Alright, so I thought it would be a good time to sit down and reflect on the last (almost) 6 months. It’s been a whirlwind, and I’ve been exhausted. As you’ve probably noticed, my blog (and vlog for that matter) has really taken a back seat… and so should it I suppose. I’m raising a human after all Well now it’s finally time for me to share some things that I learned in these first six months and the products that helped me get through. This post will focus on those early weeks and the products I needed right off the bat!
So first off, my c-section recovery was rough. I had to go back to the hospital days after being discharged because I was in so much pain. We were checking for a hematoma or infection etc. I was put on precautionary antibiotics and just tried to take it as easy as I could. We set up shop down in the living room as I couldn’t get in or out of our tempur-pedic bed. An air mattress for Eric to sleep downstairs with us would have been handy, but with an impending hurricane about to hit (that would be Harvey), he had to make do on the floor for a few weeks because everywhere was sold out. If you think you’ll be having a c-section and want your significant other to be in the same room as you… make sure you have a great air-mattress. Lesson learned.
The next thing that made sleeping downstairs do-able was a bassinet. We got the halo bassinest and I have to say, I wasn’t all that impressed. We never planned on getting one, but since we were going to be down in the living room, bringing the crib all the way downstairs and back up etc. for a week or two seemed silly. Buying a crazy expensive bassinet also seems silly in hindsight but we weren’t prepared and were sleep deprived and overwhelmed… again, a hurricane was headed our way upon discharge of the hospital so things were a bit hectic. Our thinking to get the halo was because of my c-section and the fact that it could adjust to height of our bed allowing the side to be pushed down for easy baby retrieval. Well, what I didn’t factor in was that I wouldn’t have the strength really to lift the baby, especially from a laying position in a tempur-pedic (read, squishy/sinky) bed. That and I think my recovery/pain was a bit worse than average so I barely did any lifting at all the first three weeks. I don’t think I can recommend the halo. There are other better options.
Once we were back in our bed we resorted to co-sleeping with a doc-a-tot. Say what you will, have your opinions, but truthfully… I don’t care what you think. I never intended on co-sleeping, I’m not necessarily an advocate, but we did it because it was what worked for us at the time. I couldn’t sleep unless Beau was next to me, and I couldn’t check on him easily enough with the bassinet given my pain, so we put him in the doc between us in our king sized bed, and ensured we were doing the safest sleep practices possible. The doc-a-tot was a life saver. We used it for naps too! When I was finally strong enough we transitioned him back into the halo bassinest with the doc-a-tot which worked great. He outgrew it insanely quickly though. What I don’t like about the halo is how hard the pad is, how small the sleeping area is, and how large the footprint is. I stubbed my toe a fair few times on the legs. I dunno. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I think our pack n’ play would have been fine from the get-go in hindsight.
So on that note. Pack n’ Play… we bought the Nuna Sena Aire that has a bassinet setting. Worked quite well transitioning out of the bassinet but still keeping him in our room. We definitely found that he would wiggle his way down into a corner which tells me that the rods/mechanism for the bassinet setting isn’t properly level. Not surprising, but it worked in a pinch. Because we planned on keeping him in our room longer term we ended up bringing his actual crib from his nursery down to our room. This required taking the door frames off due to the size. Good times. This worked best in the end and he slept better as it was a comfortable proper bed. If you plan on keeping babe in your room for the recommended minimum of 6 months to a year, it’s not a bad idea to set it up in your room for the time being. I still would have co-slept because I wanted him as close to me as possible, but once we transitioned him out of our bed at around 2 months we could have likely gone straight to crib pulled up near our bed and saved the money. It really depends on what you are going to do, but like us, you never know… plans sometimes get thrown out the window. I know ours did, so do some research and just remain flexible.
Alright, on to other things. We bought the Medela Pump In Style breast pump, and truthfully it’s been mostly collecting dust. On the rare occasions that I did end up pumping I used the swing because I was only pumping the other side. For one, I’m lazy, and I hated pumping so I never made it a priority like maybe I should have. That being said, I have the luxury of being a stay at home mom and didn’t need to build up a stash for going back to work or anything. We also had breastfeeding issues and it was recommended to focus on him getting that down to not have him refuse the breast. Once we tried to re-introduce the bottle, he refused them. We had bought so much anticipating I’d be pumping and bottle feeding here and there only to never use any of it. Same with soothers. The thing here is that babies are finicky and can refuse certain brands, and love others. We ended up having to buy one offs of a bunch of different brands trying to find what would work for him (we still haven’t sorted this out, but I’ll cover all this in a separate post). Point is, don’t invest in a ton of soothers and bottle supplies, especially of one brand. You just don’t know what your breastfeeding/pumping journey will entail. Have a few things handy but buy as you go!
