Okay, so there are the obvious things – like diapers and wipes- and of course every baby needs clothes! This is my list of the specific items that helped us get through the first couple of weeks home with little Z. It’s crazy to think back on those first nights and days getting to know our daughter and leveling up from parenting level 1 to maybe level 10? I’m not sure, but this is one crazy, fun, tiring, and exciting adventure.Pump– I received the Madela Pump In Style Advanced from my insurance and it is great. When my milk came in my LO had stopped latching well and the only relief from the engorgement was through the pump. I’m so glad I already had it on hand. I have found that I prefer pumping on only one side at a time. I do this because a) It gives me one free hand for the remote or to browse on my phone, and b) when I pump both sides at once it causes me to let down on both sides when I’m breast feeding, leading to a ton of wet shirts.
Nipple shield- (If your LO is having trouble latching) As mentioned above, baby Z had a hard time latching at first and it was really frustrating and saddening. I felt like we would lose out on so much bonding time and that it could put our nursing relationship at risk if she wasn’t able to nurse straight from the tap. What if my milk supply went down because she wasn’t nursing?? Once we picked up the nipple shields the day after my milk came in we were able to nurse on demand right from the breast again and I was so relieved. It did concern me a bit that Z might not learn to nurse without it, or that I would get caught out of the house without the shield and unable to feed her or soothe her. In the end all was fine because about 2 weeks later I gave nursing without the shield a try and little Z latched right on and has been nursing like a rock star ever since. Thank goodness!
Target Nursing Tanks- I’m basically living in these Gilligan & O’malley nursing tanks from target. They are just under $20 (depending on style), and they are super comfortable and convenient.
Infant Nail Scissors– Piyo Piyo nail scissors make trimming little teeny baby nails so much less scary. I have found it easy to clip her sharp little talons without clipping any skin off of her fingers (which was a fear of mine in caring for my little one). I found them on Amazon here.
Fisher-Price Snugga(insert animal of choice) Swing– This is a must. I can’t believe I almost didn’t get this. At 3 1/2 months this is still the main way I get a break to make lunch or go to the bathroom. Baby hangs out in this during dinner too so that I can sit at the table and be a grown up. She doesn’t stay in it for long, but long enough for the little breaks I need through out the day. They are pricey new, but readily available on mom to mom sites and Facebook groups. We got ours for $60 off of another family and in great condition.
Protein Snacks– We had a case of Kind bars and a pack of Nogii bars on hand for those first couple of weeks. Both of these are delicious protein snacks. The Kind bar is pretty high in fat though, and the NoGii is pretty in high sugar, so snack in moderation and try mixing it up with other healthy snacks. I liked having these on hand for when I needed something fast that I could grab one handed. I’ve been thinking about making some sort of homemade healthy protein balls (recipes abound on Pinterest), but I haven’t gotten it together to make them since Z was born. I wish now I had made and frozen a few batches beforehand.
Coconut water– My mom would mix 2/3 plain water and 1/3 coconut water for me to drink along with all our breastfeeding sessions (as well as in between). The mixture is pretty yummy and it helps keep me hydrated to support my milk supply. Costco sells cases of coconut water
Blue bed pads (or puppy pads)– Our little lady loves to “pee in the wild” as we like to call it. The moment you take that dirty diaper off she starts to go. Often it’s a forceful number 1… but sometimes it’s a wild number 2. Believe me, swapping out the blue pad is easier than changing the pad cover in the middle of the night. We have the Keekaroo peanut changing pad in her room so in there we don’t need the disposable pads (the Keekaroo just needs to be wiped down when there’s a leak), but in our room we just have a traditional changing pad with cloth cover.When you leave the hospital you can take home any unused blue bed pads you have in your room (I was able to take an almost full pack along with the other unused goods like the pads, sexy mesh undies, etc).
Burp cloths (Lots of them)- I thought maybe I’d need a couple. I was wrong. We needed a bunch! I received a big stack of homemade, super soft, adorable burp cloths from Brian’s boss and they have been SOOOOOOO helpful. Our little one is s spitter-upper and with a decent stack of burp cloths we don’t get stuck without a clean one between loads of laundry.
Muslin Swaddle blankets– SwaddleDesigns (sold at Target) or Aden & Anais (sold everywhere), whatever the brand, get yourself some for swaddling your little. We tried the halo sleep sacks too but baby Z seems to regulate her heat better in the muslin swaddle. Now that she’s older we are using the Swaddle me sacks a bit more since she is getting stronger and can pull her arms out of the muslin swaddle more easily, but they were so helpful early on.
Baby Footie pajamas (snap-up kind)– I thought I would like the zipper kind of sleep’n play outfits, but when it comes to those midnight diaper changes I prefer the ones with snaps. Here’s why- the zipper ones zip from the top down… meaning you have to completely open the sleeper up in order to pull their legs out and change the diaper. When the snap kind you can open just the bottom half, leaving their top half nice and warm and undisturbed. This is especially nice in the winter when the house is cool.
Car seat Canopy– There’s no better way to avoid a wandering stranger’s hands from touching your little one when you are out in public. I like to think of it as a protective shield letting people know I don’t want them in Baby Z’s face.
Winter baby items– If you are having a winter baby like us, there are a number of things that are great to have on hand. We have a JJ Cole Carseat cover (avoid anything that goes behind the baby in the seat for safety reasons), baby hats, GrowEgg for keeping track of the temperature, warm fuzzy blankets, layers for baby (including long sleeved onsies).
Amazing helpers– Thanks Brian and Mom- you two are the best ever. I’m pretty independent, but having Brian and my mother here for emotional and physical support was absolutely priceless. It’s amazing how often you end up nestled in with baby to your breast and then realize you need something from across the room. Thank you Brian and Mom!!!!