all about making things as easy as possible on myself and my husband. Now that my son is a little older, it’s easier to keep him entertained for longer so I can get household chores done, with a particular thanks to a few of these products:
This play mat is E V E R Y T H I N G. Lincoln can spend what seems like hours playing on this thing, staring at the singing star and grabbing the hanging toys. One of the best things about this product is babies can start using it as soon as they’re born, although for a brand new baby, it would just serve as a place to lay them down. As soon as Lincoln started to take notice of his surroundings, he loved this mat. Here we are a couple of months later, and this is still our primary mode of here-Lincoln-play-with-this-while-I-wash-the-dishes.
Once Lincoln got a little bit older, he started to enjoying being upright more. It can get so tiring sitting a wiggly baby in your lap all day, so this floor seat has been a huge lifesaver. We can set this on the kitchen counter while we do housework, or just on the floor while we eat dinner. Lincoln loves the toys on the front platform, and unlike some other baby seats, he can’t try to arch his way out of it. Just make sure your baby has good head control while using this!
When babies are tiny newborns, there’s not much to do with them except lay them down and stare at them. Since they sleep a lot (just not in long stretches, unfortunately!), you need somewhere cushy and safe for them to be. Enter the Boppy Newborn Lounger. This pillow is perfect for that early newborn stage. We could lay Lincoln down if we had to grab a quick snack or even if we just needed to give our arms a break. It was the perfect size for his little body, and it was snug enough to make him feel safe and cozy. Though we never let him sleep in this unattended, it was great for naps throughout the day.
I ended up getting this wrap when Lincoln was around 6 weeks old. The 6 week mark is typically the time when the newborn “witching hour” peaks. Lincoln would cry for no reason, fuss when he wasn’t being held, and we had to walk him around the living room just to get some peace. As soon as I put him in the wrap, facing towards me, he would calm down. He loved being close by, and with him wrapped up, I could get stuff done. He often fell asleep to the motion of me doing little chores around the house. The wrap is easy to use once you get the hang of it (YouTube helps), and it allows you to use it in several different ways.
Another baby wearing option is a more structured baby carrier like the Ergobaby Omni 360.
This carrier gives your baby extra support and it gives you more comfort for longer wear times. With this carrier, I can more easily bend over and do laundry, load or unload the dishwasher, or generally more easily straighten up the house. Lincoln typically did not like this carrier as a newborn, because he had to be facing inward, which severely cut down on his field of vision due to the way the carrier is designed. However, once he became old enough and big enough to face outward, he loved it. This is what we usually take with us to the grocery store, and Lincoln stays entertained looking at all the sights.
So obviously, this isn’t a baby product. BUT, this did save my life when I had hand foot mouth disease. HFMD overtook my body, making breastfeeding a very painful experience. Lincoln would still typically wake up at least once a night, but I was in absolutely no shape to nurse him when he did. Unfortunately, one of the worst things about giving a formula bottle is you have to make it. I can think of few other things more stressful than a screaming baby in the middle of the night while trying to scoop out formula and waiting to get the water just warm enough to make a bottle your baby will take. When I knew I couldn’t nurse him for middle of the night feedings, I set up a little bottle station in his room. I put out a tub of formula, a bottle and nipple set, and a Yeti screw-top thermos that I filled with very warm water at the beginning of the night, around 7:30. When the 3:30 feeding rolled around, the water in the thermos was the perfect temperature, and since I already had everything there, all I had to do was pour the water and formula into the bottle, shake, and feed. The whole process was done in a fraction of the time it would have taken me otherwise.
There are other options out there for keeping warm water readily available. If I were to go back to the beginning, I probably would get an insulated coffee dispenser like this one that would allow me to fill it with warm water, then simply push the top and fill the bottle that way. Lazy, right? For the fancy, there are essentially “baby formula Keurigs” like the Brezza, but they can be quite expensive.
Being a new mom has endless joys, but you’re also endlessly busy. Throw a full time job into the mix, and you need all the multitasking, simplifying help you can get. These were just a few of the products that have helped my family get through these long, trying days with at least a little bit of sanity left over. Personally, I feel like we have been successfully navigating our busy lifestyle, while maintaining some semblance of a clean, orderly home thanks to these very helpful products.