Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Mama Series: Getting Packed

New Mama Series
My two sister-in-laws are just starting their families. I have been thinking of things that I can share with them to help them in this new journey. So, I've decided to put on my blog to share with all of you.

I am a Mom of 3. I just had my third child about 4 weeks ago. My first child was full of unforeseen challenges. With 2 years of ups and downs with her, I learned a lot. For a long time I felt alone and helpless. While many people tried to help, it is hard when no one knows what you are facing. I am thankful that I have been able to share some of what I have learned to help others and I hope that my experiences may help you as well.

New Mama: Getting Packed
Are you getting ready to become a brand NEW MAMA?
Maybe you are getting ready to add to your family!
Here are some things I have learned along the way for getting ready for a new arrival:

Packing Your Hospital Bag
Leave the baby nail clippers at home! 
>It is so hard to cut a newborn's nails without cutting the skin.
>I use a nail file for the first 6-8 weeks until their nails are firmer and easier to cut.

Bring a MP3 player/ Ipod/ Pandora access with ear buds!
>It is hard to sleep when nurses are coming in all the time and when babies across the hall or next door are crying!
>Listen to your favorite music and block out the distractions!
>This also helps if you have some visitors while you are sleeping!

>The first time I waited to buy some nursing bras until after my daughter was born! Who has time to go bra shopping with a newborn?
>I originally had the clip-up kind. This past time I got a sports bra type. While both are nice, I found the sports bra was easier to use at home! I use the clip kind when I am out.
>Don't forget to bring them to the hospital! Just leave the tags on in case they don't fit. Get a couple sizes if you can.
>Go try some on in your third trimester and get a size larger. When your milk is in, you will fill out.
>You'll want something comfortable to wear 24/7. I am a larger size and wear something 24/7 the whole time I am nursing to prevent sagging.

If you're nursing, you will need some nursing pads.
>Nursing pads are helpful to prevent leaking and to comfort a sore nipple.
>The throw away kind were really uncomfortable for me. They stuck to sore nipples and were always moving. You can buy washable ones in stores and online.
>I made my own with some leftover fleece and flannel. You can read about how I made them here.
>You want a size appropriate to your cup size. I am a DD, so I made a larger circle when I made my own. The store bought kind only come in one size.

Bring your maternity clothes to wear home.
>I remember my first time going to the hospital and I thought I'd suddenly be able to fit some of my old clothes! I don't know why! It seems so dumb now. It will take time to get into regular clothes, especially if you are nursing! Hello bigger shirts!
>Pack some comfortable clothes! This last time I wore some lounge pants home and I was so much more comfortable than when I had my other two kids and I wore some maternity jeans instead.

Save your money & skip the Nipple Cream
>I am very sensitive, but honestly your milk is your best healing agent.
>If you really feel you need some, I suggest an all natural Nipple Butter by Earth Mama Angel Baby. You can find it on Amazon or at retailers like Walgreens and Target. 

Bring an all natural Baby Shampoo/ Baby Wash
>When you are at the hospital you will be supplied a baby wash for your baby's first bath...most likely Johnson and Johnsons. YUCK!
>After my first was born, I discovered how many harmful chemicals are actually in most baby washes... including formaldehyde... yep that great preservative from chemistry or biology class! Let's put that on my babies soft skull! I don't think so!
>I have gone through some different brands and my favorite is Burt's Bees so far. I have written a little review of baby washes at the bottom of my disposable wipe recipe.
>If you are looking for a safe baby wash check out the Skin Deep Database for more information on what is in products you use. You'll be surprised what you find in some of your everyday products!

Be Prepared for the Baby!
>You'll want to pack some of those labor and delivery and early baby survival books for reference. I never leave home without my favorite book, On Becoming Baby Wise by Ezzo and Bucknam. 
>I also refresh myself with the techniques from the video Happiest Baby on the Block by Karp. This helps you to know how to help soothe your new baby including how to swaddle!
>Take a birthing class! It will help you to get familiar with the basics and what to expect.
>Lastly, don't forget the breastfeeding class if you are planning to nurse! Nursing is not just some natural thing you catch on to. Nursing starts right after your baby is born, so you just jump right in. A class will give you some great tools for your toolbox as you get started. You'll find that nurses will typically have all kinds of opinions, so it is helpful to have your own understanding of how it works.