As my little one quickly approaches the half year mark, I feel it’s a good time to reflect on the things that have helped us the most on our parenting journey so far. I’m listing out the six things that have been lifesavers as we’ve begun our parenting journey.
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It’s hard to believe my little one is going to be sixth months old next week. Our lives have completely changed. And I don’t mean that in the whole we don’t go out on weekends/dinner dates are few between/laundry has ballooned/sleep is a premium kind of way. I mean that our nights when we come home are now spent laying on the ground playing with our little girl. Realizing how there are not enough hours in the day – even more than ever before! Our priorities have changed. Never realizing how a tiny little head with the fuzziest hair can lay on my shoulder and the entire world just melts away. What means the most to us has been altered all because of the introduction of a 6 lb 1oz little squish that we feel so fortunate to call ours.
Looking back on these last few months, there are certain things that come to mind as being completely indispensable! Things that have made our transition into parenthood so much easier, aside from having a wonderful baby that is super chill.
1. My Village
This is the biggest. They say ‘it takes a village’ to raise littles, and no one can do this adventure on their own! We have two pairs of the most supportive and enthusiastic parents a couple could ask for. When we were planning (and I use that term very loosely) out the delivery, we had made it clear to our parents that while we would keep them updated, we wouldn’t want them up at the hospital until we were moved from L&D to our room. It was just my husband and I during delivery, we were doing the Golden Hour with skin to skin contact, and then we’d let them know when we were ready. Well….my parents were at the hospital at 7:30am regardless. And they patiently (kinda…more like respectfully but enthusiastically) waited in the designated area for family until we were given our room – about 7 hours later!!!
My husband will never really know how cleaning the kitchen up while I’m putting our daughter to bed makes my heart so happy and means so much to me. Our daughter has an amazing Aunt in Georgia that sends an Easter
Basket FedEx box to celebrate her first Easter. Friends that have brought dinner over or wonderful gifts for our little girl. Fellow friends that are moms that totally understand if you’re not up for leaving the house that day, or you show up in sweatpants and a ponytail because you’re too exhausted to put an effort into ‘me’. I lean on my parents and my in-laws for advice, help watching the little squish when she’s under the weather and am very grateful for all the clothes and toys they love to spoil their granddaughter with.
There’s also incredible online resources that have helped guide, educate and reassure me these first few months. I search on Pinterest before Google for anything baby-related. Why? Because the pins that are brought up are typically written by other moms (which inspired Swaddles and
Snuggles) who have been in the same spot I’m in at that moment. It’s reassuring to know that what I’m or my little one is experiencing isn’t something new or weird, other mommas have been there.
And their advice or experiences have helped guide me through things.
I’m also active on a few different Facebook groups. Moms Supporting Moms & Cloth Diapering Mamas have been wonderful for asking advice, supporting one another. Just, again – providing that comfort of knowing you’re not alone.
2. Graco Bassinet
I was fully convinced throughout my pregnancy that when we came home from the hospital, our little peanut would go straight to her crib. Why would I bring her into our bedroom? And THEN tackle transitioning her from a bassinet to her crib? We still needed our space. She would be on a different sleep schedule than us and we needed to still have our lives.
That completely changed after she was here! I still remember, quite vividly, laying her in the crib. Her tiny little swaddled self seemed almost swallowed up by the giant crib mattress. I looked at my husband with pleading eyes and he returned the same stare. We just knew. We couldn’t leave her in here! So we scrambled and used a bouncer seat that had come with our Pack N Play and placed it beside the bed by me. It certainly wasn’t ideal. But she was still small enough, and not moving, that we made due for a few days until I found this bassinet online and had it delivered.
It’s gender neutral, has a nice grey tone to it and is the perfect size. It’s a good height with respect to our bed and has casters so it can be rolled around if needed to. It also has this neat feature where, if you engage this handle at one end of the bassinet, you can flip it over and it becomes a changing table! So when you’re half asleep in the middle of the night having to change baby, you don’t even have to walk across the room! There’s storage at the bottom for any diapering or nursing needs or just a nice place to store extra receiving blankets or burp cloths.
It has been so nice to have that reassurance knowing your little one is fast asleep and just a foot away from you. It’s also made getting up in the middle of the night multiple times to nurse more convenient. Seriously could not have done without it!
3. Boppy Pillow
I did take a moment to consider this one. “Is this a must-have? Can’t a mom or dad just prop up some pillows?” No, no you really can’t. This pillow is just a dream my friends! It provides your arms or baby’s head support at either side and also is able to support baby’s entire body length during nursing or feeding sessions. It certainly
saved my neck because I wasn’t leaning over to hold my baby and get the right angle, and it’s firm enough that you aren’t constantly having to fluff it up like you would pillows that tend to deflate after a few uses.
