The Ultimate Hot Vacation Packing List for Baby

We’ve done a couple of vacations with Baby E and each time I’ve Googled ‘Packing List for Baby.’ Although they’ve certainly been helpful, there’s a few things I’d add after our most recent trip.

Let’s start with the obvious:

  • Lots of regular and swim diapers (you can bring them home if you don’t use them, so may as well bring more than you think you’ll need!) *hint: always keep an extra swim diaper in you diaper bag, you never know when you might find some water your babe wants to splash in and you don’t want to disappoint if you’ve got a water baby like I do!
  • Wipes (same as above – these come in handy for so much more than wiping little bums!)
  • Baby clothes                                                                                                                  For one week without laundry:
    • 8 outfits (tops, bottoms, socks/shoes)
    • 2 swim suits (as one will likely always be wet!)
    • 3 bucket hats (these have a funny way of disappearing…)
    • A nice ‘going out’ outfit
    • A sweater
    • Sunglasses (the kind with an elastic strap around the head!)
  • Baby Meds: Tylenol, Benadryl and Vitamin D Drops
  • Baby shampoo/soap and lotion
  • Stroller (if possible, the lighter the better – you’ll open and fold this baby a bunch, especially on your travel days!)                        **CHECK THIS AT THE GATE!** I cannot tell you how much smoother things went when we did this after learning the hard way after our first flight with baby!
  • Carrier
  • Carseat
  • Blanket (good for the plane as it can be cool, also good to lay on the hotel floor for your babe to play on)
  • Baby sunscreen (you’ll be using a lot of this, so definitely way your priorities re: price, organic, etc.)

My additions to the list…

  • Water bottle/snack container for baby (I got a mini Minnie *see what I did there* water bottle that had a small container attached to to bottom of it for snacks. This was key on the plane ride and throughout the duration of our trip. Just one bottle for two purposes – it was perfect! Also – didn’t realize the liquid rule is much more lenient if you have a LO under 2 so we were able to bring her full bottle through which was nice.
  • Loads of puffs!!! (Or other snack food) We traveled with Baby E when she was 8 months so while I’m not a huge puff-pusher, puffs were the best: clean, dissolvable and easy to keep her distracted during long waits, etc.
  • Baby Monitor
  • Car mirror for back seat – this was my most missed item from home. So key if you plan on driving anywhere, and it’s small enough that it’s easy to pack. Will definitely remember to bring this next time so I can sit in the front seat with my hubby again! 😉
  • Sound Machine (if I’d only remembered to bring our Sleep Sheep, my phone wouldn’t have been consistently dead!)
  • Nursing/Carseat cover (Even if you’re not nursing, bring one of these – super handy for anything from covering the dirty handles of a shopping cart or highchair, to shading babe from the sun in the carseat or stroller!
  • Fan – handheld and battery operated. (I still remind my husband how he laughed at me when I first came home with one of these. Worst $15 I’d spent he said. Boy did he eat those words this summer! Hang it from the stroller during walks, bring it to the beach or fight over it during 36C weather when you’re sitting outside for an outdoor wedding ceremony….true story.)
  • Water toys (something cheap and inflatable like a ball or water wings – we found Baby E kept looking at other kids’ toys and would have enjoyed the pool even more (if that’s possible?!) if she had something she could play with too. And it also might have saved Daddy’s sunglasses from reaching the bottom of the poll a half a dozen times!
  • DON’T pack toys (If your LO has a stuffy that is dearly loved, then by all means bring it along. Otherwise, don’t forget how wildly entertaining empty plastic cups, napkins, plane magazines and cookie wrappers can be! 😉
  • Footed pajamas for the flight there AND back (Unless I’m sick, I feel uncomfortable if I’ve been in pajamas all day long, so ever since Baby E was born, I’ve made a point of dressing her in clothes every day. Flight day, however, is an exception. I can’t tell you how much more uncomfortable a plane bathroom can actually be when you have to change a baby (and if he/she has a blowout…let’s not even go there.) For that reason, I threw my no pajama rule out the window and we were both happier for it.)

A few final words of advice:

I’ve never been one to pack light. I don’t see the point. I’d rather have to choose between clothes than feel frustrated that I’ve worn the same thing three days in a row. While my list certainly includes a lot of ‘wants’ as opposed to ‘needs’ I found all of these items incredibly helpful – and when you’re traveling with a baby, let’s be honest, you’d like all the help you can get!

Happy travels!! xo

 

Why I Chose to Bed-Share

Before I had a baby, I thought bed-sharing was weird; why would I want a crying baby to invade the private space that was mine and my husband’s? Sure we had friends who had their babes sleep with them, but I secretly thought that was weird and never entertained it as being something I’d adopt when I had a baby of my own.

