Like a lot of people I read the happiest baby on the block right after I had Liv. I actually started with Dr Karp’s sleep book first. I downloaded it on my tablet from my local library and read it while I was up nursing late at night. Once I chilled out and stopped staring at her every second she was in the bassinet I slept better, she slept better and everything was awesome. We found a rhythm and everyone was better off.
For Miss Olivia the trick was swaddling, shushing and sucking. I swaddled her up before I did her last feeding of the night (usually around 9 or 10) and played the baby white noise app on my phone. Once she was done nursing I did a fast kansas city shuffle with the paci and she was off to dream land. Figuring that out was monumental for us. I can’t say we struggled with sleep like a lot of families, and we were truly blessed by having a pretty chill baby, but having a system and a plan for those first three months was awesome.
Once we got her little system down I could actually keep my eyes open long enough to read the full “Happiest Baby…” book and it just got better from there. I would put it in my top ten newborn survival items. Everyone else has these lists, but here is mine:1. Earth Mama Angel Baby – Natural Nipple Butter: best name ever, right?! I used a lot of EMAB products including their herbal soak, bottom spray and teas. They are all legit. Stock up well before hand.
2. Knit Sleep Sack: I knit one from an online pattern, but there are tons on etsy I’m sure. This one came up to her armpits with plenty of leg room, or could be pulled up to her neck like a little sleeping bag. Olivia LOVED THIS. Let’s be honest, putting pants on a newborn should be a rodeo event. It’s horrible There is a lot of crying involved from all parties, so cut the nonsense and put your baby in a little hot water bottle cozy.
3. Happiest Baby on the Block Book Sleep Guide(and other books on my tablet. I was an E-reader hater until I realized I could download them from my library and read them one handed while I marathon nursed. Seriously legit.) I loved this book. I hate parenting books, but this book made sense of a lot of the newborn nonsense and spoke to the small remaining part of my rational brain. I was like this when I was pregnant too; I didn’t mind having nasty swollen veins in my knees if I could rationalize it. I knew that my body was doing SOMETHING it needed to do and there was just nasty side effects for me (i.e. acid reflux and heartburn? oh, that’s because of the hormone relaxin coursing through my veins, loosening all my joints, making me feel like a used up Stretch Armstrong…I feel better now)
4. Miracle Blanket The most aptly named baby product ever. I tried all of the hand-done swaddles with the sweet, sheer, organic muslin blankets, but let’s get real….It’s hard to do that when you are half asleep. We had the miracle blanket down to a science, and for the first few weeks I could even pull her little legs out through the slit in the front and CHANGE HER while she was swaddled. Genius. Eventually she used her little monkey-feet to grab said slit and push it down to free her arms, but the $30 dollar price tag was nothing compared to those priceless few weeks of swaddled bliss. We just phased our little houdini out of swaddles, but the runner ups for her third month were the large SwaddlMe and the gorgeous Aiden and Anais easy swaddle
5. Boppy (a lot of people like other nursing pillows more, but I used it a lot for other things like creating a little napping pod. I would throw the sheepskin on it and prop her in it on her side for her daytime nap. We called it her “wilderness nest.” NOTE: The boppy is NOT designed for sleeping and we only ever did this when she was in our sight the whole time. Usually on the floor by the couch where I was recouping from popping her out)
6. Bendy Straws “What?!” I hear you say. The doula that taught our birthing class (try to say that without sounding like an ass) recommended having them in our birthing bag and they were my number one favorite thing during labor…okay, that might be an over sell, but seriously it’s nice to be able to drink the million gallons of water your body needs without sitting up.
7. Nursing Tank Tops They tell you after you have a kid you get really hot and it is so true. We had the heat in our apartment cranked to the temperature of the sun to warm our new little bundle and there I am with a nasty-new-mom flop sweat. Nothing makes you feel prettier when you pose for those newborn pictures. I have a few nursing bras, but I don’t wear them a fraction as much as my tank tops. I can throw a cardigan over it and call it an outfit, or lounge around the house without flashing my battle scars every time I feed the bub. They have pretty excellent ones at target and H&M for cheap, but these bad boys are my favorite.
8. Wicker Bassinet We tried a pack n’ play at the end of the bed, but every time I would sit up to grab her I pulled all of the sheets off of Chris. Hilarious? Yes, but not very functional. (I even tried sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed so I could look at her in my new-mom paranoid-ferver) Next we tried an in-bed cosleeper bassinet-thing, which didn’t fit in our bed, but did fit at the head of our bed on theheadboard/bookcase we have (thanks IKEA!) which worked great and came with a nightlight/noise machine/vibrating thing to clip onto it. This worked a dream. I could peek at her easily, the nightlight was perfect for late-night feeding, but the noise machine turned off in about 20 minutes and had one setting that i kept accidentally turning on that was the sound of really loud singing birds. Why?! We probably would have kept using this except a friend lent us a wicker bassinet that we absolutely adore.It fits right next to our bed, has wheels and storage underneath it. Bonus: it is not a huge eyesore. I’m in love and will probably invest in one for our future kids. (I can’t find the exact one, as it’s preloved, but it’s a bit like this one)
9. Dark Chocolate This was actually “prescribed” to me by the birth center. Dark chocolate is full of stuff that makes your brain happy, and when I hit that day four hormonal cliff snarfing all of the leftover christmas chocolate in the house made me extremely, extremely happy. You don’t need an excuse to make people bring you chocolates, but this is a darn fine one.
10. Depends Seriously. No shame in my game. I don’t know what I was thinking not getting any, but it’s a test of whether someone really loves you if they go to the store late at night to buy adult undergarments for you. For the record Chris was a big freaking hero. I slapped these sexy things on and threw a pair of men’s boxer briefs over them and it was perfect. Not saying it’s pretty, but neither is ruining all of your expensive undies.