Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baby :: Tips and Tricks to Remember

We didn't set up a nursery or request a lot of gadgets and gizmos in preparation for little Alex, because we knew that {generally} new babies do just fine with lots of food, diapers, and loving. BUT, there were a few things that I found to be helpful and worth remembering for future babies or when friends have babies.

Books :

Our prep involved a lot of reading. The books above were my go-to resources. I loved the Big Book of Birth for its straight forward discussion of the biology of birth, natural strategies for coping with pain and discomfort, and a balanced discussion of medical strategies and interventions that may arise under a variety of circumstances. Our labor course instructor and C both found The Big Book a bit dense and found themselves reading some pages a few times, so consider yourself warned if you would prefer a more watered down discussion. Ina May's book is also a great guide to the biology of birth and comfort techniques.

I was excited to breastfeed and in preparation for that, I picked up Dr. Newman's Ultimate Breastfeeding Book. I found that many of the illustrative photos in the book weren't helpful because they lacked action {every latch whether good or bad looked the same in some of the photos}, but I watched many of the videos posted on his website {I think you can find them on YouTube too} and they made everything clear!

While I found this book to be a bit wordy, The Happiest Baby on the Block is a great review of the key soothing techniques for newborns. I also liked its discussion of baby care methods from other cultures.

And finally, The 90 Minute Sleep Program was an interesting read and seems to be right in line with Alex's sleep rhythms.

Maternity & Nursing Clothes :

I didn't really need maternity clothes until the fall, so fortunately, I only had to buy them for one weather season {as opposed to needing them for changing seasons}. I bought four pairs of pants, and five shirts and then supplemented with my regular clothes. Many of my dresses and t-shirts fit just fine over my growing belly. BUT after little A was born and I started nursing, I had to buy nursing shirts {if I wanted to make nursing in public easier}. There are some great nursing shirts out there that let you be discrete while the little one eats, AND some of them are designed to be combination nursing/maternity shirts {like this one and this one that I'm wearing above}. I wish I had thought ahead and bought some of these during the pregnancy rather than buying maternity-specific shirts.

Bottle Tops :

If you're pumping while nursing, the one thing you have to do is keep track of your milk, what day it was pump/how long it's been in the fridge. The lids above have saved us. They are the perfect solution to having to have an elaborate system to keep track of which bottle is older {there were serious discussions about how groceries load their milk coolers} and/or having to remove labels. You just turn the outer dial and lock it to the day and general time that the milk was put in the fridge.

Healing Care :

In reading about birth, I came across many mentions of the amazing pads with built in ice packs that you get in the hospital {and everyone who mentions them doesn't hesitate to tell you to pack a few in your take-home bag}. People also talk about using Tucks witch hazel pads to aid in the healing process {and don't forget your Sitz baths ~ they really help!}. Anyhoo, I did take a few of the big pads home, but I also made a few of my own that combined the best of cooling with the soothing powers of aloe of witch hazel. Making these is simple : buy large pads, add a thin layer of aloe gel followed by a teaspoon or so of alcohol-free witch hazel. Wrap the pads in foil and put them in the freezer. Apply when necessary!

Skin Care :

The three products pictured above were all I needed to help my body stretch during the pregnancy and heal afterwards. I loved the Burt's Bees belly oil. I applied it after every shower while my belly was growing, and I'm still using it now as everything tightens back up, and I'm happy to report that I'm stretch-mark free {at least on my belly!}. I took some of the witch hazel and put it in a spray bottle - I sprayed this on after showers while I was still healing and when I didn't want to use one of the larger frozen pads. And finally, fortunately I haven't had many problems with dry skin on my nipples, but Nik gave the Earth Mama Nipple Butter to me and I've found it really helpful to apply before and after showering to act as a protective barrier against the drying power of the hot water and soaps.

Traveling with Baby :

Our traveling has not skipped a beat since little A arrived, and I realized that a few packs of Baggu's large zipper bags are perfect for keeping all of those little clothes organized. In the bag on the left, I have a Baggu that is always stocked with a few diapers and wipes - this sack can be tossed into whatever bag we're using at the moment for quick trips around town. The duffel was packed for our two week road trip along the east coast, I have 5 sacks for: 1. PJs, 2. outfits, 3. socks and hats, 4. sweaters, and 5. diapers. I also included one empty sack that was used for dirty clothes. This system worked perfectly on that trip!

Oh, and you didn't think I forgot about Ca$h, did you? He's right where he always is: just out of frame, poking his head in there to make sure everything is up to snuff.

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