Having a new baby is kind of like having a bomb going off on your life, but the best bomb you could ask for. When Freddie first arrived, I thought I was so prepared, little did I know that I was far from it, but I guess you could give it to me that he was a month early and no one can prepare for that no matter how much you’re told your baby will be early. But, in ways I was prepared, was all the stuff we had ready for our Freddie, so here is my top 10 must-haves for getting through your newborn days and a couple of things I wish we had!
Breastfeeding pillow – I got one of these before Freddie was born and it was a life-saver, especially in my last few weeks of pregnancy. It was the perfect support for my back and sides when I couldn’t get comfortable and made it so much easier to sleep. We took it to the hospital too and was great for support in labour and once Freddie arrived. I started out breastfeeding Freddie and found it hard to get into a comfortable position and ensuring Freddie was too, so this pillow made it easier for me to support him when I was trying to latch him on, when I had no spare hands. It was also great for Freddie to lie in as he settled so well in it. It’s also been useful in helping him do tummy time and supporting him whilst he’s learning to sit.
Baby-sling – I’d heard so many people raving about how wonderful slings were and I didn’t believe them, until I got one myself, I didn’t see myself being a baby-carrying mama, but.. GAME.CHANGER. Freddie has always been a clingy baby and still is now, when he was newborn, he was constantly attached to me – probably because he could smell milk and just wanted my boobies lol. All jokes aside, having Freddie attached to me meant it was impossible to do anything and I spent most of my days sofa bound. I found this sling on Ebay and it cost me about £18 and it was fantastic. It is HUGEEEEE, like so long for my tiny body but for me it was perfect as it meant I could double up on the sling to make it safer and with this sling, you could put it into different positions to suit baby – I loved it more as I could put it so I could breastfeed Freddie in it, discreetly. Freddie loved it as much as I did, as soon as he went into it, he’d stop crying and settle instantly. He loved being snuggled in, wrapped up in to my chest nice and warm and it meant I could do things! It was also perfect for in the evenings, in getting Freddie settled ready for bed time and to calm him. I’d read that putting them into slings during the evenings, would help to form a routine and it certainly did for Freddie. I totally love my one and still use it with Freddie now, proves you don’t need to go spend ridiculous amounts when cheap ones are just as good!
Isofix base – now I don’t drive, I wish I could but I just can’t and don’t plan too – too expensive!! In some ways, I think its good that I don’t because I can’t imagine how bad my road-rage would be. However, one thing me and Ryan have found SUPER useful is having the isofix base for the carseat. This base is basically where the carseat goes in rather than having to strap the seat in with the belt every single time.
The base clips into the car and then the carseat literally just clips in too. It literally takes seconds to get Freddie into the car and for us to be off and that comes in handy when you have a screaming baby and you desperately are trying to calm them and stop their crying. I’ve been out a few times, not in our car and not had the isofix base and it is a faf having to strap the seat in and out every single time you’re getting in and out of the car, so if you can afford an isofix base; we (especially Ryan) fully recommend! Also, in those first couple of weeks when you’re sore and healing, you don’t want to have to be bending and stretching yourself in positions where you can hinder your recovery, so simply lifting this into the car was perfect for me.
Dummies – I was adamant that Freddie wasn’t going to have a dummy and especially because I wanted to breast-feed him. I’ve read that if you’re breastfeeding, you’re not supposed to give your baby a dummy until at least 6 weeks after because it can cause problems in feeding due to them getting confused with sucking. I wanted to go with this simply because I so badly wanted to breastfeed. I’m also aware of the trouble you can face, when trying to get rid of the dummy… and the thought of having to get up in the night repetitively to put their dummy back in… ugh no. But. Freddie had a dummy the night we come home. Yep. We got home on the Thursday night and after giving him a feed and settling for bed, we started to sleep. HA. Sleep?! Freddie cried from 11:30pm till about 3:30/4am, nothing we did helped him or stopped him until it clicked in my head to try a dummy. He stopped instantly, he settled in my arms and slept and it was peaceful. Moral of the story… even if you’re dead set on your baby not having something, HAVE IT; just incase. That night, Freddie needed comfort and he could only find it from a dummy and that is fine. You have to give your baby what they need and my feelings and thoughts of him having a dummy went out the window. Anything for some sleep, eh?! I don’t believe that giving him a dummy so soon effected our breastfeeding journey at all so don’t always believe everything you’re told or read.
