Posts Tagged ‘baby essentials’

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.

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.

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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