When you become pregnant or have a baby, you are swept up into an unknown world of nursing bras and baby products. I find it comparable to (what I imagine) the president goes through in his first weeks of the presidency. The way he’s briefed on everything that is going on, brought into the mix of many US secrets from the past and present, and realizing that nothing from his actual campaign will ever make it through congress.
During pregnancy you were briefed on labor and delivery by your doctor and maybe got a hospital tour. You talked to numerous friends and family, read books and blogs referring to their and others’ past and presents experiences, and you realize when the actual delivery comes and that child is in your arms, those ideas you had prior about delivery and childrearing have all vanished.
I’ve been a mom for all of one month now, and I thought I had read all the books, blogs, and pinned enough stuff to navigate through this journey of delivery and having a newborn. Ha! I realize now, I’ll never know enough. But here are my Top 10 things that happened to me or helped me navigate through my new mom jitters, including a couple of products that have been working wonders for both Jack and I!
1. You will be crazy. I read about the possibility of baby blues and before delivery had marked in my calendar after two weeks “signs of postpartum depression?” but never did I realize the emotional roller coaster I would be on right after delivery. I cried. Cried over opening crackers, cried over not sleeping, cried because the baby was crying, cried when my in-laws left because my husband won’t have anyone sane to talk to. Yes. Crazy Town. I cried to my dad over the phone, over sisters in-laws’ text messages, or non-sentimental Facebook updates, commercials, and just how amazing and perfect this little man is. But don’t worry, you know you’re being crazy… and it all gets better! I think sleep has a lot to do with it. I went from 10 hours a night, with naps after work (I know, I liked my sleep) to one hour naps between feedings. It definitely messes with your psyche. For me, it was around Week 3 when I felt more like a human and less like a hormonal trainwreck/walking zombie. Each day you get a little more of yourself back, promise.
2. Breastfeeding is your new job or hobby, or maybe vocation? This is why women get maternity leave, I’ve discovered. You think about your boobs more than most adolescent boys. Too far? They will feel full, hot, and overall different. I even thought I had a fever, but it was just my milk coming in!
Nursing is a dance between you and your new baby. It takes time, some babies less, some babies more. For me, Jack latched right away but nursed about 15 – 20 minutes on each side, feeding on demand every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. That leaves 1 1/2 to 2 hours between feedings. It gets to be a lot, but again, it does settle down and your baby starts giving you the nights off. Now, I nurse every 2 1/2 – 3 hours during the day, and (usually) every 5 – 7 hours at night! It seems manageable now and part of my regular routine! So, don’t give up! Plus, there’s this amazing bond that comes along with it. My heart melts when I look at him, and I feel lucky I get to spend 30 – 40 minutes just inspecting every inch of his beautiful face, hands, and body.
- Soothies – This might be a little TMI but breastfeeding can hurt (at first), at least it did for me. These little lifesavers made me cry happy tears (see #1) the first time I put them on. I suggest them to all new moms now! They can be refrigerated, too! *Thank you to my friend Rachael for this amazing suggestion!
- iBaby Feed app – Any one of the baby apps will work wonders! This app records your feedings, has a timer for each feeding, and analyzes the data. It’s actually nice to see Jack’s naturally trying to get into a pattern of feeding times. Plus, for the early morning feedings, when you pass out in the glider, you’ll have a little timer to help you know how long your baby has been feeding. It also documents diapers and averages them, for your pediatrician visits, too. They ask you this at your visits. It’s just one less thing to remember.
4. Start them in the crib. We got mad props from our pediatrician for starting Jack in his crib on day one. It was super hard that first night, I think I stared at that monitor until my eyes hurt. I zoomed in on his chest to check if he was breathing a zillion times, but it was wonderful in the long run. We don’t hear all his weird noises, so we get sleep. Jack got used to sleeping in his crib, so we don’t have to deal with the trauma or tantrums that may come if we would have had to transition him later. Plus, he slept longer. Week 2 we had nights where he slept 5-7 hours and by Week 6 he’s sleeping from 10 pm – 5am or 7am, consistently. Plus, the hubs and I have our own space.
- Smart Baby Monitor by Withings – We love this monitor because it’s just another app on your iPhone or iPad. It’s been great not having to carry another device around the house. Plus, the hubs gets to check in on a sleepy baby at work!
5. Point it down! This is for all the pregos having a boy; point it down! The hubs and I would pick up Jack and the side of his onesie or pajamas would always be wet that first week. We thought the disposable diapers were defective, or we weren’t putting them on tight enough. Turns out we didn’t point it down! Ha. Get ready to do a lot of laundry because of it!
