10 Additional Must-Haves For A New Mom That Have Nothing To Do With Baby

girlsYeah yeah you need diapers and nipples cream but what most parenting lists of MUST-HAVES don’t tell you is the actual real stuff you need for a baby. The REAL must-haves. I’ve raised three kids. I’m not new to this parenting rodeo. You can have all the onesies and pacifiers in the world but I can pretty much promise you that your foray into parenthood will be pretty miserable without these things.

 Cable Television Or A Netflix Subscription

Life with a newborn is waking up at all hours of the night, and you need something to entertain yourself while you are nursing or bottle feeding or rocking that baby back to sleep.  You don’t believe in TV? Enjoy watching those cracks in your ceiling as you’re comforting a wailing baby at two a.m.

A Uniform  

Find something you love wearing that is comfortable and looks somewhat decent but that you can also nap in. And then buy it in multiples. Get some super cute ballet flats, some ribbed tank tops, some yoga pants and some cute hoodies. Maria Guido also suggests a cute robe. You need things that are washable and that can be thrown on in case your doorbell rings. You can go back to your real wardrobe when you feel like it. There is no shame in convalescing in sweat pants or leggings after your body has gone through labor. It’s a lot of work. You will be sore, you may have cesarean stitches, your breasts may be leaking. Adopt a post-birth uniform for a few weeks or months or however long it takes.

A Crock Pot  

You need a crockpot and you need to use one. The crockpot is your friend. You can make soups and curries and stews and chili and roasts and damn brownies in a crockpot, and the magic is that it usually involves throwing some different things into it and ignoring it all day. Also, get some of those crock pot liners because they work amazingly well and that way you don’t have to scrub whatever you make out of it for hours afterwards.

A Decent Coffee Maker

No, having a cup of coffee won’t jack up your breastmilk and cause your newborn to stay up for hours. You can have a cup of coffee or two, or a latte, or tea, or whatever you want to make you feel human in the morning. I have a Nespresso machine. It was a bit pricey but I am in love with it. It makes me a beautiful cappuccino and this makes me a better human. I swear.

A Good Vacuum Cleaner 

Chances are, your vacuum cleaner sucks. And not in the way it should. I have no idea why people don’t give new parents a new vacuum cleaner as a baby gift. When you are sitting around, caring for your newborn, nothing will make you feel more desolate than having dirty floors. It’s pretty much the worst. I have a vacuum cleaner addiction. I own four at present. I have a Miele that was beyond expensive and possibly one of the fanciest things I own. I do love it. But MY BABY that I adore was a Shark vacuum that cost less than 200 bucks. It’s super lights, sucks like mad, works on both carpet and hardwoods and is sincerely one of the best vacuums I have ever owned. I rave so much about vacuums that people have suggested I start a blog devoted to them.

 A Stockpile Of Books And Magazines 

Same as with shows to watch and movies to see, you need a pile of things you enjoy reading to relax and escape for a bit. Start collecting before the baby comes.

 A Sex Date With Your Partner 

Eventually you will want to do it again. Fostering physical intimacy with your partner will allow you to reconnect and relax and thus make you better able to deal with the demands of a new baby. One day your kids will grow up and possibly hate you, so you need to keep your relationship with your other going.

A Box Of Thank You Cards, Pre-Stamped With Your Return Address Done

I know, this one is so NOT fun but people will give you gifts and you will need to thank them properly. If you have them stamped and self-addressed then it will save you time when it comes time to send thank-you cards. I know this is terribly mumsy of me but I do believe that a gift requires a short, hand-written thank you. I’m old school like that.

A Good Bottle Of Wine

Or a beer you love. Or prosecco. Or whatever. You just made a baby or adopted a baby or got a baby, but the point is you now have a baby and that’s a BIG deal. Share a toast. High five each other or yourself. I’m a firm believer in celebrating. If you don’t consume alcohol or are worried a glass of alcohol will harm your baby than make a nonalcoholic drink but for sure add fruit and a cocktail umbrella.

A Stockpile Of Snacks 

Until you feel up to busting out your crockpot, you will need junk to eat.  When you are in the nesting mood start baking. Stockpile all the delicious snacks you love to eat. Fill your pantry with popcorn. And give all your soon-to-be-parent friends gift certificates to places with great takeaway or buy them food baskets. I suggest Zingermans.

(Photo: Isomos vintage)

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  • historychick79

    To add to the ‘stockpile of books and magazines’ suggestion: invest in a Kindle/Nook/Tablet. For some reason ‘real’ books and magazines are incredibly hard for me to pick up these days, and have been since C was born. They take up space, can be heavy to hold one-handed if you’re in cuddle-me mode, and when you get he inevitable constant interruption that is parenthood it remembers where you were for you, since your brain becomes mush. And it encourages me to try new authors or genres I wouldn’t really think about looking over a bookstore (and really, who has time for browsing in a bookstore or library–a daily bookbub notice and voila I have somehow developed 7 pages of reading options in about 2 weeks) My hubby got me a plain ‘ole Kindle 3mos after C was born, and it’s a large part of why I’m keeping him forever. I get the love, the feel and the nostalgia of ‘real’ books, but the electronic delivery made reading a reality for me again.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I was one of those people who was SO OFFENDED by the idea of a kindle. I only LIKE REAL BOOKS with real pages. Until I got one. OMG I love it sooooo much. The ONLY issue I have is when I buy a book on my kindle if it doesn’t grab me in the first chapter or so I give up, where if it’s a print book I would make myself slog through.

    • Rachel Sea

      I was the same way, and now that I have a Kindle I have only bought like three books in print in the last two years. I used to buy three books in print a week.

