What to Do With a Newborn All Day

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You bring your brand new sweet cuddly bundle of joy home. You feed her. She sleeps. You change her diaper. You take pictures of her. And then what? What do you do with a newborn so young she can’t yet grasp toys, let alone play with them?

To provide a little structure in the first few weeks, every day I exposed H to experiences that appealed to his senses: sight, sound, smell, and touch. He enjoyed exploring the world, and I enjoyed having ideas for what to do with such a young’un.

Sight

Take your baby on tours around your house, explaining what you’re viewing. Even take him into the garage and basement. H especially liked looking at quilts, our china cabinet, and any artwork. If bad weather prevents you from strolling around the yard, peer through several windows in the house to get a variety of views. Perhaps this is a bad-mom-move, but H and I watched Animal Planet and Baby First TV occasionally to expose him to the outside world.

Sound

Talk, talk, talk and sing, sing, sing to your baby. Your voice is her favorite sound. When your vocal chords are shot, expose your baby to a variety of music. H loved listening to the “demos tracks” on my electric piano as well as Raffi’s Rise and Shine Album. Play any musical instruments you have lying around. Take her outside and listen to the birds, wind chime, or just rustling leaves. YouTube videos of songs and sounds are a good option too.

Smell

Open the fridge and take out some fragrant foods: oranges, ketchup, ranch dressing. Explore your spice rack. Let her smell garlic power, paprika, dill. Sure, I felt a little odd holding pickles up to my newborn’s face, but when you’ve already taken half a dozen house tours that day, you crave a little variety!

Touch

Take a “touch house tour” of your home. In each room, choose a couple of items to touch to your baby’s skin: seashell, cotton ball, paperweight, silk blouse. And, don’t forget baby massage! There’s all kinds of research about the benefits of baby massage. I warm the room with a space heater, follow YouTube massage tutorials and play Pandora’s spa music station. The idea of massaging a baby always makes me laugh, but they love it.

It’s easy to forget that everything, and I mean everything, is new to your baby. Ease her into the world with sensory experiences right there in your own home.

You might also like Dos and Don’ts of Diapering and Pictures Pictures Pictures: What To Do With All Those Newborn Photos.

Photography by Andy Wise.

Dos and Don’ts of Diapering

It’s a necessary evil. You know it’s coming. You signed up for it: changing your baby’s diaper. It will be grosser than you ever imagined. But, friends, there’s a glimmer of hope. It can be (dare I say it) fun. Seriously. Take it from a mom who’s changed so many diapers I could do it with my eyes closed (and sometimes do at 3am), diapering doesn’t have to be the worst part of your day. I swear.

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do connect with your baby

Use diaper time as a chance to connect. It’s a predictable routine for your baby, and they like that. Smile at her; coo at her. Find little traditions to do together. After his diaper change, I hold H’s hands and count to three, then I pull him to a sitting position. He knows what’s coming and smiles in anticipation.

don’t leave yourself unprotected

Whatever you do, don’t change your son’s diaper without something to cover him. During those first couple of months, you’ll likely get sprayed just about every diaper change. We bought the cheapest possible wash cloths and used them as “shield cloths” to cover that area. It protected us many times.

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do keep important items close

Because you can’t leave the baby on the changing table to go grab something, have everything you need for the diaper change within arm’s reach. You spend a lot of time diapering. Organizing your space will make it efficient and easy. Here’s what we like to keep close:

    • trash can: The Diaper Genie is fantastic. The design is so smart. It drops the diapers out of sight, which keeps the room smelling oh-so-fresh. 
    • laundry basket
    • tons of diapers
    • diaper rash ointment: Desitin far surpasses other brands, for us.
    • shield cloth
    • wipes

don’t track on an app

Don’t obsess over tracking poops in an iPhone app. We tracked for a while, but it’s tedious and unnecessary If your child experiences any digestive problems, certainly tracking is a great idea. But ideally, you want to spend more time with your child than staring at your app tracking all events.

