Last time I blinked I was unpacking Hunter from a 15 hour road trip to Colorado from Elko, Nevada. And now, he’s rolling from his tummy to his back. ALL BY HIMSELF. Where have the last five months gone?! At the same token, some of the moments during the last five months really dragged on. I mean, really. Dragged. On. Worth every minute? You betcha! Every damn one of them.
So, family life. Yep, going from a couple to a family does indeed change everything, especially if it’s just been the two of you for several years. You used to come first. No longer true now that you have a tiny little life depending on you 24/7. They come first, every time. I guess I was more egotistical pre-Hunter than I thought, because that was hard for me to accept. I’ve learned to prioritize any spare time I have between naps, early mornings, late evenings. Revisit Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Basic hygiene comes first; before food, before laundry, before email. You ask yourself, of this list (shower, laundry, pee, lunch, email, thank you letters, returning phone calls, dentist visits, blah blah blah) “what has to be done first in order to survive?” Usually, that is shower first, pee second (or in the shower if you’re that kind of multi-tasker), eat third, and you’re lucky if you get anything else done. Not to mention, at some point you’re gonna need a nap. Even if it’s 15 minutes. I’ve seen and experienced what running on very little sleep looks like, and it’s not pretty. Not to mention, you will turn into a mean, mean monster. And nobody needs that during this newborn time.
Another key piece…….If you’re fairly independent, such as myself, remember to ask your spouse for help. You may feel like you can do it all, but don’t. Take it from me, it’ll wear you down. And you need to be your best for your baby, AND yourself. Give yourself breaks; even 30 minutes a day where you’re not doing ANYTHING baby or any chores. It should be YOU time. Take a bath, go get some Starbucks, read at the library, go running or whatever it is that will help you recharge a little.
Now, what do you REALLY need for a newborn? There are things you really need versus what any baby website tells you that you need as a new parent. Don’t get a shusher machine; there’s an app for that. Don’t write down everything your baby eats, pees and poops; there’s an app for that too (one you and your spouse can share so you know what kiddo ate at 2:15 am without waking up the hubs to ask him). Don’t need any fancy baby laundry detergent; use a free and clear version. No need to wash those baby clothes separately either; toss them in with your own laundry. Don’t need a pee-pee tent if you have a boy (seriously what a waste). DO have enough formula, diapers, and wipes on hand. Obviously you will need a car seat, clothes, stroller of some kind, and a place to sleep (a crib is what I recommend; this will help curb issues down the road when trying to get your baby to sleep in their own place, and how to self-soothe; we did use a bassinet for a bit in our living room for naps, but he quickly outgrew it). And bibs; I never knew how much my little guy would spit-up (and no, he doesn’t have acid reflux). He has a bib on 75% of the time. Even today. And whoever made little baby shirts that don’t snap at the crotch for a child under 6 months, should be hung. Waste. Of. Money. Within five minutes they bunch up underneath your little peanut’s armpits. Super cute for four minutes, 30 seconds. Otherwise, go for the one piece. Avoid full one pieces that snap up along the whole thing versus zipper up; again, whoever made those should be hung next to the other guy (because, come on, single non-Dad guys must have come up with these things, either that or some dingbat 22 year old girl with no kids/no kids experience with an IQ of 78 did). Pacifiers – buy them in bulk once you know which nipple style your newborn prefers. Bulk, I say!! Store them everywhere; diaper bags, purses, cars, drawers, pockets, cribs.
Let’s talk cleanliness. More along the lines of the definition of cleanliness. Here is a very common conversation at our house these days: “Is it clean?” “Clean enough.” “Ok, then it’ll work fine.” You’ll learn that spit up mostly dries clear, but if you’re going somewhere it is best to wear a lighter colored shirt in the event of the Spit Up occurrence. Or better yet, bring a spare. And everything should be wash and dry; not hand wash or lay flat to dry. There is no time for that nonsense!
Diapers. Do not skimp on these. Enough said.
Gas drops. YES. Very convenient to buy several bottles to keep in various places throughout the house. Don’t forget to put one in the diaper bag. And don’t forget to buy the dye-free kind.
Diaper bags. Yes, duh. But please skip the frilly ones, not to mention they are horrendous IMO. Get something your husband can also take with him without feeling like you just took his manhood away. Straight black works great.
Here are some Nice-to-Have’s. Car seat carrier cover; prevents little old ladies from touching your sleeping baby at the grocery store. Customized luggage tags with the name/address to attach to a diaper bag(s), since they all look alike at the gym child care watch. Monthly stickers for monthly baby pictures are neat, super cute, and not expensive. Etsy is a wonderful place to order tags and stickers and seat covers, and anything else Baby; darn you ETSY! A lotion warmer and a wipe warmer; these are nice but completely unnecessary (although I must admit I am getting my very own lotion warmer because this thing is FABULOUS!). Let’s talk about Baby Brezza. This thing is amazing! It’s basically a Keurig for making bottles. THIS thing is the best superfluous item we bought, hands down. It’s great especially at 2 am. You push a button, and VIOLA your bottle is made.
Most important piece of advise I can give you…. Enjoy every, single quiet moment holding your newborn that you can muster. (I know at some point you will have to pee or put him down to eat a granola bar you have stashed in your nursery.) Look at that tiny little face, memorize it. Look at every eye lash, curve of their ears, how their little chin looks, their little button nose. Hold their impossibly small little hands. Breathe them into you. These are moments you never get back. I know you want your little one to be smiling, giggling, crawling, walking, eating cake. But don’t rush this. Seriously. Stop now. Look at your baby (or maybe your toddler or high schooler or grown up baby); everything else can wait a minute or two. Plus, all of that other stuff will come in due time.
I’ve probably forgotten a few things, but hopefully I’ve hit the biggies. Hey, I’m doing great if I remember to pack my lunch for work, or when Hunter last ate. I cannot put into words how tremendously blessed we feel with Hunter in our lives. Every day gets cooler and his place in our hearts just keeps getting bigger, as if somehow that’s possible.