Kenneth is more than six weeks old at this point (wow!) which means the immediate postpartum period is over. I had worked extremely hard to prepare myself for parenthood, but being prepared doesn’t really decrease the amount of work it takes to sustain a newborn! Finding time for anything other than breastfeeding and baby rocking is tough… but I am getting into a groove and really starting to enjoy Ken’s emerging personality.
In addition to the obvious necessities (diapers, wipes, crib, baby clothes, etc) these items all helped the postpartum period go more smoothly:
- Eat Sleep app – While still in the hospital, the nurses tell you to log each feeding and diaper change. Keeping track helps you to determine if your baby is getting enough to eat and helps you to start learning his routines and demands. The nurses suggested a paper log, but an iPhone app is much more handy! I don’t know for sure if Eat Sleep is the very best one, but it is super easy to use and allows you to track feedings, diaper changes, and sleep. I don’t track Ken’s sleep, but it is great to have a record of when he last ate and got his diaper changed.
- iPhone6 – Speaking of iPhones, I don’t know how women survived the postpartum period prior to their existence!! Travis and I had splurged on the new iPhone6s with extra storage space before Kenneth’s birth because we figured we’d need the extra space to store tons of photos… but my phone has meant much more to me than just cute photos. It is amazing to have access to friends (via Facebook), family (via text), entertainment (via YouTube), distractions (via blog posts and Pinterest), and knowledge and support (via internet searches) all in the palm of my hand while breastfeeding or soothing my little symbiont.
- Miracle Blanket – Kenneth seems to like being swaddled at night. It prevents him from waving his arms uncontrollably and hitting himself in the face. We have used traditional swaddle blankets, but this Miracle Blanket is the best we’ve tried. It stays wrapped up nice and tight all night long. I can even breastfeed him while he is still wrapped up!
- Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads – Breastfeeding is demanding, but it has gotten much better over the last few weeks. I wear these pads in my bra at all times to absorb leaks and to protect my sensitive nipples. I like that they come individually wrapped so you can pack them in a bag easily.
- Lansinoh HPA Lanolin – I put this medical grade lanolin on my nursing pads to help soothe my worn out nipples. It is safe for breastfeeding and doesn’t need to be cleaned off before feeding.
- Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump – Breastfeeding is basically my full-time job at this point. I feed Ken every 1-4 hours (we are still working out our schedule) and if I want/need to be away from him for longer than that, I have to pump a bottle in advance. I actually have only done that a handful of times and I don’t use the pump very often, but it was nice to have on hand in the first few days after his birth to relieve engorgement and help establish my supply while Ken and I were first figuring out the whole nursing concept. (You should be able to get this pump for free via your health insurance when you are at 36 weeks.)
- ErgoBaby Carrier – A baby carrier is a necessity! Ken loves traveling in one and it helps him go to sleep. It also keeps him warm while outside in this frigid winter weather! We have used a Moby wrap, a BabyBjorn, and the ErgoBaby. All three work great, but the ErgoBaby is the most versatile and comfortable.
- Baby Nail Clippers – Baby nails are SO sharp! And they grow fast! I clip Ken’s nails while he dozes off after eating.
- An awesome husband/partner – A lot of the baby care falls on my shoulders, especially now that Travis is back at work, but I wouldn’t have survived these last six weeks without his support. Ken loves being held by his dad and Travis has spent many late nights walking him around the apartment to get him to sleep. He sings and reads to Ken at night, and brings me water when we are breastfeeding. Travis has also been doing all of the grocery shopping and much of the cooking. Plus, he brings me chocolate on particularly tough days! Two adults vs. one baby seems like the perfect ratio!
I recommend having all of these items on hand prior to baby’s arrival, if possible.
Have you recently brought home a newborn bundle? What do you recommend for the first few weeks?