Nine Newborn Must-Have Items (#3 is a Sanity-Saver!)

Are you pregnant or a new mom? Then you definitely should take a look at this list of newborn must have items! Great ideas for new baby products and #3 is a sanity-saver, for sure! | adayinmollywood.com

It’s hard to believe that I’ve had three babies and never shared some of my favorite newborn items with my readers! I have to admit, my list for my first baby would probably be way different than it is now. Just trust me when I say you don’t need HALF of the stuff you’re buying.

Are you pregnant or a new mom? Then you definitely should take a look at this list of newborn must have items! Great ideas for new baby products and #3 is a sanity-saver, for sure! | adayinmollywood.com

By the time you’ve had three babies your list of newborn must have items is pretty minimal. It’s all about quality over quantity.

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1 | Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n’ Play | During my pregnancy I emailed a blog friend who had just had her third baby. I asked her what she would buy if she could only buy one thing. This is what she recommended. I had a gift card to Amazon and so I quickly purchased a rock n’ play. With both boys I had them in a cosleeper right next to the bed but I sold it. So I needed another option since I like to keep the baby right next to me after they are born. Sure enough, Sawyer was born and slept in this for the first two months. We have now transitioned her to her crib but she still naps and rests in this and really seems to love it!

2 | Mam Start Silicone Pacifiers | My children have never been huge on pacifiers. Landon never took one and Brigham would last maybe five minutes with it before he spit it out. These have proven to be the favorite for Sawyer. She is BIG on the sucking reflex! But with two other kiddos I can’t always get to her fast enough. So I pop one of these babies in and I have an extra five minutes to do something before I feed her.

3 | Happy Baby Wrap | With three kids I knew babywearing would be a must! I researched quite a few wraps and decided to try a new brand that I hadn’t heard much about. I read some reviews and followed them on IG. I finally bit the bullet with a coupon code and when it came I couldn’t wait to try it. I figured out the hold quickly and placed Sawyer in the wrap. She was asleep within minutes! I was able to do the dishes and play with the boys while also keeping her close. Highly recommend buying at least one wrap to have on hand!

4 | Up&Up Diapers | I use disposable diapers. Sorry Mother Earth, but I can’t keep up with laundry as it is. And Sawyer poops after every.single.feeding. No way can I handle cloth dipes as a full-time working mom. I tried cloth twice but it just wasn’t for us. I fell in love with the Target Up&Up diapers when Brigham was still in diapers. They did not have newborn size when Brigham was small but they do now! They are my favorite and believe me, I’ve tried every single brand. They are cheap and even better – they often have coupons and Cartwheel offers. You can also use your Target debit redcard for an additional 5% off. If you combine them all it is a HUGE savings on diapers. They never leak, don’t have a strong smell and never cause rashes on my baby’s skin. Target, for the win.

5 | iPack Chevron Diaper Bag | With Brigham I had a very expensive diaper bag and it was great for all the right reasons. I sold it last year and when I found I was pregnant again I knew I would not be spending $100+ on a diaper bag. One day I was perusing Walmart.com and came upon what looked like a beautiful diaper bag. It was the design that caught my eye but the price and reviews were amazing too! I decided to buy it and hope for the best. When it arrived I knew I had found a great bargain. It looks much more expensive than it is ($22.96!!!). I constantly get compliments when I’m out and about. Women come up to me and ask me where I got it and are stunned to learn it’s from Walmart! Turns out I’m not the only one that likes it. It is constantly sold out! But I had to put it on here because most women wouldn’t think to look at Walmart for a diaper bag.