- Disposable changing table pads – This was good for new moms with boys but it could help all! I’ve blocked more pee than I want to remember, which reminds me don’t check a diaper in their crib in the middle of the night. It’s not faster if you have to replace their pajamas, the swaddle blanket, and a crib sheet. That being said, these changing pads help protect the changing table sheet in those first weeks so you don’t have to wash it twice a day.
- Munchkin Bath sponge – We got this simple bath sponge instead of a tub or another contraption, and it has worked excellent for Jack’s baths. Considering we have limited space in our house (northerners we don’t have basements down here) and knowing that someday this kid was going to take over the whole house with toys, I liked how this took up a smaller amount of real estate in the bathroom, plus it was only a $6.00 investment!
- Zipper vs. Button Pajamas – I’ll just go right out and say it! Get zippered pajamas! Those first few weeks when you’re a walking zombie, you don’t want to fiddle with buttons in the middle of the night, promise. Even now, it’s just nice to have a zipper. We are loving the pajamas I got at GapBaby, so cute and soft… with a zipper, of course!
6. Stock up. Check your cabinets for toiletries and other items you may be low on. The week before I had Jack, I loaded up on such things as tinted moisturizer, toothpaste, dog food, contacts, cotton balls, dish soap, and a couple other items. It was nice to have them stocked up and one less thing on my to-do list. That being said, there is always Amazon Prime or the Target Red Card (free shipping with easy mobile sites) at 2am! I used it often, especially for those new items that the baby and a nursing mom may need.
- aden and anais – I am in love with all of their products. They have swaddle blankets that I have used to swaddle with, nurse with, as a burp cloth, or as the base on the floor during tummy time. I love multi-tasker items! More bang for your buck. Plus, they have great crib sheets, changing pad covers, burp cloths, and bathroom towels and washcloths. I’m definitely brand loyal.
7. Go with your gut. Remember, this is nature! Somewhere deep inside of you, you already have all the answers. Somehow your baby figures out how to feed and your body responds, and this is the same with knowing what to do. Hug him, love him, and feed him. You can’t spoil a newborn.
8. Ask for help. Friends are amazing. Your friends and family are gold during this time. We had so many people come over, make us dinner, and open up their home just so we could get out. It was so kind and even had us asking ourselves if we deserved such great people in our lives. Plus, it’s nice to talk to people. When I didn’t want to talk baby, and just wanted to laugh, I would call my brother or friends without kiddos. Or if I didn’t know what I was doing nursing or baby-wise, I would text or call my friends or sisters-in-law for encouragement. It was wonderful to have so many outlets. Plus, the outpouring of folks that came over and had dinner with us, loved on the baby, and just talked over wine, was remarkable. Let them all in, even when you haven’t showered, and your house is a mess. I was a little scared but now I think my friendships have grown stronger because of this. Friends are gold.
9. Keep the packaging. We got a lot of cool stuff for our baby during all the showers. Though I tried to be a minimalist, there is just a lot of stuff the baby needs. On some things, you need to get ready before the baby gets here, such as clothes, blankets, and crib sheets, but some things you don’t have to get ready until he’s actually in the world. I say do what you can to keep the packaging. Luckily, we only had one item like this – I wish I would have saved the packaging on our bouncer. There are bouncers, swings, and combos, so we tried to minimize and I picked/guessed a bouncer to be on my registry. When Jack got here, we assembled it, and he was game… for about
a day a couple minutes, and he hasn’t wanted to sit in it since. We went out and tried another bouncer/swing combo and he loves it… actually he’s been sleeping in it while I write this post. So my suggestion is either get them all or just one, and return the ones your baby doesn’t want. Also, use refurbished models by the manufacturer or craigslist to save a little cash.
- 4moms mamaroo – Anything to be able to set your baby down during the day is worth it. Trust me. Jack loves the mamaroo, but I know friends that their baby hated it but loved their bouncer or swing.
10. Enjoy the crazy journey! Holy cow it’s a journey BUT it’s a fun one! Not only for you and your new bambino but for your hubs, friends, and family. I appreciate a lot more of life now and when all those crazy people said it’s worth it… it definitely is. It’s Week 7 and I’m more in love with everything and everyone… Jack, the hubs, friends, and family!
As you can see, this is much better than the presidency and will last longer than four years! Enjoy!
Have a wonderful week friends!!