    • Daisy

      ME TOO. I love my e-reader because I can download books from the library for free. I can do it in the middle of the night. I can do it from across the country. I can do it when I’m just too lazy to get off my butt and go to the real library. I’ve read a zillion times more books in the last six months than in the previous six years, just because I always have thousands of books at my fingertips, all for the low, low cost of a library membership.
      And to think I was so opposed to them before I got one!

    • Abby

      YES. Plus, I think all of those accounts (I have a Kindle one) have iPhone/Android apps, so if you have one of those, you can read on your phone, which is even better when you’re tired, since it’s lighter and more likely to be right next to you. I’m a bit ashamed of how many books I’ve both started and finished on my phone, but hey: I’m reading!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I should really consider getting one of those things.

    • judgedbooks

      I have one, and I love it, but my main recommendation is to go to a Staples (or whatever store actually carries them now), and try it first. I can’t stand the one that’s considered “normal” now with the backlit screen that’s BRIGHT. Mine broke, and I went on and just ordered another OG Kindle. I think it’s the middle price-range “keyboard” one, and it’s not the latest technology, but that backlit crap is just not where it’s at if you want the one that looks like real, regular book paper and won’t strain your eyes at all. I have migraines, though, so I’m sensitive.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      My wife gets migraines too, so that’s actually really good to know!

    • Shelly Lloyd

      I am a migraine suffer too, and I resisted getting a kindle at first because if I read too long on a computer type screen it will give me a headache. But I have an older modle “e-ink” kindle. It is the non-glossy screen type one and I love it. I can read it all day and not get a headache.
      I’ve had it for about 3 years now and my hubby is after me to up-grade to the kindle fire, but I refuse because the kindle fire is a glossy screen.

    • Toaster

      I got my iPod Touch a couple of months after my first kid was born and reading endless trashy romance novels was the only way I got through those night feedings.

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    You guys we should share our reading lists <3

    • Michelle Pittman

      YES!!! the A Song of Fire & Ice (Game of Thrones) series is awesome…love, love, LOVE it (and i don’t normally like medieval shiz)…The Gargoyle is an awesome book too…more people need to read it – i would love for it to be made into a movie…

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I read the gargoyle!

    • Michelle Pittman

      and that is why i love you!!!!!!!!!!! NO ONE i’ve talked to has read it — and i LOVE that book — so good!!!!! Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger is pretty good and i LOVED the book Sister by Rosamund Lupton…and there are some really good retellings of fairy tales (one on the little mermaid and one on cinderella but from the fairy godmother’s POV) that are really good but i can’t remember the author’s name…and then there’s The Book Thief that EVERYONE should read and also, if you like YA books at all, the book Unwind by Neal Schusterman is amazing…oh, and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is amazing…wow…you should start a book club on mommyish!!

    • Wendy

      I tried suggesting that once. I still would like someone to!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      The Gargoyle was amazing, I thought it was pretty popular? Never let go is also great, did you ever read The Last Werewolf by glen duncan?

    • Michelle Pittman

      nope but i’m going to now…

    • CMJ

      I read like a 13 year-old tween.

  • Blahblah

    This is really cementing my “Maybe I need a Crock Pot?” thought. I used to hate those things, I called them the Trailer Park Oven because it’s all my Mom used to cook.

    • Emmali Lucia

      The good thing is if you look you can find some GOOD recipes. It’s not all fat fat fat beef beef trash.

      I can send you a recipe for crock-pot cedar plank salmon (Yes, cedar plank salmon, from a crock pot.) And if you want to make your own dinners I can send you several desert recipes.

      There’s even this gluten free lamb artichoke recipe that is heavenly.

    • Blahblah

      You. I love you.

    • Emmali Lucia

      I haven’t even given you the recipes yet! Lol

    • Toaster

      Slow cooker butter chicken. Amazing and stupid easy.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter
  • Emmali Lucia

    So Eve, am I allowed to give a gently used crock pot away?

    I have three crock pots in my house right now. There’s a HUGE one, the one my mom got for her first wedding in 1974, and this itty bitty one that is supposed to be used for nacho cheese.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Yes, as long as the cords are OK! I would be a little iffy about the 1974 one because of age, but you could keep it and make it into a kitschy planter

  • ted3553

    oh yes, the crockpot and books. I didn’t cook with a crockpot until I went back to work with the baby (which was very early). So handy to get my type A personality organized at night and when I come home it’s all baby time instead of cooking. I read the whole 50 shades of gray series in less than a week while feeding the baby at night. you never have enough to read when they are new.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I LOVE MY KINDLE!!!!! I still buy regular books, but I love being able to carry around the 200+ books on my kindle. It makes me so happy.

  • Sundaydrive00

    My parents have a Shark, and I love it. I have this giant beast hoover vacuum, and I hate vacuuming just because its such a pain to drag out and it doesn’t fit in tight spaces or under furniture like the Shark does. My boyfriends parents got us the hoover, so he refuses to get a new vacuum since that one is practically new still and it was nice of them to get it, so we should keep it forever. Grrrr!

  • Almost a Mom

    I’m due any day now and I invested in a Roomba a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made in my adult life. I just press a button and my floors are magically debris and pet hair free. It’s awesome, and I can only imagine that it will be even more awesome after the baby actually arrives.

  • yup

    I vote for a roomba – I love my little vacuum!!

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I wanted to get a scooba and make it marry my roomba

  • Andy

    Yes to the crock pot! I stumbled upon the idea of making crock pot meal kits for the freezer a while back, and am making a bunch of them to throw in my freezer before DS is due in October.

  • Harriet Meadow

    Holy crap, before my mother and mother-in-law (the “Grandma Squad”, as we called them) left our house (twelve days after the baby was born), they bought us a Shark vacuum (it was the last in a series of very generous gifts they got us to help us keep our home organized and clean). You are not kidding about how awesome and how desperately needed that was!