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do separate soiled items

H soiled many-a-onsie in those first few weeks. We wound up hanging a plastic bag in the laundry basket to keep the soiled items separate. That makes life easier when it comes time to wash them separately (and double rinse of course).

don’t be poop-ignorant

Study up on poop. Baby poo is quite different from adult poo. The first couple of days, your baby will poo meconium, a black tar-like substance. Know that. If you are breastfeeding, you baby’s poo will be yellow and look like it has birdseed in it. That’s okay. Before your baby’s born, educate yourself on what to expect.

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do protect your changing pad cover

When changing, place a burp cloth under your child’s head on your changing pad. Then, when he spits up, you can wash the burp cloth instead of the whole changing pad. I like Gerber Prefolded Cloth Diapers for this purpose.

don’t make nighttime changes difficult

Don’t make nighttime changes any harder than they need to be. I dress H in a zippered sleep nighty, and then slip him into a zippered HALO SleepSack. Two unzips; change him; two zipups; we’re done. Fiddling with snaps while groggy is not advisable.

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do update your diaper bag

Remember to exchange the diapers in your diaper bag when she moves up to a larger size. You don’t want to be stuck out in public with a tiny diaper. The smaller the diaper, the more likely poo will explode out of the top of the diaper. Been there done that; don’t want to do it again.

don’t be scared

Before I had H, I had never, I repeat never, changed a diaper before. If I can do it, you can too.

What do you do to make diaper-changing a more enjoyable task every day?

You might also like An Uncensored Look Inside My Diaper Bag and How I Stored 300 Ounces of Breastmilk in 3 Months.

10 Ways to Find Mom Friends

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You have work friends, high school friends, and college friends, but what about mom friends? With so many women choosing to have children later in life, or not having them at all, it’s hard to find girlfriends who can relate to your mommy side.  No one better understands the trials, tribulations, and humor of parenting a newborn than others who are doing the same thing. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to other mamas. Spend a naptime searching for mom groups, and dive right in. You aren’t alone, and groups like this will remind you of that.

1. Breastfeeding Support Groups

Between La Leche and hospital groups, you’re sure to find a gaggle of ladies who get together to chat all things breastfeeding and babies. For my breastfeeding advice see Top 10 Breastfeeding Must-Haves and How I Stored 300 Ounces of Breastmilk in 3 Months.

2. Hospital New Mom Groups

Many hospitals offer a time and place for new moms to gather. My hospital’s new mom group provides guest speakers on topics from college savings plans to home safety. Give your hospital a call to see if they offer a similar service.

3. Gymboree Play and Music

Though pricey, Gymboree is tons of fun. The music, puppets, and parachute put a smile on H’s face. Classes incorporate discussion among parents to help you get to know one another. The first class is free, so give it a try to see if it’s right for you and your babe.

4. Little Gym

Believe it or not, Little Gym accepts babies as young as 4 months old. The classes focus on body awareness and movement. They’re quite affordable, and some locations are free for the first few months.

5. Swimming Pool

Baby-mommy swimming classes are a surefire way to meet other moms. If taking a full-blown swimming class isn’t your thing, look for pools with time set aside for open swim for babies. It’s easy to meet other moms with so many adorable waders splashing around.

6. Baby-Friendly Aerobics Classes

StrollFit classes cater to moms of all fitness levels and enable you to bring your baby along. If you don’t have StrollFit classes nearby, don’t fret. Many gyms offer baby-friendly exercise classes. Mom friends who sweat together, stay together.

7. Neighborhood Organizations

When H was born, I didn’t know any young moms in my neighborhood. A Google-search led me to discover a thriving local moms group. I now have oodles of activities on my calendar. Search Facebook, too, to find mommy organizations in your area.

8. MeetUp.com

MeetUp is a giant network of local groups. You can easily search for playdates in your area and sign up to receive emails when new playdates are formed. Through MeetUp, I discovered Hip Mamas St. Louis, a group with over 90 members.

9. Library Story Time

Story time is a good excuse to get out of the house and meet new people. Ask the mom next to you if she wants to grab coffee afterwards. It may feel like you’re asking her on a date, but that’s kind of what making new friends feels like.