6 | Levana Lila Video Baby Monitor | Okay, okay, I’ll admit that I said I would NEVER buy a video monitor. I honestly thought they were kinda dumb because just get up and go into the nursery already, people! But when we decided to transition Sawyer to her crib at two months (seems so early to me!) I knew my anxiety would be on overdrive. I started researching baby monitors and found this one. It got great reviews and the price was not bad at all. I bought it on sale at Amazon for $99. Well, I am sold! I love being able to open my eyes and see her on the monitor without getting out of bed. Usually she just fusses for a minute and falls right back asleep. But if I went in there to check on her she would probably wake up! I’m definitely a video monitor convert and this is a great price-point. The only downside is my fear of ghosts communicating through white noise  ::shudders::

7 | Kirkland Premium Baby Wipes | I’ve used so many different brands of wipes and these are my absolute favorite! You buy them at Costco (need a membership) or you can get them on diapers.com or amazon and they come in a box of 900. Holla! They aren’t too sticky, don’t have a strong smell. They are just the right thickness and most importantly – they clean up the worst dirty bottoms with just a couple wipes! Strongly recommend. It takes forever to run out of these things!

8 | HALO SleepSack Swaddle | I tried to swaddle both boys and it never worked. They hated their arms to be down and wanted them above their head. But with newborn reflexes this also meant that they often woke themselves up. We received three or four different swaddle options as gifts and nothing worked – until we tried the HALO SleepSack Swaddle. When we transitioned her we put her in this the first night. It was mostly an attempt to keep her warm more than anything. But six hours later she hadn’t woken up! And it’s been like that really ever since moving her to her crib. She sleeps anywhere from 5-7 hours a night without getting her arms out of the swaddle. I feel like this is the safest option as well. You don’t want to put any blankets in the crib with your baby and risk suffocation. So not only does this keep her snug as a bug in a sleepsack (hehehe) it also keeps her ASLEEP. What more could a sleep-deprived new mom want?

9 | Summer Infant Muslin Swaddling Blankets | I know everyone always recommends the other really popular brand of muslin swaddling blankets. I went shopping one day trying to find those and couldn’t. Then I saw these and thought, well, it’s worth a shot. They are pretty much the same thing – only a bit cheaper! They are so soft to wrap her up in and stylish too. I recently saw someone on pinterest use these as scarves for themselves. So I went to look at mine again – I purchased the lavender set – and sure enough they will work as scarves for me too! Love the double duty!

So did any of these items make your must-have list? What are some of your favorite things for newborns?

My Breastfeeding Journey | Part II

my breastfeeding journey

Read Part I here

 my breastfeeding journey

When I found out I was pregnant again one of my first thoughts went to the challenges of breastfeeding. I could not get our struggles out of my head. Although I was excited to possibly get another shot at the whole thing I was nervous. I just didn’t know if my heart could go through another breastfeeding failure.

From the very beginning of Brigham’s pregnancy I decided the best thing I could do was to arm myself with as much information possible about breastfeeding.

I started doing research online, something I never really did when I was pregnant with Landon because, like I said, I thought breastfeeding was the natural thing to do. I had no idea how steep the learning curve would be.

But after reading a book and doing some reading online I realized just how many mistakes I made. Now, I really wasn’t mad at myself anymore at this point because I felt I was on a mission! But it was pretty astounding just how naive and ignorant I was about breastfeeding my first baby. Landon and I encountered so many road blocks. Little did I know that there were ways that I could have knocked those road blocks down. However, I tried not to focus on the past too much. Instead I kept my eye on the future – May 2010 when Brigham was due.

In my third trimester I decided to sign us up for a breastfeeding class. When we arrived at the hospital it was a class with about 20 couples present. When the teacher asked first time moms to raise their hands I quickly realized that I was the ONLY second-time mom in the classroom. I felt embarrased, ashamed, like maybe all those soon-to-be moms were thinking, what’s she doing here? Shouldn’t she already be a pro at this?

I left the class feeling deflated and overwhelmed. As we were standing in the hallway the teacher came up to me and asked about my story. I told her the shortened version of what had happened. That all too familiar lump rose up in my throat. Then she said something that really helped me feel better. She said that it didn’t matter what happened last time. What mattered is that I was trying again despite how difficult it was. And that takes a lot of guts.

