My Newborn Essentials

I feel like I have a small avalanche of new babies in my circle of friends. Since I like inflicting my opinion on everyone, I thought I’d share some stuff that I came to appreciate in the early days of bleary mommy-hood.

Eat Sleep Simple Baby Tracking app – In the first few weeks of life you will have fairly frequent well-baby check-ups with the pediatrician, where you will be grilled with a series of rapid fire questions involving everything from the number of poops and pees per day to what the sleeping situation is and which direction your carseat is facing. It feels like a pass/fail sort of test. This app helped me a lot in order to keep track of things, because I had about 2 functioning brain cells due to sleep deprivation. I mostly used it for keeping track of eating, how many minutes on each side and how frequently. My iPhone and my Boppy were my constant companions.

Halo Sleep Sack – I was all about the swaddling. Cora… not so much. She wouldn’t fuss when swaddled, she would just do a little Houdini move and her arms would wiggle free in mere moments. We had a few different kinds of things, from the nice Aden & Anais muslin blankets to the Miracle Blanket. The most fool-proof swaddle was the Halo Sleep sack. There is a zipper in front and two flaps on the arms on the side that can velcro together, with the option to hug arms to the body in a swaddle or leave it loose around the body to let those baby arms wave in the air. The zipper offered easy diaper access without having to completely unbundle her. Next time I need to swaddle somebody I’ll go straight to one of these. So, so easy. Plus even if your lil bugger isn’t into the swaddling it is a nice wearable blanket that can’t be kicked off or wiggle up in front of the face.

Fisher Price Newborn Rock N’Play Sleeper – Cora slept in this for the first three months. It is super lightweight and small, so I kept it right next to my bed. It was easy to drag around the house too (or pick up if you’re able and less lazy). I loaned it to a friend later who had a preemie with some serious reflux issues, and she said it was a lifesaver. The angle of the seat helps newborns with those uncomfortable regurgitation issues. I just saw there was a recall on these due to the potential for mold to grow in them. Well duh, if they get wet and gross and you don’t clean it and let it dry, I see how that could happen. Same with a carseat or swing or any other kind of infant seat. I always kept a waterproof pad like these in the rocker in case of diaper leakage to protect the seat. I also keep one on the changing pad so if there’s a mess I can just switch one of these out real quick rather than washing the whole changing pad cover. Easy peasy.

Piyo Piyo Nail Scissors – love these little guys.  I’ve never hurt her teeny fingers with these, and cutting baby nails is a tricky operation since she has a proclivity to flailing all her limbs, sometimes simultaneously.  (Best to cut those nails when baby is unconscious, whenever possible).  I’m only sorry they don’t seem to work on my cuticles.  

Boppy – The nursing mom’s best friend.  Its a pillow that hugs you back! Also when the bebe is teeny it makes it comfy and easy for anyone to hold that lil bundle.  Later you can use it to prop the baby up when he is working on those sitting skills.  I didn’t think much about the one I registered for.  It had a green cover and I thought that was fine.  What I didn’t consider was how much I would be living with this thing.  In the early days you’ll take a lot of photos with your bebe’s head resting on that Boppy.  I also realized the pale green pillowcase clashed horrendously with my dark red couch.  As it so happens, I would love to just get a new couch, but the more cost effective and practical option at the moment was to find a Boppy cover I actually liked.  Boppy makes them of course, but I wanted a little more variety, so I turned to that mecca of all things cute and crafty – Etsy.  Search for Boppy covers on there and you’ll find tons, I went with this store BixbyBasil because of the pages and pages of cute fabric options.  I probably could have bought a dozen just because there are so many great fabric choices.  With any baby gear that has a decorative element, I say go with something an adult would like looking at too.  If there’s any colors or patterns, the baby will like it.  I chose this one.  Cora loves it too.  A Boppy cover is an easy DIY too, if you have any skill with a sewing machine. I have no skill with a sewing machine and I was able to make a Boppy cover for a friend following a tutorial and with some supervisory advise from my mom.

Swing – I did not want a swing. I thought it would be a “sleep prop”. After 6 weeks of 45 minute naps, I caved and took the swing my parents had purchased (link above). The 45 minute naps now lasted about 2 hours. Hallelujah. The swing was big and tacky and I kind of hated the sight of it, but I really needed those two hour naps. The weird thing was Cora slept fine in the rocker/bassinet at night but that didn’t work for naps for some reason. She napped in the swing until she started to outgrow it and started sitting up in it while it was swaying, so at around 6 months old I started working on napping in her crib (where she was already sleeping fine at night). The nap transition took a while, but it happened … eventually. At one year old she naps in her crib like a champ. Though it was essential in the beginning, I was glad to move that big tacky swing out of the nursery and out of sight.

