A Letter to the Brand New Mother

Awake at night with the baby?

Feeling some silent tears well up in your eyes and roll down your cheek?


Here are some things for you to read whenever you need some distraction, mixed in with some things I wish people would tell me so I didn't feel like I was a failure, mixed in with some motivation mixed in with just...random thoughts:

-Pain and healing after birth is a bitch. It's natural for it to feel like that

-You just gave birth to a human being, you can do anything! Don't forget it too quickly and don't let doubts trickle in on your capabilities

-It's normal to be frustrated that you're not back to your old fully functioning self when you want to be. No one is back to their normal self. It took 9 months to grow and change and birth this child, it will take some time to get back. I expected my body to be back once I popped the kid out. Nope.

-It is normal to feel like you were better 39 weeks pregnant than post partum

-At some point you will walk normally again (posture, speed, gait, all of it), I promise! 

-It takes some time to let go of the pregnancy loose clothes and the pregnancy pillow...bummer, I wanted them out, but embrace the spandex and the loose things. Just wear them

-It's hard to move, what?!?!?!

-The belly...what do you mean it's still there?

-Everything that functions down there will slowly return to normal, too

-So what if you don't bounce back like a super model? You're pretty damn beautiful

-There is probably nothing more beautiful to Brendan than to see you holding his daughter

-Let the tears go, just let them out, why try to control or to find sense in them?

-The hormonal rollercoasters, don't fight them but just grab on for the ride. They get less intense, but the rides go on for awhile.

-Poor partners, they are also along for the ride, but give them some time to also learn to navigate the new roles

-Everything hurts, and apparently it's supposed to 

-When did showering have to hurt?

-When did wearing clothes have to hurt?

-The large underwear and pads go away eventually

-the bleeding goes away....eventually...

-That black belly line goes away...eventually...

-Just let it all out when you have to

-Breast feeding is painful, formula feeding is also painful, which ever you decide to do, man it's hard!

-If you feel overwhelmed, you have a right to be

-If you feel like you're not a good mom, remember your'e pretty kickass, but you're just waiting to unfold all the kick assness

-You see that awesome mom over there? She thinks she herself is not a good mom either

-It's normal to doubt yourself all the time, but don't!

-mom guilt hits early and hits hard, but give yourself a break--you're doing amazing!

-constipation is a bitch and is like birthing poo babies (less cute). stool softeners

-It's okay to poo for so long your leg goes numb

-It's okay to not even be productive enough to type an email on your phone

-take some time to take it all in

-Enjoy the snuggles, they change so quickly

-Steal some extra moments

-scared you might leak? normal

-You think you're doing something wrong, you're not

-It's okay to be tired, but you'll be so tired that random things will seem amusing

-No matter what you do, she will love you and she will feel your love

-laugh at things

-If there is someone willing to take care of the baby, then do it and try to sleep

-Put down the phone and just focus on yourself and the baby

-But take the phone and take all the photos your want. Do it and don't let anyone stop you

-enjoy the baby pee leaks and poop explosions...art?

-All the transitions and changes and baths and the outings will get so much easier day after day as the baby gets bigger

-enjoy this phase along with all its hardships because everything goes by quickly

-it gets easier once your child smiles back

-it does get easier

-it gets easier, I promise

-There's no such thing as spoiling a baby or forming bad habits, so just do what works and go easy on yourselves

-it's really hard and everyone who doesn't say so is lying

-Sometimes frustration comes from trying to force the baby into what we think she should be doing or forcing her into a routine that is convenient for us. It's freeing to just let go

-It's so annoying that others can sleep and function, and feeling angry and jealous is normal and doesn't make you a bad person

-You're not alone, especially at night, because i'm awake at night with you, too, along with all the other caregivers with little babies, thinking about you and sending good thoughts your way

-it really does get easier

-it's okay for others to do things

-You will sleep long stretches again

-You will feel normal again

-It does get easier, like somehow, slowly but surely, at 4 weeks, then 6 weeks, then 12 weeks, then 6 months...and so on

