So, after 36 hours of labor and 3 days being hospitalized, we survived triumphantly and brought home our baby girl, Sofia. Tadaaaa…
Just like any new parents we are overjoyed, exhausted, grateful, confused, you name it – we feel it all. A wise person told me that the best gift you can give your child is ” time”.
Very true *nod nod*.
But in order to have that “time”, there are material things we, new parents, should have to make life with a newborn a little easier,
and I’d like to share those tips here:
“Please note that these products are based on what is available and applicable in the Netherlands. Use your discretion and consult a doctor when it involves your baby’s health.
1. 10 seconds thermometer.
In the first days, we were asked to monitor the temperature of baby girl daily. A safe temperature is anywhere between 36.5 until 37.5.
So when it is between 36 – 36.5, put on more layers of clothes on your baby. When it is 37.5 to 38, reduce the layers of clothes. When it is below 36 or above 38, call your doctor. We are advised not to give any medicine if baby girl is under 3 months old and has fever. Any feverish newborn has to be seen by the doctor.
We checked her temperature everyday for 2 weeks, and you might need to do more if your baby has a low weight. There is no need to buy the fancy thermometers or an ear thermometer; the plain one gives the most reliable measurement. You will measure the temperature via your baby’s anus, so make sure you have the fast thermometer (under 10 seconds) and a petroleum jelly as a lubricant.
2. Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
Other than as a lubricant for your thermometer, we apply it at baby’s buttcheek at every diaper changing to avoid diaper rash.
3. Baby nose spray (Otrivin zoutoplossing).
Baby girl got stuffy nose the other day. The poor thing had heavy breathing like miss piggy and it came to the point where she could not breastfeed well and cried like a maniac. One spray of this magical thing, she sneezed and a big snot came out from her tiny flat nose, and hallelujah she stopped crying !
4. Bepanthen cream.
This is actually for baby’s skin but apparently works very well for sore nipples too. The first weeks of breastfeeding is quite painful and imagine having to recover from the labor and dealing with sore breast and scarred or even bleeding nipples. Ay yoh. Well this cream works like wonder for me and the best thing is that it is safe for the baby. You don’t have to wipe it clean before nursing your baby. I was also advised to rub some breastmilk on the nipples and let it dry by itself. Indeed, sore nipples were gone in a couple of days.
5. Here we are at the breastfeeding topic. The most important advice you might already hear everywhere is to do it right from the beginning. Ask the nurse at the hospital to help you with breastfeeding for the first time. Do hug and breastfeed your baby within the first hour of his/her birth – this seems to be crucial.
If your baby does not drink correctly, stop nursing immediately and repeat. If you let your baby drinks in a wrong way from the beginning it would be very complicated and stressful to correct it later on. You can even get a breast infection.
If you are planning to breastfeed, read as much you can from here: http://www.lalecheleague.org/ and I’d watch some videos on youtube to see how a baby should latches on and drinks.
6. Nursing night bra.
You might already have the nursing bra that looks like a normal bra and has a “window”. But please also get a comfortable bra, the ones without wires and uncomfortable button, as you will need to wear a bra while sleeping. Why?well apparently your breast can leak and can even sprays milk!who knew, he ? -_-.
The ones I have are made from organic cotton and feels like a comfortable cloud wrapping my body. hhmmm.
For those in NL, you can get one here http://www.ba-by.nl/zwangerschapslingerie/slaapbh-comfort-wit-2605001094982051/
7. Big grandma undies.
Your husbands might hate me for this, but go get some big comfortable underwears that you can pull up to your stomach. They have the ones for 5 euros for three pieces in Hema :p.
Trust me, after all the stitches, whether stitches after natural birth or c-section, you’ll be glad you have some comfortable big underwear to walk around in.
8. Soft sanitary pads.
You can use the huge maternity pads for the first few weeks to hold all the heavy bleeding, but on lighter days you will want to switch to the normal size ones. Remember to not get the brands like ‘Always’ and alike as they have this plasticky surface that can hurt your stitches and causes infection. Get a soft surfaced one, like the one from Kotex.