Needless to say, I left that hospital with my head held high. I was a little scared to get my hopes up but I was feeling more confident than ever.

As I wrote in Part I, one of the biggest hurdles Landon and I encountered was the fact that we were separated for the first hour after his birth. Now, I know this was absolutely necessary to save his life and I’m grateful the doctors did what they needed to do. But still, I believe it made a huge difference in starting us out on the right foot.

Babies are said to be the most alert about 30 minutes after birth. In fact, their instinct to nurse is so strong that if you lay them on the mother’s chest they can scoot up to the breast and latch on their own. Now, this natural phenomenon has never happened to me. But I know from reading that it has for other women. By the time they brought Landon to me his blood sugar was already low and he was much too sleepy to nurse. He fell into a deep sleep and was never very alert for a whole month! My milk supply dwindled without his help to empty my breasts.

I hoped and prayed that Brigham would be born pink and screaming. It was my dream that he could be laid upon my chest within seconds of being born. Thankfully, we got just what we prayed for! Brigham came out screaming like no baby I’ve ever heard! He also came out with a voracious appetite :)

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This photo was taken about a minute after birth. Shortly after, we were skin-to-skin and I put him to the breast for the first time. It was such a joyful moment for me.

I can remember with Landon I was very private when I tried to nurse him. I didn’t want anyone to see my chest. I guess I’ve never really loved that part of me and I was self-conscious. But this time I was like, who the hell cares! This is my body. These are my boobs. He’s nursing! I really didn’t care who saw. Letting my guard down a little was honestly one of the best things I did the second time around.

We had some challenges over night getting him to nurse. He got pretty sleepy and was hard to wake. I won’t lie when I say I pretty much fell apart the first time he wouldn’t latch. Everything that happened with Landon came flooding back and the waterworks began again. I distinctly remember telling Naaman to go get some formula because I just knew that it was over already.

The next morning a lactation consultant came in to see us. I was instantly defensive because of the not-so-great experiences I had at our last hospital. She asked me how things were going and I pretty much burst into tears on the spot. I bawled to her about my experience with Landon. How I had worked so hard to educate myself about breastfeeding before Brigham arrived. And how it didn’t matter how bad I wanted it to work. I was certain after last night it wasn’t going to.

Here I was falling apart in front of a total stranger. Big, fat tears and snot running from my nose. But she listened and nodded her head and truly seemed to care a great deal about my experiences.

She asked for permission to help me get him latched. I reluctantly agreed. She placed him in the cradle hold and gently helped me get him in position. And then – like magic – he latched on and began sucking and swallowing. It was seriously as if the clouds parted and the angels were singing. Yes, I know I’m being dramatic. But I had the biggest epiphany in that moment. I suddenly realized that Landon had never truly ever latched on in that month that I tried. It is a distinct feeling and one I had never felt before. But now, I knew what it was really supposed to feel like. I had finally succeeded.

From there on out he always latched on. Sometimes it would take a good amount of time to get it right. But man, when we did it was smooth sailing. He was a great nurser! I did get very sore in the first week. That’s one of the things that annoys me the most about breastfeeding advice. They always tell you it’s not supposed to hurt. But when you have a baby nursing every two hours you are bound to get sore and chapped! I was able to work through the pain with my toes curled and within a week things were much better.

I can’t tell you how exciting his weight checks were for me. To hear the doctor say that he was steadlily gaining weight made me feel as if I’d finished a marathon. Most the time I would find myself smiling down on him while he nursed. I was so happy that it was working but sometimes I still couldn’t believe it!

I also have to give a huge shout out to my sister Kelli. See, when I had Landon none of my sisters had given birth yet and my mom formula fed us so I had no one to confide in or ask questions. But by the time I had Brigham, I had a sister who had breastfed successfully. She was a HUGE support to me, answering all my crazy questions and listening to me as I tried to work through problems. I can honestly say I don’t know if I would have succeeded without her support. This was something I was missing during my first try and now I know it’s not just important it’s absolutely necessary!

