Useful Stuff for New Mums by Kristin Shorten

If becoming a parent is like entering a whole new world, stepping into a baby store for the first time is like landing on another planet. They’re bursting with irresistibly cute clothes and clever contraptions that I hadn’t known existed and most of which I’d never need, but that are soooo tempting to buy. It’s easy to go overboard but it’s smart to wait and see what you really need and what your baby actually likes.

Before our daughter was born in December, we bought and were gifted heaps of gorgeous clothes that she hasn’t worn and other thoughtful items that we haven’t used. And we dropped cash on a bunch of big-ticket things – including a basinet, pram, and baby carrier – that we can’t honestly recommend. But here’s a handful of super useful stuff – for mum and bub – that we’ve truly loved using.


I started wearing these high-waisted Lycra shorts a couple of weeks after giving birth. They should be worn from the following day but I wasn’t that organised.

They were bloody hard to get on at first – my husband had to help and it was like a workout hoisting them up over my thighs – but getting them on got easier.

The main benefit for me was that they provided consistent gentle medical grade compression to my C-section wound area and held everything firmly together. They provided pelvic and back support to pick up bub, bath her, bend over the change table, carry the car capsule and lift the pram. I wore them for about five weeks, including to bed under my pyjamas. And they looked even sexier when paired with my hospital-issued knee-high compression socks.


Breastfeeding is hard (that’s a whole other blog post!) and for the first couple of weeks – while bub and I got the hang of it and she learned to latch properly – I suffered from painful cracked nipples. I’m sure chilled cabbage leaves feel lovely but I found these cool, soothing breast discs to be practical and, like magic, they healed my poor skin.


As a first time mum, there was a lot to learn and remember including little things like which breast my baby fed from just half an hour ago. She was feeding around the clock so meal times blurred together and I couldn’t keep track of which breast she was due to feed from next. I tried swapping an elastic band between wrists after feeds as a prompt, but kept forgetting to do even that. So I found this app, which saved my fatigued brain from having to remember anything. It tracks when and for how long your baby feeds (handy info for when my doctor or lactation consultant asked), and reminds you when a feed is due which was useful as a guide while learning bub’s patterns. And one of the most helpful parts is it tells you which breast to start on.


Our daughter experienced mild nappy rash in her first few weeks but it was banished thanks to these soft, fragrance-free wipes and a trusty pot of Sudocrem. They’re great value, versatile and there’s no chance of them drying out because we wet them right before use.


Why, God, didn’t I buy this sooner? I’d seen them at baby stores but resisted, thinking they were simply gimmicks and that they couldn’t be any better than the pillows off our bed. But boy I was wrong! Months of hunching over bub while I fed her on pillows stacked across my lap ended up hurting my breasts and my back. This one, which attaches around the waist like a foam tutu, is firm and has little pillows for bub. It’s not the prettiest or most portable accessory but it was well worth the investment. Don’t delay!


I’m obsessed with helping my daughter sleep during the day and overzealous about there not being any noise that could disturb her. Hence my poor husband hasn’t been allowed to so much as cough in recent months if he’s been home during one of her precious, hard-won naps. But since we started playing white noise (through this app on one of our devices set to flight mode or a speaker in her room) at about the volume of a shower, it’s allowed us to do stuff around the house while she sleeps without as much fear of waking her. And it’s made me less of a Mumzilla. We now use it during daytime naps and all night.


For the first few months of our daughter’s life we could only take her in the car out of necessity because she screamed from door to door – starting from the minute we strapped her into the car capsule we’d hired – and it was traumatic for us all. We suspected she simply hated being confined in such a snug capsule so we searched for something that would be as safe but feel more open for her. We found this car seat and it, no exaggeration, changed our lives. She doesn’t fuss when we strap her in – she just chuckles at herself in the mirror we adhered to the backseat. And she contentedly plays with toys or takes in the scenery for entire car journeys. She still grizzles sometimes, or has a little cry before falling asleep, but that’s usually because she’s tired or we’ve badly timed our outing. Overall she just seems more comfortable. We even set off on a weeklong road trip after buying it which went surprisingly smoothly.

This was one of our biggest purchases but worth it. Especially as it’s suitable for babies from birth to about four years old and in a month we can reposition it to face forwards rather than buy a whole new car seat.


Since having a baby, I’ve had my hands literally full! And while I strongly believe in being present as much as possible, sometimes I need to make a phone call or just tune out with a podcast while pushing the pram. These moisture-resistant headphones are brilliant, not least of all because tiny fingers can’t get tangled up in them. Rebel Sport stocks them but I bought mine on eBay. They’re not cheap but a sound (get it?) investment.


Kristin is a new mama, wife, journalist and Day for Daniel ambassador. Her husband and daughter are the lights of her life. Loves yoga, books and podcasts. Obsessed with food and sleep. Believes that a cup of tea fixes everything. She currently lives in Darwin, Northern Territory, where she spends her days navigating motherhood while batting away flies and fantasising about having more time to bake.

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