Well, tomorrow marks four weeks of blissful mommy- and daddy-hood. Four weeks. This weekend makes ONE MONTH. How has my little man been here so long already? I guess it’s true what they say – the time really does fly. It hasn’t all been kittens and roses, but even the 3am feedings are pretty magical. I love being a mom to Harry. There is nothing that could turn me off from it. It’s perfection.
I’m relearning what I already knew – advice sucks. Be it conflicting theories in child rearing books (SO much of that) or the well meaning musings of friends, family, and strangers, advice is something that is going in one ear and out the other in this household. I feel like I know my son well enough to know if I need to read up on something, ask a friend, or just trust my gut. And more often than not, after reading and discussing, I go with my gut anyway.
But here I am, giving advice. I have lots of friends who are pregnant with their first child right now, and many of them have asked me what I found helpful in the hospital and the first few weeks. Instead of giving each pregnant lady I know the much dreaded advice, I thought I’d compile a list of the things that got us through the first four weeks. So if you’re not into advice (I don’t blame you) feel free to skip this post. Though, I tried to make it as much of a “These were our favorite things” list and less of a “You simply MUST have this” list.
1. Newborn onesies. When I say newborn, I don’t mean 0-3 months. I wish I would have had more simple, white, newborn onesies. The first couple of days of Harry’s life, we went through three or more of these a day. I was convinced my baby was going to be big enough to fit into the 0-3 months onesies from the beginning, even if they were a bit baggy. But I forgot that babies lose weight in the first two weeks. Harry was born at 7lbs 4oz, but he was down to 6lbs 13 oz when we left the hospital. Newborn onesies were what he LIVED in for the first two and a half weeks. The cute clothes didn’t fit yet, and honestly, he soiled them so often I would have gotten frustrated putting a new outfit on him every two hours.
Oh, and bonus points for onesies and shirts that open in the front (and have built in mittens). Then you don’t have to pull them over his head (and he doesn’t scratch his face off). Which makes him a whole lot happier, and me feel like a way better parent.
2. Tucks pads (or similar witch hazel pads). Without going into too much detail for some of my readers who really don’t want to hear about this (Hi, Papa) these were necessary and such a huge relief for the first two weeks. There were times when I thought to myself that I would never heal, never feel better, never be able to sit normal again. But these were a sweet, sweet relief. Stock up.
3. Nursing tank tops. I lived in these, night and day, for the first couple of days. Your (ahem) ladies get so swollen you can’t even think about putting on a bra, even a nursing bra, but you need support and quick access. I still sleep in these at night. Grab at least 3-4. You’ll be doing laundry every day, if you’re anything like me and your baby is anything like Mr. McBlowout Diapers, but sometimes you’ll need to change in the middle of the night. I had 3 and I wished I had one more.
5. A soft chair. In the hospital, I didn’t sit on anything but the soft bed. So when I came home (oh, bring a pillow to sit on in the car) it wasn’t easy to sit on much aside from my bed or the couch. Luckily, my office chair has a bit of a cushion. I used it at our dining table for weeks.
6. Total Baby (iPhone app). For tracking dirty diapers (and their variety), feedings, sleep, baths, shots, doctor’s appointments and so much more. I love this app. Buy the $5 version. It is worth it’s price in the first 4 hours.
7. Different diaper varieties. When we were in the hospital, we used Huggies Little Snugglers for Newborns. They were great. But when we got home, I tried to use the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Newborn diapers… and they were just a tiny bit too big. Both sized for little newborns, but one worked for the first 10 days, and then (as luck would have it right as we ran out of the Huggies) the other fit perfectly. Different brands fit differently, so I would say to stock up on different brands when you’re buying diapers. Who knows what will work for your baby. Oh, and before going out to buy more newborn sized diapers, try a size one on your baby. You’ll be surprised that he might already fit.
8. Stretchy blankets. Harry isn’t huge on swaddling. He likes to have his hands free. And that’s okay with us. But for the first two weeks, we swaddled him religiously. And because he was squirmy and didn’t particularly love being swaddled, stretchier blankets worked much better to get a tight fit.
9. Different options for sleeping. We have Harry’s crib, a Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, and a swing. Not to mention mom and dad’s arms. The crib seemed so big and far away for the first week (he naps in there now) so we carried the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper all around the house. He actually still sleeps in that at night. The swing is nice to keep him down when he’s not too happy about going to sleep. It’s soothing. Having different options was great because (for now) Harry sleeps anywhere, and if he didn’t like one… we could move him to a different option. Check Craigslist for swings. I got mine for $30.
10. A good camera, and an easy camera. I love my Nikon D3100 to take the perfect pictures of those little toes and that great big baby mohawk, but my iPhone is always nearby so most of our daily captures are on that. I’m so glad there is a decent camera on that thing.
So there you have it. The ten things Harry and I have loved for the first four weeks. Anyone have any different essentials?