Archive for the ‘Baby 101’ Category

Dealing With Baby’s Fever 103.4

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Sung to “You Give Me Fever” by Peggy Lee:

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
You’ve got a fever that’s so hard to bear

Baby, you’ve got fever – FEVER!

(tips on fevers below)

For the past 2 days, I’ve been up round the clock with our little one.  Evelyn has had a fever ranging from 102 – 103.4.  Other than being fussy and not being able to sleep (and oh yeah, burning up like an inferno) there are no obvious signs of an illness.

I called our pediatrician around 3pm yesterday and talked to the nurse oncall.  She said that a fever of 102.5 in an 8 month old baby is fine.  It means that she is probably fighting a virus of some sort.  In the absence of other symptoms, she said not to worry and give her tylenol.  If her fever went above 103 and she had problems breathing then we should take her to the ER.

Here’s the hubby’s gratuitous shot of Oliver eating to prove that he did feed our son dinner yesterday while my hands were busy with Evelyn. 

Evelyn’s temp did rise to 103.5 last night and I was ready to head over to the emergency room.  On a whim, I called the pediatrician again and spoke with the evening oncall nurse at 1am.  She was absolutely fabulous in both troubleshooting Evelyn’s fever and soothing my frazzled nerves.  She saved us a trip to the ER and made an appt for a follow up visit this morning with a Dr.

Here’s what she had to say about fevers:

1) In a baby over 3 months, a fever between 102 and 104 is considered moderate.  She called it “a good working fever” and said that Evelyn’s body was battling a virus.  She said that if her fever reached 105, then we’d want to bring her to a doctor.  She said fevers weren’t deadly until 108.  The caveats – Evelyn had NO other symptoms, was alert, not grunting or wheezing, and appeared normal.

2) Do NOT give your baby a cool or tepid bath in an attempt to bring down the fever.  This is contrary to what is plastered all over the internet in baby forums.  If your baby is 102+, sponging on or bathing in cool water sort of sends the body into shock and it will go into overdrive trying to heat itself up thereby making the fever worse.  If you really want to bring down the fever, she said to let the baby sit in a bath of 101 degrees for up to 30 minutes and to remove her the instant she gets chills or starts to shiver.

3) Give your baby infant Tylenol or infant Ibuprofen to bring down the fever.  Either product should bring down the fever by 1 or 2 degrees minimum.

4) Lightly dress your baby in just a diaper and onesie and do not use a blanket.  If they are really hot, just have them wear a diaper.  No jammies.

5) Breathing fast and shallow is normal during a fever and is not a cause to go to the ER.  Evelyn was breathing very rapidly, sort of like panting, and we were scared.  She said that was normal and we were better not going to the ER and exposing her to a ton of other germs.  Labored breathing, where the baby grunts, wheezes, or you can visibly see his ribs and muscles on the side of his body struggling is a different story.

6) Keep baby hydrated, hydrated, hydrated!  Breast milk is best, because you will be giving your baby antibodies to help fight the virus.  If not, then give her formula.  Supplement with plenty of water or pedialyte.  If she won’t take the breast, bottle, or cup, use a syringe and squirt liquid into her cheek for her to swallow.  Feed her at least every 2 hours, if you can, while she has the fever.

7) Fevers caused by viruses tend to wind down after 3 days (72 hours).  If she is feverish for more than 3 days, then she needs to see the doctor and have tests run.  They would draw her blood and check her urine via a catheter to start with.

That was about it and thank goodness for the night nurse!  I was near tears with worry as Evelyn was burning up.  I ended up holding her for most of the night so she could sleep a little.  The poor thing was just miserable.  We went in this morning to the pediatrician and Evelyn left with a clean bill of health.  The doctor said to take infant ibuprofen and come back on Saturday if the fever is still there.  Her temp maxed out at 103.4 today, but after ibuprofen she came down to 101. Yay!

She is so tired that she passed out on the floor after dinner tonight.  The hubby is about 3 feet away zonked out too.

Oy vey, there’s nothing scarier than being helpless while your baby is in pain. We are crossing our fingers that she is teething as she has started tugging on her ears tonight and gnawing on her fist.  Wish me luck getting through tonight with more than 1.5 hours of sleep!

