Obviously, having a newborn is a huge challenge and any item within your grasp becomes the most important thing in the universe at that moment in time. That being said, there are a few things that keep popping up that have become the all stars of our household.
Here are 5 things that have helped the most with a newborn. Your mileage may vary based on the temperament, willingness and the amount of demonic possession inhabiting your baby at any given time.
1. Towels, so so so many towels
The most famous quote from Douglas Adams is “Don’t Panic.” It’s a simple, yet eloquent piece of advice that has helped me numerous times in my journeys. Another great quote from Adams is much more specific though, and the importance of it was lost on me until I had a baby. The quote is:
“Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
Many years later, the geniuses (the plural should really be geni) Trey Parker and Matt Stone simplified the message with a lovable, incredibly stoned recurring character named Towelie. His quote:
“Don’t forget to bring a towel.”
The point is, if you have a baby, you better always have a towel at arms reach. As I’ve stated before, babies leak. A lot.
2. Thankies for the blankies
At first, swaddling seems kind of mean. A little straight jacketing for your wee offspring feels like you’re punishing him or her. But all the smart people in lab coats say it actually helps them reach baby nirvana and I’ve witnessed it enough over the last month to become a believer. I’ll still never become a belieber – though it would feel really good to swaddle Justin up good and tight for awhile. At night, we’ve adopted the double swaddle and by the calmness and joy in his face, I feel like he reaches baby nirvana to the power of two.
3. MMMBop(py), ba duba dop ba do Bop(py)
There’s some brand names that are so synonymous with the item they are known for, that the item becomes known by the brand name. For instance lip balm is often called Chap Stick, facial tissue is mostly known as Kleenex and a nursing pillow is commonly referred to as a Boppy. I am guilty of this as our nursing pillow is actually made by Leachco, and I have yet to say “honey, don’t forget to bring up the Leachco!” Anyways, the Boppy has been unbelievably useful. Besides being helpful for nursing, it has become the goto baby receptacle. We set him up next to us all propped up on the Boppy and he’s good to go. Add in a swaddle and he can reach baby nirvana to the power of three. Possibly four.
4. Multiple baby receptacles
We initially set up a crib in the nursery, high fived a few times and screamed mission accomplished out the window. We were going to be awesome parents! Much like George Bush in 2003, it soon occurred to us that we had spoken (screamed) too soon. A two story house might require a downstairs solution as babies tend to need some watching over, and we tend to spend some time downstairs. After a brief summit, a portable play yard was thought to be the perfect solution. So this time we low fived and patted each other on the back. This baby thing was cake and we were gonna rule!
Not so fast… it turns out that we like to sleep in our bedroom and the crib was in the nursery. Ugh, parenting was starting to get hard and there wasn’t even a baby in sight. Finally, we decided to get a small portable play yard and set it up like a bassinet next to the bed. Fist bumps and cheering soon followed.
5. Other people in the same situation
One of the things that really sold us on using the birthing center was the centering. A centering group consists of other expecting couples who are due around the same period and you meet up many times throughout the pregnancy. The meetings are headed by a midwife and they teach you all about pregnancy and what to expect from the birth and beyond. At first there wasn’t much time for socializing with the other couples but luckily someone in our group took the initiative and we started meeting up outside of the centering.
Of the 9 couples in the centering, 7 (including us) have continued to meet up and it’s been an amazing experience to have people to talk to who are going through the same experience at the same time. The babies in the photo at the top are from the group and it will be so cool if we continue to get together and the babies get to become buddies.
My Double Swaddle Burrito Supreme (patent pending)
Here is my video demonstrating the double swaddle technique that we’ve been using: