Our latest addition to the family is eight weeks old.
Every time I think to glance at a clock, half the day has gone by and I don’t have anything to show for it.
But we have learned a lot about our newborn in this hazy time:
- She hates running errands in 100-degree Texas heat. Can’t fault a girl for that.
- When she’s asleep in your arms and content with the world, she makes this low, groaning sound – like the tiniest little chainsaw who’s trying to start but can’t quite make it happen.
- If she’s awake, she’s happiest with her diaper off. In fact, sometimes she’s so happy to have ditched her diaper that she celebrates by squirting a glorious fountain of mustardy baby poo in the general direction of your face.
- Our bag of tricks for calming her down when she’s fussy include letting her suck on our pinky fingers, blowing on her face, and singing round after round after round of “Hush Little Baby.” (Although sometimes Celtic Woman pinch-hits.)
Not to mention everything we’ve learned about the newborn gear. It seems like everyone has an opinion about what you need to register for – myself included.
In the last few weeks, a handful of tools have risen to the top of our list as must-haves. Our appreciation for these particular items borders on manic. I can’t imagine how we could have survived these first weeks without them.
1. A High-Tech Tracker
In the hospital, they give you a single sheet of paper where you’re supposed to keep track of when your baby eats as well as every wet and dirty diaper. Simple.
But it seems a lot less simple when it’s 5:00 am and you’ve slept a total of 4 hours in 30-minute stints, and you’re trying to find that single sheet of paper to record a dirty diaper that ended up all over her foot and your hand and…your hair?! You finally find the stupid paper, but now you can’t find a freaking PEN.
My phone is never far from me, so the MammaBaby app worked much better for tracking the ins and outs of our little one. The price is steep for an app ($4.99), but it’s worth it.
I’m still using it to keep track of how much she’s sleeping, her growth at each pediatrician appointment, and which side to nurse on next.
2. The Teacher’s Edition
This book has all the answers.
And the question is: How do I calm down my fussy baby?
The Happiest Baby on the Block will teach you how to get your baby from cranky to calm in minutes.
You can’t put a price on the knowledge you’ll get from this book.
And if you’re short on time, it has pictures to show you all the techniques and handy reference pages to save you from having to read the book cover-to-cover.
3. Endless White Noise
Babies are used to a constant whooshing sound from when they were inside your body, listening to the Symphony of Organ Functions. The quiet of the outside world is a little disconcerting to them.
Wave upon wave of blood surging through the arteries of your womb makes this harsh, whooshing sound, which is as loud and rough as a gale wind blowing through the trees…
Imagine your baby’s shock at birth when she emerges from that rich uterine world of loud quadraphonic whooshing into the quiet world of whispering and tiptoeing that parents create for their newborns. Sure, we may enjoy resting in a still room, but for your baby the silence can be deafening.
You can find free white noise apps to fill this void, but I like the White Noise app because it has 40+ different sounds to choose from.
If your baby doesn’t like the popular brown noise or the research-proven pink noise, she may like the sounds of a rainstorm. Or a cat purring. Or a Tibetan singing bowl.
Plus, you can download more sounds for free from the White Noise Market.
Download the app, stick your phone in a sound dock (this is what I have), and go get your PJs on because that baby’s gonna sleep like a…baby.
4. A Magic Stick
In those early weeks, every single diaper was a poopy diaper.
Every. Single. One.
Our girl developed a case of diaper rash that had us embarrassed to show our faces at her 2-week pediatrician appointment.
We tried it all. Natural butt balms, mainstream barrier creams, and everything in between.
The ONLY product that cleared it up? GroVia Magic Stick.
Side benefit: It’s in stick form, which means you can spread it on baby’s bum without getting goop all over your hands. Or you know, leftover fecal matter.
5. The Sleep-Maker
I was blessed with a child who does not want to sleep.
Since week one, she’s never fallen asleep on her own. We have to WORK to get her to sleep. And she fights it like hell.
But we discovered a trick that gets her to sleep about 95% of the time, without much effort on our part: the Baby K’Tan carrier.
When we notice her eyes are looking a little red or she’s yawned a couple times, we plop her in the Baby K’Tan, walk around for 5 or 10 minutes, and she’s OUT.
We just happened to hear about the Baby K’Tan from someone else.
But sometimes I think about the very real possibility that we never heard about it. How would we have gotten this child to sleep? The thought makes me a little panicky.
6. A One-Dollar Camera
When you’re on the couch with your baby in your arms and she flashes you her first gummy smile, that fancy DSLR is going to seem an awful long way away.
But I bet you’ll have your phone on you – or at least within reach.
Splurge on the 99-cent Camera+ app to kick your phone photos up a notch, or ten.
Then check out these tips for using the Camera+ app.
7. A Pediatrician at Your Beck and Call
A few days after we got home from the hospital, Bailey’s eyes suddenly had all this yellow goo.
My first thought was “Pinkeye,” and my second thought was – a bad word.
Then I looked it up in my Baby Book. False alarm. It turns out some babies get plugged tear ducts, so you just have to massage them to open them up. Um…
HOW DO YOU MASSAGE A TEAR DUCT.
Baby Book to the rescue again!
Newborn bodies are just plain weird – flaky skin, swollen baby breasts, kaleidoscopic poo.
You need a reliable reference where you can look stuff up without having to wade through crazy search results that at best give you information like “my cousin’s next-door neighbor’s hairdresser said that’s totally normal, and she heard it straight from a nurse so I know it’s true” and at worst scare you into going to the ER at 3:00 am.
8. A Poop Chair
Our baby girl is generally pretty happy. But like all babies, she gets fussy if she’s hungry or tired. And if she has a tummyache.
A lot of babies need help getting rid of the gas – and other stuff – in their tiny tummies.
You can bicycle their legs, massage their bellies, or lay them on their tummies to help. Those won’t help every time, though.
We stumbled upon a product that wasn’t intended to help in this situation, but it totally DOES.
It took us a few days to pick up on the cause-and-effect relationship this chair has with our baby’s digestive system. But now we know:
- Put baby in chair.
- Baby poops.
Works like a charm.
For more essential tips on surviving your bundle of joy, follow my Pinterest board Bundle of Joy.
What helped you cope during those newborn days? Share your tips in a comment below!