The first month of Damo's life was spent trying to figure out how to get the kid to sleep. I had the swaddle. The sucking (and he preferred the boob to the pacifier). The swaying (in my poor, tired arms). But I was missing the key element- the shhhing (I could only do it for so long before getting terrible cotton mouth.) The ceiling fan in our room wasn't cutting it. Not with a two-year-old in the house. I thought back to a time when Daniel and I were living in our very first apartment in Hawaii without air conditioning. It was right on the freeway, and jammed next to a bunch of other homes like most places in town. We could hear everything. And I mean everything. Use your imagination and you still couldn't come up with the things we heard.
But Daniel had this amazing fan that he got before we started dating. At night, we'd turn that sucker on and it would literally (okay, not literally) create a hurricane in our tiny bedroom. We used that fan for at least 6 years after that. At one point I broke the stand off it (I break everything) but we still used it propped up on our dresser. We got rid of it before moving to Tanzania. It was time. But after never getting another one to replace it I sort of got used to sleeping without it again.
And then one day, when Damian was about four weeks old, I was lost in the Target hole. I spotted the fan aisle and a light went on in my new-mom zombie head. I texted Daniel and asked him what kind of fan we used to have. "The Vornado" he responded. I read the text in a movie-announcer voice. I bought the biggest one they had and that night my son slept for two extra hours.
Anyway, all of this inspired me to share with you the top ten baby items that saved my life (or at least my sanity) in the first three months.
1. Lanolin- My nipples were so cracked and scabbed during my first few weeks of breastfeeding that it kind of looked like chunks were falling off of it (which I'm pretty sure was just scabs, but either way...). Lanolin was sent from heaven. My sister-in-law told me she preferred the Medela brand to other brands because it was less waxy and more lotiony, so I bought it and was happy with it. I never got a chance to try any other brands because one tube was all I needed. I think I only used about half of it (in the span of about six weeks) before my nipples healed and I didn't have to use it anymore.
2. Medela Therashells Breast Shells- Did I mention I was picking chunks off my nipples? Lanolin will soothe your nipples but your nipples won't heal as quickly if they are being irritated by your bra. These little shells create a barrier between your nipple and the bra, allowing your nipples to heal. If you have nipple trouble like I did in the first few weeks, definitely try these!
3. Milk Maid Nursing Pillow- I compared the three nursing pillows I have in this post so I won't go into too much detail here. But like I said in that post, I don't know what I would do without my nursing pillows. The Milk Maid is my favorite.
4. Bravado Nursing Bra- It was really hard for me to find a nursing bra because of the whole small band/large cup size thing. I'm a 34F and most 36DD (the supposed "sister size") just don't work... except for this one. It doesn't have underwire so it can be comfortably worn all day, but it is still supportive enough for larger breasts. Plus, the little clip thingies don't come undone on their own like on some other nursing bras (or am I the only person who has this problem?). Anyway, I have both the black and nude ones and I got them at Buy Buy Baby.
5. Baby Carrier- I'm kind of obsessed with wearing babies so I have all sorts of carriers. If I were to only buy two, I would buy the Moby Wrap for the newborn days/around the house and the Ergobaby Original Collection Sea Skipper Baby Carrier for outings. The Moby isn't that much money and you can even make one on your own if you're crafty, that's why I say two. But... if I were only to buy one, I'd go with the Ergo. The main reason is that the Moby can be a pain in the ass to get on just right when you have a toddler running around the parking lot or whining to get out of the car seat. And, the Ergo you can use forever but the baby grows out the Moby relatively quickly. I really, really love the Moby for the first few weeks. I didn't even want to use my Ergo at first because I was reluctant to buy the newborn insert when I would only need it for three months, but I'm glad I broke down and bought one. The Ergo was great for our long outings around D.C. and Virginia Beach. Plus, it is much easier to nurse from the Ergo, in my opinion.
6. California Baby Calendula Cream- My son got horrible baby acne right when he turned 4 weeks old. Dena suggested California Calendula Cream. I put it on twice a day and bathed him with the California Baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash, and the acne was almost completely gone in three days. It was a miracle. The cream is quite pricy but it lasts a lot longer than you think it would (my 11oz bottle lasted about three months).
Before and Three Days After using Calendula cream:
7. Zipper Swaddles- Before Damian was born I stocked up on Summer Infant velcro swaddles because Eva slept in them until she was almost six months old and they were an absolute staple. Well, the velcro swaddles didn't work out as well for Damian. Unlike Eva, he didn't like to sleep with his arms pinned to his side. He wanted them tucked up by his chest. He would almost always break out of the velcro one. Sooo... we found the zipper swaddles to be much better for him. We had two kinds, the Summer Infant Swaddle Pod and the Woombie. I actually liked the Summer Infant one better (it also happens to be much cheaper), but it only goes up to 13lbs for some reason so I eventually had to switch to the Woombie. Both are really great swaddles, though.
8. First Years Close and Secure Co-Sleeper- We love to bed share, but having a tiny, swaddled newborn right next to me all night without a barrier is a little scary. This co-sleeper was perfect for us because he could sleep right in our bed and I didn't have to worry. Also, unlike the co-sleeper we had for Eva (the Summer Infant one), my arm didn't fall asleep if I left my hand on Damian's chest for comfort.
9. Nap Nanny- This was a lifesaver for Eva and it was even moreso a lifesaver for Damian. Damian hated the swing when he was a newborn. He usually wanted to be carried, but the few times a day he would let me put him down for more than five minutes, it could only be in the Nap Nanny. The Nap Nanny keeps a baby at an incline so they can still kind of see what's going on around them, and it also helps prevent spitting-up. However, the original Nap Nanny that we have is no longer sold because parents were using it incorrectly and a few babies died as a result. There are a few Nap Nanny-like products, though, like this Day Dreamer. I'm not sure if babies like it as much with the high sides, though.
10. Vornado Fan- Remember the fan I was talking about at the intro of this post? It's all about the noise, and most fans try to be "quiet," which is not really what you're looking for when you need a strong white noise. I have looked everywhere online, even the Vornado website, for the exact fan I have but I can't find it anywhere (which is really strange since I just bought it three months ago). This is the closest one to the one I have, but mine only cost $45 at Target, not $99. The one that is currently $45 on the Target website, though, is not the same one I have. I bought a smaller version of the fan for somewhere else in my home that cost $25, but it is not nearly as loud as the $45 one. If you are really interested in the exact fan I have, I'll take a picture and post it later but right now my kids are screaming for me and I need to get off the computer!!!
What baby products saved your life (or at least your sanity) in the first three months?