At just about the two week mark I developed two large knots in my right breast. I figured it was mastitis, something I had read about during my research, so I called my OB and they gave me a prescription for antibiotics. They told me to massage and apply heat. I waited and waited for them to go down. Instead they got bigger and more painful. I went to the OB and she sent me straight to the ER. Turns out they were MRSA-filled abscesses. I spent the night getting my breast cut into and having the abscesses drained. SO MUCH PAIN. Not to mention that I would have to leave the wounds open and pack them in order to let them heal. Thank God my husband is a nurse because I couldn’t stand to remove the packing and then re-pack them. I would almost faint from the pain.

All along there were quite a few people who recommended I stop breastfeeding. Cue the waterworks again! I had worked so hard to get this to work and after all of that I would have to quit anyway! I was heartbroken! But it turns out that after doing a bit of research I did not have to stop breastfeeding. The abscesses were contained and there was no danger to the baby. Only pain for me, which I decided to work through. A little funny tid-bit about this. “Breast Abscess” is one of the most common search terms that leads people to my blog. I honestly think this is because there is very little information about breast abscesses while breastfeeding. It is actually uncommon with only about 3% of nursing mothers experiencing this (lucky me!). So even though I’m not an expert on many things it is nice to know that somewhere a mom who might be struggling with this could find comfort and information about it on my blog.

After that hiccup, Brigham and I had a wonderful nursing relationship for four more months. At that time I had to wean him because I needed to go on medication that was unsafe for breastfeeding. I have since learned that there are alternatives that could have prolonged nursing. But I can’t go back and I really don’t regret stopping when I did. My goal was six months and we made it five months. Not too shabby considering I never thought it would work at all.

I am proud that even through the pain, doubt and fear I chose to try again anyway. I nursed Brigham for the last time in October of 2010 and thought that I would never nurse again. Who would have thought that I would mourn the loss of breastfeeding after so many struggles?!

Little did I know we would get another surprise in 2013 :)

Part III coming soon

The One About Your Grandparents

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Dear Sawyer,

This past May your soon-to-be grandmother had heart surgery. Leading up to the surgery I kept thinking about the “what ifs” even though I should have been trying to think positively. But I kept thinking . . . what if she doesn’t make it? My kids will miss getting to know their grandma. My first thought wasn’t that I would miss my mother, which of course I already knew I would. It was that my kids would miss their grandma and that thought made me very very sad.

I think this is mostly because I missed my grandma growing up. I lost my grandma Myrtle to cancer when I was only six-years-old. Although most people would assume that I was young enough not to remember – they are wrong. It was a crushing blow. Everything changed. At one point my grandma had been living with us while my mom took care of her. Then one day she wasn’t there anymore. It was confusing and I was hurting.

I found out a couple weeks after your grandma’s heart surgery that I was pregnant with YOU! I was so relieved that she made it through the surgery so she could meet her next grandchild.

I think the bond between grandparents and grandchildren is so special. You are very lucky in that you have two sets of grandparents who will love you and help take care of you. Not only will you have your grandma and papaw (my mom and dad) but you will have grandma Connie and grandpa Neil (your daddy’s mom and dad). Four whole people to love and spoil you.

I missed having a relationship with my grandma Myrtle and I didn’t often see my grandma Ruby. I hope your grandparents will live a long time so that they can watch you grow up into a lovely little lady. But when you lose one, which will one day happen, I can help you navigate that grief because I have been there. I now have no living grandparents, which makes me pretty sad. Because it’s such a fun relationship and grandparents just adore their grandchildren.

They are all very excited to meet you, my girl. They are all waiting just like I am to find out who you are and to spend time with you. How lucky you are to have so many people who will love and adore you when you arrive. I hope and pray you get to have them in your life for years to come.

The One About Loving Animals

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Dear Sawyer,

This may seem like a strange topic to write to you about. But I am such an animal-lover that I could not possibly leave it out. I have always had a soft heart for animals. ALL animals.

