After the necessities — the lesser known must-haves of the nursery

This one’s dedicated to our friends Adrian and Shraddha who are expecting their first baby in a few weeks.

1. The quick ‘maybe she has a tummy ache’ fix 

Gripe Water

This stuff was a godsend. Raquel didn’t have colic but she did have a bit of tummy trouble sometimes… now and then she would have trouble keeping things down… who knows what’s actually happening in those little baby bodies. But Gripe Water is a cure all. We’d give her a drop of gripe water and it seemed to calm her tummy really well. Also, it’s sweet so… there was no argument from her. Works great for the hiccups too.

Shoppers Drug Mart sells it (in Canada). We used Life Brand. I don’t think it matters.

TIP: It comes in a useless bottle that is hard to maneuver one-handed in the dark, so we switched it to a bottle with a dropper. Easier to control the amount and also to get it in the right place (i.e. baby’s mouth, not dribbling down chin)

2. The ‘She needs something educational to do in her crib!’ fix aka. It will entertain the baby for 20 minutes? Yes please. 

Tiny Love Sweet Island Dreams Mobile

I did a lot of research on this. Mobiles can be a lot of things (stimulating, calming, educational) and this one seemed to have it all. The reviews were fantastic, also. We found great success with it, just like the reviews said. From birth onward, it’s entertainment for them for 20 minutes. (And ohhh the cute faces she made while watching it!)

Tiny Love Sweet Island Dreams

TIP: If you don’t choose this particular one, make sure you do get one that moves on its own. ‘Cause you don’t have the time to wind up that sh*t.

3. The ‘she won’t sleep unless she’s bouncing’ fix 

A Pilates ball

pilates ball

Apparently boys like to swing and girls like to bounce. Our pilates ball was a lifesaver – it calmed her instantly just to be held and bounced. Definitely beats some of the other things I’ve heard parents doing to get their kids to sleep, like driving around the block at 2 am.

4. The ‘all these other fancy swaddles sort of suck’ fix

Aden and Anais swaddles

Swaddling is back in style (apparently it was out of fashion for a while). As you’ll find in books like Happiest Baby on the Block, a good swaddle means a baby that doesn’t whack herself in the face mid-sleep and wake her and you up. We only used them until she was about 8 weeks old, but for the first little while, it worked like a charm.

Aden and Anais Swaddle
Aden and Anais Swaddle

Also, check out all the different types of swaddling on YouTube

5. The ‘I know wipe warmers are indulgent and ridiculous but she cries when the cold wipes touch her bum!’ fix 

Prince Lionheart Warmer

Love this brand. They also make a caddy and wash clothes that are the best out there.

6. The ‘We need the best, most natural bum cream available to man’ 

substance nappy rash ointment

Substance Nappy Rash Ointment, $17.00 for diaper rash, cradle cap, winter dryness, chapping…. 
One thing about new babies… their skin goes through all sorts of freaky weird things.
This ointment is a cure all. I swear by it. You can put it anywhere on a baby, or on yourself. It’s soothing, moisturizing, un-fragranced, and the ingredients are all pronounceable. In Toronto I know Ella + Elliott sells it, Mini Mioche, and BBBuggy. I’m seriously considering using it as a face cream.
7. The ‘how did I ever live without this’ nursing pillow 
Boppy! The thought of nursing without this makes me shudder. How did women function before these?

What this lamb (and some smart midwives) taught me about breastfeeding

I’ve been fortunate in the breastfeeding department. I know that it doesn’t work perfectly al the time so I wanted to at least jot down a few of the things that helped me in getting it right…

1. the hamburger hold
There’s lots of discussion about how to hold the baby but not much about how to hold a boob. What really helped me was the advice I got from my midwife, to squish my breast so that it’s wide like a hamburger instead of round like a grapefruit.

Baby’s mouth is small and this helps them latch more fully.

2. the overtired bluff

I noticed early on that my daughter would think she was hungry when she was actually overtired. When I fed her, she’d actually cry at the ending of nursing, which made me think that I wasn’t producing enough milk, but I was.  What I figured out was that she was saying “that’s enough food, I’m too tired”

3. The open up and say ahh

This was another gem from the midwives. As babies learn to suckle they need their moms to be smart about helping them latch properly. If you just stick a boob in their mouth it could be an ineffective and probably painful attempt. What you want to do is offer the nipple to them just above their upper lip, almost to the nose so that they have to open their mouths sort of upward, toward it, to get it in their mouth.

Basically it helps them open wide instinctually, then you get them sucking in that millisecond second before they close their mouths.**Midwives say always bring baby to boob not boob to baby! Do this by cradling baby’s head in your hands, so you can move her toward you easily.

4. The lamb principle – give it time, trust the process.

In the Spring my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting a brand new baby lamb, seconds after it was born. We watched as it tried to stand, fell, tried again, and then did the same thing again with suckling. The whole process took a while, and I’ve thought about that moment a lot.

We presume that nursing a baby should be an instantaneous thing, but even in nature it takes a while for everyone to figure out what they have to do.

I think trusting in that process makes a big difference in that first 24 hours, with your baby’s first attempts, and then the entire first week, as your milk comes in and things change again. It all takes patience, but more than that — it takes trust, in yourself and in your baby.

5. Last but not least… drink a LOT of water before and during nursing!

How to make homemade baby wipes

I’m EXCITED to start making things at home, especially when there are stories everywhere about big companies putting sh*tty, dangerous ingredients in baby products, including wipes (I’m looking at you HUGGIES).

Below is my favorite recipe, mostly because of the apricot oil and castile soap, but my instinct is to substitute chamomile instead of tea tree. This is just personal preference because my skin has always reacted so poorly to tea tree.

So the basic idea is to take a roll of paper towel and cut it in half, then remove the cardboard core. What’s left is a tube that you can pull from, through a narrow plastic top opening (like the typical baby wipe container or even more like the household wipes style tube container.) Once you’ve got your half roll and your container, you just poor on the solution and then let it soak in. VOILA!

Homemade Natural Baby Wipe Solution

• 1 tablespoon almond or apricot oil

• 1 tablespoon Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap (comes in several natural scents)

• 2 drops tea tree essential oil (an antibacterial agent)

• 1 drop lavender essential oil

• 1 cup water

Thanks go to My Organic Baby

The baby wash and baby oil method is also popular, and the instructions are good on these:

How To Make Your Own Homemade Baby Wipes