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New Mommy Checklist

6 months into this mommy gig, I’ve read many mommies’ “must-have” lists, and I think it’s about time I put together one of my own! When the hubs and I ventured into our local Babies ‘R Us to put together our registry, we were lost. And I mean, L O S T. We went in around noon, and by the time we left, the sun had gone down. Needless to say, the incredibly helpful sales clerks had shown us everything we ‘needed,’ and by the time we left, there were thousands of dollars’ worth of items on our registry.  A word to the wise, ladies, and take it or leave it: Having a baby is sort of like Valentine’s Day. It’s commercialized. And believe me, there are companies around every corner who want the money you are oh-so-willing to spend on your precious bundle of joy.

We are planners. I am a micro-managing control freak, and my husband has made a career out of anticipating every potential obstacle/downfall in order to win wars. This baby thing? We wanted to be prepared.Yep, we were that couple that went out and bought every item we had registered for that we didn’t get at our baby shower.  (And most of it is collecting dust in the nursery we never use.) The truth is, there are very few things you truly need in order to raise a baby.

With that said, here is my list of “Must-haves.” These are the things I would, without a doubt, invest the money in again if I could do it over.

  1. Diapers! Diapers, diapers, diapers. We got one package of diapers at our baby shower. That’s right, one. Mamas, make sure you let your guests know you want diapers! In every size! (Unless you’re doing cloth diapers, in which case, you rock. I wish I’d been that ambitious.) I think people were afraid that everyone else would bring them. Guess what? You can never have too many diapers.  I know that’s not what you want to hear, and compared to the glorious walls full of ‘things’ you are going to look at when you register, diapers are lame. They don’t make your heart flutter. Trust me – when you go through three packages in the first week of baby’s life, you’re going to want to exchange five of those binkies you got for some Pampers because, well, priorities!

    I know, I know... My baby could pretty much be a diaper model.

    I know, I know… My baby could pretty much be a diaper model.

  2. Sleepsacks: This is an embarrassing admission – when we were in the hospital, every time we needed to swaddle baby, we called a nurse in. Turns out, between myself, my husband, and my mom, we all sucked at swaddling. I was terrified to do it wrong and fall asleep only to wake up to a baby who had somehow tangled himself up in his blanket. In retrospect, the blanket tragedy was probably mostly an irrational fear, but sleep-deprivation will take its toll. And when it does, this Halo Sleepsack will provide you some peace of mind. It was, in those first few weeks, my favorite item I received at my baby shower (and I didn’t even register for it! Thanks, Aunt Molly –  you are brilliant). I wish I’d gotten a dozen because, inevitably, baby would pee in it in the middle of the night, and it became a guessing game – Do we put him in it first thing, and hope we can anticipate when he’s going to have a huge blowout, or do we wait until AFTER he’s had a blowout halfway through the night, and then put it on him??? Seriously. Next time around, we will have tons of these things so we never run out.
    "Guys, if you let me out of this straight-jacket, I promise I'll behave..."

    “Guys, if you let me out of this straight-jacket, I promise I’ll behave…”

    photo 3 

  3. Breastpump: Engorgement. ‘Nuff said. I’ll probably do a whole post at some point on breastfeeding basics (you’d think it would be self-explanatory, right? Not always!) but if you’re choosing to breastfeed, at some point or another you will probably want to invest in a good pump. I got the Medela Freestyle and used it every two hours for the first two weeks (latch issues galore) and it held up nicely.  If you aren’t going back to work, and you won’t be giving bottles except on rare occasions, skip a pricey one. But it’s worth it to get the higher quality if you’ll be using it frequently.
  4. Cloth diaper inserts: My precious bundle of joy made it pretty clear early on that he was a spitter. I mean major reflux. A basic burp cloth simply wasn’t going to handle this mess. Thankfully, my mom prepared me with diaper inserts (which I pretended to be super stoked about when I received them at my shower, then gave her a real “Thank you” once baby got here and I ran out and bought another package). Every new mom deserves to know this life hack. Diaper inserts were made to be absorbent. They may not be the prettiest, but what better time to learn to embroider than when you’re nesting instinct finally kicks in? Besides – when it’s 3 a.m. and there’s a puddle of spit-up under your little one and you’re not about to wash the crib sheets again, you’ll thank me.

    photo 1

    Owned.

