Today, then, I proudly present four of the slightly-less-obvious things that helped us through those first few weeks: so, not essentials, per se, but just a few things we only realised we needed once Max was here and we were stumbling around in the dark – both literally and figuratively.
Which brings me neatly to the first item on my list:
A nightlight for your bedroom
You might have considered buying a nightlight for the nursery, but most newborns sleep in their parents’ room for the first few months, and here’s the thing: they wake up a LOT. Like, a LOT lot. In the first days after we brought Max home, I think we were up every couple of hours with him at least – and even when he WASN’T awake and needing to be fed or changed, I was awake, checking if he was… well, checking if he was still alive, basically. Oh, don’t act like you’ve never done it.
Anyway! When you’re up constantly during the night, you don’t really want to be putting on a bright, overhead light every time you get up, and we (By which I mean, “Terry, who is a special snowflake…”) even found our regular bedroom lamps a little too bright. Enter MIFFY.
We’d (obviously) bought this Miffy lamp for the nursery, but we brought it upstairs for the first few weeks, and we (By which I again mean, “Terry” – I’d have happily slept with a spotlight in my eyes at that point…) found it gave the perfect amount of light for us to see what we were doing without disturbing the other person/people in the room. It’s a testament to how much better we’re sleeping these days that Miffy has now moved back to her rightful spot in the nursery, but she did help get us through those early weeks, so thanks, Miff!
Glow in the dark pacifiers
This was actually a tip from a friend, and while it obviously only applies if your baby uses a pacifier, it’s served us well so far. We use these ones by Mam, and because they glow in the dark, it’s really easy to find them when Max throws them out of his cot at night, or casts them under the couch. It’s also quite amusing when you wake up in the middle of the night and all you can see is this glow-in-the-dark soother bobbing around!
Thermal coffee mug
I’ve talked about this before, I’m sure, but one of the things you quickly discover is that, when you have a baby, your coffee is always cold – or, at least, it is unless you’re clever and buy yourself a thermal coffee mug before the baby arrives. Now, I wasn’t clever, and I didn’t buy myself a thermal coffee mug, but, luckily for me, my dad (Who is a coffee fiend and professional dad…) came to the rescue here, and at the point when I finally realised that every time I made myself a coffee, that’s when Max would decide he needed me for something, he presented me with a small, and yet varied, collection of mugs from his personal collection which ensured my coffee would always stay hot.
I mean, I still sometimes don’t ever get around to drinking it, but hey – at least it’s still hot while it sits there in the mug, right?
Finally, we also bought…
A projection clock…
… which is a clock that projects the time onto the ceiling, just in case you’re wondering. We actually had one of these years ago, but our iPhones had pretty much rendered alarm clocks obsolete in recent years, and then Max came along and rendered even the iPhone alarm obsolete, basically. I mean, who needs an alarm clock when you have a newborn baby, right? It’s not like you’re going to be sleeping in much, after all…
All the same, I do like to know what time it is when I wake up in the night: I’d usually just check my phone, but because we use a side-along crib, which is attached to my side of the bed, my side table has had to be temporarily moved out of reach – with my phone on it. GAH.
Luckily, Terry noticed early on that my attempts to stash my phone under my pillow instead weren’t really working (I’m amazed that phone is still in one piece after all the times I’ve dropped it…), so one day a new projection clock arrived in the mail, so now I can see what time it is as soon as I open my eyes. It sounds like such a little thing – and it is – but those little things can be a nuisance all the same, so if something can make my life a tiny bit easier, I’m all for it.
So, I’ve just realised that almost all of these things relate to things that make it easier to be awake during the night: I totally didn’t plan it that way, but then again, you DO spend a lot of time awake in the night when you have a newborn, so if you have any tips on how to make that – or any other aspect of new parenthood – easier, I know there are plenty of people out there who could use them!