Everyone tells you how hard it is but you don’t quite understand until you experience it yourself. Fortunately, it gets better each day as you fall into a routine and have more time to connect with your baby and understand how to respond to her needs.
These are the items that have been essential for these first few weeks of Harper’s life and I hope this list is helpful for soon-to-be mammas!
Baby Connect App– available in the App Store for iPhone and Android
The first few days at home were a whirlwind. I was an emotional wreck and cried several times a day (which after talking to my mom friends I learned was completely normal). I was sleep deprived and everything was a haze. When she did last have a diaper change? When did she last eat? I was using a notebook to write things down but I found that to be inefficient. Then, my friend Brooke, a mamma to a one and a half year old little boy told me to buy the Baby Connect app for my iPhone. I now record everything using this app—wet and poopy diapers, feedings (nursing, expressed milk and formula) and pumping sessions. It helps me keep track of all of the important things and I can even reference things like how many wet diapers she has on average when my pediatrician asks. I highly recommend this app to any new mom. I also bought another app called “BabyNursing” but I didn’t like it as much and found it more confusing to use.
BabyGanics Foaming Hand Sanitizer (unscented)
I keep bottles of this around the house and also travel size ones in our diaper bag. I love that is is foaming and unscented so there’s no harsh smell. It’s great to have a bottle on our coffee table so visitors can use it too before handling the baby. Love this product!
My friend and co-worker Elizabeth who had twins about a week before I had Harper recommended that I use Aquaphor’s healing ointment on my nipples after breastfeeding. I absolutely love it. I am also using Lanolin but I love the texture of the Aquaphor.
During nearly every ultrasound, Harper had her hands near or on her face. She was the same way when she arrived. We’ve had to have her in baby mittens a lot because she scratches her face like crazy. The Zoli Buzz B has been a lifesaver. It’s a battery-operated tool with a circular spinning disc that safely and effectively files down baby’s nails. I use it while she sleeps and she doesn’t even wake up. It’s super easy to use and comes with discs that are rougher so you can use it as baby’s nails get stronger too. A must-buy for new parents (especially because a lot of people are afraid to use nail clippers or have accidentally nicked their baby’s skin while trying to trim their nails).
Kristen over at Love, Lipstick and Pearls and I had our babies just days apart and we text constantly. She recommended Mother’s Milk Organic Tea to me and I love it. I try to drink two cups a day. It tastes like black licorice (I love that taste!) so it’s really easy for me to drink and enjoy it. I’m not sure if it’s actually impacted my milk supply or if my supply is increasing based on her needs—but I like it and it can’t hurt!
This breast pump has been my saving grace. Harper had latch issues from the start and being able to pump and provide her with my milk has been wonderful. This pump is easy to use and it is very effective. I love that is comes in an easy-to-carry bag since I keep it downstairs during the day and bring it to our bedroom at night so I can pump a bottle for her while she sleeps. I am also breastfeeding, but this pump allows me to supplement with expressed breast milk when needed. I also plan to use it when I return to work.
I absolutely love the Cake nursing bra I purchased from Nordstrom. It is so comfy and the stretchy fabric is awesome. I also continue to wear my GAP racerback bras. I actually purchased a hands-free pumping bra (that I never used) and I’m returning it because guess what—all you need to do when wearing a stretchy shelf or nursing bra is to pull it down a bit, stick the pumping parts on and pump away! It will hold the pump parts in place on your breasts perfectly, no need to use a special bra at all. I had even cut holes into an old sports bra to use as a hands-free pumping bra, but you don’t need the holes. The stretchy bra will hold the pump parts in place perfectly.
I know this product was recalled due to parents using it irresponsibly (like placing it in a crib or on a high countertop, which is explicitly advised against on the actual product) but it has honestly been one of my most-used baby items. Harper sleeps in it all the time (supervised, obviously) and she is so comfy in it. So many bloggers included it on their must-have lists when I was doing my research and now I know why. It really is an incredible product (when used correctly and in accordance with the safety standards outlined by the manufacturer). It’s a shame it was recalled because people were using it irresponsibly.
Fisher Price Snuggabunny Bouncer
You’ll often see moms in the online world talking about how once they had a baby they didn’t have time to shower anymore. I just put Harper in the snuggabunny bouncer in the morning and she sleeps in there while I hop in the shower for 5 minutes. I keep it in my walk-in closet and just pull it out whenever I need to have her in the bathroom with me. I don’t wear makeup most days when I’m home with her, but sometimes I do and I keep her in the bouncy while I apply it.
I have ones from Old Navy and Baby Gap and they are awesome—especially the ones with the zippers. Makes diaper changes a cinch and you know their little feet aren’t cold.
This baby likes to be swaddled. We use the miracle blanket at night (and also sometimes the Halo Sleep Sack) and it helps her sleep better and longer. I also ordered a Woombie and I’m curious to see how it will compare!
I love these swaddle blankets. They are so multi-purpose and a must-have for every mamma. I have the regular ones as well as the bamboo ones. Remember to keep one in your diaper bag—we always cover her carseat with one at the pediatrician’s office (they have a separate area for newborns but you can never be too careful!)
We go through a lot of pump parts and bottles. The Avent sterilizer is easy to use and effective. I was going to get the kind that plugs in, but I didn’t want another item on my countertop and I liked that this one was at a great price point at $25.
Medela Quick Clean Steam Bags
We are also a fan of these quick steam bags by Medela. I say we because my husband does 99% of the sterilizing in this house. He has a great routine going with it. These are easy to use and one bag can be used 20 times so a pack of bags will give you 100 cleanings.
Boon Lawn Drying Rack
We keep this adorable drying rack on our countertop to dry bottles we’ve washed and to hold items we’ve sterilized. It’s cute and holds so much. We also have one of the flower accessories for it. It’s just so sweet looking and best of all—effective.
Graco Pack n’ Play
Harper sleeps in our room in her Graco Pack n’ Play right now and we like it. I like the comfort of having her right next to me so I can check on her. It also has a little side attachment for diaper changes, but I actually use it to hold extra diapers and all of my bottles and pumping supplies. I just change her in the actual Pack n’ Play using a waterproof liner.
Waterproof Changing pad liners
You need these-period. Baby diapers are messy and babies pee as you’re changing them. Using these waterproof pads will ensure you don’t have to wash your actual changing pad cover every single day. They also allow you to change baby in the middle of the night in her Pack n’ Play without having to use a normal changing pad. Buy these in bulk!
Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers and wipes
My husband and I both have sensitive skin so I wanted to try these out since they’re designed for sensitive skin. We’ve been really pleased with both the diapers and the wipes. No leaks or irritation so far.
That’s all I can think of right now, but I will continue to update favorites as Harper grows. Thank you for reading and thank you for your patience as I’m trying to get back to regular blogging. Thank goodness the little one sleeps for several hour stretches…though how long that will last is anyone’s guess!