  5. NoseFrida: If you follow Baby Sideburns, you probably saw her roast-post on the NoseFrida. I love my Baby Sideburns, but I must respectfully disagree with her here! When baby gets his or her first cold, and you’re listening to painstakingly stuffy breathing, you’ll do anything to make it better. To include sticking a tube in your rugrat’s nose and sucking the snot out using your very own lung power. These gadgets are seventeen bucks – do yourself a favor and register for it. In fact, make it a baby shower game – whoever shows up with the NoseFrida in tow wins a prize. Really, though, this person knows what they’re doing and probably loves you very much. (Disclaimer: I draw the line at the Windi. Google at your own risk!)

    photo 2

    The mother of all snot-suckers.

  6. Carrier: A fellow mommy loaned me her ErgoBaby when Kenneth was about two months and we had to fly (sans Daddy) from Missouri to Florida. We never looked back. This thing is so much easier to use than a stroller or infant carrier.  Plus, you have your hands free. It’s especially useful when baby is fussy and only wants to be held. You can go to the grocery store, get laundry done, do dishes – pretty much anything, all while baby is snuggled in close to you (and sometimes even napping peacefully on your back!). I definitely encourage every new mom to check into a local babywearing group on Facebook. The ladies there will hook you up with a Learn & Play where you can try (and even borrow) different styles of carriers before investing in one (they start around $125). We even ventured out into the realm of ring-slings! Can’t wait to have another baby so we can try it out with a squish. 😉
    IMG_0709

    Aww, man… No more excuse for not getting anything done. But at least my arms aren’t sore!

    random2

    Complete with sleepydust… It’s love.

  7. Boobies: Yep, I went there.  I just wanna point out that boobs require no washing/sterilizing, and they’re free. I dunno about you, but I am super lazy, and the learning curve of caring for an infant was enough for me to handle without washing bottles multiple times a day, and running to the store for formula. My little man is finally starting solids, and I am seriously resenting having to consciously anticipate/plan his meals, then be all responsible and stuff and clean them up. Ugh. It was so much more fun when my body did all the work. 😦
  8. Swing: Oh my gosh – I forgot the swing! How could I forget the swing?! Little man is now 22 pounds, and he STILL loves to nap in his swing! There was that one incident when he fell out (before he’d actually rolled over and we didn’t realize just how mobile he was) so I advise you to always strap baby in, even if he’s never shown any signs of escape before. Otherwise, embrace the swing! Seriously! I’m all about ‘attachment,’ and ‘bonding,’ and ‘skin-to-skin,’ but sometimes you have to shower. Or leave your love with a babysitter.  Or go into another room to have 45 minutes to yourself for the sake of your sanity. When life happens, you will want a swing with lullabies and a safety harness to strap your baby into. This is one of those things that made my heart flutter when we looked at it in the store – “How cuuuuuuute! He’ll have little lamb ears!” Now, my heart flutters when I attempt a swing transfer during naptime and he starts to stir. I digress….

    003

    Arguably the best $175 we ever spent…

 

Well, I think that pretty much covers it. These are the things that have made the first few months the easiest for us. The rest of the baby hoopla is, well, just that. In fact, look out for my next post on the things I was surprised not to have needed! That should be fun.

5

Baby Love

Well, Kenneth turned one month old yesterday! It’s hard to believe – it feels like we just brought him home from the hospital. I remember, a couple of days after he was born, thinking back to a few nights before that when his daddy and I had been watching The Walking Dead every night and how it felt like that was a different life. Things are starting to feel ‘normal’ now, and this is starting to feel like my ‘real’ life.  It’s hard to remember life before Baby Kenneth – I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my old schedule (i.e., no schedule, and unlimited sleep!). But I think I’ve definitely got the better part of this deal. Yes, things are totally different now, and (almost) every second of every day revolves around this little life we’ve created.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I don’t know what I’d do without him, and can’t imagine life before him.

