The Bare Essentials

 

So you have a needy little human coming and you are completely lost in what to get and the baby registry has your eyes crossing.

You are a minimalist but the quickly approaching due date makes you think you will soon be hiding in a bomb shelter with no way to contact the outside world… then this is for you.

Are you breastfeeding?
– Then you don’t need pumps, bottles, blah blah blah. You don’t.
– Are you going to use some form of daycare? Then call your insurance and get a free one. I love my Medela In Style Advanced pump, but I never pump two breasts at a time and honestly I am also in love with my manual Medela one, too! Pros and Cons for each. I also didn’t even pump for the first 3-4 weeks because my son was always with me and I was (wrongfully) afraid I would take from his supply. My pump didn’t come with bottle nipples which was fine because I planned on using the Kiinde system. I love it, check it out!

Are you not breastfeeding?
– Formula.

Diapers and Wipes – obvious, but I’ll add it to the list anyways.
– There are good and bad diapers out there… you just have to see which ones fit you. I love my cloth diapers even when traveling.

Carseat – another obvious… and also the law.

Clothes – something warm for the cold months, sleeping robes with a sewn in mitten option are great for bed. Contrary to popular belief, you can have too many clothes. Maybe it is just my opinion, but more clothes just equals more “to fold” laundry for later. The more clean clothes I still have left to use the less likely I am to fold the ones right out of the dryer.

Burp cloths – get a lot of these for a newborn… or just do laundry more often – and these can be rags/hand towels/wash cloths you already have so you don’t have to spend $$$ on burp cloths at stores.

And that is it.

The hospital had diapers and wipes we took home, they also gave us two pacifiers which we waited to use until our son was 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, they have hats, they have blankets… just ask what they have to see what you can save money on later.

What you don’t have to have, but you might want to splurge:

  • baby wash cloths and towels… you already have those and adult ones work just as well, they just aren’t as cute.
  • baby tub – makes it SO much easier, but you could hold them against you, too… they can’t even take baths until their umbilical cord falls off.
  • crib – if – is right for your family then you really don’t need a crib, at first we used our MamaRoo but now we use a pack and play for naps.
  • diaper changing station – yes they make things more convenient, but you can (and will) change a baby anywhere.
  • bibs – until they are eating “solids” they don’t need them, but they help with saving baby clothes from spit up!!
  • Swaddle blankets – helps baby sleep and unless they get spit up on them they can be reused more than once so you don’t need a whole lot of them

I ended up getting way more than we needed, but it helped me feel prepared and ready for whatever might come my way and that was worth it in my book.

Are you a minimalist? How did you prep for your baby?

Labor isn’t the Worst

So you are pregnant and completely frightened for the dreaded experience of (dun dun dun) labor.

Some women compare how long they went through labor.
“I labored for 72 hours.”
“Well, I labored for 73.”
We get it. It sucked.

Other women say they don’t remember the pain at all! That once that bouncing bundle of joy (their words not mine) comes out, you forget all about it.
Yeah, right. I wish. Then again tried to remember it just because of this common statement.

Once the baby was out, I was overjoyed. Not at the sight of my baby, but at the fact I could finally get some sleep. That 5 minute power nap felt like 8 hours and it was miraculous.

Then you bring the baby home and you realize that now this little human is a permanent fixture in your household. Don’t get me wrong. They are so totally precious, but so was the time you used to get to yourself.

During the newborn stage I was exhausted, wondering if I was doing things correctly, hoping that my son would quickly get over eating every hour. Yes, every hour. Not 2-4 like they tell you. Every. Hour.

Diapers aren’t nearly as bad as I expected. That was the easiest part of taking care of him. Didn’t take any thought.

The tough part is trying to make your baby happy and trying to make yourself happy. That includes trying to avoid Cabin Fever

So no. Labor isn’t the worst part. The months following are so much harder and last so much longer. It is a battle to juggle life when a little human gets thrown into a mix. Especially a little human that cannot feed themselves or entertain themselves.