 

Then came Baby E.

 

We had a co-sleeper for her as I’d read having the baby as close to mom as possible (but NOT bed sharing) was safest for babe and would help mom get the most rest. I wanted one of those fancy swivel-over-the-edge-of-your-bed-stand-thingys but those are pricey so we went with the Summer Infant Co-sleeper/Bassinet types deals.

 

Three reasons why this did not work for us:

  1. My husband is 6’2 and I like to have space while I sleep and we have a queen bed. I don’t think I need to explain how a 2 foot wide contraption in between us ate up any remaining space we had. If I’d rolled from my back to my side, I would have been on the floor.
  2. For whatever reason, Baby E hated it. She hated going from my warm arms after having nursed herself to sleep, to this somewhat hard mattress where she couldn’t see mom so well.
  3. I had some obnoxious paranoia about SIDS and Evy rolling over and suffocating in the corner of the bassinet. I got zero sleep. Every time I drifted off to sleep I jolt awake moments later to make sure she wasn’t smashed against the edge and that she was still breathing.

For all of these reasons, I started moving the bassinet off the bed after her first feeding (and she didn’t go back to sleep when I lay her down in it) and instead cuddled her beside me. At this point, it was more out of survival than choice. I didn’t research what I should be doing, I just started putting her head in the crook of my arm, knowing my arm protected dad from rolling towards me and it would have been VERY awkward for me to roll towards my outstretched arm.

 

Quite quickly both babe and I started to get way more sleep and the bassinet was officially moved into the closet (though not before a few more unsuccessful efforts to get her back in there first!) Once I realized it was becoming a norm for us, I started to research. I was a little surprised and concerned with how many sites recommended to avoid bed-sharing and the negative stigma associated with it. A few times I questioned my decision but I knew it was just what was best for us.

 

I also felt a little embarrassed telling people she slept with us those first few months. A lot of the same questions were asked: “Aren’t you scared of rolling on her?” “Are you sure you’re not spoiling her?” but eventually I realized that others’ opinions and questions didn’t matter and I became fully comfortable with having Baby E in bed with us. Thankfully her dad also enjoyed the snuggles, otherwise I’m sure things would have been different.

 

This first time I knew we needed to think about moving her was a few days before she was 8 months. She’d been up 3-4 times a night for about a week, just wanting to be nursed back to sleep. I knew she wasn’t hungry because she’d be out after 4 sucks. So we went cold turkey and put her in her crib. I cried for a solid hour as I realized it was the first night that she was not sleeping beside me since the day I found out I was pregnant. Despite my heartbreak, she did so well and only woke up twice between 7pm-6am – a first!

I think that initially I was sad because I’d been told I needed to completely cut her off from bed-sharing: no naps, no early morning bringing her to bed, nothing! I soon realized that would not work for us, so I made up some ‘family sleep rules’:

  1. If she wakes up any less than 5 hours after eating, I know she does not need to eat.
  2. If she wakes up after 3am she can come back into our bed.
  3. Her first morning nap will be mommy and baby snuggle nap time together.

By following these(ish) I feel like we are establishing more healthy habits for her and for me as I move closer to having to go back to work (and can’t catch up on sleep during nap times with her!)

 

I know that bed sharing is not for everyone, but looking back, I am so happy that we chose to bed share. Not a single part of my being wishes I could take away any of those snuggles in bed (even if I was awake half the night!) and replace them with a good sleep – alone – in my bed. Yes, a few more hours a night would have been lovely, but I wouldn’t sacrifice that time we spent together during her first months of life for anything.

Top 10 Things to Bring to Disney with a Baby!

I am a Disney fan.

Okay, maybe Disney fan is a bit of an understatement.

image2(1)I am a Disney fanatic. Yep – that sounds a bit more accurate.

When I found out the hubs was going to Florida for work while I was on maternity leave with Baby E, I jumped on that with gusto! Though I knew he’d be busy with work for the majority of the trip, we agreed we’d spend our final day, Saturday in Orlando at Disneyworld! Needless to say I couldn’t sleep the night before we left. I have been to Disneyland numerous times, but never Disneyworld, and obviously, never with a baby. I didn’t know what to expect so maybe I went a little overboard with what I brought, but, now I know what worked and what I didn’t need to worry so much about. 😉

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 things I’d recommend bringing with you if you plan to take your baby to Disneyworld (and if you have that chance, I’d totally encourage you to do it – it was lovely. xo)image1(1)

10. Character outfit for baby – So this really isn’t a necessity, hence its place on the list. However, having our babe in her Cinderella costume, to meet the princess was sooo much fun! She obviously will have no memory of this moment, but if my face is any indication of my excitement, living my own childhood dream through my little princess, you’ll know how worth it I thought it was. 😉

9. Stroller rain cover – thankfully when we went, the weather was fabulous, but I can’t imagine what a drag it would have been to come out of a ride, only to find your stroller soaked to the bone from a sudden shower. While ours wasn’t used, I’d highly recommend bringing a rain cover for your stroller and if you see some clouds gathering, just throw it over the stroller when you park it before heading to a ride. Would way rather be safe than sorry on this one.

