The Top 10 Lifesavers for New Parents

Being a first-time mom can definitely be an interesting challenge, even for one who may have grown up babysitting her whole life. In my journey of becoming a  mom I have found a few items/resources through friends/birthing class, etc. that have helped smooth the transition of being a first time parent and I wanted to share.  (Feel free to share in the comments any of your own lifesavers that aren’t included here!).

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Jaxon and I together… some of my all-time favorite moments with him…

*I am in no way a child expert, and I’m not here to debate anything.  The below lifesavers are simply what we have utilized and what has worked for us 🙂

…and now, without any further ado…

1) Interpreting Your Baby’s Cries

This video helped us learn what Jaxon was trying to communicate to us via his pre-cries so we were able to meet his needs. Priscilla Dunstan (who has essentially a photographic memory for sound) appeared on the Oprah show and she breaks down babies’ (pre)cries and what babies are trying to communicate to you! We listened for these cries with Jax and it was amazing!! So helpful to know if he was fussing because he just needed to burp more, be soothed or was truly hungry.

2) Soothing Your Baby

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Jaxon and I. 9 days new.

Every baby fusses at some point or another and if they are fed, dry, and nothing seems to be wrong, they may simply need soothing. This video of pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp (author of Happiest Baby on the Block) on the Dr. Phil show, demonstrates and explains the Five S’s and how you can calm a fussy little babe. Works like a charm 🙂

3) BabyConnect App


This app isn’t free, but it’s totally worth the $4.99.

This app acts as a supplement to your brain and allows you to keep track of not only feedings, sleep, diaper changes/bowel movements (yes, you can even mark the stool consistency, color, and if your child has an “open air” accident.. ha ha ha), but baby milestones and more.

I use this app to mainly track feedings, and sleep (when he was an infant I would keep track of his diapers). It’s amazing how fast time flies by during the day. Sometimes I feel like I just fed Jax and he’s fussing and I’m thinking to myself, “He’s making the hunger cry, but there’s no way he’s hungry – I just fed him” and then sure enough, I check the app and a couple hours have passed and it is time to feed again!

Some veteran parents chuckled at me with all the tracking when I posted on our baby Instagram account (@itstheGrayFamily), but it’s been a great tool and I’m going to use it for each of our kids.

4) A Baby Monitor that Gives you Peace of Mind… and can save your child’s life.


My older sister used the Angelcare baby monitor brand for her first kid and recommended it to me as well.  I did a lot of research and this one seemed the best, by far, and we have LOVED it. Not only can you hear you baby at night (you can adjust the sound sensitivity, which for us, is extremely helpful because Jax grunts in his sleep :), you can see your child via the video monitor, AND the best part about this bad boy is the movement monitor.  If your baby stops breathing during the night it will alert you.  This feature has given us a HUGE peace of mind and allows us to put Jaxon in his own room and rest more easily.   There’s so many great other features this monitor has, but those are the main ones.

(Side note: I have already had two mom’s tell me that they got this monitor and it literally saved their child’s life. Please please please don’t bypass this monitor because you want to save a few bucks.)

5) Gas Buster

This may be a simple and not an “epic revelation” but having a great gas reliever on hand was so helpful! Jaxon tends to be a bit gassy at times (more-so earlier on when his tiny system was developing), so having some infant gas drops at home and in the diaper bag at all times has been a life-saver (or a scream-saver, I should say :). We use the target generic brand and also bought some gripe water (a more natural solution for upset tummies). Whenever Jax got gas, we’d give him drops, pop in his pacifier to help calm him, while we pumped his little legs to let the gas work its way through.

6) A Pacifier

There’s a lot of talk about using a pacifier or not, and nipple confusion and all that jazz, so you just need to do what is right for your own kid and you.

Jaxon was a great nurser from the get-go (thank God), and when he seemed inconsolable (in one instance – after a quick Google search, it was revealed gas was the culprit based on the symptoms) we busted the pacifier out when he was a few days old, and like we mentioned in #3, it helped calm him right down as the gas worked through his system.

Having a pacifier on-hand whenever Jaxon gets a bit over-stimulated and needs to calm down has been fabulous, especially if you don’t want to act as a human pacifier and get him used to snacking all the time on you, or pop the goods out in public.

