Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What to bring to the hospital

While I'm on my baby list kick, I wanted to share our packing lists for the hospital. Obviously it's different for every person, but here's what we brought, what we wouldn't bring next time and a couple things we might bring in the future. (Again, most of this was advice from friends and family - no need to reinvent the wheel!)

And of course I'm gonna include a couple pictures because no post is complete without them :) I looooove looking through our hospital pictures - they immediately bring back a flood of memories and emotions. I am so thankful for them.

For Me:
-Doctor papers (at my doctor's office, they called them "white sheets" - they were a copy of all my charts and records from my visits during pregnancy)
-Driver's license
-Phone + charger
-Bathrobe (easy to put on or take off for nursing)
-2 nursing tanks (I love the Gilligan O'Malley tanks from Target - I would suggest going up at least one size)
-2 sports bras (again, go up at least one size)
-Comfy pajama pants
-Thick socks
-Hair dryer (didn't end up using this)
-Shampoo & conditioner & soap
-Toothbrush & toothpaste
-Hairbrush & hair ties
-2 bigger t-shirts (or whatever you want to wear if you aren't comfortable in your PJs when visitors come)
-Coming home outfit (I would definitely suggest a maternity outfit. My sister had to go home and get me a maternity dress to wear home. I had packed my maternity jeans to wear but definitely didn't want to wear those with my C-section wound)
-Pillow & comfy blanket from home (definitely makes you more comfortable)
-Big cup (they just give you little cups for water at the hospital, so I was glad I brought my big water cup from home)
-Nursing accessories (avert your eyes, boys.... nursing pads, nursing gel pads, lanolin cream, nursing cover, nursing bra (I just used nursing tanks (I went up one size) since I didn't know what size I would be...the tanks worked great and were super comfortable. PS I got all my nursing accessories from Target - they have everything there.) 
-Boppy (we didn't use ours, probably won't bring it next time)
-Stool softener (or the hospital may give you one)
-Whatever your comfort things are - chapstick, your comfy sweatshirt, nice lotion...whatever will make it feel like home and/or cozy

For Rob:
-Camera + charger
-Video camera + charger
-Phone + charger
-3-4 outfits
-Pillow & comfy blanket from home
-A couple movies for us to watch together
-Snacks to avoid spending lots of money on hospital food (I brought too much food that we didn't need since people were so generous to bring us real food from the outside :) Even if you don't have family and friends in the area to bring you food, I wouldn't pack too many snacks since you and your husband will want some real food to eat - at least we did.)
-Cash for vending machines (again, we didn't really use this)
-Sound machine (I didn't bring this but I think I will next time to help us sleep when we had the chance. We were not good at getting some naps in during the day and I think this would help us in the future.)

For Kate:
-Diaper bag (I just packed all of her hospital stuff into the diaper bag so that was her hospital bag)
-4-5 sleeping gowns (I didn't bring enough gowns for her so my sister had to run home and get some)
-3-4 comfy hats
-Going home outfit - newborn size
-Going home outfit - 0-3 month size (important to have both sizes in case you have a bigger baby who doesn't fit into newborn sizes)
-Burp cloths (1-2) (I don't even know if I really used these at the hospital though...she didn't really spit up for the first couple days)
-Swaddle blankets (Aiden & Anais) (1-2) (try to get the baby in your blankets as quickly as possible, rather than the hospital blankets which are washed in bleach and can make your baby's skin break out)
-Paci (I brought a couple different types to try, assuming she took to nursing easily...I know that some people would not recommend introducing a paci that early but just FYI, the hospitals no longer provide them (at least not in RDU))
-Swaddle (we brought the purple Swaddle Pod because it was easy to use - just zip it up!)
-Mits (1-2 since most of the gowns you put them in should have them built in)
-Any little personal comfy things you want to bring to make it more cozy - stuffed animal, a blankey, etc.

Don't Bring (the hospital has it and you should use it because you are paying for it :) )

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Recommended Baby Items - Newborn

Yesterday, I shared a list of things that I would recommend having on hand for the first couple weeks after a baby is born. Again, at the end of the day, all you need is a blanket, a couple pairs of pajamas, diapers, and food :) I remember getting so overwhelmed by all the "stuff" (and you may too, after reading this next list). But just remember that it's all just extra and you don't "need" any of it.

Here are the things that it was good to have for convenience for the first few weeks, or that I needed when she was a little older than a few weeks:

A Bassinet - I was planning on letting Kate sleep in her bouncy seat but Rob surprised me with this little treasure a couple weeks before she was born. I LOVE it and it will be so special to have in our family for future babies.

Lille baby carrier - My sister bought one of these when her little girl was born. They apparently are better for your back then the ergo or baby bjorn. And let me tell you - I LOVE it. It does not hurt my back at all, it is the same price as an ergo, and it really makes you feel like you are carrying nothing. You can wear it on your front or back, and the baby can face inwards or outwards. I got mine in the charcoal color so that Rob can wear it too.