Have you been through a fever scare with your baby?  Did you end up in the ER?

Feeding Baby First Solids

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

We started Evelyn on solids recently after she came through her 4 month checkup with flying colors.  The first session went pretty smoothly.  We offered her rice cereal thinned out with breast milk (you can also use formula).  I think she only ate a teaspoon worth the first time.  She swallowed a couple times, but mostly spit it out.  When she started getting cranky we stopped.  No need to rush things.  She still gets all her nutrients from milk at this point.

The Bumbo works great as a feeding chair.  It provides great support for her little body and she can hold her head quite well. 

Yum, yum,  yum, yum… fingers… This little one loves to chew on her fingers rather than a pacifier.  With every spoonful in went her little fingers to help mush things around.

Once she grabbed the spoon, dinner was over!  This little girl is quick! You have to always be on your toes around her.  We feed her a tablespoon every few days.  We can actually hear her swallowing cereal now, so we might increase the feedings.

There is a ton of literature out there about when to feed you baby solids.  For both of my babies I waited until they checked out okay with the pediatrician at their 4 month checkups.  The babies also showed an interest in what we were eating.  Evelyn follows every piece of food from my plate to my mouth with her eyes and smacks her lips all the way!  The kids also went through a growth spurt where all they wanted was food, food, food.  Offering a little rice cereal helped to fill them up.

We do NOT put cereal in their bottles, nor do we put them on a schedule to eat.  We will follow Evelyn’s lead until she builds up to eating it as a meal around 5-6 months.  We also will not introduce any other solid until 6 months.  There are so many food allergies floating around and one of the causes is introducing a type of food before their bodies can handle them.  What’s the rush anyways?  Trust me, soon enough they will be feeding themselves with real forks and spoons and you will miss these sweet, sloppy, and messy times.

Cradle Cap Treatment

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

“Say what?!? I have dandruff?”  Actually, it’s called cradle cap.  Evelyn gets scaly, flaky skin on her scalp from time to time.  The docs say its harmless and is caused be a buildup of dead skin cells.  The cells get gunked up by her natural oils, which cause them to stick to her head in scaly patches instead of slough off.  Ewwww….

We went through this with Oliver too.  The doc guesses it doesn’t help that both my babies have a full head of hair, which helps to trap the dead skin.  Of course, the condition is harmless unless you are a freak like me who can’t stop picking at the flakes on her head. 

One quick fix I discovered with Oliver is to rub olive oil into the baby’s scalp and let set for a few minutes to soften the scales.  Next, use a baby brush and gently brush the scalp in small circular motions to loosen the dead skin.  Finally, give the head a good washing with some baby wash or shampoo and gently brush the scalp again to get rid of all the olive oil.

The cradle cap usually disappears with one olive oil treatment, sometimes two for severe cases.  As a bonus, her hair and skin were silky smooth – and she smelled like a salad!

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

Baby 101: Breastfeeding Setting List

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Ahhh…the milk drunk baby.  A sign of a good meal is when the baby rolls back on the Boppy and passes out.

I have found that successful breastfeeding depends as much on the setting where you feed as it does practicing the act itself.  My first time around all I knew was that I needed a place to sit to breastfeed and something called a Boppy for the baby to sit on.  I spent the next few days successively adding to my little nursing corner until it was functional and my hubby stopped having to run around every feeding getting me stuff.  Once I got organized I became more relaxed and that helped the breastfeeding process along. 

Here’s a list of some things you might want to consider for your nursing nook.  I didn’t go into the mechanics of breastfeeding as that is another series of posts all together.  (FYI – the first time around I didn’t find it to be natural at all and we had a hard time of it.  It took several visits to the lactation consultant that first week before we got the hang of it.  Don’t worry if it feels foreign to you too.)

Nursing Nook Essentials:

Chair – You will need some place to sit that has back support.  Arms would be nice.  A rocking chair or glider work great if you have one.  Babies love to be rocked.

Foot rest or stool – The leg that the baby’s head rests on while breastfeeding should be raised up on a stool.  I have used a stack of books and a folded up towel.  Now I have a small stool that’s approximately 5 inches tall.

