Sale begins Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7am ET
Sale ends Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 11:59pm PT
I’ve been a parent for a whole 7 WEEKS now and obviously, I’m now an expert. BAHAHAHHAH. Oh, god. So far from it. I’ve done (and am still doing) SO much research on babies, childcare, parenting, sleep training, breastfeeding — it’s ridiculous. Before Lou was born, we did our research and bought what we considered the best gear. We’ll totally use this all the time! Funny how babies don’t care that something has over 1000 4-star reviews on Amazon.
But in these first 7 weeks, there have been some things that we do use all the time that I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again. In fact, for a couple of these things, I actually have gone and bought a 2nd (and 3rd) set.
1. Woombie // Lou has a strong startle reflex and will wake herself up with her flailing as-if-independent-from-her-body arms. She loves being swaddled, but no matter how tightly we swaddled her with regular swaddle blankets, she could always break out of them. Enter the Woombie. It zips up, so you don’t have to deal with folding blankets (although we did end up swaddling her loosely with a blanket over the Woombie for more warmth). It also zips from the bottom, which is nice for middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
2. OXO Wipes Dispenser // You quickly learn that a lot of the steps to changing a diaper require that you do them with only one hand because your other hand is needed to hold your baby’s legs out of her own poop. The dispenser has a push top opening, keeps wipes moist, and lets you pull out single wipes at a time. It’s a simple concept, but when you’re changing 10+ diapers a day, the convenience is exponentially appreciated.
3. Spasilk Wrap Onesie // Most babies hate wearing clothes and love being naked. Lou was the complete opposite. She HATED being naked. This turned every diaper or clothing change into a mini meltdown for the first month or so. Those extra few seconds spent trying to pull a tiny neck hole over her giant 65-percentile head was not an option. These onesies were great because there were just 3 snap buttons down the front, so you could put it on like a jacket. I also really liked how the bottom snaps snapped across the belly instead of the crotch, which also made things a lot easier. This is what Lou wears every night to bed underneath her swaddle.
4. Art for Baby // We use this book during tummy time and Lou loves it. Babies love high-contrast black and white images and this book features art by contemporary artists, so it’s at least interesting for adults to look at too. Lou’s favorite is the Murakami flower. She stares at it for minutes (an eternity in baby-time!).
5. Zutano Booties // Babies are always missing one sock. These booties actually stay on. AND look good. They’re great as “shoes” for newborns when leaving the house. They look like little hightop moonboots. So cute.
6. Freemie Collection Cups // Pumping breastmilk is the worst. I never really knew what pumping entailed because I never really thought about it. Pumping breastmilk? It just comes out into a container, right? OMG NO. There are SO many steps and parts involved. You’re attached to a machine for 20 minutes with huge pieces of plastic attached to your boobs milking you like a cow. These 20 minutes aren’t including setup beforehand or cleanup afterwards. Then you have to deal with measuring and storing what you pumped into sterilized containers for freezing later. And the amount you pump for all that work is SO LITTLE! Sometimes as little as 1 ounce! And you do this MULTIPLE times a day. Pumping is THE WORST. These Freemie collection cups make pumping a LITTLE less annoying because you can stick them inside your shirt (and then connect them to your existing pump with your existing tubing). The traditional “horns” that come with most breast pumps are a lot bigger and require you take off your bra and use a hands-free bra if you don’t want to hold them up to your boobs. The Freemie cups are a lot more discrete. I could write a whole blog entry about pumping and using traditional flanges vs. Freemie cups….but I won’t….because most people don’t care….and I’m boring myself just thinking about it.
7. Circo Sleep-N-Play // Lou has quite the collection of stylish clothing hanging in her closet. She’s worn maybe 10% of them. However, she basically lives in these Circo Sleep-N-Play suits. As I mentioned, she hates taking off her clothes, so anything with too many buttons or multiple pieces is like an invitation for screaming. These are one piece and the Circo brand in particular features an inverted zipper that unzips from the bottom, which has proven to be PRICELESS for middle-of-the-night diaper changes because it allows the top portion of her clothes to remain closed. Also, they’re like less than $5 each at Target.
8. Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets // I never realized how many items you need to cover your baby with. We have SO many different blankets of varying thickness for Lou and we use all of them! We use these muslin swaddle blankets every day for swaddling, for laying on top of the couch, for laying on top of her various seating apparatuses, for covering her in her stroller, for blocking rain and wind when we’re outside — so many uses! They’re lightweight, but are big enough that you can fold for extra thickness. I like this jeweled-colored set in particular for the pop of color amongst the mostly black/white/grey furniture and clothes I buy for her.
9. Ergo 360 // Baby-wearing has been a game-changer for us. Turns out, babies don’t always like to hang out by themselves. Play in your crib for 10 minutes while mama clears the dishwasher? Sit in your bouncy chair for 15 minutes while mama does a load of laundry? 2 minutes while mama goes to the bathroom?? NOPE NOT GONNA DO IT. Wearing your baby enables you to go about your day (somewhat) with the use of both arms, whereas before, you were confined to the couch or walking laps around your living room, baby in tow. I’ve tried wrap carriers like the K’Tan, Moby, and Boba, but ended up liking the Ergo the best. While the softer wrap carriers did feel more natural/comfortable, I preferred the structured feel of the Ergo better, at least for my purposes of getting stuff done around the house. In fact, Lou is sitting in the Ergo right now as I’m typing up this blog draft. With the wraps, while they were more comfortable for just hanging out or sitting on the couch, it was harder to do chores because after a while, they felt loose and more saggy feeling. I do still own both types, but I find myself reaching for the Ergo more. An added bonus is that Lou falls asleep in the carrier within 10 minutes, guaranteed. It’s my go-to way of sneaking in a nap!
So these are my 9 picks for theses first 7 weeks of baby’s life. Will be interesting to see what our little dictator chooses as her next 9 items of choice in the coming weeks.
The word “postpartum” is usually associated with the concept of “postpartum depression,” but the word “postpartum” itself just means the period after childbirth. Right now, I’m almost 6 weeks postpartum and while I was lucky enough not to have experienced actual postpartum depression, it has been an mental/physical/emotional roller coaster for sure.
Physiologically, when you’re pregnant, your body has super high levels of hormones for both you and baby. After giving birth, there is a so-called “crash” when all of those hormones that were sustaining you for the past 9 months are suddenly gone. It’s truly a sudden drop and let me tell you, the effects are palpable.
I consider myself a pretty even-keeled person and have a pretty firm grasp over my emotions. Those first two weeks, though. WHEW. It was a side of myself I did not expect to see. To go from feeling your heart be so full of love for this tiny person one second, to hiding out in the bathroom and sobbing into a crumpled wad of toilet paper the next – it got to be pretty overwhelming.
It wasn’t the hormones alone that made that time so crazy. It was the hormone crash combined with:
So all these factors combined makes for a pretty rough couple of weeks. I literally cried every single day, multiple times a day, for the first two weeks. It wasn’t all sad tears, though. Happy tears were sprinkled in here and there too! Here are some things that triggered my crying:
The list goes on. I think another big factor related to these postpartum feelings was how they affect your confidence. Imagine being at work and being assigned a project that you THOUGHT you had could handle because you had prepared yourself for months, only to find that the project is nothing like you had imagined and you feel like an idiot because your irrational boss keeps yelling at you and demanding one thing, but expects something else. Also, your boss keeps pooping in his diaper and after you change it, he immediately poops again….which wouldn’t be such a big deal except that your boss cries every time he poops. THIS WOULD BE A SHOT TO YOUR CONFIDENCE, NO? I wasn’t expecting this “baby project” to affect my confidence on a personal level as much as it did. That feeling like you can’t do anything right is magnified when the project is NEVER ENDING and 24 HOURS A DAY. Quit the project? NO, YOU CANNOT. HERE ARE MORE PROJECTS.