What I did love was my sterilizer; the Phillips Avent Sterilizer. Used it on the regular and a must have in my mind. We use it for everything and I still even throw in certain toys from time to time. I can’t speak to our bottle warmer, as we never really used it, so unfortunately no advice there.
In terms of feeding, I tried two breastfeeding pillows. First I used the Ergobaby Natural Curve pillow but could never get a comfortable position with it. Struggling to get positioning on a hard pillow was too challenging so we swapped out for the Boppy which we LOVE LOVE LOVE. I still use it, and it’s also great to put behind while Beau practicing his sitting in case he falls backwards. I bought a super cute ultra soft minky cover off amazon that I love too.
One thing that we ended up discovering was that Beau was super sensitive to wipes. Every time we’d use them he’d get a bad diaper rash. We ended up using washcloths instead. We had randomly got a variety in gift baskets and in our random baby hauls, so we have a variety of brands, but we just use plain white as soft as we could get, thin and cheap and rinse with water and wash in the washing machine. It’s worked out great and we’re still doing it. He hasn’t gotten a rash since. So we didn’t get confused we made sure to buy colorful washcloths for his actual washing
When Beau DID get a diaper rash, Eric’s parents were in town and randomly had a tin of Penaten. It was AMAZING. Oh my goodness, worked great. It’s thicker and goes on really nicely. Helped his rash heal up so fast. Then when that ran out we used Triple Paste which worked well also. But I absolutely LOVE Beauty Counter baby diaper creme. It’s so soft and smooth, so I use that when we’re out on the go and I have to use a wipe.
We were gifted the Nuna Leaf Curve which we also loved. We bought the wind so it could be automated, but for whatever reason Beau absolutely hated when we put it on with that. Something about the natural motion he liked better I suppose… I guess that’s why it was designed that way in the first place haha. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about mamaroo so I opted to try something different. He still has at least one swing in it daily and it can hold up to 120 or so pounds so he can use it for a long while which is fun.
Although we love our leaf, it wasn’t something Beau liked enough to sleep in. Dealing with reflux issues, the doc-a-tot ended up being less useful for naps, so we ended up buying a rock n’ play so he could be in a more upright position. I liked this also as I could move it around relatively easily and set him up in it while I showered for instance. You’ll see all moms swear by them. There’s different versions, but the one we used and liked was the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper.
For swaddling we started with Aden & Anais. I definitely preferred the thicker, less stretchy/soft ones for swaddling as he’d bust out of those too easily. Swaddling was a challenge and Beau was always busting out regardless though, so we invested in the Miracle Blanket swaddler. It was a game changer for us! When he outgrew this we used the Halo Sleepsack swaddle, and then on to the Merlin Magic sleep suit. All recommended. We did NOT like the Love to Dream, though others swear by them. Beau was far too interested in chewing on his hands in that position to bother with sleeping. Every kid is different though.
Further to sleeping, highly recommend a white noise machine. We use our Dohm all the time. We also bought a portable one for on the go in the stroller and carseat. These are a must. Doesn’t matter the brand, there’s even apps for your phone, but the great thing about Dohm is its constant, not a recorded sound that repeats thus pausing briefly at points in time and disrupting their sleep. Last thing you want is baby to almost be out just to wake up during a brief break in sound.
Since Beau came a bit early, I had no bathing plan sorted. I had been flip flopping between the Blooming Bath and the Puj infant bath tub. I can’t comment on either. We did try to order the Blooming Bath via Amazon but because of the hurricane it got delayed then lost, so we were out of luck. We ended up just sponge bathing him on the changing table until his cord came off and we could put him in the tub. We had bought the Angelcare bath support. It was only $25 at target, and Beau is still using it at 5 months. Highly recommend.
I think that about covers it. If you have any questions about any other products from the very early weeks I’d recommend, leave it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to respond!