Newborn Essentials

I remember when I was pregnant, R and I got into an argument with my parents around how we didn’t want to buy that much baby stuff. Their side of the argument, “babies need a lot of stuff!!!!” I still disagree. This is a list of what we found to be the only essential items:

– a place for the baby to sleep. I would highly, highly recommend a baby box. We used the “SnuggleNest.” A box means you can have the baby fall asleep anywhere while still having the baby feel like it’s in a familiar place. Plus, later on you can put the box inside the crib and the adjustment goes super well.

– silicone bottles. We used comotomo brand which I liked a lot because the silicone and the wide mouth meant you don’t need a bottle brush to wash them out.

– diapers. Goes without saying.

– warm clothes. Babies run cold, or at least our baby did. It was not unusual for her to sleep in an inside onesie, a wool sweater vest (handknit by grandma), footed PJs, and a hat.

– blankets to swaddle with. We used regular receiving blankets and didn’t buy swaddlers.

– a baby bathtub. Our kiddo legit cried every time we bathed her, which we did every day! But in a few weeks, she started associating bath time with bed time which is still the case. The one time in her entire life we skipped the bath, she would. not. go. to. sleep.

– a white noise machine, though we used our phones for the first few months.

– burp cloths. Get more than you think you need. Once you are out, time to do laundry!

– a mode of transportation for the baby (wrap, car seat, etc.). This one is highly variable based on your situation. We did a mix of wraps (the ktan), car seat in car (the maxi cosi mico 30…insane name for a car seat if you ask me), and car seat attachment with stroller).

– and for mom: massages, post-partum pies (and really unlimited food), and at least a night bottle of formula administered by someone else so she can get some sleep).

 

Overlap Week

It is overlap week! The one week where R and I overlap our parental leaves. We had thought we’d need a week to transition MG, but she hit a really good napping pattern last week and it seems like anybody (aka at least R and I) can now put her down for a nap. What caused this do you ask? Why, after a month or so of rolling to her belly and then crying during sleep, she’s decided it is much preferable to sleep on her belly. Therefore, she refuses to roll onto her belly herself and when you roll her, she instantly goes to sleep…babies!

So far, overlap week has mostly been fun. We’re being productive beasts — scheduling a house cleaning, donating a bunch of stuff. We’re also trying to schedule fun things every day — blogging, watching Stranger Things, hopefully a few beach trips. MG has been getting pretty bad heat rash so we mostly stay inside the house.

And next week, I go back to work. Part-time for a month and then full-time…I’m sort of nervous about going back (and honestly, slightly resentful that I had the “hard” part of the leave bc MG is now so fun and so playful and takes lots of long naps every day!) but I think it will be good for me. And it will be good for R and MG to hang out together more too.

A pattern I’ve noticed — married couples without kids come to visit. The man leaves wanting a baby, while the woman leaves having decided she’ll postpone babies for at least a few more years.

Life Update

I haven’t written in a while. Life feels sort of like I’m on a hamster wheel, but my companion becomes a more efficient babbler every day. In four weeks I go back to work, so it’s been a bit easier for me to enjoy my time off and see the silver lining in being home because I know my time left is finite. But still, man oh man, do I think I’m better off as the working parent rather than the stay-at-home parent. For a month, I’ll be working 3.5 days a week, and then I’ll be back full-time after labor day. R will be off until November.

Friends of ours came into town and we were talking about what it’s like to have a baby. R was like it’s about 10% harder every day. I said it’s about 30% harder every day. I’ll be very curious to revisit the conversation after he’s on leave for a while and I’m back at work.

 

Breastfeeding

Yesterday, MG had her last feeding of breast milk. She is now fully formula fed. I honestly could not be happier. I can tell my hormones are a little out-of-whack and I feel emotionally sensitive but mostly I just feel relief. When R and I decided to scuttlebutt our original plan of dropping a breast feeding every week or so and just move her to full formula, I also cried happiness. I didn’t have to breastfeed forever! I could move on to formula and enjoy the last two months of my leave! Everyone says when you are thinking about weaning to think back about how much breast milk you were able to give your baby but I pretty much just regret it. The amount of pain, frustration, crying (from both of us!), anxiety made it not worth it. If I could give post-partum me one piece of advice, I would say, “You were blessed with one of the sweetest, cutest, easiest babies in existence. Just feed your fucking baby with the formula and enjoy her.”

Loneliness

There is a deep loneliness in parenting. In being the default parent – the one home from work, the one who might not leave the house if it is overcast, the one who listens at night to see if the baby’s fussing will calm itself or escalate. I leave MG with her father, her grandparents, very easily. I know they all know how to take care of her and that they love her as much as I do. But it’s a temporary break from a permanent burden. The full weight rests on me alone. I am curious to see what the dynamic is like in August when R is off work for 16 weeks, I’m back at work, and she is no longer breastfeeding.