Have no fear. They are 3 months old before you know it and then they will laugh and play and your worries wash away. They are the cutest thing and you can’t help but love them through all the tears.

It is still all TOTALLY worth it. Just know what you are getting into and you have better odds at facing it positively.

I’m sure I will update this when my son becomes a toddler… maybe the title will be: “Newborns aren’t the Worst”

Do you agree that labor isn’t all that bad in the big scheme of things? Comment below.

Packing A Practical Hospital Bag

Even though I had planned my hospital bag two month before I went into labor, I ended up taking a lot of stuff I didn’t end up using. This was a huge pain since about 30 minutes after pushing out my baby we had to quickly pack up everything and rush into a recovery room. We were piling stuff on the bed they pushed me and the baby in and the cart they offered barely fit everything else.

This is a good time to suggest people NOT bring gifts to the hospital if that is an option. Drop it off at their house or take it when you visit them next time.

The list I made in the info graphic below applies to what my husband and I were glad we took and what we plan to take next time.

I went into the hospital when my contractions were bad enough I couldn’t stand anymore. My doctor and I decided this was the best route for me since I wanted to do an all natural birth. The longer you are in the hospital the more likely they will suggest an epidural or pitocin to speed things along. Because I labored a lot at home first, I didn’t have time or the ability to use any of my “extras” I took. I was in too much pain. The baby was at -3 until I was about 8 in. dilated, but I’ll save that for another blog. I only stayed in the recovery room for 24 hours, so I didn’t need a change of clothes or shower products.

There are a lot of items the hospital will have for your use so that saves you from a lot of unnecessary packed items. Ask them what they offer.

  • Diapers & Wipes
    • We asked for extras to take home. The wipes are like bamboo wipes that are dry so they give you a bowl to hold the water to dip them in. I really liked these and used them all before moving onto the Huggies Wipes we had.
  • Popsicles and Jello
    • For during labor
  • Meals Post Pregnancy
    • Mine came without me having to order it, which was wonderful. I always asked for extra milk since I was craving it.
  • Mesh Panties, Period Pads, Witch Hazel Pads and a Water Spray Bottle
    • I loved these panties. It prevented me from ruining my own and at that point I did not care what I looked like, these were so comfy!! I asked for extra of all of these to take home.
  • Hospital Socks
    • Comfy, has grips and free!
  • Baby Hat and Blanket
    • I wanted to use our cuter ones so I still brought these from home
  • Hospital Robe
    • I wore this the whole time. You get body fluids everywhere so having this prevented me from ruining my clothes and it was super convenient for breastfeeding.
  • Meal Tickets
    • My husband got coupons for every day we stayed at the hospital to use towards meals; however, on New Years Day all the hospital food was free so he didn’t end up using them.

Notes on items below:

  •  Nursing Pillow
    • My whole body was so exhausted this helped me hold my baby up.
  • Gatorade
    • I drank a ton to stay hydrated and since I couldn’t really eat anything, this helped me keep my energy up.
  • Bluetooth Speaker for Music
    • When a women down the hall was screaming bloody murder from pushing her baby out at midnight, my husband and doula turned up music I picked out to help drown it out. I was on stadol at that point so the fact I was loopy helped drown it out, too.
  • Birth Goal
    • Instead of using the term “Birth Plan,” we printed multiple ones up along with emergency contact numbers. We gave one to each nurse. You can see mine here. You can also put your Birth Mantras on here, but my doula had mine.
  • Gifts for Nurses
    • We baked cookies while in the early stages of labor. This helped me keep my mind off of labor and the nurses loved them. We took two plates for each shift. Then for our recovery room nurses (since it was New Years Eve) we gave them sparkling grape juice.
  • Pillow
    • Having my own pillow was wonderful. The hospital pillows sucked.
  • Sleeping Bag for Floor
    • My husband hated the pull out couch. He said the floor was more comfortable. Next time we will take a small sleeping bag for him to sleep on.

The gift I made for my husband:

Do you have anything you would add to this list? Comment below.

