Ask any mother of two and she’ll tell you the huge difference between welcoming your first newborn and your second. I can remember standing in Babies R Us on the verge of tears making a registry before Amelia was born.
Do I really need a snot sucker; is the most expensive one the best; what the hell is the difference in nipple flow? Choosing a stroller nearly sent me over the edge before I finally asked to table the conversation.
This flood of emotions was me realizing I had no idea what a baby needed. Then came Theodore and the experience was like night and day. I knew what I was getting into, a few things I wished I had, and wasn’t left feeling like a crappy mother because I decided to forgo the snot sucker.
If you’re expecting baby number two, you’re probably feeling confident. But, for the momma welcoming your first, maybe I can spare you the near emotional breakdown trying to figure out what you need.
What are my newborn essentials?
There are FOUR things I swear by. This is not a complete list (you need the stroller still) but it is a few items I found I used every day.
A little disclaimer: I am coming at this as a breastfeeding momma who delivered my little guy by c-section. If you’re bottle feeding, for example, that dreaded nipple flow question might require some more research and a few items of my items won’t make your list.
Ouchie Momma Nipple Rescue
Momma, if you’re planning to breastfeed, you need to have this in your hospital bag and closeby for the first few weeks. Having this one item on hand made a world of difference getting our breastfeeding journey off on the right foot.
I’ll spare the gory details about the state of my nipples within the first week of breastfeeding Amelia but it was beyond anything I expected. This leads me to a rant. When I was expecting Amelia I had in my mind what many say: Breastfeeding should not hurt. No, it should not hurt and with Amelia it was a tongue tie causing the pain, but your nipples are tender. Whose nipples are prepared for 8-10 feedings a day or nightly cluster feeding?
My point being, I wasn’t mentally prepared for breastfeeding because I had been groomed to think it was a natural process with no pain. By the time I asked for help – well, the details are unpleasant.
Second time around, I was armed and ready for sore nipples. Luckily, Theo didn’t have a tongue tie but I applied the nipple cream preventatively. Hallelujah! I can’t even begin to describe the difference it made.
Made with natural ingredients (in Canada might I add) Rumina Naturals has a winner. Avoid spending money and time trying to find a solution to sooth your irritated nipples and pack it in your hospital bag. A little goes a long way so it’s a good bang for your buck.
PSA: I am NOT suggesting you should ignore pain from breastfeeding. Make sure you look into a tongue tie or a bad latch. For me, having nursed a baby with a tongue tie first I knew the difference between irritated nipples and severe pain. It’s not a lie, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, and if it is, ask for help. Trust your gut! I knew with Amelia something wasn’t right.
Check out Is Pain during Breastfeeding Normal during the First Few Weeks by Rumina Naturals.
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow
Case in point about not having a damn clue which one to choose was my nursing pillow. There were SO many choices varying in price and design so I picked the cheapest option there was. Wrong choice – for me at least. After I realized this, I did my research. Who knew you should research a pillow?
My research led me to My Brest Friend and did it ever live up. It was supportive, made latching easier, and allowed me to use different breastfeeding positions because of wrap around design. This pillow was essential having had a big baby and a c-section.
Need a little more detail about the benefits for c-section mommas? It shouldn’t be hard to understand that putting weight on your belly after a c-section sucks. The wrap around design and adjustable strap on the pillow helped keep the weight off my incision. It also allowed me to utilize the football breastfeeding hold to keep him off my tummy. BONUS for moms of two: it kept my hands free (for the most part).
If you’re having a c-section and plan to breastfeed, give your body a break and grab this pillow!
Parade Organic Everything Blanket
The moment they wrap your little one up like the cutest burrito you’ve ever seen will melt your heart. So tightly that just their curious little eyes and button nose are visible. Then, you unwrap them and you’ll never be able to recreate that same burrito.
Swaddling is one of those quintessential newborn things. Swaddling makes a newborn feel safe; prevents face scratching; and helps little ones sleep soundly. The trick is keeping your newborn, who is basically Houdini, wrapped up.
As a new mom, there is nothing more terrifying than finding your baby with a blanket over their face. Swaddling your baby so they don’t unravel seemed like a skill I didn’t have. There was no swaddle Amelia couldn’t find her way out of. That included muslin swaddles, blankets, and Velcro swaddles (that was something special). When pregnant with Theodore I coveted the Instagram worthy burrito babies.
As a gift, I received the Parade Organics Everything Blanket and my dreams of a perfectly wrapped baby boy were born! A single layer organic cotton blanket meant for (you guessed it) everything. The key feature: a bit of natural stretch! It’s so soft, a great size, and stretchy to get that Instagram worthy burrito babe. My sweet Theo’s Houdini tricks didn’t stand a chance.
Not sure how to swaddle? Check out this video!
Bamboo Babywearing Carrier
Holy moly I don’t know how I survived the fourth trimester when I had Amelia without babywearing. That girl loved her momma and no one else. She wanted to be held by me, and me alone, a good portion of the day. Ask me how many times I ordered takeout because I couldn’t put her down to make dinner.
With a toddler to feed, takeout every night of the week wasn’t what I wanted. As a result, I purchased two bamboo babywearing carriers, with a bit of skepticism. The first day I pulled out the carrier, I was sold. I wore Theo who, again, wasn’t a little guy a good portion of the day.
BOTH hands were completely free to cook, play with Amelia, eat – the possibilities are endless. More so, the neck and back pain I experienced in the first few weeks with Amelia were nowhere near as severe using the carrier. Lastly, but probably the best, is that your beautiful newborn baby is snuggled up close enough to kiss their too perfect head. It made me feel like I was bonding with him while still being able to keep up.
There are LOTS of different kinds of baby wraps but I am hooked on those made with bamboo. I bought two: one from Beluga Baby and one from Jax & Lennon – both made of bamboo. Let me tell you, they are SO soft. They also come in super cute prints and colours which, if you’re going to wear a baby all day, is a bonus!
There you have it …
The four items I used every day for the first month. The best part: these items benefitted me as much as they did my newborn. You just gave birth; your body doesn’t need anymore pain if it can be avoided.
Of course, this isn’t a complete list but I hope there are a few less things to ponder over. In other words, I mean google extensively because we’re moms and that’s what we do.
What are your must have items for those first few weeks of newborn bliss?