While there are tons of pregnancy / post partum guides out there, I’m not ashamed to add one more. These are thoughts and things that were useful to me and maybe they’ll be so for you or someone you know.
Books I recommend:
I read a little bit from a bunch of baby books but these are the ones that stick out to me the most.
Nursing Mother’s Companion. Great reference book if you’re planning on breast feeding. I’d like to also add that seeing a lactation consultant as soon as possible after birth will really help you. Make it your top priority. Breast feeding is natural but it’s rarely easy.
Brain Rules for Baby. Fun book on baby development. It’s approachable and easy to read. I enjoyed learning about the different ways babies grow and my part in Wyeth’s development.
Dr Sears Baby Book. Good reference for handling the baby. He is a proponent of Attachment Parenting, but even if that’s not your thing, I still suggest looking through it.
Happiest Baby on the Block. Swaddle that baby and you’ll have the happiest baby around. For reals.
Things I really do use for me:
Majamas organic cotton nursing bra. Great coverage and very comfortable. I tried one of the Lamaze sleep bras but it didn’t have as good a coverage. Granted I did go up a few cup sizes.
Reusable cotton pads. These shrunk a good bit. It doesn’t really matter what brand you get, you’re just gonna need a bunch of these.
Wool pads. Spendy so I only got one pair. The other thing about these pads is that you have to use lanolin soap and let them air dry. But I love them. They’re like cozy boob blankets.
Panties. You’ll need something to hold back the swaying emptiness threatening to leave your body to become its own country. You could shell out the money for a bellyband or you could just buy high waisted granny panties. It’s also a good idea to have high waisted undies in case you end up with a C-section. Those cute boyshorts aren’t gonna work with that incision.
Nursing bras with support. I waited a few weeks until I felt like my body had kind of plateaued and was fitted at a specialty shop. There’s no flippin’ way I would’ve even tried the size they gave me (really, that far down the alphabet?). I tried a nursing bra from Target and pretty much wanted to burn it. Getting fitted was the best thing I’ve done for myself so far. No more walking around like Ma from The Egg and I.
Things I really do use for the baby:
Cotton diapers as all purpose cloths. Absorbent, soft, awesome. I use them for so many things and I like them much more than the flannel bib cloths I made.
Wipes warmer. Whatever brand. This may seem frivolous and it kind of is but seriously, imagine someone was wiping your butt. Would you rather have a cold towelette or a warm cloth touching your privates?
Swaddle blankets. I have a few of these soft gauze ones and the baby loves them (you can find four packs at Target for cheaper than these). Sometimes I’ll layer them for extra warmth if I think he needs it. Just make sure the blankets are about a yard square otherwise you’ll only be able to swaddle a cucumber. If your baby is a cucumber then go for the small ones. And maybe think about how you ended up with a cucumber instead of a baby.
Diaper rash cream. This one is great for rashes caused by too much moisture.
Lambskin. Ok again not essential but something I like. I use this for tummy time so he can grab the fibers and has softness around his face. It also looks great draped across a chair so you could easily justify this purchase as “for the baby” even if it’s not.
Nursing chair. Choose something really comfortable. You don’t have to buy a rocker/glider. The most important thing is comfort. You’ll be spending HOURS and HOURS in that spot. Make it yours. I ended up in spasms using my old rocker and switched it out with a club chair I had in another room. It made a huge difference.
As for bottles, there’s no regulation on slow flow nipples, so I ended up trying a few to find the one that works the best for Wyeth. Every baby is different. He didn’t like the cool Yoomi bottle or the fancy Medela suction bottle. Instead he ended up with the simple Medela slow flow bottle. You just never know until you try.
Like I said before, these are things that have worked for me. They might not be up your alley at all, but that’s cool. There are about a hundred million ways to take care of yourself and your baby! I found filtering through all the baby books that picking and choosing ideas worked best for me, rather than subscribing wholly to one philosophy. A friend said to remember that “you’re the best mom for your baby.” Nobody else is.
Wyeth and I are starting to venture out into the world. This week we made it out to the Laurelhurst Park with my friend Charlotte for a picnic in the moving shade. I brought along one of the little quilts I made for Wyeth. It’s the best size for a baby picnic blanket. He and I have run a couple of errands together and been out to lunch twice. Learning how to go out with a baby has been slow due to my healing body (I had a Caesarian) and breastfeeding logistics. I figured the best way is to just have a bottle in the diaper bag until I get breastfeeding sorted out. It may be natural but it’s not always easy! I could write a really long post on why it’s been so hard for me but I’m not because who needs to read another dramatic breastfeeding story on the internet?
In other news, the weather has been really lovely and it’s berry picking time on Sauvie Island. I haven’t made it out there yet but I can’t wait to do so. Sauvie Island Farms has the best flower garden in the summer. You can bring a bucket and fill it with as many flowers as you can pick for less than twenty dollars! You know I did that a couple of times last year. This year I’ll be toting that baby and teaching him the ways of berry picking and flower cutting. He’s pretty smart; I think he’ll have it down by next summer.
Wyeth turned a month last week. It’s surprising how fast time goes by when you’re awake for most of the hours in a day. This little guy is growing so fast, his changes are visible to me every day. He’s getting chunkier and rolypoly squishable. His hair is growing in a lighter color than the dark brown he was born with. He’s been a laid back baby who loves to snuggle and stare with his intense blue eyes. I think he can see, or at least focus, more than he could last week. We make faces at each other. And I bet he’s wondering, what is this place? Why are there so many flowers?