Ever since our new little girl was born 6 weeks ago, life has been crazy around here. Not just with having a newborn (as if that’s not enough!), but also with other life circumstances. When it rains, it pours, right? All to say, there have been many days of pure survival on very little sleep in the last 6 weeks. And when you are in survival mode, you need survivor tools. Here are some of the items I’ve found this time around to be a lifesaver-it’s a wide assortment of items, but they’ve all helped me keep my sanity.
Our newborn caught a cold at about 2 1/2 weeks and while she never got very sick with it, it did make her a bit more fussy. This meant long nights and having to hold her most of the day. I started to despair of ever getting anything done (after all, one does eventually have to get laundry done!), so we ran out one night and picked up a Moby Wrap at a local store. Oh Wow! I have been very happy with it thus far. It’s not half as hard to “wrap” as I thought, as it’s actually quite intuitive once you’ve been shown how to do the basic wrap. And it leaves me with two hands instead of one. From my experience thus far, I have to say that I would highly recommend them. My baby is happy in it and I think that they are much more comfortable than any other sling/carrier I’ve tried.
I’ve found with all of my children, that having some good books that aren’t too difficult to read a must during the newborn stage. I’ve found that there are many times a book helps time pass, such as when I am nursing, rocking a fussy baby, or just dealing with insomnia. With Elena, I read through the whole Jane Austin collection (again) when she was a newborn ( I read fast). This time, I read through a bunch of P.G. Wodehouse books the first few weeks (they are delightfully funny and light), and then turned to a new find, Miss Read. Miss Read is the main character of her “own” books (it’s the pen name of Dora Saint). Here is a short description from Wikipedia.
Saint wrote a series of novels from 1955 to 1996. Her work centred on two fictional English villages, Fairacre and Thrush Green. The principal character in the Fairacre books, Miss Read, is an unmarried schoolteacher in a small village school, an acerbic and yet compassionate observer of village life. Saint’s novels are wry regional social comedies, laced with gentle humour and subtle social commentary. She is also a keen observer of nature and the changing seasons. Saint and her husband, Douglas, now deceased, married in 1940. The couple had one child, a daughter named Jill.
Her most direct influence is Jane Austen, although her work also bears similarities to the social comedies of manners written in the 1920s and 1930s, and in particular the work of Barbara Pym. Miss Read’s work has in turn influenced a number of writers, including American writer Jan Karon. The musician Enya has a track on her Watermark album named after Saint’s book Miss Clare Remembers, and one on her Shepherd Moons album titled No Holly for Miss Quinn.
I’ve found these books delightful! A true new treasure. My favorite so far is Thrush Green
Chlorophyll (not mint flavored)
My midwifes recommended that I take chlorophyll both before Aria was born and afterwards. I noticed within a day or two of taking my chosen brand of chlorophyll that it really helped me energy significantly. I picked up a brand I found at a local store, called Chloroxygen, and it’s very concentrated so you just add it to water. It’s made from fresh stinging nettles. The company had this to say about this product. ” Use for low red blood cell count, fatigue, shortness of breath, high altitude sickness, or heavy menstrual flow. Intestinal deodorizer.” I truthfully don’t know a lot about the benefits of chlorophyll, but I certainly have noticed that it has helped me feel good and have more energy, always a good thing, but especially appreciated in the newborn stage. My one tip is to not consume mint flavored chlorophyll if nursing as mint can reduce your milk supply, especially if consumed everyday. I didn’t know that until after I had been consuming the mint flavored concentrate for several weeks!
My babies have generally enjoyed and been calmer when playing pretty, soothing music. It’s also very soothing for mothers too! I especially like the sound tracks from many of the Jane Austin movies. Most of the music is very beautiful, lyrical and perfect for fussy babies and tired mothers. It doesn’t hurt that I also just love the movies too.
Big Pots of Soup
Cooking has been at a minimum lately, so when I am cooking I try to make the most out of it. I’ve found it very helpful to make HUGE pots of soup and serve that soup for several meals. It’s nourishing and easy (and frugal come to think of it). I made a big pot of stew and a big pot of turkey soup recently. Served with bread and a salad, and you are set.
I LOVE these thermometers. They used them at the birthing center, and I loved that you didn’t have to stick anything in your mouth or ear as it’s simply swiped against your forehead. It’s perfect for newborns, children, or adults and it’s gotten very good recommendations. This is a household essential, instead of just a new mother and baby essential. It’s one of those items I just don’t know what I did without!
A Happy Heart
One thing that we always tell our four year old is to have a “happy heart”. We like to think that our hearts are happy or sad because of circumstances, when so often it’s simply a choice we make. So regardless of what season of life I am in, I have tried to take my own advice to heart and often remind myself to have a “happy heart” when life doesn’t go as planned. As mentioned, life has been quite full these last 6 weeks, full of blessings and some trials too. But our attitude has a lot to do with whether we allow the hard things in life to shadow the happiness of life. Trying to keep a “happy heart” has helped me tremendously these last few weeks and allowed me to enjoy my newborn and this special season despite the imperfections of life.
Once again, I would love to hear what your new mother and baby essential recommendations are!