Ten necessities to survive baby's first month
Quick disclaimer before I jump into this post: I am not one of those moms who thinks her opinions and experiences are the end-all, be-all for motherhood (not even a little bit). I am, however, all about sharing what has worked for me and my son so that hopefully others can find ideas and tricks that work for them, as well.
My son is only four months old (will be five months next week), but I seriously feel as though the newborn phase was so long ago. I'll share a longer post about him later since I was MIA during my pregnancy and the first four months of his life, but today I wanted to share my 10 necessities for surviving that first month with our sweet Case James.
We really did have it pretty easy in the grand scheme of things. Case slept well (well enough for a newborn), he didn't have any feeding issues that were out of the ordinary, and all of his developmental milestones have been on track. That doesn't mean it's been a walk in the park, though, because let's face it - he's a baby. Motherhood is tough, but it's one of the most rewarding times of my life thus far, and I know it will only get better from here.
To be honest, I was not prepared enough for when he actually arrived. I had the pre-baby preparation done (hospital bag was packed, nursery was ready, you get the idea), but as far as how to nurse? Didn't do any research. What's the best pump? Wouldn't have been able to tell you because I didn't have one yet. How do you sleep train? I was the wrong woman to ask.
So, basically, the first month was a ton of trial and error for me (and for many moms, of course), but I did come across 10 things (for lack of a better word) that I truly do believe helped both me and Case get through that first month.
I didn't even know this existed until we got home from the hospital and my mom recommended it (based on a recommendation from a family member). This. Thing. Is. Amazing. It's safe for sleeping because baby can't lose control of his or her head and neck, it has a slight incline (read: no incidents with spit up), and it vibrates, so its soothing for sleep. Case slept in this (naps and at night), until he was five weeks old. He transitioned to the bassinet portion of the Pack n' Play easily, and he still laid in it here and there after he transitioned. Seriously, y'all, consider this one. There's also a deluxe version, but we had the standard and it worked perfectly well for us.
If you choose to nurse (and honestly, this may be the reality for bottle-fed babies, too), you can expect the first few weeks of feedings to take some time. It was normal for feedings to last 45 minutes to an hour because Case was just so, so sleepy. He'd fall asleep, stare at me, look around, you name it. As much as I loved staring at his sweet face, 45 minutes is a long time to just sit (for me, at least). I didn't want to watch Netflix (full transparency: I definitely do now), and I enjoyed nursing in his room instead of in the living room, so I started listening to podcasts while I fed Case. Another reason I loved this versus watching TV was because I could stare at his little face and memorize every single detail, and trust me, you'll want those details etched in your memory forever.
Some podcast recommendations:
- S Town
- My Favorite Murder (Please don't judge me for including this title. It's good!)
- Off the Vine (if you're a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan)
This one is especially important to me as a c-section mom. There is no way I wanted to wear pants, like ever, that first month, especially the first two weeks. I lived in robes. I wore a plush robe for lounging (so, most of the time) and a knee-length robe while I slept. It also made it super easy on nursing; the beginning of your nursing adventure is challenging enough, so wearing something that makes it easy to nurse was a no brainer for me.
I love Pink Blush Maternity's selection of robes. These worked for third trimester and postpartum. I still wear mine to this day. I brought it to the hospital, as well.
4. Baby body and hand/face wipes
These wipes are life savers between baths! We use both the head-to-toe cleansing cloths and the wipes that are meant for hands and face. We go through the hand wipes like there's no tomorrow these days since Case's hands are always in his mouth.
Warning: TMI coming your way on this one.
I'm not sure about other moms, but I went through burp cloths more than anything else. Besides the obvious, I used them during feedings and pumping sessions to help absorb excess milk (thanks to my oversupply). I remember getting tons of burp cloths and thinking I needed to return some (really, why would I need more than a couple packs?). Simply put, I'm glad I held onto them.
6. A solid pump
If you plan on nursing, you'll want to have a pump ready to go (and the knowledge of how to use it), or at least know which one you want so when you do need it, you either have it or can get it quickly. After my first pump broke (conveniently the day my milk realllyyy came in), my husband ordered me the Spectra S2 on Amazon (same-day delivery, thank goodness), and it worked extremely well. There are so many pumps out there and at different price points, and I felt this one was priced extremely well for how powerful it is and the quality of the product. I have two other friends who use this one and they both love it, as well.
7. White noise app
This isn't something I thought I needed because we have a white noise machine in Case's room. But guess what? Case just recently moved into his room at night (at four months old). We needed something in our room to help us (alllll of us) sleep. This is also beneficial for traveling so you don't have to pack another item (packing for a baby is no joke). My mom even downloaded the app for when he stays at my parents' house. We use the Rain Rain app, and we sleep with the Original Rain sound. Works like a charm.
At first, the only pacifiers we had were the Soothies. These do work well, but Case can't hold onto it without my finger inserted, so we needed something that he could hold onto himself. We bought a plethora of the Mam pacifiers, and he loves them.
This stuff is MAGIC, y'all. Your baby will ruin a onesie ("a" onesie is an understatement), and chances are, you're going to love the onesie he or she decides to ruin, and you'll want to save it. That's where Dreft Stain Remover Spray comes in. It's even saved a pair of my favorite pajama pants (Read: MY favorite pajama pants. Thanks, Case.)
Because of course.
BONUS: The Magic of Motherhood
I wouldn't say I needed this to survive (And let's be honest, I didn't neeeed the above items, either. Well, maybe I needed the pump. No, I definitely needed the pump.), but this book definitely put my heart at ease quite a few times, and it still does. The Magic of Motherhood is a collection of essays written by the ladies behind the blog Coffee + Crumbs, and it's a beautiful reminder of the sweetness of motherhood through the good and the bad times.
One of Case's newborn photos when he was just eight days young.
Photo via Emily Prizer Photography
Moms, did I miss anything? Let me (and moms-to-be) know!
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