8. Three baby outfits, one including a sweater – If you’re a parent, you know that babies are unpredictable and you never know when a blow-out (or two?!) is brewing. Although Baby E (surprisingly!) had no blowouts during our visit, it was pretty warm so we changed her half way through the day just to make her more comfortable. As well, it can get pretty chilly in the evenings, and it hits you harder when you’re used to it being so lovely out all day. Highly recommend a warm sweater for those chilly, windy evenings!

7. Water – It could just be me, but the fountain water is pretty gross at the parks, and because they let you bring in your own water, why not?! You can of course buy water at any of the canteens that you’ll frequently pass, but you’re looking at about $5 a bottle, so save yourself some money and bring some bottles from Wally-world or somewhere equally inexpensive!

6. Baby sunscreen – Baby E was only 4.5 months when we went on this trip, and sunscreen is not recommended until your baby is 6 months. I talked to my doctor before we left and she said that as long as you’re not using it in excess, it’s obviously better to use it than risk your babe’s skin from burning. She recommended Aveeno Baby sunscreen (which of course I forgot to pack..grr..) so I used my own which I bought from The Beehive (as close to all natural as I could find.)  We kept her out of the sun as much as we could, but there are times when you are waiting in line and there is not direct shade, thus sunscreen is pretty important on places you may otherwise forget like the back of hands. Just be careful to help your baby keep her hands out of her mouth until you can wash it off. 🙂

5. Bucket hat for babe – This is a pretty important one to have, especially if you want to avoid the sunscreen as mentioned above! Find a super cute hat (Disney if you can!) that covers not only baby’s head but also has a big rim to cover the face and neck as well!

4. A light and versatile nursing/stroller cover – These things are so handy and if you don’t already have one, you should totally get one (even if you’re not going to Disneyland!) Not only does it make nursing (if that’s what you’re doing) a heck of a lot easier wherever you may be in the park, it’s great for keeping baby in the shade while she’s in the stroller!

3. Lots and lots of diapers and wipes – You can buy these at the park, but they cost a heck of a lot more money than outside of the park. It’s totally not worth the money so just bring as many as you think you might need – plus two more!

2. Phone – This list item actually kills two birds with one stone. Not only is it handy to have a camera with you at all times (at ALL times, there will be so many opportunities to take some fabulous photos!) but if you get the Disneyworld app – it becomes your best asset at the park. I didn’t realize Disneyworld has Wifi (spotty, but there) so with the app, you can not only see how long the wait times are at each ride, but you can get THREE Fast-passes for each person in your party! It automatically updates from your phone to your Disneyworld admission card. If you book your passes early, once you’ve used the third, you can head to a kiosk to get another. Avoiding line-ups is the best – especially with a baby in tow!

1. A comfy stroller – This was by far the most valuable thing we brought. It might seem obvious: if your baby can’t walk, you’ll bring a stroller, but at one point I’d thought about just putting her in a carrier instead, or renting a stroller from Disneyworld. I am soooo very glad I didn’t rely on either of those options. The weather was awesome while we were there and had she been in her carrier, she and I would have both been roasting. As well, I would have been constantly where the sun might be hitting her. In the stroller she could lay down to have a nap, I could make sure she was constantly in the shade and she had her own space. In regards to the Disney strollers, they looked pretty uncomfortable; may have been an option for us if we had a walking babe, and just needed the stroller sporadically, but she definitely felt better being in a space she knew and felt comfortable in.

When they say Disney is for all ages, I couldn’t agree more. I doubt we would have shelled out the money to bring our newborn to Disneyworld if it wouldn’t have been for hubby needing to go down for work, but it was an awesome time. It was obviously a different trip with a baby than my previous experiences, but I just loved being able to see the interest and curiosity in her eyes. Definitely had a few heart-melting, #lifegoal moments throughout the day. 😉

Have you taken a babe to Disney? Any other items that you found invaluable while there?

Top 10 Biggest Surprises of Mommyhood

While pregnant, I had been told time and time again that I was about to start one of the most rewarding, yet challenging journeys in life. I obviously didn’t understand exactly what this meant until Baby E was born.

