Photo by: Live View Studios
I was there, too. Resembling a zombie and aimlessly wandering the baby section at Target. The ice in my Starbucks drink had melted and I was pushing around an empty cart and had been for two hours. I had no clue what I was looking for or what I was looking at. Bottles. Bibs. Diapers. Wipes. Formula with non-GMO. Formula with Soy. Formula for sensitivities. A cream for this. A cream for that. A cream to put on top of your cream. With each item I picked up, I felt like I was on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and was using one of my lifelines. Should I “Ask the Audience” by googling the product to find the meaning, rating and purpose? Should I “50:50” it and just eliminate the ones in a certain color or price point? Or maybe I should just pull the old trusty “Phone-a-Friend” and bug one of my girlfriends with another I’m-clueless-about-being-a-mom question.
I scoured every mom blog, Pinterest post and forum I could find to try and figure out exactly what I needed before Coven’s arrival. What were the things that would significantly make a difference to the daily routine? What were the products I would have stored in my Amazon cart at all times for instant delivery? What was something that would actually help to soothe or ease Coven when he was in discomfort?
Maybe you feel the same way or perhaps you have a friend on the verge of motherhood. I’m certainly not an expert but I thought it might be helpful if I shared some items that are staples in the Erwin household when it comes to Coven’s care. These are tried and true and have at times been lifesavers.
For Part 1, let’s address and acknowledge the Honorable Mentions. While these aren’t products you can technically purchase, they may be more valuable than anything found on the shelves.
Out of everything you think you need to prepare for a baby, nothing is more important than prayers. Not just the goodnight, sleep tight prayers. Constant ones. Ones of gratitude. Ones of guidance. Ones of comfort. Sometimes you may be praying over a sleeping baby and sometimes you’ll be praying for a sleeping baby. You’ll pray to get through another day and you’ll pray for another day. I find myself praying unlike I ever did before. Praying for wisdom and strength to be a gentle and compassionate mother. Praying for his family unit and the childhood I feel he deserves. Praying for his safety. Praying for his health. Praying for his future spouse. I pray he’ll be a sweet and kind boy who grows into an honest and forgiving man. Day in and day out, I survive by the prayers I give.
You’ll find yourself mourning the loss of sleep. It will become a loving memory. And as the days and nights begin to run together, you’ll become crazier and crankier. I’ll be honest, sleep comes at a price. About $25 – $30 an hour. But I promise, you’ll never regret paying the amount of a monthly mortgage for something free you once took for granted. A few weeks after Coven was born, I knew I wasn’t going to be my best self if I didn’t get one night of uninterrupted sleep. I decided it was time to hire a night doula and it was quite frankly one of the best decisions I made for both Coven and myself. She would come just once or twice a week at 10pm. As soon as she arrived, she headed to the nursery to be with Coven and my job was to turn off the baby monitor and peacefully sleep until 6am the following morning. I would always wake up feeling refreshed and looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday each week because I knew I would be able to sleep without trying to shush, bounce or Jedi mind trick a baby to do the same. The night doula we hired was a recommendation from a friend and was the sweetest, most loving woman. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll gladly pass along her information.
3. Mark Chestnutt
This one certainly won’t work for everyone and honestly probably won’t work for another single person but there is an underlying point. When Coven was about two months old, he became fussy with my dad while I was running an errand. Having raised me under the influence of country music, my dad decided to play some Mark Chestnutt to try and soothe Coven. To his surprise, it worked and Coven instantly stopped crying. When dad told me the story, I was a skeptic. A hardcore one. Until it worked again. And then again. And then became my go-to baby pacifier. I now know every word of every song on the “Tradition Lives” album by Mark Chestnutt. We’ve tried other artists and other genres and nothing stops Coven in his tracks or tears like “Oughta Miss Me By Now” or “I’ll Think of Something.” I highly doubt Mark Chestnutt will work for your baby, but if you do find something that comforts them, no matter how crazy or country, use it.
I assure you Part 2 of this blog will feature legitimate products that can actually be purchased. I’ll leave you with the best advice I’ve received and could possibly give. Every good mom thinks she’s screwing it up. I’m reminding myself of that very thing as we embrace Round 2 of sleep training and I have to listen to thirty minutes of bloodcurdling screams coming from a perfectly healthy baby who thinks he has to have a bottle every three hours at night. Hang in there, mama. You’re not alone.