9. Fingerfeeding syringe
Still on breastfeeding topic, when your baby has trouble nursing or you are not producing enough milk yet in the first days, use this fingerfeeding syringe. Again, ask the nurse or your lactation consultant to guide you with this as it is not supposed to be used as a main feeding equipment – just additional.
If you wish, this will help you delay using a bottle as long as possible until your baby can breastfeed perfectly. I got mine from the hospital, so I don’t know where you can buy one in NL, actually. Probably in normal drugstore or some online shops, just google “vingervoeding spuitje”.
Still on the everlasting breastfeeding topic. I was advised not to buy any breastpump machine until the baby was born, as the machine is quite costly (around eur 200) or in case breastfeeding did not go well.
The solution is to rent one from your hospital/lactation consultant. (The one you rent is only the machine, you will need to buy the new bottles and tubes for sanitary reason)
My carer (kraamzorgster) advised this one, http://www.ardo-borstkolven.nl/, as they are cheaper that the Medela/Avent brands but works just as well. I finally bought it after trying out the rental one for a week.
11. The right formula
Although breastfeeding baby girl is going quite well, we prepare a formula at home too, just in case. We give this to her from time to time when I am not around or when we are going out. Although breastfeed has so many advantages, mothers please don’t be stressed out when it does not work. I believe a relaxed and happy mother is far more important. Besides, formulas nowadays are so advanced, it will not hurt your newborn at all! Husband chose this brand below as it has a formula that reduces stomach cramps.
12. Now, stomach cramps.
Fiuh, our baby girl cried and cried even after feeding and changing and hugging. Legs stretched out, arms flailing in the air. I suspect it was because I ate too much cabbages and drank too much black tea… Either way, it hurts to see your baby in such a pain.
Thankfully that was the only episode so far, afterwards she is a happy calm baby that only cries when she is hungry. But we have found that using Avent bottle has not resulted into colics/ stomach cramps and the belly warmer from KipKep has helped her fell asleep during her stomach cramp.
You can also try to warm up a piece of cloth in the microwave and apply it to your baby’s stomach when he/she is in pain. But we got the wonderful bellywarmer here: http://www.kipkep.com/product.php?id_product=16.
13. Your diet.
Breastfeeding mothers do have to watch what we eat, Indonesians believe that green beans help milk production, banana soothes baby’s digestion and the Dutch believe that rooibos tea is safe for pregnant/breastfeeding mom as it has no theine content.
And drink lots of water.
I always have a tall glass of water during nursing as I am always directly parched afterwards.
14. Easy baby clothes
When buying baby clothes, find the ones that are easy to put on – like this basic one with lots of buttons. In dutch they are called ‘overslag rompertje’. A onesie that covers your baby’s feet is also a great favorite.I always find layering two thin layers to be better than one thick clothing. Put on another vest on top of the basic so that when your sweet baby spits on it, you only need to change the vest.
Also, buy lots of those hydrofiel cloths (hydrofiel luiers), super useful for anything I could think of. They are 7 euro for 6 pieces in Hema, I think. I have more than two dozens of them. Use it to wipe some spilled milk, to clean bottles, to cloth the changing area, to wrap your baby, et cetera…
15. Vitamins D & K
From day eighth, your baby needs to consume :
– 5 drops of vitamin K until he/she is 3 months old.*
– and 10 drops of vitamin D until he/she is 4 years old.
* Vitamin K is already included in formula milk, so if your baby is drinking more than 500 ml of formula milk, extra vitamin K drops are NOT necessary.
Get these in advance from any drugstore, it will safe you a trip later on. Having those soft plastic spoons are also handy 🙂
16. Diaper budget
Only for those in NL, the cheapest diapers change every week depends on that week’s offer. If you want to hunt the current best offers on diapers, check this website first before shopping in bulk : http://www.luierinfo.nl/aanbiedingen
17. Containers, yep containers.
and finally, oh how easy it is to throw all your cleaned feeding equipment in one plastic container that has a lid or a tupperware to keep it somewhat sterile.
We also have this heat/cold bag that can keep your bottled milk warm when you are on the go. It can keep a bottle warm for around two hours.
Well those are some of our favorite things…Good luck new parents and parents-to-be…please share your own tips and tricks for us too. May all these tips make your life easier and give you more of that precious time with your precious one 🙂
kisses from the three of us!