There’s also the feeling lack of compensation. They say, “but at the end of the day, you have your baby, and that makes it all worth it.” I’m sure that’s true, I KNOW that’s true – but at this moment, it doesn’t feel true. Not yet, anyway. Because when your baby is a newborn, she doesn’t smile at you yet, she doesn’t laugh, she doesn’t show affection. A newborn is just a lump that NEEDS you and DEMANDS things from you all day, and doesn’t really give anything in return. It’s a hard relationship to be in.
But here’s what gets me through the day. I know it gets better. And it does get better, little by little, day by day. I can see the changes in Beet as each day passes and she gets a little stronger, a little smarter. As her neck gets stronger, breastfeeding gets easier. As her stomach gets stronger, she cries less often when she has a burp she can’t get out. As her eyes get stronger, she recognizes me and Husband and begins to actually look at us, as opposed to simply seeing us. Everyday is totally different, which is both exciting and terrifying for me, being someone who thrives on structure. Regarding taking care of a baby, I’ve heard, “the days are long, but the years are short.” I can completely see that being true. But knowing that it will only get better from here really helps you get through each day.
Shopbop is having a sale starting Tuesday March 3, 2015 6:30AM EST to Sunday March 8, 2015 4:00AM EST
15% with purchase over $250
20% with purchase over $500
25% with purchase over $1000
For these currently expecting, this is a good time to splurge on some key investment maternity wear. Figuring out “cool” things to wear while pregnant was both fun and frustrating. I managed to get by with buying only 5 or 6 actual “maternity” items and mostly wore the drapey, loose clothes I already owned. Thank god “slouchy” is still on trend! My splurge items ended up being black skinny jeans, which I wore several times a week.
Of the maternity items I bought, I found most of them on Shopbop. They have an actual maternity section with NORMAL looking clothes on their site, which was really nice. These were the things I ended up buying:
Citizens of Humanity Avedon Skinny Maternity Jeans – I was initially resistant to “full panel” maternity pants because….I mean, look at them. So gross, right? Well, turns out, that panel is the most comfortable thing to wear when your belly REALLY starts to show. They keep your pants up and it’s especially comfortable if you have a desk job that requires you to be sitting for long periods of time. The soft, stretchy material of these COH jeans were really great too.
Splendid Maternity Fit Tank Dress – I loved this dress and wore it so many times, both alone and layered with different tops and outerwear. One of my favorite things about being pregnant was being able to wear bodycon dresses! It’s the one time you actually WANT your clothes to touch your stomach – it actually looked more flattering that way. Awesome. The material of this dress was soft and not too thin for the amount of stretch it had. You can totally wear this dress even if you’re not pregnant. There’s none of that weird side ruching that a lot of maternity dresses have. It just looks like a normal, black tank dress.
DL1967 Angel Maternity Ankle Jeans – So these jeans were the first pair of maternity pants I bought. I liked them because they didn’t look like maternity pants since they just had the elastic panels on the side, instead of a full panel. They totally look and fit like normal jeans. I initially thought I’d wear the hell out of them, but actually only wore them for about a month before my belly got so big that the jeans got uncomfortable. That’s when I learned the ways of the gross FULL PANEL maternity jeans (see above).
BUT! I don’t regret these jeans and actually learned to love them AFTER giving birth because these are the only jeans that I currently fit! After you give birth, you unfortunately do not go immediately back to your pre-pregnancy weight, and DEFINITELY do not go back to your pre-pregnancy body. So weird and mushy in random places. =( I gained 45 lbs throughout my pregnancy and when I left the hospital, I was down 10 lbs. ONLY 10 LBS. Yes, the cruel reality is that you still look pregnant after you give birth and continue to do so for a while. These jeans ended up being perfect for that weird in-between period when you don’t fit your maternity jeans anymore, but also don’t fit your pre-pregnancy jeans. So I ended up being able to wear these jeans until I was about 5-6 months pregnant, couldn’t wear them after that, but then am wearing them currently at 1 month postpartum and counting.