Must-Haves – First 8 Weeks with a Newborn (Mommy Care)

As an overly organized and very eager mom-to-be, when I was pregnant I did extensive research on what everyone was buying and what we really needed vs what was more of a luxury. This post is about our experience during the first 8 weeks of life with a newborn – what worked for us may not work for you, and what I deem to be a luxury may end up being a necessity for you!

This is really important – I learnt very quickly how easy it is to ignore yourself and your needs while you’re in the midst of the craziness of trying to care for a newborn! I was so blessed to have an extremely easy labor and delivery experience so there was a very minimal amount of healing that needed to happen, that’s why I’m not recommending things like ‘padsicles’ etc because while I’m sure those are awesome, I did not need to use them!

Maternity/nursing pajamas – Chris’ grandmother gave us some money while I was pregnant and I knew that I had to indulge and buy myself a treat: soft, comfortable pajamas. The ones that I found were on Motherhood Maternity were so awesome (unfortunately they are not for sale anymore so I can’t link to them!) I absolutely love them. I didn’t want anything frumpy-looking (when you look frumpy, you act frumpy) and I wanted to be able to wear them while I was pregnant, in the hospital, and nursing at home too.

Maternity/Nursing pajamas from Motherhood Maternity
Maternity/Nursing pajamas from Motherhood Maternity

Nursing Bras – I actually bought some nursing bras to wear while I was pregnant as well, since I didn’t want to spend money on regular bras that I ‘d only be wearing for a few months! The first two I bought were from Motherhood Maternity and were really cute. I had put off buying nursing bras because all the ones I had seen before were so ugly and old lady-ish! Thankfully, Motherhood had some lovely lacy ones so I was very pleased. Once I had Baby E and my milk officially ‘came in’ I obviously had to buy some bigger bras so I went to Target and found some that were still cute but much cheaper (I got one for $18 and one for $16 on clearance). The key to buying nursing bras is to find one that is not under-wire (as I hear that is bad for your supply) but still provides enough support! The only problem with the Target ones is that they don’t keep their shape as well as my other ones but for that price, it really doesn’t matter if they don’t last very long.

Post-Partum Support Band – The thing that I struggled with the most post-partum was the back pain and overall tenderness around my mid-section. As soon as I got home I knew I had to find something that offered some amount of support for my back and belly. At the time I didn’t think about the added benefit of the band helping to shrink the belly-pooch but I’m telling you, it worked!!! I wore the band everyday for about two weeks and then every now and then for another week after that and I have regained my shape so quickly! My stomach is back to flat (don’t get me wrong, there is still a good amount of stretchy skin and its not toned at all since I haven’t done any exercise) and I got my waist back too. I will not have another baby without one of these in the future. I am aware that you can buy belly bands for $80, sometimes $100, but my mother in law found one for me at (surprise!) Motherhood Maternity for $25 and it was exactly what I needed. Don’t spend a whole lot if you don’t have to!

Post Partum Support Band
Post Partum Support Band

Lindt Chocolate – Or any treat that tickles your fancy. So I know that everyone is all concerned about losing the pregnancy weight and blah blah blah. GIVE YOURSELF A TREAT for goodness’ sake! You just either popped a human being out of your body or underwent major surgery and are now having to keep the thing alive and healthy. Have some chocolate. Or some ice-cream. Or anything else your heart desires at the time. I’m not saying that you need to over-indulge, I’m all about healthy eating and am proud to say that 10 weeks post partum I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. The thing is, it does a weary new mama’s heart good to sit, even if just for a minute or two, and enjoy something that is only hers. For me, it’s Lindt chocolate. Being non-American, I am a chocolate snob. I will not eat Hershey’s unless I absolutely have to. While I was pregnant it was Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt, now that it’s almost fall I am all about Lindt dark chocolate with caramel AND sea salt. What could be more delicious?! Seriously though, it’s like my little reward for having consoled my crying baby after an hour of her having trapped gas. Do it and DON’T feel bad about it.