-You will one day feel like you have the hang of it...kind of, and that's good enough

-You can do anything because you're a warrior of a woman

-did I mention already that it will get easier

-It's okay to sometimes wonder if you made a mistake and to mourn the loss of your pre-baby life (doing so doesn't mean your'e a bad mom)

-It's okay to doubt your decisions and your capabilities and readiness and even the idea that you can be a mom

-it's okay to let things pile up and to put an auto away message on and to not respond to email

-it's okay to let everything else go and just focus on the baby



You're doing great!!! You are an amazing person and this little person is lucky enough to get you as their mom.

You are beautiful, and wonderful, and competent, and loving, and caring, and warm, and the PERFECT mom for your child ONLY mom they want or need. Don't doubt yourself


Did I mention YET AGAIN that it gets better by 6 weeks somehow--promise! 

If you ever need to vent, I'm here without judgement but just to commiserate and prove to you that you're doing a great job.

Take it easy on yourself. 

Shopping List in preparation for New Baby

A short list of just the bare basics so you can welcome a baby home. The rest you can buy as you go.

I scoured the internet for shopping lists, but every other list seemed way too intense for me, as in it had way too many items for me. Here is a basic list of what I got and needed when I first got home. I realized in the age of instant delivery and 24 hour super markets, I could get whatever else I needed when the need arise!

To make it more manageable, think about it this way: You need to keep a baby:

  • dry: diapers, wipes, vaseline/cream, changing area, pad
  • warm: onesies, pants, hats, socks, blankets
  • Sleeping: swaddles, pacifier
  • Full: Nursing pillow, pump, nursings shirt/bra, ointment, bottle warmer, formula
  • Healthy and Clean: bath tub, nail clipper, thermometer, medicine, shampoo, wash cloths


To Keep the baby DRY:

-Diapers Don't buy too many, you can take some from the hospital when you leave, and then based on sizing can order more in that size. Some long kids grow out of Newborn size immediately, other babies might need preemie sizes. Honestly, take diapers home from the hospital and do an order once you are home. Especially because diapers take up so much storage space!

-Wipes Some people are fine the with the classic brands, and other people want to go the more natural all water route. Whatever you choose, go with the ones that has a reload mechanism that pulls the next sheet up and out. That simple mechanism makes your life easier as your are holding a poopy butt up with one hand while trying to wipe away the mess with the other. Trust us. 

-Vaseline (at the beginning the poos are sticky. They will give you some at the hospital. more than enough to cover you for a long time). No need to buy more. Once you do decide to buy, we went away from vaseline

-Diaper cream. I got one that was more of a barrier protection with zinc especially when baby will be in diaper for a longer time such as nighttime or car travel. 


-Baby changing area While you could get away with changing the baby on the bed (we really considered it), we are so glad we went with a changing pad. There are a lot of projectile pee and poops and we are glad they didn't land on our sheets. Also, the bed is lower than the dresser or changing tables. Having to bend down slightly for each change does a number on your back. I would have on hand a total of 2-3 covers. 

-Blue pads: put this under your baby everywhere. I would make his bed with sheet, pad, sheet, pad, sheet pad. When he peed and wet the sheet, i would take off the top sheet and the chuck and the bed was ready to go! That way I don't have to find a place to store extra sheets, and I never had to make the bed in the middle of the night! Use this on the changing table too, and also on the bed/couches when we put the baby down. They have larger sizes, too!!!


-Diaper disposing area-you can get buy with plastic bags, but this is just easy. Then when the poops get smelly, you will love having this thing. As the chores pile on you will hate having to use plastic bags and it is hard to find so many plastic bags. We liked this one for the height and the hands-free simplicity of this system.



