Friday, October 19, 2012

New Baby Must Haves!

After almost 6 weeks with my little Charlotte, I feel like I could finally give other Mom's or (soon-to-be Moms) a few recommendations on the newborn must-haves. I thought long and hard about what items we could not live without and here is my list....

For Baby:

1. An Exercise ball - I know, this isn't a normal "baby" item, but we would be up a creek without a paddle if we didn't have this. Charlotte loves to be bounced and this is magical (most of the time). If she has been fed and changed and is still crying, this usually works.  I hold her in my arms, sit on the ball, and bounce. She will either fall asleep or just quiet down and look around the room. It has saved us from hours of screaming!

2. Beco Butterfly Carrier - Another must have for a crying baby. Or for a Mom that wants to get some chores done. Or for grocery shopping. I use this carrier daily. When we get out of the house and run errands, or when Charlotte wants to be held and I need to get a few things done, I put her in the carrier and work around the house. If I happen to turn the vacuum on she will usually falls asleep in minutes. There are a ton of carriers out there and many will work great, I chose the Beco because I tried a bunch on in a store with a weighted baby and it was my favorite.


3. A Swing or Bouncy Seat - We actually have both (Snugabunny Swing and Comfort & Harmony bouncer). And use both daily. The swing is downstairs and the bouncy seat is up in our room. Right now Charlotte chills in the bouncy seat while I shower and get ready in the morning. And she sometimes naps in the swing downstairs. It is nice to have somewhere to put her that is safe and fun for her while I make myself food or change the laundry. And sometimes Mommy needs a break. :) 

relaxing in the swing
4. Miracle Blanket Swaddle - for our little Houdini, this is the only swaddle that worked. She was able to work her hands out of all the others and the key to swaddling is getting the hands down by their sides. In the first few weeks when she was crying for no reason the swaddle, combined with some loud "shhh" and a little swaying calmed her right down. We don't use the swaddle as much now, but I am so glad we had it!

5. Gas Droplets & Diaper Rash cream - Sometimes when the baby is crying and you have tried everything else, a little gas droplet does the trick. And if it doesn't work, at least you know you tried everything! Within the first few weeks Charlotte broke out in her first diaper rash. Having the cream on hand was key. Having to run to the store when it happens (and all babies get it eventually) is not fun. We used Boudreaux's Butt Paste and CJ's BUTTer diaper rash cream (for cloth diapers). Love the CJ's, it smells like blueberries!!

For Mom (note they are almost all boob related lol!):

1. Breast Pump - even though you may not plan to pump until you go back to work, or maybe just when you leave for an evening out, it is good to have this when the baby arrives. I didn't start pumping until about 4 weeks after she was born and I wish I had started sooner. I am now trying to build up a little supply so Matt and I can take a weekend trip sometime, and I need at least 30 feedings. That is a lot. Especially since I can only get an ounce or two every time I pump and I am only pumping two to three times a day at the most (I am storing 4oz portions). It would be great to pump while I feed her, but that multi-tasking is difficult (I've tried). I have the Medela Swing pump and I like it a lot. It gets the job done.

2. Breast Pads - I use about 4-6 of these disposable pads a day. I leak, a lot. I have tried the Medela and the Lansinoh brands and I think I like the Lansinoh better. Either one will work though. And I prefer the disposable over the washable cloth ones. The cotton sticks to my nipples and they get soaked quickly. They also end up getting my bra or shirt wet since there is no barrier, which is why I like the disposable shirt stays dry!

3. Breastfeeding clothes - I have 5 bras and 4 tank tops. And I use them all. I got one bra from Motherhood and the rest from Target. They are around $20/each and come in a few cute styles. They won't last more than 6 months or so (especially since I wash mine often) but they are great. I have a bra that is perfect for the night, comfortable and roomy, and 4 others that I can use during the day. I didn't think I would need that many, but I did. I would end up soaking a bra or two a day and couldn't do bra laundry daily (plus they need time to air dry). And you really don't want to get breast milk on your clothes and then re-wear them, you start to smell like sour milk after a while (not sexy). And the tank tops are a good back up for the bras, or for anytime. They have the snaps that make breastfeeding easy, and come in a lot of cute styles (thank you Target). 

4. Frozen food - even if you hate the pre-made frozen junk, it is good to have at least one or two meals on hand. There will be plenty of nights when you don't feel like making dinner, or haven't had time to get to the store, and those will come in handy. We had a frozen lasagna sitting in our freezer at least a week before Charlotte arrived!

5. Family - This is a must have for baby and Mom! Having family or friends around to help the first few weeks was a life saver. Matt and I could have done it on our own, but having the extra hands to help cook or clean or babysit so you can shower was awesome. It takes a little while to figure it all out and get into a routine and having a little help makes that transition so much easier. Plus, your family wants to see the baby and bond and be a part of the whole experience too! Fun for all! :)

Charlotte and Grandpa :)

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