My beautiful friend Lee Ann Moldovanyi posted some new baby tips on Facebook. She is the mother of Sylvie, 2 and Coralee who’s practically brand new. I promptly stole her list for a guest post.
Some of you may be wondering two things:
1. Do Sue or Lee Ann recieve compensation for the recommended products? Sadly, no.
2. Is Sue giving new baby tips becuase she is pregnant? Happily, no. I’m just helpful like that.
One other note, Lee Ann is a fantastic and knowledgable SAP consultant. If you know someone who’d like to hire her for contract work, let me know and I can put you in touch with her!
Without further ado:
My Best Tips from One New Mom to Another
Since I am up at 1:30am with an iPhone and not going back to sleep for a little while, I thought I’d share my favorite new mom products and services with other new parents…
- Get a neck nest if you don’t already have one. You know, the things that people wear on airplanes to help them sleep sitting up. You will be doing a lot of this at first.
- Get a bedrest – not sure they are always called ‘bedrests’ but it is the pillow with arms you probably had in college. Use this instead of 27 pillows when you’re trying to prop yourself up in bed
- I now have a neat product called Milkies (http://www.mymilkies.com/) – it allows you to collect breastmilk that leaks on one side when you are nursing on the other. I used this a lot during the first three weeks and collected several ounces that would have otherwise been sadly wasted!
- Trumpette socks – they are the only socks that don’t fall off (for about 8+ lbs – all socks fall off before that. Get a pair of newborn pants that have built-in feet)
- If you cloth diaper, consider using a disposable at night once your baby has regained birth weight and you want her to sleep longer stretches at night. It took us two years of waking up several times at night to figure that one out.
- I just got a hands-free pumping bra and I love it! Wish I had had one with my first baby. Mine is made by PumpEase and it’s cute as such things go – it’s red with polka dots – got it on Amazon. Fits very well and allows me to get stuff done while pumping. They really should issue these as standard with a breastpump to every mom when you have a baby.
- Take at least one hospital hat home with you. They are ugly but all of the cute baby hats I have for Coralie are way too big and slip over her eyes (which freaks her out). Sylvie was born in May, with tons of hair, so I didn’t know this until now. I hadn’t taken a hat from the hospital so had to get one from another mom.
- Declare EARLY ON if you do not want baby clothes that say cutsie phrases on them such as “Mommy’s Little Princess” or “Daddy’s Little Slugger.” You will not be able to get rid of clothes like that and they’ll keep pouring in if you don’t nip it in the bud. Same with “holiday clothes.” People mean well, but a St Patrick’s Day shirt is only good on, well, St Patrick’s Day, and is useless otherwise except as pajamas. Also, if you’re like me, it can be a bit distressing to have a special occasion outfit all picked out for the photo ops, only to have someone present a holiday outfit that they expect you to change your child into for the rest of the day. If someone really wants to give you holiday clothes, *socks* are a great option. My daughter LOVES the holiday socks my sweet sister-in-law gets her for every holiday, and I truly don’t mind if she wears them 365 days/year.
Incidentally, I tried to preempt an onslaught of peptol bismol pink clothes for my baby girls, but people really cannot help themselves. They will get you pink (because they “couldn’t resist!”) or will substitute pastels, which to me are no better than pink. You can’t stop it. Just be gracious and accept it. If you have enough brown or black little pants along and some toned-down cardigans or sweatshirts, then the pink really isn’t so offputting. (If you are one of my friends who bought me something pink or holiday clothes, I appreciate it and I love you – a few of these things are fine and quite cute – it’s when it’s 90% of your kid’s wardrobe that it is a problem.)
Other tips that have helped me although not incredibly unique:
- If you end up with a c-section, send someone to Target or somewhere to get you some cheap boy-shorts-style underwear so you don’t have to wear the ginormous mesh granny-panties they give you at the hospital.
- Not that I’m a Target fanatic, but I really like the nursing bras and tanks at Target. They are not expensive, which is helpful considering how many I plow through in a given week, and they are comfortable. I favor the tanks over the bras, mostly because I get cold if I have to lift up my shirt to nurse or pump. They don’t fit perfectly, but I’m willing to live with the tradeoff of price/comfort vs fit.
- LOVE my exercise ball for rocking the baby to sleep.
- You don’t need the Ergo baby insert – a rolled-up receiving blanket is fine.
- Shop at consignment stores although Carter’s outlets have prices that are often much better than consignment prices, if you can live with the consumerism
- I use my iPhone and Pandora for nighttime music – I just leave it on in the baby’s room on a lullaby station, and it’s right there for when I have to nurse her in the middle of the night – gives me instant reading material.
