How I Survived the 1st Month | Baby & Mommy Essentials

How I Survived the 1st Month | Baby & Mommy Essentials

The early newborn days can be the most exhausting days of your life… but those days also fill your heart with so much love you can’t even take it!

I was so thankful for the incredible support I received from my dear husband and mom the first two weeks. The second week was by far the hardest for me because of the struggle I had at the beginning with breastfeeding. Watch my breastfeeding story here.

However, there were some products that also made the transition into mommy-hood much easier and more comfortable! Some of these products are complete staples and some are more luxury and non-essentials, but that I found so great!

{I originally made a vlog about my mommy and baby essentials-linked below, but added a few holy grail products to this blog post that I forgot when filming}

essential Collage2essential Collage1

Diaper Bag

Diaper Bags (and prams/strollers) can be one of the hardest items to choose as the selection is overwhelming. I found the one I wanted after watching Rachel Talbott’s video about her diaper bag. I chose the Vera Bradley Convertible Baby Bag (in classic black). Vera Bradley’s bags are extremely well-made and last ages. Many midwives use them as their birth bags as they hold up well with the constant abuse they get from being thrown in cars while rushing to births.

I’ve never owned any Vera Bradley before because the bright florally fabrics didn’t appeal to me. This bag though was all black and looked super chic! But most importantly, it was very functional. The 3 main functions that I liked was that it had a solid, flat bottom so it can stand on it’s own (does anyone else hate when big purses or bags fall and slouch over?!), it had a wipeable interior and it can be carried as a purse, cross over body or a backpack!

I take the diaper bag with me everywhere! Wherever the baby is, the diaper bag is too…

{Watch my video: What’s in my Diaper Bag}

Disposables & Cloth Diapers

We used Naty eco disposable diapers the first few days while he was passing meconium. I didn’t want to have to deal with laundry while I was freshly recovering from birth and I heard it can be a nightmare getting meconium out of cloth diapers.

We then switched to our newborn cloth diapers and have been cloth diapering full time since then…  except one weekend when we went to London as we thought disposables would be easier while traveling. Well on the first day of disposable, we had changed Harvey’s clothes 3 times by 10:00am because of blowouts and leaks in his disposables. We’d never had any major leaks or blowouts in cloth diapers before or since, so we learned out lesson and have never looked back!

[Watch my cloth diaper videos: part 1 & part 2}

Co-sleeper

We always planned on co-sleeping for the natural biological reasons with the bonus being the convenience since we were exclusively breastfeeding.

If you’ve looked into co-sleepers, you know they can be very expensive. However, the good ole pinterest did not let me down. I found a great post on a DIY co-sleeper. I bought a second-hand crib, bed risers, a massive heavy duty strap and we were off! We got a new all natural crib mattress, mesh breathable bumpers and bamboo crib sheets to make it extra cosy and safe.

We took off one side of the crib and attached that exposed side to my side of the bed with the strap (we strapped the box spring mattress to the bottom side of the crib). We had to buy bed risers for the cot to get the crib mattress level with our mattress.

Now doesn’t this all sound so lovely? Well… here we are 8 weeks down the road and Harvey has slept in his co-sleeper 3 times. We found it much easier just to have him laying right beside me because he kicked and wiggled much more in the co-sleeper which woke us both up. He both slept better when we were right next to each other. The co-sleeper currently functions as a table for my phone and water bottle as I drink water throughout the night when I breastfeed. In addition to being a great replacement for my nightstand, we plan on using it when he gets a bit bigger and will be able to sleep better “on his own” (ie not being right next to me).

Small Purse (for the diaper bag)

I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on carrying a large purse in addition to the diaper bag when going out. I originally was just putting a few of my items in a pocket of the diaper bag, but that wasn’t working too well as I had to rummage around the bag too much to get out my wallet and keys. I bought a cute leather cross body bag and stick it in the diaper bag. It’s chunky enough where I can easily find it in the bag and pull it out. I can also just wear it in addition to the diaper bag if the bag is too full or if I need immediate access to it.

I just keep some Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick (colour: Latino), the Body Shop Aloe Lip Treatment, few pieces of gum, my phone, keys and wallet in the bag. That’s it! It’s amazing how much a mum can minimize their life when they have a new little one…

Swaddle Blankets

I don’t actually use swaddle blankets for swaddling Harvey… Sadly, he didn’t enjoy being swaddled. I think bundled burrito babies look so cute!