Trying out my sister's orange Lille baby carrier

Target stretchy hairbands - We were blessed to be given so many clothes and helpful baby items - and also beautiful cute little itty bitty headbands. :) All of the hairbands below are sold at Target and they are great for newborns! They are stretchy and stay on and they are just really cute.
Dr Brown bottles - These were the ones suggested to me by my sweet friend, Katherine, and we've found them to be the best ones for Kate. She swallows a lot less air with these and I think they helped the milk come out more slowly, allowing for her to adjust to the bottle more easily. (Also another important tip - make sure you get newborn size for the bottle so that the milk doesn't come out too quickly).

Baby monitor - There are a lot of really cool baby monitors out there, some that sync with your phone, etc. We decided to just go the simple route and get a relatively inexpensive, simple monitor that we had heard good things about from friends. It's a Summer Infant Video Monitor. And we were also blessed to be given ours by Rob's co-workers! So far it has worked perfectly and we love watching her on the little screen :)

Noise machine - When Kate was just under 3 weeks, we were having a tough time getting her to sleep longer at night time. My mom suggested trying a sound machine and it worked great! We were given a Sleep Sheep On the Go at a baby shower. We have loved using this sound machine for the car, or for short naps (it has a max 45 minute timer since it runs on batteries). But we found we needed one that could plug in and stay on the whole time she is sleeping - she would often wake up when the timed sound machine would shut off. So we bought a Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine. It works great!

Books - We have loved reading lots of books with Kate! She loves listening to our voices and it really relaxes her.

Jesus Storybook Bible - One of my sweet co-workers gave me this as a baby gift and we LOVE it! We read it together as a family every night before we put Kate down for the night. It does a great job of introducing the Bible to kids in a way they can understand and in a way that points to Christ in every story.

Car mirror - Becca and I bought some car mirrors together at Target for our bebes. It's awesome to be able to see her when I'm driving, especially when she's crying so that I know that's she's okay. I don't think we got this exact one but it was about this same price.

Bibs - Even though Kate is not eating any solids yet, we still use bibs for feeding her a bottle since it can be messy. They were also really helpful when she was spitting up alot - it saved us from having to change her outfit every five minutes. :)

Pampers Swaddlers - We love these diapers! They work great and contain almost all explosions.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste - Weird name, but magical cream. Works great for diaper rashes! It's expensive but I only use a tiny bit and it clears up the rash right away.

Graco PackNPlay - We found this awesome smaller pack-n-play at Babies-R-Us. We already had to use it at the beach and we loved it! It's easy to use and it has "stages" so that you can lower or raise the bottom based on how small your little one is. It was great for me not having to bend all the way over to pick her up when I was still recovering from my C-section.

WubbaNub - This paci is much easier for Kate to keep in her mouth and it's so cute! The last couple weeks, she has even started holding on to it's little legs or tail or head while she falls asleep. It's adorable to see her cuddle with it!

Diaper bag - I knew I wanted a nicer diaper bag in the hopes that it would last me more than one child. I LOVE the one I got. It's Petunia Pickle Bottom...but I waited until one of their huge sales and got it for 50% off. I love all the pockets, I love the size, I love that it has straps to convert to a backpack, I love the design - I just love it :) It also came with a diaper changing mat which is SO awesome when we are on the go. When she was just a couple weeks old, I was changing her diaper on my parents' carpet and she started peeing but luckily I had the mat underneath her and it kept the carpet completely dry. Awesome.

Playmat - Kate is still learning to appreciate her play mat - I think she gets a little overwhelmed :) But it's great to lay her down on her back for a little while and give her some time to kick and stretch and play on her own.

Changing pad liners - These things are AWESOME for convenience! I put these on top of our changing table or in her crib at night so that if she spits up for if her diaper leaks, I don't have to wash the changing pad or the crib sheets - I can just toss this little liner in the laundry. LOVE them - totally recommend them. Best $10 you'll spend.

Hospital brush - Ha this is kinda a joke. But we seriously use the little hairbrush that the hospital gives you for free Kate has so much hair and I really do have to brush it to tame it. It cracks me up brushing her hair on her little head. It makes me feel like I'm playing with a baby doll :)

I think that's all! I'll add more if I remember any :) Hope it helps somebody out there!

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Baby Items - Newborn

Before I forget, I wanted to make a list of all the baby items that we have loved for the first couple months of babyhood. I particularly wanted to point out what things I loved and "needed" immediately for when the baby was born (I use "need" loosely because all you need is diapers, a blanket, and food for newborns :)). I was overwhelmed by all the products when I was preparing for Kate's arrival and it was helpful to be able to ask my mom and sister what things I really "needed" for her for the first few weeks.

So here are the must-haves on my list for what I would suggest for the first few weeks of having a newborn (in no particular order):

1. A finished nursery - I know that a lot of people say you don't need to have the nursery ready before the baby is born because it's not like they sleep in there for the first couple weeks anyway. BUT for me, it was such a relief to have it finished. I had an unscheduled C-section so my recovery was a little bit longer and I was not able to do much of anything at all. Also we had a constant string of visitors the first couple weeks - and I loved having the nursery finished and clean. Plus, when she was ready to sleep in her crib, we didn't have to do anything to get it ready - which, again, was great for me because of the C-section recovery.

