OK, I joke a little with the title…a little. I really do think that the first few months of being a parent is about survival; sleep deprivation is a form of torture and now I understand why.
But in all seriousness, Mitch has been sleeping through the night for some time now and I think my mind is finally functioning close to previous capacity. When I think back to the early days of being a mom I created my must-have list for survival (a lot of these I still do and use today at seven months).
Over the weekend I was with my girlfriends at a baby shower. We started sharing some of our favorites and must-haves for those early days with a newborn. Now, we were not talking about baby must-haves, no no, we are talking about goodies for you, the parent. Because at the end of the day, that babe needs you, so you need to take care of yourself. Here is what we came up with:
1. Cable Television Or A Netflix Subscription. Life with a newborn is waking up at all hours of the night, and you need something to entertain yourself while you are nursing or bottle feeding or rocking that baby back to sleep. You don’t believe in TV? Enjoy watching those cracks in your ceiling as you’re comforting a wailing baby at 2AM. I know there are studies that say TV can mess with a baby’s sleep, but believe me, it is survival mode and everyone will come out fine on the other side.
2. Comfortable Clothes that Look Good, Too. Find something you love wearing that is comfortable and looks somewhat decent but that you can also nap in. And then buy it in multiples. Get some super cute ballet flats, some ribbed tank tops, some yoga pants and some cute hoodies and sweatshirts. You need things that are washable and that can be thrown on in case your doorbell rings. You can go back to your real wardrobe when you feel like it. Oh, and some awesome dry shampoo because showers will be a luxury, not a daily occurrence.
3. A Stocked Freezer, Crock Pot or Good Friends. My sister once told me that you never go to a new parent’s house empty handed. Thank goodness she lived around the corner and was a frequent visitor. Between her visits, a full freezer of prepped food, a crock pot that magically creates food we survived the first month with a newborn.
4. A Decent Coffee Maker. No, having a cup of coffee won’t jack up your breast milk and cause your newborn to stay up for hours. You can have a cup of coffee or two, or a latte, or tea, or whatever you want to make you feel human in the morning. At first I did go decaf, which is always an option. But the coffee is warm, comforting and honestly brought me a lot of joy.
5. Amazon Prime. I balked a bit at the price to get the membership, but you will use this more than you can ever imagine. The best part is Amazon has a special section for parents (it is called Amazon Mom) that allows you to opt into the service and receive 20% off diapers along with the standard free two-day shipping. People, if you do nothing else, sign up for this membership. The last thing you want to be doing is running out for diapers, essentials and supplies with a new babe.
6. A Box Of Thank You Cards, Pre-Stamped With Your Return Address Done. I know, this one is so NOT fun but people will give you gifts and you will need to thank them properly. If you have them stamped and self-addressed then it will save you time when it comes time to send thank-you cards. You don’t have to go that far, but at least have the thank you notes and stamps – you will be so glad you have these at the ready (see #3).
7. A Stash of Snacks. If you are nursing, you will be hungry. Like training-for-a-marathon-hungry. I found it so interesting how conversations are always around pregnancy hunger when breastfeeding hunger is even more intense. Keep healthy snacks where you feed, by your bed, in the car, your diaper bag and purse. I like raw nuts, fresh fruit, trail mix, granola bars, and yogurts.
8. A Comfortable Nursing Bra and Such. Much like any other bra, you need to find one that fits well. But with nursing bras, find one that is soft and does not have an under wire (it can cause blocked milk ducts). Also, be sure to have some soft undies and a stash of items for post delivery (pads, witch hazel pads, nipple pads and creams). No, not glamorous but oh-so necessary for the first weeks.
What helped you in the first months of being a new parent?
Any tips or tricks?