- A heating pad is handy for c-section healing as well as warming up the baby’s bassinet or crib right before placing them into it (thanks Stacy and Lucy for those tips!)
- Having two pumps has been great. I admit I bought them used (*gasp*) but I bought them from women who claimed to not have had luck with producing milk, so they were supposedly barely used. Anyway the benefit of having two pumps is if you have to go back to work, you can leave one in your office and not have to lug around that dreadful black backpack. You can get new tubing at your hospital or from a lactation consultant, and they can also test to make sure that your pump has sufficient suction with a gauge.
- I really liked having one of these – http://www.amazon.com/Multi-Use-Blue-Yellow-White-Baby/dp/B0001YIAIO/ref=sr_1_65?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1296644853&sr=1-65 – to keep next to my bed. If I need to change the baby and she is in bed with me or in the bassinet, I can change her on the bed without having to get up and go into her room in the middle of the night. They are waterproof but fuzzy, and fold up small enough that they can be stashed out of the way easily. There is still the hand-washing issue, but I have learned to be less grossed-out with sufficing with hand sanitizer for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
- Get the smallest tube of lanolin you can find – despite what you might think when you first start breastfeeding, you won’t need it for long and you don’t need very much. I have a huge tube of it that I will never use again, and don’t think I can pawn it off onto someone else very easily
- I love my video baby monitor, but my friend Brian would totally make fun of me for being a helicopter parent for having it. It’s a Summer Infant Slim and Secure. I believe I saw a pink version on Amazon for about $50 less than the silver version – contrary to my position on pink, I would have gotten it if I could have saved $50!
- When I first started nursing both times, I was in significant pain for the first 1-2 weeks – cracked, bleeding, blistered nipples, and in toe-curling pain with every feeding session. Because of this, I do not and would not EVER judge a mom for deciding to switch to formula. However, I’m really glad that I stuck it out because as my babies’ mouths got bigger and they had more experience, the pain subsided. In both cases, it took about 2 weeks and then nursing went swimmingly after that. I nursed my first child until she was 2 — and yes, even after she sprouted teeth at 4 months, I still didn’t stop (really, the teeth do not cause a problem despite what you might think). So, I would encourage any mom who wants to and who can breastfeed to know that if it hurts, seek the help of a lactation consultant and try to power through the first few weeks, because it really does get easier.
- You do not need special nursing tops – just the bras.
- If you are going to get your child a passport, you can take a better picture at home and print it through Snapfish or your pharmacy than spend the $7-15 at Rite Aid or the post office where they’ll take one single photo of your hands holding a floppy-headed newborn. Lay your baby on a white sheet and snap away with your digital camera. You can take dozens of photos until you find the right one. There are many websites that explain how to do this, along with free tools. Google “how to take a passport photo at home.”
If you are in Portland Oregon and still pregnant:
- Be sure to check out Zenana spa (http://www.Zenana-spa.com/) for pre-pregnancy services such as non-chemically pedicures, prenatal yoga, pregnancy massage, birthing and parenting classes, and more. My two favorite services are their waxing (ask for Indira) – barely hurts and has never left me irritated, and their hypnobirthing class. I chose hypnobirthing not because I’m particularly alternative, but because it’s a form of anxiety management that is useful in many other aspects of your life, unlike, say, Lamaze. It was a pragmatic choice. The instructor (and spa co-owner, Kristen Olberz) is also a labor/delivery nurse at one of our local hospitals, and it was very helpful to have several opportunities to talk with her about ‘what to expect’ from a hospital experience by someone on the inside. Note – services are still great even after you’ve had the baby – and, they have onsite childcare!
- Providence Hospital has a GREAT prenatal water aerobics class, but it’s not advertised and hard to research. It’s in their rehab pool, which is super warm and delightful when pregnant. I loved bobbing away on a swim noodle when I weighed 175+ pounds. I don’t have the URL offhand but google Providence Portland Aquatics.
More importantly, classes like this were the best thing I could have done for myself emotionally. I didn’t expect my friendships to change as much as they did when I couldn’t go out and party with my childless friends or friends with older kids. I needed friends who were more on the same schedule as I. Plus, it was nice going through pregnancy with other first-time pregnant women, along with a few who had already been around the block but whose experience wasn’t so far in the past that they only remembered the easy stuff. Then, since we all had babies within 1-2 months of each other, we formed great parenting support and playdate groups. Some of my favorite friends came out of these classes (you know who you are!)