Monday, April 25, 2016

My Newborn Must-Haves

My sweet little girl has been in our lives for 3 1/2 weeks now and each day brings on new challenges, discoveries, joys, accomplishments, fears and doubts.  I'm far from having it figured out, but I can see each day getting just a bit easier. 

Before Lyla was born, I searched and read just about every "must have" list on Pinterest to make sure my husband and I were completely prepared with anything we might need to make life easier when she arrived. Some of these items have proven to be useful, but similarly we haven't had much use for some suggestions as well.  Every baby is different and I think the items that are most helpful will vary with each child.  

Below I've listed out the items that have been essential in "surviving" the past 3 weeks with our little one. Maybe you'll find a few things that will be helpful for your family!

My Newborn Must Haves

Halo Sleep Sack or any other swaddle sack
    • While I was pregnant, I had heard RAVE reviews of the expensive Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets, so of course I stocked up on them. I have 8 adorable patterns and just to be well-rounded in the swaddle department, my husband and I stole  took home about 4 of the blankets from the hospital in case we felt those worked better. I showed him how to swaddle a baby (which he quickly mastered, by the way), but when Lyla showed up, I soon realized three things. 
      1. I am an awful swaddler when it comes to a real life baby. It was a lot easier on the champagne bottle we practiced on.
      2. Those Aden and Anais swaddles are entirely too huge for my tiny 6 1/2 pound newborn. There was just way too much fabric! (We still use them often as light blankets since the weather is getting warm)
      3. Even if we got a tight swaddle, our little Houdini always managed to eventually wiggle her hands out.

      • Enter the Halo Sleep Sack.  The velcro makes it easy to keep her arms tight by her side to avoid her startle reflex waking her up. Ever since we started using this at night, she sleeps great! We quickly bought another one for backup in case of massive middle-of-the-night spit ups. 

     Gripe Water!
      • We are about to buy stock in this magical juice! It's an all natural supplement that contains Ginger and Fennel and is a miracle worker when it comes to relieving hiccups and gas pains.  The hiccup remedy is our main reason for using it.  Lyla has had hiccups several times a day since she was still in the womb.  Sometimes they're not too bad and will go away on their own, but a few times a week she gets those really deep ones that are noticably uncomfortable.  She LOVES this stuff as well. It's sweet and whenever we start to give it to her, she immediately stops crying to suck up the goodness.  It's very fast-acting as well.  I've now purchased the nighttime version (which we can't start until she is a month old) that contains chamomile. 
    Fisher Price Rock N Play
      • I've heard a lot about new moms not remembering the last time they took a shower or if they brushed their teeth that day. Luckily, Lyla's best time of day is in the morning so the Rock N Play is what I put her in while I'm getting ready. It's extremely portable and compact, making it perfect for keeping in our bathroom. At least for now, she is always very content and the white noise from the bathroom fan keeps her calm as well. Even if you don't purchase the Rock N Play, I highly recommend getting some sort of portable piece to keep in your bathroom.

    Quick Zip Crib Sheets
      • This is probably my favorite baby item that I accidentally stumbled upon while browsing Amazon. It's truly genius! Babies spit up, have blow outs, pee through diapers (luckily the spit up is our only major issue at this stage), and often these can happen in the middle of the night.  At 2 a.m. (or 2 p.m. if I'm honest), the last thing I want to do is wrangle a fitted crib sheet out and have to practically remove the whole mattress to replace it with a clean one. These sheets make it SO easy to change. You just unzip it around the top edge and replace.  VOILA! It's amazing!! I found these on both Amazon and
    Mini Fridge
      • Where we live, our bedroom and Lyla's room (she has slept in her crib in her room since Day 1) are upstairs and our kitchen is downstairs. I often have to pump a tiny bit before I feed her in the middle of the night. This is due to several reasons including her going longer between feeds at night which means I become very full. This can make it difficult for her to latch. I pump just enough to make it easier on her (and relieve a little pressure myself) and by the next morning, I often have enough expressed milk for half a bottle later on so I want to make sure I save the liquid gold! To avoid having to walk all around the house in the middle of the night, I simply store the milk each time in the mini fridge in our room.  The next morning, I take it downstairs and freeze it for later use. We also keep it stocked with water because I often get very thirsty while nursing. 
    Manual Hand Pump
      • This goes along with the item above, but my Medela electric pump has so many parts and is kind of loud. I don't want to have to spend a bunch of time getting the whole thing situated and then waking up my husband when I'm just doing a quick 1 minute pump session at 2 and 5 a.m. Instead, I use my Medela manual hand pump. It's so fast (might be faster for me because I have an overactive let down so the milk comes out in no time), makes practically no noise and doesn't require an outlet, tubing or a giant machine. This is also something good to have on hand in the diaper bag in case you have to pump while you're out and something goes wrong with your electric pump. 
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    Thursday, March 10, 2016

    Late Pregnancy Complaints

    3 weeks from tomorrow is my due date. Last weekend, I decided I am officially OVER being pregnant. I've been blessed with a very easy pregnancy, but now it just hurts. All the time.

