The first three months – what you really need

Before the Little Bean was born, I read almost every book or blogpost about these first weeks I could get my hands on.

That’s the way of preparing myself I have been successfully using during my studying and workdays: I gather all the information there is, discharge what I feel lacks evidence, categorize everything remaining in my head and make a list.
A to-do list, a to-buy list, you name it.

All things grow with love – this is what you really need to know

This method had never failed me in assessing a new challenge well prepared.
Until now.

If you are looking for things to add to your own list, check the items below.
If you are looking for a more personal take on my experiences, keep reading until the end.

1. Bodies
Long or short sleeve depending on the month your baby will be born. I had about ten on rotation. Especially during the first time, there will be many diaper insufficiencies, so you may have to change them several times a day.
2. Onesies
I had several pretty outfits prepared and didn’t use them except for very special occasions. A onesie you can open separately at the bottom is all I could be bothered with. After all, you will change the diaper about ten times a day. You really don’t want to undress and redress the baby every time you do this.
3. A co-sleeper
We bought a BabyBay and it really was a lifesaver.
You can attach it to your bedside, that way the baby sleeps in her own space, but is just within arms reach for comforting and, even more important, breastfeeding. Getting up every time to nurse is much harder than just reaching over while living on your side. I more than once drifted off to sleep while nursing that way. Believe me, every minute counts!
Ours had rolls attached, so during daytime I could easily take it to the kitchen or the living room with me.
4. A pram/ a baby sling
Basically something to take the baby for walks in. We had a baby sling by Hoppediz and rarely used the pram.
In my opinion it is much more convenient carrying the baby than having to maneuver a cumbersome pram, and the Little Bean fell asleep almost instantly when she was in the sling.
She wasn’t a good sleeper during those first weeks, so I carried her a lot, even when we were at home.
I´ll have a blog post on carrying coming soon.
5. Bath tub
Just something to give the baby a bath in. You could use the sink, but wet newborn babies are that slippery, I wanted something the Little Bean could not as easily fall out off.
6. A place to change diapers
You absolutely do not need a fully equipped nursery! We had everything prepared, but only started using it when the Little Bean turned six months. Before that, a place to change diapers is all you really need. Some people will advice you to change diapers on the floor, so the baby won’t fall of the table, but regarding the number of needed nappy changes, I would have hurt my back if I had done this.
7. A hat and warm clothing for outdoors
Pretty self-explanatory.

Of course, what you end up using will differ from what I used, because every baby is different and the climate and month of birth will play an important role in your choice of clothing.
If you do not plan on breastfeeding exclusively, you will need baby bottles and formula, but even if you want to breastfeed, it can take the pressure of to have something like this already at home, just in case.

I had all that and more, but I was by no means prepared for my baby.

As some of you may know, I work as an intensive care physician, so I am used to nights on call and sleep deprivation.
But no job on earth will prepare you for the complete exhaustion you will experience when you are sleep deprived for weeks straight, breastfeeding every two hours and having your hormones all over the place.
Of course, I had read about all that, but there are some things you just can’t get by reading. You have to go through them on your own.
Mr. Loca had to get back to work after two weeks, working about 10 hours a day, weekends included, so it was just me and the baby most of the time, and more than once I thought I just couldn’t do it.
What helped me through this time, apart from the support of my wonderful family, were three things:

1. Stop reading about it on the internet.
Whether it may be sleeping, hours between breastfeeding, your baby crying a lot, you will most likely find something someone wrote about it. And in your desperate situation, you tend to forget that there aren’t that many experts out there, and that a lot written in message boards is completely and utterly bullshit.
Trust your gut feeling, turn to your midwife or someone you trust who has had babies that didn’t turn out monsters.
If I had stopped reading earlier and turned to my mother for advice, it would have saved me a lot of confusion.
2. Let go of all your great plans (for now)
I had saved up a lot of projects for the time I spend at home with my newborn. Books to read, papers to write and finally cleaning out the kitchen cupboard. I ended up doing neither of them.
Many babies sleep a lot. Some don’t.
But no matter what kind of baby yours is, you need all the time you can get to nourish yourself. Sleep, go for walks, read mystery novels, whatever you need. The time for your projects will come in the future.
3. Eat, shower, get dressed
While it is very important to take your time, it is also crucial to feel good in your own skin. And as convenient as it may be, not taking a shower and not getting dressed makes me feel awful.
So I made it a point to get up, nurse and change the baby, take a shower and put on some clothes. Even if my clothes were stretchy pants and a sweater, it made me feel as if I had conquered the day.

Believe me, you will get your life back, you will not loose the person you were before you gave birth and it will be more than worth it.

What do you think is essential during the first three months?

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