5 Things That Rocked My World When The Baby Arrived

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.

Enjoy!

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

Photo courtesy of SonographyDegree.net

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

I must have 10 of these things and I still wear them all the time, even though she’s been weaned for a year. These things are wonderful.

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,
Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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28 Responses to 5 Things That Rocked My World When The Baby Arrived

  1. Roni Loren says:

    Swaddling saved our lives, dude. We bought one of those wearable blankets that allowed us to velcro the swaddling parts. It was awesome. As for breastfeeding, the only way I was able to stick with it was nipple shields. I almost gave up in those first two weeks because it hurt so much, then I bought those. People say not to use them because it can confuse the baby or whatever, but I nursed 6 months using those without any problems.

    Also, random, but for those every 4 hours wakings/feedings, we tivo-ed a whole bunch of America’s Funniest Home VIdeos and hubs and I watched that during the feedings. It was the perfect relief–you’re too tired to focus on much of anything but quick funny videos fit the bill.🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, I love the video idea! There’s really nothing to do when you nurse but stare at the baby (always fun) or watch TV. I tried reading but I just didn’t have enough hands or focus.

      Dude, swaddling is the serious BOMB, isn’t it? We never got the wearable blanket thing but my husband was a CHAMPION swaddler. It was like and Olympic event when he did it (he’s an engineer). and she never worked her way out of it when he was on point.

      Well, I don’t get to do it again, but those nipple shields sound like they would have been my best friend.

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  2. I agree with everything on the list–although I haven’t tried the nursing tanks! Maybe this time around… The Dr. Karp video saved our lives, but I especially have to rave about our lactation consultant. Let’s just say my baby and I got escalated to the top problem-solving specialist in the lactation clinic, and she was amazing! She actually helped us diagnose that my kiddo had silent reflux and a floppy tracheal valve–and we got to know her so well that she attended my daughter’s 1-year birthday party!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Are you pregnant, Laura? How exciting! Be sure to go read last Saturday’s post so you can be rocking your world with handy items like the Snoogle.🙂

      WOW, your lactation consultant sounds amazing. I think it’s wonderful that so many hospitals are keeping them on staff. I tell you, that breastfeeling thing would never have worked out for me otherwise, and I would’ve always been sad about it (since I only get one baby).

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  3. Annie says:

    I raised my two oldest in Norway. They have a “hearty” Viking style of raising children over there. Kids become immune to the elements by being thrown in to the cold at a early age. For instance, a newborn should never take naps in the house. Infants as early as a few days old are put in their pram with a heavy comforter and set outside to sleep. If it’s below -10, put a little vaseline on their cheeks so they don’t chap. I’m serious. This was a rude awakening for me, but I have to admit, my kids are the healthiest ones around. They never get sick (knock on wood.)

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I laughed so hard when I read this, Annie, because one of my dearest friends is from Denmark and she was constantly after me to let my baby sleep outside.

      I showed this to my husband and he thinks their whacked in Norway with that “10 below” business. Still, I have to imagine they’ve been doing this for a long time. My people are originally from Norway on my dad’s side and we’re all pretty hearty.🙂

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  4. Breastfeeding, loved it! Other than having people show me the best ways to hold the baby (lactation specialists are worth their weight in gold!), I’m so glad I went with my instincts. I threw the “you must nurse from each breast” out the window after the first day with my first baby. He’d fall asleep, then I’d be waking him up to switch, and he never drained either. So I would nurse him on one side at a time, let him comfort suck as long as he wanted, and in those early days I would nurse on demand rather than try to have him nurse on my schedule.

    What do you know, he got into a schedule I could live with in less than a month. Midwife was in shock. He was sleeping through the night (as in 1am to 5 or 6am) at two weeks. Man did My Guy and I freak out the first night he slept that long, LOL, one of us checking every few hours that the baby was still breathing (which happened with each of the other wee beasties, too). And when I had to return to work, that one side nursing saved my sanity because my breasts were already accustomed to going 4-5 hours between feedings I didn’t have to pump at work as much (in an all male office with a community bathroom…hell yeah, that was a blessing!).

    Bottles, I swore by the Avent system, still do for that matter. If you only use the newborn nipples with the bottles the baby has to work for the milk as though nursing which helps avoid nipple confusion, etc. I also used the Avent pump because I could pump right into the bottles or the bags from the disposable system, saves a lot of clean up and time. And with Avent you can go right into the sippy cups, etc. Yeah, haven’t needed any of these for over 3 years now and I’m still tooting the Avent horn, LOL.

    My other must have was this: http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Shell-Adjustable-Sling-Black/dp/B003BOIFCM/ref=sr_1_9?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1319903926&sr=1-9

    Okay, this is getting long, LOL. Love these posts Jenny!

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    • Amy Kennedy says:

      Amen on letting baby feed when they wanted, and yes, a schedule is formed — by baby.
      I had my children in the olden days, so some of these things I retro-covet for my chlidren, but we did alright. I remember using my breaks at work to pump, I’d lock myself in the supply cabinet — seriously — and pump away, that was for the last one, he wasn’t quite in the olden days…

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s awesome, Raelyn! You are the second person EVER to tell me they didn’t have any breastfeeding challenges and it’s heartwarming to hear.