We use swaddle blankets for our breastfeeding cover and as a blanket around the house. My all time favourite swaddle blankets are aden + anais bamboo swaddles. They’re quite expensive ($45 for 3 in states, £32 for 3 in UK), but last forever and are so soft. They get softer with each wash too! The aden + anais muslin swaddles are good too, just not as soft.

Onesies (UK) / Footie Pajamas (US)

Footie pajamas are so easy to put them on and take off. They are very diaper-changing friendly, and just the best pajamas for babies in my opinion. And since we used these every night, I thought these were an essential item for baby.

Baby Carrier

I seriously don’t know how I would have ever gotten anything done without my Lenny Lamb Mei Tai baby carrier although I use my ergobaby more now.  The first two weeks, I didn’t do much of anything at all anyway besides sleep, eat and breastfeed, but once I started adding house chores into my routine, I had to wear him. He almost always falls asleep within 5-10 minutes. It allows me to have a happy baby and the use of both of my hands. SCORE! Running errands also definitely requires a baby carrier unless you’re gonna use your pram/stroller everywhere… but in my opinion:

aint-nobody-got-time-for-that

Tall Baby Socks

I have a big problem when it comes to newborn socks… and it’s not the magic sock fairy that makes them vanish in the washing machine. They always fall off! That is probably how they disappear. They are so short and they aren’t elasticated well.

H&M came to the rescue… They have the most amazing organic baby socks that are tall and not only elasticated at the top, but also just above the ankle part so they don’t slip down as easily. Now I’m not gonna lie and say they never slide down because they do… But not very far and they’ve never fallen off. They’re also tall and thick which is great, especially when I wear him because his trousers always come up on his legs when he’s in the carrier. Also, I love that they are neutral colours. I have never been a fan of the overly girly or boyish colours… and what’s up with all the weird characters on clothes? Unnecessary… 😉

[I cannot find them online anywhere! But these look similar and even better actually. These from h&m are also good]

Baby Cardigan

Harvey wears his little bear cardigan every day when we go out and even sometimes in the house when it’s a bit chilly, but not enough to put the heating on. As I said above, most of the time when we go out, I put him in my carrier. Our body heat together keep us both really warm, so I don’t like to dress him too bundled up. A cardigan is the perfect extra layer though… especially the hood.

Baby Snow Suit

I put Harvey in a snow suit when we take him out in the pram or when we’ll be taking him in and out of the car. It’s cut like a onesie/footy pajamas, so it’s really easy to get him in and out of. We have this one from H&M.

[I love H&M baby as they are really affordable and they are cut really generously in the bum area which is great for cloth diapers]

Hooded Bath Towel

I thought a hooded towel was an unnecessary expense until I got one as a gift and started using it. It’s not a necessity for sure, but it is really useful. I bathe Harvey every other day in the bath with me. I then get him out and put him in his bouncer chair that I have set up in the bathroom until I have finished washing my hair. I put the hooded towel in his bouncer and bundle him up in it. The hood is a great point of reference and helps keeps him warm for the few minutes extra that I stay in the bathtub.

Nursing Tank Top

These are great for breastfeeding mums! I wear a breastfeeding tank top everyday and every night. I wear one under whatever clothes I am wearing. If I am wearing another shirt over it, I just pull up the top shirt and unclip the nursing flap on the tank top and the rest of the tank top keeps me covered. Many times I just wear the tank top with a cozy, flowy cardigan over it.
Tip: a flowy cardigan can also work great as a nursing cover!

I got my nursing tank tops from Target when I was in the states this summer. I will definitely be getting some more next time I visit. They’re really affordable and are great quality!

Comfy Pajamas

I spend a lot of time at home now that I’m a stay-at-home mum. I think the combination of lack of sleep, a sweet, needy newborn and cold, rainy UK weather calls for staying in sweats as much as possible. My comfy outfit of choice at home is a nursing tank top, chunky, soft cardigan and lounge pants. My favourite lounge pants are Victoria’s Secret boyfriend pants– they last ages and are super cute!

Water Bottle

I’ve always been slightly obsessed with my Camelbak water bottle. I’m always thirsty… My camelbak was my best friend through my pregnancy and kept me feeling so much better and hydrated.

