3. Baby "Holders"
Babies love being held, but the bottom line is that you cannot physically hold your baby 24/7. You must put them down at some point to pee, dry your hair, chop some garlic or update your Facebook status (helllllooo).
This is one of those things you don't really think about before the baby comes, but it is soooo important. I recommend you have this ready to go from Day 1.
As a new mom, I thought a bouncer was a swing you hang from a door frame while the baby bounces off the floor (YAH, laugh all you want. Jerk.). Actually, a bouncer is just a seat for an infant who can't sit up. It looks something like this:
From 0-6 months, this is a must-have. And by the way, it doesn't really *bounce* on its own (except for one made by Bright Starts), but they do vibrate, make sounds, and have weird things to look at, so stock up on DD batteries. They get used up fast.
Which one to choose? Depends on how much you want to spend:
$ ---- Fisher-Price Adorable Animals Baby's Bouncer ~ $27
$$ --- Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer ~ $50
$$$ - Mamaroo ~ $190
1. The Fisher-Price Adorable Animals Baby's Bouncer is cheap and easy. If a good, simple, inexpensive bouncer is what you're after, this is the one for you. It vibrates and has a simple toy bar. Not much to it.
2. The Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer is a tried and true crowd favorite. This bouncer has a waterfall, fun songs, and even a peek-a-boo monkey. We used it all summer at my parent's house and Lucie agrees it gets 2 thumbs up!
3. The Mamaroo.
Ok so, this isn't really a bouncer per se, but it serves a similar purpose. If you've got some Benjamins in your wallet, the Mamaroo is awesome. It's ideal for people who: a) have some money to drop, b) don't have the floor space for a swing and/or c) dig the modern design.
Rock 'n Play
Something else worth mentioning is the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play. See full review here. This is a great seat/bed that gets baby off the ground, which is key if you don't want your dog or cat to be up in baby's business all the time. It's also MUCH easier on your back.
I love the Rock 'n Play so much that it made my Top 10 List of Essential Baby Items. Get at least one of these, y'all, you will not regret it.
A related item and something that many moms will say is their A#1 must-have item is an infant swing.
We chose not to get a swing because we have a small apartment and it requires a lot of real estate, but many (many, many) moms and dads are completely nuts over baby swings. Most swings not only swing back and forth (like a pendulum), but also play sounds and have other visual goodies. You can also use this like a bouncy seat to stash your baby away while you do other things. **Warning: these can be VERY overstimulating, especially for newborns. Use them sparingly in the first 2 months!
** Note that swings are big and heavy and are not portable like a bouncer or Rock N Play.
Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes you hear new moms complain that they don't have enough time to get dressed in the morning or take a shower. My goodness, this does not have to be the way it is! You must take care of yourself -- this includes eating well, showering every day and getting out of your PJs (ok, the first 2 weeks, you get a pass)...use these items to help you stay sane.
Essentially, you want one of these "baby holders" on each floor/separate area of your house. For example, get a bouncer for upstairs and a Rock N Play for downstairs. Or a swing for the nursery and a bouncer for the kitchen. You definitely won't want to be carrying equipment up and down the stairs each time you need to put your baby down. Trust me on this one!
Take the bouncer into the bathroom with you so you can shower. Put it on the kitchen counter so you cook, eat, do the dishes or fold some laundry. Put your Rock 'n Play next to the dinner table so you can actually eat your food. You get the picture ;-)
Onward....4. Bath Time!