The ten things that surprised me most about becoming a mom:

10. The number of diapers

Ok so this one kind of seems obvious:

Babies wear diapers. They dirty the diaper. You change the diaper.

What isn’t often talked about is the number of times you change said diaper, only to have the baby pee on the new diaper, then dirty the third diaper as soon as you’ve buttoned up that last little snap-up. those things are nearly fifty cents a pop! I’ve learned to maximize my ‘dipes’ by waiting a few minutes after a poop to make sure she’s done (I find it comes in threes!) 🙂

9. The gifts

When you’re having your first child, people seem almost as excited for you, as you are. Lots of people show this excitement through the giving of gifts; and when you have a girl, you can expect most of these gifts to be in the way of clothes…there’s just something about buying little baby girl clothes, they’re irresistible.

While I expected gifts from the relatives and close friends, it was always a surprise when a roommate at my grandmother’s assisted living facility knitted a pair of booties, or my mom’s old neighbor gave money to buy the baby a dress.

I guess what I’m saying is but a lot of thank you cards – writing these will fill up your nap times for a god few months (I finished my last today, and Evy was four months this week!)

8. How much I want to be around her

You’d think that after spending all day, every day with a small human who can’t even talk yet, you might feel pretty drained by the end of the day. Well you’re right, drained I am, no questions there. However, it astonishes me how much I still want to be around Baby E. Even when hubby gets home, I sometimes feel envious of his time with her while I put away dishes or clean up. I just don’t want to miss a single precious moment with her!

7. The anxiety

I think most of my friends would agree I’m generally a pretty relaxed gal. Since having a baby however, my brain often jumps to the worst case scenarios in almost any situation I find myself in. The anxiety presents itself in fear that Baby E is going to get sick/hurt/injured/etc. It’s gotten a bit better with time, but it’s amazing to me how concerned I find myself about things that I previously wouldn’t have spent a second thought on. I think being so in love with something outside of myself, I see things in a very different perspective.

Another anxiety trigger I have is fear that Baby E is going to act out (ie. scream her little lungs out) in an awkward situation such as church, yoga class, etc. It happens, and it will continue to do so, but I am working on accepting these situations as life and move on!

6. How quickly time flies

When you become a mom, your new job is looking after your babe, and that’s a 24-7 job. Because you are pretty much busy all day, every day, the days fly by! My advice is to avoid the typical ‘I’ll do it later’ mentality pre-baby. Make those to-do lists and do them – you’ll be shocked how quickly the days, weeks and months go quickly by.

5. The resources

I’m not sure if these resources are available nation-wide but here in Alberta, I had a public health nurse at my house two days after the babe was born, and I have 811 on speed dial for any question I may have 24 hours a day. On top of that, I’ve taken Strollersize classes, Baby+Me Yoga, Baby+Me Dance, and New Mom classes through Community Links. In the future I plan to take advantage of our local Library’s Play classes, toy sharing, and intro to solid food classes. Not to mention the many Facebook groups created for new moms and countless blogs. Take advantage of as many or as few of these resources as you’d like but know that they are there for you!

4. The fun

I remember thinking – incorrectly – that babies were just sweet little angels, who slept most of the day away and didn’t really develop personalities until they were quite a few months in.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, newborns are pretty sleepy, but once they start opening those angel eyes, their little personalities beam through. Baby E and I have so much fun every day exploring new toys, trying out new classes and she sure lets me know pretty quickly what she thinks of whatever it is we are doing (loves dance, hates yoga!)

Pre-baby, every morning, I woke up and tried to think of something to look forward to in order to make me excited to get out of bed; admittedly that process could sometimes take a few minutes of creative thinking. Now when I wake up, I roll over, look at my little munchkin and know exactly what I’m looking forward to getting out of bed for.

3. Changes in your relationships

This is a tough one.

I have some very fabulous people in my life. Some are married and some are not.  Some have kids and some of them don’t. Some want kids and some do not. The reality is that a shift happens and as much as you try to maintain all of your relationships, once you have a baby your life changes – completely. As much as you try with all your might to avoid any change in relationships, it will happen. Your non-parent friends will struggle to understand your assumed distance, tardiness and lack of effort. Your parent friends will be just as busy and now you can’t make the same effort you had before. You will meet people who are new moms and have babies roughly the same age as yours and during your maternity leave, they will be your best friends – they’re the only ones who truly understand everything you’re going through.

At some point you need to acknowledge you are going through a new ‘season’ and surround yourself with the people who will help you best survive.