10. Mom’s Club

Mom’s Club is an international organization. Each local chapter has its own personality, but most of them offer playdates, mom’s night out, and Facebook groups you can turn to with parenting questions. No Mom’s Club in your area? Consider starting your own chapter.

Making new friends can feel awkward for anyone. Just remember that the other moms are in the same boat you are. They’re out and about to meet people too, so why not be the first to speak up. Your babies provide you with plenty of conversation starters and entertainment.

You might also like Trust Your Instincts and Farewell, Stretch Marks: Beauty Tips for New Moms.

To Do List Template For Moms

Seeing other people’s To Do Lists is stressful. When they pop up on Pinterest, all I can think is, “I don’t vacuum the drapes every other day. How does this woman do it?!” I swear I’m not trying to pressure you. That said, when I was pregnant, I would have loved to see a real new mom’s daily tasks.

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This is what my list looked like during H’s first three months or so. I have it saved on my computer so that I can easily alter it as my lifestyle changes. I print the list each Sunday and jot down any events planned that week in the “to do” area. Throughout the day, I literally put checkmarks in the boxes as I compete each task. (If I was unclear as to whether or not I’m a nerd, I think that confirms it.) Those of you who don’t have kids may laugh at me for including “breakfast” on my to do list. Those of you with kids will completely understand. With a newborn at home, if you don’t specifically remind yourself to eat, you may not.

I’m fortunate enough to use a biweekly household cleaning service, which explains the lack of cleaning chores on my list. I received a year’s work of cleaning from my family as a gift when H was born. Be sure to check out 10 Perfect Gifts for New Moms for other great gift ideas for new moms. Click the links below to download this To Do List in either PDF or editable OpenOffice format.

Color To Do List

PDF Format (Color)

OpenOffice Template (Color)

Black and White To Do List

PDF Format (B&W)

OpenOffice Template (B&W)

Happy checkmarking!

You might also like Top 10 Newborn Must-Haves and An Uncensored Look Inside My Diaper Bag.

10 Newborn Must-Haves We Didn’t Have

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I had the luxury of ample time to prepare for our baby’s arrival when I was pregnant. The nursery was painted, the diapers were stacked, and the crib was assembled. Despite my best efforts, there were a few items we wished we had during H’s first week in the world. I sent my adoring husband and marvelous mom out to nab these things in the first few days home from the hospital. Save your family from frantic Target runs, and gather these items ahead of time.

1. Breastmilk Storage System

You certainly don’t have to have your whole system figured out; that’ll come with time. But, I wished I at least had plenty of breastmilk storage bags, bins to keep them in, and freezer storage space. I suggest starting to store milk right away. Read more about my storage methods at How I Stored 300 Ounces of Breastmilk in 3 Months.

2. Giant Drying Rack

Sure, we had the cute little bottle drying rack, but that thing couldn’t handle the big breastmilk pump pieces we washed daily. I told Andy to find the biggest drying rack he could find, and it was fabulous.

3. Nightlights

I purchased one ahead of time and promptly lost it somewhere in our basement. Get a bunch of nightlights and illuminate the way to and from the kitchen. You’ll certainly make a few midnight runs to the kitchen for bottles, breastpump pieces, and who knows what else. I like the nightlights that turn on automatically when it becomes dark — one less thing to think about.

4. Burp Cloths

When I was pregnant and asked my friends for their must-haves list, I most often heard, “burp cloths and onsies, burp cloths and onsies.” My favorite burp cloths are Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs. Those are pretty pricey, though. It’s nice to have a couple of packages of Gerber Prefold Cloth Diapers to use as burp cloths. We keep one of them permanently on the changing table, among other places, to catch spit up.

5. Clocks

Especially if you’re a first-time breastfeeder, you’ll want to track what time and for how long you feed. We purchased digital clocks for the living room and bedroom for this purpose. I still use them multiple times a day.

6. Washing Bin

It may seem obvious, but it wasn’t to us. You’ll start washing breastpump and bottle materials from day one, so get yourself a washing bin. I’m still so glad I have this.

7. Sanitary Pads

C-Section and vaginal deliveries both leave you wanting plenty of these. C-sections, in particular, require overnight strength to really get the job done.

