Reflections and Helpful Tips for surviving your baby's first month
If you head on over to the magical world of google or roam around the Pinterest section on Baby Advice, you'll find some really helpful tips and what to expect post delivery. Unlike our parents we live in the wonderful era of information overload. With that said once you've done your own research and before you've purchased a million diapers on sale, I strongly suggest you talk to your loved ones and friends with kids. You'll start to build your own arsenal of tips, tricks and registry must haves after collecting everyones suggestions. You'll even start to hear similar advice from your peers and items people swore by. At the end of the day you'll decide what works best for you and your family, but it's always nice to have a starting point.
The Following is a List of tips (things I wish I knew) and material things that helped me through my baby's first month:
1. Your vagina will hurt keep the in-laws away: I have nothing against my in-laws but there is no worse feeling than going through natural birth and immediately having to attend to your in-laws for a week. I remember the nurses asking us why we were rushing out sooner then most new parents did from the hospital, and our answer "we are trying to get home with baby before our parents arrived from out of town". They looked at me with this compassionate glare and said "poor you, please don't cater to them, you need to recover and get all the rest you can get". I didn't quite understand just then, but I do now. Your body isn't the only thing trying to recover, you need time to process and emotional get yourself together before having the entire family crashing in.
You'll also need time alone with just you, baby and spouse to bond. In addition, remember you cannot argue with your inlaws as you could with your own mother ( when receiving unsolicited advice ) and if your mother in-law walks in on you while breastfeeding and you're still trying to get a hang of it (baby latching problems) ...you can just imagine --- talk about awkward. However, let me be clear, having extra help is a lifesaver those first few days, just make sure it's someone you feel absolutely comfortatble with (like walking around naked and screaming my vagina hurts comfortable) and someone who is willing to take care of dishes, laundry etc etc. Basically you'll need help doing the household daily grind things that your body (AKA Lady parts) cannot handle. Mainly because at the end of the day the most important thing you should be focusing on is getting to know your little one.
Okidoki ufffff now that I got that off my chest ( it's probably the most important advice of all) I can continue on to the smaller things that have made life easier.
2. Baby Apps: There is this wonderful App called Baby Connect which I happen to research pre-baby (being the app obsessed person I am) and trust me when I say it is worth every penny. The best part is you can have multiple users, so your spouse or relative, nanny etc, can also use it. It will help you record feedings, diapers and much more. But for those breastfeeding mommas it's especially nice to help you remember which boob to start of with when it's time for your next feeding ( after pregnancy your short term memory will be forever..........wait what was I talking about? ).
Second wonderful App discovery is Relax Melodies. It has much more than white noises, you can mix different sounds and adjust the volume for each. I could spend hours playing with it. Our Little ones favorite is the vacuum sound, heavy rain, and the Flute.
Third, download one of those apps that lets you take a picture daily and send you a reminder to do so, this way at the end of the baby's first year you can assemble his or her's baby first yr video and remember all their reached milestones.
3. Co-sleeper: A friend of ours gave me this baby co-sleeper that she'd used with her little one and it was our favorite item for the baby's first 2 weeks ( I started putting baby in crib by week 3). Since it's used for such a short time, it's certainly an item that be best received second hand or found on craigslist. But it's absolutely wonderful because you can place it in your bed between you and spouse with no worries of rolling over baby.
4. Changing station: Babies are pooping machines and it's best to have a changing station in every major part of your household. One friend told me she never even had one, she just used the portable one that goes inside the diaper bag since that could be layed down anywhere. Although she was definitely right, I personally loved having one in the babies nursery and in our main living area as a Pack and Play. I also placed tissue boxes everywhere around the house for those times when accidents happen and burpees were out of reach. Speaking of Burpees......
5. Cloth Diapers for Burpees: They are the best and can safely be laid under the babies head for those occasional spit ups during the night, as well as butt. You won't believe how many times the sheets were saved from laundry by putting these under her as she slept or laid somewhere.
