Welcome to Risky Baby Business! We talk about babies every Saturday here at More Cowbell and I’m very open to topics or questions you have in mind for these weekend chats.
Last week’s post addressed the 7 Things That Rocked My World During Pregnancy. Those items kept my hubby and I sane up to the delivery date and, with the exception of the Snoogle, I’m happy to report that we continued to use everything on that list when Baby Girl got here.
Still, as anyone who’s ever had a baby can attest, you accumulate more crap with a child than you ever knew existed. The horrifying thing is that you NEED most of it.
There’s nothing worse than being out in public with your child and not having diapers/wipes/a change of clothes/food. 99% of the babies out there will start yelling for what they want and continue screaming their heads off until they get it. It’s what babies do. Mother Nature makes their screams split your head open so you’ll work your ass off to make it STOP.
This is the terror for new parents: how do I keep these little humans happy so they won’t scream. And, if they DO scream how do I make them stop?
Some of the items below kept the baby from screaming. Some of them kept ME from screaming. So, no matter the price tag on any of the items below, I believe that keeping a new parent from
screaming running into the closet to hide is PRICELESS.
Below are the 5 people and/or things that helped us survive our first month as new parents. They might not work for you – there were several recommendations that didn’t work for us – but hopefully some of them will make your first month easier like they did mine.
1. Happiest Baby on The Block – $17.99 at Amazon
We actually saw this video before the baby was born but we watched it a few more times the first month. We lived in awe of the 5 S’s from this video (that’s swaddling, side or stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking). Swaddling and shushing were by far the most effective means for keeping our baby happy.
My other secret weapon, learned from this video, was the blow dryer. Yep, you heard me. The whole point in that first month is to get the baby turned around to sleep at night and to recreate the conditions of the womb so that child can relax and adjust to the world easier. If Baby Girl would NOT go to sleep, I turned on the blow dryer. It worked like a charm, every time.
2. Lactation Consultants
We were blessed by two lactation consultants in the first four days of our baby’s life and they contributed greatly to my sanity. I would absolutely have given up on breastfeeding without their help.
Don’t any of you Super-Moms tell me you don’t need a lactation consultant when you have your first child (unless you opt out of breastfeeding). Have you ever nursed a baby before? I heard that, “Um…no” you just mumbled, Wonder Woman. If your hospital has lactation goddesses on the maternity ward and your insurance covers it, invite these wonderful women into your hospital room ASAP.
Baby Girl blistered me right out of the gate so I begged for the lactation consultant. You remember that labor breathing they teach you to help you through the pain of birth? I did it each time my baby nursed for the first 3-4 weeks.
Our breastfeeding instructor (yes, we took a class) gave me some bad juju, using sentences like, “It will all work just perfect as long as you get your baby to latch on correctly.” Is that so? Well, it would have been nice if that perky instructor had warned me the child would come at me like a piranha, all quick and deadly.
Like I said, if I hadn’t had the lactation consultants visit me and give me some skills, I’d have given up after the first week. That breastfeeding business hurt like a sonofabitch. Sorry, for the swearing, but this was the mildest word I could find.
Breastfeeding is such an important (and tricky) business that I’m going to do a separate blog post on the rest of what we learned. Despite what you just heard about the Pirahna, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
3. Nursing tanks from Target – $16.99
Note: When you’re actively nursing, you want to use breast pads under the tank. It’s also best to buy one size larger than you normally would to accommodate the new va-va-voom chest you develop while you nurse. 🙂
I preferred the Lansinoh pads to the Medella breast pads, hands down – they were much softer. Conversely, I preferred the Medela Tender Care lanolin to the Lansinoh. When your nipples are killing you, smooth gel is much more cozy to put on than Lansinoh’s heavier lanolin paste. I could barely cover those boobies, much less massage in a thick paste. *shudders*
4. Medela Breast Pump – $199 on Amazon
This is an item with a high price tag, and it was worth every penny. At least it was to me. I simply couldn’t bear pumping until 3-4 weeks after the baby was born. Back to #3 above, the pain was just too blinding.
However, there were big advantages to pumping:
- I didn’t have to depend on the baby to get out all the milk so my production stayed higher because the pump got it out (so I’d make more).
- We were able to extract all the nutrient-rich hindmilk that helps the baby stay full (and sleep!) longer. None of this was wasted once we started pumping.
- My husband was able to feed the baby. This point cannot be overstated as it equals naps and getting out of the house.
- With a battery pack, I could pump ANYWHERE (and I did).
- If you have a baby like mine that throws any blanket or cover off her head (exposing your naked breast to the world), you can feed your child without running to the car with a screaming baby to huddle in the backseat.
- If you plan on going back to work, you can steadily build up your supply by pumping that extra ounce or two after each feeding. I didn’t feel right about leaving for an entire day until I had 30 ounces stored up. The sooner you get cracking on this, the better.
5. Medela Quick-Steam Bags – $4.99 (Target or Babies R Us)
Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed only, I highly recommend these bags. They allow you to clean your bottles, pacifiers and any tubing from the breast pump in just a few minutes. For the tired parent who cannot find a clean bottle to stuff in the mouth of their screaming child, the value of these little steamer bags can NOT be overstated. You use each one 20 times before you throw it out.
Is it “green?” Possibly not. Would I recommend them to anyone with a new baby? Absolutely yes.
I didn’t want this post to get too long so I limited myself to that first month home with baby. Hopefully, this has helped you a wee bit, whether you’re shopping for a new mom or getting ready to be one yourself.
For those of you “with experience,” what do you recommend for new moms in that first month? We want to hear your suggestions, whether it’s something you did or something you bought that just really rocked your new parenting world! (The rest of you have moms/sisters/friends with babies, so please chime in.)
Till next time,