It’s very, very comfortable and there’s a number if different covers you can get for it to customize it. Since we left our little peanut’s gender a surprise until she made her arrival, I got this adorable elephant cover with a cute aqua piping accent. We have used it when she’s eating, or to give our arms a break when we want to snuggle her during a nap. It also works great now that she can *almost* sit up by herself. We set it around her to give her that little bit of extra support she needs, and is a soft spot in case she topples over.
TBH, she doesn’t topple over. We are always right there beside her, but stranger things have happened….
4. Baby Tracker App
In the first few weeks of new mom life, it’s just one. big. blur. I can’t TELL you how many times my little squish would start to fuss, I’d have no idea why, and then my husband would ask ‘well, when did she eat last?’. Those 2-3 hours between feedings just fly by and having this tracker helps keep some sanity to all the things going on. You can record their last diaper change (dirty, wet, both), when they last ate (nursing – which side, bottle, how many ounces), if you administered medications (how much,what time, when is it due again) and set alarms for all these things when it’s the next time something is due. Honestly! This app was like a personal, digital nanny for me and I’m so grateful to have found it!
5. Baby K’Tan Carrier
I have done a lot of window shopping on my phone for baby carriers. And I gotta tell you – those marketing teams are good! All those mommas and babies look so happy. Swaddled in darling, soft colors, snuggling mom as she smiles down on them. I want that idyllic moment. And if that carrier is going to provide that for me, so help me, I’m getting it! Haha!
But really, in my virtual shopping, I realized I wanted something that didn’t have a ton of structure and buckles like this one by Eddie Bauer. I wanted something softer, but wraps just seem to have sooooo much fabric and you’re constantly wrapping around your body and felt there was too much room for error. Also, I didn’t like the look of having a tail of extra fabric swaying in the breeze.
I came across the Baby K’Tan Carrier, and while the name isn’t the most familiar, I really liked the idea of how you wear it. It has a little bit of structure to it, and fool proof instructions. It’s also comfy! The criss cross way the two main straps sit on your body distributes weight evenly so you don’t feel a heavy pull on your shoulders. When we were vacationing recently, I essentially wore my 15lb
daughter for 8 hrs two days in a row. And I wasn’t sore at all. It can also fold up into its own storage pouch, so it’s easy to store in my car or diaper bag and is handy whenever I need it.
Shopping at an outdoor mall? Easy. Needing to clean the house but baby just wants to be held? Wear him/her! I honestly cleaned my whole house for Christmas company while my baby napped against my chest. I loved that I still got to have that closeness with her while being productive and doing chores. I can put the wrap on in just a minute and my little squish snuggles up and we get down to business!
6. My Breast Pump
Breastfeeding was always something that was very important to me from the minute I found out I was pregnant. I’ve been extremely fortunate, and grateful, that we got off so well and easily on breastfeeding. We had no troubles with her latching or my supply. All the health benefits that breast milk provides, in addition to being such an economical option!, makes it so important to me.
When I returned to work after 12 weeks, my pump became my breast friend (haha). It’s so crucial that you learn your pump and get comfortable with it before returning to work. Your emotional state has a big impact on your supply – so being comfortable, calm and content will lead to the best results! When I came back to work, balancing the demands of my career, my daily schedule and the emotional struggle of being away from my little girl had an impact on my ability to produce milk and I panicked – which only amplified the negative impact! I overcame that, following a few simple steps that I reviewed in this blog post and have been doing well for these last few months!
Having a good, double electric pump has helped me achieve my goals of continuing to breast feed my daughter after returning to work. The Spectra S1, with rechargeable battery, does an excellent job. It’s comfortable and quiet and easy to pack. I also LOVE my Ju-Ju-Be Be Pumped bag. It has an internal pocket just for your pump, tons of pockets to store my hands free bra attachment, clean place mat and parts. It has enough space to fit a small cooler to keep milk cold, my wallet and keys. I basically don’t need a separate purse because this bag can carry it all. And with it looking like a duffle bag, it’s pretty discreet and doesn’t scream ‘hey! there’s some boob juice in here!!!’
Spend some time getting to know your pump, the different settings and maintenance. Being comfortable and confident can play a big role in a successful pumping session so it’s best to get any questions out of the way before you truly are relying on it.
Becoming a mom has been the most rewarding and incredible journey. I’m so grateful for the amazing people around me who have supported our family. And for the incredible gadgets that are around nowadays to help us! I hope these recommendations will be beneficial for you!