The first four weeks of motherhood are undoubtedly the most challenging, right? Well I’m only seven weeks in so I guess I can’t say for sure but I do know that as a new mom, those first four weeks were a huge adjustment. Your body is healing, your emotions are all over the place and you are also responsible for this new little life. A new life that wants to eat every 2 hours including all through the night, who may or may not want to sleep when they’re not eating and basically requires your full attention for what feels like every minute of the day. You’re figuring out a new routine, as much as that’s possible with a newborn.
The days are full of sweetness and love but also full of questions, unpredictability and exhaustion. As the weeks are moving forward I can feel a rhythm being found and feel myself starting to adjust. But the four items I’ve included in this post are the things that I’m not sure I could have gotten through that first month without.
1. High quality swaddles
I was convinced my son hated to be swaddled. He was always fighting to have his hands up and would fuss as soon as I tried to get him into the swaddle. As it turns out, I’m just not great at swaddling with the typical swaddle blankets you get and those blankets are just not meant to get the tight fit you want. Enter better swaddles!
I am a big fan of the Ollie and the SwaddleMe if you’re looking for a structured option that includes velcro to assist you. Velcro can be a bit loud to undo though during a middle of the night feed! So my other favorites are the CadenLane Oversized Swaddles because the material has such good stretch to it allowing you to pull snug for a better swaddle than the typical muslin fabric. Check out their instagram highlights for a video showing the easiest way to swaddle!
2. Sound machine/Shusher
Ok I’m cheating a little with this because it’s technically two items that I’m counting as one. But they’re in the same category. A sound machine is an absolute must for wherever the baby is going to be sleeping. I move ours all over the house and honestly am considering just buying two more so I can have one near every sleep surface. It helps my little guy fall asleep but more importantly it helps him stay asleep by being that buffer between his sleep and other sounds, like my husband and I getting ready for bed when he’s already asleep.
It also works as a continuous soothing noise as he moves through his sleep cycles so you definitely want one that doesn’t have an automatic shutoff. The shusher is basically a portable sound machine but instead of white noise it’s the shh sound over and over. I actually purchased this one maybe a week or two-ish after a recommendation from a fellow mama and it’s been worth its weight in gold. I was making myself hoarse with all the shushing I was doing trying to get a fussy baby to calm down. This does it for you and can be taken along in the car, put by the crib or bassinet, in the stroller etc. A simple but oh so valuable tool.
I have three. Yep you read that right. I have a wrap, plus two different structured carriers. My little guy took a couple weeks to settle in and figure out life and was super fussy in those early weeks, and in the evenings he still is. I felt like I was glued to him and my couch just nursing and letting him sleep on me. The carriers give me a way to get up and around even if he’s sleeping, take the weight off my arms from carrying him so much and if he’s fussy the closeness of the carrier combined with the motion of me walking around with him can usually calm him.
I love the Sollybaby wrap because the material is lightweight and I basically live on the surface of the sun (re: the south in the summer). The Babybjorn Mini and Tula structured carriers are both easy to put on and comfy for baby with a bit more head support than the wrap if you’re going to be doing something that requires being up and down a lot. They are also what my husband prefers since they’re a bit less fuss than the wrap. Tula even has a quiz you can take to find the right carrier for your needs.
4. Burp cloths
So many burp cloths. However many you think you’ll need, get 5 more. I go through so many of these! I have pretty much one anytime I’m holding our little one to be prepared for an unexpected spit up. One goes under his chin during tummy time, one in the diaper bag, one by the bassinet for nighttime feedings, everywhere! I keep them all around the house so that when we need one I’m not scrambling to find one and because I have so many I’m able to wash frequently while still having plenty to use.
My favorite brands are just these plain muslin ones that are super soft but absorbent and I also love these from Ely’s&Co. that are a thicker material and the shape helps them sit nicely on your shoulder without falling off. These Caden Lane bamboo burp cloths are perfectly soft too!
What are your newborn lifesaver products you can’t live without?