2. Your body’s adaptability

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always been a sleeper. Even as a babe I was sleeping through the night at three months. When Baby E had to be woken every three hours to feed, it goes without saying I didn’t get much sleep. I still remember bragging to my husband the first night I got three hours of sleep in a row – it was a big deal then. I was amazed how I somehow still managed to function and take care of not only myself but another small and needy human too! As well, breastfeeding amazes me daily. Being able to feed my baby with my own body’s provisions is unbelievable. Did you know that the baby’s saliva is treated like backwash on the nipple and the mom’s body creates antibodies for the baby based on what it receives?

The female body is amazing.

  1. The love

Every day it surprises me how my heart can possibly love something  so very much! The moment Baby E was placed on my chest, I knew life would be entirely different as this little gift, who I’d barely just met, had my whole heart. As a Christian, I think it’s a really cool parallel to God’s love for us; we don’t have to do a single thing for him to love us!

Now, each morning when I greet that little monkey of mine, and she breaks out in her little toothless smile, my heart simply melts and I forget about every diaper blowout, colicky outburst and sleepless night. With each passing day, as I watch her learn and discover, I can’t help but be amazed by what an amazing and precious gift she is and how I am so grateful that my life will never be the same.

5 Most Helpful Things From Friends of New Mommies…

When I look back on my pre-baby visits of friends with new babes, I feel pretty badly. Arriving late, toting an adorable little outfit for the new babe (the perfect gift, no?!) I had no clue what my new mommy friends really needed, although my intentions were good! It wasn’t until I had Baby E, and countless visitors (many who, like me, had the best intentions…) that I learned what is actually helpful from  friends and visitors!

5. Ask me about the baby: This seems obvious, but I was surprised how many friends seemed to jump right into conversations about LBB (life before baby) and quite honestly, my brain was still so foggy I could barely think about ‘before.” I understand that life isn’t that much different for you, but having a baby changes life entirely and it’s perfectly normal to want to talk about it! You can talk about you later, but right now your mommy friend is so focused on this new being that it’s likely all she wants to talk about, so let her, this is her ‘season for receiving’ (as my prenatal teacher liked to say!)

4. Show up when you say you will: This is one I have to admit I’ve been guilty of. I am chronically late (something I’m still working on!) but since becoming a mom, I realize how frustrating it is when you’re expecting someone and they don’t come on time. I can only speak for myself, but when someone says they’ll come at a certain time, I work Baby E’s routine around that time, trying to make sure she’s full and awake. If visitors arrive later than expected, it’s likely we are now cutting into nap time and I’m going to have an overtired monster on my hands when you leave.

3. Bring coffee: I was not a coffee drinker until I had Baby E. I legitimately started drinking caffeine 2 weeks into being a mom and when my friends arrived with Starbucks or Tims, I was just ecstatic. Having that little treat in the morning was thoughtful and necessary. New moms will love you forever if you arrive with coffee in hand!

2. Bring food: Even more important than coffee…food! I was a ravenous monster while breastfeeding but it was difficult to eat much of a meal with one hand. The majority of my first month of mommyhood consisted of crackers, cheese strings, fruit (pre-washed…obvs) and granola bars. Hot meals were a hot commodity in my house and anyone who brought them were very, very appreciated!!

1. Offer to do a chore or help out: I loved having friends visit, don’t get me wrong, but what I loved even more was friends coming over to visit AND helping me out one way or another. When Baby E was really young, I had friends come over to watch her (she was still in her sleepy newborn stage) while I’d have a nap a few times during that first month. Later, when she was in a routine and would take a bottle, I had friends/family look after her for a morning or afternoon so I could run everyday errands that were difficult to get done with a baby (*ahem* – everything.)

Being a new mom is overwhelming, obviously, but having good friends come bearing useful gifts and offering to help makes the transition easier!

The Essentials: Top 10 Must-Haves for MOMMY during the First Month Home with Baby

As I’ve mentioned before, everyone and their grandma love to give advice to pregnant women about life with a newborn baby. It isn’t until you experience it however that you figure out what you need — pretty quickly!

Here is my list of the top 10 must-have for mommy during the first month home with baby.

Pads (variety pack!)

      I put this first on the list for a reason. You think having your period is a nuisance? Wait until you push something the size of a grapefruit out of your lady parts, then you’ll know the true meaning of ‘riding the cotton pony!’ Having a baby is messy and this is one of the messier parts — initially! Make sure you stock up on these babies, and get a few different sizes. I thought I’d finished bleeding twice, only to realize the crimson wave was merely taking a breather. Buy more than you think you’ll ever need. You can always donate the extra to a pregnant friend!