8. Proper Clothing

For me, proper clothing meant giant sweatpants from Walmart and nursing tops. I love these nursing tank tops from Destination Maternity. They’re comfortable, functional, and you can throw layers over them. Be sure to buy your tops a couple sizes larger than you typically wear. Have at least five of these “outfits” on hand so you don’t have to scrounge for clothes every morning.

9. Space Heater

Exclamation point! A space heater is great for managing the nightime temperature (remember SIDS prevention experts recommend between 68°-72° F for sleeping). It’s also a lifesaver for warming the room before bathtime or baby-massages.

10. Onsies

H’s closet was filled with baby clothes, but we still could have used more onsies. Our little guy was on the small side, and I didn’t have many newborn-sized clothes. Thank goodness my mom went to Buy Buy Baby and bought a dozen newborn onsies. Crises averted.

Don’t be overwhelmed. One run to Target is all you need to gather these items. If you don’t have time to pick all this stuff up before your baby decides to be born, fret not. I’m sure your mom or husband can pick them up for you. God bless them. 

Experienced mom, what items did you wish you had that first week home?

You might also like Top 10 Newborn Must-Haves and Product Recalls: Stay Informed.

Fisher-Price Snugabunny Products: The Pros and Cons

When registering for your baby shower, you scour Amazon reviews and interrogate mom-friends, trying to figure out what you really need. Do I want the vibrating chair or the rocking sleeper? The swing with 5 speed-settings or 4 speed-settings? Which play mat will ensure my child graduates from college? Ah!!!

I registered for all of the Fisher-Price Snugabunny products, and shockingly, I received all of them. I have so many beds and contraptions, I thought I’d have to keep transferring my baby from one to another every few hours, just to get use out of all of them. Surprisingly, I really do use them all. Here’s how. Maybe my experience will help you choose what’s most important to you.

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Swing

 

If I could keep only one Fisher-Price Snugabunny product, it would be the Cradle ‘N Swing. I most often use it to extend naps. If H sleeps in his crib for 30 minutes and begins to stir, I move him to the swing, and he’s able to catch many more zzz’s. We also use it in the early morning, when H has a hard time staying asleep. “Swinging” is one of Dr. Harvey Karp’s recommended techniques for improving infant sleep. Check out The Happiest Baby on the Block to learn more about Karp’s methods. The Snugabunny swing’s music belongs in a spa — quite pleasing. You can set the swing to move forward-and-back or side-to-side. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests only 30 minutes of swinging twice a day. I’ve certainly extended that limit some days, but don’t tell anyone. Simply put, you’ve got to have a swing.

Pro:

The swinging motion helps babies sleep longer.

Con:

It takes up a lot of space.

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Bouncer

 

The Fisher-Price Bouncer is my second-favorite newborn lifesaver. H doesn’t do much bouncing in it, but the vibration is fantastic for soothing. He sometimes hangs out in the bouncer for a few minutes while transitioning into naptime. The vibration calms H while I read him a few stories, or just let him chill and watch me put away laundry (poor kid). I hesitate to allow naps in the bouncer because it keeps H’s body upright, at about a 45° angle. This position causes his chin to rest on his chest, increasing the risk for airway blockage. You can always move him to a crib or bassinet if he falls asleep to the vibration.

Pro:

The vibration soothes babies.

Con:

It’s low to the ground; you have to sit on the floor to interact with your child.

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I adore the Fisher-Price Musical Gym. The toys are visually appealing, tactilely interesting, and make a variety of sounds. It comes with a little pillow I use daily, and an unbreakable mirror, which H responded to from a very early age. The top spins, lights up, and plays a bunch of different songs. It’s got everything you could wish for in a play mat.

Pro:

It’s made with comfortable fabric and includes a pillow.

Con:

The toys aren’t bold primary colors, which appeal to infants.

