Our little guy has definitely put us through the ringer the past month, and we’ve learned a lot about his different cries, what will soothe him and ultimately how us parents can start feeling human again! At this point I feel like I’ve tried everything and definitely have a feel of what works (at least for us), and what I would recommend to other new moms out there, especially during those times when you’re really stressed and feel like you don’t know what else to do. I put together a list of items that have been life savers over the past few weeks, along with a few tips that I’ve learned from other moms out there that have made a BIG difference! Hope it helps some other new moms (or soon to be mommas) get through those rough first weeks – enjoy!
The first item is a little pricey, but I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. If you haven’t heard of the Momaroo definitely consider putting it on your registry. It’s like a rock ‘n play but offers a lot more options for soothing a baby. Our little guy will sit in a rock ‘n play for a little while, but the Momaroo will knock him out for hours. It’s the only swing approved for long hours of sleep so you can feel safe leaving your little one in it for the night. Plus it offers a variety of sounds and swing settings, along with an option to hook up your phone so you control all the settings from it and even play your own music. (Our little man enjoys a good Dave Matthews rock out session!) You can also control the speed of the swing and adjust the height of the seat. During those days when one thing works one day, and then something totally different works the next, this option becomes a life saver.
We have the Ergobaby for when we’re walking around town, along with the Baby K’tan for around the house and both have been great at keeping Thomas happy. There were moments when nothing would calm him down except for walking around the house with him in a carrier. That alone makes having one around worth every cent! Aside from the soothing aspect, it’s also really convenient for carrying around a baby when you need both of your hands. I found it’s really awesome at the grocery store so I don’t have to worry about bringing the car seat into the store. It’s also perfect when your little one won’t go to sleep, won’t sit in a rocker and just wants to be held…but you’re starving! This gives you your hands so you can still chow down on something while keeping your baby happy as a clam!
If you haven’t read about the 5 S’s of soothing your baby, definitely check them out! One of them is to swaddle them and these swaddles are so easy to work with because they have velcro to keep the flaps from moving. It keeps their wiggly hands and feet staying put and ultimately helps to calm them down. Also, they come in some pretty cute designs so even though the baby may look like he’s wrapped up in a straight jacket, at least it’s a cute straight jacket. 🙂
Mylicon Gas Drops
I read somewhere that 5 out of 6 babies have gas issues, especially since all they do is eat. There are some techniques to help with gas, such as bicycle kicks, burping during and after each feeding, keeping the bottle up to limit air (if you’re using bottles), and watching what you’re eating if you’re breast feeding, but those don’t always work. Thomas has a ton of gas (poor little guy!) and often he would just scream in pain while we ran around trying to figure out how to help him. Finally we gave in and gave these gas drops a try and surprisingly they worked. They’re all-natural and can be given after every feeding and just helps to break up those painful gas bubbles that they get. I would recommend you pick some of these up just to keep around if you need them. It could be the difference between a good night’s sleep or hours of baby screams!
Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
I thought these might be kind of wasteful since you’re just using them and then throwing them out, but it would have been such a hassle to have to stop and clean my nursing pads all the time. These stick into your bra or shirt for convenience and make sure that I never leak through anything. I didn’t really know how much of an issue leaking was until I started nursing, and now random times throughout the day I’ll just get milk flowing out like crazy! These also really help at night so I don’t wake up to a stained shirt and sheets – ewww.
Just wanted to list a few tips below that I’ve learned along the way that have really helped me. As a new mom I was looking for a ton of advice so I’m here to share the wealth! Different things work for different babies, but if you’re at your wits end feel free to give these a go!
- Bring your baby into the bathroom when you shower. In the beginning I would run into the shower when the baby fell asleep and just pray that he didn’t wake up. I’d rush through the shower as fast as possible and worry the entire time if he was alright. It was awful and there were a few times I had to run out with shampoo in my hair, dripping wet trying to soothe him. It became a life changer when I would put him in a rocker and just bring that into the bathroom with me. The heat from the shower, along with the sound of the water soothes him and if he starts crying all I have to do is open the curtain to check on him. Most of the time he just wants his pacifier back in his mouth. The other times he would just fall asleep and I would actually get to enjoy the shower. It even gave me an excuse to take a longer one which really helps a stressed out momma!
- Feed your baby more! In the very beginning their little baby stomachs are extremely small so they can’t handle much, but as the weeks go on they expand, which leads to more hungry cries. I started off nursing Thomas on just one side and would put him down but have found that he’s much more satisfied when I feed him on both sides now and then offer him formula afterwards. It doesn’t hurt to offer it because if they’re not hungry they won’t take it. If they do then it keeps them fuller and will help them sleep longer. It may seem like a pain because the feedings will take out a bigger chunk of your day, but it’s worth it when you can get some rest.
- Start teaching your baby the difference between night and day from the moment you bring him home. We keep all the blinds open during the day, make sure to NOT keep the house quiet and take him out for walks. Then at night we keep the light dimmed, give him a soothing bath to get him ready for bed and then keep it pretty quiet. When I wake up to feed him during the night I make absolutely no noise at all. I don’t talk to him and keep only a night light on. Then once he’s done I change him and immediately put him back to bed. During the day he’ll fuss and want to look around, but at night he knows it’s time to sleep and he’ll go down right away. It’ll be a night and day difference for getting some sleep – literally!
- Lastly, if you have friends and family close by, don’t hesitate to ask them for some help. It’s overwhelming taking care of a baby and you shouldn’t feel bad asking someone to come watch them for a bit so you can get some rest. The first few weeks we had family drop off food and stopped by to help clean. At first I was hesitant because I hate accepting help, but OH MY did it alleviate a lot of work for us in the beginning. Sometimes I wouldn’t even have time to get dressed, let alone make dinner for myself and my husband so it was an incredible gift to have someone else do it for us!
Anyways, I hope these help out some other new moms out there! I’ll continue to share my tips as the weeks go on, and we learn a lot more about this whole parenting thing. The best tip of all though? Just remember that you’re doing really well. You’re not a bad parent if your baby cries and you don’t know what to do to soothe them so don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re doing the best you can and it’ll get easier as they get older. One day we’re going to look back at this time and laugh – right?? 🙂
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