- Nipple cream: the LC (mommy-blog-o-nym for Lactation Consultant) recommended I nurse, then rub expressed milk on my nipples, let ’em air dry, then apply the nipple cream…and procede to let the boobs hang freely in the open. My cracked bloody nipples finally healed at about Week 3! I used Lansinoh or the Medela brand, but I hear that MotherLove is awesome, too! I used their More Milk pills to help with milk production.
- Hydrogel pads – these felt OH SO GOOD. They were about the only thing I let touch my nipples in the first three weeks. See my hospital bag must-haves for other medicine-cabinet needs post-baby.
- Snacks – Remembering to eat is harder than you think in the first few weeks, but if you’re nursing, it’s critical. I lived on Larabars (super healthy, fill you up, minimal/whole ingredients and delicious flavors like Cherry Pie and Coconut Cream Pie), bananas, cheese sticks and the meals my neighborhood made for me! I made little snack baggies and kept them beside my bed to munch on while I was nursing in the middle of the night…I was always STARVING (and I still am…)
Water bottleCamel Pack: the second W latched on to nurse I was ravenously thirsty. Instantaneously. And obviously, I’d forgotten to get water before getting set up amidst pillows and the boppy. Next baby, I’m forgoing the water bottle and just wearing a camel pack. Sounds easier 🙂
- Boppy: in my first two weeks with W, I was nursing 9-12 times a day for about 30 minutes a session. That’s a lot of time sitting and nursing. The more comfortable you are, the better for you and baby. So, find something like a boppy that works for you!
- Nursing/Cozy Tanks: see above. You’re pretty much nursing all the time, so find some tanks that are fuss-free and comfortable (even with nursing bras, I never used the snap function – I just wore bras and tanks and shirts with a stretchy enough neck that I could just yank it down over my boob…still do). My nipples were pretty sore, so super-soft material was a must. I usually just wore my underwear, a comfy tank and a cozy robe from Brookstone…it seemed to go well with the bags under my eyes…and made snagging a quick nap less of hassle since I was already in my PJs 🙂
- Plain onesies: you can never have too many white onesies. At the rate W pooped through his diapers and clothes, we were changing these things a few times a day. I was all about easy, and this is where that started.
- Zippered, footed sleepers or elastic bottomed dress thingys: add a cute footed onesie (with an adorable face on the butt and feet) to a white onesie and we were dressed and ready to go. Why they EVEN make baby clothes with buttons baffles me. There’s nothing worse than trying to change a diaper at 3am, bleary eyed and sleep deprived, and trying to line up 12 teeny-tiny buttons over teeny-tiny squirming arms and legs. Nope. Zippers are the best. And, W didn’t just sleep in these. He wore them 24/7.
- Something to wear baby with – Ergobaby / Moby: in the 4th trimester we spent most of our time cuddled together, both day and night. But, for the few hours here or there where my arms needed a break, the Moby I borrowed from my neighbor was a perfect way to keep W close, snuggled and have my hands free. We now use the Ergo, and in hind sight I probably would have used the baby insert much earlier. Because it’s so versatile it can be your carrier from birth to 45lbs.
- Something to put baby in – Rock N Sleep: For an off-the-body place to let the little one sleep, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was AMAZING. It’s SO simple, but the slight incline and deep seat really hugged W when I wasn’t, and he spent a ton of time checking out the scenes from this little yellow seat, napping and sleeping. Before he transitioned into his crib, this was the only place he’d sleep!
Enjoy your precious new baby, mama! And remember, keep it simple 🙂
PS – I didn’t include things like a carseat, diapers/wipes, bottles, pacifiers or crib/co-sleeper/basinette because those are either obvious, optional or a personal preference. You might choose to do disposable diapers or cloth…or co-sleep or put your baby in a basinette for the night…or give your baby a pacifier or not…or try a bottle at three weeks…or earlier…or later.
For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents on all of the above: before you invest in a whole bunch of anything, try them out and make sure you and your baby like them. We made the mistake of registering for a bunch of bottles that, in the end, W didn’t take to. Same with pacifiers. It took some trial and error (and swapping with my other mommy friend) to find the right fit. We also bought a co-sleeper that we used once and hated, which seemed like a waste. If you have the chance to borrow from a friend to try it out, do it. If you can live with baby for a bit and then decide what you really need and want, you’ll save some money!