10 things a new mom can't live without
There are a few baby items that routinely buy new parents the 5-10 minutes needed to accomplish key tasks like brushing your teeth, showering and making a much-needed cup of coffee. Topping this list is the bouncy seat. As baby gets older and more alert, attach an activity bar to extend the life of this magnificent invention.
Newborns are accustomed to the confines of the womb and haven't yet gained control of their flailing limbs. Swaddling baby helps to calm him and extend his sleep (and yours). (I will now guiltily confess to still swaddling my six-month-old. Please don't judge me).
Video: How to Swaddle a Baby >
Contrary to popular belief, babies do not need a hushed environment to sleep. In fact, our wombs are quite noisy places (imagine the constant humming of a vacuum cleaner). Calm baby by giving her a familiar soundtrack. Pick up a white-noise machine or download white noise on your MP3 player.
That Coach bag you used tote around is a thing of the past (for a while at least). The diaper bag is your new shoulder accessory -- and your lifeline when it comes to getting out with baby. Get one big enough to accommodate all the baby items you need, but stylish enough that you don't mind carrying it everywhere you go.
Video: Top baby products of 2012 >
While you'll quickly become a pro at doing almost any task one-handed, it's nice to know you don't always have to. A sling or carrier allows you to easily bring baby along for any errand (and the only way I've found to successfully grocery shop). Plus, 'babywearing' has been shown to have numerous benefits, including calming baby and lulling him to sleep.
Another favorite on the "how I ever get anything accomplished" list for many new parents is the activity mat. As young as two months, baby will love lying on the mat and looking up at the dangling toys. Before you know it, she'll be swatting those furry friends and checking herself out in the attached mirror. Some models morph into activity gyms as baby grows, saving you from buying a separate exercauser or jumperoo.
For any parent who has changed their baby's soiled changing pad cover only to have said baby then pee, poop or otherwise defile the new cover minutes later, I give you the "puddle pad." These water-resistant pads (strategically placed under baby's bum) will save your sanity and, hopefully, a few loads of laundry.
When your little one falls asleep in the car, the ability to transfer her car seat to a stroller is priceless, allowing you to manage outings, naptime and errands simultaneously. There are many to choose from -- the most popular being the Snap-N-Go, all-in-one travel systems or adapters that attach to brand-name strollers.
I don't care what it is -- a glass of wine; a long, luxurious bath or shower; peppermint foot cream; a monthly massage or pedicure -- have your own mommy escape that rejuvenates and makes you feel like a normal person again. Leave your bundle of joy with dad, indulge and repeat. Do this as often as necessary -- you deserve it.
Sense of Humor
As any parent -- new or experienced -- will tell you, a good sense of humor is the ultimate must-have. How else do you expect to survive teething, being spit-up on, peed and pooped on, and all those sleepless nights? When things get tough, please look at that toothless grinning baldy, who is the new love of your life, and remember to laugh.