On this journey as a new Mommy, I've learned what works (swaddling the baby!) and what doesn't (trying to reason with my baby at 3am, explaining to him why he should stop crying and go to sleep). Here's a list of things (in no particular order) that I consider "must-haves" as a new parent:
1. White Noise iPhone App
Babies like white noise--it reminds them of all the constant noise they heard while in their mommy's belly (heartbeat, tummy rumbling, mommy's voice, etc.). This app has a lot of different sounds (white noise, ocean waves, airplane humming) that have soothed Parker to sleep many times. Because it's on our phone, we can use it at home or in his car seat on the go. Nice.
2. Baby Swing
Parker wasn't a fan of his swing at first, but he's come to really like it. Sometimes he'll nap in his swing for hours, giving us time to get a few things done around the house... or take a nap.
3. Swaddle Me
I know it looks kind of funny... but it's a proven fact that babies like to be swaddled (another thing that reminds them of being in the womb), which can be done with a blanket, but the Swaddle Me makes it a LOT easier because it's shaped like a little baby-sized pea-pod that can be wrapped together with velcro. This is extra convenient when you're trying to re-swaddle baby at two in the morning.
4. The Pacifier
We waited a few weeks to start using the "paci" (we heard some breastfed babies can get "nipple confusion" between the pacifier and Mommy, but Parker didn't have trouble going back and forth) but we were happy when we did. Because Parker doesn't know how to calm himself down yet (though he's learning) the pacifier helps him to self-sooth.
5. Lansinoh Nursing Pads
When I was still pregnant, I'd heard of these, but I thought they would be an "extravagance" that I wouldn't really need. Without going into detail... let's just say after a few milk-drenched shirts, these became a life-saver!
6. Lansinoh Nipple Cream
Don't think this needs much explanation... I was given a small sample of this in the hospital and it helped immensely. Luckily, I was given this as a gift so I have a good supply on hand.
7. "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD
Just trust me, this is a must-watch dvd for new parents! There's also a book, but of course it's much faster to just watch the dvd, which you can get from Netflix. Dr. Harvey Karp is the master of how to calm a crying baby, and he teaches you all the "tricks" and why they work (they simulate a womb-like experience for a newborn).