Pillows – You might need pillows to place behind your back for support or even under your butt.  It all depends on the shape and height of your chair.  You will be spending many, many hours there and will need to be comfortable.

My Brestfriend or a Boppy – I 100% recommend the “My Brestfriend” breast-feeding pillow.  I had a Boppy the first time around and while it worked, it is nothing like the Brestfriend.  The Boppy is a curved pillow, both in shape and in form.  The baby kept rolling off the top of the pillow and sliding into my body during feedings.  My Brestfriend also conforms to your body, but has a flat tabletop like surface with superior support over the Boppy.

Side table – You will want something next to your chair for a number of things: A soft light, clock, water glass, snacks, pen/paper, tissues, etc…  I’ve used a folding TV tray, milk crates, and now I have a 3-tiered wire rack from the shed. 

Soft light – You will need some sort of light in the room for nighttime feedings and diaper changes.  Nothing too bright or baby will be wide-awake.  Nothing to dark or your baby will be drinking breast milk through her nose.  I threw a dark towel over my bedside lamp.

Pen/Paper/Notepad – You will want to track breastfeeding times, etc…  that first week and make other random notes.

Water glass – Every time you sit down to breast feed you need to drink a glass of water.  No water = no breast milk for baby. 

Snacks – Keep snacks handy in case feeding sessions are long.  Crackers, fruit, etc… The first two weeks, I would be starving whenever I fed the baby.  This time, I had boxes of Triscuits stacked up under the table.  :-)

Access to time – You need to see the time either on a clock, watch, cell phone, etc…  This will be important to keep track of how long sessions are and when the last session was.

Tissues – You never know when you will need to sneeze, wipe spittle, or clear baby boogers.

Receiving blanket or burp cloths – Keep one or two of these within reach for the spit up that usually accompanies a hearty burping session.

Breast feeding pads, Lanolin cream, and gel pads – That first week I found the Medela gel pads to be awesome.  They have a cooling effect and feel great if your baby likes to use you for a chew toy.  Otherwise, I’ve heard the Lanolin cream helps dryness and cracking.  I’ve never had to use the stuff though.  The pads are a no brainer.  You will leak – alot – when it’s most embarrasing for you to do so.  I keep a couple pads in the diaper bag just in case.

Misc – I’ve found it useful to keep the baby Gas-X, saline drops, and nose sucker within arms reach.  Also, if you don’t have a TV to watch, you might want to station your laptop nearby to keep you company.  With Oliver, I used to play lullabies on the laptop during our night feedings and during the day I’d watch something from Netflix.  He was a slow eater, 40 minute sessions, and it helped to pass the time.

Baby 101: Newborn Basic Care Supply List

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

So you have the baby, you have a place for the baby to sleep, some clothes, and a car seat.  You probably have an entirely outfitted nursery with your favorite childhood character or theme.  But what about the little stuff? What about all those little things that fill all those cute little bins you bought?

I have a list of basic care items for those first few months of life.  I have two children and will only list the things that we have actually used.  After our first baby, we pared down dramatically for the second.  I thought we were frugal with Oliver, but we’ve done even better with Evelyn.  I know we could probably cut back or save more here and there, but as always, you have to balance your pennies against your quality of life.  Your needs might be totally different from ours, but hopefully, I have given you a starting point.  Check out my Week One post for some numbers to match the items.

Newborn Baby Care Supplies: Note – this is just supplies, not gear.

Bulb syringe – You should get one from the hospital.  As the baby gets older, there’s a good chance you will need something bigger to suck the snot out.  We use and LOVE Nosefrida: The Snot Sucker.  I just used it on Evelyn today and she is 6 weeks old.  You literally suck the snot out of their heads…

Saline nasal spray – this loosens the boogers.

Q-tips – for umbilical cord care.  We probably used 20-30.

Alcohol – for umbilical cord care.

Cotton balls – for wiping down the baby’s face, neck, and privates during the first 2 weeks with the umbilical cord stump in lieu of a bath.  I still use them now on a daily basis vs. giving a full bath every day.

