Thursday, January 29, 2015

5 Things That Helped Us Survive The First Year

While I was still pregnant with Charlotte, I remember my sister-in-law telling me that a baby only needs three things: a safe place to sleep, a car seat and clothes to stay warm. It was just the thing I needed to hear after wasting too many nights stressing over what brand of bottles and bibs to put on my registry. She made me realize that at the end of the day Charlotte would have her basic needs and survival is the only thing that matters. I know that sounds dramatic, but sometimes that is the best you can do until tomorrow.

Now that we have been parents for a year, I thought I would share some of the things that we couldn't have survived without. The funny thing about every single one of these items is they never made it on our registry, they were purchased in an attempt to solve a problem. Hopefully these items will help other first time parents get a little more sleep so they can enjoy the first year for all the fun that it brings.

This turned out to be the best money we spent in the first few months of Charlotte's life. We quickly found out that sleeping completely flat was painful to her, so we tried putting her down in her bouncy seat and it was the longest stretch of sleep we got. It didn't take us long to realize we needed the Rock-n-Play as a safe place for her to sleep in at night.

We kept her in this in our room for about three months. It was portable enough to bring around the house wherever we were, it vibrated which would instantly put her to sleep and it was at the perfect height by my bed so if she woke up, I could easily rock her back to sleep just by stretching my arm out next to me.

Moving Charlotte from our room to her crib was harder on us than it was on her. We were so worried she would know we weren't there and would wake up crying. We were wrong. But to help in the chance she did wake up, we got this little Giraffe that makes white noise and sings lullabies. You can put it on for 23 or 45 minutes. We have only changed the batteries once and we've used it every night for the past 10 months. We traveled quite a bit with Charlotte during her first year, so being able to bring this little giraffe with us everywhere we go has helped create a familiar sleep environment for her.

There are a lot of different schools of thoughts on video monitors and whether they are good top have or not. Some people think it's lazy, but for us it has been a huge help. We both are sound sleepers and have to keep ours and the baby's door closed at night so having a sound monitor is a must. However, the video part has helped us assess if she's truly in distress or not. I know I should know her cries, but sometimes in the middle of the night it's hard to think clearly. Being able to just look over and watch her try to go back to sleep has eased my mind on many occasions. Often when she wakes up she doesn't cry, so it helps us determine when we need to go and get her and when she is content on having quiet time in her crib.

Another huge benefit for us is being able to sit downstairs and watch TV or do work without constantly worrying if she's ok. She has a habit of sleeping with her blanket by her face (it's the only way she'll sleep) so being able to check on her periodically without going into her room and risking waking her up has been a lifesaver

Now that Charlotte is off formula, we have to always be prepared with a snack in case of a meltdown. A bottle used to solve everything, but now we have to be more creative. My mom discovered these little Buddy Fruits at the grocery store one day and we haven't been without them since. They are easy to throw in your purse or diaper bag for a quick snack, plus they have more nutrition value than cereal or puffs. I think Charlotte just likes being able to hold it on her own.

5. Family

It's not a product, but probably the most important factor to surviving our first year as new parents. We seriously could not have done this without our family. Whether you use them for advice and moral support or to help when you need a little break, having family and friends willing to help is the only survival tool we need. At the end of the day, there is always someone to listen to you rant about the hard times, but even better, they are there making memories with you along every step of the way.


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  2. It can be easy to neglect your own needs when you're taking care of a newborn, but self-care is essential for both your physical and mental health. This can include things like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and finding time for activities that bring you joy.