We speak to experienced moms about the gadgets that make life with newborns much easier.
Many new parents are anxious about being adequately prepared to care for their newborns, but there are many gadgets and apps to ease the worry and the load.
Ready to feed formula
Among the biggest time stealers when you have a newborn that’s not being breast-fed, is the seemingly endless cycle of cleaning bottles and preparing formula. It’s no fun standing in the semi-dark at 3am, trying to remember how many scoops of formula you’ve poured into a bottle. Our sisters – and brothers – overseas have been reaping the benefits of ready-to-feed formula for a while, and it’s now also available in South Africa. These sterile and convenient containers of prepared formula will be a godsend for moms on the go, and will no doubt be a must-have when travelling.
Wet wipes and bum cream
As a new parent, you sometimes literally have your hands full. A handy gadget is an all-in-one wet wipe and bum cream dispenser that allows you to clean and put cream on your baby with one hand, while holding his legs with the other.
A sleeping bag is a proven winner, especially for a winter baby. Babies who are cold during the night are more likely to wake up, and the sleeping bag minimises the risk of blankets being kicked off. Some of them are weighted, providing just the right amount of reassuring pressure to calm troubled sleepers.
These are essential – for both baby and mom. Two popular choices are the “doodoo blanky” – a cloth of smooth satin tags that provide a tactile experience – and a BPA-free giraffe. A great teething device, the giraffes soft knobbly parts soothe baby’s gums, while its long legs allow for whole-gum chewing.
Anti-colic bottles are a life-saver for parents with fractious babies. And any bottles that are self-sterilising are an added blessing, especially when you are travelling. Many moms swear by the dishwasher baskets for bottles, teats and lids that spare you from hand-washing all the bits that make up your baby’s bottles. Bottle warmers come in all shapes and sizes. The portable ones are so convenient; there are warmers that don’t require electricity and you even get one that you can plug into your car lighter for when you need warm milk on the move.
Bath time is fun time for baby, but hard on your knees if you’re using the “big” bath. A nifty kneeler pad will provide some welcome comfort.
Who would’ve thought new parents could still rock the mini fridge? You know the type that takes four cold-drink cans? One creative mom admits she swore by it, having kept it on her bedside table at night filled with bottles ready-to-go.
Breast-feeding may be challenging for some moms. A nipple shield, made of thin and flexible silicone, can be used to protect sore nipples. A Cape Town mom says she needed laser therapy as her child tore holes in her nipples from sucking so hard. Nipple shields were her “saving grace”.
Babies, for their small size, generate a huge amount of washing. A specialist, energy-saving laundry spin dryer that dries clothes quickly and efficiently by using centrifugal force instead of heat, is useful.
Baby slings and carriers that comply with safety standards have many benefits. The biggest drawing card is that there is little need for a pram if you use one regularly. It encourages closeness, promotes kangaroo care and even helps your baby sleep better. And it frees up your hands for other tasks.
Read about what to expect during baby’s first 100 days here.
Find out how to introduce your new baby to an older sibling.