Snacks – for you of course, not the baby. This sounds like a weird one but trust me, I couldn’t have got through those first few weeks without snacks. Now, I know a lot of women (like me) can get hooked on getting your post-baby body back ASAP rocky but honestly, as soon as you’ve birthed a baby… the last thing on your mind is dieting or exercising. I was lucky in that my body went back quite quickly and any signs of a bump were no more in the first month, I’m now just left with my mum-tum ♥. I didn’t feel hungry at all for the first week or two but I had to keep my appetite up and being a new mum, I didn’t have time to make meals (luckily I had my mum for this) so I resulted in snacks – little and often. Snacks also payed a huge part for me as I was breastfeeding and I could often spend hours with Freddie just on my boob and not being able to move. So, I’d stick something on Netflix and snack and there is no better feeling. If you breastfeed, you’ll find you’re always hungry as you need to keep replenishing your body from what you’ve given to your baby, if I snacked it was always a mix between healthy and treats! Besides, what new mummy doesn’t need some TLC through sweet treats?! Don’t always go healthy, you need fatty foods as much as healthy to help your baby gain weight.
Plenty of muslin squares and vests – I can’t stress this one enough and as they get older, it gets worse and you’ll find yourself needing so many more than in the beginning! But, newborns poop and sick a lot, you’ll constantly be finding yourself covered in sick or poo, let alone how much they’re covered in it too. Having plenty of muslins and vests were essential and still are. Freddie did some pretty impressive poops I must say which always ended in a full change and the occasional vest being stained or thrown away. He also was a very sicky baby, thanks to reflux and him never burping properly so muslins were a saviour for these moments. Pop one on your shoulder, underneath baby’s head when lying to catch the sick, use it as a ‘make-shift’ bib and I would pop one in my bra as Freddie made so much mess when he was feeding, like I’d be covered in milk all down my belly and side! Have more than you think you’ll need as, with these two items; you don’t know how many you will go through or will need.
Next-to-me Crib – this is my number 1 must have, without a doubt. Freddie started off in a Moses-basket but it soon became clear to us, he hated it. Throughout the day, Freddie was more than happy within it and would nap perfectly in it and be settled. However, when it come to night time and sleep… he was a different child. He’d cry non stop, wouldn’t sleep or settle unless he was with one of us or in our bed and didn’t seem to be able to get comfortable or warm and we didn’t know how to solve it. We didn’t want to get in the habit of co-sleeping (plus I was too scared) and we didn’t know where else he could sleep, so we looked into the next-to-me cribs – but they were very expensive and we didn’t have the money to get one. We got ours second-hand, it was hardly used and was practically brand-new! We set it up and it looked super cute in our room and I was excited to have my baby right next to me, where I could see him! I also hated the Moses basket, when Freddie was first born, I was extremely anxious and scared of everything (I’m sure all new mums are the same). I hated not being able to see him or check on him without having to get out of bed so when he went into the next-to-me, it was perfect for us both. He could see me and I could see him at all times and I was right next to him for comfort. I loved the fact that if he’d cry, I didn’t have to pick him up unless he needed to be, I could just put my face towards him, stroke his face and talk to him and he’d settle. Freddie wasn’t sleeping in the Moses basket at all, but the first night in the crib; he slept 4/5 solid hours! It was great for breastfeeding, I could feed him and literally put him back into bed without having to disturb him and plus he had so much more room to roll and stretch out in. Mama’s, don’t waste money on a Moses basket, if you can afford a next-to-me crib, DO it!
White-noise – Freddie being a month early was a shock to us all and especially Freddie. Freddie wasn’t quite ready to be born yet and was a very sleepy baby from the beginning but when we got home and began to settle in, his sleep didn’t happen and particularly at night time. Freddie was obviously very used to being in the womb and all the sounds from in there, was now gone and he had to adjust to all these new sounds which understandably, was very overwhelming for him. He’d also only settle on me, as he’d been so used to the sound of my heartbeat, that when he led on me; I was his safety-net – whereas with Ryan, he had to learn that he was also a safe and comforting place. So we began to play white noise or womb sounds to help him and it did just that. He was so much calmer and would instantly go off to sleep, he needed that reassurance! You can buy white noise machines, but we literally used to play it from our phones on youtube and now have an app on the iPad.