Finger Food

      I got pretty hungry when I was pregnant. I think most women do. But the famished monster that is a breastfeeding mommy is ridiculous. The first week home I was so tired/infatuated/busy I almost forgot to eat, but that subsided pretty quickly and now I rival my 240 lb husband at the dinner table. I am ravenous. Fortunately for me, hubby is the cook, and an amazing one at that, however during the day I am on my own and with only one hand. Finger foods (think cheese strings, granola bars, fruit, pre-cut veggies) are necessary. I also try to keep a little something by my bed as well so that when Baby E wakes to feed for the third time in the middle of the night, I have something to satisfy my grumbling stomach.

Nursing bras

      I mentioned messy; breastfeeding surprisingly falls into this category so I’d suggest finding your favorite nursing bra and stocking up. You’re not going to be especially gung-ho to do laundry in the first few weeks and trust me when I say crusty breastmilk gets sour quickly. Change your bra.

Sweat pants

      I had this grand notion of leaving the hospital with my rockin’ pre-pregnancy body, sporting a super cute ‘going home’ outfit. I left wearing the maternity clothes I happened to have in my bag from a day before baby. Not only was my body nowhere near that of my pre-pregnant body (*gasp*) no one could have paid me enough to wear anything that didn’t resemble what one wears to bed. Baby E is 2 months now and I’m still sporting sweats – though thankfully they’re no longer my maternity ones.

A plethora of water bottles

      Girlfriends had always told me about the danger that is breasfeeding without a beverage within arms reach. In the first few days I thought I was fine. I was wrong. Have a full water bottle ready in every location you could potentially breasfeed.

Journal

      As an English teacher, this one might just be me, but I’d highly recommend jotting down your thoughts/experiences/stories as you go. Maybe you do that through a journal, through letters, through a blog… Regardless, it’s amazing how quickly you start to forget things that seem so monumental at the time during the haziness that is being a new mom. I just recently reread Baby E’s birth story that I’d written while in the hospital and I cried; it was fun to relive that day (without actually having to relive it, ya know?!)

‘Busy’ door sign

        People mean well, they really do. I told this to myself every single day for the first two weeks after bringing Baby E home. Everyone wants to say hi, meet the new bundle and see how you are doing, however it is so draining having people in your space day in and day out. Reserve the visits at the very least to the weekend so you can start to carve out some normalcy with you and babe. Don’t feel bad about saying no (okay, I am really bad at this, but I promise I’ll try harder next time!)

Caffeine

      Your definition of a good night’s sleep will forever change. I will confess I was a capital B if I did not get my 8+ hours of sleep a night. I was not afraid to sleep in past 10 on a Saturday and naps have always been my favorite. But something happens when you have a baby; you are no longer in charge of your sleep and somehow your body makes do. I still remember rejoicing the first time I slept for 4 hours in a night – little victories. Did I mention I didn’t drink pre-baby? Well I do now.

Concealer

      Hide the tired eyes. See above.

Daytimer/Organizer

    Although you might want to cuddle up at home and avoid leaving the house altogether in those first few weeks, there will likely end up being quite a few appointments/visits to keep track of. Be it on your phone, computer or on paper, you are going to need something to write down your plans to avoid the embarrassment of forgetting a date. (Yep – it’s embarrassing.) Even if there are things you’ve been doing for years, with a new mommy brain, and a newborn in your arms, you’re bound to forget something, at some point.

The Essentials: Top 10 Must-Haves for Your First Month Home with Baby

If you are anything like I was, you likely left your local baby store with a mutual feeling of overwhelming anxiety and defeat: how ever will your unborn baby ever survive without your regular use of a prenatal mp3 player, or the latest designer stroller (there are a few on Amazon currently listed for a mere $3000USD…)?

The selection and range of products that have been created for ‘bringing up baby’ are rather ridiculous. While there are a lot of great resources out there, providing advice on the ‘essentials’, let me share with you my personal opinion of the products that were vital for Baby E in her first month home…


I tried putting these in order but it was too a difficult task (okay, I’ll be honest, it’s 1 am and I am actually just too tired to think analytically) but here they are:

The Essentials: Top 10 Must-Haves for Your First Month Home with Baby

Car Seat – I hope this one is a given. They won’t even let you leave the hospital unless you’ve got one of these. Not only that, but you’ll need to have the head nurse’s approval of the strap placement once you’ve put baby in. I would highly suggest practicing this before you find yourself bringing baby home. Hubby and I spent some trying to figure it out (translation we watched a solid 20 minutes worth of YouTube tutorials to understand how the straps worked!) If you have this figured out before your brain is complete mush, everyone will be much happier!

*As an aside, we didn’t find this out until later, but professionals advise against using anything in the car seat other than what came with the initial purchase (ie. no extra head rests, bunting bags, etc.) so don’t waste your money!