Vaseline – for circumcision care, dry skin, diaper rash, lubricant for thermometer, and skin protectant (ie. to protect nose area from constant wipes during cold season)

Emery board – those little nails are sharp!  Those little nail clippers they sell for infants are useless.  Just use an emery board or scrape the nail with your own finger nail.  When they get a little older and squirmy I like using a block nail file.  Not sure what the name of it is, but it’s a little foam block with different filing surfaces on each face.  It was easier to hold a block and run it across their fingertips than to try and aim with the board.

Baby Tylenol

Simethicone Drops (Baby relief drops) – Buy stock in the company.  You could quite possibly go through bottles of this stuff until your baby’s digestive system matures and they can pass gas easier.

Gripe Water – I didn’t use it with Oliver and didn’t put much stock in the product.  With Evelyn’s all night crying jags, I was desperate and tried a bottle of Gripe Water.  I have no idea if it does what is says it does, but both the times I used it, my baby stopped crying within moments.  If your baby is up all night screaming, you might want to give this a try.

Digital Thermometer – This is for measuring temperature rectally until they are old enough to have it taken under the arm.

Diaper rash cream – Diaper rash cream works great.  On diarrhea days Vaseline works like a charm too (poo won’t stick to Vaseline).  For either one, make sure the butt is dry before applying.

Diapers – You will need tons.  We went through 90+ our first 10 days.

Wipes – you could get away with homemade wipes or just cotton balls and water.  Breastfed babies have very watery, non-sticking poo.

Baby Wash

Baby Lotion – I can’t resist the smell of Johnson and Johnson’s classic pink baby lotion, but on really dry days I put Vaseline on Evelyn’s face, especially her brow and nose areas.

Thermometer for bath water – We had a hot/cold duck that didn’t work.  Then we had a digital turtle which we loved, but the batteries died.  Now we use, and LOVE, our standard kitchen cooking thermometer. 

All you parents out there, what couldn’t you live without your first few weeks?

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Save some money and don’t go overboard on the supplies, with the exception of diapers and wipes.  What I mean is, don’t get taken in by anything that says it is for infants.  Most all the over the counter items have expiration dates.  I’ve literally listed all the over the counter things our pediatrician let us use her first 6 months.  Anything else, like our nose drops for cold relief, have all expired since we weren’t allowed to use them when the baby was small.

Baby 101: Post Partum Care Supply List

Monday, December 20th, 2010

You’ve made it through one of the most life changing experiences ever and now you are home with your little bundle of joy, little baloney loaf, little froggie, or little princess.  The next week is going to blow your mind. 

You will likely never have been as tired, stressed, anxious, sore, and happy all at once.  Your milk will come in and your bra will be stuffed with hot footballs for about 3 days.  It will hurt to sit for a week if you have episiotomy stitches and longer if you’ve had a c-section.  You will have been to the pediatrician at least once, maybe twice and in our case, with both babies, 3 times.  You are going be obsessing over poop for the first time in your life – the quantity, quality, smell, and frequency.  You will become a poop gourmet and by the third blowout it won’t even phase you to wipe poop off the walls. 

Then there’s the small matter of feeding yourself, staying hydrated, showering every few days, brushing your teeth, changing your clothes, and sleeping.  Forget doing housework or going out!  Check out my post about how my first week went when we got home from the hospital.

The last thing you need to do is run out to Wal-Mart for some last minute item.  From my experience with 2 kids, here’s a list of what became essentials for my post-partum care.  You can save money by stocking up with the hospital supplies before you come home.  I’m sure people could recommend other things, but this was our bare minimum frugal list.  Check back for my breast-feeding list, baby care list, and baby gear list.

For Mommy – Post-partum Care Essential Items List:

Maxi-pads – Stock up on the overnight pads.  You will go through 78+ in your first week alone.

Spray bottle – For cleaning the undercarriage.  You should get one at your hospital.

Witch Hazel – Liberally squirt this onto your maxi-pad to soothe the stitches.  Works like a charm.

Benzocane Spray – You should get this from the hospital.

Flushable Wipes – You should get this from the hospital.

