First off, before I say anything I want you, expecting mama, to hear this: motherhood is an individual journey filled with small and big decisions that will ultimately land on you and your partner. Some of your decisions will be right for your family and some will need adjusting. That is okay. That is normal. Find what works for you and your husband, and find a few women you trust to talk you through the bigger decisions. If you don’t have any other mamas you trust, reach out to me. I don’t know everything, but I am forever grateful for the resources and opinions that I have gained from other women who have gone before me or are in it with me.
Second, when I was pregnant with Shepherd, one of my dear friends Emily sent me a list that had been sent to her when she was pregnant. In the margins, were notes, and comments and I felt like I was reading all of the real-life stuff that the countless baby blogs seemed to leave out. My prayer is that this list will be taken and used in the same way, and will be a resource for you as you navigate raising your family.
Newborn – 1 Year
Uppa Baby Car seat system – 2 years in and I still have no regrets about this stroller system.
• The bucket seat has been great for both babies
• We have used the bassinet for the first 6 weeks with Shepherd and Haddie. The bassinet unhooks and can be folded easily for travel and we have gone on so many walks with a sleeping baby because the bassinet clicks into the stroller.
• If planning to have multiple kids, it has worked well pushing both kids. I like how they are in line instead of side by side, in my experience that makes it much easier getting in and out of doors and going into public places.
• I have heard countless good things about the Baby Jogger City Select Travel System as well.
• Walker and I filmed a promo for the Uppa Baby during maternity leave with Shepherd. View it here. The SOI is a deep hole that you can ask Walker about later if interested.
2nd Uppa Baby Car Seat Base – they aren’t hard to move, but it’s so nice to have an extra to put in Walker’s truck so we don’t have to think about which car to take. We just go.
Update: Since having two kids, we now have a kid car and a regular car and no longer use the 2nd base as regularly. I did enjoy having the base when it was just Shepherd, but in my experience non needed with additional kids.
Halo Velcro Swaddle – skip all of the cute swaddles and get 1-2 of these velcro swaddles. They zip, velcro and are so much easier to work with during the middle of the night. Newborns are only swaddled until 8-12 weeks, so buy whatever season you need for the first two-three months then transition to sleep sacks. We have a fleece one since Shepherd was born in December and a cotton one with Haddie.
Halo Sleep Sack – We use these EVERY DAY and they are so nice. It’s a wearable blanket after they grow out of the swaddle (8-12 weeks) and it’s a great part of our sleep routine. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Update: Shepherd still wears his sleep sack (2+) most nights, we zip it up backwards to keep him from playing with his diaper/the zipper. It also keeps him from climbing out of his crib which is a huge win in my opinion.
Little Z Sleep – We bought the newborn course and then joined the sleep society (it wasn’t available before we had Shep). The sleep society is $99/year and includes the newborn course – so I would go with that. He’s not a perfect sleeper and we have hard nights but overall I think the course was SO worth it if sleep training is the way you want to go.
Update: Would still highly recommend after having 2 kids. We still have hard nights but feel confident and educated on how to help our kids sleep well. Naps have been a struggle with Haddie, but I find myself coming back to what I learned in this course and seeing a difference when I follow the principles.
Disclaimer: The term “Cry It Out” is thrown around a lot in the mom community, especially in regards to “sleep training”. While there were times we let Shepherd and Haddie cry, it was for a set amount of time (less than 5 minutes before going in to comfort them) while also monitoring them to make sure they were not in distress. I have talked to countless moms who struggle with hearing their babies cry during the first few months, which would make this course difficult. Utimately, I valued consistent sleep over the discomfort of the 5 minutes and felt like I watched my children truly learn how to go to sleep on their own. They consistenly sleep 12 hours a night and have a routined nap schedule which serves them and our family well. There are other ways to do sleep – find what is safe and what works best for you and your family.
Car Mirror – So you can see them when you are driving while they are rear facing.
