The stuff a rookie mom needs

Our good friend and rookie mom, Karen, has advice for all new moms and moms-to-be. Wondering about the stuff you’ll need? Here are a few of her favorites from her first four months of motherhood. We didn’t ask her to include our book, but we’re touched that she did. I left in the advice she sent to her friend because I figured we could all use the vote of confidence.

mama and baby

You’ll be a mom soon, and you may need some stuff from day one… and if you’re like me, you’ll have no idea what those things are! I tried a whole bunch of products out and here are the ones that got me through those first few months. I hope they’ll help you out too.

Skip Hop pronto changing station
Skip Hop pronto changing stationIf you’re on the go as much as we are, you will get great use from this! Room for wipes and diapers, plus a fold-out pad. You can stick it in your bag easily, because it’s flat. Comes in super cute Jonathan Adler patterns and colors too, which can be a good distraction from the task at hand. Find on Amazon.

Portable diaper bag dispenser (with extra bags)

After one gross outing early on, which yielded soiled diapers and poopy clothes that I had no place to put… I got one of these. Inevitably you will have to carry gross stuff around and having plastic bags handy will let you do that without contaminating everything else.

Nipple Cream from Earth Mama Angel Baby
I seriously hope you don’t go through the nursing/pumping hell that I did, but if you do, and your nipples are crazy painful, this stuff works great. It smells like burnt chocolate chip cookies and out of the 5 or so creams and ointments I tried, it worked by far the best. (Side note: I even tried rubbing ghee on my nipples at one point, on the suggestion of an Indian mama friend, but it smelled way too delicious to continue use and didn’t actually work that well.) About $7 on Amazon.

Lansinoh disposable nursing pads
As soon as you start leaking breast milk… you’ll need these. Desperately. Buy a multi-pack.

diaper creamMustela Stelactiv Diaper Rash Cream
My little guy had horrible diaper rash – we are talking about a bleeding and painful behind at just a few weeks old – and we tried everything, including 2 different prescriptions from the pediatrician. After two applications of this stuff, the horrible rash was totally cleared.

2-in-1 body and hair wash from Mustela
And speaking of Mustela, I also prefer their baby body and hair wash. It’s soap-free, gentle, and smells baby fresh.

Bamboo flannel washcloths from Satsuma Designs
I got a whole bunch of washcloths as gifts, but these (from a Citrus Lane box – check those out, they are pretty cool) are so great I had to get more. Super soft for all parts of baby and the best for bathtime and other times. Plus they’re kinda cute.

Rookie Moms Handbook
I, who read NO books about parenting or babies or anything, really love this book because it’s about the mom instead of being about the baby, like almost every other book out there. It’s encouraging and non-judgmental. It addresses things in a realistic way, as if you’re talking to a friend. Since the book was actually written by 2 of my most favorite mom friends, that is not too surprising.

No-sew Homemade Moby Wrap instructions
If I were really nice I’d actually make this for you but there is a limit. Jeez, I have a baby! 😉 Anyway, I love a moby wrap but the ones you buy are kind of pricey for a hunk of fabric, and more importantly the fabric is way too thick to be comfortably tied and knotted. Use this tutorial to make one (or have your mom make you one, like I did) out of a thinner jersey fabric. Then watch youtube videos on how to tie it. (Or I can show you.) My kid will sleep nestled inside this thing during a whole restaurant meal, leaving me hands-free and him crying-free. If we’re walking around town, he likes to be front-facing, like a starfish attached to my mid-section, so he can catch all the action. Go here to find out how to make a no-sew moby.

And finally… a piece of unsolicited but hopefully useful advice.
Everyone’s experience as a new mother is different, but in between all of the wonderful parts there may be moments of frustration, bewilderment, self-doubt, and apprehension. Also lots of people telling you what to do and not do (as I am here; ironic, no?) I find it helpful to remind myself that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do anything no matter what anyone suggests. You are a strong, beautiful, intelligent, capable woman, and without a doubt, you will be an awesome mother. Trust your instincts, and make it your own experience, but if you need help or you’re feeling distraught about something don’t be shy about reaching out!