Ibuprofen – My doc said to take 4 pills to equal the 800mg that they were giving me at the hospital.  I did this for a couple of days and then cut it down to 2 and then zero shortly thereafter.  When your milk comes in you will want the Ibuprofen to help with the swelling and pain.

Stool Softener or Fiber supplement – You might not need this, but it does help immensely if you do.  Putting any sort of pressure “down there” is scary the first week.  What if you push your uterus out accidentally?  Not saying it could happen by any means, but I’m sure that’s what you will be thinking when you are straining in the loo.

Preparation-H – if you get hemorrhoids from labor and delivery.  No one ever admits it, but most people get the grapes back there.

Donut – this is helpful if you have stitches or hemorrhoids.  What worked even better was using my Boppy to sit on with the opening towards the back of the chair.  I still use it now at 6 weeks just because it is so comfortable.  (for feeding I use My Brestfriend – LOVE IT)

Frozen meals – Whether you have made them in advance or buy frozen lasagna, have a stock of meals in your freezer.  This is especially handy if you won’t have any help in the house and need to feed your family.

Thank You cards and stamps – Trust me, you don’t want to haul a newborn to the post office when you get home from the hospital!  It took me 4 weeks before I ventured out by myself with Evelyn and the little thing screamed her head off the entire time.

Here are a few links that go into detail on recovering from delivery, including what to look for and any warning signs that you need to see a doctor.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/childbirth/recovering_delivery.html#

http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/postpartum-care

And if you want all natural recovery solutions check out this blog for some interesting articles.

http://www.mypostpartumwellness.com/natural-pregnancy-blog/

Tell me, what items were your must haves for post-partum care the first 6 weeks?

Saving money by reusing, recycling, buying used baby gear.

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Believe it or not, one of the many deciding factors for having a second baby so soon after the first was that we still had all the baby gear.  Veteran parents can sympathize with how much “stuff” costs.  Other than diapers and wipes, we have spent very little extra with our second baby.

Oliver still remembers his play gym, but is graciously sharing with his sister.  Since the kids grow out of their toys so fast, most all of his stuff is in excellent condition.  Another way we were able to save money was from the help of very generous friends and family members who have donated baby clothes for Evelyn.  Again, newborn and infant items are usually in mint condition and can be passed from family to family for several babies’ benefit.  Our daughter thanks her fairy godmothers for the cute outfits or she would have been in all of Oliver’s blues and browns if her parents had their way.

If you truly need something that you don’t have, buying used is a great way to save money.  Yard sales, Sunday ads, consignment sales, and Craigslist.org are all great ways to find good condition baby items.  We bought this swing for a third of its retail value from Craigslist and it works great.

I know quite a few people who would never buy used baby items.  They’re worried about hygiene, safety issues, quality, whether or not it matches what they already have, etc… Some are also worried about some sort of stigma that they perceive with second hand things.  Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some great, high quality, fashionable, and safe things out there.  Babies phase through their first year’s equipment so quickly that most items look brand new. 

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Don’t be afraid to give second hand a shot.  Reuse, recycle, and save a pretty penny.  Also, don’t be afraid to let people know that you are looking for things.  You will be amazed how mothers pull together for each other.  Someday you will have the chance to do the same.

Baby 101: What to take to the hospital when you have the baby

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

You are getting ready to have a baby and have no idea what to bring to the hospital! 

I’ve been in your shoes.  The first time around we packed everything but the kitchen sink.  We literally had 6 or 7 bags of stuff that we hauled to the hospital.  We had our labor and delivery bag, our post-partum bag, my husband had a bag, we had a bag of pillows, a bag for the boppy and breast pump, a bag for food, and a bag for misc. other stuff.  We left with more bags than we came if you can believe that!

This time around, we’ve pared down the list.  We brought one suitcase for both of us, one bag with our pillows and boppy, one paper bag with snacks, and my husband brought his work laptop. 

To help the mommy-to-be’s out there, here is my take on what to bring to the hospital.  Take note that each hospital is different.  Using my list of what the hospital provides as a guide you may be able to find out if your hospital does the same.  Also, each labor and delivery is different.  I will explain how mine went, which will give you the background as to why I packed what I did, or didn’t, as the case may be.  I’ve had both an epidural and a natural childbirth.

