*I wrote this post back in 2015 when my oldest, Ziva, was a newborn. I never posted it because it felt cliche telling people “you’re gonna miss this” etc. that’s the last thing a mom struggling with baby blues or who is not into the newborn phase wants to hear. I just came across this post wasting away in my drafts folder and it struck me how much it is still true for me. It brought me to tears remembering how intensely I savored each moment of the early days as a mama. Even with baby number 2 I was too busy and distracted to fully indulge in those early days of drowsy couch nursing sessions and staring endlessly at the new life in my arms. I cry a little out of sadness for myself and Arielle that we didn’t get as much focused time together, and a little because the memory of the feelings in the early days of motherhood are still so strong- and true in each phase we’ve entered since. It all just goes too darn fast.
Even the hard parts of each stage just remind me how fast they are growing and changing, and how soon they won’t be my little babies anymore. Oh gosh, here come the waterworks again! Arielle is already 5 months old today and Ziva is 2 and a half. our newborn days may or may not be behind us forever now… so now more than ever I feel the truth in these words I wrote 2 and a half years ago. It’s okay if you’re not feeling the same way about newbornhood, but I know some mamas out there can appreciate these sentiments!
May 12, 2015
For some people the newborn phase can be pretty grueling. While I was pregnant I was preparing myself for the sleep deprivation, difficult crying sessions and all of the challenges of being a new mommy to a brand new little girl. But instead of finding myself wishing away our newborn days, I’ve found that I absolutely love it. If you aren’t feeling the same, don’t hate me, just hear me out.
Sure, I’m tired… I smell like spit-up (bile and sour milk), I’m pretty sure I have spit-up in my hair more often than not. I’m sweating from the heat of her little body constantly pressed up against mine. My wrist sometimes feels like it’s going to get stuck in one position from being squashed under her little head during long nursing and nap sessions. I can’t fit in most of my clothes still and I definitely am not feeling pretty. So, what has possessed my over-tired brain to make an outrageous declaration of love for this phase?
It’s going to be gone before I know it, in the blink of an eye I’ll be back at work missing these moments with a fierce nostalgia and love.
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!
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!!!!
Yesterday started with a muggy thunderstorm and ended with my little one pouting in my arms. We agreed before Ziva was born that we would be vaccinating her, even though all of the hullabaloo about vaccines had me a little nervous about how she would react. Even if her reaction was purely emotional distress (and nothing physical), I wasn’t looking forward to it.
Maybe it was my subconscious attempting to avoid the whole thing that led me to completely missing her original appointment on Friday, maybe it was just general new-mommy over tired forgetfulness, either way the mishap led to my having to take little Z to the doctor today without the emotional support of her daddy’s presence. I wanted us both there so that Ziva wouldn’t associate just me with a negative experience, or to somehow stop trusting me. In the end, I had to just mommy-up and take our little girl on my own.
We love our pediatrician and the first half of the appointment went smoothly as usual. Ziva was snoozing in my arms when the nurse came back in to give her 1 oral vaccine and 2 shots. She suckled on the oral vaccine dropper and seemed to take it down okay, even offering the nurse a few faint smiles as she started to stir awake. I even held on to a moment of hope that she might sleep right through the whole ordeal and we’d all walk away unscathed. Unfortunately, that hope was dashed as her whole body curled to the left as the shot entered her little chunky left thigh. I could see the look, a mixture of fear, surprise and betrayal, wash over her little face. She let out all of her breath and then paused, mouth agape and brows scrunched together as she gradually turned tomato red. Kissing and shushing and repeating (to us both, I think) “You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay,” I tried to calm her and get her to take a breath in.
The second shot in her right thigh only made it worse. She took a short little hiccup of a breath in before pausing again in a dramatic pre-wailing expression. When she finally sucked in her breath she began to wail and shudder with big alligator tears. It was completely heart breaking. All I wanted to do was cry along with her… but I didn’t want to upset her any further by making her feel insecure so I managed to keep it together. I wrapped her up in my arms and bounced, shushed and kissed her. Aaaaaannd, she threw up all down my shirt launching herself into an even more dramatic fit of tears and sorrow.
Once we were both cleaned up she nestled into my bust taking shuddering little breaths as she nursed away. Occasionally she would look up at me with her intense dark blue gaze. With all the drama and concern of a first time mommy, I couldn’t help but read betrayal in her gaze. As she nursed I reassured us both that this was necessary and done with only the best of intentions. Eventually she seemed to come around and we packed ourselves up and headed home.
Despite tears and a little spit-up (which is part of our daily norm), Ziva handled the whole appointment and the shots very well. Actually, I think we both made it out the other side intact and I feel just a little more confident that I can handle the appointment on my own again next time. I guess it was worth mommy-ing up and doing this one on our own.
Now, the time after is another story. After waking up from her nap Ziva went back and forth between sleeping and wailing. As hard as this is to deal with (my heart is breaking for her little body going through whatever discomfort she’s going through), but I have to believe this is a temporary discomfort for a long term gain. Hopefully we truly are protecting her and doing what is right. I don’t believe in the vaccines=Autism allegations at all, but I am very careful about what I put into her and my body and this is a calculated decision we made to protect her and others in the herd from sickness. Thankfully, with just one dose of infant Tylenol she seemed to feel better and woke up this morning completely herself.
Please refrain from judging comments or attacks. Every family makes the decision for what they believe is best for their children and we have decided that vaccinating our child is necessary and for the greater good.