Life with a Newborn : Everything I Actually Use!
*note - nothing in this post is sponsored, just sharing products that I have used and stand behind completely! I also ended up using everything I bought during pregnancy so check out this previous post as well!
Some might consider this lengthy post an “overshare” but I have a new perspective about helping other mothers or soon-to-be mothers after becoming one myself. No matter how many hours you spend on Google, there’s no way to be completely prepared for the steep learning curve ahead. The entry into motherhood is overwhelming at first and if you know a mama out there going through this phase - give her some slack and maybe send over a meal or two. It’s a big adjustment!
I don’t think many people share the nitty gritty of the initial life with a newborn or postpartum care and I wish more did! The recovery period came as a bit of a surprise to me and although there’s often pressure to entertain visitors (and all the focus is on the baby), it’s imperative to take it easy during the “fourth trimester”.
Below I’ve listed all of the products and tricks that have seen me through the first two months of life with my sweet little man. Amazon prime has really been a lifesaver.
I feel so blessed to have had a very positive and relatively fast birth and I cherish the experience with all of my heart - it was the greatest day of my life. My incredibly talented Doula had a lot to do with how smoothly it went. I used Giuditta Tornetta and would wholeheartedly recommend her. I plan to write more about that soon!
Part of the reality of any birth, however, is there’s a little bit of trauma involved downstairs. With proper care (in my case) it healed quickly and wasn’t unmanageable. The hospital gives you almost everything you need so I was shameless and had my husband stash a massive amount of stuff before we left. I did have to restock and didn’t love some of the hospital stuff so ultimately this is everything I used:
(All linked below)
Big ol’ panties that are somewhat supportive. I hated the mesh ones at the hospital but a lot of people like them. These ones I got on Amazon were so perfect cause they also hold the postpartum tummy in.
Tucks Witch Hazel Pads. You line your big ol’ pads with these. I had both the AER hospital brand and the Tucks and I preferred the AER in the beginning because they were less intense than Tucks, but I did use the Tucks later.
Dermaplast spray. This is definitely toxic but it works well and is really soothing. I only used it for a few weeks - a quick spray all over after each trip to the loo.
Extra peri bottle or two. Was great for rinsing after going (wiping is off the table in the beginning) and it’s nice to have multiples so you don’t have to refill them when you are half asleep.
Sitz bath. This is for those of us who don’t have a bathtub (need to change that!). Helps with soreness.
Colace right after birth and didn’t skimp. It’s breastfeeding safe and you need it ;) Prune juice did wonders as well.
Breastfeeding is absolutely wonderful and not something I imagined I would enjoy so much. The connection and bond is unlike anything else. The beginning however, was challenging and quite uncomfortable. I wish I had known this because I had a lot of tearful breakdowns in the hospital thinking it was going to be hard forever. I experienced engorgement and oversupply, which is intense if you are small chested like me (I’ve gone from an A cup to a D). In retrospect it’s a good problem to have because baby is well fed, so for that I’m grateful. Two months out and and all the discomfort is gone and it feels normal and natural. It’s so easy - I can feed him anywhere at any time!
The most valuable breastfeeding resource I can share is THIS BOOK. Every book I read about pregnancy or childbirth is worthless compared to how useful this book is. If it’s the only thing you read, you’re in good shape. If you plan to breastfeed it’s a godsend.
I also found a fabulous lactation consultant in the Los Angeles area named Celest Winfrey. She’s amazing at what she does, she’s a baby whisperer, and a whole lot of fun: firstname.lastname@example.org
To prepare for a possibly (temporarily) uncomfortable start:
Nipple Cream. Literally the only thing I used in my hospital bag besides my camera. Your nips are new at this and it SAVES them! It’s also basically safe for baby to consume so you don’t have to wash it off every time.
Ice packs. These are so soothing for the first week or two when the milk “comes in” and everything gets a little sore - apply after feeds, not before.
Sunflower Lecithin. My friend recommended I take this to prevent clogged ducts and so far, so good. It is supposed to help your milk flow better and lactation consultants recommend it. I researched it and asked my OBGYN and couldn’t find any negative side affects so I figured it can’t hurt.
Washable breast pads. These are not only green but they are much better than disposable ones because they actually breathe which is critical. Leaky boobs are pretty common early on and this saved me many soaked shirts.