      The best advice I got was the relative who recommended Baby Wise warned me that breastfeeding was likely to hurt and I needed to give it 3-4 weeks before I made any permanent decisions. I got through it by being committed to the breastfeeding. If I’d have been committed to my boobs, I’d have given up.

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      • Oh, I had challenges but still loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. I had the chapped and blistered nipples in the very beginning of each but thankfully it never lasted more than a week and once the baby was latched on fairly painless. I was plagued with infections with #2, major pain that you actually NEED the baby to nurse you through. And with #2 and #4 I had to supplement.

        Commitment is half the battle, I agree.

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  5. V.V. Denman says:

    Wow. I wish I’d had this post twenty years ago. Or just had the internet at all.

    My favorite tip: When tiny baby won’t allow you to put her in the crib after being nursed to sleep, but instead wakes up every time her precious little head touches the sheet – Take off your shirt, spread it across the mattress, and lay tiny baby right on top of it. Something about that Mommy smell . . .

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s lovely, V.V. I believe in that mommy smell thing too. I kept one of my shirts under her for the first week or so. And there’s something about the words “tiny baby” that just make my heart melt.🙂

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  6. I had a lot of trouble breastfeeding both daughters. I got a breast infection within the first two days after Holly was born. The hospital sent me home that way over the weekend so I had to wait two days to go to the doctor.

    Try letting a baby latch on to one of the most tender parts of your body that’s engorged and infected while she tries to nurse. I wanted to hit the ceiling everytime and I did cry. It hurt for my nightgown to even touch my breasts.

    What kept me going over the weekend was the La Leche League. I called them from home and they told me some things to do until I could get there. After I went to the doctor who put me on antibiotic I went to the home of the woman who ran the local chapter.

    She was so helpful. It was embarrassing to let her watch Holly nurse but at that point I would have stripped nekkit if it would have helped. Turns out my nipples were too small compared to the rest of my breast and that’s all Holly was getting a mouth of.

    The fix for that was a device I had to wear over my nipples to draw them out more. I felt like a pin up girl for sci fi geeks everytime I put them on but they worked and I wore them with both daughters. I highly recommend the La Leche League and yes, I did give a donation because they don’t charge. In fact I went to their meetings on a regular basis. It’s good to talk to other breastfeeding moms to discuss the challenges of nursing.

    This is awful but there were two things that kept me going when everyone kept telling me to quit. Number one was I really wanted to breastfeed and I wasn’t letting no stinkin mini nipples stop me, the other was my sister in law at the time. Her baby was born three weeks after Holly.

    That woman had tuff tiddies plus she could nurse anywhere and everywhere. There was no way I was going to let that smug &*%^# show me up. Sometimes you just need incentive. I went on to breastfeed Holly and her sister for over three years each. It was painful at times then when Tracey was born I had to start over but I’d do it again.

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    • La Leche League, awesome, they saved my life with #2. I wish I’d had a local chapter, unfortunately I was in a rural area and attending regular meetings not possible. Yeah, they deserve donations. Angels.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’ve never heard of such a contraption, Angela. That’s so wonderful that you go the help you needed WHEN you needed it! I hear glowing reports from women who have reached out to LLL.

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  7. Yes, they are Angels with a capital ‘A’. Without them I would not have made it breastfeeding. Here’s LLL’s link for anyone interested: http://www.llli.org/

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  8. The world has changed so much. When my daughter was born 42 years ago, no one had ever heard of lactation specialists. There may have been breast pumps, but if so they weren’t widely used. I don’t remember how long my wife breast-fed our daughter, but I know it was at least six months. May have been a year.

    What I do remember is that the pediatrician (my dad) said to bottle-feed her at 2am (we definitely believed in schedule rather than demand) and that would give her plenty of nutrient in case the breat milk was deficient. I immediately announced that 2am belonged to me. It was my time to bond with her, and I’ve always treasured it.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s lovely, David. My honey loved to do the bonding things with her too. 42 years ago, you only had the one feeding to call your own. These days, he was an active participant in getting her to eat for the first month or so and he’s always loved to give her a bottle. Things like this are what keep marriages happy, in my humble opinion.🙂

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  9. I loved my pregnancies because I was healthy and happy. AND I had the best maternity clothes! Actually I wore a lot of “regular” clothes, just bigger sizes, especially with my daughter since I was pregnant in summer.

    My favorite things for the babies were those Swaddle Me (something like that) blankies that keep a baby snug and cozy. And of course baby clothes and little shoes. I love cute baby clothes so one of the best times in my early motherhood were my shopping sprees🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Angela,

      I hear this report from tiny gals like you that, “they just wore bigger sizes.” For those of us who naturally reside more on the size 10-14 side of the scale, it just isn’t an option (which is why I love the belly bands so much. That allowed me to just get maternity tops and wear my own pants.

      I loooove baby clothes!!

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  10. Kathy Walker says:

    Many, many years ago when I had my baby, my OB gave me a bottle of vitamin e pills. He told me to poke these open and rub it on my nipples twice a day to get ready for breastfeeding. I don’t know if I would have had trouble without it but I had no trouble with it. I did this for about two weeks leading up to my pregnancy. I wish I had some of the things described here when I had my son.

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