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor – This one was easy to mount and I like the video quality – friends have others that are hard to see sometimes. We’ve been really happy with this one. You can also connect multiple cameras if you have kids in more than one room.
Update: We still enjoy this monitor. I can cut out if you have too many bluetooth devices close by, and the microwave interferes with ours which can be annoying. I have enjoyed how easy they are to relocate travel with. We bought another camera for Haddie’s room so I can easily check on both kids.
Love Every Play Gym – great place to kick around and do tummy time. Washable and comes with a book with instructions on how to “play” with baby for the first 2.5 years. The features aren’t over stimulating and I like how it has instructions for development.
Update: I’ve since done a deeper dive into mentessori resources and would 100% register for all of the age appropriate kits they offer. They send minimal and high-quality toys to you each month and if you like minimal toys that don’t make noises you will probably enjoy the subscription.
Soothie Pacis – We have used these with both kids and haven’t had any problems. Little Z Sleep recommends getting rid of the paci at 12 weeks which we have done, so I try to stick to 4 paci’s and make them last.
2 nice paci clips – I bought 2 nice paci clips in hopes that I wouldnt have a million pacis everywhere (kinda like hair ties or bobby pins). I kept one in his car seat and one in his crib and that worked well for us.
Update: I kept up with both paci clips and used them both with Haddie.
Solly Baby Wrap – I have really enjoyed having this wrap. Its kinda cumbersome but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy. I wore Shep for at least one nap most days until he was around 4 months old and he felt secure in it.
Update: I loved having this with the first baby. I did not use this at all with Haddie and used the Ergo Baby which felt a little sturdier.
Sleeping Gowns – I LOVE the gowns for sleeping in. They are easy for diaper changes. We had a few cotton ones but LOVED one from Angel Dear that was gifted to us. It was SO SOFT.
Zip Jammies – For the first 2 months this is basically all Shep wore. You’re around the house a lot and it’s just so much easier than all the buttons. He has a few cute outfits but he stayed in these most of the time. They are warm and easy to take on and off.
** Spicy Opinion: Do not register for anything they would wear to bed with snaps. It is not worth it. Save the hassle for cute outfits only.
Hatch Sound Machine – I have really liked this, but bought it for long term sleep. I can adjust the sound/light on my phone and our sleep training plan includes a color system so we will be able to use it for a long time.
Update: Shepherd is 2 and we use this every night. The light turns red when it’s time to go to sleep and green when it’s time to wake up. If he wakes up early, he will sit in his crib and play until it turns green. On rare occasion he doesn’t do it on his own, we will go in, tell him it’s too early and give him books to look at until the light turns green. Each morning he says, “Light turned green, time to get up.” 100% recommend. We have one for Haddie as well.
Bébé au Lait Car Seat Cover– I originally used a milk snob cover and this one is so much better. It snaps on and doesn’t fall off and is a light weigh and breathable material.
Bébé au Lait Nursing Cover – The best nursing cover. It’s a thick fabric so it sits lightly on baby. It also has a band in the neck so you can see what’s going on without flashing everyone. SO MUCH BETTER THAN OTHER COVERS.
Haaka – I could not figure out how to use one with Shepherd and was really annoyed everyone kept raving about it. After having Haddie, I decided to watch a video and do a little more research and this is everything that everyone raves about. If you are planning on breastfeeding, defintely get one and if you don’t think it’s amazing, let me know and I will trouble shoot. Basically, the first few months you can gently pump while baby is eating on the other side – creating a stockpile of milk and keeping up your supply.
Nipple Cream – I use this relgiously the first 2-3 weeks after every feed. It is oily and will stain your clothes but that is a small price to pay for it’s comfort.
Soothies – if planning to breast feed, 100% recommend.
Nursing Pads – I like these. Do not recommend the Target brand. They have disposable ones, but I have 0 experience with those.