Lindt Chocolate
Lindt Chocolate

Mommy-time – Once I went back to work (4 hours every morning during the week) my days became more and more crowded with things that needed doing (the main reason I’m trying to become BFF with my CrockPot). That left zero time to spend in the Bible and in prayer, and zero time to relax in silence! So I decided to set my alarm for 5:30am every day. Sometimes I get up at that time, sometimes if we have had a worse night than usual I stay in bed until 6 or 6:30 but regardless, I make sure I am out of bed before my husband and before Baby E. Sometimes she will wake up so I change her, feed her, and lay her in bed beside her sweet daddy and they snuggle and sleep. I wander bleary-eyed to the bathroom, put in my contact-lenses, stagger to the kitchen to turn on the kettle and rinse out the French Press to make coffee. To be honest, the promise of coffee is really what motivates me to actually get out of the bed at that time. As soon as the coffee is made I high-tail it to my comfy chair in the nursery, wrap my dressing gown and a big old blanket around me and settle down with the YouVersion Bible App on my iPhone. Recently I’ve been doing two devotional studies a day. At the moment I am doing one video study by John Piper called Popular Verses and Revealing Jesus with Darlene Zchech. John’s is just a few minutes long per day and he really gives you a new take on some well-known verses – lots of food for though. Darlene’s is peppered with practical tips at pursuing righteousness in your life and making your relationship with God a priority, and on some days it includes songs on YouTube that you can worship along to as well. This is my special time in the mornings with God, and I am fierce about protecting it. I am so blessed to have a husband who is on board with this plan, and if Baby E starts to fuss I know that during this time he will take care of it and I don’t have to get up and tend to her. Uninterrupted time to myself in the morning is one of the greatest gifts I give myself and one of the greatest ways that my husband serves me. Once I’m done, I can then get on with putting dinner in the crockpot or other bits of housework that need to be done. This helps me too as I hate to come home from work to a messy house! It kills me 🙂

Let me know how you take care of yourself as a mom, whether you’re a new mom or have children that are all grown up, I’d love to hear from you! Comment on this post or send me a message.

Must-Haves – First 8 Weeks with a Newborn (Mommy Care)

Must-Haves – First 8 Weeks with a Newborn (Feeding/Nursing)

As an overly organized and very eager mom-to-be, when I was pregnant I did extensive research on what everyone was buying and what we really needed vs what was more of a luxury. This post is about our experience during the first 8 weeks of life with a newborn – what worked for us may not work for you, and what I deem to be a luxury may end up being a necessity for you!

When Baby E arrived, I had planned on nursing exclusively for 6 weeks and then pumping when I returned to work part-time. As it happened, it was very difficult for her to get a good latch on my right side in the first few days and by the time she would have developed a good habit on the left for it to work on the right, I was so full of milk that it overwhelmed her and she still couldn’t nurse on that side! After a few frustrating days and nights, Chris and I went to see a lactation consultant and we tried pumping on the right side – it was incredible! Since that point, I have been nursing about once or twice a day and she takes a bottle with pumped breastmilk the rest of the time. It’s been like that since she was a week old and I have to say, I do not believe in nipple confusion. Baby E nurses, takes a bottle and has a paci (or ‘dummy’) and has not had any trouble switching between the three. I love that pumping my milk means that other people can feed her (if she wakes up at night I change her diaper, and then Chris feeds her while I pump) and that wherever we are I can just pull out a bottle and feed her in public without having to fuss with a nursing cover or feel self-conscious. I do believe that if I had nursed exclusively for 6 weeks like I was planning and only introduced the bottle when I went back to work, it would have been a lot more difficult for her to be away from me and feel settled with whoever is keeping her in the mornings. She would have been so used to that time with me and not familiar with the bottle at all – very difficult! I have to say that if I was a stay-at-home mom, things may have been different. With our current setup though I do feel like I have the best of both worlds – I get to work and pump but I still get the bonding experience of nursing.

Medela Hand Pump – I think everyone is so different, it’s hard to recommend things like this for others but what works for the absolute best is the hand pump instead of the electric one. I have an electric one that I used for a while in the beginning but I have more control with a hand pump and I feel like I get more faster. It is also helpful that if we’re going on a long car ride I can just take my pump and use it in the car if I need to. One particular day that this was handy was when we went to Pigeon Forge, TN for a day of shopping – I pumped on the drive there and halfway through our shopping trip too! Here’s a tip: I forgot the little white ‘membrane’ thing that goes on the inside on that trip and found out that Walmart sells them, thank goodness! So don’t panic if that happens to you, just find a nearby Walmart (they were only $7 too!).

Medela Harmony Hand Pump
Medela Harmony Hand Pump

Boppy Pillow – Whenever I do nurse, this comes in handy like you wouldn’t believe! It provides just the right amount of cushioning and support that Baby E needs. Since I can only do the ‘football position’ on my right side, I love that I don’t need to fool with a bunch of pillows – all I need is my trusty Boppy! This is a must-have for everyone. I have three different pillow cases for it –  I would definitely recommend having at least 2.

Boppy Pillow

Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic Cream – Here’s the thing, everybody swears by Lanolin ointment for sore nipples (I have some by Lansinoh) and I have to go against the grain here and say that I am not a fan. It is pretty thick and gloopy, you have to wipe your fingers after you apply it and it rubs off on your bra/clothes (I still have an oily looking stain on one of my nursing bras)! It’s also pretty pricey. After struggling to get a good latch, especially on my right side, it really made me quite tender and I was so worried that I would crack and bleed like all the horror stories I read when I was pregnant so my lactation consultant actually recommended Neosporin (or any generic brand of triple antibiotic cream) which I never would have thought of! It soaks into the skin really quickly so you don’t have to wipe it off or wash up before you nurse, and it took the tenderness away immediately! I got a couple tubes for a dollar a piece at Dollar Tree and never looked back.

Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags – If you are blessed and have enough of a supply to store milk, these are by far the best storage bags to freeze with. I have never, ever had one break on me and have recently been storing up to 6.5oz per bag! They are reasonably priced and easy to defrost too.

Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags
Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown’s Newborn Natural Flow Feeding Set – These are the only bottles we have ever used, so I don’t have anything to compare them with but they have worked wonderfully for us. Since my baby is a true guzzler (she eats very quickly and greedily!) the insert that slows everything down helps so much. At the moment she feeds from the 4oz bottles and I pump into the 8oz bottles.

Dr. Brown's
Dr. Brown’s

Muslins – I don’t know if Americans call them muslins, but that’s what I grew up calling these light, airy, breathable blankets. They are perfect for soaking spit up, wiping dribble and pretty much anything else! We have a set of 4 Aden + Anais muslins, a Laura Ashley one and a couple from Chicca Chicca Boom Boom. The Aden + Anais ones are larger and we also use them to lay over Baby E when it’s cool enough for some kind of covering, but too hot for an actual blanket. I can never have too many since they’re completely multi-use items. I’ve also used the Aden + Anais ones for nursing/pumping covers on occasion (for example, in the car!)

Eleni swaddled and covered in her muslins
Baby E swaddled and covered in her muslins

Let me know what your feeding/nursing must-haves are, whether you’re a new mom or have children that are all grown up, I’d love to hear from you! Comment on this post or send me a message.

Must-Haves – First 8 Weeks with a Newborn (Feeding/Nursing)

Must-Haves – First 8 Weeks with a Newborn (Sleeping)

As an overly organized and very eager mom-to-be, when I was pregnant I did extensive research on what everyone was buying and what we really needed vs what was more of a luxury. This post is about our experience during the first 8 weeks of life with a newborn – what worked for us may not work for you, and what I deem to be a luxury may end up being a necessity for you!

Sleeping:

Fisher Price Comfy Time Bouncer – This is what Baby E slept in for the first 3 weeks of her life! We left the toy attachment off and put in one of those little inserts that are meant for car seats to support her head and she slept so soundly. Since she was little there was no need to strap her in, so we laid down a soft blanket for her too. I think the shape of the chair made her feel snug and safe, while the bassinet at that point was just too roomy. The calming vibrations feature was also a big plus for us – it helped to get her into the habit of putting herself to sleep as I would lay her in there while she was getting sleepy, and the vibrations would soothe her to sleep. Now that she’s older (9 weeks) and more interactive, if she’s happy I’ll put her in the chair and attach the toys and she’ll entertain herself for a good amount of time, leaving me to make the dinner or pump milk or do whatever else needs doing. If we’re going to a friend’s house or if I’m leaving her at someone’s house while I’m at work we’ll take it with us as it’s pretty easy to throw in the car!

Fisher Price Comfy Time Bouncer
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We even took the bouncer to Granny’s camper at the lake!

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – I found this on a blog somewhere and really liked the look of it.  When Baby E was first born and we were using the bouncer for her to sleep in we didn’t use this one at all. As a newborn (and she was a pretty big newborn – 8.5lbs and 21in!) it seemed to swallow her up a little. Then as she got a little bigger (around 3 weeks) we decided to put her down in it for a nap and it was wonderful! The shape is so perfect as she doesn’t feel like she is totally out in the open, but she can still stretch out pretty well. I think this is a great transitional item to move towards her sleeping in her crib at night. We use this exclusively at night time so that she knows it’s time to sleep and not just nap, and then we occasionally use the bouncer during the day for naps still. It’s been really handy having both of these (the sleeper and the bouncer) so that she can get used to sleeping in different things and places. I L-O-V-E the way that this thing folds up – so handy! Since we have such crazy schedules and just take her along to wherever we’re going, the fact that it’s easy to carry around is a major bonus. Another nice little feature is that if she starts fussing and waving her arms or kicking, it rocks with her movements so she essentially rocks herself back to sleep!

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Baby E in her Rock n Play Sleeper
Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper

Swaddle Me by Summer Infant – When we first brought Baby E home, we thoroughly enjoyed swaddling her up in our own blankets/muslins and I actually completely forgot that we even had this! I bought it at a consignment event and put it somewhere in the nursery – out of sight, out of mind! I finally remembered that we had it when she was about 6 weeks old. Although it looks somewhat like a straight jacket, babies absolutely love these! It takes so much less time to put on than wrapping them up yourself and it is much harder to break out of. We only use this at night (again, trying to get her to associate certain things with nighttime vs nap-time) and she on the nights that she has slept without waking up once, it has been when she’s bundled up in this. Some bloggers swear that you need two or three but honestly, one is plenty for us!

Swaddle Me by Summer Infant
Swaddle Me by Summer Infant

Let me know what your sleeping must-haves are, whether you’re a new mom or have children that are all grown up, I’d love to hear from you! Comment on this post or send me a message.

Must-Haves – First 8 Weeks with a Newborn (Sleeping)