Q: What are your top 5 baby essentials?
A: Some of these are items that I think are completely essential, while a couple are things that I personally love and make life easier!
● Boppy newborn lounger - This lounger is definitely one of my most favorite baby items! It's lightweight, therefore super portable. It can be thrown into the washer, if needed. I promise you won’t want to carry your baby around 24/7 and having a comfy spot to sit them in throughout the day will be SO helpful! This lounger is slightly elevated too, so baby can look out into the world.
● Car seat - You 100% need to have a car seat before baby arrives. There aren’t many items that you absolutely must have for a baby, but a car seat is definitely one of them!
● Lots and lots of bibs and burp clothes. Babies and spit-up goes hand-in-hand :) Make sure to have lots of these on deck, unless you want to do laundry once a day.
● Baby carrier/wrap - Babies love to be close to their mama all the time! Like literally 24/7 I think my newborn would be happy for me to be holding him. But carrying around your baby constantly is not the most realistic thing to do. Having some type of carrier to put baby in is SO important! It allows baby to get those snuggles that they love so much, while also freeing up your hands!
● Thermometer - Make sure you get yourself a reliable thermometer. A rectal temperature is actually the most accurate way to check a newborn’s temperature, so I highly recommend purchasing one specifically designed for this.
Q: What advice would you give to moms adding items to their registry?
A: When building your baby registry, the most helpful thing you can do is talk to other moms about what items they loved and didn’t love. I actually developed my registry by looking at a couple of my other mom friends’ registries! And then I talked to them individually to see what items they had on there that weren’t super necessary, and what items they wished they would have put on there but didn’t. Ideally, ask a family member or friend who has had a baby in the last year! Their registry will likely be viewable online still and they will also have the information you are looking for fresh in their mind.
Q: What did you look for when deciding on a car seat/stroller?
A: When I was looking for a stroller for my oldest son, I wanted something affordable, lightweight and portable. It was also important that the stroller had the ability to hold his car seat, but then convert to a seat once he was able to sit up on his own. For the car seat, I asked some friends who had babies what was important when looking for a car seat. Most suggested to find one that was lightweight and had good safety reviews. You don’t need a car seat with tons of bells and whistles. The most important thing is to find one that will keep your baby safe and will be relatively easy for you to move in and out of the car.
Q: What are your hospital bag must-haves?
A: My hospital bag looked drastically different for my first son compared to my second! With my oldest, I packed so much stuff! I had 5 outfits for me, 10 outfits for baby - I had no clue what I was doing and packed his whole entire nursery, just to be safe! I think I walked into the hospital with 3 pieces of luggage, crazy I know! The second time around, I knew what was most important to bring and what I could do without, so I was able to pack much lighter!
The most essential items for mom:
● 2-3 nursing tanks or other shirts that will be easy to nurse in
● 1-2 nursing bras
● Nipple cream
● Breastfeeding pillow
● Breast pump (most hospitals have pumps for moms to use if needed, but they can be in limited supply so always a good idea to bring your own, just in case)
● 2-3 pairs of comfy pants
● Phone charger
● ID & insurance cards
For baby, you only need:
● 2-3 onesies or footie-pajamas (though if you are breastfeeding, you will likely spend a lot of time skin-to-skin with baby and you may not even need to dress baby)
● Going home outfit
● Pacifier (if you plan on introducing one)
● 2-3 receiving blankets
● Car seat
Also don’t forget to have your support person pack a bag too :)
Q. Do you have any tips for the first outing with baby?
A. The very first outing you will probably go on is a trip to the pediatrician’s office! Usually this first appointment is scheduled 1-2 days after you are discharged from the hospital. That first outing can be a little nerve-wracking! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time - however much time you think it will take to get baby ready and in the car, double that! Bring an Essential Bag with you that has a couple extra diapers, wipes, burp cloths, bibs, pacifiers and an extra bottle of milk if you are formula feeding.
If your pediatrician allows you to bring a support person, by all means do it! Having another set of hands available is always helpful. Jot down any questions or concerns you have on your phone (or in a notebook) before you go that way you don’t forget anything while you are there.
Q. What is your favorite piece of advice for new mothers?
A. One thing is guaranteed as a first time mom - you’ll receive a ton of advice. Some of it may be helpful, and some may just go in one ear and out the other. The biggest piece of advice I give my new mom friends is to be flexible and open to help! Being flexible is something that can be hard for some new moms. Maybe you thrive on a schedule in general, but with a newborn there is no such thing as a schedule. It can take a couple of months before baby will get into a good groove and that’s completely normal! If you remember to relax and be flexible, I promise you will be less stressed!
It was hard for me as a new mom to ask for help or even accept help that was being offered. I wanted to do everything for myself. I took a lot of stress on because I didn’t let anyone help me. This second time around I have been much more willing to get help from people that offer and that has allowed me to actually enjoy the newborn days!
Help can come in a lot of different forms. I think many new moms assume when someone offers help, it is them wanting to come over and hold the baby and not all moms are ok with that. If you aren’t comfortable with anyone holding your baby just yet, you can still get help in other ways. Ask for dinner to be brought to you or maybe someone can come over and do a couple of loads of laundry or the dishes. Even a quick FaceTime call to let you vent about how hard it is being a new mom could be extremely helpful.
Q. Any advice for families out there with little ones in the NICU?
A. For families with babies in the NICU - first off, my heart goes out to all of you! Having a new baby is tough and adding the stressor of a baby in the NICU makes it 10 times more difficult. Rally as much support around you as you can during this time! You will likely want to spend as much time as possible at the hospital with baby, so have a family member take care of the housekeeping (feeding the animals, getting the mail, etc).
Lastly, make sure you are taking care of yourself also - don’t forget to stay hydrated, eat and try to sleep when you can (this is good advice for mamas who don’t have NICU babies too!). And finally, try to connect with other families who are in your same situation or who have been in your situation before. You will likely meet other parents whose babies are in the NICU - they can be such great support! There are also tons of support groups you can join on Facebook and NICU accounts to follow on Instagram.