Mason Bottle – I wish I would have had this with Shepherd. It’s a bottle lid+nipple that fits any normal mouth mason jar. Glass jars are easy to warm, easy to wash and can be converted to toddler cups when ready. Can also be used to store other things. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Dog Poop Bags – Spicy take – I do not recommend a diaper pail. We had one with Shep and neither I or Walker enjoyed taking it out. It smelled to high heaven and eventually got gross in places I couldn’t figure out how to clean. For newborn diapers (until they start eating real food) we throw the diapers in our trash can. When they eat real food we put poopy diapers in doggy bags and throw outside and then into our big trash can. Not for everyone, but one way of doing it.
MoveMamma Nursing Shirts – 100% recommend if wanting to breastfeed.
Little Z Sleep – I was very passionate about learning how to teach my kids how to sleep and cannot recommend Little Z Sleep enough. I fely like I had comfort and structure and truly learned about how babies sleep.
Janet Lansbury – Janet’s parenting style has served my family well and really changed the way I interact with Shepherd and Haddie. It is both challenging and empowering.
Unruffled by Janet Landbury – Janet’s podcast has been enlightening in so many ways. I HIGHLY recommend and her content starts at infancy and develops into toddlerhood.
Baby Begin – An OT that teaches movements and exercises with baby
MilkyMama.Bear – Great resource for milk supply and pumping. She’s an exclusive pumper which is amazing (and super hard). Great resource for milk supply.
Apps to get
Wonder Weeks – tells you different times your baby is changing and how that could effect his mood. Super helpful.
Baby Tracker – Tracks Sleep, Poops, Feeds, Pumping, Growth, Temperatures – super easy, I use it every day to track his sleep.
I researched and bought a Hypnobirthing labor course and I was very happy with my birthing experience. It’s not for everyone – so if you have any questions, just give me a call and I’d be happy to explain/talk more about it. I wasn’t super passionate about going “natural” or unmedicated and was honestly on the fence about it for a while – and even said to myself, if it’s too much then get an epidural – but the hypnobirthing helped a lot and I would do it again. There is no right answer, I just know I didn’t feel like I had anyone I could take to about it (most of my friends had epidurals) so I offer this information as a resource, not as a “This is what you should do..”
Update: I used the same material with Haddie and had another positive birth experience and have become even more passionate about labor and delivery. Mainly, that you should educate yourself on phisiological birth, how labor and delivery are designed to work, what interventions may be necessary and how you feel about those intervantions. I am working on a seperate resource for this, so if you are interested in talking more, let me know. In the meantime, you can check out Shepherd’s birth story.
Take advantage of any lactation assistance you can while you are in the hospital. Work on getting the baby’s latch right and let them help you. Don’t do just one position to start off with and do what is best for you and the baby.
One of my friends told me, “Breastfeeding is a bitch.” and I kinda thought she was being dramatic. Everyone’s experience is different, but I don’t think you get through breastfeeding without thinking that phrase at least one time. I had a few hard weeks where I just couldn’t do it – and I pumped and bottle fed until it got better. It was HARD, but I am glad that I pushed through.
For me, it was frustrating because no one knows how YOU are feeling and they can’t tell you if it’s right or not. For me, I would say chaffing is normal and it’s going to hurt for around 2 weeks. Your nipples adapt – it just takes time. It doesn’t feel great when they first latch, that can be painful, but once they start sucking in a rhythm it should feel BETTER. Eventually the pain goes away and it doesn’t hurt at all. I used nipple cream religiously and only wear super soft bras unless I’m going somewhere with only adults.
Shep started sleeping long stretches at night pretty early so I usually pump once before I go to bed. I have an oversupply so I don’t think this hurts me, however, if your supply is low, I would definitely recommend feeding/pumping at night and not missing a session every 3 hours for the first few months.
Books To Read
Parenting – Paul David Tripp
The Montessori Toddler
No Bad Kids – Janet Lansbury
Mama Essentials According To Me
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