Sunday, September 11, 2011

Momma must-haves!

I know it has been a while since I have done anything. I have had lots of ideas, many of them bad in execution, so I just let things be for a while. In case you're curious: Our family is preparing for an upcoming move. Dates are soft, timetables even softer, and the work is hard! In a little bit of fluff to get my mind of all of these things I give you:

Momma Must HAVES!

First time momma? Second time...More? STEP-momma? Friend of a momma?

At some point we'll all end up in the baby section of a department store wondering, "Is this really...for what I think it's for?" or "I HAVE TO HAVE THIS! IN EVERY COLOR! NOW!"

There is a LOT of info out there for mommas (and gift-givers). You can google and find must-have lists, registry lists, to-do lists, not-to-do lists, etc. Well, I have my own little list.
For the hospital: Go basic. Most mommas will spend only about 48 hours combined in labor & delivery. Don't worry about carting your personal hygiene products with you unless you have some kind of allergy or sensitivity. You will be provided with a body/hair wash, toothpaste & brush, etc. Use the mesh panties - at least you're not leaving body fluids all over your own. If you insist on your own undies, don't bring your Victoria's Secret. Bring pairs that you intend to have the grossest period of your life in! You probably won't be allowed to use your own socks or slippers - you'll be given goofy socks with no-slip designs on the bottom. Don't bring your own nightgown - again, bodily fluids will be the theme of the day & you can toss it in the bin before you go. Quick tip: Wear one with the opening at the back, then put another on with the opening at the front to move around! It will be like having a robe. It gives the medical staff easy access to your bod to let them check things out & you can easily slip it off a shoulder for nursing or skin to skin contact.

Have with you: Basic hygiene items the hospital may not have. Deodorant, hair clips/holders/brush, glasses (if you wear contacts still count on glasses b/c they may become uncomfortable after continued use & you don't want to try to deal with a brand new baby in a fuzzy midnight feeding - this thing is too new to work blind!), nail file/clippers (just in case, a snagged nail can be annoying). Slip on shoes, in case you need to leave the room for a stroll around the building (although I wouldn't go with flipflops your staff might consider them a tripping hazard). Some comfy pajama pants or yoga pants to feel a little more covered for visitors or for trips out of the room. You don't need a huge bag. Think overnight...Think simple. If you live near the hospital you can always send a family member by to bring you personal items. If your husband will be rooming in with you...He should also remember at least a clean pair of undies & a shirt.

A tip for the baby bassinet: BRING SIGNS if you plan to breastfeed or want no pacifiers given. The hospital may have some of their own they'll put on it, but I imagine they become like white noise over time and are easily ignored. Make them about the size of a 3x5 card & have tape to stick it to the side of the bassinet.

To go home: an outfit for baby (all other clothes will have been provided up to that point by the hospital), something appropriate for the weather. An outfit for you: You'll probably still look & feel about 4-6 months pregnant. Don't wear anything that puts too much pressure on your belly, pubic area, or your perineum. All these places may be sensitive. A stretchy bra will be helpful as well. You might be a little engorged or at least sensitive and hard wires or stiff padding may be uncomfortable.
THAT'S IT for the hospital. Really. Do your hospital tour if you know where you'll deliver so you can get an idea what the room is like so you know if you'll be able to have some drinks or snacks on hand. Not all hospitals will allow this, so find out FIRST.

A newborn needs very little. Onesies, sleepers, socks, caps, & diapers. At first you might go through a couple of onesies a day. You'll lose socks like crazy, so buy cheapies at first. Don't spend a lot on super cute decorated socks until you can go a whole 8 hours without losing a sock! The hospital probably gave you some diapers & wipes before you left, go ahead & take them with you. Baby will probably need to be changed every hour or two at first. At the most, before or after every feeding. Don't go nuts on teeny sizes. Baby will probably be in size 2 diapers before the end of the first month. Not necessarily because of weight gain, but because of the amount going into them. One-size cloth diapers may be too large at this size for baby to wear with a onesie snapped over. Some leg covers (like Baby Legs or Little Legs) will be helpful at this stage. You can also buy newborn size covers for this stage.

