The New Mom “Must Have” List

This is a list of the basic items that I found essential to have in the 4th trimester (the 3 months immediately after birth) for myself and baby, and also a list of the things you think you my need, but are really just a waste of money. People will tell you when you’re pregnant that you need allllll kinds of crazy things to prepare for a baby. To make it even worse, no one tells you the practical items that you REALLY need! Here are my essentials:

  • A supportive breastfeeding pillow. No boppies allowed! Boppie pillows are great for laying baby in, and propping up their head and leaning against, but they are not supportive breastfeeding pillows. Please do yourself a massive favor and buy a pillow that is meant for breastfeeding. You will be spending a lot of time in a chair or sitting on the couch nursing, and you want to support your baby and your proper body alignment to prevent back pain. You need a pillow that is firm and high enough to hold baby in the proper position when you are sitting straight up. I recommend the “my brest friend” nursing pillow (https://www.mybrestfriend.com/). I bought this pillow after a month of frustrated and uncomfortable positioning, and I wish someone had told me about it before.  It was a life saver for my back and for my little guy.
  • Lots of onesies. Yes, when you are making your baby shower gift list you see all the cute little outfits and think of how adorable your little baby will look in those cute bows and frills….or pants and suspenders. BUT no one tells you that you may be changing poop and pee filled diapers every few hours. Add in the diaper changes that occur with spit up, drooling, vomit…and you get the picture. You will really care less about a cute outfit and want the convenience of easy access. Trust me, those three buttons will sometimes even drive you crazy but they are much better than a full on entire outfit change every time your little angel has a poop explosion or milk spit up! Save the cutesy outfits for photo ops or a special day out and stock up on easy access comfort clothing. Don’t forget to buy comfy cottons that make baby feel warm and comfy. Would you want to be dressed to the nines when you’re having a tired lazy day at home? No, you want yoga pants or sweats, right? Think of what baby would want to wear just coming out of the warm cozy womb-  and dress them accordingly!
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm (http://earthmamaangelbaby.com/products/angel-baby-bottom-balm.html). This balm, and the whole line of products from Earth Mama Angel Baby, are so safe and effective that they have been my go-to brand for baby skin products. I keep at least 3-4 jars of the stuff at home as I am afraid I may lose a jar or run out or leave one somewhere….and then what would I do?! It kept my baby completely diaper-rash free in his first year of life. I applied a thin amount after each diaper change. It’s safe to use on cuts, scrapes, rashes,cradle cap, minor burns, and dry/cracked skin. It really is a wonderful balm and if you look at the ingredient list there is nothing to make me nervous. As an RN mom I take great pride in product selection for my little guy’s skin, and this is my favorite. I give it as gifts to new mom friends and always keep a few spare on hand. The baby body wash is lovely as well, and I use the body wash to make my own home made baby wipes. That will be for a later post!
  • Nursing bras in larger sizes. When my milk came in three days after having my son, I had not a bra to fit. I thought, “sure, my breasts will enlarge for a few days, no big deal, I’ll just wear a stretchy nursing bra”. Boy was I wrong! I needed comfort and I desperately needed support. I went from a 32b/c pre-pregnancy, to a 34c during pregnancy, to a 34d/dd after my milk came in. I literally went to the one good maternity store we have here in Bermuda and dropped $80 each on two bras that fit two days after getting home from the hospital. I was pissed that I had to leave the house with my son and even more pissed that I hadn’t realized how my boobs would be so huge and I’d need some nursing bras at the ready. Don’t get anything with an underwire!! You will be so tender that the thought of wearing an underwire will make you sick. Get a comfy supportive daytime bra with clip down sides, and a comfy night-time one that you can just pull aside or clip down. Whatever size you are at the end of your pregnancy, go get a bra that is at least one cup size larger, maybe even two. The band size should remain the same and eventually go down.
  • Power bars. I prefer Clif bars, Lara bars, and Pro bars, but everyone has a favorite consistency and brand. Keep a stock in the house. You may not have the time or energy to prepare or eat full meals, and if you’re nursing you will feel hungry frequently. A handy snack that you can eat while nursing your little one will come in so handy.
  • A supportive baby carrier. I used a Moby wrap when little man was first born and I really liked the stability of it. There’s tons of other options for sling and ring carriers, and these work best for a newborn as they cuddle them in tight to your body. After your little one is a wee bit older, you will be looking for a carrier that will take you through until they don’t need one anymore. Some carriers have “infant inserts” that the convert to a “big kid” forward facing carrier or back carrier, and some just come for that 4-6 month+ age range. I tried 4-5 carriers before I found one for my then 6 month old- and I had become so frustrated by the lack of lumbar support. TADA…. To my rescue came the Lillebaby carrier. It had amazing lumbar back support,easily adjustable straps, was very supportive through the bottom and hips for my little guy, and allows you you carry in multiple positions. Don’t waste your time on the popular Baby Bjorn- your baby’s legs will hang straight down which not ideal for your little ones hips an legs, and the back support is either non existent or minimal. Shell out a little more money and get one that will last and will save your back. It’s so important to look after your own body as well as your little one’s!
  • Things people will try to sell you or tell you that you need but that you will never use and are a waste of money:
    • Wipe warmer. Really?? Completely unnecessarily. Wipes at room temperature are just fine for baby, thank you very much!
    • Baby shoes. Babies don’t walk until close to a year old, and wearing shoes before walking can have a detrimental impact on the growth and development of your baby’s feet. Toes and feet need to feel around to get their bearings and strengthen enough to crawl, stand, and eventually walk. Please don’t keep shoes on your baby just because they look cute!
    • Bottle warmer. Another scam! Bottles can be easily warmed up safely a number of ways. If you’re breastfeeding you shouldn’t have to worry about this one much. If you’re bottle feeding then try something as simple as putting the bottle in a large cup of warm water to heat up. Boom, you made your own bottle warmer and saved yourself $30.
    • Baby care products that have toxic chemicals. Please use the Environmental Working Group’s free app or website ( http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/search.php) to check out the ingredient list on your baby products. Only request products on your baby shower list that you have researched and that you feel comfortable using. You may be surprised at how many ingredients in those popular baby products are hazardous to your baby’s health.
    • Fancy baby clothes. See the post above about onesies. Save the cute outfits for when your baby can move around. If you want to stock up on cute little outfits, request them in a larger size like 6,9, or 12 months, when your baby will start to develop their features, and can give you a cheeky grin when you put them in something fancy!

 

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