2. Swing/bouncy seat - I think it's really helpful to have a swing and/or a bouncy seat. Luckily, we found one that was a two-in-one at Target for a very reasonable price (plus a baby sale plus gift cards = we got it for dirt cheap) - Graco Swing/bouncy seat. I didn't care very much about having a fancy shmancy swing but I was hoping to find a two-in-one (even though I didn't know if they existed) just to save space on having two different pieces of equipment. I was thrilled to find this one. We've had no issues with it! Kate was obsessed with constant motion so the bouncy seat feature while she's swinging has been crucial. It also plays music and/or white noise which is an awesome bonus. And as she's gotten older, she has LOVED the little bears hanging above her. The bouncy seat easily detaches which was great for her to sleep in during the first couple weeks. Also the seat adjusts based on her age so it can lay really flat or be elevated to help her sit up.
Cons - it's kinda big so it's not easy to move and it's definitely not portable (can't take it to my parents' house). And the swing only goes side to side and not front to back. At first Kate didn't love the swing but she LOVES it now.

3. Swaddle - Swaddling is really important for newborns (it mimics the feeling of being in the womb). The nurses are great at swaddling the baby while you are in the hospital so you can watch them to learn how to do it with just a blanket. We also use swaddle blankets - a Miracle Blanket and a cute Summer Infant Swaddle Pod that my sister lent us. We use the purple Swaddle Pod for naps and the Miracle Blanket for night time. Both are great and I would highly recommend either! Also for swaddling - Rob is the master swaddler in our house. He can swaddle her way tighter than me :)



4. Soft blankets - Obviously you can use any blankets :) We use this one and also the Aiden & Anais blankets. Newborns need to be constantly wrapped up and warm. We love the big plush pink one for extra padding on the floor when we lay her down or if we need extra warmth. We use the Aiden & Anais light swaddle blankets all the time, every day. They are awesome!

5. Burp cloths - Babies spit up a lot. I have found that I like the flannel burp cloths like these.

6. Breast pump - If you plan on pumping, it's good to introduce a bottle early. I would recommend having a pump within the first two weeks (we introduced a bottle at 2 weeks - but it totally depends on how your baby takes to nursing initially). We used the Medela Breast pump thanks to a sweet friend lending us theirs! I eventually got my free one from the insurance company, but it came after two months because it was back-ordered. It's the same model as this one, just without the travel case. 

7. Newborn diapers - Any small size diapers work for newborns but the newborn specific ones are awesome because they have a cut out for the umbilical cord, so you don't have to worry about the top of the diaper rubbing and irritating the belly button before the cord falls off. The hospital had these for us, which was awesome, and then we also had some for when we went home. We used the Pampers Swaddler diapers (diaper on the right in picture below).

8. Sleeping gowns - My mom told me I would love these and boy was she right! :) They just kept Kate so warm and the built in mits that go over her hands are so awesome. Plus they are stinkin' adorable.

9. Wipes - The hospital provides nicer, brand name wipes which was nice but we just used the Target brand at home. :)

10. Pacis - Probably a lot of you would disagree with me on using a paci in the first couple weeks but we took one to the hospital and used it even there because she took to nursing so easily, and she constantly wanted to be sucking on something. We use the Avent Soothie because that's what she liked best and is supposed to be the best for avoiding confusion.

11. Carseat - She needed a way to get home from the hospital! :) We registered for the Graco Alano Classic Connect Travel System, which includes a stroller. Very easy to use and fold-up with one hand. Love it so far! As with most of our big gear, we went for gender neutral colors so we could use it for future kiddos.

Tomorrow I'll be back with some more recommended items that were either great for convenience, or that you'll want to have for after the first couple weeks. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Annnnd I'm back

Remember that time that I posted that this blog was going private at the end of the week...over a month ago? Oops.

After doing a lot of research, etc on private blogs - well, I found out that they just don't really work very well! The number of responses I got from people who wanted to keep reading was so encouraging and totally overwhelming! I loved reconnecting with so many friends and family - it was a great excuse to catch up. However, private blogs for blogger only allow 50 invites and there just wasn't a way to make that work well and truly keep it private.

So, instead, I am going to keep blogging here, but will be removing a lot of my personal posts and will be filtering more in the future what details I choose to share here. I want to be very mindful and careful to protect my family and respect their privacy. Not everything needs to be shared with the world at large, amiright? :)

To help mark the change of the blog, I came up with a new blog name - nicNAKS (the first part of my first name, and my initials of my maiden name + married name). I'm still working with the design, etc so bear with me :) The name also kind of describes what the blog will be about - a mixture of lots of different things! DIY projects, things I love, home decor, crafts, and even some new wedding planning posts (I coordinate/plan weddings on the side and would love to share some tips & tricks for brides to help make the ceremony/reception planning go more smoothly).This blog has been such a fun, creative outlet for me over the past few years and I'm excited to pick it back up now that I'm feeling like I have a little more energy again.

So I'm back! Sorry for the confusion over the past month! :)