Bath Tub – On more than half of the articles I read previous to Baby E, baby bath tubs were often listed as non-essential – I completely disagree! Thankfully we were given a baby bathtub with a newborn sling as a gift and it has been fabulous. The sling helps to hold Baby E  (with one adult hand for support) and we fill the tub all the way up so she is submerged up to her neck and thus doesn’t get cold.  It’s also great because bath time has become a family event; both hubby and I sit on opposite sides of the little bath tub and help to get her clean. She loves bath time and I’m fairly certain this is a huge reason why!

mamarooSwing – The first week after coming home with Baby E I had no desire to do anything but cuddle her and sleep. Once the fog lifted slightly (does it ever disappear?)  I realized I needed to still do life. I knew I couldn’t do everything one handed – though I must admit I’ve managed to adapt to right hand only living pretty well! We were given a Momaroo as a gift before Baby E’s arrival and it’s been a God-send for those times when I’ve just needed to be hands free, be it to make supper, clean the bathroom, maybe even shower *gasp*! The babe needs to be pretty tired in order to be content and while she only lasts about 30 minutes max, it’s been nice having a little bit of time to do what I need to do once or twice a day.

Travel System – I am not a sedentary person and I get bored pretty easily, so having a quick and efficient way to get out and about is important to me. We bought the Britax B-Safe carseat and the B-Ready stroller; I would highly recommend both. It is so lovely popping Baby E into her carseat, easily pop her into the stroller, take the dog for a walk, pop said carseat out of the stroller and into the car, etc. Super easy, super efficient, super necessary.

Breast Pump – Being able to breastfeed Baby E was super important to me. If that’s not important to you, hop on down to the next essential item. Because she was a full month early, my milk took a little longer to come in, she was a bit too weak to get much of a suction (and would fall asleep at the breast) thus we were having to supplement with formula for the first five days of Baby E’s life. I was determined to eliminate the formula feeding, so I’d put her on the breast until she was frustrated, and then I would pump. I remember sending pictures to hubby and being ecstatic about 10mL of EBM (from both breasts, 15 minutes of pumping each!) but I kept that routine up for a solid week. It was exhausting but it was entirely worth it. By two weeks my milk supply was great and I really don’t know if it would have been if I wasn’t vigilant about pumping so regularly.

Change Table – It goes without saying that you’re going to have to change your baby’s diaper. Often. Having a change table, preferably with a soft pad and cozy cover, is fairly important to make the regular routine as comfortable for baby as possible. I’d also suggest having a basket or something similar to hold wipes and diapers so that they are close and easily accessible. The quickest possible change from dirty diaper to clean diaper is imperative. I can’t tell you the number of times, I’ve had to change the table cover as she conveniently waited for that 0.732 second gap in between diapers to let it go! 😉

pillowNursing Pillow – okay so this one was more for me, but boy was it necessary! Breastfeeding is hard. I’d just assumed you’d pop baby on there and you were good to go, but it’s hard work! I bought the “My Brest Friend” nursing pillow at the advice of a few mommy friends and it was fantastic. Though it wasn’t as soft and cut and pretty as some of the pillows sold at the baby boutiques, it was waaay more practical! It saved my back and brought Baby E to the perfect height in order to feed. Because it’s already enough of a struggle, do yourself a favor and make your life a little bit easier by registering for/purchasing/borrowing/using a nursing pillow.

Swaddles/Sleepsacks – I was ridiculously and incredibly a little bit paranoid about SIDS during the first couple weeks of Baby E’s life. I made sure her bassinet was free from absolutely any extravagance and found the Halo Sleepsack to be perfect to ease my mind while keeping the babe warm at night. It was also great because it zipped top down so I could change her without having to take the whole thing off, and the zipper didn’t bug her chin/neck in the night.

Journal/Baby Book – Everyone says it, but it truly is amazing how quickly time flies and how soon you forget things that seem, in the moment, to be monumental. I would highly recommend writing down your birth story while you’re in the hospital, or shortly after so that you don’t miss any little details (unless of course, you’d rather forget!) I bought a Baby Memories book by Carters and it was a lot of fun going through it and reliving the first hours/days of Baby E’s life and documenting them. It will be a lot of fun to go through the book in years to come, and I’m sure it will serve as a great keepsake of the start of an amazing journey with my girl!

Picture-taking Device – Although I said there wasn’t any order, I did keep the best for last. TAKE PICTURES. I don’t care if it’s with a digital camera, your phone, an old Polaroid camera…regardless what your tool, do make sure you capture as many memories of your little one as you can. Soon your one-week old will be a month, will be a year, will be starting kindergarten… Don’t feel embarrassed about being a crazy camera wielding parent, they are after all only this age once!

