I never gave much thought to how to actually care for Ben once he arrived. I always thought we’d figure it out as we went. Because that was how I prepared (or not), there was a flurry of Amazon purchases in the first few days after coming home from the hospital. I wanted to share the things we’ve been using in the past few weeks that have made living a somewhat normal life possible. I’ve divided the list into things for me and things for Ben.
Button front pjs- Any kind will do. I didn’t think about how my normal pj routine of a t-shirt and shorts wouldn’t really work to nurse Ben easily in the middle of the night.
Yoga pants, nursing camis, and comfy sleep bras: If I’m not leaving the house, I will be wearing these. No joke, that’s what I’m wearing as I type this post. The roll top pants are wonderful to cover and support the really floppy belly in the beginning and give you as much coverage as you need. The nursing tanks are soft and easy to breastfeed while wearing. I found mine on Target’s website as a “daily deal” a few months back and bought several of each basic neutral (black, white, gray) for $11 each. I’m also pretty sure I own every color available of the sleep bras. I’ve been wearing these at night since I started leaking colostrum around 20 weeks and wanted a way to keep breast pads in place. They are supportive without being too tight.
Nursing Bra: Specifically, I went with this one, a black, 3/4 cup, bamboo fiber bra from Womama. It is very difficult for me to find bras that fit right now since the narrow rib cage + larger cup size combination is almost nonexistent in stores. I bought this bra sight unseen from Amazon the day I came home from the hospital and like it a lot. It is very soft and the only issue I have with fit is the band fits a little tighter around my ribs than I would like but that also means when I put it on, it doesn’t budge.
Breast Pads: Since I started using breast pads so long ago already, I have tried several different brands. Medela pads work well but are a little papery and scratchy. Lansinoh’s pads are soft but strangely square in shape so they show through clothes at the edge. Avent breast pads are the best all around that I could find. Thanks to some lovely family characteristics, I have been dealing with oversupply issues and can go through TONS of pads a day. I meant to use reusable pads but the one time I tried that, I woke up completely drenched to the skin so I’m back to the disposable variety.
Medela Pump and Save Breastmilk Bags: I received these as gift and didn’t think I’d use them until after my milk came in and just kept coming! There are times that Ben will nurse on both sides and I’m still uncomfortably full so I pump enough to relieve some of the pressure. I store the milk in the fridge until I have 2 ounces collected (1 or 2 breasts worth), dump the milk into one of these bags, label with the amount and date and toss in the freezer. So far, I have 6 oz frozen, almost 2 oz in the fridge and Ben has drank 2 oz. My hope is to have enough stored up for the 12 hour road trip we’re taking later this month. I want to be able to bottle-feed Ben while on the road so we don’t have to make 20-30 minute pit stops every 3 hours.
Miracle blanket: I know they are expensive. I balked even though I was told over and over again that they are the bee’s knees because I couldn’t justify spending $30 on one blanket. I got one as a gift and we started using it the first night home. Ben loves to be swaddled when sleeping, like most newborns, but he is really, really good at extracting his arms from whatever swaddle we used. The Miracle Blanket has little flaps that wrap over his arms and are pinned down by his body weight so he literally cannot get out. He looks like a little burrito! He wet through the blanket on our second night home so I immediately ordered a second one with 1 day shipping (yay Amazon Prime!) at 5:00 am. They are that amazing and my sleep is worth $30.
Newborn Clothes: Everyone says not to spend too much on newborn clothes since many newborns fit into 0-3 month clothing. Ben is on his second week of newborn attire and will probably make it through 1-2 more. I had about 6 outfits and 3 onesies which isn’t enough when your loving spouse is still learning how to use diapers and the baby continuously pees through several outfits a day for several days in a row. I had to run out and buy more newborn onesies and did lots of laundry to keep Ben clothed.
Aden + Anais Blankets: These blankets are super popular and super worth either registering for or buying yourself. They are HUGE, slightly stretchy because of the fabric’s weave, thin, and very soft. After learning some tips on swaddling by using the Miracle Blanket, both B and I have gotten quite skilled at wrapping Ben up in one of these for naps during the day.
Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Mini: I wanted a bed for Ben to sleep by me in our room at night without actually being IN bed with me and learned about this one through Pinterest, of all places. I bought mine used on Craigslist (I know, bad mom move) to save money. I wasn’t worried about it being used after I checked it out. It’s in great shape and I also scored 3 sheets and 2 mattress pads for $50! Ben is only an arms length away from me so rolling over to pop his pacifier in his mouth or grab him to nurse is really simple. We never planned on B doing any night diaper changes or anything since he sleeps so deeply he never wakes up so it’s extra nice to have Ben so close.
Original ErgoBaby carrier with infant insert: Ben loves to be carried and snuggled and sometimes when at home and while out and about, it isn’t possible to carry him or push him in the stroller. I did a lot of research on what carrier to buy and we’re really pleased with this one. The Ergo will fit children up to 45 lbs and is adjustable for people of different sizes, unlike most slings that are sized based on chest measurements. I didn’t want to buy different carriers for B and me and (more likely than not), grab the wrong one on the way out the door. The Ergo distributes the baby’s weight on your hips instead of your back so I can carry Ben around for hours without feeling any discomfort. The real test will be next month when I go to Philly for a conference with B for 5 days. Ben, my mom, and I are going to explore the city and I’m planning on carrying him most of the time.
Pacifier: Ben likes either the Soothie or GumDrop pacifier. They both have the same shaped nipple part. Ben loves to suck on everything. If I let him, he’d nurse for hours just because he likes to suck. We gave him the orange GumDrop on our way home from the hospital and it hasn’t been far from him since.
I know my list of essentials will change as time goes on but these are the items that have helped make the transition into a family of 3 much easier. Questions? Comments?