When you become a parent you soon discover that babies, as small as they are, seem to need a lot of stuff. Sure, you can easily get by with just the basics (think diapers, swaddles and teeny tiny clothes), but truth be told, practical, well-designed gear can make life with baby that much easier. Inspired by Fit Pregnancy’s annual Buyers Guide issue, here are my top picks for the best baby gear for working moms:
1. A breast pump. As I wrote in my previous post, I still can’t part with my pump. It was an integral part of being able to nurse my son when I returned to work. The downside of pumping is cleaning all those parts, and washing pump parts in the office kitchen is time consuming—and sometimes awkward. I was thrilled to discover Medela wipes—the hygienic, disposable cloths made it super easy to clean pump parts at my desk. (Hint: The wipes are generously sized, so cut them in half. They’ll last twice as long!)
2. Bottles. Since I couldn’t nurse my son during the day, he needed to be bottle-fed. I tried at least five bottles until we hit on one that my son liked—and we stuck with it until he graduated to a sippy cup around his first birthday. My bottle warmer had a permanent place on the kitchen counter for my son’s first year—my husband used it to warm bottles on the week days he cared for our son. And on the days my son went to day care, I sent four bottles with him, which meant I was washing four bottles (and all their tiny parts!) every night. My bottle drying rack helped keep all the clean parts in one place—and easy to find on rushed weekday mornings! I also had a basket for the top rack of the dishwasher to hold small parts that needed an extra good cleaning.
3. A bouncy seat. Or exersaucer. Or swing. Getting ready for work is way easier when you can put your baby someplace safe and secure for the 15 minutes you need to take a shower in the morning. In my son’s case, if that said place also vibrated—like his favorite bouncy seat—even better.
4. Food containers. When my son started solids at 6 months, I used small food pots,
labeled with my son’s name to send lunch and snacks to day care. I still send the same containers with him to preschool and use them on the weekends to hold snacks when we’re out and about. (And, the same dishwasher basket now holds the lids when they need a deep clean.)
5. My all-time favorite working mom essential? The picture frame on my desk that holds a photo of my son and husband. It sits right under my wall calendar, which I look at umpteenth times a day, and it’s a constant reminder that while I like what I do, I love my boys most of all.
As a working mom, what gear is a must-have for you?