The First Week Home…

So they discharged you from the hospital…now what?!

questionThis is the part where I tell you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ and ‘take all the help you can get’ but honestly, you need to do you. This week should be all about you, baby and your new little family. People are going to throw their best advice your way, and surely they mean well, but at the end of the day, this is your journey and you’re going to learn best by figuring it out yourself.

A few weeks after Baby E was born, a lot of people gave my hubby a hard time when they discovered he hadn’t taken work off to be at home with Baby E and I after we got home from the hospital. Even I started to jump on the band wagon and give him a hard time for getting right back to work after the birth of his child! But the truth is, after being in the hospital for 3 days, I was ready to get home and start my new life as a mommy.

I am a pretty independent person and quite frankly, I actually enjoyed having that time every day just with babe and me. I quickly learned what she needed and how to navigate the early stages of being a mommy to a newborn. Had my husband stayed home for any amount of time, I would have A) gotten used to being taken care of hand and foot and B) struggled for that much longer to feel in sync with baby. Husbands have to go back to work eventually and it would have been hard to adjust from having his help to being on my own. But that’s just me.

Another big topic for new families during that first week home is having visitors. In all honesty, this was something I was hugely nervous about before the baby; how would we tell people we needed space? When is a good time for visitors to come? … But at the end of the day, I was so proud of Baby, I couldn’t wait to show her off and have all of my favorite people meet her!

We ended up having visitors every single day for two weeks and on the weekends, we had out of town family stay with us. It was busy, I was exhausted and I did start to hope that the business would die down, but I realized how incredibly fortunate we were to have so many people in our lives who loved us, and who in turn loved our new baby. I spent time each night thanking God for providing so much love in our lives – and to give me strength for the next day of visitors! 🙂

Looking back, it would have been nice to have a bit more space and time for just the three of us, but remembering the reason for the business helps to put things in perspective. But again, this is another ‘you do you’ situation, and you probably won’t know what that looks like until you have your baby. I thought I’d wanted at least a week alone, but I was on the phone inviting family before I’d even left the hospital. My advice (and remember what I said earlier about advice!) is to let everyone know ahead of time that you’ll let them know when you’re ready for visitors. Play it by ear and figure out what’s going to work for you; if you’re anything like me, you might be surprised about your feelings once the most amazing, special, miraculous little babe enters the world and YOU were a pretty integral part of that! If there’s ever a time when bragging is warranted, I’d certainly say the time is now. 🙂

As an aside, here is a note to all prospective visitors of new parents: BRING FOOD! Don’t expect to be served by the new parents, in fact bring in your own water bottle! I wish I’d been better about this pre-baby when I’d visit new parents, but it’s a whirlwind and remembering to eat or at least preparing what you’re going to eat is thrown out the window. Gifts are lovely, Baby E’s wardrobe is on point, but having people bring you food is a God send!

Now let me end off with the notion of sleep. I say notion as it seems, for me, that sleep was much more of a notion than a reality during yawnthat first week. While everyone knows it is important to get your rest after having a baby (and you’re going to be told this a lot) it’s not going to be easy.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” they say. “Make sure you rest up,” they say… this is so much easier said than done. I was so excited/nervous/ elated/anxious that sleep really did fall by the wayside. I was feeding, changing,  pumping, staring (mostly to make sure she was real) and then the next thing I knew, it was time to begin the cycle all over again!

Let me say that my husband will be the first to tell you that pre-baby, if I did not get my solid 8 hours of sleep in a night, I was not an awesome person to be around. During that first week, I still remember calling him at work with excitement to tell him that I’d reached a cumulative 4 hours throughout the course of the night! Your body figures it out and you will survive.

In the end, you are only ever going to have one first week with this baby, so simply do whatever works for you. Just make sure that you do not try to appease others, or follow advice for the simple sake of doing what has worked for your neighbor’s daughter’s best friend’s son… You will figure it out and it will be amazing! But don’t forget what worked for you, so you can pass that advice along… 🙂

Welcome to My Blog!

Wdisneyhen I found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon with excitement. My husband and I spent the next 8 months decorating, buying baby products and supplies and planning our new lives as ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’!

All of my ‘getting ready’ however didn’t exactly prepare me for being a new mommy. Sure I had the new Diaper Genie Elite, my Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag was on point and babycenter.ca Moms’ Picks rated our car seat #1 for 2015, but nothing could really prepare me for being entirely responsible for a tiny human.

Despite being thrilled with our new addition, when I left the hospital with baby E, I realized that despite feeling ‘ready,’ I was anything but! There was so very much to learn and experience in just the first few days alone and after talking to a few of my mommy friends, I discovered my feelings of surprise, anxiety, excitement and fear were not alone.

My hope for this blog is to perhaps be able to provide some validation for other new mommies as I navigate through my first year as a new mom! xo