Tuesday, February 15, 2022

our first few weeks: mama's postpartum favorites

In my last baby-related post, I talked about our baby registry necessities for baby. After posting, I realized I didn't say much about what I needed as a brand new mom. For some reason, I didn't prepare much for postpartum. Leading up to birth, I watched all the YouTube videos and read all the articles about labor and delivery - from breathing strategies to packing my hospital bag, I felt good to go for labor. As it turns out, the postpartum period is a lot longer than labor and delivery (ha! who knew?), and while baby may not need a lot of stuff in those initial weeks, I felt like I did. Thank god for good friends, family, Amazon, and Target drive-up orders!

Here's what I used the most in those early weeks:

Hakaa, or some form of milk catcher - As my milk supply came in, I leaked so much. A friend sent me the Hakaa a few weeks before I went into labor, and I had no idea what it was at the time. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but it was a game changer! While Claire was feeding from one breast, I'd catch a whole ounce of milk from the other breast after nearly every session. Definitely recommend to help build up a freezer stash.

High-waisted underwear - I tried two different brands, and the one I linked is my absolute favorite. They are so soft and, oddly enough, wearing them with a nursing bra and a robe made me feeling a little more "put together" when walking around the house in a sleep-deprived haze. Maybe it's because they often matched my bras, or made me feel a little more compressed and secure. They were also great for pads!

Sitz bath spray & Epsom bath salt- oooooof, GET THESE. Recovery is no joke, and you want all the relief you can get. I know taking a bath might sound like a luxury with a newborn around, but try and sneak one in if you can. I preferred the bath spray to Tucks pads, as the pads sometimes got bunched up while walking around.

These nursing bras - I tried a random brand on Amazon and hated them. The Auden line at Target is the best! I have four of these bras, plus their nursing camis. So soft and easy to clip and unclip with one hand. These were my favorite for overnights, too. Stock up on nursing bras...between leaking and spit up, you'll go through them reeeal quick.

Breast therapy packs - I put these in the freezer and then would put them in my bra whenever I got a chance to sleep for a bit of relief. Breastfeeding in the beginning is a big adjustment, and you want all the comfort you can get.

Lactation cookies - you may not need these in the initial weeks, as your milk supply is still regulating, but I was eating a pack of these daily when trying to up my supply. They're expensive, but so good, and I was simply not in a position to attempt making my own lactation cookies.

Other things that were really helpful...

Coffee pickups! I had a friend (shout out to Carly!) who brought over coffee two mornings in a row when Claire was about 6 weeks old. Help in the first few days is great, but new parents are still struggling in those later weeks. It was great because 1) I'd get a little social interaction, 2) I could have her keep Claire occupied for a few minutes while I changed clothes or brushed my teeth (ha!), and 3) I'd be caffeinated. Win-win-win!

Meal deliveries and gift cards - we had so many friends really come together and rally for us in those early weeks. From homecooked meals to takeout delivered to our door and Uber Eats gift cards, meal planning was not something we had to worry about, and it was such a relief.

Help with laundry and cleaning - if someone offers to help with any of the above, let them do it! 

I'm only a few months into parenthood, but I already feel loads more capable and confident than I initially felt when we brought Claire home from the hospital. Do as I say and not as I do: be prepared ahead of time, but when in doubt, drive-up orders to the rescue!


Monday, February 14, 2022

happy valentine's day!

Happy Valentine's Day! I did a little creeping on my old blog posts, and came across this one from our Valentine's Day back in 2016. What a lifetime ago! At the end of the first paragraph, I referred to my journey with Ryan as "just the beginning." I guess I was on to something.

This one was another favorite, where I wrote about how love looks different for everyone. Around this time of year, my social media timelines and feeds are brimming with pictures of flowers and fancy gifts and dinners out. Those are all fun and wonderful things, but love in simpler forms like unexpected hugs, a completed chore, or a pooch snuggle feel just as warm in this season.

Today marks our first Valentine's Day with Claire, and despite the lack of sleep that came from the start of her 4-month sleep regression (or teething? or just gas?! who knows, truly), I am constantly overwhelmed by just how much I love that little bundle of chunk with each passing day. 

Ryan, Claire, and I had an impromptu family outing on Saturday, which involved visiting a big, annual market featuring hundreds of local St. Pete vendors and going to a yummy new place for lunch. We didn't plan much for Valentine's Day this year, so we went ahead and called that our "date day." Maybe next year we'll plan something to do together as a couple, but I also like the idea of celebrating love as a family. My dad always bought me my own box of Godiva chocolates each year for Valentine's Day, and I hope that Ryan will continue something similar for Claire as the years pass.

