Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Items I Didn't Know I Would Need Before Having a Baby

I'm preparing to have my third baby here in a few weeks and I thought I'd do a little post for maybe some first time moms out there who are also preparing for their sweet little babes to arrive.  Being a first time mom is one of the most exciting things to experience.  There are a few items/things I was not prepared for as a first time mom and I'd love to help anyone who wants to learn from my lack of knowledge. (Yes, I realize that made no sense after I typed it.)  So, here's a list of items that I did not have when my first baby arrived that I wished I had.  Some of the items on the list may be a life saver for you, while others may be items you don't need at all.  I've found that with my first two babies, I definitely needed all of these items, but some of them were due to my situations and circumstances, which may or may not apply to some other moms.  Please understand that even though this is my 3rd birth, I am sure there are still things I will be sending my husband back to the store for once my little guy arrives!

See below for links to each of the products above. :)

1. Burp cloths or cloth diapers.
I did not account for the massive amounts of spit up that my children would produce.  I had 2 or 3 packages of these, but I found that I was going through multiple (sometimes 10 or more) of these every day!  Keeping up with that much laundry?  Ain't nobody got time for that!  In fact, I'm taking some of these with me to the hospital as well.  I remember having my husband go to our home the evening after our first was born to grab more bibs and burp cloths because the spit up was happening so frequently.  This is one of those things that may not be necessary for all babies, since some very rarely spit up.  Unfortunately, there's just no way to know until you know...  I'd buy several packs and only wash a few.  That way if I didn't need the rest, I could return them.

2. Bibs.
Prior to having babies, I always thought bibs were appropriate at the high chair during meals.  I was completely unaware that they also doubled as outfit savers.  If it weren't for bibs, my daughters would have been in 10 different outfits (or more) per day due to the spit up issue mentioned above.  They come in handy whether you are nursing or bottle feeding for excess milk that spills and for drooling once those teeth start coming in.

3. Tri Vi Sol Vitamins.
The pediatricians always recommend giving your baby these vitamins daily.

4. Gas drops.
If you have a baby who is a little gassy, it can really help to give them some gas drops before or after feedings.  A little trick we learned that helped soothe our first back to sleep was to put a little bit of the gas drops on the end of her pacifier.  She loved the way it tasted and she'd suck on her pacifier and often times go right back to sleep.  So nice.

5. Swaddlers.
Babies typically like to be swaddled.  It makes them feel safe and secure.  My first loved the swaddle and could not sleep well without it for months.  My second liked it for about 6 weeks and then decided she was DONE and that arms above the head was the way to relax.  Regardless, it was nice to have some on hand.  My favorite swaddler is probably the Miracle Blanket, although you can make your own version of this using a receiving blanket and a different swaddle or a receiving blanket and a larger blanket.  The muslin material ones are so nice during the hotter months.

6.  A book.  What I mean is a book that will help you parent in the way that makes the most sense to you.  There are several out there with great success rates.  I looked for something that aligned with my beliefs and my lifestyle and used it as a reference when I needed it.  For some, it's "Attachment Parenting.".  For some, it's "The Happiest Baby on the Block."  For others, it's "Babywise."  But I really liked having a guide that I felt comfortable referring to with the knowledge that God made me the parent of my child for a reason and to always seek His guidance first.  I got TONS of advice (solicited and unsolicited) when my baby arrived.  Some of it was wonderful and extremely helpful.  Some of it made me question everything!  I felt like having already having a guide written by professionals and doing some of the research myself was extremely helpful.  For our lifestyle and beliefs, we chose to use Babywise as a reference, but I'd suggest choosing a method that aligns best with your beliefs and your lifestyle.  

7. If you are nursing -
  • Nursing shield: This thing is what kept me from giving up.  I got very engorged after having my baby and had major latching issues.  When she was 9 days old, I was back at the hospital visiting the lactation consultants in tears.  They gave me one of these things and I swear I could hear the angels singing.  I used it for 2 months with my first.  With my second, my milk came in much quicker and I had to start using it the second day after she was born.  I used it for a month and then she no longer needed it. 
  • Disposable nursing pads (not cloth): With my first, I thought it would be best to have cloth nursing pads so that I could just wash them and reuse them.  I found that they did not absorb moisture well and left me feeling gross and wet all day, which later caused me to get an infection (ouch.)  They also slipped around when I slept and I'd wake up in a puddle of milk.  (I know, TMI...)  I then discovered that disposable nursing pads were made by Jesus himself.  They have an adhesive so that they don't slide around and they absorb all the moisture, leaving you dry.  Plus, you don't have to wash them.  Trust me, with all the blowouts, spit up, and everything else, you will have plenty of additional laundry to do.  :)
  • Nipple cream: I hardly had to use it at all with my 2nd baby, but I used it after ever feeding with my first for the first few weeks.  Helped me tremendously.  The Medela was my favorite kind because it is easier to apply.

8.  If your baby is a boy:
Gauze and Vaseline (so I hear!)  I am pregnant with my first boy and I recently asked this question on Facebook.  Many people told me to "point it down" and to have plenty of gauze and Vaseline handy in case of a circumcision. 

So there you have it!  These were things I didn't know I needed and I've made sure I've had on hand with each baby ever since.  If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

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