We use the Avent Soothies, seeing they are “most like nature.”

Side note #1: Sucking is a natural reflex when something is put in a baby’s mouth and hits the upper part of his palate. If you put a paci in there, most babies will instantly start sucking.

This is great for your eardrums, but possibly not so good for your baby. When your baby starts to fuss, it’s important to figure out first what is wrong, instead of just popping the pacifier in to quiet them. More often than not, there’s a reason they are crying.

Side note #2: I was worried about having one of those kids who is 10 with a paci stuck in their mouth 24/7… (Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly). Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that (to each his own), but I just didn’t want to have to deal with breaking him of the habit. What we have done is we only give it to him when he needs calming or when he’s in bed.


7) A Great Swaddle

I don’t know what moms and dads did before swaddles!

Being able to swaddle Jax when we put him down for the night was so calming for him. He would love to move his arms a lot, so being able to secure him helped him fall asleep and stay asleep.

I read SO many reviews on different types of swaddles. We got the Aiden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets (Jax would wiggle out of them in no time), we got the Halo sleep sack swaddlers (the velcro part was nice to help secure him in the swaddle, except when he was first born it was too big for him for quite a few weeks – works like a charm now that he’s bigger), and we also got the Miracle Blanket and that ended up being the best swaddle for Jax.

What makes the Miracle Blanket such a “miracle” is the little flaps on the inside that help keep wiggly arms secure (we nicknamed Jax “Houdini” because his arms would always escape, pre Miracle Blanket, that is).

Bonus tip: We use an extra pacifier clip to help secure his Miracle Blanket swaddle! Works like a charm 🙂

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8) Four S’s to a Great Bedtime

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Our son, Jaxon. 6 days new.

The “Baby Whisperer” suggests four S’s  to help a baby wind down for sleep.  These were (and still are) really helpful in getting Jaxon calm and ready to go to bed. We knew we wanted to make sure that Jax learned to fall asleep on his own and could go down without a ton of sleep props. This short article helped guide us any time that he needed to go down.

Read the article HERE.

For those of you who don’t want to read the article at this moment, we’ll share the “S” that has been uh-mazing for us. It’s the “Sitting” S.

Whenever we are getting ready to lay Jaxon down, whether for a nap or for the night, we “sit” with Jax and then we lay him down and he falls right asleep.

Often he’s been so stimulated by all of the new things he is discovering that when we put him down for a nap without giving him space to collect himself, it’s just too much for him.  Giving him a moment to “sit” with one of us (not rocking, but just being still), calms him down and relaxes him so he is able to fall asleep once we put him in his crib.

9) A Good Nights Sleep for All



This is a hot button topic.

Before you judge or share your own opinion in the comments on the blog, I encourage you to make sure to FIRST do your research. READ both books on the two main parenting styles, talk with other moms and dads and then make a choice and do what is best for you, your marriage, and your family.

When we read the books, we were surprised that a lot of the intentions were actually the same and many of the points that the opposition had were not, in fact, valid at all (and they would know that if they had done their own research and read the book).

I’m not here to debate – I have simply done my research and this is working great for us.

I digress. Read on.

Sleep is not only one of the most important things for babies to have so they can continue to grow and develop, but sleep is also important for parents to have as well. It’s hard for me, or Zach, to be at our best for each other and for Jax when we haven’t slept in a year… or two 😉

There are two books I recommend, and in reading both, you will be informed of the two main parenting approaches, especially when it comes to feeding and sleep time.

The two main books I encourage you to read are:
–  Baby Wise (by Ezzo)
Attachment Parenting (by Sears)

Our two cents: Humans thrive on routine, and kids (and yes, even adults) function better when they have a routine in place and get great sleep. By implementing a routine with Jax (with grace and flexibility), he has been one well-fed, happy baby, loved on us like crazy when he is awake, and he has been sleeping like a champ (around the 8-9 week mark he began sleeping through the night consistently).

When Jaxon gets a good nights sleep, he gets the rest he needs to grow and develop, and I get the rest I need. When mom sleeps well it not only helps me be the best for my kid, but for my spouse as well (who is my first priority.

