My baby is three months old and a week. I have learnt a lot and I also feel absolutely ignorant. My husband and I keep joking about how we know nothing.
I have a friend who just had a baby and although three months seems like nothing, it is a lot in the New-Mom-Land. This is for her and her little girl and for all the new moms out there who seek some semblance of normalcy and a grasp that they are doing it right (you are! Trust me, as long as it’s loving, all the mistakes you make will be forgiven by your baby since you are both learning (this does not apply to adolescence, of course).
Here are some tools I have found through research or word of mouth which I find quite useful.
Anyway, here it is. Maybe you’ll find these things useful too. Maybe you can add on to the list?
- Lansinoh Soothies – They were what the Amazon god gifted my nipples when they stopped being mine. These are gel pads that feel super refreshing for those parts of your bodies that are undergoing the trauma of being sucked on by a powerful tiny mouth that knows nothing else but to suck with all its might. Get a few packs. They will be life savors for a few weeks.
- The Latch!!! – if you are breastfeeding be aware of the latch! Big mouth, covering most of your nipple is the way to go. If your baby’s lips have a kissy pout, which just covers the tip of your nipple, ouch! Unlatch that baby introducing your finger to the mouth and try again, making the baby’s head go back. Never ever pull the baby off. Once your nipples get hurt, it is very hard to get them to heal.
- A Binding – No, not the fun one, not yet anyway. Your body has been stretched out for 9 months and yes, you will look pregnant for a few months afterwards. You feel like your stomach is falling a bit. Your bones have also opened up to make room for your tiny human to grow and then come out. The hormone that made that possible stays in your system for six more weeks after birth, so binding those bones helps them get into their pre-pregnancy place. I tried a few bindings. The Belly Bandit I found useless. It was very hard to make it as tight as I wanted it top and bottom, I think it would be useful for a smaller torsos kind of girl. The one I used and loved was the Shrynkx. Both for the abdomen and the hip area.
- Swaddle videos – You will see your baby get swaddled in the hospital and then not understand why you can’t do it as well at home. Ask your parents, ask a friend, look it up online. Some baby’s love swaddles and some don’t. if your baby does, get good at it because it helps a lot.
- Food! – yes! Cook before birth, have someone cook after birth, have friends and family bring food. Oh and if you thought that you were ravenous while pregnant wait until you start breastfeeding! Hunger and thirst acquire a whole other level.
- Spray for down bellow – #nobodytellsyou that after birth your whole vaginal area will feel like a jigsaw puzzle that come undone and can’t find itself. It feels weird, very. Oh and you are bleeding constantly too! And did I mention the hemorrhoids? Oh yeah, that’s what a 2.5+ kg human pushing down below for days will do. An anus is a delicate thing, remember that. So witch hazel and sprays like this one help a lot. If you had an episiotomy you might also want to try the doughnut to sit on for a few weeks.
- Nursing pillow. – I have this one. I like it because it’s flat instead of rounded at the top and it is super useful. Nursing the first few weeks (and even after that) gives you mommy neck and mommy shoulders = lots of pain. You are trying to hold your tiny human so that ze is comfortable and at the same time you are trying to do something you have never done before: feed the baby dragon from your boobs. You look down constantly and as small as your baby is the weight adds up and then suddenly your neck feels like it had someone sitting on it. Get a massage, get a few if you can. And try to sit straight and use the pillow as much as possible to ease the weight. Holding a baby for hours (you won’t realize you can nurse over 8 hours in one day!) adds up!
- Comfy clothes – Most women I’ve met say they used their pregnancy clothes for a while after they gave birth. I did too. Especially those tops and dresses that were also for nursing. I also put away most of my pregnancy clothes two weeks after she was born because I had the distorted illusion I would fit into my clothes, which meant I was basically on the verge of nakedness with a very uncomfortable body. Buy yourself something. A few shirts, a few pants one or two size up from your normal size. You will fit in your clothes again (someday), but in the mean time you need to feel good!. (oh and those pants, make sure they are some form of stretchy because you will be going to the bathroom very often while holding or nursing your baby and you want to be able to get them up and down with one hand only).
- An ipad or kindle – you spend so much time feeding your baby you need to do something besides staring at your phone: watch a movie, a tv series or read a book.
- Go out! – go out to a mom’s group, to a la leche league gathering, to baby yoga, to anything that will help you meet other moms that are more or less at the same stage you are in and that live close by. It is the best advice I can give.
- Pump! – after 6 weeks when your milk has evened out more or less start pumping. Even if you are not planning on going back to work, pump! It will give you the freedom to do things for yourself. You need a good pump, I have this one, and bras to do handless pumping, these are the ones I use.
- Bottles – it is a tricky thing to go from bottle to nipple and back, many babies won’t do it and many will. This is the system I use, which I find super efficient and comfortable and it allows me to have at least one date a week with my husband, be able to work out even if my baby will get hungry and simply have a life of my own (Which equals an opera outing, a dinner with a friend, etc) without worrying about a starved babe. When you do go out, always take the pump with you or you will be in pain and won’t be able to enjoy the freedom.
- Wear your baby – My mother in law bought me a shirt like this and it was quite helpful for the first weeks. After that we wore the baby in either a woven wrap (more sturdy than a stretchy one, and prettier too!), or the K’tan (for a fast one). It is amazing. your baby calms down and you have the freedom to cook, take the dog out, go to the bathroom or simply watch some tv.
- Sleep training – out there in the Galaxy there exists a place where sleep is what it should be, or what we thought it was pre baby. Out there in the world there are a zillion methods and philosophies on how to train a wee little human to sleep at night. My tiny dragon came out of the womb with massive jet lag and slept mostly during the day for the longest time. My cousin gave me this book when I was still pregnant. My husband and I read it in my last month, it made sense. At eight weeks we started the method, at two months and a half our tiny dragon started sleeping through the night. So there.
How to entertain a baby? And how to entertain you entertaining a baby? So many things and yet as creative as you are you find yourself at a loss. Here are some options both my husband and I enjoy with our tiny dragon:
- Animal sounds – http://macaulaylibrary.org/ – this library has thousands of recorded animal sounds. Have you ever noticed how a penguin sounds like your child? And how much the baby enjoys the same penguin language no one seems to understand?
- Limitless music – get apple music, spotify, pandora or anything in between. Playing all kinds of music for your baby is amazing, to see her react to different sounds, tunes and melodies is delightful. Oh, and the more music your baby listens at this age, the broader their taste will be later in life!
- Read! – read a book, read a magazine, read, read, read read! My husband’s favorite book to read is this one. I am still trying to choose which I like best. He reads to her in English, I read to her in Spanish.
- Facetime – We don’t want our baby to be completely screen focused and we are also aware of the times we live in. For now the only screen time she gets is doing Facetime with family and friends that live elsewhere. She reacts to the sound of the ringing and does interact with the faces and sounds. This will keep those who love her close by.
There are a gazillion apps around, here are a few that have truly helped.
- Baby Ears – did you know your tiny human’s cries mean different things. It’s true! This brilliant Australian woman has deciphered the undecipherable. Try it out, I dare you.
- Baby loggy – there are many apps to track your miniature one’s intakes, outtakes (milk, pee, poop) and etc. I tried a few and this is the one I liked best, it is simple and doesn’t take a lot of button pressing.
- The Wonder Weeks – based on the book. It tells you when, how and why your baby is fussy, what changes to expect and how you can help your little one. It’s always a relief to think you understand what is going on.
- Baby Sparks – you want to stimulate your child and don’t know how? This app shows you with short instructional videos different things to help your dragon develop and make more neuronal connections.
So that’s it!