But oh the breastfeeding thirst! I have to keep my water bottle by my side at all times. As I mentioned above, I even keep my water bottle next to my bed and drink it throughout the night when I wake up to nurse Harvey. I bought the glass camelback off amazon. I have always wanted a glass water bottle. The silicone cover really protects it as well. I’ve dropped it countless times and it’s still in perfect condition.

Lavender-infused Bath Salts

Harvey and I take our baths together to relax together and it also saves time. My friend bought me an amazing postpartum gift of Lavendar infused bath salts from a local natural Apothecary. The bath salts are so relaxing. It makes me feel like I’m taking a luxurious bath and not that I’m just checking off something on our to-do list. I just ran out of it, so I’m thinking of making my own soon! Check out my pinterest board of the other items I’m hoping to make [one of these days]!!

Herbal Breastfeeding Tea

With the colder fall weather approaching, hot tea is always a good idea! I received breastfeeding tea as another sweet postpartum gift from the same natural Apothecary. The herbalist made me a special blend of tea using selected herbs that are great for breastfeeding and overall postpartum recovery. The tea was made up of loose leaf Camomile, Fennel and Ashwagandha. Camomile is relaxing, fennel is great for increasing milk supply and balancing digestion and ashwaganda increases energy and great for healing. Fennel and camomile are also great for calming a fussy baby and relieving gas pain.

Homeopathic Arnica

The chiropractor I saw in pregnancy recommended I take homeopathic arnica starting from when I went into labour and through the immediate postpartum period. I was already familiar with arnica’s healing benefits, but didn’t really consider taking it in labour and postpartum. I thought I could give it a go and see if it made a difference… Looking back, I’m so glad I did!

Arnica is good for healing in preventing and minimising bruising and swelling.

I didn’t take it much in labour but took it multiple times a day for the first week after birth. I tore in birth and had to get stitches. I think the arnica really sped up the healing process and minimised soreness. I was surprised how well I felt after birth.

I think every mum can benefit from taking arnica after birth no matter how gentle the birth was… birth is a pretty hardcore [but amazing] event.

Probiotics

I specifically wanted to take probiotics since I was on antibiotics for six days after birth because of my stitches. I do not like the idea of antibiotics unless extremely necessary. I decided to take them in this case because an infection in that area terrified me!

I knew I needed to restore the good bacteria in my body. I also knew that some of the antibiotics passed through breastmilk to the baby. That in itself was more than enough reason to take probiotics. My sweet, new baby needed to strengthen his immune system, not wipe it out. I felt so much better about taking the antibiotics after I started taking probiotics.

Placenta Pills

The idea of encapsulating my placenta totally grossed me out when I first heard about it in my early days of training as a midwife. However, the more I researched it and heard personal testimonies from our clients, the more I started thinking that maybe the placenta has a purpose after birth as well.

We all know that the placenta is the organ that nourishes the baby throughout pregnancy. It takes over hormone production in early pregnancy, so most of the extra pregnancy hormones are stored in it. It is also very high in iron and other minerals and nutrients.

When we birth the placenta, our hormone level goes from an all-time high to an all-time low. This hormone imbalance may contribute to postpartum depression, baby blues, and weepiness in the postpartum period. By encapsulating the placenta and taking it in pills, it will restore the balance of hormone levels, increase milk supply, energy and iron levels and replenish blood loss. You will slowly wean yourself off the pills which gently restores hormone balance to your now post-pregnancy hormone balance.

Most moms have told me they can’t tell what the pills are doing unless they forget to take them for a couple of days. Then they say they notice lack of energy and feel overwhelmed. Moms that have taken placenta pills with subsequent births have said they’ve noticed a huge difference in how they’ve felt after birth compared to how they felt after births where they didn’t take the pills.

I am now 2 months postpartum and stopped taking them about 3 weeks ago. I felt really great postpartum and have very minimal blood loss. I was slightly weepy and frustrated with the struggle with breastfeeding, but it was not overwhelming.

I very much recommend keeping your placenta for after birth by either encapsulating it or taking it as a tincture. Even if you don’t plan to do that, there’s no harm in keeping it after birth and saving it in case you feel you need it because once you’re placenta is gone, there’s no getting it back. I’ve had many moms say they were so put off by the thought that they didn’t even consider saving it for the “just in case” and then regret it when they suffer from exhaustion, weepiness, baby blues, etc.
[Placenta Encapsulation FAQs]; [Placenta Benefits]

Watch my vlog below on How I survived the 1st month. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE if you like my videos!

Andrea xoxo

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