Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Things we couldn't live without the first 3 months with Pooka
My expectant mom friends love to ask this question, and I'm sure the answer is different for every new mom, but I thought I would share some of the things my husband and I couldn't live without those first few weeks and months.
1) Itzbeen Baby Care Timer: We used the timer to mark the end of each feeding and the last diaper change. When things were crazy and sleep-deprived it helped to keep track of the time between feedings, as Pooka ate every 2 hours in the early days. It's much simpler than marking a log or trying to remember the exact time of the last feeding. I also used the timer to keep track of how long she fed on each side, and there is a helpful button to remember which side you last fed on. Also useful is the button that lights up the timer so you can check the time in the middle of the night without turning on the lights.
2) Aden and Anais Muslin Wraps: Pooka has been swaddled in these wraps from day one. They are a little large at first, but if you fold in two of the adjoining sides in a few inches they work for even the teeniest baby (Pooka was 5 lbs 12 oz when she was born). They are nice and light too, so you don't have to worry about the baby overheating.
3) Sling: My husband would work on his computer while the baby slept in our Serena and Lily Prague Market Sling. It's organic and has padded rails, not to mention beautiful embroidery. Not super manly, but that's because I purchased it for myself, only to discover the size was too large for me. Pooka would sleep in the cradle position for hours, we even took her to a cocktail party when she was two weeks old and she slept right through it. Slings are also useful for protecting your newborn from prying eyes and germy hands. After purchasing a Zolowear Ring Sling for myself, I would carry Pooka in the tummy-to-tummy position which worked like a charm to put her out. It's so easy to carry them this way and be hands free when they are so little.
4) Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump and Hands Free Bra: Double electric, that's all I've got to say! My milk took a few days to come in, and pumping after every feeding the first week made a huge difference. I eventually had more milk than I knew what to do with, but I'll save those issues for another post. A few days into the pumping extravaganza I got a hands-free bra and it totally changed my world. It is a NECESSITY if you are going to pump regularly! I used the time with my free hands to catch up on some reading.
5) Lullabies: We started playing lullabies before Pooka was born so she would recognize them once she was out in the world. We definitely have our favorites: any of the Rockabye Baby albums that do lullaby renditions of famous bands such as U2, Bob Marley, AC/DC, etc. (available on itunes, we actually only downloaded the specific songs we wanted from each artist and made a playlist); the Putamayo Dreamland albums, we have Africa and Asia; Jewel's new album Lullaby. We play them each night starting during the final feeding.
6) White Noise Machine: Living in NYC I already slept with one of these on at night and we have continued to do so with Pooka. We use a Marpac Sleepmate.
7) Exercise Ball: We have both a rocking chair and an exercise/birth ball (ours is a Gaim, but you can get them anywhere), and have found that bouncing a fussy Pooka on the exercise ball works like a charm every time. It take a fraction of the time of a rocking chair to quickly calm her and put her to sleep. Plus its great for exercises both pre and post baby.
8) Maclaren Rocker Seat: Pooka sat in this chair from her first week, although the safety straps were much too large for her at the time. To be honest, they seemed unnecessary when she was so small and not moving around much. If she was fussy or wouldn't go back down after an early morning feeding we would put her in her "Magic Chair." Magic, you ask? It was all about flipping the switch and turning on the vibrations which usually knocked her out cold so mom and dad could get another hour or two of shuteye. We did make a promise to only use the vibrations during extreme situations so she would not get desensitized to their magic calming effect!
9) Boppy Waterproof Changing Pad Liners: So the books will advise you to get two changing pad covers. But what about the night you ruin two in less than an hour? If you are blessed with a baby like Pooka, one of her favorite pastimes was to pee on Daddy during diaper changes. At first we just used the changing mats from our diaper bags to keep the cover dry, until I found these Boppy Waterproof Changing Pad Liners. They seriously reduced the number of times we had to wrestle off a wet or poopy changing pad cover. I also have friends who put disposable changing pads down on their tables over the real cover so they can just toss them when they get dirty.
10) Eurobath Bath Seat: If space is a premium, as it is for most NYC parents, this bath seat may just do the trick. It fits in both a large sink or bath tub, but stows away more easily than a traditional baby bath tub. It is only designed for the first six months, which is fine by us as we plan to have Pooka sit up in the tub once she is comfortable and stable on her own. And in the overpriced world of baby gear, you can't beat the price at $12.00!