To keep the baby WARM:

-Onesies (simple, maybe 5-10 depending on how easy laundry is for you. Take some from the hospital. You will still get wooed by the cute ones, but they go through so many and grow out so quickly. At the very very beginning when their heads and necks are so weak, avoid over the head shirts and you will love the button openings. I avoided the zipper at the beginning because the zipper is sol cold and touches the expose skin and healing belly button

If we could, would have our baby in this non stop for the first days-weeks. So much easier than over the head ones at the beginning. Ofcourse they can have cuter ones as they get bigger, but these were our favorites at the beginning.


-Pants (if in winter, you need pants. Make your life easy and get the ones where the feet are attached instead of struggling with baby socks). There are a lot of full body outfits, but at the beginning for the first few weeks, avoid those. He will have a lot of accidents and blow outs, and it's nice to change just the bottom without having to take the top off too leaving your baby naked. 

If we could, would have our baby in this non stop for the first days-weeks


-Baby hats. Can never have too many hats. Worse case scenario, you use the one from the hospital for a few extra days and go get some. I really like these that are soft and stretchy so more likely to fit the head for longer, but I have also liked the H&M basic hats, too. 


-Blankets (people love swaddle blankets, but the baby blankets from the hospital are amazing and warm and soft. Don't go overboard. Chances are people will gift you swaddle blankets becauase it's the easy thing to gift. Get a small one that is easy to maneuver vs. a large blanket that will drag on the floor, etc. 


To keep the baby SLEEPING:

-Swaddles (if you are into swaddling, then get the SwaddleMe swaddles. Easiest to use, best against baby breaking free, cheaper so you can buy a bunch, and you can use it instead of swaddle blankets).


-Pacifier (a few different ones just to have on hand and try out). People recommend not using pacifiers until the baby is 1mo old to not disrupt the breast feeding, but honestly my neighbor plopped one in on day 1, so it is all up to you.

-Baby sleeping area: This is up to you the sleeping arrangement you ultimately choose that is right for your family. We had a bedside co sleeper with wheels. We loved it because the baby is elevated and easy to get to without the need to bend down (especially great if you are recovering from a bag vaginal birth or a c-section). The baby is also able to be close to the bed so I could nurse easily without needing to get up every time. I would have on hand a total of 3 sheets. See above for blue pads operation. Some moms had so many, but we didn't have storage and 3 was all we needed.


To keep the baby FULL:

-Nursing pillow (get a comfortable one). The baby rolled around too much on the softer ones. I like the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillows because they are stiff and support the baby better. Especially on hot days, the baby isn't rolled up against me but well supported on the pillow. Also, after breast feeding food coma, if the baby falls asleep, I can carry him around like a tray. 


-Breast pump (covered by insurance and can get 1 month before due date). I would recommend the Medela Pump Instyle Advance. There are some great options out there, so why this one? This is the most popular and most universal where I worked, so I wanted all the parts and systems to attach and be interchangeable. However, the Spectra pumps are also amazing with a quieter suction, a 


-bra The nipples are so sensitive and might be so raw that you will detest having anything tough on them anyway. I recommend going to Gap and buying the softest unstructured bras they have (v neck) in a Large. You can pull them to the side for feeding but they will allow you put in breast pads if you need to prevent leaking. Think cotton, think nothing hard or sharp, think stretchy. Afterwards, you can then take your baby to go out and actually try on the bras as you are...that way you get ones that fit you best. Buying early didn't make sense for me


-T shirts (Instead of the nursing tops, get larger uniqlo heattech or cooltech tops wide scoop necks). They are stretchy and can be pulled to the side for feeding. For winter get long sleeves. These can be worn while pregnant too! The rest of the time I got button up shirts, or shirts with overlapping v necks, or stretchy wide neck or henley tees. This way they can be worn out, and don't cost as much as nursing tops either. 

-Nipple ointment The nipples will need some love. Sometimes it is just raw from the intense nursing, other times it might get chapped from the dry heat. Whatever the case, I carried this around. Vaseline works too.