Labor and Delivery:

At our hospital you cannot check in until you are at least 4 cm dialated, which equates to contractions every 2-4 minutes.  By now you have already spent the longest part of labor at home, work, etc… and the time for playing board games, cards, and reading books has passed.  Immediately upon check in I was asked to strip off ALL clothing and to put on the hospital gown and the hospital socks in case my feet were cold.  I was then stuck with an IV, a belly strap that monitored the baby’s hearbeat, a fingertip device that monitored my heartbeat I’m guessing, and something that kept taking my blood pressure.  (Note: This was done regardless of what I had in my birth plan.)  All the contraptions pretty much limited any walking that I wanted to do and even limited movement on the bed because my baby’s heartbeat was hard to track.

At some point you will have to decide if you want an epidural or not.  Perhaps it is too late for you to have an epidural and you will have to go au naturale.  If you do not have an epidural then you really won’t be reading, playing games, etc… because you will be in pain and working through your contractions.  If you have the epi, then perhaps you will be in the mood for a game of gin rummy?  More than likely you will fall asleep and rest until it’s time to push.  By the way, once you get the epidural you will not be allowed to leave the bed.

I’ve heard people say, “Don’t wear anything that you don’t want ruined,” and I have to admit that it’s true.  While they do put a huge plastic bag under your butt that will catch most the fluids, blood, and goo, there is still a good chance a mess will be made somewhere.  With my first baby, I threw up three times after I got the epidural.  All I could do was turn my head sideways and barf into a cup that someone held.  Ick.  Also, when you get to hold your little one, he or she isn’t the cleanest thing in the world and you or your significant other might get gooed in the process.  My hubby also got the umbilical cord stain on his shirt and it does NOT come off.

With all this in mind, here’s my list of the essentials that you need to take in the labor and delivery room.  I fit all this stuff into my purse.

Insurance cards
Driver’s licenses – yours and his
Cell phones
Cameras – make sure it’s charged and video cameras – if your hospital allows it
Any gear that you will use to get through labor – ex. mp3 players, teddy bear, focus object
Pack a small snack for your SO if he or she wants one
Bring some dollar bills for the vending machines
Bring chapstick, hair ties/hair clips
Makeup, Toothbrush/toothpaste if you think you’ll want to freshen up – for me, freshening up was the last thing on my mind.  However, a travel mouthwash might have been nice.

If you are cold, ask them (the hospital) for blankets and socks.  If you are hot, ask them for ice packs and a wash cloth to cool off your head.  If you are thirsty, you will get ice chips.  If you are hungry, you will get ice chips.  Some hospitals let you snack, but there’s a very good chance that you will barf that up and they worry about you choking.  My hospital had cable tv in the room, but we were too busy to watch.  When I did have the epidural with my first baby, I was too busy sleeping to do anything for entertainment.  I guess if I were awake, I could have read or something for a couple hours.

Post Partum Care:

The first 12 – 24 hours after you give birth will be busy.  You will be poked and prodded by someone every 4 hours for the first day.  You will also be sore, dirty, hungry, and tired.  If your hospital allows rooming in, your newborn will be wheeled into your room the minute you get there and left to your care – scary for first time parents with zero to little baby experience.  Depending on what time you gave birth, people will also want to visit with you in the midst of all the poking, prodding, baby fumbling (a.k.a. breast feeding), and cat-napping. 

The second 24 hours will be easier.  The poking and prodding will cut back to once per shift (unless there are problems).  You will have probably showered and are wearing some comfy clothes from home.  Breastfeeding might be a little easier or at least you will see the lactation consultant on the second day.  The baby is a little less foreign and you have successfully changed your first meconium filled diapers by now.  I was more tired the second day after coming off the adrenaline high from the first 24 hours.

