You may have noticed over the past several blog post that my stomach was growing a bit in size. Well, my belly is no longer growing, and we now have a new family member to join us on adventures. While we’re not quite ready to hit the trail with him yet, these past two weeks have been an adventure of their own, filled with trials & errors, late nights awake, and mastering the art of eating while holding a wiggly 8 lb. bear.
I’m not planning on making this a blog about him, but I will occasionally be sharing the adventures we go on with him, as well as the gear we use. While I was pregnant, I had a hard time finding blogs or articles that share how to best adventure with a baby that aren’t about car camping or staying in hotels.
We want to go backpacking with him, and on long hikes, and show him the wilderness and states and countries that we love to explore. So if I can share how we do those adventures – the upsides and downfalls, the trial and errors – and help another family explore the outdoors, then I want to do it. And I want to hear from you guys with kids (or who lovingly hike with you friends who have kids!) what works, what gear to get, and what trails to explore.
Our first two weeks have been mostly about exploring each other, building a routine and learning his preferences. Our biggest adventures have been long walks into the heart of our neighborhood, and car rides to visit family members. We’ve had to throw out a lot of our intentions (No pacifiers until they’re a month old!) for what makes practical sense for our family and our sanity. Each day with him has been amazing, and we grow more obsessed with him every single day.
With that in mind, here are the items that have been Must Have’s for us in his first two weeks home.
UppaBaby Cruz Stroller with Bassinet Attatchment.
This stroller is seriously amazing. It rolls and steers incredibly well with just one hand, has ample storage space underneath, and navigates our neighborhood’s shitty sidewalks and roads with ease – and without waking him up. We bought the bassinet accessory because I love the feel of a traditional pram, and it has also doubled as his bed when we’re downstairs in our house. It’s so easy to put him in it after a feeding and wheel him around. It let’s us watch him while we cook dinner in the kitchen, then easily move him to beside the dining room table while we eat, and let him rest while we’re in my office/his nursery. We went with the navy colour. It makes me feel chic.
I’d read all of the benefits of baby-wearing, and this thing is a lifesaver. It lets you wrap the fabric around yourself so it can accomodate a baby of any size. Awesome for skin-to-skin contact and for staying handsfree. I’m literally wearing my child right now as I work on this post, because he is happiest when he is tucked tight against me. In the past two weeks while wearing him, I’ve been able to get work done, get our taxes 90% done (something I didn’t knock out until August of last year, btw), eat meals with both hands like a real person, and read a book. Sure, he may have gotten a few crumbs dropped on his head during the baby-wearing process, but I don’t think he cares. I want like, 2 more for when one is dirty. Also, this is a product from a small business, so I feel good supporting them.
I know the AAP advises against co-sleeping. And we never intended to co-sleep with him. But after 3 days of me staying up until 4am with him only sleeping/not crying if he was laying on my chest, I caved. I started off with a co-sleeper a friend had lent us, then ordered the DockATot impulsively around 4am for a permanant solution. It’s expensive – yes. But we love it. It has a slight incline which helps with his reflux, an incredibly stable base and sidewalls that make him feel snug and make us feel safe with him between us. We’ve upped the safety of having him between us by swapping out our king size comforter for two twin comforters (thanks Ikea!) so we don’t run the risk of pulling the covers over him. Bonus: Matt & I are also no longer fighting over who stealing the covers! [Use this link for $10 off. Because they’re pricey, but so worth it.]
Halo SleepSack Swaddle.
We got pretty good at swaddling, but it’s tough to keep him wrapped up since he is the world’s wriggliest baby. And during the late-night feedings, it was exhausting trying to swaddle him after changing, feeding, changing him. One of my girlfriend’s had her baby in a SleepSack Swaddle and sang it’s praises so I bought one. Now I wish I had 5. I zip him in the sack, then velcro the wings across him as loose or tight as he needs. We let him have access to his hands, and he sleeps so comfortably. Plus, it’s helping us train him for a sleepsack when he gets bigger, since AAP recommends no blankets, only a tight-fitting sheet in their sleeping area.
My Breast Friend.
A feeding pillow that offers back support, clips on so I don’t have to support it, and keeps him on a flat surface so I don’t worry about him rolling into my body uncomfortably. I had Matt grab this for me and bring it back to the hospital and it’s amazing how much easier it makes feeding.
Gathre Micro Mat.
I ordered a few of these to use as changing pads for when we’re on the go, plus a mini size for under the highchair when he gets big enough. We use the mini as a permanant changing pad kept upstairs (because going downstairs to change a diaper at 3am sucks), and I’ve used my micro in several places already – public restroom, my dad’s automotive shop, my grandparent’s coffee table. It folds up tiny, wipes clean with a baby wipe, and they’re waterproof. They look pretty too. Plus, I’m supporting a small business when I buy them and I love that.
Also, the Maxi would be a perfect picnic blanket and it folds up pretty small. So even if you don’t have kids, this mat would be awesome to have.
So here you have it: my essentials for surviving the first two weeks post-hospital of parenthood. Any recommendations for what I’ll need for the next two months?