Remember: A great family flows from a great marriage.

For those of you doing your homework on this topic, here’s another short online article I have referenced a few times by some good friends of ours who have an amazing family and kids and also implemented the Baby Wise approach.


10) An Amazing Support Person/Group

One of Zach's first moments with Jaxon. Image by

(Image by

Unfortunately ladies, you can’t have my husband, but having a partner who is in this with you, definitely makes this journey a smoother ride.

I have to admit – Zach is pretty awesome 🙂 There are things that simply fall as my responsibility with Jax (like feedings) and then there are things we both can do with our little man and I love how Zach is fully engaged (not that I would expect anything less from him, but you know). Also, having Zach take on more of the household responsibilities has been great too (thank-you baby, for still doing the cat litter even though I’m not pregnant anymore! xoxo).

I’d recommend talking beforehand with your spouse of expectations of house and baby responsibilities before your little one is born, so either of you don’t have unmet expectations and it becomes a point of tension between you two.

If you don’t have a spouse and are rocking the single parent journey, make sure to get plugged into a local group for the support other parents can give each other.


And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed this top ten list!

To receive a free download of the latest top 10 lifesavers in the works (specifically for Expecting moms) enter your email HERE.

When you submit your email, you will get my bi-monthly-ish newsletter with insider mom tips and lifesavers, and you will immediately receive the free PDF download of The top 10 Lifesavers for New Parents to keep with you wherever you go.placeitHIGHresdrop_PNG

Get in on the goodness 🙂

Yes, send me The Top 10 Lifesavers for Expecting Moms and my free download!


If you’re a mom already, I (as well as other mom-to-bes) would love to know what YOU have found was a lifesaver in making the transition to becoming a parent. Please share in the comments – we would all love to know!

Enjoy your journey into parenthood.  It truly is such a joy!


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PPS. For those of you new to the blog, feel free to stop by our About page and read about the difficult journey we have gone through to where we are today.

36 thoughts on “The Top 10 Lifesavers for New Parents

  1. When we finally found our Miracle Blankets, it was heaven. And I don’t advocate just putting your kid in a swing and going but we had twins. Sometimes, especially if I was alone, it was a God-send to have something that would soothe them until I could get one taken care of.

  2. You are so on point with what to expect! It totally freaked me out instead of helping. One of our lifesavers was a baby carrier! We have the moby & just an infantino pack, but they are so helpful and Aedan loves them!

    PS. I totally agree with #10. It’s always nice to have daddy nearby.

  3. Our little miracle is only five months older than Jax and we too found the swaddle a huge lifesaver, (and of course a good hubby, mine still is making dinner every night for us). Our big lifesaver was the rock n play. She refused to sleep anywhere but on me for the first six weeks, so I slept on a recliner w her on my chest. But she refused to sleep on my bassinet, her crib, we tried everything. Then we got the rock n play and finally, she slept in it next to our bed, and although she still does we are now working on getting her into her own room. She still hates her crib. It’s a work in progress… 🙂

    Also, the blossom bath flower, a super plush awesome baby bath for your sink. I still use it in her big girl tub for her to sit on.

    And last but not least coconut oil… We use it for everything. It was a lifesaver those first few weeks of BFing, we use it as a cloth diaper safe diaper cream, for baby massage, moisturizer, a dairy alt for me as baby was sensitive to it being in my diet…

  4. #1 I would agree is an amazing husband. When I saw and still see all of the ways in which my husband cares for our now 2 year old, I’m just so so so so grateful! My #2 is definitely sleep!! I followed this blogger’s advice to a T and it worked out so well! I know every baby is different and you have to do what your comfortable with but sleep has never, ever been an issue for us since we got him on a sleep schedule very early on. Sleep is my breaking point. Without it, I honestly feel like the world is ending.

  5. I am a seasoned mom and I think your list is very good and accurate. The only thing I would add is a rocker. I can’t tell you how many nights I fell asleep in the rocker, rocking a well swaddled baby singing a lullaby…lol. When my grand daughter came along we used everything on this list except the husband, sometimes a good grandma will have to do. I also loved your humor. Sounds like your baby is off to a good start!!!

