My tips... what worked for me:
1. they give you like a TON of newborn diapers at the hospital as well as a nasal aspirator and some formula so we didnt buy any of that. Take everything in your room (just ask a nurse what is yours) because they charge you for it regardless of whether you take it or not. And bring your husbands sweatpants to wear home. I brought my biggest pair and thanks to swelling there was no way i was fitting into those.
2. The first night you bring baby home- you are actually supposed to sleep. I literally stayed awake that entire night listening to her breathing, afraid if I slept she would die. YOU CANT PREVENT SIDS. If your baby is sleeping on their back, dressed properly etc, go to sleep. Yes I know its crazy but you just have to say a prayer and trust they will be ok.
3. Ok- those who are sensitive move to number 4. Keep a bucket in your room. This may not be true for everyone- but I peed my pants like 3 times in the 10 days post baby. I would get up at like 3 am and be rocking her and pee my pants- no control. We finally learned our lesson and I would just stand in the bucket. Gross and true.
4.BUT dont be scared. It took about 10 days and all my swelling was gone, my episiotomy was barely noticable, I had lost all but a few lbs of the baby weight... I basically felt normal again apart from being really tired.
5. Get an IUD. haha I LOVE MINE. no periods. no remembering. and you can have one while nursing! I got the mirena that lasts 5 years but i will have it out before then for sure.
6. Find a system that works for you and your baby. I use the EASY method (eat, activity, sleep, your time) because I found that nursing lorelai to sleep only meant she couldnt fall asleep unless she nursed. But I couldnt handle the cry it out methods either... I have just put lorelai down awake but drowsy from day one and she learned how to go to sleep herself. Just research a few methods and decide what works for you.
7. Exchange clothes for bigger sizes. I got a LOT of newborn and 0-3 month clothes at my shower (thank you!!) but there was no way she was going to wear all of it before she grew out of it- a lot of stores will let you exchange the exact outfit for just a bigger size even with no reciept.
8. Breastfeeding is hard. I wish someone had told me that (they probably did and I didnt listen) before so that I wouldnt have felt like a failure. It is hard starting out. It is uncomfortable to breastfeed in public. It is hard to find church outfits that you can breast feed easily in, it is awkward under a hooter hider. It hurts and takes patience. BUT it is awesome and special and so much easier than bottles (just my opinion) once you get it all worked out.
9. Find someone to come stay with you who wont give you non stop advice- who will simply clean your house and do your laundry and grocery shop and cook for you. Thanks german mom. :)
10. sing hymns... all day long. This kept me focused on being calm and happy instead of sad or frustrated. You are doing better than you think It is crazy sometimes when I think about all the sleep I lost and all the times I was confused or downhearted and a prayer has picked me up and helped me go on with my day. I sing I need Thee Every Hour to lorelai almost every day and it has brought me to tears more than once... motherhood is hard. But most things in life that are rewarding are really hard right?
Baby must haves:
First of all- I didnt need as much as I thought I did. TRULY- the crazy amounts of accessories and things to "make life a little easier" could put you in debt for years.
1. I liked having a Boppi to use for breastfeeding and to sit her in... she still uses it as a back rest occasionally. And I would recommend getting a cover for it so you can just wash the cover when baby spits up instead of the whole pillow.
2. I used and still occasionally use breast shields. The lactation specialist gave me one in the hospital to help her latch on and it makes it way less painful.
3. I recommend getting at least 2 nursing bras... one sports bra type that is super comfy and stretchy for when your boobs are huge and uncomfortable and one with underwire and all that for when they normalize.
4. A swing. Lolli isnt a huge fan of it now but every once in a while when she is sick I put her in it and she goes to sleep... i would be up all night rocking her without it.
5. A Pack n play. If you are going to travel- get your kid used to sleeping in it every once in a while from the beginning or they will not sleep in it at all later... had to learn that the hard way.
6. Rubber bibs. Once baby starts eating, you will be using a cloth bib for every meal which means like 5 a day. And they stain. CRAZY. So we got 2 rubber bibs for like 7 bucks and just rinse them off after meals. you can even put them in the dishwasher.
7. an inexpensive hand pump. When lolli gets sick she tends to stop wanting to nurse. This leads to rock hard painful boobs. I pump and freeze the milk. I also used it at the beginning to try to increase my milk production.
8. Infant tylenol. The first time your baby cries for hours and you think she has an ear infection is not the time to go to the store. I am so glad I had this on hand.
9. Washable cotton breast pads. More comfortable, cheaper, and no midnight store runs. I bought 2 boxes of 6 and have been using them for 6 months and will prob even get to use them with my next kid.
10. And my last thing... cloth diapers. oh my. yes I said it. I will post a blog ALL about them later but if you are on a budget- they are the way to go FOR SURE.