If you're bottle feeding: a pitcher to mix the formula in for about 12-24 hours worth might be helpful. Rather than mixing each bottle individually. You will probably be feeding the baby 2-4 ounces every 3-4 hours.

Breastfeeding: No real supplies needed except your tatas! If you're considering a breast pump do your research about open & closed system pumps...As well as how much you'll use it. A manual pump could work just fine for a little relief or pumping your excess for an extra bottle or two. An electric pump is helpful if you intend to go back to work or will need to pump a lot for being away from baby. Keep in mind, pumping can effect your supply! You might not want to use one right away. Nursing 'on demand' helps get your supply started & after the first month or so you may recognize patterns in baby's nursing & realize they have scheduled themselves. There are lots of breastfeeding pillows on the market. Not all of them work, and sometimes just a pillow from your bed can be just as useful. Unless you start to experience problems nursing, consider leaving the special pillows at the store.

A small bathtub (go cheap, they won't use it for long) might be helpful if you don't have a sink in your house big enough to bathe baby in.

Pack & Plays are great now b/c they often have a changing table & bassinet option for them. They are good if you are tight on space, want baby to room in with you...or you just haven't found the perfect crib yet. I do think a crib will be important after the first 3 months or so, but if you haven't found one at the time of baby's birth - don't fret. One of these simple P&Ps will do the work to start.

Car seat - Infant rear facing car seats have changed a lot over the last decade or so. You can get one that rear faces up to 35-ish pounds. If you have one seat, you can order extra bases to go in other cars, that way you won't have to worry about reinstalling it for everyone's vehicle (mom, dad, grandma/grandpa, caregiver, etc). This can double as a seat for baby when they first start eating food, wait until baby can really sit up & then instead of an expensive, space wasting high-chair, you can use a booster that straps to an existing chair & have your baby right at the table with you.

Swings & bouncers are kind of an individual taste thing. Before buying one, borrow one from a friend. Some babies hate them, other babies love them. Don't spend your money on one until you know your baby will use it.

Wraps & carriers are kind of like swings & bouncers. I prefer a soft wrap like a Moby for the early days (one size fits all, so dad can also baby wear). I would stay away from something like the baby Bjorn. They're not comfortable for anyone. Find a store with a Moby or several different styles of GOOD carriers & see if they'll let you try it on. Your life will be CHANGED. The purse-style slings are just plain dangerous, find a different style.

If you go the wrap/carrier route you can nix all travel systems, strollers, & forget about carrying around your car seat everywhere. The wrap will keep you hands-free to shop, stroll, or do your regular everyday things.

Baby toys: Babies. Don't. Care. About. Toys. They will be just as happy playing with a wooden spoon with a ribbon tied to it as an expensive rattle. If your family & friends want to buy heaps of toys for the baby...Tell them to buy toys for an older baby (9months+) and you can save them & bring them out as your baby gets bigger. A few soft or squeaky toys will be great for baby during tummy time, or when they first start playing on the floor but all those things with bells & whistles, lights & blinking things...More annoying than fun. A few board books, a soft bear or bunny, and a couple of squeaky toys will be enough at first.

Clothes: After the first month or two you'll notice baby is big enough to start filling out their clothes! But unless your baby has a full time job, I wouldn't spend the money on a lot of fancy outfits. Stay basic. Cotton pants & shirts/onesies. If the weather is particularly chill, get some of those fleece hooded zippy-up things. The ones that make baby look like a squishy, soft snowflake. Shoes are kind of useless since babies don't WALK...Wait for those until they're about 6-8 months & will get down on the floor.

After the first 8 months: When your baby hits the 9 month mark they may start walking & moving around a lot more. This is when you should invest in a decent stroller - based on your needs. Umbrella strollers pack well, but if you need something sturdy to do a lot of travel with, make sure the wheels are tough, that the height of the handles is good (you don't want to be hunched over for 3 miles). Think about the kind of terrain you'll be using it in, etc. Talk to your pediatrician about shoes, certain kinds of shoes are better for new walkers than others (and not the kind from our parents' generation, either!).

After that...most everything is optional. You'll know what your child will & will not tolerate as far as stimulation so you can avoid clothing & toys that they won't enjoy.

Enjoy your baby! :)

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