I am five months postpartum after my second child, and this time around couldn’t be more different.
Mentally, physically, and emotionally, I am a rockstar compared to how terribly I was circling the drain with baby #1. And I don’t mean that lightheartedly, but that is a whole separate post.
Logistically, this postpartum season has been A BEAST. Taking care of a newborn PLUS an over-active toddler during the summertime proved to be the biggest challenge. There are some days that staying home all day is required. There are days when getting out and about is required. But like everything else, the baby market continues to come out with new technologies and products that make life easier!
And so I give you my “Second Time Around” Postpartum Must Haves:
Something about the Rock N Play was MAGIC for my first baby. I don’t know if it was the incline or the “snug-ness” factor, but it was a lifesaver. I loved the portability of it and that I could rock the baby with the gentlest tap of my foot. As if this magic rocker couldn’t get any better, Fisher-Price dropped the mic and came out with the Auto Rock N Play. Y’ALL: IT ROCKS ON ITS OWN. GASP. But wait for it…it also HAS ITS OWN SOUND MACHINE. Twelve soothing songs and three white noise sounds to drown out any screaming toddler in the background. This one also plugs into the wall, so no more going broke on size C batteries. PRAISE HANDS. Y’all, when we need a day out of the house, I throw this thing in the car and set up the babe at my friend’s house while we cry-chat and let the toddlers Hunger-Game it out. Nobody misses a nap and everybody gets out of solitary confinement.
2) Travel Breastfeeding Pillow
Speaking of being on the go…breastfeeding in public was always challenging for me. Not because I was shy about it, but I just couldn’t ever seem to get the baby positioned right to comfortably feed. I always felt like I was holding their head so awkwardly with my elbow, and consequently, they wouldn’t nurse long or well. But as we all know, you HAVE to get out of the house, so feeding in public is just necessary sometimes. My friend told about a travel nursing pillow, so I had to have it. It’s essentially a round pillow with a hole in the middle that you put your arm through. It allows the baby to rest their head while being raised up higher to comfortably reach the breast. I ended up getting the Lansinoh Nursie Pillow, and it was a game changer. I never got a picture while using it, but Ashley at Mommy & Moon blog does a great review about the Milk Boss pillow and has some pictures!
Another “on-the-go” item that helps me EVERY DAY is LulaClips. A magnet around the straps hooks to little magnet hands on the side of the car seat, making it SO easy to place the baby inside without having to dig for straps that get caught behind their back. This product sounds overly simple, but if you’ve ever put a baby in a car seat, you’ll agree that the “strap-struggle” will make you want to cuss. This is hands down one of the best gifts I received!
Honestly, I was the first person to roll my eyes at this machine that is controlled by an app on your phone. My old-fashioned self said: “What’s easier than just pushing a button on a regular sound machine and a plug-in night light!?” But lo….my techy husband ordered this and I have fallen in love. This machine has numerous white noise sounds but also some delightful noises like the beach, rain, and birds tweeting. You can make the light shine any color of the rainbow. For night feeds, I’d make the light a deep blue with the sound of ocean waves and for morning feeds, I’d change it to a bright pink with birds chirping. Little things like this are just fun and exciting when you’re home all day elbow-deep in spit up and…other things. And I actually love that I can change the sounds/volume, etc., with my phone without having to go inside her room. For example, I’ll leave the volume pretty high when she initially goes to bed because the house is still pretty noisy, but after the toddler goes down, I turn her sound down so her monitor doesn’t constantly pick it up. (For correct reporting, you CAN control the machine on the bottom, but it’s still easier to do with your phone.)
5) Baby Calendar
In my opinion, ditch the traditional baby book. I love these calendars; it’s so easy to hang them on the wall and record things as you go along! There’s a place for a picture each month, notes for cute things they are doing, and stickers for all the “firsts”. I used this instead of a baby book for my first baby and found it was just much easier to keep up with. Plus, I can compare weights and milestones, and know what to expect next, like when to start solids, when they start to roll over, etc. You’d think that you’d never forget that kind of stuff, but I believe sleep deprivation steals a large portion of your memory.
6) Marco Polo App
This may be the most unexpected item for Postpartum Must Haves. This is a video-chat app that allows you and your friends (who have the app) to chat through videos. You can watch them when you get a chance, respond when it’s convenient for you, and even pause them when you have to run and wipe a booty. I know there are a lot of chat apps out there, but this one is just so simple and I love it. It’s much less time consuming than texting back and forth and has truly saved me on the days when I feel super isolated and need an adult conversation.
7) Treasure Box for Big Brother/Sister
This is another unexpected postpartum must have that I was so thankful for. A friend recommended that I store up some treasures for Big Brother, as people would inevitably be bringing gifts for the new baby. I understand that he needs to grasp that there are others in the world and he won’t always be the center of attention. But I certainly get some pleasure out of some retail therapy, (thanks, Amazon!), so I feel like the toddler deserves some, too! And listen: a few extra toys this past summer didn’t do any long-term damage. But in those “trench days” when the baby was screaming and the toddler was bored out of his mind, a shiny new submarine saved my life.
There you have it! My secret weapons over the last few months! What are some of YOUR postpartum must haves?