-Nursing pads just to protect the nipples, to prevent the leaks (if you leak) and also to prevent the nipples from showing after you feed. Dpending on how breast feeding goes or which route you take, you might not need a lot. There are great reusable ones available as well.

https://www.amazon.com/Lansinoh-Disposable-Nursing-Count-Boxes/dp/B002TLU5JO/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1497896761&sr=8-4&keywords=nursing%2Bpads%2Bdisposable&th=1Nice to have:

-Bottle warmer-When the time comes, you will want to pump to help with your supply, or maybe you need to pump because of latch issues, or maybe you will pump to supplement with formula, or maybe you will be using formula exclusively. While you can warm a bottle by boiling water and making a water bath. A preset one touch bottle warming was kind of awesome and much appreciated.


To keep the baby Healthy and Clean:

-Baby bath tub. Easy and simple to use. Grows with baby, but most importantly, you can do the washing at counter level. Dont get enticed by the ones that fit in the bathtub. Horrible on your knees and less control of baby. The longer you can use the sink the happier you will be. 


-Nail clipper  (forget the sets and the fancy gadgets. This is all you need. You really will LOVE having the bigger grip for more control. This one has a big grip that is also comfortable for men with bigger hands, and it doesn't sway back and forth avoiding the chance of pulling on the nail). No need for files...


-Ibuprofen-infant over the counter

-Tylenol-infant over the counter

-Thermometer. This is the one that we have. YES they recommend rectal thermometers, but listen...if your baby is sick and he is sleeping, there is no way you are waking that baby up and undressing him to stick a probe up the butt. This is the most simple to use and e've loved it because we can take his temp while sleeping. It's not as accurate as the rectal thermometers, but you really only want that when the baby is very young and if you need one pick one up from a local drug store, or come take ours). There are even simpler ones that's a forehead swipe. i've considered it but never took the plunge.


-Wash clothes gets softer with time, we used them everywhere and for everything and stuffed them everywhere


-Baby shampoo-The hospital gives you enough to last you awhile. See if you like that and always good to see if baby will have sensitive skin before buying more

-An aspirator- I gave you a manual aspirator to use, but this is nice to have for as the baby grows




To keep the baby Safe:

-Monitor-we had a monitor but didn't set it up because he was in the same room as us and our apt is small and could easily go in to check up on him similar to checking a monitor. Later on, it is nice to have a monitor that has a base station AND wifi access. Not essential to get right away.

-Play mat- When the baby was small we put him on blue chucks and blankets. Later on it was super awesome to have a play area with all the bells and whistles. Not only is the bottom mat great because it protects bedding, it also offers cushion, and the lights and sounds keep them occupied to buy you some time! BONUS!

-Infant car seat (need it by law to leave the hospital, see stroller below) and this means learn how to properly install in. Many police and fire stations and hospitals will do free installation and check ups for you.



-Large black underwear. You will be wearing big pads, there might be leaks, might as well have some easy to use underwear that you don't mind ruining. I went for high waisted and it's not only good at holding things in, it also is good in case you end up with a c-section. The hospital has mesh disposable underwear. You will love them. Take as many as they offer. I cried when I ran out. 

-Heavy pads I got them beforehand because I didn't want my husband to have to buy them himself. You will be bleeding a lot so get some of the ones with the larger back. The bigger the better to prevent yourself from ruining the sheets. The hospital gives out pads and mesh underwear. Take as many as they offer. 

-Robe/slippers This isn't essential but I would argue that they are. After birth you are exhausted and healing so you will feel colder than normal. you are awake in the middle of the night constantly and sometimes sitting still for up to 40mins feeding. It's nice to have something warm to slip on easily. Get the ones with the straps preattached so there's no wrestling with finding the tie in the middle of the night. 

-Water bottle You will be so thirsty all the time, and staying hydrated helps with breast milk supply. Keep these filled up and around your bed, your nursing stations, and baby's sleeping area so you are sure to keep drinking