One of my best friends has recently fallen pregnant with her first child (we are soooo excited for her!), and it has got me thinking about those first few months with a newborn.
Rosie was born a month early, and we were in the middle of this massive remodel. Construction was running behind schedule, and her nursery was a building site when I went into labor. Because of this, I had been holding off on buying newborn essentials until closer to my due date, to avoid storing them in our dust covered apartment for any longer than absolutely necessary. Our apartment was actually in such a mess with the building works, that we had to spend Rosie's first night out of the hospital in a hotel to give the construction team time to sort it out!
Chaos aside, the experience did help me narrow down what baby gear I really needed. For example, I had planned on buying Rosie a changing table, but we ended up using this changing pad on top of chest of drawers. It worked so well that I never ended up buying the changing table.
Every mother's experience is unique, and each baby's needs are different, but these are the 7 things that I really appreciated having as a new Mum...
I hadn't even considered the question of sleep training Rosie until she was around 6 weeks old, when I pondered the question - probably at 4am during one of her feeds! This book was recommended to us by two different friends, and I have since recommended it to every single person that I know who is having a first child. It works! People often ask us how we have managed to do so much travel with Rosie, and it's because she is such a good sleeper - thanks to the system outlined in the book. Rosie was sleeping 10-12 hours through the night since before she was 12 weeks old, and she has been sleeping like that ever since. I know so many mothers who have struggled with unrelenting sleep deprivation, and I suspect that we would have been in exactly that situation if it wasn't for this book.
I highly, highly recommend this sleep training system. It is gentle (no long nights of letting your baby 'cry it out'), and it has worked for every single person that I know who has used it.
First of all, you have to watch Happiest Baby on the Block - you don't get the same understanding from reading the book.
This video was recommended to me by my optometrist. He suggested that Justin and I watch it together, which we did. The video features a renown pediatrician, and his five tips for soothing a distressed baby. At first I thought the video was a bit goofy, but then we tried all of the tips and two of them worked miracles for us (swaddling and white noise). It was also invaluable that Justin and I watched the video together because it brought us onto the same page in understanding what tools we had to soothe Rosie when she cried.
It took me a little while to master a tight, comfortable swaddle on Rosie (it takes practice!), and part of the secret is having large, 100% cotton muslin swaddles. Many newborns love being snugly wrapped in a swaddle because it gives them a feeling of security, a bit like being in the womb. We learned this watching the Happiest Baby on the Block (see #4), and found it to be one of the best ways to soothe Rosie and ensure she slept contentedly.
Another tool we adopted from Happiest Baby on the Block (see #4) was the use of white noise during Rosie's sleep. You buy a dedicated white noise machine or, like us, you could download this free app onto an old phone. We actually downloaded it onto all of our phones, so if we were ever visiting a friend during Rosie's nap-time we still had our white noise.
I have to thank Justin for this one. He did lots of research to find us the best diaper pail for odor control, and this model is unbelievably effective. There are less expensive diaper pails available, and I've used many at friend's houses, but I've not come across another model that truly controls odors like this one.
I was a bit nervous about how best to manage all the sterilizing when we had Rosie, and a friend recommended these microwavable sterilizing bags. You can use them to sterilize everything including bottles, pacifiers, and breast pump accessories, and the steam cleaning eliminates 99.9% of most common bacteria and germs. These bags make the sterilizing process so much quicker and easier; you use tap water, steam the bags for a short time in the microwave, and you can reuse each bag 20 times.
You need to have your car seat installed before you can take your baby home from the hospital, so this really is an essential. We loved this infant car-seat because it was so compact, and the stroller base was really light. I see so many Mom/Mums struggling with heavy strollers; it's just one hassle you don't need - especially for anyone recovering from a cesarean.
Because Rosie was born prematurely, the hospital required her to spend 2 hours fastened in her car-seat, under supervision, so they could monitor her vitals. It was a very comforting exercise, for us to know that this car-seat was so safe for her.