Happy New Year, my Broads. I am sure you're tired of hearing about resolutions at this point. Mine was simple this year. I want to focus on quality rather than quantity in all aspects of my life. Being a new mom twice over has made me more aware of quality and what we really need. So this post is all about the needs of a new mom in those first hazy, crazy-in-love days that are long and fleeting all at once. I'll also share a dirty little secret of mine, which I might be struck by lightening from the blog-gods for sharing...
Secret's Out You will find lists and pretty photo lays all over the inter webs of what to pack for your hospital stay. I am here to tell you once and for all that other than a working, safely installed carseat, you really only NEED one thing: A cute outfit to bring that nugget home in.
What? you're shocked? You've packed a huge bag of stuff a month in advance?? I know. So did I. Twice. And both times, guess what? If I had left it at home by mistake, I would have been fine! If you're fortunate enough to live in a developed country, hospitals have all you need. From breast pumps and tools to extra pillows to socks (cozy ones! with little tread thingies on the bottom!!) to even underwear and toiletries. You will not be without anything you need while at the hospital. But you know what, go ahead and pack that bag. And that cute floral robe you won't put on. And your makeup bag you won't open. Or maybe you will. If you do, you can shake your head at me for not actually being that classy as I wore a hospital gown, free socks and mesh undies for my entire stay.
But once that last day in the hospital comes to an end, you need to go home. Here's what I think you need, you really really need, in those early weeks...
2. Footie Pajamas - It has been scientifically proven that babies are incapable of keeping socks on both of their feet for more than 5 minutes. Add that to the fact that sleep deprivation makes snapping little tiny snaps a daunting task and you'll understand why I recommend these footed zip up jammies. There are plenty of brands and price ranges, but I love anything from aden + anais because they are breathable and get softer with each wash.
3. Swaddle Blankets - You will spend approximately 2 hours each day wrapping, unwrapping and rewrapping your child into a burrito. Beyond the reasons I already listed for all things a+a, these can serve as a burp cloth, nursing cover and car seat/stroller drape in a pinch. Plus I couldn't make a board without something nautical themed.
4. My Brest Friend - Prior to birthing a child, the name of this product made my mature self roll my eyes and make a puking face. But I can now say this is not only one of my best friends, but it serves as extra hands. Nursing has a steep learning curve and while it comes easy to some, no one will tell you a nice pillow wasn't appreciated. For those it was harder for, like me, this pillow makes the early days a bit easier. I also am going to take back what I said earlier about the hospital and say that this should come along with you. Another plus? It comes with a little pocket to hold things like lip balm and other items you'll want close by and to get to with little movement, because you have a sweet, delicious smelling bambino sleeping on you...
5. Breast Pump - My nursing experiences fell on opposite sides of the spectrum. I'll spare the good and bad details but basically this pump saved me both times. If you're having difficulties you'll want it to build up your supply and to bottle-feed expressed milk. If you're not struggling there is a high chance that at first you'll be producing at a faster rate than the baby consumes. In this case, you'll want it for relief. This handy version can work without being plugged into an outlet, which makes multitaskers like me rejoice. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish while pumping. This starter kit has most necessary accessories, but storage bags will be needed as well.
6. Nursing Tank - There are plenty of brands to choose from, but these from Target are comfortable, affordable and, if washed correctly, so durable. This goes double duty as a bra and base layer. I literally wear one every day and sleep in one every night. Stock up.
7. Nipple Balm - Remember that little pocket on the nursing pillow I talked about earlier? You'll want one of these toted around in it. This brings relief in the early days. Plus the name will make you giggle and, possibly, keep calm. I also used disposable nursing pads and made sure I had a few in the nursing pillow pocket, in my nightstand, bathroom, etc.
8. Cute Undies - Let's be honest, you're not going to feel your most glamorous - and certainly not sexy - the first few days/weeks postpartum. You're also going to need comfortable, full-butt cotton chonies. Do yourself a favor and at least get cute ones. VS offers tons of styles and patterns. I'd recommend at least 5-10 pairs.
9. Milestone Blocks - I had to include at least one slightly unnecessary item in this mix. While you will be tired, you will be glad you took photos at various stages, especially the early ones. I love that these have the days/weeks/months variations. And if you miss certain markers by a day, remember the baby can't tell on you so just take the photo and pat yourself on the back.
10. Cozy Wrap Cardigan - I saved the best for last. This thing is literally a blanket with arms and yet somehow doesn't make you look like a total schlep. It will keep you cozy on your own when you get those precious spurts of rest and it's perfect for covering you and baby during skin-on-skin time. My toddler still loves it. Get it. Or something like it.
Well there you have it. If you've read this far you may be as tired as a new mom. Now take this information and go take care of yourself or someone you love.
Cheers, my dears.