Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Just because you now have the responsibility of taking care of a little human doesn't mean she/he came with a user manual. Becoming a parent is done one experience at a time: one marathon feeding session, the first (but certainly not the last) blowout - just ask Josh, the first bath and many, MANY sleepless nights. Thankfully, our little ones won't remember these moments and hold them against us. When I get frustrated, which happens a lot these days, it's nice to remember I'm not the first person to go through these experiences and find comfort in knowing there are other moms and dads undergoing similar trials and tribulations. These early weeks are filled with constant learning experiences which are only compounded with sleep deprivation and postpartum recovery. All of these factors take a toll on your mental health just as much as it does your physical health.
So first thing is first.... CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK! That is what I am constantly reminding myself. Mamas, take time for yourself. Whether that's squeezing in a shower every now and then, changing out of your spit up covered shirt or indulging in some therapeutic ice cream. As the hours turn into days you will only get better at adjusting to your little one's cues. The everyday challenges will become more natural - - until the next hurdle that is.
The one item I cannot link that has played a huge part in making this transition a little smoother is the Sprout app. Sprout helps parents track all things baby related (i.e feedings, pumping times, diaper changes, sleep) allowing the analytics section to detect patterns. Working as a nightshift nurse I was worried about the effect on Blakely once she arrived, more awake during the night and sleeping hours at a time during the day. So during my sleepless nights I discovered several good tips and tricks to get her on a better schedule which was easier to implement with the information from the app.
Below I have compiled a list of my "fourth trimester survival kit":
Bamboobies: for breast milk leakage
Nipple cream : or 1:1 ratio of hydrocortisone and neosporin but make sure to rinse off before next feeding
Nipple shield : this helped Blakely latch after I dealt with breast engorgement issues
Pump : given to me at the hospital
Kiinde breast feeding kit : great for easy breast milk storage
Boppy : THE BEST product I used postpartum - especially immediately postpartum when trying to breastfeed and not agitate my incision
Burp cloths : can never have enough
Onesies with cuffed sleeves : to prevent scratches to Blakely’s face
Belly Bandit Luxe Wrap : I wear a small but needed to purchase the expander
Dry shampoo : for days showering isn’t an option
Bassinet : kept at bedside each night
Snuggle Me lounger : easy to take around the house if I need to set her down for a minute where I can still keep an eye on her
Pack and play : we set this up in our living room to have another changing station downstairs
Glider seat : Blakely LOVES this glider and the vibration setting soothes her when she’s fussy
Swaddle blanket: I love these swaddles because they are so stretchy and breathable