Netflix – I watched SO much Netflix in the first couple months following Cora’s birth. Mostly because nursing sessions last about 40 minutes during that newborn time, conveniently the length of a show on Netflix (or two shows if its a 20 minute sitcom). I would get really bored sitting around all the time, so watching endless tv was one of my few available hobbies to keep me entertained. Find a few shows you’d like to burn through several seasons of and go for it.

What are your must-have, lifesaver newborn items?

 

Down with the Sickness

(oh wah ah ah ah!)

Alternate Title – How Not to Get Fat During Pregnancy. 

For the first 3-4 weeks I felt normal.  Then, it came.  The nausea.  The awful, powerful urge to throw up every 30-45 minutes.  All day long.  Morning sickness is a complete misnomer.  My nausea was 24/7.  Nausea is worst on an empty stomach, therefore you are more likely to feel sick in the morning because you haven’t got any food in you yet. 

I didn’t throw up a ton, largely due to sheer willpower.  I really really Really hate throwing up.  Its the worst thing ever.  If you’re sick or hungover, you at least have the knowledge that getting whatever it is out of your system will help somewhat, so the barfing is a good thing and soon you’ll feel better.  With pregnancy?  Not so much.  That sickness could stay with you an indeterminate amount of time, and no amount of yakking will make it go away.  It was also such a struggle to get food in my mouth in the first place, I didn’t want to waste all that effort by urping it all back up again.  So I’d just say no, No, NO.  I will not throw up.  There were some mornings (does 1am count as morning?) when there was no stopping it.  My entire body convulsed.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if blood was shooting out my ears and nose and my eyeballs popped out.  Like the hand of God Himself was squeezing me like a tube of toothpaste.  No mere willpower was keeping that at bay. 

Then there’s all the inappropriate times and places to throw up, which is almost all places almost all the time.  Like, in the mall parking lot at 6pm.  Or in the bar where you went to hear a band play (not drunk!  just pregnant!  I swear!).  Or driving up I-85 at 70 miles per hour on the way to work.  (Would I be able to safely pull over?  Then I would have to drive all the way home to change my clothes?  Ewwww).  I did manage to keep all the barfing confined to my bathroom.  Ok, and bedroom floor one time.  Annnd the living room floor a couple times.  And one little time at the office, but I’ll leave that a mystery for my co-workers. 

For a month I lived like that, feeling like I had a 24 hour stomach bug (720 hour bug?).  The next time I went to the doctor I whimpered about how ill I felt All The Time and she gave me a prescription.  It helped Enormously.  I kept getting that prescription refilled well into month 5, though at about that point I did start taking it as needed rather than automatically every morning.  I still felt queasy pretty often, but it was much easier to get small amounts of carbohydrates into my mouth.  The nausea never really left me, but was eventually replaced with reflux when my stomach was shoved somewhere up into my chest cavity.

Not only did I feel ill, but my desire for food changed. The joy of food was lost.  And I love me some food.  My taste buds had changed so that almost all foods were repellent to me. I didn’t have any specific aversion, it was a broad spectrum.  Like all meat was disgusting.  Salad became hard to eat.  What’s gross about salad, you say?  Nothing, that’s just an example of how All Food was completely unappetizing.  You know what helps to alleviate the nausea?  Food.  So the stomach that hated all foods also needed food to combat the sickness, so it was a conundrum. For about a month I survived by shoving a Fig Newton in my mouth every time a new wave came on, which was approximately 30-45 minutes.  Christie theorized that I was the sole reason for Newtons going on sale at our local Publix.   

Bread and other carbohydrate cousins were usually ok, given that they were bland, and low in fat and sugar.  Saltine crackers and ginger ale were not some of these foods.  Another odd symptom that I had never heard of was a bad taste on my tongue that never went away, despite scrubbing it with a toothbrush (trying not to gag).  It was like I had been sucking on pennies all day long.  Anything sweet just made the taste worse rather than covering it up.  This included refined wheat products like saltine crackers, and sugary drinks like ginger ale.  Both left a horrible after taste.  I did discover that club soda with just a teeny bit of real soda in it was good.  So refreshing and bland. 

After checking out BabyCenter I realized I was not alone in the bad mouth taste thing.  Not much helped cover it up, except for these ginger candies sold at Trader Joe’s.  The difference between this and ginger ale is that it is Real Ginger and doesn’t have a lot of added sugar.  If you bought a jar of thin sliced ginger, the kind always served in a little lump with sushi, that would do the trick too.  But the candies are easier to keep in a desk drawer or purse. 