    Laundry hurts, sitting too long hurts, most sleeping positions hurt, walking hurts. I have to pee every single time I stand up, I'm currently using a fan and a heating pad at the same time, my pregnancy pillow and I have a very love/hate relationship, nothing in my house is as clean as I'd like it to be yet I don't have the physical ability anymore to fix that, I have exactly 3 work-appropriate outfits that fit...and I use the term "work-appropriate" very very loosely.

    3 weeks sounds like an extremely long time. Some days I feel just fine, some days (like today) I'm just achy enough to be uncomfortable the entire day, and some days are like last Sunday where I could hardly move and needed help from my husband getting out of the car, putting the wash into the dryer and making the bed.

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    Wednesday, February 24, 2016

    Closing In

    Hey folks! I'm quickly closing in on the 1-more-month milestone of this pregnancy and there is such an array of emotions and thoughts running through my mind when I think about the stage I'm at and what is about to happen.

    On Friday, I will be 35 weeks. That is a mere 2 weeks from full term and 5 weeks from my due date. This past Saturday I had the most amazing baby shower and in a couple of days I am having my shower at work. After that, T and I will be cashing in those registry completion discounts and purchasing all of the things we still need for baby (thank God for tax refund season). This, to me, makes it very real.

    The feelings I have toward having my baby girl are much like how I felt before we got married. It's something I've wanted my entire life and something I have been looking forward to and planning like a crazy person since the moment I found out I was pregnant (okay...since before I found out, honestly), but now that the big event is right around the corner, my little brain cannot FATHOM it actually happening. It just seems like this dream out there floating around and I can't comprehend the experience truly coming to fruition. I'm going to GIVE BIRTH? I'm going to experience THAT pain? I'm going to have a CHILD??? WHAT? My own human being tethered to me for the rest of my life. THE REST OF MY LIFE????? I'm going to finally understand that feeling of overwhelming, unconditional, life-fulfilling love that I've heard so much about. I am going to be one of those people who says things like, "sorry, I can't...I have to go pick my daughter up."  or "I need to leave early today, my daughter has a game."

    Yesterday, I was sitting in on a wellness class during work and the lady speaking asked how many people have children.  Half of the room raised their hands. I didn't even think twice about it and kept mine down.  Then all of a sudden I said "well....kind of. I guess I should start getting used to raising my hand for this type of question."

    Along with the disbelief, another emotion I'm experiencing is anxiety of labor and delivery (and recovery).  Don't get that confused with thinking I'm scared. I'm truly not scared because I know I can and will get through it just like so many women do every single day since the beginning of human life. My anxiety, however, comes from having a Type A personality and always wanting to be in control. I'm a planner. I plan everything! Aside from bread and chocolate, spreadsheets and lists are my best friends, so when I admit to myself that there isn't a single human being on this planet who can tell me how my labor and delivery will go, I feel nervous of the unknown. It is true that each woman experiences her own unique birth story and I so badly just want to know what mine will be like so I can feel prepared. It is not a matter of being distrustful of the professionals who will be helping me, I just want to embody the Boy Scout motto.

    What I've been doing to help ease some of these emotions is reading up on various women's birth stories. By hearing all of the different experience others have had, I feel like I gain some sort of understanding of all the different things that COULD happen...knowing they won't all happen to me. This way, if I'm told the cord is wrapped around her neck and I need a C-section or I'm in labor for 37 hours or I'm a week late and have to be put on pitocin or I can't pee afterwards because I'm so swollen or I rip (ugh) all the way back to where the sun don't shine...I'll be able to say "okay...I've heard this can happen. It'll be alright." It's all about feeling educated on the possibilities but not being naive enough to think I have any sort of TRUE control over how my own story unfolds.

    So there you have it...the very wordy and complex working on my brain at nearly 35 weeks pregnant.
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