Everyone has their own list of things they consider essential for parenting. In fact, just yesterday, I was reading a list from a mom and there wasn’t ONE THING on her list that I considered essential. Because each baby (and parent!) is unique, what you’ll need for any given child is just very different.
I’m a fairly minimalist parent. I don’t need or want tons of things, and there are plenty of things I enjoy having, but I could do without if I had to (like my electric pump. Nice to have? Yes. Absolutely essential? Not for me).
But as I mulled over what is absolutely essential for me, I came up with four items that I just cannot imagine trying to parent without. You may agree or disagree – and I’d love to hear what YOU consider essential. Here are mine (you’ll notice I clearly prioritize sleep above all else):
I have babies that love to be swaddled. And one thing I’ve discovered is that it is HARD to find a good swaddling blanket. Most are too small or too thick. Then a friend of mine who had two children gave me a SwaddleDesigns blanket and promised it’d be the best ever. And it is. It’s warm enough in the winter, but not too hot in the Texas summers, it is the perfect size, and it’s held up beautifully through two and a half years of weekly (and sometimes more!) washing.
We live in a small apartment, but once my toddler is in bed, we can carry on normally without worrying about waking her up, even when we have a dozen people over, because the sound machine makes her room a little white noise cocoon. When our new daughter was born, we ran right out and bought another one. I love this because it’s a nice sleek design, it’s small and light, works with batteries or a plug, and packs easily into a purse or suitcase. It also gives our daughters a nice signal that it’s bed or naptime, even when we’re in a new place or bed.
I know some parents don’t like pacifiers, and some babies won’t take them anyway. But my girlies are huge fans, and so am I. I credit much of their good sleeping to these.
And, like the sound machine, it works as a great cue that it’s bedtime (especially once they are about 8 months old and I restrict the paci to the crib only).
Right now, our infant daughter sleeps in our room, but once she grows out of that, having a door to shut when she goes to bed is of utmost importance to me.
After an ill-advised hotel stay last week where my toddler just stood in her crib for two hours informing us she did NOT want to go to bed, I wanted to kiss her bedroom door when we got home. She knows that once that door closes, we’re not coming back in.