Foods that Helped Me Survive:

  • generic Cheerios (name brand honey-nut tasted too sweet, so go for generic or a variety with less sugar)
  • Chex mix or trail mix
  • Peanut butter.  Eating a spoonful made me feel better pretty quickly.  Pair with an apple or banana, or smear on the Newtons or Fiber Bar if you feel like saving yourself the shame of eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. 
  • Real ginger – emphasis on real.  Not a food source, but it helps the palate
  • Barely flavored beverages like club soda or La Croix.  I became addicted to Honest Ade because it was tasty without being too sweet.  My faves are Super Berry Punch (I think that’s the one with a berry wearing hipster glasses on it) or the Orange Mango. 
  • Milk.  I was practically vegetarian, but I drank milk like a fiend.  Which is good, because if you don’t get enough calcium during pregnancy that greedy lil fetus will steal it from you.  Just say no to osteoporosis. 
  • Quesadilla with black beans.  This was later on when I could handle a little more fat content from the cheese, and the beans made me feel like I was at least getting some protein.
  • Smoothies.  I didn’t do this a lot, but they kept me going at Dragon Con very well when I was 5 months preggo.

Talking to other preggos, I wondered about my protein intake since it was being fueled solely by milk and peanut butter.  I asked my doctor if I should try to drink some protein shakes.  He said, “Why would you want to do that?  Those are disgusting.”  Granted I had an older doctor who had been practicing for 30 years.  Here’s where opinions vary widely, but in my case my very unbalanced diet resulted in a healthy 8 pound baby.  I did take my vitamins with no problem the entire time.  I used VitaFusion PreNatal Gummy Vitamins.  They never tasted bad, so that’s saying something.  They don’t have iron, so I took just a normal iron vitamin, but always a couple hours later so that one didn’t interfere with the absorption of the other.  The iron became pretty important around month 5.  I had a few days where I felt like I was going to pass out, and taking iron really helped with that.  Passing out – no bueno. 

So glad I’m not there any more!  Feel free to share your horror stories or what helped you survive!

 

Update! A Cubicle Christmas

Yup, I won “most nostalgic”. I didn’t really see my design as nostalgic, but I’ll take it! My little joke is that its nostalgic for a time when polar bears weren’t in danger of losing their habitat.

Here are some of my co-workers fabulous designs.

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A Christmas tree made entirely from ribbons.

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A snowglobe with little snowmen!  I want to play with the plastic every time I walk by.

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A tree made entirely of medical supplies (from our medical department).  Those are rubber gloves, bandages, syringes, and an IV tube.

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A chalkboard Christmas card with “Merry Christmas” in several different languages.

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And our “Best in Show”, a cozy scene with a roaring fire and snow falling outside the window.

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Merry Christmas and happy decorating!

A Cubicle Christmas

Its our first annual Christmas decoration contest here in cube-land. Here’s my entry:

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It is made up of an old blue curtain with painted stars, a string of twinkle lights, a lace curtain I picked up at Goodwill, sparkly paper for the big star, and felt.

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Hello little polar bears.  See how they are enjoying their night sky?

The sliver of brown is the actual color of the cubicle wall.  Bleck.  My favorite part is the twinkle lights shining through the blue fabric.  I think it makes the whole thing work.

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The rules were that we could only decorate the outside wall of the cube, and only within a certain space.  If I’d been allowed, I would have snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.  I came up with the design before I heard the categories, which are:

  • Best in Show
  • Best Biblical Depiction
  • Best Seasonal Depiction
  • Most Creative Use of Materials
  • Most Colorful
  • Most Nostalgic

I don’t know that my piece really matches any of these, but here’s hoping for best in show.  ;-)  The winners will be announced tomorrow at our office Christmas lunch/party.  Whatever the results, I stand by my work.

Boston Fern

So in April my lovely boss gave me a Boston Fern for my birthday (she’s so sweet). It was big then, but its humongous now.  It has lived happily in the shade on the patio, but I’ve been bringing it in so it doesn’t freeze its little fronds off.

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So now it is hanging awkwardly here.  Awkward because its right at the “bonk one’s head” level.

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I wish it could live happily on the floor, but certain jungle cats like to play in and around and on top of the fern.  And it makes a mess with fern bits all over the floor.

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I’ve googled around, and according to the Internet, Boston ferns can survive the winter just fine if they are in a garage or basement.  I do have some windows in the garage and it stays pretty warm in there.  I should really divide it or re-pot it, because it must be bustin’ at the seams with roots.  The real trick is remembering to give it some water every once in a while.  I’m not so good at keeping plants alive…

p.s.  how cute is my dog?  so handsome.

p.p.s.  my blog is pink now, and much less busy.  you might have noticed.  it is not even close to permanent, but its about my skill level right now.  yay or nay?

Really?! Really.

The WordPress gremlins are hitting me again tonight.  Photos not uploading, things I write not saving.  I try to use my WordPress app on the phone, as the computer is failing me, and that freezes too.  Really?  REALLY?!  really.

I’m having some red wine and turning on Breakfast at Tiffany’s or something.  End rant.