Wednesday, July 17, 2013

TAW's Guide to the Puerperium

After I issued a Facebook call for make-way-for-baby assistance, many friends responded with must-need items, avoid-this lists, and even spreadsheets for the planning and procurement of baby materiel.  This was prompted by our wandering in to Babies R Us and feeling completely overwhelmed.  After almost six months on the job, here are my list and TMI anecdotes - I overshare because I care, gentle readers.

This is a short list, because I am a minimalist --- meaning I buy a lot of things and hardly use any of it.

For Mama

I was surprised that I needed more stuff than baby.  This is a list of these very important items.  Heed me, mamas to be.

Wipes.  Medicated wipes.  For sore and unhappy perineums.  Get this beforehand so you don't have to send your husband and your father to get them for you (like I did).  I later remarked to Luke about this asspect (ahem), "Well, it's been through a lot" and his reply was

Actually, a lot's been through it.

Touche, baby daddy, touché.

I got terribly engorged, which was horrible.  The lactation consultant recommended cabbage leaves, which are really just a convenient clamshell shape.  I was so uncomfortable and desperate I got past the folkloric nature of this remedy and tried it.  Unfortunately they warm up quickly, so far better are these compresses, which may be frozen or warmed up, depending on your needs at the time.  (Thanks for telling me about these, Brady!)

A sturdy nursing bra.  Something Army Corps of Engineers approved.

A good breast pump if you're into that kind of thing.  One week after I went back to work we ran out of stored milk and had to start supplementing with formula, which I still find distressing and disappointing.  (These feelings, I fear, stem from pride and perfectionism rather than concern).  But with that came the discovery that she had probably needed a few extra ounces of nourishment everyday that I had not been able to provide, and voila, with an extra bottle her grumpiness and apparent insatiability vanished.  Poor thing was hungry, not fussy it turns out.  Shortly after this she refused to nurse, which was fine with me - breast milk feeding as opposed to breastfeeding - works out much better for everyone.  Now I've stopped pumping and have (seemingly) five extra hours in the day. It is grand.

Don't listen to anyone about breastfeeding or formula or anything else.  Just do what works for you and baby.  (But do read that Hannah Rosin article, it's genius).

Pads and pantiliners.  Lochia is real and it happens for a very long time.  Wikipedia tells me it passes through three stages, rubra, serosa, and alba, and that's real too.

Entertainment.  You'll spend a lot of time semi-conscious and it's a good time to catch up on quality television.

Meals-ready-to-eat.  If ever there were a time to tuck into a Stouffer's lasagna sans guilt, it's now.

For Baby

Velcro swaddle.  Clementine spent her first two months as a burrito.

Desitin.  Diapers of your choice.  I like the Costco brand - I tried to go greener and use Seventh Generation, but then my green choice turned very mustardy brown, along with the shirt I was wearing.

Some people are very motivated and put newborns in little outfits with cardigans.  These women probably also thought about shaving their legs prior to delivery.   I'm not that kind of person.  Like her mother, when Clementine is at home she is wearing pajamas regardless of time of day.

Mittens.  To prevent face scratches.

Swing.  Clementine spent her first two months as a flying burrito.

Burp cloths.  These are so much more absorbent that smaller cute ones with designs.

Little crib/crib sheets.  (Creating a safe sleeping environment: click here).

Maybe a little tub.  Baby shampoo.

And that's pretty much it.  Keep baby safe, yourself sane, and wait for things to get fun after the two month mark!

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