Milk Saver. This is a genius invention. It feels like something that would be on Shark Tank but it’s so incredibly useful. I wasted so much milk initially by having it let-down on the opposite boob while feeding on the other and this thing catches all of that. So far I haven’t needed to pump based on how much milk I get in this thing. I mostly freeze it to get a stash going.
Comfortable sleep bra. If you wear a restrictive bra, you can get clogged ducts - so a comfortable bra to wear to sleep and around the house is crucial (if you’re leaking). No bra is always ideal in the beginning.
Comfortable nursing bra to go out of the house in. I ordered literally 20 brands, this one was the most comfortable and least hideous.
Clothing & Diapering
Everyone will tell you not to buy clothes till the baby comes which is so true but something everyone just has to learn for themselves. It’s hard to not buy miniature clothing when you’re pregnant… actually, it’s impossible!
In reality, my little man did not fit into a single thing I had for him and I had to Amazon prime some basic onesies which is what he’s been living in! It’s much too hot in LA for footies or anything more than a tee and he outgrew the first round I bought him within a few weeks. They are so cheap that I didn’t feel as bad, and I’ll hold on to them for a friend or baby #2 someday ;)
We’ve been using a great service recommended by a friend for his diapers. They are delivered monthly and are basically unlimited for around $60. They are bamboo, green, non-toxic, and just plain white with a little liquid line indicator. I know it’s just a diaper but I love that they are classic and plain looking - I find all the printed ones ugly and also an indication of dyes and chemicals. So far I love them and no blowouts! Here’s a referral link if you’re interested in checking them out: DYPER
In the beginning you should only wipe a newborn with water and cloth but water wipes are the next best thing. They have very few ingredients and are mostly water. This weighted dispenser is amazing for one-handed wipe grabbing and the pail is basic but does the job!
Household & Nursery
I placed some convenience things around the house like automated soap dispensers - not the most aesthetically appealing but when you have something unsavory on your hands it’s a great thing to have, and makes kitchen cleanups easier.
A sterilizer isn’t necessary but I don’t really trust my dishwasher and everything comes out soaking wet. This sterilizer completely sterilizes and bone-dries bottles, pump parts, anything really. You set it and forget it which is really nice.
A waterproof mattress cover will save your mattress from the guaranteed breast milk leaks, etc so I invested in one of those as well.
A nightlight is super helpful for middle of the night diaper changes and this one has red light which is the best for not stimulating you and baby.
I also got little man his own laundry pail since I do his laundry separately from ours with super gentle detergent. How cute is this Amazon one!?
My little dude just loves being close to mommy. Who can blame him! The transition from womb to world seems scary and intense! I lean towards attachment parenting methods and really love a lot of what people like Dr. Sears say about raising babies. I also flat out do not believe in leaving a baby to cry so naturally, I LOVE the Solly Baby wraps so I can carry my little man around to nap feeling safe and secure while I can have my hands free to type up a post like this, make food, or cruise around the neighborhood. Since we are carry animals like monkeys or kangaroos, this is young-baby’s preference in the beginning. I notice his breathing syncs with mine when up against me and the warmth of my body is instantly calming.
We also love our stroller and I’m going to dedicate a separate post to that and why we picked it next week :)
This little car mirror is also something I forgot to get along with our car seat. It’s great to be able to see baby when you’re driving alone.
If you’re going to sleep with your baby in your room at first, do yourself a solid and get an actual sound machine. I was using an app on my phone but the apps are “looping” and sound repetitive and annoying after a while. The sound machine is a miracle in helping baby sleep and this one has nice simple fan sounds, non-looping. I also got the travel case since this item has been so crucial for sleep.
As I mentioned on stories, my baby is a Houdini and got out of every swaddle but this one, it’s great!
He also, surprisingly, notices and tracks on this book of contrasts.
Little dude LOVES bath time now that we got him his own little tub. This is one of those things where I thought I’d have lovely neutral colored aesthetically pleasing things for my baby but when baby actually came, function and his happiness rule over all of that. You slowly realize why everything is plastic and hideous colors - babies love it. This tub is no exception.
I don’t use soap on him often but when I do it’s the Carina Organics Unscented Baby Wash. I used it for months before he was born to test it out and it passed with flying colors. It also has a great rating on Think Dirty and EWG.
If you made it through this post I ought to write you a personalized thank you note, it got really long winded so thanks for humoring me. I hope it was useful and if you’re expecting a little one of your own soon I send you warm wishes for the magical moments you have ahead :) And my biggest piece of advice - don’t be afraid for any of it, you can handle it mama!
Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments below!