Night-light – As well as having white noise, we also found the use of a nightlight wonderful and even now at 7 months old, we still use it for Freddie. Ours plays 4 different music sounds and also the sound of a heart beat and also projects 3 different colours in the shapes of moons and stars. Freddie only likes one song on it (probably because its familiar to him and he associates that song with bedtime) and in the beginning, because he could only see certain colours; we used to use the colour red. Freddie, after a feed, would go into his next-to-me and lie there just watching the colour project onto the ceiling, listening to the music and then slowly fall asleep. The sound we played, even made us really sleepy and helped us fall asleep too! Freddie’s nana got ours from Mothercare and has been a huge help. We still use it now in Freddie’s own room, in his own cot and even though we used it every night, repetitively – the batteries have now only just ran out! I’ve shopped the one we have, on here and it’s currently only £9.99, rather than £24.99! Night light (there is also a picture of it, in the above photo in his next-to-me crib! ^)
Swing-chair – Freddie was too tiny for his chair for ages and putting him in it wasn’t possible until he was much bigger, but when he did go in it.. boy did he love it!
Again, Freddie’s wonderful grandparents got us his swing chair and ours played music, rain sounds, white noise and swung back and forwards and had toys dangling for him to watch. Once Freddie fit into it, it was a dream. I could put him in it for sleep and he’d sleep for ages in it. I could get things done, knowing he was settled and happy in there and also when my nieces and nephews were round; I could put him in it knowing he wasn’t going to get trampled on or whacked in the face with a brick haha. They’re also great for calming and relaxing your baby, especially when you just aren’t cutting it for them. We found with Freddie, that sometimes he didn’t want us to calm him and it made him worse when we did try. Whereas, if we stuck him in his chair, swung him gently back and forth with his dummy in and one of the sounds playing, he soothed.
What I wouldn’t recommend:
I know what it is like to get caught in the excitement of baby shopping and everything you see, you want, but let me tell you… there are things you will buy that you do NOT need and will NOT use. Here’s some of the things we had that we used once or twice and didn’t need.
Baby bath – We were very kindly gifted a beautiful baby bath from our family friend as a baby shower present, one that had the baby-seat in so you didn’t need to hold Freddie. However, Freddie hated bath time and I mean hated! He’d scream blue murder and bathing him was not a nice experience for any of us. He hated being in the bath and we found, he only enjoyed bathing if he was in the bath with one of us. We used the bath a handful of times and found it much easier to bath him with us and as he got older, he preferred to just lie flat and freely in the bath. He now absolutely loves bath time and we definitely have a water-baby on our hands.
Outfits and shoes – Now, I loved clothes shopping and I bought loads, but all in different sizes so he had plenty for as and when he grew but, one thing I found… you won’t use a lot of what you get. Your baby will poo and sick LOADS so you will be changing them a lot, but I found and especially in the first few weeks, they’re just in baby grows because nothing fits properly and it’s easier to dress them. We had lots of outfits bought for Freddie that he never wore because he either didn’t fit them or we just never got round to putting him into them and also some outfits didn’t match the time of year and weather. If you’re going to buy outfits, try and plan for their ages and time of year and don’t just buy it for the sake of it being cute. Same with shoes, their feet are too small to begin with for shoes and then rapidly grow!
What I wish we had:
Prep machine – When Freddie was first born, he was formula fed as my milk wouldn’t come in and breastfeeding wasn’t working for us. Having a hungry baby and waiting for a bottle wasn’t ok. When your baby is hungry – they’re hungry and want feeding there and then. We found the bottle would take agessssss to cool down and during the night it was a long process. I look back on it now and wished we had one, even though I breastfed Freddie from when he was about a week or two old until he was three months, in that first week and from when he was three months; it would’ve come in so handy. I now just make bottles up for the day, put them in the fridge and warm them up as and when I need them.
A manual – I thought I’d add this one in there as a nice little, jokey way to end this post. There’s no instructions to having a baby, but oh my, did I wish there was some!!
Haha, that is the best thing about being a parent though! It is all one massive adventure and learning curve. I truly believe there is no right or wrong way to parenting and raising children, as long as you’re doing your best right? I mean, I totally wing it most of the time and have no clue what I’m doing, but is my baby happy? Hell yeah he is! So, therefore I must be doing a good job?!
Happy reading and if you’re expectant parents – happy shopping!! I hope this post helps in what you need and don’t need.