  6. These are great! Well done. I don’t want to be “that mom” cause I’m sure you are smart about it, but a good reminder to all of us, be careful with those pacifier clips when you put the baby to sleep. If they are too long they can get wrapped around the babies neck, which is not happy.

    The Moby Wrap was my life saver! I had a very difficult emotional time with nursing because little man would wiggle and move so much that I couldn’t even read a book while I fed him, and when I was sitting for 20 minutes at a time every 3 hours unable to do anything…. lets just say I got frustrated, I know that makes me sound terrible (I mean what mom gets tired of cuddles) but that was the way my baby blues worked out. Any who, having a hands free way to carry my cuddle monster around all the time was wonderful, and the fact that it fit both my husband and I so well was amazing! Plus using it at the store, church, park, ext kept strangers from breathing on him as much. And my husband being able to get good skin to skin snuggle time while studying (he is a med student) was also a life saver. Now that baby #2 is on the way that is the piece of baby gear I am most excited I kept during our cross country move.

  7. Forget Desitin, or any other diaper rash ointments. Use Corona (otherwise known as Udder Balm) I ran a daycare for 13 years while having my own 3 kids and nothing, I mean NOTHING worked better or faster (most times within 24 hours) to clear up a diaper rash. I recommended it to all my daycare parents and even got kudos from physicians for recommending it.

  8. My husband and I will be first time parents in 15 weeks!!! We’re so excited and scared at the same time! After reading your pin I feel like I am ready to conquer motherhood! Haha. Thank you SO much for taking the time to inform new and veteran parents. I will be looking up that baby monitor and swaddle and placing my order :). Oh, and I loved that you mentioned your husband comes first. Our marriage and children’s life will not be a good one if your spouse doesn’t come first! God bless!

  9. I agree with all that you listed but the BEST advice I was given it to cut off the pacifier at around a year old before the lil one really knows what it is. I stopped nursing and giving our second son his paci a few weeks after he turned one. It was a rough first couple of nights but it’s been smooth sailing since then and he doesn’t miss it. Every parent has to figure out what works best for their child but I was thankful for that advice, especially when I see 3 year olds begging for their pacifier.

  10. I took a breast feeding class that recommending having a little travel neck pillow on your glider/couch/chair for night time. I LOVED it. Especially once my baby was a little older and would get sick and only want me to sit and hold her on the night. It was great for night feelings, too!

  11. Pingback: The Sentimental Mama – Helpful Wanted Unwanted Advice for New Mamas

  12. i suggest going to a lot of different sources for tips. Every parent is different, every kid is different. My son only liked the swaddler for a couple weeks, then he squirmed and cried till he got unwrapped, but my friend’s daughter loved her swaddler for 6+ months! The more ideas and tools you have in your arsenal, the better prepared you’ll be!

  13. Just thought you should know…
    Our doctor expressly warned us against Baby Wise. The methods recommended have been linked to failure to thrive. However, Happiest Baby on the Block was amazing and the 5 S’s did work splendidly!

    • Brooke, thanks for your feedback! We have heard the exact opposite and have spoken with many friends and families, and those who seem to have the most balanced kids who thrive all used that approach. To each his own 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      • Brooke, I have also heard very dangerous things about Baby Wise! A 8 week old BF fed baby should not be sleeping trough the night!! This is one post I will not pin or share!

      • Lauren, I encourage you to actually read BW before you condemn or judge it. Both sides have a lot of misconceptions about what the other book says, which is why we read both before we made the right choice for us. We encourage you to do the same instead of just making your choice off of hearsay. Thanks for chiming in!

      • I don’t need to read any book to know that an 8 week old breastfed baby should not be sleeping through the night!

      • Lauren, thanks for sharing your opinion! Its important to keep in mind that it’s human instinct to survive. BW parents are not forcing their kids to sleep through the night. By getting them on a good routine during the day, it helps them sleep well at night – their bodies automatically do it.

      • The AAP actually issued a warning about BW. I much prefer Dr. Ferber’s book. Many babies legitimately need to feed at least once during the night until 6 months. If I had followed BW with my daughter she would have been falure to thrive, because she had poor suck she really did need to nurse every 2 hours. Both my kids were sleeping on their own by 12 months and have strict routines and thrived, without following such a harsh approach. I agree with your other recommendations, the Angel Care saved my baby twice.