When I was a little girl I caught a frog, named him Georgie and promptly fell in love with him because I thought he would one day turn into my prince. I took him to show and tell at school. But then my parents told me I had to let him go. So we went to the creek in the backyard and I sat there, knees dug into the ground, as he hopped slowly away until I couldn’t see him anymore. I cried so very hard at the thought that I’d never see him again. Then I wrote a ten page short story about him so that I would always remember him.

Once we found a blue egg that had dropped out of a tree. The egg was cracked but I was convinced we could save the little birdie inside. So I took the egg and wrapped it out in a box. The bird died but it was a valiant effort.

When I got out of college I went to training to be a volunteer dog walker at a local shelter. I was fine until they took me into the loud room where hundreds of abandoned and lost dogs barked and looked up at me with sad eyes, begging me to take them out of their small cages. I bawled for two straight hours when I got home. I wanted every single one. I never went back because the thought made me cry.

I have a thousand more stories. Like the time my college roommates decided to kill a tiny mouse with a glue trap. I worked relentlessly to get the it out of the torturous trap while the mouse convulsed. Everyone thought it was funny. But I thought it was one of the cruelest things I had every seen.

Or that time I watched a raccoon die in our backyard, absolutely helpless to relieve its pain and suffering. I literally sat a couple feet away and told the raccoon that I was sorry for whatever made him sick and that it was okay to let go. When animal control got there they threw it in a garbage bag while they talked on their cell phones. I just sat there stunned. How could anyone be so cruel? An animal just DIED!

Some people may think I’m crazy to care about animals so much. But I think it is our duty to speak for them since they can’t. I have seen and heard way too many stories of animal cruelty and it shouldn’t be happening. I have always told your dad that as soon as we have the extra money I want to donate all I can to organizations that help animals who are suffering. I would also like to foster a dog or two in the future while they are waiting on their forever owners to find them. I hope you will do the same someday.

I have always been an animal person and something tells me you will be too.

The One About Gut Feelings

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Dear Sawyer,

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been doing something and I will randomly feel like someone is trying to send me a signal. Who that someone is I don’t exactly know. God? Telepathy? I can’t fully explain it so it makes this letter a little tough to write. So I will just try to sum it up in a memory of mine.

When I was a lot younger my dad was out trimming limbs off big trees with a chainsaw. All morning and afternoon we had heard that chainsaw going. My sisters and I were inside watching television. All of a sudden, I heard the chainsaw stop. Now this wasn’t anything new. My dad had been stopping and starting all morning. But this time I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I felt something was wrong. Something bad had happened. I felt this feeling instantly but I didn’t say anything.

A few minutes later my dad came walking into the house saying that he needed to go to the hospital. The chainsaw had gotten stuck in the tree and when he pulled it back it nearly cut off his thumb. Yes, his thumb was literally hanging by a very thin thread and there was a lot of blood.

I stood there in shock and very worried. But I was also thinking to myself – I knew something was wrong before my dad even told me. How can that be possible?

How did my brain, my heart, know? Why did I get that funny feeling?

I’ve had other gut feelings throughout the years but that is the memory of my first one. And it was strong. When it hit me I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

Now, my gut feelings haven’t always been to tell me that there is something wrong. You don’t have to be afraid of them. Sometimes I have gotten a gut feeling and it has been for something good, like maybe that I was going to be offered a job. There have also been gut feelings that I have ignored and then sorely regretted it.

I’m not telling you that all your gut feelings will be right. This is where my anxiety (which I’ll get to in a few more letters) comes into play. I have to really listen to myself and try to understand whether the feelings I’m having are rational or actually just my anxiety running rampant. But I also think they have played an important part in my life.

Maybe not everyone gets these feelings but I wanted to write about it because I want you to be in tune with what your body and mind might be trying to tell you in the future. Listen to these feelings and then decide for yourself if they really do mean something.