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Sleeper

 

The Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Sleeper is nice for several reasons. It’s tall enough to reach from the couch, it rocks, and it’s made with the soft fabric that Snugabunny products are known for. Browse the Amazon ratings, and you’ll soon discover that parents hold passionate beliefs about the Rock ‘N Play. Some use it throughout the night and claim it drastically improves their babies’ sleeping. Others warn that it restricts your baby’s head movement, resulting in a flat head. Most often, we keep it in our bedroom and put H in it while we get ready in the morning. This product was recalled recently due to mold risk, but that’s nothing a little bleach and some elbow-grease can’t fix.

Pro:

It’s tall enough to reach while you’re sitting on the couch or in a chair.

Con:

You have to manually rock it, and it only rocks a little bit.

 

Whatever you wind up with when the dust settles from your baby shower will be a blessing. I consider these Fisher-Price products investments I can use with my future children. My biggest concern, though, is when are they going to make an adult-sized swing with spa music? I could get used to that.

You might also like Top 10 Newborn Must-Haves and An Uncensored Look Inside My Diaper Bag.

The Happiest Baby on the Block

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The best $45 we spent during pregnancy was for a class called “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” If you haven’t heard of Harvey Karp’s book by this title, I’m so glad you’re reading this post right now. Karp takes parent-wisdom that has been around for centuries and explicitly teaches it in such a way that new parents come away feeling empowered to minimize their baby’s crying. The book describes the 5 S’s — Shushing, Swaddling, Swinging, Sucking, and Side/Stomach. Harvey’s 5 S’s are easy to remember and draw upon when your baby begins to wail. We implemented the S’s before we even left the hospital. When my husband used Karp’s method of “shushing” our son for the first time, our jaws dropped. He. Just. Stopped. Crying. It was like an “off” switch. I can’t claim Karp’s methods always works. But I can claim they almost always work. And that’s pretty darn cool.

Here are the 5 S’s as I view them. To hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, read his book. Or for a quicker and more fun way to learn his methods, watch his video.

1 – Shushing

We all know to shhh babies; it just comes naturally. Karp suggests amping up your shushing sound to create a white noise in your child’s ear. You must shush as loud as his crying in order for the sound to calm him. Karp says that in baby-language, “shhh” means “I love you, and I’m here for you.” I think of that sweet message every time I shush my son.

2 – Swaddling

Parents have swaddled their babies in some form since the dawn of man, so this isn’t a groundbreaking discovery. But, I know that I wouldn’t naturally swaddle as tightly as Karp suggests. Remember, a newborn is used to the confines of the womb, so a secure swaddle makes him feel safe. We use the HALO SleepSack to calm H. Swaddling is fool-proof with the SleepSack. You can velcro the warm fleece around your babe without having to futz with a complex blanket-swaddle.

3 – Swinging

Giving your child a little bounce or swing just seems like the right thing to do when he’s crying, and Karp agrees. Your baby was jostled around a bit in the womb, so a gentle jiggle comforts him. In fact, if his head wobbles back and forth a wee bit, you know you’re doing it right. Our swinging-lifesaver is the Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing. It’s truly worth every penny.

4 – Sucking

At least weekly, Andy and I say aloud to each other, “Thank goodness he takes a pacifier!” This is the quickest and most effective way for us to calm H. Though we were warned of the dangers of offering a pacifier to a breastfed baby, we gave him a paci in the hospital anyway, and it hasn’t interfered with breastfeeding for us. We have to keep the pacifier close, so we use the Booginhead Pacifier Leash to make sure it’s always handy.

5 – Side or Stomach

According to Karp, babies are comforted by being on their side or stomach. Frankly, we use this least of the 5 S’s. H likes to be carried in strange ways, so we follow his cues rather than impose the side/stomach method. Every baby is different, though, and maybe this will be the magic ticket for you.

Obviously, don’t use any of these methods in excess. You don’t want to shush so loud his ears ring, or swaddle so often he can’t develop those muscles. The S’s are tools to draw upon when needed, but it’s more important to Trust Your Instincts than blindly follow these techniques.

