Two weeks in with our newborn girl, and it’s been good. She’s awesome—figured out nursing right away, doesn’t do the gagging/choking thing that two of our others routinely freaked us out with and she’s a good sleeper. For my part, it was a good delivery and I’m in better shape after this one than I was with any of the other three. Still, having a new baby around means big changes—physically, emotionally and mentally. In no particular order, here are some of the handy-dandy items* that smoothed the ride for us both.
*Though I darn well should be, I haven’t been paid to hawk any of this stuff.
- These amazing blankets: My husband is an expert baby burrito wrapper, and I love pretty fabrics. So we both swear by these muslin baby blankets by Aden + Anais. Sweet designs in a light, stretchy cotton make them perfect for swaddling, as a nursing cover, pretty much anything. Buy these. Buy a few. I think we have eight of them and between leaky diapers and spit-up, we can run through half of them in a day no problem.
- Those newborn pacifiers: Pacifiers are a controversial topic, which mystifies me. Babies have a natural sucking reflex—what’s the harm in indulging that? The alternative is that you and your sore, scabbed nipples become the pacifier. Not cool. We don’t stuff this thing in her mouth every time she opens it, but after she’s nursed well and she’s still rooting around anything that comes hear her face, we offer a Soothie. It’s a win-win.
- Teensy long-sleeved infant tops: We had so much trouble finding these things that I’m half-considering a little business venture. Brand new babies, with their tiny, merciless fingers and their tender little umbilical cord stumps, need two things in their wardrobe – teeny diapers with the cut outs and loose, long-sleeved tops. We snuck out of the hospital with two of them plus the handful we had leftover from our other kiddos, and we’ve been rotating through them for her entire life now. Once she loses the umbilical stump, we can move on, but for now, there’s nothing better.
- These life-saving breast gel pack: My mother gave me the Lansinoh 3-in-1 Breast Therapy kit, bless her. The little gel packs go in the freezer or the microwave, slide into the included covers and you tuck them right into your nursing bra for exactly the right kind of relief. I avoided serious engorgement this go-round with regular nursing (no longer than four hours apart) and these babies. Throw ‘em in the freezer and then pack them in your bra after breastfeeding for the first few days. After my milk supply settled, it was the mildly chapped nipples that needed some help. Heat these things up – carefully! – and the relief they offer is instant. Every nursing mother needs these things, and I’m being totally serious. Oh, and bonus tip – skip the nipple ointment and get yourself a jar of coconut oil instead. Better for you and the babe. Cheaper, too.
- Stool softener: Ahem. Make this easy on yourself. Pop a stool softener once a day for the first week or so. You’re welcome.