Writing Your Birth Goals

Before making this, I talked with my doctor about what was feasible so we were both on the same page. Then we reviewed this during the last 3 appointments just to make sure everything was clear. We printed out multiples for the nursing staff and our doula as well.

I named it Birth Goals instead of Birth Plan because I didn’t want to feel stuck to it if anything went wrong.

We packed it in our hospital bag for the big day!

Generic Baby Birth Goals – PDF File

What Birth Goals did you and your doctor lay out? Comment below.

The Bowels of Pregnancy

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.

Giving birth feels like the worst constipation you will ever have. You push that baby like the biggest poop you will ever experience. He/she is a little shit before they even get out. (I mean that in the nicest/most loving way possible.)

But what about during pregnancy? For everyone it is different, but this is my poopy pregnancy story.

Pre-pregnancy I had a very healthy bowel movement at least every other day. When I got pregnant, all of that changed. I clogged up, big time. Not to mention all the color changes. I look back now and think how this prepared me for the big day.

While you’re pregnant, your doctor will let you know which laxatives you are allowed to take. Mine was on that long list of medications I would be allowed to take for various issues. It’s a short list and all the medications on it suck ass. You can’t take anything good while pregnant and if you get sick, it is the worst.

But I digress.

I was home alone one day and it had probably been about 3 days since my last bowel movement, which for me was a long time. I was bloated, uncomfortable and irritated. When I got my body’s signal that it was time to go, I was thrilled. Finally. About time.

I seriously sat there for 20 minutes in pain. Crying. It hurt so bad I called my husband at work and told him I didn’t know what to do and that it was stuck.

** Note to men: this will not be the grossest/weirdest thing during pregnancy so if you can’t handle this then suck it up.

Thankfully my husband (who still closes the door when he poops even after almost 9 years of marriage) was so sweet. He not only answered the phone, but also in the calmest tone ever suggested a bath and promised to pick up Mini Wheats on the way home.

Mini Wheats fixed me every time. It was my “go-to” for this issue. I highly recommend all pregnant women at least try it.

Since he was at work that was all he had time to say. I was on my own again. I reluctantly stood up, walked to the kitchen (still in pain) to get more water. I chugged the entire 20 ounces. I continued walking around for a few minutes. I wasn’t going to take a bath… that just seemed like a weird idea and I didn’t feel like going through all the trouble for something so stupid. I sat back down on the toilet for another 20 minutes. I started crying and panicking all over. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I was miserable. This was one of the MANY times during this journey I needed my mom. I am 26 and was texting my mom because I was constipated. Sounds so dumb now, but at the time I didn’t want to be alone.

My mom told me that was just part of pregnancy and that it would get better. I love that my mom was sweet about it, too.

** Another note to men: if your baby’s momma is going through something like this, it is NOT the time for jokes. Keep them to yourself until she is ready to laugh about it later.

At the end of the last 20 minutes it was all over and I was exhausted mentally and physically. I actually got really scared about giving birth at that point. I was never fearful of the pain of birth. I was afraid of losing control. Afraid of not being in control of what my body was doing, which is stupid because it is what the female body is designed to do.

Fast-forward a few months and sure enough, it was a repeat all over again. But this time it resulted in my beautiful baby boy being born. Being able to be held in my arms.

I was so glad my body put me through that. It was like it was testing me. Like it was trying to prepare me for what was to come.

A lot of women fear pooping during pregnancy, but keep in mind that the doctors don’t care because it is so common. Plus, that isn’t even the weirdest/grossest thing that happens during birth, so get ready! I was covered in my fluids 10 hours before the pushing even started.

I didn’t end up pooping, but I sure wish I did. You don’t know when you will finally poop again. It took me a week before even a little poop, and that was with the help of the laxative (doctor ok’d me) Colace. I still use it periodically three months later. I think breastfeeding is the culprit, but I haven’t cared enough to look it up or ask.

 

Is there something I left out that women should know? Want to share your story? Comment below.