6. Sleep Lamb: Our baby girl also loves the sound of chirping birds, for some reason it knocks her right out. This little lamb is her best friend come nightfall.
7. Swaddle Blankets: Although we stopped swaddling some time around the end of week 2 (she would just unswaddle herself every night), these blankets by Aden & Anais worked best for us and are continuously used to cover her.
8. Extra Pump parts: Some moms don't pump as early as I did, but we had issues with baby latching sometimes, not even the breast shield would do the trick. So I had to start pumping really early to reduce breast engorgement. Three weeks in I kept thinking how nice it would be to have an extra set of the medela pump valves, mostly because no one wants to be washing parts at 2 am. So I ordered them on amazon and they have been something less to stress about.
9. Baby Carrier: I personally have a Beco, and for the first few weeks I really wish I had the Moby Wrap (Beco felt to grown up for the little one during her first two weeks). Sometime around the end of the second week I started using the Beco in order to get household chores done (she falls asleep immediately once inside the pouch).
10. Birthing Ball/ Yoga Ball: During the first 2 weeks sometimes it was the only thing that would calm her down. And even though I have it marked as number 10, it could easily be the single most important thing we own for keeping baby happy.
Ladies let us not forget about your health. The following are a couple things that helped me survive the first two weeks.
1. Tucks Pads: They might give you some at the hospital, but you cannot own to many of these the first few days. I recently saw them at Cosco and had I known this. I would of cleared their inventory hehehe. The Hospital might also give you some Dermablast, something like that-- I felt the Tucks Pads provided much better relief.
2. Lasinoh breast therapy: Before and after your milk comes in these things are amazing to place on your breast for some added relief.
3. Nipple Cream: Because almost everyone gets swore at first
5. Snacks & Water: Breastfeeding will make you hungry and thirsty, as if you've been walking all night through the Sahara. For the first two weeks I kept a Banana, Belvita Breakfast crackers and a Baby Bell piece of cheese by my bedside and a container with 16oz of water (which was always refilled by my loving hubby, anytime it was running low). Speaking of hubby's.....
6. A compassionate loving person who does laundry and loves to cook: Some of our friends came over with food a couple times, and it was a tremendous relief and not to mention Delicious. My husband was off for the first 2 weeks and took care of laundry ( you'll be doing A LOT OF LAUNDRY from now on).
In addition everyone says sleep when baby sleeps, however that's sometimes nearly impossible because your body is still going through such a rush after childbirth that it's still trying to process the madness. Personally I didn't start feeling the exhaustion till the second week, by then I had enough sleepless nights and aches and pains that my body was willingly able to sleep when baby slept. Oh almost forgot a Neck Pillow (travel pillow) works wonders for those midnight feedings.
Don't answer calls, leave an automatic message with baby details, and telling them you'll get back to them as soon as possible.
Try to get all the prep work of organizing baby announcements and pre addressed envelopes, any pregnancy albums that you've been working on, photo archiving system etc etc etc. do all of this the two weeks before baby. It will make your life so much easier once baby arrives. I got that tip from a friend who just had hers and she was completely right. After baby you are not going have time to do all those crafty things you usually had time for (at least not the first 2 weeks).
You'll all survive with or without any of the items on the lists above. I learned to just go with the flow and do what felt right. Example my baby was introduced to a bottle, a pacifier, and I pumped early etc etc all by her second week. Here we are at week 7 and she is doing just fine. You have to do what feels right for you, I was stressing myself out feeling guilty about giving her the bottle so early and then when she was 11 days old I gave her a pacifier and stressed about that. I've learned very quickly that as long as you love and care for your little one at this moment none of those things matter.
One more thing if you happen to drop your baby early on.....OOOppps, there is a phrase that states: There are those who do and those who lie about it never happening. So again being a new parent is tough, you're going to be exhausted and %^&* is bound to happen, that will make you feel like the worst parent in the Universe. Hopefully when it does you have someone there ( a family member, doctor, 911) to calm you down and reassure you that everything will be okay. Deep Breaths my friends, Deep Breaths.