Here’s a list of things the hospital provided for us: (Note – your hospital might be different)

Hospital gowns and socks
Blankets and pillows
Maxi pads, squirt bottle for cleaning, pain relief spray, ice packs, flushable wipes, and mesh underwear
Towels and washcloths
Diapers, wipes, receiving blankets, long sleeve newborn t-shirts, newborn hat, samples of baby toiletries, pacifier (if you want one), and a nasal suction bulb
Newborn infant gift – these vary from place to place.  They are usually provided by one of the major formula providers and include a bag of some sort packed with formula samples.  Sometimes there will be a CD of lullabies, bib, rattle, etc…  With my first child I got a diaper bag, which I still use, and with my second I got a tote bag.
Cable TV
Food for the mother – I was able to get breakfast, lunch, and dinner and our nursing pod had soda, juices, and small snacks like graham crackers and cereal.
Breast-pump and supplies if needed – the breast pump will stay at the hospital, the supplies you take with you.
Lanolin – if you need it, the lactation consultant will provide you with samples.
Ibuprofen, other pain relief drugs, stool softeners, or laxatives.

Here’s what I brought to the hospital that were helpful to us:

2 big pillows with colorful pillowcases – to differentiate from the flat hospital pillows

Toiletries – bring toothbrush/paste, soap/shampoo, hair stuff, make-up, etc… contact stuff/glasses if you wear them.  Don’t forget stuff for dad.

Inflatable donut to sit on – this was helpful since I had to get stitches.  BTW, the Boppy is excellent to use as a cushion those first 2 days.

Breast feeding pillow – a Boppy or My Brestfriend (I highly recommend My Brestfriend).

Snacks and Drinks – Pack cookies, crackers, fruit, etc… to eat between meals.  Pack your favorite drinks in case your hospital doesn’t provide any.  You will be hungry.

Gas-X or Tums – I forgot this my second time and had to send my hubby for some.  You will have bad gas pains.  Don’t forget to ask for a stool softener if your doc forgets to prescribe one.  This is not the same thing as a laxative and made all the difference in the world between my first and second child.

A notepad/journal/baby book and a pen – If you want to record memories, etc… or make notes of things.  I took a little flip notepad and a pen.  I didn’t really have the time to journal.  I never thought to bring a baby book, but the nurse can do the footprints in it if you want.

Electronics – Don’t forget your camera, camcorder, cell phones, batteries, chargers, and memory cards.  We brought a power strip to power all the devices/chargers.  You won’t have to hunt all over the room for extra power outlets and it makes packing easy – you won’t forget your cell phone charger for the 10th time!

Chocolates or other treats for the nursing staff – We bought 2 bags of Lindt truffles and a thank you card.  The nursing staff is at your beck and call those 2 days in addition to keeping you healthy and comfortable.  They did everything from teaching us how to change diapers, answered frantic calls of “my baby spit up and I don’t know what to do”, helped with breastfeeding, brought us extra blankets, and even provided tips and tricks for bringing baby home.

Busy stuff – The first time I brought a book and didn’t have the time or the concentration to get into it.  The second time I brought “trashy” magazines like Cosmo and Glamour -much easier to flip through.  I also brought an mp3 player that I didn’t use.  They had cable TV and that kept me busy enough.  Other times I just tried to sleep, sleep, and sleep.  My hubby brought a laptop, which kept him busy with work, internet surfing, and games.  Our hospital had free wifi which made it nice to post pics and update Facebook.

Baby stuff – You will need an installed car seat, a going home outfit, and a blanket to cover the baby after you pack them into the car seat.  Our hospital provided all the care items.  You might want to check with yours to see if they do the same.

Clothes – I saved this for last.  Your significant other will want to pack a couple changes of clothes in addition to their toiletries and some slippers/flip flops to wear at the hospital.  I suggest that the new mommy wear the hospital gown and mesh underwear the first 24 hours after giving birth for ease of the constant poking and prodding, breastfeeding, and bleeding/leaking of fluids that you will have.  I went through 2 hospital gowns my first day and had to get the bed sheets changed once.  Depending on timing, say you have visitors coming, you might want to shower and get into some comfy clothes.  Make sure you can get your blood pressure and vaginal area checked easily.  Tops you can pull up or open up for breastfeeding are helpful.

Here’s my list for clothes:

Pair of flip-flops – to wear in the shower/bathroom and to walk around the hospital in.

Robe – to wear over your gown or pjs when you walk around the hospital.

