As promised, here’s my list of our favorite newborn baby items, what we found helpful and a few lessons we learned along the way. Everyone’s journey is different, but these are the top things we found helpful. First, I just want to say that newborn life is really so magical and wonderful. Yeah, there are sleepless nights. Yes, there are a TON of bodily fluids involved. You’re healing, baby is adjusting to the outside world and life is kinda just turned upside down. But, the newborn baby bubble is also really wonderful and sweet. And as everyone says, it goes SO fast. I can’t believe Eloise is already 10 weeks old. Ps. if you missed Eloise’s birth story, here it is!
Baby gadgets that are worth having: Fisher Price Auto Rock & Play (be sure to get the auto rock one), Moby wrap, NUK pacifiers, Britax B-Ready stroller & Britax B-Safe 35 carseat (we love this stroller combo, because it converts to a double stroller), an old school swing that doubles as a bouncer like this one, Graco Pack & Play with changing table, Fisher Price bath tub, HALO swaddle, cloth diapers as burp cloths.
*I’ll be posting a full baby registry guide soon, but these were really helpful items to have in the first 2 months.
Easiest baby clothes: Open bottom gowns, onesies with mittens on the sleeves (tip-you can put these on from the feet up), zip up pajamas, shirts with mittens. Don’t waste your time with the stand alone mittens, because they just come right off. Also, just have a few newborn clothes, because they grow out of them quickly.
Diapers/Wipes: We’ve loved Pampers Swaddlers, but I also really like the Huggies Snugglers and Honest Company diapers. Amazon is the easiest place to get diapers from. We have a two story house, so we found it helpful to have a basket of diapering things downstairs as well as near the changing table in her room. The Costco Kirkland’s brand wipes are awesome. But if you don’t have a Costco, Pampers Sensitive skin ones are my favorite. For diaper rash treatment, I really like Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, A&D Ointment and good old Aquaphor.
Nursing supplies: Disposable nursing pads, Haakkaa Pump (AMAZING to catch extra milk), washable nursing pads (for use at home), several nursing tanks like this one or this one, Medela nursing pump (your insurance should provide one for you), Avent Natural bottles (easiest ones for switching between nursing & bottle feeding), storage bags, Soothie Gel Pads, Lanolin. Also, be sure to get as much help as possible in the hospital from the lactation specialists and nurses in order to get the best latch possible before you leave.
Newborn Life Advice
1. Most importantly, life with a newborn is NOT a time to prove that you’re awesome and can handle everything on your own. Ask for help, take help that is offered and be grateful. We had SO much amazing help and still have so much help. Our parents, my aunt, friends and Matt have all been a HUGE help. Our families have taken turns coming to visit and they’ve cooked, cleaned and done laundry. Our moms have watched Eloise so we can go on dates, because we think it’s still important to keep our relationship a priority even in these early weeks with a baby. I’ve also found it really helpful to have Matt space out his paternity leave instead of taking it all at once. And I’ve had friends or family come over to visit about every other day to help me have some adult interaction since we’ve been advised to keep Eloise home due to the scary flu outbreak. I think all of this help has been huge in allowing me to feel more normal mentally and physically even as I’m still healing. It really does take a village. Talk to other moms, lean on friends, talk out what you’re going through and know your limits.
2. My favorite little bit of advice was from my neighbor. She said, “Just hold your baby.” Hold your baby and snuggle them as much as you want. For us, those first 4 weeks flew. Yes, I did still put my baby down for naps in her crib, but I was also sure to hold her until my heart’s content. The laundry can wait and the chores will still be there when you’re done. Just savor the moments of those first few weeks (and all the moments after that). You’ll never say, I wish I would’ve held my baby less.
3. Give yourself grace. Life with a newborn means you’ll have 10 projects or chores started and none of them finished. The baby will cry, need a new diaper, need to be fed, you’ll need a nap…and that comes before all the other things. I had a hard time at first realizing everything else would have to wait. But, once I let that go a bit, I was able to give myself a lot more grace in regards to the fact that things will just take longer than they used to. What’s important is that my baby is well taken care of and I’ve remembered to eat. 😉 Also, give your body grace. There are all sorts of complications that can occur from childbirth and it can take a lot longer than you originally thought to heal. Birth affects your entire body and it took 40 weeks to get it where it is, so it’ll take your body some time to figure out life after birth. The papers you get from the hospital say it takes 6 weeks to recover, and for some people that is true. But from my experience and talking to other friends…it takes months to feel your *new* normal. At 10 weeks, I’m still recovering physically. If you feel like you aren’t healing properly or something is off, don’t hesitate to go to your doctor!!
4. Schedules are your friend, but use a schedule as a goal not something to add stress to your life. I like schedules, but I understand this isn’t for everyone. It’s really hard to get a young baby on a schedule for a lot of reasons, but I loved having goals in the form of a schedule. If Eloise is off schedule, I let it go and just roll with it as best as we can. We used the Moms on Call schedule and love it. Our pediatrician likes this schedule, so we felt safe and comfortable using it. I bought the Kindle version of the book and have found its advice, schedules and content to be really helpful.
5. Sleep when the baby sleeps, but also do other stuff for yourself. Everyone tells you to sleep when your baby sleeps, but for me, I found it better to prioritize what needed to be done. I tried to take a nap during one of her naps, but during the other naps, I would do things that needed to be done or do something for myself. I think it’s kind of impossible to sleep every time they sleep, so don’t feel pressured to do that. Sometimes squeezing in a shower or making a smoothie will be just as useful as a nap.
6. It takes 17x longer to get out of the house with a newborn. I don’t think this one needs much explaining. Just know that you’ll need to start getting ready to leave the house way earlier than you used to.
7. Have a huge stash of freezer meals in the freezer and easy food in the pantry. For the days when you don’t have someone bringing you dinner, these are awesome. I made about 10 freezer meals ahead of time and wish I would’ve made more. Another great option is to use a service like UberEats or get a bunch of take out/delivery menus to have on hand. I also found it really helpful to have our pantry full of easy/healthy snacks before Eloise was born. You get SO hungry while nursing and you have little time. I also found oatmeal to-go cups and bagels or muffins to be helpful as an easy breakfast. This was all really great to have ahead of time, because you can’t skip meals when you’re nursing or caring for another person!
Hope this helps anyone who’s preparing to have a baby! If you have any questions, feel free to message me! I’m happy to talk about any of this baby or postpartum stuff.