Well it has officially been two weeks since our little girl arrived Labor Day weekend! And boy, what a roller coaster ride it has been!
I’ve got to be honest and tell you that, even with all of the preparation, blog readings, talking to other moms……nothing really prepared me for how emotional these two weeks were going to be. And until you meet your daughter or son, learn his or her personality, what each different cry means, each sound, you kind of have to learn as you go along. What works for one mom or what you read in a certain book, may not work for you.
Obviously, only being two weeks later, I still have SO much to learn. Each day does get a bit easier, but there are definitely a few things I can share for new moms, just from my experience, that helped Andrew and I get through these past weeks!
1. Ask for the epidural as soon as you want it! Don’t just assume they will give it to you. I made this mistake and labored hard for a good hour and a half before Andrew finally asked the nurses to give me one.
2. Don’t give up on a vaginal delivery, as long as the doctor deems it safe. There were multiple opportunities for me to throw in the towel and have a c-section, but I kept going, despite how tired I was and how much pain I was in by the end. The recovery alone is worth it. I got to hold Ellen right away and was up and walking the very next day (very slowly I should add!).
3. For the few days after the delivery, don’t wear any clothes you don’t mind throwing away. Your body is still healing, if you know what I mean. Nurses are still coming in to check you, and things can still be a bit messy. I brought 2-3 different outfits to wear while in the hospital and ended up wearing the gown the entire time (as unflattering and uncomfortable as it was).
4. Ice packs, epifoam, and Tucks wipes are your best friends! And those horrible mesh undies you hear about are actually quite comfy! AND, take any new ones that are leftover….they make for GREAT burp cloths after your stay!
5. Take anything and everything from the hospital that you can. Diapers, wipes, pads, you name it. They clear the carts after every shift and anything that goes unused gets thrown away.
6. Get some sleep! Take advantage of the nursery and don’t feel like you need you have her there with you at all times during the night. We had Ellen brought in for every feeding and got some much needed sleep in between, which then helped us once we got home.
Must-Have baby items:
1. Pack n’ Play with napper/changer – we purchased this a couple weeks before we were due and it has been, by far, the most used item! Because we spend most of our time downstairs during the day, we use it ALL OF THE TIME. The napper/changer is GREAT, and we are able to keep a sort of “diaper changing station” underneath in the bassinet. As she gets older, we can then transition her into the pack n’ play for actual play time! Not to mention, it is easily broken down for travel.
2. Boppy – Unless you have arms of steel, this definitely helps with feedings and will save your arms. It is also good for tummy time as your baby gets older!
3. Mam pacifiers – I think we bought 5 different kinds of pacifiers and these were the only ones she would take! They also come in a small plastic sterilizer that you can throw in your diaper bag.
4. Sleep Sheep – Our good friends got us this sound machine for her and we use it EVERY night. It not only drowns out the miscellaneous sounds from the house/outside, but also helps her associate the sound with sleep time.
5. Wipe Warmer – I know this is one of those items that you can either take it or leave it, but this has helped us with our nighttime diaper changes. Ellen absolutely HATES to be undressed/changed, especially during that first week. And the moment a cold wipe would touch her, she went berserk! It really just depends on the baby I guess.
6. Socks for Mits – Those baby mits are useless and baby nails are like mini talons! Use socks (Old Navy socks are the best! Thanks Laura!).
7. White Onesies – Babies spit up, pee, AND poop on themselves….a lot. Invest in a ton of plain white onesies for those multiple outfit changes!
8. Swaddleme and Aden and Anais blankets – The Aden and Anais blankets are GREAT, especially for the summer. They are very light and soft and can be layered as the weather gets cooler. The Swaddleme blankets are great for sleeping at night. Ellen still hasn’t figured out what to do with her arms yet, so she is a pro at getting out of a swaddle. These keep her arms locked down and help her sleep MUCH better.
And just some plain tid-bits:
1. Sleep when baby sleeps! You hear it all of the time…..but it’s true. Laundry and cleaning can get done eventually.
2. Crying all of the time is perfectly normal. I was given this advice by some of my close friends who have had babies and I just didn’t realize how MUCH I would cry. You’ve just been through something that’s pretty traumatic and life-changing. Your hormones are all out of whack and now you have this tiny baby you are caring for and have no control over.
3. Don’t try to be supermom. You will only make yourself miserable. Things happen that are sometimes just out of your control.
4. Your body won’t be the same after delivery. Stretch marks you didn’t see when you were pregnant suddenly appear. Your belly just took 9 months to expand….so don’t just assume it will all fall back into place a week later. Things may have shifted in certain areas, so just be prepared that things may not be as they were pre-pregnancy. A little work may have to go into getting your body back into shape! Obviously, this all depends on the person, as to how MUCH work you need to put in. 2 weeks postpartum and I am +4.5 lbs. away from my pre-pregnancy weight!
So, those are just a few things that have helped us these past couple of weeks. These things won’t work for everyone, but I definitely wanted to share based on my experience!
And every post is better with a few pictures!