Just a reminder to love your loved ones and yourself a little extra today. Pick up a holiday treat on the way home, cook yourself a fancy dinner or give yourself a break and pickup takeout, make a mocktail or grab a glass of wine and watch something comforting (we watched a few episodes of Schitt's Creek this weekend, and the opening/closing credit melody always warms my heart, lol!). Enjoy the last of the winter holidays, as spring is just around the corner!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

our first weeks: favorite baby registry items

The first few weeks of parenthood will throw you for an absolute loop! We've all functioned on little to no sleep in our college days, but I think true sleep deprivation due to being a new parent is something else entirely. While newborns don't need nearly half of what you received from your registry, here's what got us through those first few weeks (and what I wish I had sooner...):

(note: some of these are affiliate links, which means I might get a tiny commission if you choose to purchase through this post)

the Ollie swaddle - we were convinced that Claire didn't like to be swaddled because she was comforted by her hands. After watching all of about 20 minutes of the Taking Cara Babies program, we quickly learned that, as a newborn, she wasn't knowingly using her hands for comfort...they just so happened to be there as she was flailing around. We didn't get this swaddle right away, but I wish we had! It's a little pricy, but we still use it now even without her arms.

Snuggle Me Organic lounger - this product is not "safe for sleep," but it is literally the only thing Claire would sleep in (besides on us) for those first few weeks. Ryan and I would take overnight shifts, accompanied by lots of Netflix, so that we could supervise her sleep in this! She absolutely loved it. Now that she's 3 months old, we don't use it often for naps, but it's nice to be able to lay her down on it for a few minutes at a time while we do a quick task.

the Solly baby wrap - I've gone through a lot of trial and error with baby wraps and carriers, but when they're really little, I think a lot of the structured ones are just too much. I ended up buying a Solly wrap from Facebook marketplace, but I would've definitely paid full price for it. And there are so many gorgeous colors! We still use this now and will likely continue until she's too big for it.

Hatch Rest+ - I know literally everyone recommends this, but there's a reason for it. We got the Hatch Rest+ because you can use it without being plugged in, which has been really convenient while she's still in the stage where she doesn't always nap in the same place (sometimes we try her crib, sometimes we have her in the bassinet in our bedroom, the bassinet in our living room, etc.).

swaddle blankets - I received so many swaddle blankets from my shower, and to be honest, I initially thought it was too much. How many blankets could we really need? A LOT. I feel like we've increased how often we do laundry, and I'm still looking around for the nearest blanket. We use them to wrap her up while carrying her around, over her legs during car rides, draped over the car seat for naps, bundled into the stroller bassinet during walks, cleaning up spit up, laying her down for impromptu tummy name it, we've done it. The one I've linked is my absolute favorite one we have. It's SO soft!

diaper caddy - this is something I almost took off our registry, but I'm so happy we had it. In the early days, we had zero desire to get up to go to the changing table for every single diaper change. We used this caddy to hold diapers, wipes, creams, rubber hair brushes (for cradle cap), an extra outfit, and hair ties. Even now, we keep this bedside in case we have an overnight diaper change, and we also brought it along for a weekend away at my in-laws' house. We have this changing pad rolled up inside of it, and it's a game changer.

bedside bassinet - I initially bought a beautiful Crate & Barrel bassinet on FB Marketplace, but it didn't work out for us. I realized pretty quickly that I wanted something that could open up right to the bed, like a version of co-sleeping. After lots of browsing, I found this bassinet and we've absolutely loved it! It's a great size and folds up well for transport, too.

lots of cozy zip-up sleepers - baby clothes are SO CUTE, but some of them are simply impractical. I'm not sure if every baby is like this, but Claire hated getting dressed and having her diaper changed in the early days. Zip-up pajamas made things way easier. We have a lot from Old Navy and Carter's, but our Kyte one is so soft. I want to try Little Sleepies, too!

Even though I spent countless hours looking over my baby registry, editing items, adding things, researching, etc. I still felt like I had zero clue what would actually work for us until Claire was actually here. An additional note: save your completion codes to use after you deliver! We definitely would have saved ourselves some $$$. I plan to have another list of items we've loved beyond the fourth trimester in the coming months!

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