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As of tomorrow, I’ll officially have a 10-year-old on my hands. Instead of giving you an emotional tribute to 10 years of motherhood, I thought I’d do something fun, as well as practical. I’m sure there are thousands of posts out there about what you will really need for a new baby. But I want to talk about the 10 baby things I bought (or was given) as a brand-new mom that have stood the tests of time and two little boys. These are the must-haves of the must-haves:
Now, before you skip over this one, STOP. This isn’t about the environment. This isn’t about cloth versus disposable. I could care less what you put on your baby’s butt or in the landfill. But I use (and have used) these things on pretty much a daily basis since my son was born 10 years ago. FOR EVERYTHING.
During the baby years:
- As cloth diapers (for a short time) – with a snappy and a cover
- To put over baby boy’s you-know-what during diaper changes so you don’t get sprayed
- As changing pads – both at home and while out
- As burp cloths (for spit-up)
- Under the baby’s head when he’s lying on his back during things like medicine administration or nose suctioning
- To wipe baby’s nose
After the baby years:
- Cleaning up potty training messes
- Wiping down bathroom counters
- Wiping up pee off the floor and walls
- Cleaning mirrors & windows (they work great with Windex for a streak-free clean!)
- Wiping down bedroom or hallway walls
- Pretty much anything else you can imagine as far as cleaning
- Cleaning up bloody knees or wiping off boo-boos after you have sprayed them with peroxide
I keep them in a small bin in the boys’ bathroom and reach for them ALL THE TIME! A few of them have frays and tears after some HARD wall scrubbing, but these LAST. Also, the fact that they still sell the exact ones on Amazon means they probably will sell them for years to come! Also, they are so cheap. Worth every penny!
I use wipes constantly, pretty much for all the reasons mentioned above for the prefolds. I feel like once you start using wipes, you never really go back. I love Amazon’s deal on unscented 720 count wipes, and still go through a box every year at least!
While I love buying wipes in bulk, I love the hard plastic containers that Huggies wipes come in. I still have a bunch that were given to us as baby gifts that I use to organize our medicine cabinet! They are just the perfect size for so many things, and this brand seems more durable than others!
The exact model I had (and still have – the last of the last baby things I still need to get rid of) has been discontinued by the manufacturer, but let me tell you why I loved this thing:
Adjustable but secure strap for the crib:
PORTABILITY: I can’t tell you how many out-of-town trips and car-rides on which this accompanied us, even when my “babies” were 3 and 4 years old!
The current version has a tabletop stand. Mine didn’t, but was sturdy enough to sit on top of a table or dresser on its own just fine!
Soothing distraction for high-needs babies. This was the perfect combination of soothing lights and music without being overly stimulating. It had multiple options (2 different music settings, lights on or off, nature sounds, and any combination of the above!) – so I could turn on JUST the lights, JUST the music, or both!
Auto shut-off after 30 minutes, and the additional mellow crib light for night-time check-ins:
The crib light (ours was in the birdie!) with an accessible button also worked great for my pre-toddler pulling-up-and-standing kids who were struggling to sleep during nap time or bedtime. Its much softer than a nightlight, but would need them occupied when they needed something to do to wind down.
Babies get stuffy and snotty, and if you are blessed with allergy-prone kiddos, having saline on hand is pretty much a must! When Ezra was a baby, our favorite pediatric nurse gave us a few of the saline “bullets” than they had in the clinic to take home with us, and I really fell in love with the concept. Rather than a baby saline bottle that you have to reuse and try to keep clean, these are individually packaged. All you have to do is break off the top, squirt, and throw away. They are also a lot cheaper (per ml) than the baby brands!
I’ve been getting these 100-count packs since Ezra was a baby. I’ve got through 5 boxes in 10 years, with my last purchase being December 2018 (when my kids were 8 and 3).
You can also use them as portable saline for adult contact use and dry eyes. My husband has asked for them on many occasions, especially while driving.
We have so many favorite CDs, but by far, Bless My Little Boy stands above the rest. Listen here! Both of my boys still ask to listen to it frequently, even though neither of them is an Itty Bitty Baby Boy anymore! Drip Drop is my all-time favorite baby lullaby, and Sweet Baby Boy always brings back memories of this video I made of Ezra when he started walking.
(It has a companion Bless My Little Girl album – currently free to stream on Amazon Prime! They have a lot of the same songs!)
Once again, Sounds Like Fun by Barbara Milne stands above all the rest. It was an album that *I* listened to as a little girl! My mom always woke me up by singing I Love You So Much, and now Russ and I sing it to our boys! The rest of the songs are educational and teach foundational concepts like counting by 1s, counting by 10s; the months of the year; phonics sounds; opposites; and manners. However, unlike other kids / preschool albums that are loud and obnoxious, this is VERY soothing. Not rambunctious, AT ALL! So it works great as a quiet time or even lullaby album! This is currently free to stream on Prime, but I recommend buying the album because it is truly timeless!
8. Motherhood Maternity Fold-over Yoga Pants
Much to my chagrin, I can’t find these on their website anymore. What? I owned 3 pairs of these. One pair of purple capris that I bought when I was pregnant with Ezra that I STILL WEAR, and 2 pairs of fold-over boot-cut yoga pants that I got at the very beginning of LB’s pregnancy and threw away just last year. I loved them because they didn’t have a huge belly section like most maternity clothes (they fit UNDER the bump), so they were super comfortable to wear even when not pregnant. The capris are still going STRONG, except for some mild pilling between the legs that you can’t see. They are size medium but somehow have adapted to every weight I’ve been in the last 10 years! The boot-cuts were AMAZING and my all-time favorite pants, but got frayed at the bottom (short girl problems) and I finally (begrudgingly) gave up on them.
While I can’t find the exact pants – or similar – the fact that I’m still wearing things goes to show the durability of Motherhood Maternity clothes, so I recommend them for your maternity needs!
9. A friend who gives you all her kids hand-me-downs
Seriously. This friend is invaluable. I love mine so much that we even named our second kid after her kid. (That wasn’t the only reason we chose the name, but it was what brought the name up in conversation in our home!) The clothes she gave us way back in 2012 and 2014 are still clothing my kiddos today. Both of them! And, we’ve been able to hand them down to other boys we know!
If you don’t have a friend like this, at the very least, be this person for someone else!
10. A good counselor
I honestly felt a bit ashamed the first time I sat in the counselor’s office when I was pregnant with Ezra. I mean, I’m not one of those people who needs counseling, right? But thankfully, I had the foresight to know that motherhood was going to rock my world, and boy was I right. So, when I had a very bad time postpartum with my first baby, and then needed help from there on out, I had a counselor I trusted to fall back on.
I’ll never forget the day Jan put me in another room with a guided imagery program while she held my baby – just so I could breathe and be alone for 10 minutes. She remains a dear friend. Because she’s retired and we’ve moved out from her care, we have been able to keep in touch via Facebook.
Since her, there’s been Gina, Chris, Ann, Casey, Melissa, Dianne, and now Michele. These are woman who have poured into me over the last ten years and got me through so many moments when I didn’t know if I’d be able to go on.
Just last week I sat on the couch across from Michele and poured my heart out about how terrified I am about my son turning 10. And she was right there to hear my fears and offer her (wise) perspective on his progress (she’s his counselor too).
While you can’t put a counselor on your baby registry, I recommend that every new mom find a good counselor or therapist while she’s pregnant. Motherhood changes you, even when you’ve dreamed of it and planned for it. Your mental health is worth more than anything you could register for.
This post is in honor of my baby boys turning 5 and 10, as well as all the people who supported me along the way.