There’s this thing about parenthood that I’ve discovered – which also holds true for marriage. People tell you congratulations when they learn you are expecting, they smile like they’re so happy for you, they give you words of wisdom and try to tell you what it might be like.  But it’s one of those things that you can’t possibly understand until you’ve done it.  And behind the smiles of the well-wishers is all of the knowledge they won’t be able to impart upon you. The things you just have to figure out for yourself.

Things no one tells you about parenthood:

You will change consecutive diapers.  It will feel like a waste of money when you hear those velcro tabs sealing followed immediately by a sound indicating a 4- or 5-wipe job.  It’s not a waste of money. Consider the alternative, and thank God that you got the diaper on in time.

A shower becomes a token gesture.  Please, continue to shower every day for your own sanity, and so that others in your household don’t judge you. But accept the fact that many times, you will barely have dried off before you are covered, again, in poop or pee or breastmilk, or a combination of the three.

God invented the breast pump for a reason. So mommies can have 15 minutes in which no one expects anything else from her. So that hubbies can let their wives get a 4-hour stretch of sleep. And so that said wives can enjoy an alcoholic beverage on football Sunday. Cause let’s face it – after 9 months of watching every substance that passes through your lips, you’ve earned it, mama!

On the subject of bottles – you will feel guilty when you see your hubby put the ‘artificial’ nipple to your babe’s lips.  Simply recall the hours you spend each day with your darling at your breast – or even better, in the middle of the night! That should nip that guilt right in the bud. Also, you may feel something else unpleasant, and it may take you a moment to realize that it’s jealousy.  Yes, your child will willingly take his nourishment from something other than you.  Yes, your feelings might be a little hurt.  That will disappear the next time he falls asleep while you’re nursing him.  Nothing will ever replace you as his mama.

On the subject of sleep – you will discover that you need much less sleep than you thought.  There are parents who will brag about how their 5-week-old baby is sleeping 7 hours a night. Don’t expect to be one of them.  Don’t expect to get more than a couple of hours of sleep at a time.  But know that you were made for this, and that when your baby is up for 3 or 4 hours in the middle of the night, you will find the strength within you to push through.  And no one wants to tell you that you might briefly resent your baby for this.  Don’t worry, that’s normal, too.  It will pass.

Also in regards to sleep – no one tells you that for every night that it seems like someone stole your angel baby from his bassinet and replaced him with a demon child, there will be a night that’s almost magical.  You’ll wake right as you hear your baby start to stir, take him in your arms, and nurse him until he passes out, drunk off your milk. And you will follow suit – drunk off of baby love. Everything will happen just how it’s meant to, and you’ll feel like the best mommy in the world (and yes – you are!).

There will be times, when your milk lets down just before he tells you he’s hungry, or when he’s laying on your chest and he matches you breath for breath, sigh for sigh, that you feel more ‘one’ with your baby than when he was in your body.  Everything will feel ‘right,’ and you will know down to your core that this is what you were created to do.  These are also usually the moments you are overcome with emotion.  It’s okay to cry. You were part of a miracle.  Drink it all in while you can – you’ll never get these moments back.

In celebration of Kenneth’s one month birthday (yes, I’m totally about to become that obsessed mother who thinks her kiddo is the cutest one in the world. Except, mine actually is! :P) :

igotmybabyback

fuzzymonkey

daddytummytime

cutestbabyever

babytoes

angelbaby

 

AND in celebration of mommy – cause I worked hard to make this baby, and I’m damn proud of my body for the way it took it like a champ!

Six weeks pregnant.

Six weeks pregnant.

One month postpartum.

One month postpartum.

Not bad, if I do say so myself! And that’s with zero exercise – unless you count breastfeeding (’cause let’s be real, sometimes it feels like a workout). If I didn’t have a blood clot the size of Texas in my leg, I’d say my body handles pregnancy pretty darn well.  Who’s ready for round 2!? 😛