After 55 hours of labor, Babyface was brought into the world via C-Section on October 19th, 2018, at 7:27 a.m. She was 21 ¼ inches long and weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. at the time of her birth, though as is usual with babies, she has lost a bit of weight since then and we are working at getting her back to her birth weight. We spent three days in the hospital before being sent home with a clean bill of health last Monday, which means that as of writing this, our family has been home for 1 week. Ginger Snaps and I spent the week getting to know our new baby and re-asserting our love for each other and the family we are building together.
Babyface has been an absolute dream for first-time parents. She only cries when she’s wet or hungry, and she’s been patient with both of us as we hike the steep learning curve all new parents are familiar with. Still, for a little girl who’s only awake about 4 hours a day—total—there’s an awful lot we have come to rely on to keep her happy and healthy (and to keep ourselves sane). While the most important things in our life are the unwavering support of each other and our families, certain of the material possessions have been an asset during this transition as well. On that note, here are our 10 favorite must-have items for Baby’s first week home.
All first-time parents have challenges when it comes to their new babies, and though I maintain that Babyface is about as perfect as they come (#biased?), we did have some issues with feeding during her first few days. We were hoping to breastfeed—at least partially, if not exclusively—but due to a poor latch and some complications on my end, Babyface had lost 10.6% of her body weight by the time we were discharged from the hospital. The doctors told us that they worry any time weight loss is over 10%, and we were instructed to make feeding her a top priority.
The next several days included feedings that lasted an hour or two. Whether the breast or the bottle, she would barely touch anything we gave her, seeming to get bored and give up about a quarter of an ounce into any feeding. GS and I were both getting frustrated. In a fit of pique, GS went to Target and bought 3 different types of formula and about 10 different styles of bottle.
The Nuk baby bottle ended up being a game-changer for us. The nipple is shaped, not like Mama’s breast (which she doesn’t care a whit for), but like a pacifier, and it has a faster flow than the newborn bottles we had been using with her up until that point. It has made all the difference in the world. What used to be a battle for every half-ounce has become a non-issue. Our daughter loves feeding time now and can get 2-3 ounces down in about 20 minutes—a third of the time it used to take to get her to drink an ounce—giving us more time to bond without frustration on any side of the bottle.
We’d heard mixed reviews on swaddlers from family and friends, and I honestly thought that the sleep sacks were going to be more our style, but at least right now, swaddlers are easy for GS and I to use and they keep Babyface feeling safe and secure at night. We first tried them in the hospital when my brother and his wife came to visit us. None of us could keep the hospital-issued blanket to stay wrapped around our squirmy girl as she was passed from person to person, and I finally reached into her diaper bag and tugged out the “idiot-proof blanket” I’d packed and tossed it at GS. We’ve been a swaddler family ever since.
We have tried the sleep sacks, and I think that when she gets a little bigger, they might be the way to go. Just now, however, the sleeves dwarf her small arms and I fear that she’d manage to get them in her face as she slept. Swaddlers, on the other hand, Velcro into place, and I feel fairly confident even on a tired day that I have her both warm and safe in her bassinet.
I mentioned Puppy Pads on my YouTube channel when I went over what we packed in our daughter’s hospital go-bag. My mother-in-law gifted them to us as a disposable cover for changing tables, both in our home and out in public. Let me tell you: They work. I can not conceive of the laundry we’d have had to do if we were relying just on the changing pad covers to keep things clean during changings. With the puppy pads, we can roll them up and discard them alongside the diaper if she makes a mess while we’re changing her (or if we do!). Huge fan!
Babyface doesn’t exactly live in her Boppy lounger—but some days, it’s pretty close. We actually have 2 boppy loungers and a more typical nursing boppy, and we use all 3 with an intense regularity.
One stays stationed in our bedroom upstairs to help us if we need to syringe-feed at night (not an issue since we got the Nuk bottle, but a very big issue before then) or if we need to get the snot out of her nose in the middle of the night and need that extra arm. One hangs out on our couch so that she has her own safe spot between us. And the third follows us around the house, and even makes trips out and about with us. The great thing about the lounger is the fact that you can slap it on pretty much any surface and make it into a comfortable place for Babyface to hang out. You have to be nearby for safety reasons, of course, but whether it’s into the kitchen so I can put away a load of dishes or into the bathroom while I take a wee, I like the fact that I can keep her nearby and I don’t have to think twice about what I’m going to do with her.
A gift from Ginger Snaps’ sister, Boogie Wipes are another item I had never heard of before I joined the path of motherhood. Basically light wipes with saline, their intention is to clear snot out of your kid’s nose, but GS and I have used them for just about everything—gunk from the nose, gunk from the eyes (of which she has a lot), dried spit-up that we found after the fact… We basically cart these suckers wherever we go.
We had a large variety of pacifiers waiting when Babyface came home, most of them courtesy of different sample boxes (Amazon, Babylist, and Target all sent freebies when we registered with them). Of the huge variety of pacifiers, it’s the MAM brand that we have come to love—so much so that our usually disorganized selves have managed to keep track of the same one small pacifier through thick and thin (though I am planning to order a few more just in case).
- Baby Blankets
Though I had anticipated a need for baby clothes and books, I wasn’t quite prepared for how often we’d have Babyface wrapped up with a blanket around her. Whether it’s on the Boppy Lounger or in her car seat, we often find ourselves tucking a blanket into the crooks and crannies surrounding her to make sure she’s warm and snuggly. We have a few different baby blankets, from some made-with-love varieties to a couple that people purchased special for her, and we find ourselves using almost all of them throughout the course of any given day.
Though this falls pretty sturdily in the category of “Mumma and Dadda’s favorites—not Babyface’s favorite,” the snot sucker is a must have Baby’s first week home. It seems like everything under the sun gives Babyface congestion, and since she can’t blow her nose yet, it’s important that we are able to go in and fetch, so to speak. And while I’ve heard great things about that one that you stick in the baby’s nose and suck on, I can’t seem to bring myself to attempt that. The snot suckers the hospital gave us, however, seem to work like a charm.
Ginger Snaps and I read that it’s never too early to start tummy time with Babyface, and we have taken that to heart. Since the day she came home, she spends at least 1—usually more—5 minute tummy time session each day on her Activity Mat. So far, we’re loving the activity mat. It’s easy to transport, allowing me to put it up on a table when it’s my time to do tummy time with Babyface (since I can’t crawl around on the floor while recovering from my C-section). We like that it has fun colors on it and is clearly made with the intention of making tummy time seem fun rather than like a chore. Currently, Ginger Snaps plays with the included toys more than Babyface does, but we also like that it feels like it will grow as she grows. And while I’m not sure if I can attribute this to the mat or if we just got lucky, I’ve never seen a kid not hate tummy time until we brought Babyface home and tried it with her. She has taken to tummy time like no one’s business and honestly doesn’t seem to mind it as long as we don’t stretch it out too long.
Okay, every baby needs a car seat, but I have to say, I’ve been pretty thrilled with how the Chicco Fit2 is treating our family. The grandparents are each getting their own base so that all we have to do is move the main infant car seat around, and we’ve found that getting the car seat in and out of the car is a piece of cake. And while Babyface doesn’t actually enjoy getting strapped in, once she’s settled she has zero problems with the car seat and tends to go right to sleep, which is its own kind of blessing.