It's been five weeks since I became a preemie mom for the second time. I suppose 5 weeks is officially out of the newborn zone (depending on who you talk to) so I'm proud to say I have survived it for the second time.
Since this isn't my first rodeo, I know what I'm doing but the transition from one child to two is so much harder than I originally anticipated. Mothering during the newborn stage is a beautiful, magical time. But make no mistake about it – your hormones are all over the road and you somehow manage to function on less sleep than you thought ever possible.
To make the transition smoother and avoid feeling like a zombie, there are some products that can help! I've come up with a list of the items that are my must-haves that might also make your life a little easier when your new baby arrives home.
My top 5 newborn essentials that make mom's life easier are the following:
- Portable bed. No matter if you breast or bottle feed, frequent wakings during the newborn stage make having a portable bed so much more convenient than a crib. Especially if the bedrooms in your house are on separate floors. With Cakes I used a Pack ‘N Play with a bassinet/changer feature in place of a standalone bassinet/crib/co-sleeper until she was a year old, but for Cupcake I'm using a Rock ‘N Play instead because of its compact, lightweight design and allowing the baby to stay slightly elevated to avoid any reflux irritations.
- Disposable diapers. I don't know if you've heard but babies like to eat, sleep, and poop. Cupcake has gone through who knows how many diapers because she's the kind of baby that rarely will go pee and poop in the same diaper. She also hates being wet/dirty so a typical night involves between three and five diaper changes. Even if you plan on cloth diapering, I'd personally suggest holding off until after the newborn stage. I've tried all of the name brand diapers and some of the store brands as well and hands down my favorites are Pampers. And for newborns, I'm a big fan of Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive Diapers. These diapers are gentle on baby's delicate skin, soft, absorbent, and have a color-changing line that indicates if the diaper is wet/dirty with just a glance!
- Swaddling blankets. This is one area where you can actually save yourself some money and use the ones that the hospital will send home with you. But if they can afford it, a lot of moms want their baby to have cute blankets. Since Cakes was born in December, my grandma made me lots of flannel swaddling blankets. This time around it's spring and we're in Texas. And if you haven't heard, spring in Texas can be hot with even warmer days to come. So this time around with Cupcake, I opted for muslin blankets to keep her swaddled up tight in. These soft, lightweight blankets are great for swaddling and help reduce the risk of overheating.
- Breastfeeding pillow. Don't let the name fool you. This style of a pillow can be used for breast or bottle feeding baby but can also be used for holding the baby anytime in a comfortable position. Even though we've already had one preemie daughter, my husband is still scared about positioning Cupcake and the Boppy pillow makes holding her so much easier on his neck and arms and allows him to relax. Babies are prone to spitting up so purchasing a slipcover or two will definitely make cleanup a lot faster and easier. A Boppy can also double as a tool for tummy time and propping the baby up (with supervision of course).
- Wedge pillow. For those of us that end up cosleeping at the risk of not sleeping, these are essential. They allow you to nurse the baby and hold it while sleeping without fear of rolling over on it.
- Clothing. Basic baby clothes such as onesies, pants, socks, and a hat are all you need to keep baby clothed and warm. Newborns don't need an extensive wardrobe of clothes they'll be growing out of in a few short weeks. That said, expect accidents to happen so you'll want to have backups so you're not doing laundry every day. Just one of the many benefits of having two children of the same sex is Cupcake can wear her big sister's clothes. So far, I haven't bought any new baby clothes. Talk about a money saver!
- Car seat. My go-to for the newborn stage is a snap and go car seat carrier. It makes taking the baby anywhere you go easier. You don't have to worry about unbuckling them, waking them up, or being exposed to more germs than absolutely necessary. But as they get older a Britax carseat is the way to go.
- Baby carrier. My girls were stage 5 clingers, this meant that if I wasn't carrying them they were fussy. Especially since they both had reflux. Babywearing was my saving grace. And as they got older, it made doing everything even holding the baby, easier. Best of all, both of my hands were free. I loved my Moby wrap from the start and my Ergo when they got a little bit older. I was still wearing Brady well over 2 years old. It was so much easier than chasing down a toddler!
What items made the newborn stage easier for you?