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Dr. Harvey Karp, writer of The Happiest Baby on the Block

The 5 S’s are best used in the first three to four months of life, or the “fourth trimester,” as Karp calls it. According to Karp, unlike most other animal species, human beings aren’t prepared for the world when they’re born. Babies need time to develop the skills that enable them to function on their own. In essence, all 5 S’s attempt to mimic the womb, providing your child with a familiar and comfortable environment. As Karp predicted, H outgrew most of these methods at about 4 months old. We’re now modifying and changing what we do to calm him. I look forward to reading one of Karp’s other books, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, but we aren’t there yet…

What works to calm your baby? Anything out of the ordinary?

You might also like Top 10 Newborn Must-Haves and 5 Apps for Pregnant and New Moms.

How I Stored 300 Ounces of Breastmilk in 3 Months

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I’m not one of those breastfeeding fanatics. I wasn’t even on board with trying it until about 2 weeks before H was born. I was well aware of the benefits, but the whole idea made me uncomfortable. Consider me converted. After a while, it became so natural and commonplace, I now can’t imagine raising my baby any other way. As I write this, I’ve fed him over 1000 times.

I didn’t set out to store a bunch of breastmilk; it just kind of happened. After talking with friends, I realized that I stored quite a lot. If you’d like to do the same, maybe my experience will help.

The best time for most mamas to pump is after an early morning feeding because that’s when you have the greatest supply. If you don’t produce much extra milk the first few times, don’t be discouraged. The pumping will eventually convince your body to produce more milk. This is how most people pump and store extra milk. I did something a little different.

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In an effort to allow me more sleep, my husband and I worked out a system that enabled me to skip a feeding. Andy took the 4:00 am feeding, giving H a bottle of breastmilk. If you give your baby a bottle, it’s important to always pump around that same time so that your body knows to continue to produce milk. Using the Medela Pump in Style, I pumped at least double of what H was eating at that time of day. Thus, I was able to build up a supply. I only pumped for 10 minutes, so I could pump quickly, stick the milk in the fridge, and catch some more zzz’s. Our nighttime schedule looked something like this during the first 3 months.

8 pm : Feed and bedtime routine.

9 pm : Andy goes to sleep, affording him 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

10 pm : Last minute feed, or “dream feed.” Don’t unswaddle or change his diaper.

2 am : H wakes to feed. Do unswaddle and change his diaper. Takes about an hour.

4 am : H wakes to feed. Andy gives him a bottle. I pump and go back to sleep.

7 am : H wakes to feed. I nurse. We’re up for the day. I’ve had 8.5 hours of on-and-off sleep.

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As our supply grew, so did our storage needs. The refrigerator freezer was already filled with frozen meals provided by family and friends, so we invested in a chest freezer to keep in the basement. We’d always wanted one anyway. In that first week home with the baby, Andy bought our freezer and some storage boxes for the milk. He found icecube bins that perfectly fit the milk storage bags. Good find! The Sterilite 6-qt boxes are a great storage size as well.

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I’ve tried all the major brands of stroage bags, and I prefer Lansinoh. Twice, generic brand bags tore while I thawed the milk in them. There’s nothing worse than watching your hard-earned milk pour down the drain. Some of the pricier brands like Medela, though, have such thick plastic it takes a long time to thaw the milk. Lansinoh bags also score points because they lie flat. If you lay the bags flat while they freeze, they take up less space to store.

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Washing all the pump parts is a bit overwhelming at first. Just remember, you’d be washing oodles of bottles if you’d gone the formula route. Make it part of your morning routine, and it’s not so bad. I suggest purchasing a bin for your sink to make the process a little easier. Rinse the parts off in cold water immediately after pumping to remove most of the milk residue. Then wash with warm soapy water when you have time.

At around the 3-month mark, we ended our system. H no longer kept me up all night with feedings and noises, so it just petered out. I do all the feedings now. We use the stored milk here and there to make sure he’ll still take a bottle and to allow me to get out of the house occasionally. I plan to use the bulk of the stored milk after I’m done breastfeeding completely.

Good luck to you. Breastfeeding is emotional. I’m fortunate enough to have a Breastfeeding With Confidence group at the local hospital that I can attend. We swap stories, weigh our babies, and see the humor in it all. Please don’t be afraid to post or email me any questions. Lactation consultants are wonderful, but it’s also nice to get support from moms who are “in it” right now.