      • Beatrice, So amazing about Angel Care saving your baby!! In regards to BW, if you have read the book, it says that the baby’s needs are ultimately top priority, even over a routine. So in the case of your daughter, the book recommends to feed her as she needed. Its important to keep in mind that it’s human instinct to survive. BW parents are not forcing their kids to sleep through the night. By getting them on a good routine during the day, it helps them sleep well at night – their bodies automatically do it. Now when Jaxon was going through a growth spurt at 4 months old, and he started waking up in the middle of the night crying and not going back to sleep on his own like he usually did the few and random times he would cry in the middle of the night. By process of elimination and knowing my kid, I figured out that it was hunger. BW doesn’t tell you to ignore them, again it says the baby’s needs come first, so he needed to eat, not starve for the sake of the schedule. So I fed him for those few weeks and then he was back again sleeping through the night. Just wanted to share a little further clarification for those who haven’t read BW and don’t fully know what it says. Thanks for sharing and for the link!

  14. I think what Brooke refers to is those who would take scheduling to the extreme, ignoring baby’s cues. That can and does lead to failure to thrive! But I can tell from your post that you are not doing that! A flexible routine/schedule can be comforting to babies, like you said. My problem with it comes when I see people thinking of it as a way to make babies seem less inconvenient. It is kind of sad.

    Loved this list. We are on baby #2 and a lot of things are different this time! She will not soothe with a pacifier, but our oldest loved her pacifier. We are at a loss. 😉

    • Great clarification! If ppl read Baby Wise it completely speaks to reading your baby’s cues over the schedule. Good times, good times 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

  15. I also use the app for feedings and diaper changes and I absolutely love it! Like you said, sometimes time flies and you don’t realize it’s time for your baby to feed again. Also during the night and even in the day I forget what time I even fed my baby. I also liked the baby monitor suggestion, I may be purchasing one after more research.

  16. What saved me was my nursing station. This included all the items I might need/want while I nursed. We set up a little table next to our rocker with a huge cup of water, nursing pads, a little garbage can, lip balm, baby nail clippers, baby comb, journal etc. That way, I made sure to take care of me while taking care of our little guy. If you have a 2 story house, you could make 2 stations. Good luck to all the new mommies!

  17. We used a few elements from Baby Wise and a few things we learned from other parents and our babies did great! We are pacifier users, but only at certain times and not after 12-15 months. We loved the swaddle blankets for our second baby. It’s important to remember how different each baby is. Our first and second differed greatly, but we figured them out and they did just fine. I’m interested to see how baby #3 is once he gets here! I think we also need to remember that everyone has different parenting styles and each family has different needs. I would tell new moms to follow your instincts and not rely too heavily on other people’s opinions. You’ll know what your baby needs. Ultimately, if you do your due diligence and find what works for you and your baby you will be just fine! And I agree with the comments above about Baby Wise. Babies who don’t thrive on it have parents who takes it to the extreme and don’t listen to cues.

  18. We used a combination of Baby Wise & Baby Whisperer w our daughter & she loved it & so did we!!! She was sleeping thru the night at 9 weeks and has only woken up 3 times (due to sickness) since then. She’s 11 months now! We are so grateful for a routine that met babies needs and helped mom and dad sleep!! I was a basket case w/o a solid night’s rest!

  19. 100% agree on the Angel Care!!! It definitely made it so much easier on her father and me. We didn’t have to worry quite as much. She is a year old now and has slept in a bassinet beside the bed until 2 months, then in her crib with this monitor! We would recommend it to absolutely anyone. Especially if your baby is a tummy sleeper like ours is.

  20. I loved all of your advice and will definitely be referencing this page again as my due date nears! Thank you for the advice, these are legitimate not the typical “sleep when they sleep” kind of tips! Just excited to put them to work!

  21. Thank you for this article, and you are so very right about having a supportive husband being the best!
    We have started child proofing our house, and have just stumbled upon this new invention. Mommies… what do you think? Do you think this something you would implement?

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