I previously dropped some new mom truths to shed light on what first-time moms can expect in those early weeks. Well, since then, I’ve also picked up some serious survival skills that I’m eager to share with new moms and moms-to-be. Enjoy!
*Note: I can’t take credit for all of these as my mommy village has been an incredible resource.
- Create a portable change / feeding station. I keep a basket complete with diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, a change pad, burp cloths, breast pads, lanolin, and a hand pump handy so I can be fully mobile with the baby without having to lug my diaper bag around the house.
- Buy yourself several giant sippy cups if you’re breastfeeding. The (actual) thirst is real when you’re breastfeeding and it’s extremely important to keep hydrated to help maintain your milk supply. I have sippy cups in every corner of the house that I breastfeed at and am constantly yelling at people to fill them up. Starbucks sells 24oz cold cups and they are worth every penny!
- You might have to try a few different diaper rash creams before finding one that works. And make sure baby’s bum is fully dry before putting on a diaper to help prevent diaper rash. Resist the urge to buy Costco-sized diaper creams to save a couple bucks because it might just backfire. What one mom swears by might not work for your baby’s skin and you don’t want your hard-earned dollars going to waste. Sudocrem has worked very well for us (Desitin and Penaten were no bueno), and I often see Zincofax and Aquaphor being recommended by other moms. *Protip: A lot of these creams can also be used on adults to help treat dry skin, chapped lips, acne, chafing, burns, etc. I even stumbled across one beauty blogger who used them as a primer before applying her foundation!
- Don’t walk – run – to get a Haakaa pump. I WISH I had known about this one from the get-go. It’s a silicone hand pump that you suction onto your boobs and it catches your letdown. It’s the perfect tool to help you express a little bit of milk before a feed to help your baby latch when you’re engorged. OR to catch the leakage from your other boob to keep from anything going to waste. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can build up an impressive freezer stash with this thing.
- Get your baby used to bottles early on. You may have heard of “nipple confusion” as a reason to deter you from bottle feeding but once your baby has gotten the hand of breastfeeding after two weeks or so, feel free to introduce them to bottles and pacifiers. It will give you a lot of freedom down the road. This article has some great tips on how to get started. Full disclosure – I introduced my baby to bottles after only three days of being home so my hubby could take over a feed and I could get a nap in. And he still latched just fine on the next feed.
- Don’t be afraid to supplement with formula. Before the mom police goes off on how “breast is best”, I think it’s equally important for mom’s mental health to remain in check. I previously shared my struggles with breastfeeding and how much of a toll it was taking on me. Sometimes supplementing one or two feeds is all it takes to maintain your sanity (or catch up on some sleep!). Sometimes I’ll also use formula to get me through an evening cluster feed if I’m really sore as my guy likes to feed every half hour to an hour between 5pm and 10pm every night. Just be careful not to supplement too often or after a long break between feeds to maintain your supply.
- Invest in waterproof EVERYTHING. I had purchased a waterproof mattress pad for my baby’s crib and bassinet but after seeing how much time he was spending with me in bed in those early weeks, I asked my mom to run out and buy me one as well. Within hours of putting it on, I had dumped an entire coffee on my bed and my babe had peed and pooped all over it. Best investment ever.
- Wear your baby everywhere. At first, my Ergobaby was a life-saver at parties or family gatherings where we didn’t want him getting passed around (since he didn’t have any of his shots yet!). THEN I realized I could also wear him around the house to get errands done. Game. Changer.
- Treat blowouts with the utmost urgency. And make sure you have a good stain remover handy. Within days of bringing our baby home, we had ruined TWO sleepers as a result of blowouts. I had (naively) assumed that stains would come out in the wash but NOPE those babies have serious staying power. As soon as your baby has a blowout, run their clothes (and sleep sack and crib sheet, etc., etc…) in hot water with a stain remover. I was given this all-natural one at my shower, which can be found at Walmart and Costco, and it has worked wonders. Many mommas also swear by OxiClean.
- Build your mom village. Because you’ll need them. Something amazing happens when you get pregnant and have a baby. You start rekindling old friendships with experienced moms and create new friendships with other first-time moms. And it’s pretty amazing. The experienced moms will have some great advice for you when you’re feeling completely lost and confused. And new moms will reassure you that you’re not alone for feeling this way in the first place.
Oh – and extra kudos to the moms who keep it real and don’t sugarcoat everything. Because, let’s face it, motherhood is challenging AF and none of us will ever have it fully figured out.