A pair of comfy clothes/pajamas to wear in the hospital.

A going home outfit – you will probably look 6 months pregnant so bring your maternity pants.  Don’t forget some underwear unless you really like the mesh spanks.

Nursing bra and a couple nursing pads

Slippers – if you don’t want to walk around in flip-flops.  The hospital is a dirty place and we trashed our slippers when we left.  My flip-flops I just washed and brought home.

Dad needs a change of clothes too…

Anyone out there want to add to the list?  What did you bring to the hospital that you couldn’t do without?

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Be frugal and save some money by finding out exactly what your hospital will provide for you.  The first time around, we ended up bringing stuff that we could have gotten there.  On the flip side of the coin, find out if you will be charged for certain items that you can provide yourself for a lower cost.  Example: They might provide baby diapers/wipes and maxi pads, but will they charge you?  If so, you can bring your own and save money.  Lastly, take advantage of the supplies they offer (bring home everything you are entitled to) and of the food service they provide (I ate better in the hospital than I did most days at home!).

Week One: Home With Baby – a New Perspective

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Week One: Home With Baby – a New Perspective

We have been home exactly one week now with the new baby.  Compared to our first child, this has been a calmer week than before.  Some people chalk it up to experience, knowing what to expect, steadier nerves, and lessons learned.  I say it’s a mix of all those things, plus a less temperamental baby. 

For all those new mommies-to-be out there, you have no idea what you are in for and nobody is going to tell you the truth about what to expect.  After I lifted my head from the milk-drenched trenches of yesteryear, I called all my mommy friends and asked them why they didn’t tell me what to expect.  Oh sure, everyone had something to say about labor and delivery, but not one soul told me what I was going to go through the first few weeks being home.

Want the honest truth?  Now that I’ve been through it once myself, there is really no way of describing the aches and pains of recovery, the pain of engorged breasts, the zombie-like sleep deprived haze, the constant worry of this thing called SIDS, stumbling through breast-feedings, the projectile poops, and the crying, crying, crying of a newborn whom you feel helpless to soothe.  My mommy friends simply told me that I would have to go through it myself, so no point worrying about it before hand.  Plus, they said they didn’t want to scare me.  Anticipating pushing a watermelon through a straw for 40 weeks is scary enough, why add to that stress?

The second time around, our first week went much smoother than before.  I even got out of the house for some recreational play with the family, something I didn’t do for 6 weeks with Oliver.   We are older and wiser now.  This time around we had a Grandma stay with us from day one in the house to help.  We have a more efficient diapering station setup.  We already have a bag of tricks to soothe a crying child.  We can tell which grunts, groans, and sighs mean, “help me” vs. “just passing gas mom”.  And the breastfeeding – so much easier the second time around.

New mommies, rather than tell you what to expect, let me try relating from a different angle.  I’m going to throw out some numbers.  You do the math from there.

Situation: 

Zero-complications at labor and delivery, vaginal birth, epidural/no-epidural, stitches from an episiotomy or tear, healthy baby, breast-feeding, first 7 days at home after a 2 night hospital stay.

Numbers:

325 pictures taken
84+ glasses of water drunk
82 diapers changed
78 maxi-pads used
40 minutes average time for one feeding including changing diaper halfway through
36 200mg ibuprofen tablets taken
16 ounces of liquid hand soap used
18 lbs lost after a 16 lb gain throughout total pregnancy
6 accidental poops and 1 surprise pee (baby)
6 surprise pees after 6 surprise sneezes (mommy)
4 nose squirts and squeezes (baby)
3 showers taken (mommy)
3 nights of 4 hours sleep or less (mommy)
3 loads of baby laundry done
2 boxes of diaper-wipes used
2 periods of sleep greater than 2.5 hours each out of 168 available hours (mommy)
2 trips to the pediatrician
2 unexplained bruises from things that you bumped in the night
1 trip to Babies-R-Us for things we forgot to get before

The times you kissed your baby’s cheeks, watched him or her roll away from the breast milk-drunk, cuddled them close to your heart while rocking them to sleep, gazed into their little eyes when they were alert, and smiled at their little chuckles while they slept – priceless.

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