Monday, February 25, 2013

Surviving the First Weeks

(y'all, forgive me. this post was started months ago ... way back in July ... and I never posted it. shame on me. that's what sleep deprivation / trying to navigate new-mommyhood will do to you. I hope it still makes sense!)

Instead of an updated "London Claire is Three Weeks" post, I wanted to do a special post. I was inspired by Page, who did a similar post months ago, and have been holding ideas for this post in the back of my head since the day we brought London home. And I want to make sure I get this up sooner rather than later, mostly for two special ladies I know who are about to welcome their own sweet babes.

(how'd that work out? good intentions, y'all, good intentions. lucky for me, we always have more friends who are about to welcome new babies into their homes, so hopefully this post will do someone some good, somewhere. if nothing else, it'll be a good reminder for me if / when we have another baby, Good Lord Willing)

Of course, I can't skip out on updating y'all on our girl, but I'll keep it brief. She's been "diagnosed" with reflux and we've started her on Zantac, so hopefully our sweet baby will get some relief soon. In case you were wondering what reflux looks like in a three week old, it's evenings of inconsolable crying, vomiting, swallowing and then crying after burps, and refusal to be laid flat on her back. It is un-be-lievably sad to hold your newborn while she sobs and know there's nothing you can do. But we're trying to fix her, poor thing. In happy news, she's currently 9lbs 2oz - obviously the reflux is not stopping her from eating. And she's starting to wear some of her 0-3 months clothes, which makes mama sad and happy all at the same time.

Now then, back to the task at hand: surviving the first weeks of motherhood. I am certain that this list will change and grow as London changes and grows, but here's where we are after three weeks - the top ten things that have made our lives so much easier.

  1. Boppy Pillow
    This is a staple on all the registry suggestion lists, and for good reason. I didn't pack mine in my hospital bag initially, but I asked my mom to go get it the first morning. I can breastfeed without it, but it certainly makes things a lot easier on my tired arms. And it's really sweet when London falls asleep eating and just lays on the Boppy "milk drunk" as we call it. Get at least one extra cover for it - because babies are messy, for real.
    the boppy is also great for when baby is first learning how to sit on his/her own
  2. Video Monitor
    We went back and forth on whether the video feature is worth it - trust me, IT IS. I'm sure there's any number of brands that are great, but I like ours because it has zoom / pan, and you can independently control volume and video. So a light sleeper like me can just tap a button (almost like a snooze button - which could be dangerous) and turn the video part off and on. This is great for that first night your baby sleeps a ridiculously long time (5 hours?!) and you wake up freaking out that she must not be breathing. Not that I did that, of course...
    if we were buying another one, I might choose this one because it shows the temperature. I go in every night before I go to bed to make sure she's warm enough.
  3. Sleep Sack
    Ben & I watched Happiest Baby on the Block before London was born - I highly recommend it - and utilize pretty much all of the 5 S's to soothe her. Neither of us was particular good at swaddling (that, or L is just a baby Houdini) but we love the sleep sack, especially for middle-of-the-night, half-asleep re-swaddling after diaper changes.
    I recommend multiple sizes and fabrics depending on the season your baby is born. we used these religiously until she was four months old and starting rolling over.
  4. Mobile
    My friend Sloan had told me that black & white contrast is the easiest thing for babies' eyes to see while they're still learning to focus, so I picked a mobile that featured just those two colors. L has loved it almost from day one. She hangs out in her crib and we just keep restarting the mobile over and over again while she lays staring at her sheep - it's pretty adorable.
  5. Sleep Sheep
    This is another one of the "hot" baby items, and there's a number of different white noise machines, but we love the sleep sheep. It's strapped to the crib, and has a variety of sounds and volumes (we use the ocean one). L's godmother bought her a travel sleep sheep, which I keep in the diaper bag at the advice of my mom - it has saved us during more than one car / shopping meltdown, and it will definitely be coming overseas with us!
    when sleep training, the sleep sheep proved to be a downfall because it shuts off after 30 minutes. we ended up using the homedics sound spa with "rain" because it stays on all night.
  6. Swing
    My mother-in-law is the queen of all things consignment, and got this swing at a yard sale to keep at her house. After seeing how much London absolutely loved it, I begged her to bring it to us in a fit of desperation (sleep deprivation will do that to you, among other things). She is sleeping in it as we speak, and has been for two hours. Again, it has a mobile, which she loves, and it's so cozy - perfect for a little snuggly newborn.
  7. Bouncy Seat
    This and this alone is responsible for all of my weekday showers since Ben has been back to work. She sleeps in it, with just the vibration feature, or "plays" in it, with the animals & lights going. It's great for babies with reflux especially, because it's on an incline. And all things vibration are holy in this house. That sounds dirty, but you know what I mean. Or maybe you don't - my baby loves vibration. That's all.
  8. Burp Cloths
    Someone told me at one of my showers "you can never have too many bibs" ... wrong. You can. We do. But you can NEVER have too many burp cloths. We have a variety - nice ones that are embroidered with her name, some hand-me-downs from Sloan that are really thick and absorbent, and some cheap ones that are really cloth diapers but we use them for everything, from wiping up spit up off the floor to laying on the changing pad (so we don't have to wash the whole thing every time she pees or poops all over the place. which is like daily, in case you were wondering).
    try to get some that are thicker than these; they sort-of fold up in the dryer
  9. Muslin Blankets
    These things are stupid expensive so I didn't register for them but thank goodness Sloan is smart enough to know I needed them, so she passed down a few. They go everywhere with us. Covering the carseat to protect from sun, draping over me & the babe to nurse, swaddling in a pinch when she won't nap out on the go. They're awesome, and well worth the money, promise.
    great for playdates when baby is learning to roll over - you can throw it on the ground so s/he isn't laying on a dirty carpet in a public place
  10. Gripe Water
    Poor little London got the hiccups all. the. time. when I was pregnant and it didn't stop after she was born. This gripe water is like magic. I'm not sure if it's just sugar water creating a placebo effect, or if it's just the act of quick swallowing, but a few drops almost always get rid of her hiccups right away. And a baby without hiccups is a much happier baby!


  1. In my experience (nanny, not mom, but still lots o' baby time) I agree with ALL of these. This very weekend my husband and were making a general list of baby stuff we (I) would like as we start budgeting with kids in mind. It started with me happening to point out a video monitor as we were walking through Target, and ended with me ranting for a good ten minutes on the crazy benefits of the item, despite his skepticism that it seemed like a silly splurge. Haha. They are SUCH a help. And the older they get the more it's helpful. I like knowing if they're fussing in the crib because they're just fussing, or fussing because they have their foot stuck in a slat. Not to mention, they are a simple provider of hilarious entertainment. Much cheaper than cable, and at least as funny. Hahaha.

  2. The only item on this list that I think is iffy is the swing. In my experience, babies either LOVE them or HATE them. Based on that I usually suggest that people hold off on buying one until the baby is born, give it a test run in a friend's swing, or the swing at church, etc. Then buy. It just seems to go SO one way or the other, I plan to wait on it and see what the child thinks. For many they are a lifesaver FOR SURE. I've just also seen many that hated it. It's probably the only "big"-ish purchase I plan to hold out on until after the child is born.

  3. (to be fair, in your case it was a random yard sale which case I might go for it's just the one thing on this otherwise perfect list I wouldn't necessarily buy new prior to giving it a test run)