You might also like Top 10 Breastfeeding Must-Haves and Breastfeeding Station: 6 Things You Need to Feed.

An Uncensored Look Inside My Diaper Bag

Diaper Bag Must Haves www.wisemamablog.com

Some diaper bag packing lists are so long and ridiculous, you’d need a giant trash bag to actually haul all that stuff around. I threw my bag’s contents on the table to show you what a real-life mom brings along. Take my advice, and pack your diaper bag well before that first pediatrician appointment. We were frantically throwing diapers in a bag at the last minute.

must have

    • wallet
    • keys
    • phone
    • snack (For mom, not baby.)
    • lip gloss
    • changing pad
    • wipes
    • kleenex
    • hand sanitizer
    • pacifier
    • emergency contact card (Information about your child in case you were unable to communicate.)
    • diapers (Remember to replace these as your baby grows to a bigger size.)
    • plastic bags for disposal
    • burp cloth

good to have

    • sunglasses
    • gum
    • pen
    • lip balm
    • hair clip
    • hair tie (I’m not a fan of having hair in my face while nursing.)
    • hand lotion
    • hair brush
    • diaper rash ointment
    • lanolin
    • first aid kit
    • toy
    • nursing cover
    • onsie (For accidents.)

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The small case is quite convenient for personal items. It’s nice to pull out when I want to switch to a purse. Don’t forget to purchase Dad a diaper bag too. Andy looks styling with his Skip Hop Messenger diaper bag. Happy packing!

For more must-have items see Top 10 Newborn Must-Haves and Top 10 Breastfeeding Must-Haves.

Pictures Pictures Pictures: What To Do With All Those Newborn Photos

Pictures www.wisemamablog.com

Pearhead Babybook and Shutterfly Photobook

H is our first child, and he’s the first grandchild on both sides of the family, and my husband and sister-in-law are photographers. Needless to say, we could wallpaper our home in pictures of our son. Not that I’m complaining; I absolutely love the photos. However, the inner-organizer in me always wants to do something to make the pictures meaningful, shareable, and presentable.

Shutterfly www.wisemamablog.com

Shutterfly Photobook

The wildly popular Shutterfly is a website that enables you to create photobooks, personalized cards, calendars, and other photo gifts. My husband used a coupon to create a free photobook (pictured above) with H’s early pictures. I loved it so much, I replicated it for both sets of grandparents. We used personalized art on the cover: the same “H” in the nursery. Shutterfly is user-friendly, prompt in their delivery, and makes a beautiful product.

Pearhead www.wisemamablog.com

Pearhead Babybook and Bragbooks

I looked long and hard to find a babybook with a contemporary feel. The Pearhead Babybook (pictured above) is just the ticket. This dots pattern is timeless but cool. Best of all, the pages are removable, enabling you to rearrange the book as you see fit. It includes photo corners and photo pages, so even non-scrapbookers wind up with a professional product. I purchased a couple of matching Pearhead brag books (only $9 each!) for H’s two grandmas — not that they need any help in the grandson-bragging department. I love that their brag books match H’s babybook.

Flickr www.wisemamablog.com

Flickr Photo Sharing

We use Flickr to share photos with family for a couple of reasons. My husband feels safe knowing that if our hard drive was damaged, we’d still be able to access our priceless photos online. I like Flickr because it prevents me from over-sharing on Facebook; I know the people who truly care can access our Flickr images. Flickr’s free account allows you to upload 2 videos and 300MB worth of photos per month.

Canvas Pop www.wisemamablog.com

CanvasPop Printing

It’s no secret I love CanvasPop. They printed the “H art” in our nursery. I couldn’t help but use them again. This time, they printed our best newborn pic on a giant canvas. It looks great in the nursery. I hear CanvasPop does great things with Instagram pictures as well, but I haven’t tried printing those yet.

Whether you’re a scrapbook-maker or an Instagram-taker, I know you’ll find creative ways to highlight your babe’s pictures without letting them collect digital dust.

You might also like Nursery Framing Ideas and 5 Apps for Pregnant and New Moms.