Being a mom is both the best and most terrifying thing in the world. "Here's a human, take care of her, show her all your love, help her feel content, and don't do anything that could cause irreparable harm." That's a tall order!
I read a number of books before Grant was born, and re-read them in preparation for Hannah, although this can be helpful, as can tips from your girlfriends, the book can't do anything to help you when you're in a "What in the world do I do now?" moment.
Today I thought I'd share a few essentials that have helped up with the first month of Hannah's life.
Reads: As far as books go, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was the most helpful. It talks about creating a routine baby can get used too. First you wake/eat, then play, then sleep. Establishing this routine helps baby not to fall asleep while nursing, so they eat a "full meal" and don't snack, it also help baby to sleep through the night more quickly too. For me, nursing was something Hannah picked up pretty quickly, so that wasn't a struggle for us. I understand that's not the case for everyone. I was most interested in the section on sleep. One of the things she says is to "start out how you want to go." We tried "cry it out" with Grant based on Baby Wise, but liked what the Baby Whisperer had to say more about sleep. She says putting your baby down when they are almost asleep, then using the aid of a good swaddle and pacifier to help aid baby in going to help baby fall asleep on their own. Now, we do let her fuss for a few minutes before rushing in to comfort her. We do this a few times and she generally is falling asleep pretty easily.
The book also talks about how to know your baby is actually ready to sleep, and there's also a survey to help you know how to "read" your own baby's emerging personality too. Hannah is definitely more emotional than Grant was, and it's taken quite a bit of time and observing to watch her to best know how to meet her needs.
Pacifiers: We have found that Philips Avent Soothie Pacifiers are ones that Hannah prefers. She doesn't use one, except when she's getting ready for a nap and/or in her crib. I've read that you should get a pacifier that most replicates the shape of your nipple if you're nursing, so a different one might work better for your baby.
Swaddling: We didn't really swaddle Grant, but Hannah is a big fan of a good swaddle when she's napping. These swaddle blankets are really inexpensive, and in my opinion a good swaddle can make all the difference when it comes to a baby's sleep.
White Noise: The last think I think is essential for your baby is white noise, like the kind you can get from a white noise machine. There are also apps out there that do this too. Hannah actually prefers the noise of the fan in our bathroom or a "shush" in her ear. For her personally, we only use this when she's really worked up or over-stimulated/tired. This is happening less and less and we get to know her, but white noise puts her at peace almost immediately when all else fails.
Clothes: There are also some things that I have found essential for my survival during this first month too. The first is comfy clothes, like this tunic and these leggings (I have the black and white ones). Having a winter baby means we don't go out that much; it's just too cold and not worth the effort, so cozy clothes that are nursing friendly (if you're nursing) are essential. Even though I'm staying at home I do shower and get ready each day, even if I'm wearing lounge clothes like this-it just makes me feel better.
Caffeine: The next, is coffee.....lots and lots of coffee. I have a couple of cups in the morning, and often times another cup in the afternoon. Once Hannah is sleeping though the night, I'll be able to cut back, but when I'm up with her twice, I need all the help I can get! I also think drinking out of a fancy mug helps too. ; )
Reads: Lastly, is some time for yourself. I usually set aside time during Hannah's first nap for coffee, a shower, and my daily devotions. It's during this transitional time in my life I really need to make sure I'm relying on God, so daily time is important! Right now I'm using this book, The Armor of God, and loving it!
What about you moms out there? Is there anything you'd add to your list? I'd love to hear!